Saturday, June 16, 2012

San Francisco Cyclist Charged With Manslaughter -

Bike ridership, including using bikes to commute, is way up in many communities.  While bike fatalities have fallen, there are indicents like the one described about bike riders not following the rules of the road.  Since some readers have pointed out local examples of that here, I thought this was a good article to share.  Click title for link.

Most Americans Want a Walkable Neighborhood, Not a Big House - Lifestyle - GOOD

I stumbled across this article while reading a link from a FaceBook friend's page - who happens to live in Delray Beach.  He felt this extolled the virtues of that city, but I think it reflects Lake Worth even more so.  It's also consistent with some of the articles I have shared recently about the increasing desire to live in urban and walkable areas.  Click title for link to article.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Mango Groves: Raft Race and Pocket Park

Hi All-
We have a small update for all our neighborhood Mangos and friends....
     The Pocket Park Painting and Mulching is coming along.   We hope to spread the current load to build up the ground level and make it more "Earth" than "Sand".  Once we have more plantable soil, we will look for plantings, maybe box garden etc...   I have gotten a few donations of some stones and the like that we can use for borders for walkways or gardens... It might also be nice to set up a few areas where kids could play... maybe a hopscotch or similar...
     The Race update: The raft is starting to take shape.   Our resident wordworking professional extrordinaire Drew has been working on the side panels, and although we don't have a definite time yet, we hope to be forming the bottom, and main structure of the the boat over this weekend, after which we can test seaworthiness, and then start decorating....   We have been working on costume designs....and now we really need to get'er done!   Only 2 weeks left!!  We look forward to seeing all of our fellow Mangos at the race to cheer, and if brave enough, taking part!  It will be outrageous.
Please stay tuned for a Raft Update as to a time for construction this weekend....tentatively Saturday 4p-ish?  If sides aren't ready then maybe Sunday.
     Please budget some time to spend downtown over the 4th of July Holiday. As well as the raft race, and fireworks, there will be a large amount of festivities going on.  We also have the Neighborhood Olympics to plan, which start at the end of July. Mango Groves (Hopefully) will be organizing the Beach Volleyball, and is desperately looking for a leader who can teach us the rulz before that time... All I know is what I learned in High School.... and its been a few years....  The beach weather has been glorious, and Snook Islands is gaining more and more as we speak. Another option, and one of my favorite pastimes, is still shopping Downtown and enjoying food and drink on the Avenue with friends...   This weekend, 16th June, Paws on the Avenue is even having an Ice Cream Social for our furry friends.... I can't wait to see it!
Well, all my fellow Mangos, have a great weekend!   Stay cool and have fun!

Norman Vincent Peale

“Action is a great restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result, but the cause, of fear. Perhaps the action you take will be successful; perhaps different action or adjustments will have to follow. But any action is better than no action at all.” 


The City of Lake Worth’s Refuse Division will be having a RESIDENTIAL VEGETATION (ONLY) AMNESTY PICK UP SERVICE beginning June 25th thru June 29th. The vegetation amnesty week is designed to allow residents to put out and dispose of large amounts of vegetation items throughout the week, excluding bulk without any additional charge to them. 

Please place all vegetation curbside on your regular scheduled day and the City of Lake Worth Refuse Division will remove it at no charge. NO BULK ITEMS ALLOWED. 

• Some household furniture and appliances are included in the basic service for residential customers.
• Special pick up services may apply to home owners discarding more than three to four pieces of household furniture and appliances.
• Maximum pickup size of a pile of bulk is four (4) cubic yards (3ft. high, 3ft. wide, by 12 feet long.

For more information on this please feel free to call the Public Services Refuse Department at 561-533-7344.

Please check the City of Lake Worth’s official website for any further information.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Another South Florida Casino Building...

In Broward County...the description going with the picture (from FaceBook) reads:

"A favorite beach-side destination for local children in the 1950s was the Casino Swimming Pool. Opened in 1928 at what is today A1A and SE 5th Street, it included an Olympic-sized pool filled with ocean water. The site of the annual College Swim Forum and many national competitive events, the facility was demolished in 1966 after the completion of the Swimming Hall of Fame."

Shortage of homes for sale creates fierce competition -

Not what you would expect, but there are unique reasons for this phenomena - the Miami market is mentioned as one that is recovering.  Click title for link.

Various Videos from the City Commission Work Session on the Budget...

This is the Commission discussing the general fund portion of the budget.  McVoy continues to lay wreaths at the feet of the former city manager - the Mayor reminds him that we are dealing with the future here, not the past.  It is amazing that the ad valorem revenue portion of the budget is half what the contribution by the utility is to the budget.  What Commissioners Mulvehill and McVoy don't seem to realize is that the sum total of their policies to keep property values low, have a defacto moratorium on development by having an unworkable set of land development regulations and Comprehensive Plan and discourage attempts at redevelopment has taken roost.  No one is even looking at the prospect of improving and increasing the value of property in the city - other than hoping that the city has "hit bottom" and that next year will somehow be better.  Well, when we have residential properties selling for below $25,000 in large areas of the city that have fallen off of the tax rolls and have no real commercial tax base to compensate, we have to rely on the utility or other sources to make up the difference.  McVoy desperately worked an equation that the average utility bill includes $10 per month contribution to the general fund - trying to make that sound as if that is o.k.

McVoy and Mulvehill share a spell of amnesia about why the pool is closed and why it was projected to be open during 2013 - and, most importantly, ignored the aesthetics of the early 1970s era pool building that has suffered damage during the redevelopment of the site.  Bornstein says that an expert is coming out to look at the pool - he has observed that the pool might be sinking.  McVoy hauls the Greater Bay effigy out as an excuse about the pool - no where in the budget discussion was how to fit in the settlement likely due to Greater Bay after the case goes to trial.

The next big discussion is going to be how much of a revenue generator the ballroom can be?  McVoy repeated the refrain of this being a "beach park" and that certain areas are designed for the public to use for a nominal fee or free - and he seemed to be referencing the ballroom.  The rest of the Commission picked up on the importance of the idea that this could be a real revenue generator for the city and they have to agree on a policy soon - or else they could miss an entire season of revenue.  Many groups have already identified themselves as "futures" to use the ballroom, but can't commit since the city has no clear policy on whether it should be done in house or contracted out - and how the use of the space is prioritized for different groups.  This will be the subject of a future special meeting just on this topic.  Can you smell the popcorn?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

City Commission Work Session I - Budget 6/12 (live)

Bornstein is making the introductions.  Click here for back up material - really just the agenda.
He is talking about General Fund costs that are non-controllable versus controllable.  $11 million are controllable, $19,5 is non-controllable (FY12)  The FY13 draft budget shows that 70% is non-controllable.  The property tax value has dropped 6% which amounts to $5.5 million from ad-valorem.  He is emphasizing the contribution of the enterprise funds - $9.9 is budgeted for FY12/13.  $4.4 million comes to the city from the utility - he terms that a "dividend" to the general fund.

Costs - almost 60% goes to public safety and police/fire and pension costs.  Police is $12.2 million.  The cost portion is not filled with a lot of "largess."  In this year's budget the city will have $2.5 million in the undesignated fund balance - in five years it will be $5 million in the hole.  He says that is what we are facing in terms of providing for the health of the general fund in order not to be in that position.  I took a video of the Commission's discussion of the general fund.

Beach - Total combined projects equal $13.7 million, which includes $2.1 million for infrastructure.  Parking lo\t lighting is at $800,000.  Bornstein is presenting three options of pay back the $6,000,000 for the casino - 30 year bond, 20 year loan and 13 year payback plan.  The 13 year pay back plan is the cheapest - $6.4 million at 1% interest back to city versus other options.  The 30 year bond about doubles the total payment figure.  Carr says that the business plan assumed a 20 year loan at about a 4.5% interest rate for a total payment of $9.2 million.  McVoy points out that the internally financed plan is paying back city money to the city with interest - instead of the other scenarios pay money to other entities.  Amoroso asks what sort of scenario would require that the funds be paid back quickly.  Carr responds that some sort of catastrophic claim on the insurance fund.  That will be talked about tomorrow.

The revenue is now projected above the numbers in the original business plan - including the pier revenues.  Carr says none of the tenants are getting free rent except for their buildout period.  The current case exceeds the projections by $33 to $42K past the first year.  Benny's pier payment early is a gift.  "Slightly better than the most likely projection."  Expenses are about $80K higher from the original FY13 projection versus what the projections are now.  The pool is not open at all now and not generating revenue as it was project - Memorial Day to Labor Day.    McVoy "Why would we want to open the pool during the summer?" - my right hand to God!

Bornstein says the pool complex is a white elephant and the current complex does not reflect the new reality represented by the new building.  He says that this is something that we have to talk about.  He is referring to it as a luxury.  I have some video on the discussion.

Carr thinks that we have under-estimated revenue from the ballroom and the parking.  Amoroso doesn't believe a CAM of $7 is enough - he doesn't think it is going to pay for what it needs to pay for.  He thinks that the CAM can be raised after the first year.  Maxwell is asking questions about the total amount due to Anderson and Carr.  Amoroso thinks that the ballroom revenues are way under-estimated and Maxwell is saying that we need a date that we can have events.  Bornstein there are varying philosophies on the Commission on how to handle the ballroom space - some think that it should be used like a public park - guess who that is.  Mulvehill says that they need to discuss the options so that they don't miss an entire city.  Maxwell asks when that will be - Bornstein needs to have the policy direction.  They want to have a special meeting on it.

I will attempt to get the PowerPoint and post parts here.

Best of Miami 2012 - Best Parking in South Beach: 1111 Lincoln - Miami News - Riptide 2.0

The new way to park your car in Miami Beach - apparently all the rage.  Click title for link.

Palm Beach County to Participate in Region-wide Nuclear Power Plant Disaster Exercise

Tomorrow, if you are wondering what all the hub-bub is about in John Prince Park, this is it.  Click title for link to the Palm Beach County announcement.

Lake Worth looking for nominations for ‘heroes’

I posted an announcement of this event yesterday.  Click title for link to the PBP's description and some additional specifics.

Monday, June 11, 2012

A commencement speech gone viral...

Great way to celebrate our community...

America's Brainiest Cities

Click title for link to original article in The Atlantic regarding the brainiest cities - interesting method used in gathering data.  Here is another article that highlights the predominance of "rust belt" cities in the list.  Gainesville is the only Florida city in the top 25.

You can help a Lake Worth business...

Received this morning :   "McMow Art Glass is in the running to receive a 250,000 grant from a program through Chase and LivingSocial. In order to make it to the next round we need 250 votes through Facebook. This has proven difficult for us because a large portion of our customer base is out of town OR does not have Facebook. This is where I am asking for your support. If you would be willing to send this out to your networks and ask them to support McMow Art Glass I would greatly appreciate it. Post on your Facebook and email to friends and family. I have included easy to follow instructions below. Thank you for your support!!" 

Thanks to a program sponsored by Chase and LivingSocial called Mission: Small Business, your support could translate into a $250,000 grant. But we need at least 250 votes at to qualify. To vote for our business:
    1. Go to and log in using Facebook.
    2. Search for our business by name OR filter by our State and City.
    3. Click on the blue Vote button next to our business name to show your support for our business.

Florida back as a draw to transplants

Growth is predicted for south Florida, with Palm Beach County getting its share.  How many of these new residents will Lake Worth attract? Or, is Lake Worth full and we choose to send them elsewhere - along with their money and talent?  Or, will we be the landing place for those making a new start after leaving the County jail?  Click title for link.