Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year Everybody!

Time Is Running Out To Save Florida's Oranges : The Salt : NPR

More bad news for the citrus industry in Florida. Citrus greening is present in essentially every existing grove. You might want to listen to the NPR piece that is at the top of the article. Click title for link. As for me, I am lucky to have held on to a tangerine and a kumquat tree and both had some yield this year. I did have a pink grapefruit and at one time there was an orange tree in my yard.

Your Ad Here: State Negotiating For Advertising Along Florida’s Prime Nature Trails | FlaglerLive – Your News Service for Flagler County News Palm Coast News Bunnell Flagler Beach Beverly Beach and Marineland

Controversial signage program is proposed for some of the state's scenic nature trails. Not all are happy about the prospect. Click title for link. Here's what the signs would appear like:
Bikepath is proposing trailhead signs up to 16-square-feet and 13 access point signs up to 4-square-feet at seven parks at “no proposed cost” to the state.
On its webpage, the company claims to design “attractive and non-obtrusive” eco-friendly signs.
The Legislature’s first attempt at approving the park trail advertisements died in 2011 after opponents objected that the ads would become an intrusive distraction for those visiting pristine state lands.

Skyscraper Candles Let You Set the World’s Most Iconic Towers on Fire

Did you have trouble coming up with gift ideas for Laurel, Annabeth, Lynn and others in the "lo-rise" crowd? Well, I sure know that I did. Too bad I didn't stumble on these skyscraper candles prior to the gift giving part of the holidays. I suppose you can still get them and their novelty will assuage any guilt you may feel or uncomfort they may experience. Click title for link and do not miss the slideshow!

Bay State swamped with rising flood insurance premiums - Framingham, MA - The MetroWest Daily News

Florida is not alone. Check out this article about flood insurance premium increases in Massachusetts. Click title for link. As we have noted before, it is due to the following:
Until last year the 45-year-old program offered subsidized insurance for owners of at-risk properties. But a string of losses from major storms such as Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Katrina drove the program into a $25 billion deficit.
In response, Congress passed the 2012 Biggert-Waters Act, which requires the program to bring rates up to more realistically reflect risk. It also requires FEMA to remap flood plains to account for rising sea levels and an increase in severe storms.
Some of those increases, which began Oct. 1, are having a profound effect on real estate.

‘Walk’ recreation to mark Lake Worth church’s centennial | www.mypalmbeachpost.com

Lot's of good historical information about St. Andrews Episcopal Church and the relationship with Holy Trinity in West Palm Beach by Eliot Kleinberg. Check out how they will be commemorating their 100th anniversary. Click title for link.
Before St. Andrew’s opened in 1914, the Cook family, Episcopalians, walked every Sunday, to attend services at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in West Palm Beach.
Mrs. Arthur Cook; daughters Alice Maud and Florence May; and son Wilfred walked 7 miles each way. The four carried a lantern, as they often returned to Lake Worth after dark.
Holy Trinity’s rector at the time, the Rev. Gilbert Ottman, took pity on the Cook family and helped them found St. Andrew’s.
At 4 p.m. Sunday, parishioners and guests in 1914 attire will meet at St. Andrew’s and caravan up Dixie Highwayto recreate the Cook family’s walk over what was once a shell rock road.
That is quite a walk.

Monday, December 30, 2013

For some reason...

This particular is post is "pinning the needle" in terms of page-views this week. Also check out this link, but be prepared to be befuddled by the hall-of-mirrors logic within it. And as an example of the dystopian reality of which our anarchists and EF! friends lurk, people are told to attend "mandatory anti-oppression workshops" - one gets the idea that the punishments will continue until morale improves.

Good luck in navigating these choppy and murky waters.

Census Bureau Projects U.S. Population of 317.3 Million on New Year's Day - Population - Newsroom - U.S. Census Bureau

Interesting beginning of 2014 population projections for the U.S. and world. China and India are also mentioned. Click title for link.

Did you know...

That as a non-invasive species, the Eucalyptus is a hardy and versatile tree, making it a low maintenance alternative crop for Florida farmers?  Eucalyptus wood is used for a variety of products, including paper, lumber plywood, veneer, flooring, charcoal, firewood, fiberboard, essential oils, and landscape mulch. It also may be used for biofuel, with whole-tree chips supplying char and oil that can be transported and stored. The chips also can supply noncondensed volatile oil and low-energy gas to be used onsite or nearby.

Eucalyptus compounds can protect against insects, vertebrate herbivores, ultraviolet radiation, and cold stress. Among these are the terpenoids that give Eucalyptus foliage its distinctive smell.

At present three different Eucalyptus species are grown in Florida.  E. grandis (EG) and E.amplifolia (EA) are  fast-growing trees used for bioremediation applications, energy wood and mulch wood. Corymbia torelliana (CT)  are grown as windbreaks throughout  southern and central Florida.

Click here for more facts on the eucalyptus.

Hallandale commissioners approve taking from the city, giving to themselves  | Broward Bulldog

This is an article on city commissioner salaries and compensation from the Broward Bulldog, focused on Hallandale Beach. It's about their new ability to utilize unused travel monies as part of their compensation package. You know, I am starting to think that the $14,500 we pay annually to each Commissioner and $15,500 for the Mayor is too low. It may be a good idea to survey other communities in Palm Beach County and see what the range of compensation is versus size of community etc. Click title for link to article. Here is a bit:
Hallandale Beach city commissioners have created a new policy they can use to boost their take home pay by allowing them to pocket up to $10,000 a year in unspent funds from their individual travel accounts.
The city’s five commissioners each earn about $22,000 for their part-time service. In addition, each gets a  $10,000 annual travel allowance.

Revived Palm Beach County reservoir making progress - Sun Sentinel

This reservoir would help solve the water storage problem water managers talk about being at the heart of south Florida's water supply issues. The first one will address the long identified need to direct more water south toward the Everglades. Click title for link.
Project backers contend that the area's unique geology — less porous than South Florida's usual below-ground limestone — makes it ideal for holding water.
The reservoir, which cost the South Florida Water Management District about $220 million, stretches for 2.8 miles north of Southern Boulevard and is nearly 1 mile wide.
It's 53-feet-deep and capable of holding 15 billion gallons of water. That's enough to cover 34,000 football fields with water one-foot deep, according to the water management district.
The reservoir was originally built to collect water that would be used to replenish the Loxahatchee River, to compensate for freshwater flows blocked though the years due to flood control for South Florida's development.
A second reservoir is being looked at to help with drinking water supplies to Broward and Palm Beach Counties. It could lessen the importance of Lake Okeechobee as a drinking water source too. The idea must be worth looking at since Drew Martin thinks it's a bad idea.
 But environmental advocates question the need for a second reservoir, especially when the first one has yet to work as planned. They contend that water conservation should be South Florida's focus and that the high cost of building a second reservoir could further delay Everglades restoration efforts.
"It would take money away from Everglades restoration [and] also raise rates for water users," said Drew Martin of the Sierra Club, who considers the project a waste of public money.

Hudson River town wonders what's next as GE plant heads south in latest NY manufacturing loss (12/21/13 2:14 pm)

Heading south in this case means moving to Florida. Losing manufacturing jobs is a national trend and Florida has lost 18 percent of its manufacturing jobs too, but not as much as other states. Florida is about to surpass the state of New York in total population, making it the third largest state in the nation. There are many reasons for this which we will explore more in this blog. Click title for link to article. Here is what is happening:
The Fort Edward facility and a long-closed sister plant in neighboring Hudson Falls used PCBs in production until 1977, and river sediment contaminated by discharges of the oily substance is being dredged by GE as part of a multi-year federal Superfund cleanup that could cost $2 billion.
With 177 production workers and 20 salaried employees, GE is not the biggest employer in the region. But the Fairfield, Connecticut-based company pays well. Production workers here average $28.50 an hour, according to estimates cited by the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers Local 332.
GE officials say the plant has been losing money for several years and they will move to an existing facility in Clearwater, Florida, where the company can take advantage of efficiencies of scale. GE spokeswoman Christine Horne said their competitors are in lower-cost locations.

Reef balls on Memorial Stadium rubble provide haven for mussels and other marine life in Chesapeake Bay - baltimoresun.com

Pieces of the stadium in Baltimore that used to be the home of the Orioles, Colts and Ravens are now providing reef habitat in Chesapeake Bay. Mussels seem to be the prime beneficiaries. They got the idea from other projects that have taken in place in Florida. Click title for link.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

FAI/IRF threatens Coca Cola and Nestle with product sabotage | anarchistnews dot org

This anarchist plot seems to have its origins in Greece. Most would refer to this as terrorism. Click title for link.

Editorial: Reduce noise at railroad crossings before more... | www.mypalmbeachpost.com

Andrew Marra, Lake Worth resident and member of the Post's editorial board weighs in on the noise impacts associated with increased volume of trains. The number of trains going through the eastern communities in Palm Beach County will multiply as All Aboard Florida and commuter trains linking south Florida's downtown areas come on line. Click title for link to the editorial.

How should the western areas grow? County commissioner wants... | www.mypalmbeachpost.com

An hour long town hall discussion will take place on January 7th at 6:30 p.m. at the County's facilities at Vista Center, which is located at the northeast corner of Jog Road and Okeechobee Boulevard regarding growth and planned residential development in the western communities. I'm not sure that an hour is long enough given the need for a staff presentation and solicitation of public comments. People are wanting to see what the big picture will look like out west once these large residential projects start building out and if there is any hope of preserving their semi-rural lifestyles. Click title for link to article.

Wave of sand projects to bolster county beaches | www.mypalmbeachpost.com

Tons of money being spent countywide to renourish beaches north and south in the coming years. Renourishment cannot go on during turtle nesting season, which makes up most of the warmer months of the year. Click title for link to the Palm Beach Post article. Here is summary of the pros and cons of beach renourishment:
Opponents of beach renourishment say hauling sand isn’t the only way to build up beaches. They contend that permanent and mobile groins, breakwaters and even strategically placed fishing piers can slow down the natural north-to-south movement of sand on the county’s coast.
Proponents counter that the money is well spent.
Beaches bring tourists, who drive the South Florida economy. Beaches provide habitat protection for sea turtles, birds and other wildlife. If beaches wash away, so do State Road A1A hurricane evacuation routes at the Juno Beach Pier, Sloan’s Curve in Palm Beach and on both sides of Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach.
Not to mention protecting the county’s billions of dollars worth of oceanfront property.
“If a road has a pothole, you would not dream of just leaving it there. It’s the same with our beaches. When we renourish our beaches, we maintain our infrastructure,” said Leanne Welch, the county’s environmental program supervisor for the dredging project.

Aging infrastructure leads to gas leaks | www.palmbeachdailynews.com

One of the problems facing all communities, including Palm Beach, is an aging natural gas delivery system. These steel pipes deteriorate over the years and sometimes cause some surprises and potential dangerous outcomes. Florida Public Utilities is trying to keep up with a regular replacement schedule, but sometimes emergency situations take precedence. Click title for link. From the article:
Three weeks earlier, a downed power line came into contact with a leak on Chilean Avenue, igniting a fire on the sidewalk. That leak was capped on Dec. 2 by Florida Public Utilities, and the blaze, with flames up to 5 feet high, was extinguished by Fire-Rescue workers.
The problem is that old gas lines are made of steel, and they corrode after so many decades of use, said Aleida Socarras, a spokeswoman for FPU.
The utility company is in the midst of a project to replace more than 350 miles of pipe in its service area, which covers Palm Beach County and parts of Central Florida. That task will take about 10 years to complete.

Artist unveils Ponce de Leon statue for Melbourne Beach...

New Frank Gehry Designed Biomuseo in Panama

Avant-garde structure designed by the famous architect is now under construction, along with the rest of the country of Panama, it seems. The museum will focus on the changes to the world facilitated by the Panama Canal and the linkages between North and South Americas.

Promotional Video about the Lake Worth Farmer's Market

Narrated by Commissioner Andy Amoroso, produced by Jon Faust.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Citi Bikes Will Power the 2014 Times Square New Year's Eve Ball Drop! | Inhabitat New York City

Keep this in mind when you watch the New Year's Eve festivities in Time Square. New York has found a "green" way to use their blue Citi-bikes to power the ball drop. Click title for link to article. Check this out:
Riders that want to get a head start on burning those holiday calories and powering the New Year’s Eve ball can do so beginning on Saturday, December 28th at 1 p.m. and continue pedalling (although you probably want to take some kind of break) until December 30th. Each Citi Bike Pedal Power Station will be connected to a 12-volt deep cycle battery. Riders can generate a max of 75 watts per hour of kinetic energy that the station will collect and store in the batteries until it’s transferred to the New York City power grid on the big day.

Developer pays $128 million for Palm Beach Gardens property | www.mypalmbeachpost.com

Progress being made on development of the Briger Tract, which won't make our local EF! folks happy. I am sure they will continue their fight to block development of this parcel. Their current plan of attack is to point out that the endangered Blue Indigo snake finds this property as a prime habitat. The article details the recent sale of over 600 acres by Kolter Group. It is the largest dollar value sale of real estate in Palm Beach County this year. Here are some others. Click title for link to article.
Big real estate deals return
Pricey deals in 2013:
$127.5 million: Kolter Group bought the Briger tract in Palm Beach Gardens.
$83.5 million: Toll Brothers bought 124 acres west of Boca Raton in December.
$71 million: The Esperante Corporate Center in downtown West Palm Beach got a new landlord in December.
$69.1 million: An apartment complex in Delray Beach sold in February.
$63.1 million: An apartment complex west of Boca Raton changed hands in March.
$59.2 million: An apartment complex in Boynton Beach sold in March.
$52 million: Howard Stern bought an oceanfront manse in Palm Beach in May.
$51 million: Minto Communities bought Callery-Judge Grove, an unincorporated area along Seminole Pratt Whitney Road in September.
$49.5 million: The Bethesda Health City offices west of Boynton Beach were sold to a new landlord.

Leaders betting lots on upcoming SunRail launch | Tallahassee Democrat | tallahassee.com

Central Florida is about to get something akin to Tri-Rail, this time to help ease traffic congestion along the heavily used I-4 corridor. Future phases will be limited until additional federal funding is assured, but the first phase will be rolling out soon. Click title for link. From the article:
Currently, tens of thousands of commuters and tourists cram a few main highways and roads in the popular, fast-growing area. The first phase — 12 stations from Debary in Volusia County through downtown Orlando to Sand Lake Road in Orange County — will be the ultimate viability test case for an area that has never had this kind of transportation alternative before. And with promised federal money for the second phase suspended in Washington budget limbo, the success or failure of SunRail’s initial stage will garner an even brighter spotlight.
“This is a dramatic evolution step for central Florida. It’s the first time we’re building a fixed transit system — a regional one — with the ability of being able to connect into high-speed (rail),” said U.S. Rep. John Mica, a Republican from Winter Park and a member of the House Transportation Committee.


Interesting news out of Chicago about a possible bicycle tax to create an additional revenue stream. It doesn't sound like it is going too far there, but there are other cities and states mentioned that have a bicycle registration or licensing program. Click title for link to article. Here is a bit:
In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has made bike lanes and bike programs a signature issue, believing it makes downtown an attractive place for bright young people and innovative companies. More bikes means less pollution, less traffic congestion, practically zero wear and tear on the city's roads and a healthier population.
Nevertheless, the idea that cyclists aren't paying their fair share has resonated. But many bike riders are also car owners who pay the fuel tax that helps fund highway construction, or home owners who pay property taxes, which go partly toward road construction.
If you go to municode.com and look up Lake Worth's Code of Ordinances, you will find Chapter 8 which is titled "Bicycles." The following section appears under that chapter that provides for the City of Lake Worth to run a bike licensing and inspection program. This language was added to the code in 1956. Somewhere along the line, I guess the decision was made that administering the program cost more money than it brought in. If the City Commission isn't serious about this concept, it really should be taken off the books.

Sec. 8-1. Defined.permanent link to this piece of content

"Bicycle," as used in this chapter, shall mean any device propelled by human power upon which any person may ride, having two (2) tandem wheels either of which is twenty (20) inches or more in diameter, and including any device generally recognized as a bicycle though equipped with two (2) front or two (2) rear wheels.

(Code 1956, § 9-1)
State law reference— "Bicycle" defined, F.S. § 316.002.

Sec. 8-2. License required.permanent link to this piece of content

It shall be unlawful for any person to ride or use a bicycle upon the streets, avenues, alleys or other traffic areas or ways used either for vehicular traffic, without first having obtained a city license for such bicycle as provided by this chapter.

(Code 1956, § 9-2)
Sec. 8-3. License issuance; duration.permanent link to this piece of content

The city shall issue, upon written application, to residents of the city, a bicycle license, which license when issued shall entitle the licensee to operate such bicycle or bicycles for which said license shall have been issued, upon all the streets and public highways of the city. Said license when so issued shall be permanent for the life of the vehicle so licensed.

(Code 1956, § 9-3)
Sec. 8-4. License plate, registration certificate, license fee.permanent link to this piece of content

The city shall provide an appropriate license plate, together with registration certificate cards, that shall have numbers stamped thereon in numerical order, beginning with number one, and shall indicate that they were issued by the City of Lake Worth. The license plate shall be suitable for attachment to the lower end of the rear fender, at the rear of the bicycle at a location where it will always be plainly visible. The licensing authority may supervise its attachment in such manner as will prevent its removal. The city shall also provide and issue a registration card with numbers corresponding to the numbers on the license plate. The issuance of the registration card and the license plate to the licensee shall be after collection of the registration fee of one dollar ($1.00) for the license. Funds collected for the licenses provided for in this chapter shall be paid, as collected, to the city finance director or his designated agent. The license plate shall remain attached to the bicycle or bicycles during the valid term of such license. The licensing authority shall keep a record of the date of each license.

(Code 1956, § 9-4; Ord. No. 80-9, § 11, 6-16-80)
Sec. 8-5. Report of sale or transfer.permanent link to this piece of content

It shall be the duty of any person who sells or transfers ownership of any bicycle to report such sale or transfer by returning to the licensing authority, the registration card issued to such person as licensee thereof, together with the name of the person and his or her address, to whom the bicycle was sold or transferred, and such report shall be made within two (2) days of the date of sale or transfer thereof.

(Code 1956, § 9-5)
Sec. 8-6. Damaging, tampering with plate, registration; stamping of frame.permanent link to this piece of content

It shall be unlawful for any person to wilfully or maliciously remove, destroy, mutilate or alter the number of any bicycle frame licensed, pursuant to this chapter. It shall also be unlawful for any person to remove, destroy, mutilate, or alter any license plate, seal or registration card which is operative; provided, however, that nothing in this chapter shall prohibit the licensing authority from stamping on the frame of bicycles on which no serial number can be found, or on which said number is illegible, for identification purposes. The licensing authority may also stamp upon the frame of any bicycle registered a number which shall be the secret number of the licensing authority, if so required, in the administration of this chapter, to prevent bicycle larceny and recover stolen bikes.

(Code 1956, § 9-6)
Sec. 8-7. Operation.permanent link to this piece of content

The following rules and regulations shall be observed in the operation of a bicycle on the streets and public places of the city:

(a) Every person operating a bicycle shall at all times operate said bicycle with due regard for the safety of other persons and vehicles lawfully upon the streets, highways, parkways, and public places; as well as for his own or her safety, and shall at all times and under all conditions yield the right-of-way to pedestrians on the streets, highways, parkways, public places and crosswalks.
(b) It shall be unlawful for any person to ride a bicycle upon any railway platform or pedestrian way within the city.
(c) It shall be unlawful for any person to ride a bicycle upon or across any railway tracks within the corporate limits of the city save and except upon streets where a railway crossing is provided, and open to traffic.
(Code 1956, § 9-7)
Sec. 8-8. Inspection authorized; examination of qualifications of applicants for license.permanent link to this piece of content

The chief of police, or his designated representative, may inspect each bicycle offered for licensing, and may also examine the riding qualifications of the applicant as to his or her knowledge of the vehicle traffic laws of the state applying to bicycles, traffic signals and signs, and if the applicant's riding qualifications, knowledge of the vehicle laws of the state applying to bicycles, and the bicycle safe riding rules and regulations, and the official police instructions for the safe operation of a bicycle, are not satisfactory, or the bicycle is not in good ridable condition and properly equipped, as provided for in this chapter, a license for the applicant's bicycle must not be issued.

(Code 1956, § 9-9)
Secs. 8-9—8-19. Reserved.

Super reefs - Local News - The Star, Port St. Joe

A new type of "super reef" is being deployed in the Gulf of Mexico that will attract a greater variety of fish, including those that prefer upper water reefs. This has been in the works for a while and is done in association with the Fish and Wildlife Commission. No mention of whether or not it would work off our shores on the Atlantic side of the state. Click title for link.

South Palm Park: Affordability near the water | www.mypalmbeachpost.com

Nice spotlight article by Emily Minor on one of our historic neighborhoods, South Palm Park. You'll find many familiar names splashed through the piece. It's good, positive press that expresses some of the best attributes of living in Lake Worth. Click title for link.

Council president won’t seek fourth term | www.palmbeachdailynews.com

The Shiny Sheet's take on Town Council President David Rosow announcement that he will not seek another term. I find it interesting that the article notes that the letter posted here was sent to "fellow residents." He must have used the town's blast e-mail list, which would explain why I received the announcement. Click title for link. Here is some veiled speculation as to why he is not running. Townsend has announced she is running for the seat.
Rosow’s ongoing legal dispute with the Palm Beach Daily News, over the newspaper’s request to view written records of his involvement in helping to facilitate lease negotiations for the Royal Poinciana Playhouse, was also not mentioned in his letter.
In the interview, Rosow said his decision not to run was had nothing to do with the legal case, or with the prospect of having to run a campaign against Townsend.
Townsend said Friday she had not heard from Rosow about his decision not to run.
“I would thank anyone who has given service to the town, and respect Mr. Rosow’s decision, whatever it is,” she said. “I am grateful for what he has contributed."

Friday, December 27, 2013

Town of Palm Beach Council Member David Rosow will not seek another term...

David A Rosow

Dear Fellow Residents,

When I ran for election for the Town Council in 2008 I made several promises:  
            To work diligently on the finances of the Town
            To make intelligent decisions with respect to Planning & Zoning issues
            To put sand on our beaches

Let’s examine the record of those six years.

Property taxes for the Fiscal Year of 2008 (which was established before I joined the Council) were $40.7 million and the budget was $64.3 million.  For 2013 Property taxes will total $38.6 million and the budget is $65.4 million.  And for the past five years the Town’s mill rate has not been raised.
In 2008 I asked the Council to do a complete review of our benefits package and that process was done in a slow and deliberate pace over four years. During the period between 2009 and 2020, as a result of the Council’s pension reform, residents’ taxes for Pension benefits will be reduced from a projected $116 million to $52 million, a savings of $64 million.  Pension benefits were estimated to be $12.5 million for this fiscal year.  Instead they are $6.5 million.  While other cities in our nation are struggling with the costs of their pension obligations, our Town was proactive and fair.

During my first campaign I stated that  the Town’s Reserve Funds were over funded and now we are carefully using excess reserves to fund beach projects, and the burial of overhead power lines, which although paid for by the affected individual residents, are being financed over 10 years, at an advantageous rate to the residents.  We also use the excess for various other capital programs, with internal repayments with interest.  This is less expensive than borrowing money from a bank or raising taxes.

In 2008 the Town paid for capital expenditures, irrespective of their life expectancy, by taxation each year, commonly referred to as PayGo.  Property taxes could therefore fluctuate widely.  I argued for using long-term debt so that current residents wouldn’t be financing improvements that will outlast their time in Palm
Beach.  We now use long-term debt to spread out the cost of those long life projects, and the savings estimated by our Finance Department by issuing bonds three years ago rather than taxing residents is $9 million.  The Town has maintained its AAA rating and again issued additional bonds last month, which will lead to more savings.  As a result, our Capital projects program has been accelerated and the first phase came in on time and under budget.

During this six-year period (FY2008-FY2014) the Council has not reduced any services to the residents.   The Town is now operating with staffing at 1997 levels, all managed without any layoffs.

The Council members reinstated the Shore Protection Board and I suggested to fund its program with the money the Town received from DOT for the land to rebuild the North Bridge not through additional taxes.  However I agreed to reestablish the Shore Board on the basis that Woods Hole Group, the most notable experts on sand and sand movement, do a peer review of any recommendations from the Shore Board, and take into consideration information other experts provided.

In the Planning & Zoning area, I have consistently tried to reach compromises between neighbors and make decisions for Variance and Special Exceptions using common sense and the interests of the community.  I voted for the PUD5 plan, because, after 11 months of study by a prestigious committee of residents, the Committee overwhelmingly recommended it, with only one dissenting vote, and the opponents did not offer anything other than the status quo.  To preserve Royal Poinciana Way some compromises are necessary otherwise current zoning will lead to the eventual demolition of all the buildings on Royal Poinciana Way.   The street has changed considerably over the years and let us not forget that Worth Avenue was once a residential street and no one regrets that change.

During these years I listened to all residents, worked to insure their safety and watched their pocketbooks.
The past six years have been wonderful and Jeanne and I have enjoyed meeting and knowing so many residents whose paths we would never have crossed. In these six years, I believe I met the goals I outlined when I ran and achieved the objectives I presented to the Council when I was elected President.  Six years takes a toll on family and friends and therefore, after consulting with my family, we have decided that I will not seek a fourth term.  

I will miss the collaboration I enjoyed with our outstanding Town Manager Peter Elwell and his excellent Department Directors along with all the wonderful employees I have had the privilege to work with.  I also want to thank the Mayor and my fellow Council Members for the honor of working with them on behalf of all the residents of our wonderful town. 


Iconic airboats won’t be part of Everglades culture for much longer - Miami-Dade - MiamiHerald.com

An important part of "Gladesmen Culture" will eventually die along with the long time operators of airboats in the Everglades. New licenses are not going to be issued and mechanized travel, including bikes, will not be allowed in large portions of the park. Click title for link to article. Here is a bit:
But maybe not for much longer. The three Gladesmen — all longtime members of the airboat Association of Florida ranging in age from 60 to 72 — will be among the last private airboaters to operate in the vast marsh south of Tamiami Trail if officials at Everglades National Park get their way.
The park’s proposed general management plan for the next 15 to 20 years calls for an end to all private airboating in the East Everglades once the “grandfathers” who operate there now have died. The region was added to the national park in 1989, and whoever can prove he or she had a registered airboat in Miami-Dade County back then could obtain a non-transferrable, non-renewable permit to operate on designated trails only for the remainder of their lives. Park officials estimate 1,000 to 2,000 airboaters would be affected.

Ten Best Waterfront Restaurants in Broward and Palm Beach Counties

According to New Times, no Lake Worth establishments made the list. Click title for link. Have you been to any of their top ten?

Port Strategy - Chanting a mantra

Great article on the east coast frenzy to expand and deepen port facilities as the Panama Canal is widened. But it may not turn into the economic punch that everyone seems to expect. This jives with noted Florida economist Bill Stronge's view that port expansion here will not mean much to the big picture, which is contrary to Governor Scott's view of the future. Click here to listen to the episode of High Noon in Lake Worth when I hosted Dr. Stronge as a guest. Click title for link to article, here are the last two paragraphs.
Florida is pushing to become the most important state in the country for maritime business, with its governor as one of the main proponents. Miami's Mr Johnson is a strong believer in this, partly because the population will surpass that of New York within the next 10 years.
Such a notion is derided as “fanciful” by an industry executive. “All the shippers I have spoken to say there is no way they are going to put their distribution facilities down there. And they are building these huge facilities for the really big vessels that are not going to call there. They boast of their trade with South America, but the vessels on that route will stay at 6,000 teu-8,000 teu maximum for the next 20 years.

Dalai Lama

"I feel optimistic about the future because humanity seems to be growing more mature; scientists are paying more attention to our inner values, to the study of mind and the emotions. There is a clear desire for peace and concern for the environment."

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Goliath Grouper Action Alert

Goliath Grouper Protection Under Attack
The Miami Herald reports board members and staff from the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, the South Atlantic Management Council and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will meet Jan. 7 thru 9, in Key Largo to consider reopening the Goliath grouper fishery.

Theres been a lot of interest, especially from the gulf side where they are seeing more , in reopening that fishery, Mahood said. It has been nearly a quarter of a century since a ban on legally harvesting a Goliath grouper, then known as a jewfish, was enacted in 1990.

Only within the last few years have Goliaths returned to their ancestral spawning grounds offshore of Palm Beach County. Each August through October spawning aggregations of these 500 lbs. giants amass by the hundreds on coastal shipwrecks guaranteeing a spectacle seen nowhere else in the hemisphere. The Palm Beach County aggregations have become a major tourist draw for the dive industry. Because of the Goliaths predictable behavior they are an easy target by fishers. The protection of these spawning sites is essential for the survival of the species.

Scuba divers and conservationist are outraged by this development. After learning of the Fishery meeting a petition to protect the Goliaths was quickly posted online. We strongly urge you to sign it. Petition: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/save-the-goliath-grouper.fb77?source=c.fb&r_by=9731813
Here is a just one of many videos shot by local divers highlighting this years aggregation on the M/V Castor in Boynton Beach. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxawTkRz9yA
To learn more about these magnificent fish visit Grouper Luna(http://grouperluna.wordpress.com/)
Miami Herald: Ban on harvesting Goliath grouper is revisited. Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/12/25/3837358/ban-on-harvesting-goliath-grouper.html
PO Box 207 * Boynton Beach, FL 33425

Jamie Titcomb - Former Executive Director, Palm Beach County League of Cities 12/27 by High Noon in Lake Worth | Politics Podcasts

Join your host Wes Blackman as he welcomes the Honorable James S. Titcomb to the High Noon in Lake Worth studios. Jamie, is currently the Board Chairman for the Workforce Alliance of Palm Beach County and the interim chair for the new Gold Coast Tiger Bay Club. Previously, as the longest serving Executive Director of the Palm Beach County League of Cities. He has also served as City Manager and was the runner-up candidate for the Lake Worth City Manager position. We will find out what Mr. Titcomb is doing now and plans on doing in the future.

Click title for link between 12 and 1 p.m. Friday for the live show. Do the same to listen to the archived show after the live show airs.

Chicago Rising Tide ‘Elves’ Protest Fracking on Governor’s Lawn | Earth First! Newswire

Perhaps next time the "elves" attempt this sort of feat, they should go through this procedure to heighten the realism of the event. What do you think? From the article, click title for link.
State police officers took photos of the object before dismantling it and disposing of it, authorities said.
Chicago police classified the incident as “noncriminal” and don’t anticipate any arrests, said Officer Daniel O’Brien, a police spokesman.
Here's an instructional video of the process. If you are squeamish about surgical procedures, you may not want to watch this video past the five minute mark.

Conservation amendment reaches 500K signatures - SaintPetersBlog

Mine is counted among the signatures the petitioners have collected. They had a person representing the measure at our local Lake Worth Green Market a few weeks ago. Click title for link.

January Events - Mounts Botanical Garden

The person in charge of media relations for Mounts Botanical Garden was kind enough to send the following list of events coming up this month. You may want to print this post out for your reference.

Grooming the Garden Party

Date: January 4, 2013

8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Meet at the garden shop at the main entrance and sign in 

Interested in volunteering while enjoying the outdoors? Come to Mounts Botanical Garden and earn hours for their monthly “Grooming the Garden Party.” Help Mounts Botanical Garden staff members groom, mulch and keep their garden beautiful. This is a great opportunity to play in the dirt with other volunteers, meet local people and enjoy the fresh air. Bring your hats, gloves, insect repellent, sunscreen, and your friends and Mounts Botanical Garden will provide drinking water and tools. Closed-toe shoes are recommended. No sandals or No flip-flops please. Children under 16 yrs. MUST be accompanied by an Adult. 

Senior Strolls

January 7, 2013

10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Cost: $5 per senior, per stroll
Meet at the Garden Entrance off of Military Trail

Seniors, bring a few fellow golden-agers along or come meet new people as you take a leisurely guided tour through our Garden. You’ll learn about the plants you see as you get some gentle exercise. The strolls are appropriate for people who have a health care provider’s approval to walk moderate distances on paved surfaces or mulched paths. Please see information on group tours if you plan to visit with ten or more people. Please pre-register on-line or by calling the Mounts Botanical Garden office as tour minimums and maximums apply.

Photo Contest Lecture Primer

January 9, 2013

7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Members: Free; Non-Members: $5
Mounts Auditorium 

John J. Lopinot will kick off the upcoming Mounts 2014 Photography Contest with this primer on photographic techniques. He’ll explain the contest rules and focus on what he will look for in award-winning photographs. John will talk about composition, light, point of view and how to create a strong center of interest. No class limit. Please pre-register on-line at www.Mounts.org.

Stories in the Garden

January 10, 2013

10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
The Pavilion
Co-sponsored by the Palm Beach County Library Systems

Bring your young ones (ages 2 – 6) to very fun and interactive free nature-themed programs. They’ll love the educational stories, songs and learning activities in the Garden. Scheduled learning activity for January 10 is “Discovering the Trees at Mounts Botanical Garden.” 

The Art of Macro Photography

January 12, 19 & 26 2013

Members: $115; Non-Members: $125
Clayton Hutcheson Center Conference Room
John J. Lopinot, nature photographer

Sharpen your macro and flash photography skills during a three-session workshop with John Lopinot. 

Gardening in South Florida – All About Trees

January 18, 2013

9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Member: $35; Non-Member: $40
Mounts Auditorium

Laurie Albrecht, PBC Environmental Horticulture Agent
Mike Zimmerman, Zimmerman Tree Services 

Mounts Botanical Garden is offering a new series of gardening classes, “Gardening in the Subtropics.” The classes meet once a month on Saturdays and each class is designed to provide practical “how-to” training on a different topic in horticulture. Participants who complete all twelve courses in the series receive a certificate in “Gardening in the Subtropics.” Sign up for one or more classes, or take them all. Participants who attend the class on January 18 will learn about how to select, plant, prune and maintain trees for maximum beauty, health and longevity and practice pruning young nursery specimens. 

Stroller Struts

January 23, 2013

10 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Members: Free; Non-Members: $5

Enjoy a lovely morning strolling through our Garden with your youngest ones in tow. Meet at the Garden Entrance off of Military Trail. 

Urban Farming: Sustainable Backyard Vegetable Growing & Composting

January 25, 2014
9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Exhibit Hall A
Members: $35; Non-Members: $40
Mike Page, Mounts Horticulturist
Greg Spencer, Master Gardener

Learn how to raise tomatoes and vegetables sustainably and create compost for your vegetable or garden beds.

Photographing the Garden at Sunrise

January 27, 2014
5:30 a.m. – 8 a.m.
Member: $35; Non-Member: $40
The Pavilion & the Garden
John J. Lopinot, nature photographer 

Capture the sunrise at Mounts Botanical Garden during a workshop led by John Lopinot. Pre-paid registration required by January 20th.

Seinfeld writer Dan O’Keefe on Chaz Stevens. | MAOS by Chaz Stevens

Chaz Stevens chats with the Seinfeld writer that came up with the idea of Festivus in the first place. He seems to be enjoying the attention the holiday he invented is getting.

We will be having Chaz back for an episode of High Noon in Lake Worth after the first of the year. Click title for link.

Boca's signs of the recession set to disappear - Sun Sentinel

Boca Raton is about to start enforcing ban on A-frame signs - those are the ones that businesses put on sidewalks to lure customers to their stores. Apparently, this was done by official action a few years ago in reaction to the effects of the Great Recession. Now, those in charge in Boca are tired of the unsightliness created by all the sign clutter. Click title for link to article.
Since new residential developments are going in, there are going to be extra people around, and officials don't want them competing for sidewalk space with the sandwich signs in the varied ways they have shown up.
"Now you have a situation where things are very busy — the sidewalks are becoming cluttered with stuff," Gromann said, noting that businesses outside downtown have begun using similar sidewalk signs.
At Souvlaki Fast in Mizner Plaza, the sandwich board promises, "the best gyro you've tasted," next to signs for a $16 pedicure and walk-in medical service. Gino Can, manager at the gyro joint, said he's heard his customers agreeing with the sign as they walk out.
As far as Lake Worth is concerned, we have a provision in our sign code that outlaws these sorts of signs. I remember during the time after the 9/11 event in 2001, that the Lake Worth City Commission actually made a formal allowance for a set period of time that businesses could use these signs in front of their business. There was a widespread feeling that this temporary action would help attract customers at a time when the economy was hurting. Now it is pretty much a "free for all" without any formal repeal of the sign prohibition that I am aware of. The city of Lake Worth itself is one of the worst offenders of this prohibition. It seems that every special event is accompanied by A-frame signs being placed in strategic locations. Going downtown, it rare to see a business that doesn't have one of these signs in front of their door. I think the only allowance for these is a menu board for restaurants. If we aren't going to enforce what is on the books, then we need to change the regulations.

It is also worth pointing out, especially in the downtown area, that we already have a situation where pedestrian passage is limited due to sidewalk cafes and the like. Those are going to have to apply and meet new standards to remain from here on out. It should be time to enforce the ban on A-frame signs as well. 

Editorial: Attitude shift getting Chapel-by-the-Lake project... | www.mypalmbeachpost.com

Sounds like both the city of West Palm Beach and the developer visions are getting closer together. It also seems that the church who is selling the property may scale back or adjust what amounts to a windfall for them in terms of the sales price and details of the deal. I do have a problem with the design of the project since it does rely, as pointed out in the article below, on a parking garage as a base to the whole project. That is the pedestal referred to here in the bit from the article. That is preventing it from interacting in an engaging way with the street and surrounding area. Click title for link.
The commission can allow variances from the city’s comprehensive plan only if a project is considered “innovative.” One good way to meet that requirement and to deal with the “intensity” issue is for the developers to change the parking “pedestal” of the project. The focus should be all the cumulative effect the project would have, not just on the number of units. A cyclist-pedestrian path on the east side of the project would retain the community access to a slice of the city many residents cherish. A single, taller tower could preserve the view.

With new hires, Scripps hits final goal in state contract | www.mypalmbeachpost.com

However, it has not proven to be the economic engine and job creation panacea that Scripps was thought to be. Click title for link. From the article:
But Scripps Florida hasn’t delivered on the ambitious promises made by former Gov. Jeb Bush when he lured the lab here in 2003. He touted an economic impact study that said the incentives for Scripps Florida would spawn some 6,500 spinoff jobs and create as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs statewide in 15 years.
To accommodate all the Scripps spinoffs and drug firms expected to flock to the area, Bush often said northern Palm Beach County would need 8 million square feet of space for labs, offices and drug plants.
Ten years on, Scripps Florida has created only three spinoffs, and one promising company that moved to Jupiter to be near Scripps was sold and moved out of the area. Dreams of Big Pharma plants coming to town and hiring hundreds of Palm Beach County workers remain just dreams.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

And from this side of the Atlantic, a few words from the First Family

This just in from the Queen...Her Christmas 2013 message...

Arthur C. Clarke

Click title for link to the biographical history of this forward thinking individual who was partly responsible for the screenplay for 2001: A Space Odyssey. In this snippet of video from the 1970s, he talks about what we have come to know as the ubiquitous Internet in surprising detail.  
Many of you will probably be watching this on your new tablet, smart phone or other device this Christmas 2013.

Santa is so multi-dimensional...

And busy too. View showing Santa Claus picking oranges in Sarasota. State Archives of Florida

Monday, December 23, 2013

See you on the flipside...

Until then, enjoy your family and friends. Remember what the holiday season is all about. This may help. I found the full 1963 Judy Garland Christmas Special. It also includes the "way back" commercials. Enjoy!

Florida will lead U.S. out of Great Recession, say economists - SaintPetersBlog

This is an upbeat assessment by blogger Peter Schorsh citing examples of the economic turnaround happening in the state. Click title for link to his St. Petersburg-based blog. Construction is still a major part of Florida's economic picture.
Although tourism and manufacturing may be influential factors Florida’s economic growth, which includes a population spike that could soon surpass New York as the country’s third most populous state, construction proves to be the No. 1 industry.
Florida was second only to California in construction hiring, leading other high-paying jobs, according to the Associated General Contractors of America trade group.

Florida mission to Japan focused on business development | www.mypalmbeachpost.com

Click title for link that identifies the extent of the trade relationship between Japan and the state of Florida. Many global corporations use Florida as a jumping off point for ventures in Central and South America. Here is an example of the extent of that relationship.
Florida’s relationship with Japan
• More than 200 Japanese companies account for 20,400 Florida jobs.
• Japan is the No. 1 investor in Florida in terms of property, plants, and equipment with $4.11 billion.
• Japan is Florida’s second largest import market.
• Japan is Florida’s eighth largest merchandise trading partner.
• Japan is No. 9 for Florida-origin exports.
• Japan is No. 28 in merchandise exports.
• More than 270,000 Japanese tourists visit Florida each year.
Source: Enterprise Florida
Florida’s top five merchandise exports to Japan, 2010-2012
Civilian aircraft, engines and parts
Citrus fruit
Electrical apparatus for switching, etc.
Chemical wood pulp
Florida’s top five merchandise imports from Japan, 2010-2012
Motor cars and vehicles
Turbojets, turbo propellers and gas turbines
Transmission apparatus for television and radio, TV and video cameras
Electric generating sets and rotary converters
Printing machines
Source: Enterprise Florida

Editorial: Steadily rising property insurance costs in Florida... | www.mypalmbeachpost.com

I know that my current $5,500 a year property insurance premium through Citizens is unsustainable. They seem to find ways to put your home in a higher risk category and ignore what protections you do have from losses. I have little hope that the state of Florida can deal with the situation in an above the board manner. Any savings should be passed on to the consumer. Click title for link to article. Here is a bit:
Florida has had no serious hurricane seasons since 2005. The cost of reinsurance, which insurance companies buy to protect themselves from severe losses, has decreased significantly. In previous years, companies cited reinsurance as the main reason to keep raising prices. In August, Mr. Atwater asked why companies were responding by purchasing even more reinsurance, not passing any of those savings on to homeowners.

Two Florida species on group’s list of those most threatened... | www.mypalmbeachpost.com

Click title for link to article about the impact sea level rise on already threatened species. There is a link to inundation maps that is revealing. From the article:
 "Sea-level rise will also swallow beaches where loggerhead sea turtles nest along Florida’s east coast — the densest nesting beaches in the southeast United States. Loggerheads have had prolific nesting seasons recently. During this year’s 8-month nesting season that ended in November, 44,810 nests were recorded statewide, down from 2012’s near-record count of 58,172. On Palm Beach County beaches, there were 6,564 loggerhead nests.
However, modest increases in sea levels would shrink nesting beaches, forcing the turtles to move farther inland, where seawalls and beach development will prevent them from nesting.
At Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge near Melbourne, 42 percent of loggerhead nesting beaches are expected to disappear with just 1.5 feet of sea-level rise."

The 45th Anniversary of Experiencing the Earth Rise...

One of the iconic images of the 20th century, it reminds us of the fragility and beauty of the planet we inhabit. Many think that this view helped us better understand our place in the universe. And in this video, we are reminded that this picture was a product of teamwork. Something we should remember as we inhabit this swirling blue marble in space.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Boomerang buyers may boost housing market | www.mypalmbeachpost.com

This change could help a lot of people. Click title for link to article:
 "Under the Federal Housing Administration’s “Back to Work” program, it will approve certain borrowers for a home loan just one year after a foreclosure, short sale, deed in lieu of foreclosure or bankruptcy. FHA’s previous timeline was three years for a short sale and foreclosure and two years for a bankruptcy.
Federal mortgage backer Fannie Mae has previously allowed homebuyers who completed a short sale to buy again after two years if they put 10 percent down, but an automatic underwriting system couldn’t differentiate a short sale from a foreclosure and would spit out a denial. The application could then be referred for a manual review. But those were often denied based on the computer’s refusal, Maddux said.
Eligibility for a loan fast-track hinges on whether borrowers suffered a specific financial event during the recession that, through no fault of their own, caused them to lose their home. Also, the foreclosure or short sale should be the only blemish on a credit report. For an FHA mortgage, the homebuyer must take a housing counseling class."

Palm Beacher Greene could build West Palm Beach condo tower | www.mypalmbeachpost.com

Apparently, the approvals for this project are still on the books and won't expire until 2016. This is in the area north of the Rybovich project that just got a go ahead nod from the Planning Commission. Both projects would change the northern part of West Palm Beach by the water. Click title for link to article.
"Now a company affiliated with Greene paid $7.65 million for the North Flagler Drive property, which previously was owned by an Iowa-based investor group. The deal was brokered by Brad Capas of Capas Group Realty Advisors, based in Fort Lauderdale.
The parcel, dubbed LB T-Rex Aqua Vista, was planned as the Eighty Points West condo, rising 20 stories and featuring 173 luxury units. Prices were set to range from the $700,000s to $2.9 million for the nautically themed residence. (The project’s name was derived from the community’s longitudinal location on the map.)"

Public safety loses 28th employee of year | www.palmbeachdailynews.com

This is a disturbing trend in our neighboring Town of Palm Beach. The importance of little things seems to be magnified there for some reason. Maybe too many big fish in a little pond? But things in the public safety department seem a little out of control. Do they really need to perform an internal investigation over the "flicking of a hat?" Click title for link to article.
Last month, Dickson was placed on leave with pay during an internal investigation into whether he violated town or department policy by knocking the hat off of a co-worker’s head on Nov. 13 at Fire Station 3. He was on investigative leave from Nov. 16-28.
Dickson said he flicked the hat off the head of driver/engineer Gerald Hagin as a joke and that he apologized for it. Hagin said he perceived it as a joke and accepted Dickson’s apology. Hagin said he didn’t want to file a formal complaint and considered the matter resolved.
However, Donatto asked human resources to conduct a formal investigation after getting a complaint from another firefighter about the incident.
In a Nov. 26 report, Human Resources Director Danielle Olson found no evidence that the incident was anything more than a joke. But she also said the behavior violated fire-department policies.
The report said the incident was cause for disciplinary action, which could be discharge, suspension or demotion. Blouin had not taken any disciplinary action against Dickson before he resigned.
Dickson said he thought he was going to be fired. “I’m guilty of flicking a hat; everything else is false,” Dickson said. “People do worse than that in the fire station.”

County seeks ways to compel landlords to collect tourism taxes | FLORIDA TODAY | floridatoday.com

On the topic of short-term vacation rentals. You remember all of the discussion recently about the proliferation of short term rentals and how state law bars strict local regulation. Right now, in Lake Worth, the shortest stay allowed is two months. Enforcement is an issue of course, but this is another issue: Collection of bed and sales taxes. Many people running these short term rentals don't know they need to be collecting the taxes. Hotels want this to happen so short term rentals don't get a competitive pricing advantage. This article comes from Brevard County. Click title for link.
"Tipton, though, doesn’t envision a massive enforcement action with “boots on the ground, knocking on people’s doors.”
Rather, he expects the county will have an educational campaign about the rules, with real estate, property management and homeowners’ association representatives invited to seminars to explain the rules.
Cullen recently included a flier with her office’s mailing of 320,000 property tax bills, as well as with business tax renewal notice mailings, explaining the Tourist Development Tax. The flier informed people that short-term rental property owners need to register to collect the tax. She also has a form on her office’s website for people to report potential tourist tax evaders.
“The greatest tool I have is education,” Cullen said. “Most people want to comply with the law. And once they know it’s due, they pay it.”

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A little video from their visit...

Bike-riding Carollers dropped by tonight...Happy Holidays!!

Follow-up to interview with urban planner Joseph Minicozzi...

I hope that you were able to catch yesterday's (12/20) High Noon in Lake Worth episode. After the show, Joe and I had an e-mail exchange which dealt with the efficiency of redevelopment in urban areas, compared to large lot suburban development. During the show, we talked about this concept and he referred to these two images he provided that demonstrate this effect. Joe works for a for-profit development company in Asheville, North Carolina called Public Interest Projects, Inc.
This compares the tax contribution per acre of an Asheville, large lot, big box development outside of the downtown area to the redevelopment of a six story building in downtown Ashville. Yes, six stories, can you imagine? In fact, Joe says during the show that there really is not a significant difference between 45 feet and 65 feet. The most important aspect of a project is the design and that responsibility lies with architects. Of all the aspects of a project, the most important part of the design is how the building interacts with the street. Height should not be the paramount concern.

Back to the graphic above. The six story building, a former J.C. Penney's, has retail on the first floor, office space on the second floor and residential on the upper four stories. It sits on 2/10 of an acre, whereas the Walmart sits on 34 acres. Looking at the chart, you can see how efficient the primarily residential mixed-use development is in the amount of tax revenue created on a per acre basis. Minicozzi says add the fact that a Walmart is built to last 15 years and you have to ask yourself what is going to happen to that property in year 16. Will it become a big "dark box" that seem to be popping up all over the nation? What re-use is possible with this sort of land use? 

Compare that with the six story building downtown which clearly has a longer life than the Walmart. Not only does it generate more tax dollars per acre, it's economic return to the community can continue farther into the future. At 90 residents per acre, probably 45 units an acre of allowable density, it represents a housing type where there is a walkable environment that residents can satisfy their basic retail and entertainment in the downtown area. This can be done without getting in their car. Not so with the big lot, single use Walmart. Given the mixed use nature of the older building, it is generating more jobs per acre than the significantly larger "box" housing Walmart.

Now, let's break from our regularly scheduled programming, and recall Annabeth Karson's farewell to Commissioner Mulvehill. It's important because at the 40 second mark, she begins to state based upon some strange fallacy that residential development, of any kind, takes more in services than it provides in revenue. She congratulates the former Commissioner Mulvehill for her realization of this "fact" during her term as Commissioner.
I have debunked this theory before. It is pretty much a half-truth, and if it does apply, it applies more to new single-family residential development on previously vacant land than it does to new, denser residential development in urban areas. Urban areas already have the infrastructure in place and do not require the public subsidy that goes with new "greenfield" development. That is the ke difference.

Look at the following image which shows the tax revenue contribution of 357 residential units. One is in a downtown location and one is in an automobile-dominated suburban area. Again, we see the efficiency of the urban location in producing property tax revenue.

At a typical suburban density, this example from Sarasota comes in at just a little over 11 units to an acre over 30 some acres. Infrastructure costs to service that type of suburban multi-family residential development are $10 million and the total county tax yield per year is around $238,529, resulting in a 42 YEAR payback period.

The same 357 multi-family residential residential units in downtown Sarasota would consume only 3.4 acres, have almost 50% less costs in providing infrastructure. But in that downtown location, the project would pump out $1,990,900 per year in tax yield to the County. That equates to a payback period of 3 years. The rest contributes to the general fund of the community for as long as the buildings exist. The difference between the county's return on investment is the difference between 2% for the suburban location and 17.6% for the downtown location. And this is for RESIDENTIAL development.

The moral of the story here is do not believe everything you hear when people sashay up to the podium to make a point based on irrelevant facts.

Getting away from the residential example, Joe sent me this quick-and-dirty analysis of two commercial properties with which we are all familiar. One is the Green Orchid building in downtown Lake Worth, home of the Bamboo Room. The other is the Home Depot on Lake Worth Road. This information comes from the Palm Beach County Tax Appraiser's office.
"Just for the heck of it, I ran the value of the Bamboo Room against the value of the Home Depot out on Lake Worth Ave., west of 95.  Here's how they stack up:
Bamboo Room:
Taxable Value - $619,075
Acres - 0.3007
Value Per Acre - $2,058,780
Home Depot:
Taxable Value - $5,517,856
Acres - 12
Value Per Acre - $459,821
So, the Bamboo Room Building is about 4.5x the potency of the Home Depot from a property tax standpoint.  Or another way of looking at it is that if you had 1.4 acres of Bamboo Room Buildings, it would equal the entire property tax production of the 12 acre Home Depot.
Keep this in mind the next time that you think that height, density and intensity should be kept unrealistically low in downtown Lake Worth. We must make efforts to increase and diversify our tax base. We lost 2/3 of its value during the Great Recession.

In another follow-up communication from Joe Minicozzi, he writes this about over-limiting height and the implications of that over the long term:
"Also, thank you for doing the show.  That is an invaluable asset to the community.  Dialog, dialog, dialog.  And an informed one, even better.  I'm a big fan of this Abraham Lincoln quote:"I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts."
Also, with regard to building height and density, once a community gets locked into that, it sort of limits its future supply of revenue.  Once capped, it begets (or should beget) costs.  Even if the City were to never hire another staffer, costs will still rise.  One would assume that you'd want your folks with seniority to get a raise every once in a while, no?  So where does that new demand in $$ come from?  You can raise taxes, or you can do a new development that increases the tax base.  Anyway, you know the drill there, but it helps when the community talks it through, and so long as they are conscious of the limitations, they need to understand what happens with a decision.  There are plenty of tall buildings in a lot of cities (some that are even 100 years old) and no city was harmed by them.... because they are beautiful.  What I find in community after community, is that no one can have an articulate conversation regarding aesthetics, and that's a real problem.  Perhaps your community has that potential, or perhaps that should be the challenge to the artists, but they need to be engaged in an honest way."
Make sure and listen to the show. Click link above.

Florida makes a run for Santa's workshop...

This is put together by Republican party folks and includes Governor Scott towards the end of the video. It comes off as corny, at best.

Direct mail round-up: Santa Claus attacks Alex Sink - SaintPetersBlog

Peter Schorsch runs a well-known political blog out of St. Petersburg, Florida. Something to check out from time to time. Here he exposes a political attack of Alex Sink by the Republican Party of Florida. I did not know Santa was a Republican. Click title for link.

House Plaques Home Cottage Bungalow Numbers Retro House Plaque Number La Ti Da Retro Designs Old Florida

Cool local source for retro house numbers, in a Florida theme. You've seen them before I am sure. This company also does screen door inserts that emulate some of the ones you see on mid-century homes in Lake Worth. Click title for link to check out the selection.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Palm Beach County Coastal Hazard Statement

Statement as of 8:19 AM EST on December 20, 2013

... Rip current risk in effect through Saturday morning... 

The National Weather Service in Miami has issued a rip current
risk... which is in effect through Saturday morning. 

* Timing... now through Saturday morning.

* Impacts... rip currents are expected along the Atlantic beaches making
for dangerous swimming conditions.

Precautionary/preparedness actions... 

There is a high risk of rip currents.

Rip currents are powerful channels of water flowing quickly away
from shore... which occur most often at low spots or breaks in The
Sandbar and in the vicinity of structures such as jetties and
piers. Heed the advice of lifeguards and the beach patrol. Pay
attention to flags and posted signs.

If you become caught in a rip current... do not panic. Remain
calm and begin to swim parallel to shore. Once you are away from
the force of the rip current... begin to swim back to the beach.
Do not attempt to swim directly against a rip current. Even a
strong swimmer can become exhausted quickly.

Editorial: Check all angles of Rybovich-Related project | www.mypalmbeachpost.com

Randy Schultz makes some key observations in this editorial. He talks about both the Chapel-by-the-Lake property and the Rybovich project. There might be a chicken-or-the-egg situation with the Rybovich project, however. From the article, click title for link:
 "But the selling point for the Rybovich-Related project is that it could transform the north end of West Palm Beach, especially west of Broadway. Bring enough new people, and redevelopment will spread. On that point, however, Rybovich Vice President Carlos Vidueira said Wednesday that even if the commission approves the project, nothing will get built until there is action on the crime-ridden areas west of Broadway.
“We must pre-sell 50 to 60 percent of the units,” Mr. Vidueira said. That cannot happen with “no grocery store, no national retailer, nothing in a 3-mile radius” of the project. The city planning staff’s recommendation for approval comes with conditions related to traffic, but nothing related to improvement of Broadway. Couple this with Rybovich’s suggestion that the Community Redevelopment Agency boundaries could be expanded several blocks north to include the project, which Mr. Vidueira said could create opportunities for “more creative financing.”

‘Daily News’ public records request in judge’s hands | www.palmbeachdailynews.com

Did you know that releasing a "trade secret" is a third degree felony according to Florida law? Seems that it is. The court case continues with the latest hearing taking place yesterday between the Town of Palm Beach and the Palm Beach Daily News. This is part of the article from the Shiny Sheet, click title for link.
"The town’s dilemma was that the newspaper was asking for records that Sterling said the town couldn’t release because of “trade secrets.”
Elwell testified that the town filed the lawsuit to have the judge decide if Rosow’s documents were public records because this was not a clear-cut issue, from the town’s perspective of whether these are documents that fall under the public records law.
“Being in this unique situation, where there’s a third party that they had rights that may cause the town great exposure for liability. we weren’t going to refuse the public records,” Elwell said. “That was not our fight. But, at the same time, if we provided the public records and they were found to have been provided inappropriately and violated private rights that Sterling had, we would have had a serious problem for the town.”

Safety Advocates Object to Higher Highway Speeds |

Push back on State Senator Jeff Clemens to raise highway speeds appears. Click title for link to article:
"Clemens added that data he’s seen disputes assertions that increasing speeds will increase traffic fatalities.
“I understand that speeding tickets provide an important source of revenue for public safety, but supposed safety experts made the same claims when we repealed the national speed limit,” Clemens said in the release. “The data proves that raising the speed limit has not resulted in more fatalities.”
The bill will be considered in the 2014 session and there is no companion bill in the House.

Satanic Temple considers legal firefight over Florida Capitol display | The News-Press | news-press.com

This, as predicted, had turned into a slippery slope for the state of Florida. Click title for link to article. Here you see the problem:
The Satanic Temple proposed a display that bannered the phrase "Happy holidays from the Satanic Temple" atop a diorama of an angel falling into hell. A sign on one side of the display referenced Luke 10:18 including the line, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven."
The ACLU of Florida issued a statement on Thursday saying it expected such a scenario would occur in which the state would find itself having violated a group's freedom of speech.
"The only way the state could allow the placement of the original religious display, that some officials wanted to promote, was to create a space where any group could put up whatever message they choose," the ACLU of Florida said in a news release. "If state officials are surprised by how this has turned out, then they don’t understand how free speech works."