Saturday, December 6, 2014

Thunder Thumbs

They're back!

School in Wynwood gets Street Art Treatment, like the Shuffleboard Court Building

Lake Worth Critical Mass Ride - 12/5 and some ABCs on counting

Stay with me here: Some of you are aware our Earth First (EF) friends had a protest in Palm Beach Gardens yesterday. I'm starting to feel a bit sorry for them. Every protest lately, in one way or another, was mishandled. The protest yesterday however was well managed and they stayed on message but sadly their efforts will go unnoticed by most due to the massive protest in Miami. WPTV (Channel 5), number one in local TV news, didn't even send a reporter to their protest.

You can see Channel 12's Chuck Weber news segment here. You can also read the story by Julius Whigham II in the Palm Beach Post here. It is interesting to note that Mr. Whigham reports there were "about 35 people" at the protest. [Editor's question: At a protest do young children count as one of the protesters?] Mr. Weber reports there were "several dozen" protesters. As of now we really don't know the actual count. I'm sure that EF would say there were hundreds.

The reason it's worth mentioning is that counting people is actually quite simple. For example, last night, I participated in the Critical Mass ride through Lake Worth. It was, without a doubt, the best ride ever by Critical Mass in our Lake Worth. The ride was led by a guy who went by "T3" and he did a remarkable job. About midway through the ride, a young man rode ahead of the pack, stopped, and began pointing at people riding by and counting off, "one, two, three", etc. When he pointed at me he said, "fifty-four". Later I learned from the young man there were sixty-eight riders last night. Exactly sixty-eight.

Big kudos to our Lake Worth Critical Mass.

FYI, the Critical Mass ride is the first Friday of every month. The next one is January 2nd. See you there!

Coming Soon - Behind the Scenes at La Joya Villages

 Construction tour video out next week!

See inside a Lake Worth castle; set to become next Red Cross Show House

Click title for link to article about the Birthday Cake Castle, right at the southeast corner of 5th Avenue South and South Lakeside. It will be a feature home in March, part of the Red Cross Designer Show House. The project went through the Historic Resource Preservation Board at its last meeting. From the article:
In the process,  the 7,000-square-foot estate, with 52 windows and an octagonal turret, will receive a major makeover from more than 20 local and national interior designers.
Designed by Addison Mizner draftsman G. Sherman Childs, the house was built in 1925 along the Lake Worth waterfront, where 5th Avenue South meets the Intracoastal, just south of Bryant Park. It was the first property included on the Lake Worth Register of Historic Places. (Childs also designed the Lake Worth City Hall.)
Built by local banker Earl Reed for his wife, Florence, in 1925, it didn’t earn its nickname until 1954, when ulta-conservative, anti-Semitic former foreign correspondent Upton Close bought the house as a birthday gift for his wife, Margaret Fretter Nye.
Since Close was tapped out after three divorce settlements, the wealthy Nye had to pay for her own present.
Nice to see one of the city's more important historic properties undergo a much needed renovation project and have it be in the spotlight.

Other things the Post beat reporter for Lake Worth writes about...

Chris Persaud is currently assigned the beat of covering Lake Worth for the Palm Beach Post. He has a story in today's 'B' section. Lately, Mr. Persaud has shown an ability to communicate the facts, successfully avoiding the "corrections" section. For those of you unaware, the Post publishes their corrections and clarifications on page 2 of the printed version of the paper's 'A' section, generally at the bottom of the page. Mr. Persaud has the rare honor of having to publish a correction and then having to publish a correction to the correction. You can read about that here.

Notably, I cannot find where the corrections are in the on line edition of the paper.

In another story that he is covering outside of Lake Worth, Mr. Persaud has weighed in on the "Double D Saloon" controversy that has many people upset. I think most people would not be happy to have a strip club in the neighborhood. You can read Mr. Persaud's story here.

The question I have is this, after reading Mr. Persaud's story, is there any there there? Do you feel like you've been manipulated just a little bit?

Mr. Persaud starts off the story with this paragraph:

Two Palm Beach County commissioners — Hal Valeche and Steven Abrams — PREVIOUSLY [emphasis added] accepted campaign contributions from the man behind the Double D strip club, whose construction along Southern Boulevard west of Florida’s Turnpike has generated fierce opposition from western communities’ residents.

A full 8 paragraphs later, after your blood pressure has already spiked, Mr. Persaud writes this:

The permit to build the Double D was issued in 2001, long before either Valeche or Abrams won a seat on the county commission.

If the sentence above was included in the first paragraph of the story, where campaign contributions by County Commissioners Valeche and Abrams were reported, wouldn't that have changed the entire perspective of the story? Would this be an example of "spin". Here is the definition of spin.

At least on the local level, I have found that campaign contributions do not sway the voting pattern of elected officials in a meaningful way anyway. It is also impossible to vote "retroactively", which would be the case if there were a there there in this story.

New Softball Team Formed

Correction to an earlier post on this blog. On Tuesday 12/2 I inadvertently attributed an apparent "gang hand gesture" to TOB . You can read that post here. It ends up that I was incorrect. The 'VL' hand gesture by TOB is not the symbol for the "Vice Lords" gang after all.

The "VL" gesture by TOB is actually the team gesture for the John Prince Park (Pinkie League) Softball Team, the Vapid Lacunas. Here is a promotional item for the newly formed team.
I'll be posting the schedule for the Vapid Lacunas: games, venue, starting line-up, fielding and batting statistics. 

Join me at the next game! Support our Lake Worth Vapid Lacunas!!!!!


Friday, December 5, 2014

From the Town of Palm Beach - Traffic Delays - Sunday, December 7th - Marathon of the Palm Beaches

The Marathon of the Palm Beaches is this Sunday, December 7th. Traffic to and from Palm Beach will be affected at various times from approximately 5:30 AM until approximately 2:00 PM. 

The Flagler Memorial (North) Bridge will remain open, but will be reduced to one travel lane with flagmen at the eastern and western ends of the bridge. Delays will be minor. 

The Royal Park (Middle) Bridge will be closed periodically and delays will be significant until approximately 10AM. 

The Southern and Lake Worth Bridges will experience periodic delays. 

Commuters are asked to be patient and plan travels accordingly.

Coming soon...Our roving reporter Larry the Lenz, with a new story!

Discussion regarding the Villages of Lake Osborne - Multifamily Project on Lake Worth Road

Important things are discussed here and you should take time to listen to the discussion. Here are some of the highlights, with minute marks and a synopsis of what was said at that point in the meeting.

4:25 - Market rate housing development. No subsidies.

8:30 - Status of pre-leasing on the Villages of Lake Worth project at the northwest corner of Boutwell and Lake Worth roads.

9:30 - Community benefits program discussion.

13:20 - Commissioner McVoy continues the community benefits program discussion. There is $14,000 in a "sustainable bonus trust fund" that the City Commission can determine how best to use to enhance community sustainability.

15:20 - "No investment in the city for seven years." William Waters.

16:00 - "$150 million worth of projects have come in for review" since passage of the Land Development Regulations (LDRs) last August. That is more than what came in during 2006-2007.

19:15 - Passed unanimously. There are four other large projects, including a hotel, on the way.

16 U.S. Communities Recognized as Climate Action Champions

Click title for link. Lake Worth is not mentioned. There are some Native American tribes on this list however.
Broward County, Fla.: Broward County, a member of the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact, a regional partnership of four counties (Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach) to advance climate mitigation and adaptation strategies, has committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 2 percent per year, reaching a 10 percent reduction target by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050.

Don't forget. The Lake Worth Critical Mass bike ride is tonight

If you're looking to do something later on today, consider the Critical Mass bicycle ride tonight. The ride is open to everyone, even novice/rusty riders looking to get into the bike riding experience again. Tonight's ride is a 10 mile ride around our City of Lake Worth. The riders start assembling in front of the Gulf Stream Hotel at 6:15 and the ride sets off at 7:30 SHARP.

Although bike helmets are recommended, bicycle lights are mandatory. So make sure to check your batteries still have a charge. 

I have been on four Critical Mass rides and can attest they are quite fun. Here is a link to the Critical Mass Facebook page that has a map of the route tonight.

Evening on the Avenues - Tonight!

From Tuesday night's City Commission meeting (12/2) - City Commissioner Reports

Town of Gulf Stream still pondering RICO action...

Another news story, this time from Dan Moffett at the Coastal Star about the Town of Gulf Stream and the O'Boyle Law Firm. The Town of Gulf Stream is mulling a RICO suit against that firm. From the article:
Attorneys for the town of Gulf Stream are challenging the legitimacy of The O’Boyle Law Firm in their defense against dozens of lawsuits brought by resident Martin O’Boyle.
    In the crosshairs of the town’s counterattack is O’Boyle’s son, Jonathan, who, in documents filed with the Florida Department of State in February, lists himself as the law firm’s president and director.
    While Jonathan O’Boyle has a license to practice law in Pennsylvania, he is not licensed in Florida, and the Florida Bar requires that lawyers supervising cases have a state license.
    During a six-hour deposition with Martin O’Boyle in September, Robert Sweetapple, an attorney for Gulf Stream, repeatedly raised questions about the relationships between Jonathan O’Boyle, the family law firm, the firm’s nonprofit partner Citizens Awareness Foundation and hundreds of lawsuits that together they filed across the state.
    Sweetapple accused Martin O’Boyle of putting his son in “an untenable position” by enlisting him to perform legal work he wasn’t licensed to do.
    “You were in such a rush to have your O’Boyle law firm that you actually put your son in a position where you opened a law firm in Broward County, Florida, before he became a Florida lawyer,” Sweetapple said in the deposition.
Read the entire article here.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Car-pooling tomorrow?

About the BIG PROTEST tomorrow...

Tony Doris of the Palm Beach Post has a story coming out about the Earth First protest Friday (12/5) in Palm Beach Gardens! Today (Thursday, 12/4) I wrote about the protest, you can read the post hereIn a previous article by Mr. Doris he didn't name anyone who had "apologized" for shutting down the Mandell Jewish Community Center. In the second excerpt below he reveals who actually did apologize on behalf of Earth First: Tuesday Lee Aston. 

Earth First, of course, is headquartered in Lake Worth, Florida. Please understand, the protesters DO NOT represent Lake Worth and I hope the people of Palm Beach Gardens don't attribute the actions of Earth First to anything related to the City of Lake Worth. 

The following excerpts are from the Tony Doris article coming out tomorrow. I strongly encourage you to read the story. Here are two excerpts:
With activists of Everglades Earth First poised to protest development of the Briger tract off Donald Ross Road Friday, Palm Beach Gardens Police Chief Stephen Stepp says he’s concerned the group could endanger people and businesses.

Stepp points out that the group’s website links to a protest manual that includes instructions on how to tie up security guards, plant spikes in trees to harm chainsaw operators and how to set cars on fire.

“Our concern is that they’re doing criminal acts,” Stepp said in an interview Wednesday. “We don’t mind legitimate, lawful protests. That’s fine. Maybe on some levels I agree with certain stances. But wasting a lot of resources of the government and causing other people harm or putting people at risk of injury….”
[Later in the article...]
He [Palm Beach Gardens Police Chief Stephen Stepp] pointed to those acts of civil disobedience and to a manual offered for free on the group’s website, called Ecodefense: A field guide to monkeywrenching. The book includes instructions on sabotage, breaking padlocks and evading security guards. “Tear gas type CS or CN, or electronic stun guns could be used to overpower a guard or watchman,” the book notes. “This is illegal but as a last resort it might save you from the greybar hotel.”

Aston [Tuesday Lee Aston, Everglades Earth First spokeswoman] apologized for the preschool shutdown last month and said the group only intended to close the construction access road. But she added that the schools made the decision to close.

There is a protest tomorrow in Palm Beach Gardens!

The last protest by our EarthFirst (EF) friends didn't turn out too well. You can read about that protest here. In their last protest, somebody in EF threw a vehicle battery into the lake. Little details like that can throw you "off message", as they say. 

I plan on going tomorrow and if anyone else is interested maybe we can carpool? Let me know. It should be exciting. Channel 12 will be there, somebody from the Broward New Times, and other media as well. EF is hoping for a big turnout.


NOTE! There will not be any parking at the actual protest location. So the plan is for the protesters to find a spot to park in downtown Palm Beach Gardens (which is hard to define) between 4:00 and 4:15. A shuttle will take the protesters to the Briger Tract protest site. 

Directions: Take I-95 to the Donald Ross exit. Off the exit go East. Continue down Donald Ross Road to Central Boulevard (the traffic light). This intersection is the location of the protest however DO NOT ATTEMPT TO PARK HERE. Go left on Central Blvd until you come to a roundabout. Keep an eye out for the signs to Main Street. Down Main Street somewhere you should find public parking. NOTE: Do not block private and public access. Be polite. 

Our good friends at EF are humbly requesting a "mic check" to get an idea how many plan to attend and deal with the logistics/planning. The EF sites and contact information are below. I am sure the event will be well organized and run smoothly, especially as it relates to travel to the protest site.

Once you are parked and ready for the shuttle pick-up send a text to “BRIGER” using 84576 to get further instructions. NOTE: I texted "BRIGER" this morning and discovered that you may incur additional charges to your phone by doing so. So keep that in mind. 

Stewart O'Nan

"You couldn't relive your life, skipping the awful parts, without losing what made it worthwhile. You had to accept it as a whole--like the world, or the person you loved.”

Click here for AnnaMaria's "Things to do" this weekend in Lake Worth

FPL wants to get into the fracking business

From the Palm Beach Post comes this article on FPL's bid to drill its own natural gas. Click title for link. From the article:
FPL wants the PSC (Public Service Commission) to approve its proposed partnership with PetroQuest to produce gas from up to 38 wells in the Woodford Shale region. The gas would be extracted through hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.” FPL currently spends about $3 billion a year to buy natural gas to power its plants including its modernized Riviera Beach and Cape Canaveral facilities.

FPL is also asking the PSC to approve guidelines that would allow it to enter into future gas production projects of up to $750 million a year, including the PetroQuest project. If FPL’s deal is approved, the company would become the first regulated electric utility to drill for its own natural gas.

Sam Forrest, FPL’s vice president of energy marketing and trading, and its attorney John Butler called the approach innovative and exciting.

Associate Public Counsel Erik Sayler said that drilling for natural gas is not a core function of supplying electricity. FPL passes the cost of fuel on to customers without making a profit on it through what’s called the “fuel clause.” But if the joint venture is approved, it would be making a profit for its shareholders while shifting the risk to customers, he said.

Historic tour in West Palm Beach

The Cottages of Lake Worth will have organized bike tours of some of the unique cottages we have here, in Lake Worth, starting at the end of this month. Other events are on the horizon, as well.  Here is a historic tour that is happening in West Palm Beach this Sunday. The tour is of the historic houses in the Flamingo Park neighborhood. From Kim Miller in her RealTime blog we have this:
Flamingo Park will hold its 23rd annual holiday home tour Dec. 7 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., showcasing houses dating to the 1920s.

The tour, organized by the Flamingo Park Neighborhood Association, will include a hospitality tent, complimentary drinks and food from local restaurants and caterers such as Table 26, Hullabaloo, Darbster, Serenity Garden Tea House & Restaurant, Christafaro’s Catering and others.

Eight homes will be featured on this year’s tour, five of which have not been seen on the tour before.
IF YOU GO:  Tour tickets are $30 if purchased prior to Dec. 7 and $35 if purchased at the Hospitality Tent on the day of the tour. Tickets may be purchased online at or at any of several retail locations. For more information, call 561-758-522.

College Park Neighborhood Meeting Monday, December 8th

The College Park Neighborhood Association will hold our final meeting of 2014 next Monday, December 8th at the First Congregational Church, 1415 North K Street. The meeting begins at 6:30 PM.
Elections for our 2015 Officers and Directors will be held at this meeting. No new nominations have been received since our last meeting in September, but nominations will be taken from the floor at this meeting. Anyone nominated must be in attendance to accept and self nominations are certainly appropriate and welcome. To vote in this election or to serve as an officer or director, you must be current with your dues. Dues may be paid at the meeting or via the College Park website via Paypal. Dues paid at the meeting or from now until the meeting, will also cover all of 2015.

At this meeting we will also review the most recent report from PBSO on the effectiveness of our Neighborhood Crime Watch. PBSO will be on hand to deliver a report on recent activity.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Tis' the season! Please watch your valuables...

Crime Watch Update

Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I have some interesting news for all of us. According to Michelle Miclea who is the Crime Analyst for PBSO District 14, our Neighbors have embraced the College Park Neighborhood Crime Watch and the Make The Call Y’all campaign in spectacular fashion. Our Crime Watch signs went up at the end of September this year. The stats indicate that from September 1, 2014 until December 2, 2014 (yesterday) there is a 121% increase in the number of calls from Residents reporting suspicious behavior over the same time period one year ago. Those calls included reports on suspicious vehicles, persons or incidents.

We seem to be making progress in convincing neighbors that PBSO District 14 here in Lake Worth welcomes these calls. We are not “bothering” PBSO when we report suspicious behavior. PBSO knows what to do, how to respond and still help us all keep our homes and families safer. We are all reminded never to confront suspicious persons ourselves and that we may remain anonymous if we wish when we call the non-emergency number (561) 688-3400.

We will continue to monitor these statistical benchmarks and compare these with overall crime stats over the course of the coming year. Please remember to keep your doors and vehicles locked, turn your porch light on at dusk and if you have a home alarm system – activate it! Our Neighborhood Crime Watch is off to a great start, so Thank You College Park Neighbors for taking an active role in looking out for each other.

Mary Lindsey, Columbia Drive

Rip Tides high risk til Thursday





All of the items appearing under "Presentations" on the 12/2 City Commission Meeting agenda

Public Comment on Unagendaed Items - from the 12/2 City Commission Meeting.

Notable is the appearance of Mayor of Lantana, Dave Stewart, at the podium. He makes some nice remarks related to City Manager Bornstein's role in addressing the problems represented by the A.G. Holley property over a span of 12 years, while working for the Town of Lantana. Demolition of the structures is now underway and a mixed-use redevelopment project is being planned for the site.

Rob Robbins' presentation before the City Commission last night (12/2) on shoreline projects

Rob Robbins, Director of Palm Beach County's Environmental Resource Management department gave a presentation to the City Commission on the status of current and future projects along the western shoreline of the Lake Worth Lagoon. The big change discussed was the swapping out of mangroves for spartina grass, especially near the golf course. His presentation will also appear in a video that includes all the various presentation items on last night's agenda. That video montage is currently being prepared. I thought that this was important enough to pull out of that batch.

This is a rendering of one of the additions soon to take place south of the bridge along the east side of Bryant Park. It will be about 4 feet below the cap of the seawall. The Spartina grass will be wet during periods of high tide. Mr. Robbins talks about the details in his presentation.
This is a series of cross-sections of the structure that will make this possible. It is first being used here.
The county is also going to create additional boat slips. The new ones will be near the boat launch. This area is used more than the same sort of docks that are north of the bridge, part of the Snook Islands area.

The beginning of last night's (12/2) City Commission meeting

This was far from the normal invocation. The only elected official who didn't leave the room during it was Commissioner McVoy. Others in the audience left the room as well. It was given by Preston Smith.

Lake Worth approves buying cameras to stop vandalism and graffiti |

Chris Persaud did a good job summarizing last night's City Commission meeting. Click title for link. Videos on the way!

By the way, a young gentleman came up to me at the end of the meeting. He had gotten there late and missed the consent agenda and the opportunity to talk about one of the items there during public comment. It was the first one, Item 9 A about the security cameras. It was an interesting discussion. He was most concerned about the face recognition part of the system and how 1984 was not meant to be a guidebook on how societies would operate in the future. He left me with some information. He was also big on being against Agenda 21 and the 10 Kingdoms.

Stop the presses!

From Channel 12 we have a fairly well done news story about Lake Worth. A rare event and about time! Lauren Hills interviewed a concerned citizen and also interviewed our Mayor Pam Triolo on the new security cameras being installed around the City. The item was approved on the consent agenda last night. It was a fair and accurate news story from Channel 12. So, going forward, we know they are indeed capable of fair journalism.

Lauren Hills' story comes just one day after the story by Jonathan Beaton. Mr. Beaton's story from Lake Worth on Monday was poor, about a D+, even by the standards of Channel 12. Beaton did an interview with Lake Worth Commissioner McVoy who stated he was not happy that PBSO deputies were volunteering in our City boarding up homes. Not kidding here. He also interviewed no one else from the City or PBSO to get any other side of the story. He might have tried however he clearly didn't put too much effort into it. He also referred to Lake Worth initially as "Lake County." ??

Mr. Beaton did a story on senior citizens and driving yesterday. Not in Lake Worth. Here are two images and note how he spells the name of the largest driving resource on the planet Earth in the first image, AAA.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Someone gets called out...

Here's another from the 11/4/14 City Commission Meeting - Commissioner Liaison Reports

Missed this one: Public Comment from the November 11, 2012 Commission Meeting

Tonight's City Commission Agenda: Will we Willdan or won't we Willdan?

Sometimes a walk down memory lane can be a fun one and other times it is downright scary.

At the end of the agenda tonight is an item having to do with the electric utility. The City is entering into a contract with a company to determine the "Economic and Financial Value of Electric Utility System". This is a big step going forward in any decision on the future of the Lake Worth electric utility.

The contract will likely be awarded to Willdan. Yes, that Willdan.

Now for the lonely walk down memory lane.

On May 6, 2011, Willdan submitted its "Feasibility Study for Police Services for the City of Lake Worth, Florida". This was the study former city manager Susan Stanton attempted to use to end the PBSO contract with Lake Worth. Stanton, along with then Commissioners JoAnn Golden, Mulvehill and McVoy wanted to re-create their own Lake Worth PD. Mulvehill was Vice-Mayor at the time and had assumed the duties of Mayor after the resignation of Mayor Varela before the end of his term.

In large part due to the immense support from the community, Stanton and that previous commission retreated and quickly backed away from the cliff of jettisoning PBSO and resurrecting Lake Worth's own police force. Our present City commission took control in large part to the failed effort by Stanton, Golden, McVoy as the issue of keeping the sheriff here became the third rail of local politics.

Interestingly, although the Willdan report demonstrated how it was POSSIBLE to re-create the Lake Worth PD even they left clues in their own report urging a cautionary approach. Here are two examples from the Willdan report in 2011:

When Lake Worth Mayor, and present State Senator, Jeff Clemens signed the agreement to enter into police services with PBSO he did so for a reason. The Lake Worth PD was almost completely unable to control the gang problem in the City. Cost is always a concern, of course, however the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of Lake Worth is of utmost importance. Then-Mayor Jeff Clemens did the right thing in 2008:

That concludes our little journey down memory lane.

As far as the Willdan consulting firm being tasked with discovering the worth/value of our Lake Worth utility, I trust the members of our Electric Utility Advisory Board and its Chairwoman, Lisa Maxwell. I also trust that the city commission and staff have much more information than I to make an informed and intelligent decision.

In politics though, perception is everything. For many in Lake Worth, when you hear the name "Willdan" it brings back some very frightening memories indeed.

December 15: 6 - 8 pm. Bryant Park NA.Tree Lighting Party

Kiwanis To Host Lake Worth Pool Update

The Lake Worth Municipal Pool is one of the City’s most historic and beloved amenities. Next week, the Lake Worth Kiwanis Club will host the pool program director and chief lifeguard to update citizens about pool status and activities. The presentation and following discussion will be held on Tuesday, December 9, in conjunction with the regular Kiwanis weekly breakfast meeting at 8 AM at TooJay’s in downtown Lake Worth. Attendance is free.All may order their own coffee or breakfast from the regular menu.

Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world, one child and one community at a time. There are over 350,000 members in 84 countries.

Palm Beach County should heed state advice, stop tossing ballots |

The tossed ballots in Lake Worth are still a big story in Florida. The Palm Beach Post came out with another strong stance on the disenfranchisement of Lake Worth voters today, click title for link. I urge all my readers to get the paper and read the entire editorial today. 

The editorial, at the end, mentions a $3,440 bill the Supervisor of Elections Bucher sent to Lake Worth to cover her office's legal fees related to the matter. Ugh. 

The Post doesn't specifically advise the City what to do with that bill, but I, and many others, have some good suggestions. One good way would be to treat the bill like the same way those 14 ballots were treated.

Two excerpts from the editorial:
When it turned out that Palm Beach County elections officials threw away at least 14 legitimate votes in the August primary elections, Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher stubbornly defended the decision.
Yes, those voters had a right to vote, she said. But her workers hadn’t known how to process their provisional ballots and mistakenly mislabeled or left parts of the ballot envelopes blank. Bucher’s solution: to disenfranchise those voters entirely, throwing away their ballots and never counting them. She brusquely dismissed any questions about the legality of her decision.
Now state elections officials have declared that her actions violated state law, and they have directed Bucher to do more to protect voters’ rights in the future. Bucher, who has declined to comment on the state’s ruling, should heed the advice.
[Later in the editorial...]
Still, Bucher argued that the incomplete ballot forms created doubts. Since it would be illegal to look at the ballots directly, she decided to deep-six them. She claimed that doing so was required by the law.
Thankfully, the state Division of Elections sees it differently. In a memo to Bucher last month, the department’s director ruled that just because a canvassing board has doubts about in which precinct or primary a vote was cast, that doubt “does not alter the board’s duty to count the ballot.”
It continued: “If the canvassing board is unable to determine where the provisional ballot was cast and which ballot style was used, the canvassing board should adhere to the statutory requirement that the provisional ballot is to be counted.”
You’d think Bucher would be thankful for this clarification. But so far she’s remained silent. Instead, she’s sent the city of Lake Worth, which first raised the issue, a $3,440 bill – to cover her own legal fees.

Is it possible? AN UPDATE

Last Sunday (November 30th) I posted a story about TOB's unusual (middle finger) Thanksgiving message to the good people of Lake Worth, Florida...and the world, for that matter. I penned a humorous take on the hand gesture that you can see here. This is the picture to which I refer:
As you can see, the subject in the picture, or as I refer to her, "The Other Blogger" (TOB) is clearly using her middle finger to point to a cake she received as a gift. Here is a close-up:
Try doing this hand gesture right now. Fold your pinky and ring fingers into your palm and extend all the other fingers. Very uncomfortable and awkward isn't it? What if you were aware of the possibility that this hand gesture was perhaps intentional and meant to be an inflammatory insult, on Thanksgiving Day of all days? I received an email from a reader yesterday that explains it all.

TOB's hand gesture is forming the letters 'V' and 'L'. This is the hand signal used by the Vice Lords gang. You can see that hand signal here:
The image above comes from the Genoa, IL PD to identify Vice Lords gang members.

The Vice Lords are an African-American gang that originated in Chicago, IL in 1958. They now operate in over 30 states in the United States, including Florida, and are reported to have 35,000 members. They are believed to be the second largest African-American gang and by far the most violent.

TOB imagines herself a citizen of good sound judgement. On Thanksgiving Day...a day to give Thanks and Blessing, just three days after the Michael Brown grand jury decision, this picture was taken of herself taunting or mocking one of the most violent gangs in the United States, the Vice Lords? The timing couldn't be worse.

President Abraham Lincoln, who created Thanksgiving Day, in his Second Inaugural Address on March 4, 1865, said "With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan - to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations."

Monday, December 1, 2014

McVoy in front of the camera. Is someone running for something?

Here is the video from Channel 12's Jonathan Beaton from this afternoon. Click title for link. The segment appeared at 5:00 but not at 5:30 or 6:00. I wonder why? Maybe because at the 18 second mark Mr. Beaton states he is reporting from "Lake County".

In defense of Mr. Beaton, there is indeed a Lake County, Florida. But what in the world would that have to do with the City of Lake Worth, Florida? Who knows. This is Channel 12, so anything is possible.

Oh, here is where Lake County, Florida is.

City of Lake Worth - World AIDS Day Proclamation

Part of the 12/2 City Commission Agenda

All Aboard Florida: 2 days left to speak your mind -

And more about the elephant here with a Channel 5 story on the comment period and the deadline to submit letters on the project related to the Environment Impact Statement. Click title for link.

Palm Beach Post editorial board and the elephant in the room

There is very strong editorial in the Palm Beach Post today. Click title for link. The Post editorial board is opposed to the Palm Beach County Commission voting to leave the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council (TCRPC) to join the regional planning council to the south (comprised of Miami-Dade, Broward, and Monroe Counties). Our own Lake Worth representative on the TCRPC is Commissioner John Szerdi, who is also opposed to Palm Beach County leaving TCRPC. 

The Post makes a case that we have more in common with Martin, Indian River, and St. Lucie Counties than our neighbors to the south. The vote is tomorrow, unless tabled by Mayor Vana. You can watch the meeting live on Channel 20 or set your DVR.

The most interesting part of the editorial is not what it mentions, but what is left out. There is no mention of All Aboard Florida. This is very curious. No other issue in recent memory has demonstrated the divide between Palm Beach County and the counties to the north. That was the real catalyst for this more global discussion. You can draw your own conclusions why the Post editorial board chose to ignore the proverbial 'elephant in the room', however that is exactly what they did.
Image from LinkedIn
Anyway, I encourage you to read the entire editorial and draw your own conclusions. From the editorial:
The county’s departure would devastate the Treasure Coast council, leaving Martin and Indian River counties to contend with larger St. Lucie and a greatly reduced budget.
Those who want to make the switch — led by the Economic Council of Palm Beach County and former county Mayor Priscilla A. Taylor — have said Palm Beach no longer has as much in common with smaller Treasure Coast members as it does with the urban giants south of Boca Raton. That’s a short-sighted view.
Palm Beach shares plenty with its northern neighbors. All have large-scale agricultural areas. They’re all near Lake Okeechobee and lake communities. They share a different scale of development and an interest in bioscience development.
All four counties are concerned about water resources and water quality, and all have an interest in improving the quality of shared estuaries and waterways, such as the Loxahatchee River, Indian River Lagoon and Lake Worth Lagoon.

One rushed to hospital after downtown Lake Worth shooting |

I think that the address is a bit wrong as the Fire Rescue facility is on H Street, but it is in the general area. Click title for link.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Neighbors watch in horror as Lake Worth home burns - WPEC-TV CBS12 News :: News - Top Stories

Unfortunately, this was a story from Lake Worth. Wellesley Drive to be exact. The home was vacant and they believe the fire started from a problem with wiring in the bathroom. Click title for link to story and video. The fire happened last night.

A letter from a reader, strongly supporting the efforts of our PBSO officers...

Dear Mr. Blackman,

I am writing you this email to redact an incident that happened to me which involved PBSO. On Sunday evening November 23, 2014 at approximately 10:00pm, I went to Walgreens at 531 South Dixie Highway seeking some relief for my sore throat and other agonizing flu symptoms. Well in my flu induced misery I realized that I had left my son’s car keys inside the car. I called AAA from the phone in Walgreens, I had left my cell phone at home, and they informed me Pop-A-Lock would be out in one hour to assist me. As I sat near the car with shopping bags on the floor of the parking lot a man came over and began attempting to get familiar and when I looked behind me I realized Walgreens had already closed. I gave him my best “don’t mess with me attitude” and he left me alone. A young man walking by witnessed what happened and flagged down a PBSO car passing by Walgreens and Sgt. John Wink and Deputy Sheriff Joseph Durso pulled into the parking lot.  I explained what happened to them and they were very helpful.  They called AAA to inquire what was taking so long with Pop-A-Lock since it was getting quite late, it was nearly midnight. They explained to AAA that I was a 70 year old senior by myself in a not so nice area. Sgt. Wink and Deputy Durso assured me they would not leave me alone and they didn’t.  At almost 1am PoP-A-Lock showed up and open the car. The officers were so gallant, they spent an hour with me by my side and they were so gracious and friendly. They even put my groceries in my vehicle. I praise and herald their going above and beyond their call of duty. It is truly something to be commended.  

In closing I will reveal why I was motivated to write to you and hope that you make my correspondence public. I recently was shown a picture, by my son, posted on your blog of a protest at PBSO District #14 Office and there was a dreadful sign that read “PBSO is worthless”. It turns my stomach to see this kind of underhanded, cowardly assault on our PBSO. Last year my neighbors house was broken into. After several neighbors meeting with PBSO about our concerns they parked one of their vehicles in front of my house for approximately two weeks. I have conducted several meetings in the living room and dining room table of my home with Benito Gaspar and several residents who were victims of crimes but were too scared to report it by calling the Sheriff or going to the station, so he came to us in a setting where the victims felt safe. That is not evidence of worthlessness to me! I stand behind PBSO 100%.  If there is one displaying bad behavior it is quite insipid to disparage the entity as a whole. I will share with you one more irrefutable fact and that is that I did not buy my home in Lake Worth until the Sheriff took over. I loved Lake Worth before that but had little to no faith in the Lake Worth Police Department being able to keep me safe due to their lack of resources and the death grip the deadly Top 6 gang had on this city. Watch CNN’s Gangland . That is more than enough proof to show how much worse off we were before we contracted PBSO. In this taxpayers eyes, they are well worth every penny! Thank you Mr. Blackman for affording a public venue to share positive truthful information.  I thank Captain Silva for his leadership that allows for knights in shining to be patrolling our neighborhoods!

Ms. X

Driver killed when car overturns in parking lot | Local News - WPBF Home

Click title for link to another wrongly attributed accident to "Lake Worth" - this one was on Congress Avenue.

Spring training baseball not too far away

"Yippee!", Betty Wells writes, click title for link, at the Florida Weekly, "It’s just 94 days to Spring Training". From the article:
It’s not even winter yet, but in Palm Beach County it’s never too early to think about the prelude to baseball — 29 games of professional baseball Spring Training played over 32 days. Plus two exhibition games.
It all happens at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter.
The St. Louis Cardinals and the Miami Marlins descend on northern Palm Beach County, and fans from across the country flock here to get a glimpse of current and future stars and to soak up games and sun.
This year, the Cardinals made it to the National League Championship series. The Marlins became one of the most exciting teams to watch. And they have star
Giancarlo Stanton, the slugger who recently signed a 13-year, $325 million contract.
“Both of our teams had successful seasons in 2014,” says Roger Dean general manager Mike Bauer. “I definitely think both teams are set up for successful 2015 campaigns. It should be fun to see how it all plays out.”

From the CRA, the 2015 walkers' guide to the city

Click here to see the new 2015 CRA Downtown Walkers Guide for Lake Worth! Really is an awesome graphic with our Lake Worth destinations on an easy-to-follow guide.

Visit AnnaMaria's blog for pictures and stories about our Lake Worth "Shop Local" Saturday

Click here for link.

Interesting exercise...