Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The standard for Palm Beach Post editorial board: is it "the seriousness of the charge that matters”?

On March 3, 2015, Stacey Singer wrote in her endorsement of Commissioner McVoy and candidate Maier this opening line:
The key issue in Lake Worth’s municipal election seems to be trust, or the lack thereof.
On August 11, 2014 (a little less than 7 months previously) The Palm Beach Post editorial board encouraged the voters of Lake Worth to approve the LW2020 bond:
To pull Lake Worth from its underperforming past, The Post recommends a vote For Bonds.
A question for Rick Christie, Editor of the Palm Beach Post editorial board: How did you get from trusting the City of Lake Worth City Commission who worked so hard to pass the $63 million dollar bond to then endorsing the only 2 candidates that were against the bond?

Stacey Singer wrote this on March 3rd, only one week before the Lake Worth elections, about Lake Worth City Manager Michael Bornstein:
For a couple of years, City Manager Mike Bornstein has been hosting a private buffet for commissioners before the public meeting. Bornstein insists the meetings are innocent of Sunshine Law violations. That’s probably true, but McVoy has asked the county’s inspector general for an opinion. [emphasis added]
These "private buffets" were going on during the LW2020 bond debate and that didn't bother the Palm Beach Post editorial board back then. It only became an issue 7 days before the election day in Lake Worth.

[The issue of the "private buffets" was addressed by Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell. You can read about that here.]

Back to the Palm Beach Post editorial board endorsement of the Lake Worth 2020 bond plan in August 2014; here are some excerpts:
     Despite the popularity of its downtown strip and public beach, Lake Worth struggles to support basic city services. This city of 36,000 has the second-highest poverty rate in Palm Beach County, and many roads and sidewalks are crumbling and collapsing throughout it. Some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods have been so neglected that streets there have never been paved. [emphasis added]
[and . . .]
     The price tag for bringing Lake Worth into the 21st century is staggering, but this is a testament to just how long previous commissions have ignored the city’s basic needs. No one should expect road and sidewalk repairs alone to usher in a renaissance, but it is difficult to imagine one happening without them.
[and . . .]
     In a way, it’s a microcosm of a city that possesses so many attractive assets — a charming downtown, a public beach, waterfront parks, historic neighborhoods brimming with Old Florida charm — and yet has failed to improve its residents’ lives by fumbling or ignoring the hard decisions. This vote is a chance for the city to turn that disappointing history on its head.
Two of those who worked so hard to pass the Lake Worth 2020 bond, City Manager Michael Bornstein and former Commissioner John Szerdi, were treated harshly by Stacey Singer. She cast a cloud of suspicion over both of them; you can draw your own conclusions as to why.

Tom Foley, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives is credited with saying, “The nature of the evidence is irrelevant; it’s the seriousness of the charge that matters.”

This is the standard The Palm Beach Post editorial board uses; at least within the borders of the City of Lake Worth. A charge with no supporting evidence is acceptable.