Saturday, May 9, 2015

Alexandra Clough at The Palm Beach Post—setting the stage for The Grand Editorial?

Alexandra Clough at the Post has done a good job of reporting about the Lake Worth Casino Complex except in one respect. In her first story on Thursday, April 30th (Sunday, May 3rd, print edition) she starts off with this sentence:
The fortunes of Lake Worth’s beachside casino and pool complex are troubled.
She goes on to explain the Casino complex is not performing to expectations, can't make the debt payments, and there's still unleased space on the second floor. But why that is is not explained. And note that none of the essential characters in the creation of the 'new' Casino are mentioned or quoted: JoAnn Golden, Cara Jennings, Commissioner McVoy, Susan Stanton, or Suzanne Mulvehill.

The reporter is tasked with documenting a snapshot in time: what's happening right now and how do I (reporter) represent and explain it to the readers. She does her job. The essential important characters/companies are Steven Michael, Hudson Holdings, Anderson & Carr, Mayor Pam Triolo, Commissioner Amoroso et al. The people who created this problem, mentioned in the previous paragraph, aren't shown to have any culpability whatsoever.

In the reporters latest story, available digital yesterday (5/8) and likely in tomorrow's Sunday paper (as last week) there's mention of Benny's on the Beach and owner Lee Lipton but nothing on why we're having to talk about this issue in the first place: the Casino complex business plan is a failure.

Again, a snapshot in time. That's a reporters job and most everyone is OK with that. But it's a snapshot that only tells a small part of a very big story. The big story is why we're even talking about the Casino complex at all. It was designed to be a huge success and why wouldn't it be? It's a brand new building on a beautiful beach and. . .it's losing money hand over fist. Why?

I don't know what Alexandra Clough knows and doesn't know. But what I can tell her and everyone else is this: the Casino building was built in the wrong place. That's the big problem and the problem that has created all the other problems that followed.

You see, the 'new' Casino was built where the old Casino used to be. This was done for the cause of saving the building, which never happened. Remember the big rallying cry, the Circle of Light? The new Casino has the same problem the old structure did: parking. But it's ten times worse now with the more strict ADA guidelines and other specifications. The new Casino should have been built in the middle of the beach property to accommodate more parking. In short, the public was misled to believe the old Casino building was being 'saved'. It wasn't.

A business owner looking to rent space on the second floor at the Casino would see the problem immediately, and they have. They would envision many of their customers having to park in the western lot, walk up the incline to the building, then have to take the elevator or stairs to the second floor. Fine. Now add Grandmom with a cane or a child in a stroller. The parking "structure" being talked about is just one deck of parking over an existing paved area. Some people think this makes a "two story" parking structure. I've even heard "three story." It is actually one "deck" that would be at the main floor level of the building, thereby providing more ADA accessibility.

I hope that prior to authoring an editorial on the topic, the Post takes the whole picture into consideration, points out the blatant flaws in the existing layout and allows for discussion without adding to the unhinged hysteria. We don't need to introduce a new bird species to the beach: ostriches with heads buried firmly in the sand.