Saturday, February 14, 2015

Lake Worth Commissioner John Szerdi walking City street with supporters

Batter Up!

Here is what Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post wrote about the Governor's Baseball Dinner in West Palm Beach yesterday:
     The annual Governor’s Baseball Dinner came to West Palm Beach for the first time Friday night, with a warm welcome to two new spring training teams on the verge of moving to Palm Beach County and pledges to try to lure teams in Arizona back to Florida.
     
“I want to make sure every (team) that’s in Arizona is eventually back here where they belong, where spring training belongs, in the great state of Florida,’’ Gov. Rick Scott said to cheers from 500 people under a large white tent on the east end of Clematis Street. 

How to deal with party crashers?

Click title for link for guidance on how to handle uninvited people to your party. It can be an uncomfortable situation and is more common than you think. We had one at the Lake Worth Commissioner John Szerdi fundraiser last night. Ginny Powell, who by day handles Public Relations for Palm Beach County Environmental Resource Management (ERM), came to the event, sans invitation, but with clipboard in hand. Here you see her in the background on the left side of this picture
Below, here she is with Palm Beach County Commissioner Steven Abrams at a County ERM-related event.
Below is a recent campaign report and note she is a contributor to the candidate Ryan Maier campaign; Ryan Maier is a challenger to Commissioner John Szerdi.
She became a topic of conversation amongst the guests who wondered who that woman with the clipboard was. Some thought she was a reporter. I recognized her and chatted about her house renovation project. She had some questions to ask Commissioner Szerdi, which I understand that she did and he answered them to the best of his ability. I hope she got what she was looking for and can report back to "base camp." She didn't stay long and departed before Commissioner Szerdi addressed those assembled.

So, unlike most party crashers, she was courteous, didn't come there just for the food and drink, so we let her stay, knowing that she was likely sent by someone in the other campaign. But how did she find out about this event in a private, third floor condominium? Can you imagine if someone like me showed up at the door at an event occurring at the McNamara's with clipboard in hand? Think about that for a moment. It would take more hutzpah than I could muster. And I am sure that I would be immediately escorted out the door. That did not happen last night.

Some pics from last night's John Szerdi Fundraiser...

District 4 Commissioner John Szerdi had a fundraiser in his district last night and it went very well. Everyone had a wonderful time. 

Next week Commissioner John Szerdi will be having a fundraiser/rally at the Lake Worth Castle. Also, famous downtown artist Rolando Chang Barrero at 711 Lucerne Avenue will be having a Meet&Greet for Commissioner Szerdi (date/time to come, check back later). 

View of Bryant Park and Intracoastal waterway.

Herman Robinson (left) with Commissioner John Szerdi and his wife, Jamey.

June Evans (left) with City of Lake Worth Mayor Pam Triolo.




 

Lake Worth District 4 Commissioner speaking to the crowd.


Real good turnout. Standing room only.

Mayor Pam Triolo speaks to the assembled crowd. 

Commissioner John Szerdi with wife Jamey (red sweater) with friends/supporters.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day, Dennis!

Lake Worth Herald: editorial titled "Who is pulling the strings"

In yesterday's Lake Worth Herald editorial truer words were never stated. He clearly references District 2 Commissioner McVoy and District 4 candidate Ryan Maier. Here are three short excerpts:
     Lake Worth voters need to think for themselves and select candidates that put forth the ideas they believe will keep Lake Worth progressing. Candidates who can stand on their own feet and not play "follow the leader".
     Lake Worth had to endure too many years of stagnation and some of these candidates think stagnation is a good thing.
[and...]
     One candidate [Ryan Maier] appeared to have his face in his ipod far too much during the candidate forum, apparently being coached by someone else. When he spoke, he used the same words we have heard before.
     Don't be misled by knocks on the door with smiling faces, they are quite capable of telling untruths. Don't listen to a candidate telling you how bad the opponent is, make them tell you in no uncertain terms what "they" will do.  
[and lastly...]
     Fixing Lake Worth isn't going to be free, or even cheap but it has to be done. We are living with the results of not wanting to take care of what we have and it is time we fix it.
     There are two candidates [Commissioner John Szerdi and Candidate Serge Jerome Jr.] who realize the need to make Lake Worth a better place, what it takes to do that, and they are willing to work to get it done. There are other candidates who are put forth by those who chose to neglect the infrastructure and "bones" of our fine city and they aren't even thinking for themselves.
     Just listen, it will be obvious. 

Slideshow: Difficulties in sending Lake Okeechobee water south

In today's Palm Beach Post is a must watch slideshow by the South Florida Water Management District.

This slideshow is part of an article written by Christine Stapleton. From the article:
     South Florida Water Management District officials made no commitments to several dozen environmental activists who begged them Thursday to buy land south of Lake Okeechobee for Everglades restoration, and for the first time they laid out the hurdles and risks they face in making such a buy.
     
“It’s not as simple as buying land and moving water south,” said district board member James Moran. “To come in here and lecture us — just buy the land and move water south —if it was that simple it would have been done already.”
[and...]
     As the meeting got underway on Thursday, the Corps announced it was increasing releases from the lake into the estuary and river because recent rains have pushed the lake level to 14.81 — about a foot higher than it was at this time last year.
An "Emerging Risks Team Report" by Lloyd's of London is very pessimistic about the future of the Herbert Hoover Dike. The report is only 22 pages and is an alarming read.

Here is an excerpt from the Lloyd's of London report:
A report was commissioned by the South Florida Water Management District in 2006 to review the stability and safety of the Herbert Hoover Dike around Lake Okeechobee. 
Report concludes “The current condition of Herbert Hoover poses a grave and imminent danger… … [The dyke] needs to be fixed. We can only add that it needs to be fixed now, and it needs to be fixed right. We firmly believe that the region’s future depends on it.” 

Tony Doris at the Post and a swift correction

West Palm Beach Commissioner Kimberly Mitchell is challenging Mayor Jeri Muoio for Mayor of West Palm Beach. Tony Doris at the Palm Beach Post wrote this story titled, "Mitchell, Muoio battle in West Palm Beach mayoral debate" on Wednesday (2/11) of this week.

The next day, Thursday, the Palm Beach Post issued a "CORRECTIONS & CLARIFICATIONS" to Mr. Doris' story. 

Here is what Mr. Doris wrote on Wednesday that needed 'Correction & Clarification':
     The mayor [Mayor Muoio] pointed repeatedly to [Commissioner] Mitchell’s participation in projects in which her ex-husband, lobbyist Richard Pinsky, was involved, including an effort to build a Wal-Mart in the south end of the city. Community members ultimately made it known that they didn’t want a supermarket at the site.
     Mitchell responded that having grown up in the city, she knows many people but also knows how to say no to them. “He’s my ex-husband, too, so that means we didn’t always see eye to eye,” she quipped.
 Here is the swift correction in the Palm Beach Post:
     A story Wednesday about the West Palm Beach mayoral race gave the impression that City Commissioner Kimberly Mitchell, a candidate for mayor, supported the construction of a Wal-Mart store in the city's south end. Mitchell opposed the store at the 811 S. Dixie Highway site. The story also incorrectly reported that her ex-husband, Richard Pinsky, was involved with the Wal-Mart project. Pinsky did not represent the developer and also opposed the project. The article appeared on Page B1 of the Local section.
Note that the "Corrections & Clarifications" in the Palm Beach Post only appear in the printed edition, on page A2, the "BACK OF THE FRONT" page.

Concert tomorrow in Bryant Park, 3rd Annual B.e. Easy Music and Arts Festival

Click link for short video of last years event. Here is a story about tomorrow's concert in the New Times.

From the article:
     The musical lineup includes a list of bands with good vibes. There's headliner Nahko and Medicine for the People, Cope, Sawgrass Express, and Ancient Sun. When we asked Evans why the fest is being held on Valentine's day, she replied truthfully, "To be honest, Nahko and Medicine for the People were in town on that day. We love their positive message and thought it is perfect for our event. This event is an outpouring of love and a celebration of life, so Valentine's Day is perfect!" Indeed it is.
IF YOU GO:
B.e. Easy Music and Arts Festival. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, February 14, at Bryant Park, Lake Ave and Golfview Road, Lake Worth. Tickets cost $25. Visit beeasymusicfestival.com

Quote of the Day: Lake Worth Commissioner John Szerdi







"One of our greatest resources [in our City of Lake Worth] is our Historic Cottages."
~ District 4 Commissioner John Szerdi

Commissioner John Szerdi at the South Palm Park Neighborhood Association forum on the importance of our Lake Worth Cottages, how unique they are to our City, and why they attract tourists and dollars. Commissioner Szerdi hit this one Out of The Park.

Due to assets like our Cottages, Lake Worth is a destination city attracting people from all over the world. Take a stroll one weekend at our beach and stop a few people for a chat. You will find that people are visiting our beach and City from all over the world.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

OK, Everglades EarthFirst! Your frenetic schedule has worn me out, I need a break

For some strange reason, Yours Truly, is the de facto press officer for the folks at Everglades EarthFirst! (EEF). How did that happen? I've made fun of them, highlighted their stumbles, made fun of their "horizontal" leadership...and that's just for starters.

Just the other day I published a page from Lake Worth Commissioner McVoy's campaign showing the commissioner giving money to Peter "Panagioti" Tsolkas, the President/CEO of Everglades EarthFirst!.

And still they send me updates, via Flocknote.com, of protests they have coming up. This latest protest is scheduled for tomorrow from 4:30 to 6:30 in Palm Beach Gardens, across the street from the Scripps Research Institute:
The only thing different about this protest, as opposed to the other two hundred and seventy-three (273) protests in Palm Beach Gardens, is the reference to "the march". 

Is EEF planning on obstructing traffic tomorrow? Arrests? Will PBSO need to show up and employ their newly-learned tactics when civil disobedience gets out of control? Good questions to ask yourself the next time you wonder why you have to pay so much in taxes for PBSO protection. 

Here is more information about the expansion of Scripps into the Briger Tract from the Scripps website:
Final notice, EEF! I need a break. Have you tried Margaret Menge? She has a newspaper and is looking for torches to carry. 

[UPDATE] Jonathan Beaton: CBS12 (WPEC), TV reporter/journalist repeatedly misspells commissioners name

[See end of this post for Update]

Apparently, Jonathan Beaton was at the Lake Worth Commission meeting last night. Here are excerpts from what he wrote:
     The city commission is holding a workshop Tuesday discussing where and when new, high tech lights will be installed along Lake Worth streets.
[and...]
     It’s a push championed by others, including Commissioner Andy Amaroso, who’s focusing on the cash that could potentially be saved.
     “Bringing just a better business plan and a better city to citizens by saving them dollars,” said Commissioner Amaroso.
[and...]
For Amaroso it’s a win win for a city he says is moving full speed ahead.
Of course, our District 3 Commissioner's name is Andy Amoroso. Will check back later to see if there is a correction from Jonathan Beaton. 
UPDATE: Two-hundred and sixteen (216) hours later and still no correction. Confirmation that WPEC/Channel 12 and reporter Jonathan Beaton aren't troubled by an incorrect, material item in a news report. Something to remember the next time you see a reporter from WPEC/Channel 12. 

The Sunshine Law is not meant to squelch debate in front of the public...

Below is a picture of the Guide To Palm Beach County Code Of Ethics, 2014 Edition, page 19. Note the picture is taken in the sunshine. Here is a link to the Florida Government in the Sunshine Manual, also referred to as the Sunshine Law. 

Here is a challenge for anyone who feels up to it: show me where it says an elected official cannot endorse or attend a fundraiser for another elected official.
The short answer is this: those rules do not exist. There is nothing inappropriate about Mayor Pam Triolo, for instance, attending a fundraiser or Meet and Greet for Commissioner John Szerdi. However, it won't stop some from trying to confuse people about what the Sunshine Law covers and what it does not. 

For instance, a few months ago there was a hue and cry because Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell was seen having lunch with Congresswoman Lois Frankel in the downtown. "He's violating the Sunshine Law!", a local loudmouth cried. The Sunshine Law does not cover members of Congress. 

You'll hear whispers of breaches of ethics and accusations of Sunshine Law violations however these are baseless. The reason for these accusations are simple: our Mayor Pam Triolo, Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell, Commissioner Andy Amoroso, all elected officials, have endorsed Commissioner John Szerdi for re-election. 

Two Lake Worth volunteer chairs, Chair of the Planning & Zoning Board and the Chair of the Historic Resource Preservation Board, support Commissioner John Szerdi for re-election.

Some would have you believe an elected official or a member of a city advisory board, because of their position in the community lose their First Amendment rights. This is absurd and the people making these accusations are irresponsible. 

Was Commissioner Cara Jennings violating the Sunshine Law or being unethical when she campaigned for candidate Suzanne Mulvehill?: 

Check out the irony here. At Monday night's South Palm Park Candidate Forum, the issue was raised that three elected officials were in the room. This was not a regular meeting of the Commission and therefore they could not talk about "things likely to come before them in the future." When this issue was raised, by Commissioner McVoy by the way, the city officially posted the meeting: as required by the Sunshine Law. The other requirement is that minutes be taken. This is how the minutes of Monday night's meeting would have looked:
Commissioners John Szerdi, Christopher McVoy attended a neighborhood association meeting on February 9 at 6 PM. Each of them presented their positions on various issues facing the city residences in the audience members. They were each asked several questions and responded with answers.The meeting was adjourned at 8:30 PM.
This is the level of absurdity to which this was taken. They were not taking action on any items. No vote was taken. There was a larger and more diverse crowd than usually show up for regular Commission meetings, where action actually takes place. Think of that: New faces! The entire city was invited and people were there from multiple neighborhoods. Those that attended were asked to identify themselves and what neighborhood association they belonged to at the beginning of the meeting. Then, on top of all that, there was an enterprising gentleman there with a video camera that captured the entire candidate forum and quickly had it available on YouTube for everyone on the Interwebs to view at their leisure.

There have been candidate forums in each and every regular election cycle in Lake Worth for as long as I can remember. We have had incumbent Commissioners and the Mayor either present, or part of the group that is campaigning for re-election. This has never been an issue before. Why is it now?

The specter of "violating the Sunshine Law" hung over the group so that discussion of what the city may do or what candidates would do related to an infrastructure bond issue was simply not discussed, "as this was on shaky ground." Other items specifically were not discussed that may come before the City Commission. Isn't this why people come to candidate forums in the first place? They come to find out the stance of those who may be representing them on the dais. If this "specter" doesn't dissipate, the public will be deprived of debate and discussion of the more important issues of our day.

I believe that is counter to government in the sunshine.

Anonymous Comment Left Under "Sunshine" Post Above

[Earlier today, 2/12, I wrote a post about the Sunshine Law and how the law is being misinterpreted by some to keep the public uninformed on major issues facing our city. Under that post an anonymous, informed person wrote the following comment:]

I have it on good authority that McVoy was given proper and specific legal advice on how to effectively and properly deal with his "Johnny come lately, self righteous" concern about potentially violating the Sunshine Law. 

However, HE CHOSE TO NOT INFORM officers of NA's of this remedy, instead, he suggested that the candidate forums would be a direct violation of the Sunshine Laws and to protect himself and all others involved, he could not "ethically" participate in the South Palm Park meeting.

The email he sent to the neighborhood officers to this effect is probably available should someone like to see it.

Curiously he attended the meeting, AT THE LAST MINUTE, only after being informed by one of his "handlers" in a attendance; either Steve Elman, Jo-Ann Golden, Gael Silverblatt, Lynda Mahoney, Richard Stowe, et al, that his opponent had, in fact showed for the meeting and he'd better get his butt over to the meeting after all.

The significance of this is that Commissioner "Squeeky McClean" had recently attended a neighborhood association meeting where he knew his opponent was not going to be present.

And yes, this/his NA appearance came just days after Commissioner "McClean" had attend a four hour ethics class at PBSC where apparently he was finally able to get in touch with his ethical side.

Bottom line is this man attempts to hide behind the Sunshine Law to avoid being present to be held accountable for his record of wanting to increase taxes, increase electric rates, get rid of PBSO and BEING PRIMARILY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEFEAT OF THE 20/20 ROAD AND INFRASTRUCTURE PLAN THAT JUST RECENTLY COST ANOTHER LAKE WORTH FAMILY THEIR HOME TO A FIRE THAT COULDN'T BE SAVED BECAUSE OF LACK OF FIRE HYDRANT PROTECTION!

Other things to consider are, he and his anarchist leaders, costing the city millions of dollars in legal fees and settlements over such things as the beach.

So yes, if I were him, I'd be looking for any loop hole or angle to avoid facing the citizens of Lake Worth during campaign season.

Lake Worth Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) and Community Partners Receive $500,000 Catalytic Grant for Neighborhood Improvements

Press Release:

Lake Worth, FL
February 12, 2015

The Lake Worth Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) and Community Partners (also known as Housing Partnership Inc.) were recently awarded $500,000 in catalytic grant funds for neighborhood and community improvements in Lake Worth.

The CRA and Community Partners partnered in 2014 to apply for these competitive funds to be used in the most economically distressed areas of Lake Worth. This partnership was one of only 11 applications to be funded nationwide.


These funds are granted to organizations in order to spur economic development in hard-hit communities, provide new affordable housing and to create new jobs and businesses.


Funds received from this grant will be specifically used for the following purposes:


 To provide financial fitness counseling for those living or planning to live in Lake Worth. 

 To create Individual Development Accounts, which are special savings accounts that match the deposits of low- and moderate-income people. These accounts can then be used for educational purposes, purchasing a home or starting a business.
 To offer foreclosure prevention classes and education for low- to moderate-income families.
 To provide neighborhood safety features throughout the neighborhoods, including but not limited to new lighting and sidewalks.
 For branding and marketing initiatives.
 Renovation or rehabilitation work for owner-occupied residential units.
 Creation of a micro-loan program for new or existing small businesses.


The CRA and Community Partners have begun planning the above mentioned projects and will be publicizing how the community can get involved later this year. All funding must be expended within 18 months.


Additional information regarding this grant or any of the other Lake Worth CRA’s neighborhood initiatives can be found by visiting the CRA’s website or by calling the CRA office at (561) 493-2550.

4th Annual FLOLFING (FLOrida urban mini-putt-putt goLFING*) Tournament coming up soon!

FLolfie arrives and is seen at the Tri-Rail Station, the beach and a concert at the Lake Worth Waterfront Amphitheater. DJNA's  (Downtown Jewel Neighborhood Association) 4th Annual *FLOLFING Tournament is coming up on Saturday, March 21st.

This 9 Hole Course is a home and garden tour with a DJNA twist. Volunteers make their own hole at their homes and Flolfers go house to house to play a round. Food, Drinks and Winner’s Purse etc. Please check link in paragraph above for official rules.

Did the full-page ad by Ironhorse Property Owners Assoc. have an effect?

On Monday, 2/9, the Ironhorse Property Owners Association purchased a full-page ad in the Palm Beach Post expressing their opposition to trash being hauled in from sources outside Palm Beach County; a full-page ad is very expensive. The Post reporter Joe Capozzi wrote about this and referenced a part of the ad: a little girl holding a doll and wearing a gas mask:
Yesterday the Palm Beach County Commission voted 5 to 2 to allow a Broward County trash hauler to bring trash to the Palm Beach County incinerator. No one will ever know how effective or ineffective that full page ad was, although it drew the ire of one commissioner:
     McKinlay [County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay], in public comments before her vote, criticized Ironhorse for using a photograph of a small girl wearing a gas mask in a full-age newspaper ad the association bought Monday to oppose the plan.
     “That was horrendous,’’ she said. “That is not what will happen with this facility.’’
     After the meeting, Gundermann
[Don Gundermann, president of the Ironhorse Property Owners Association] reacted to McKinlay’s comments. “I think she’s a little sensitive. That was legitimate point we were making,’’ he said.
You decide, is Commissioner McKinlay being "a little sensitive"? I don't think so, but that's just me.

Some of the older generation might remember this presidential TV ad from the 1964 campaign that also featured a little girl. Many think this ad is what tilted the election toward Johnson. This ad happened to be highly effective. So there it goes.

By the way, some commissioners as reported by Joe Capozzi had some choice words for Drew Martin, who made some inflammatory claims on behalf of the Sierra Club:
     [But] commissioners shot back at some speakers, including Drew Martin of the Sierra Club, who said the plan will create pollution that will cause cancer.     
    “What we emit is highly regulated. We don’t poison people around here,’’ said Commissioner Hal Valeche, who voted against the plan. “I wish you would be a little more restrained about your claims about what the Solid Waste Authority is doing to residents’ health.’’

The Anti-Poverty Case for “Smart” Gentrification, Part 1

This is a series by the Brookings Institute, the first part appears today. I will post links and excerpts to future articles in the series. Brookings is considered a "centrist" think-tank in Washington, D.C. Click title for link to article with informative graphics. Does any of this sound familiar?
Being poor is obviously bad, but being poor in a really poor neighborhood is even worse. The work of urban sociologists like Harvard’s Robert J. Sampson and New York University’s Patrick Sharkey highlights how persistent, concentrated neighborhood disadvantage has damaging effects on children that continue throughout a lifetime, often stifling upward mobility across generations. When a community experiences uniform and deep poverty, with most streets characterized by dilapidated housing, failing schools, teenage pregnancy and heavy unemployment, it appears to create a culture of despair that can permanently blight a young person’s future.

More crime in Greenfield, CA? Not so fast

If you've been following this blog you know how former city manager Susan Stanton wanted to get rid of our PBSO in Lake Worth. She wanted to go through the machinations and expense of building her own police department. Stanton was fired, of course, and she later got the city manager gig in Greenfield, CA. She has her own police department now. There is crime in Greenfield, CA, as there is in any community. However...

Every now and then I post the crimes in Greenfield, CA to demonstrate the hypocrisy of people like The Other Blogger (TOB). TOB obtusely believes having our own Lake Worth police department will be the solution to crime; that somehow that will magically save the city money. Some call this sort of thinking delusional.

Recently, TOB, in her zeal to show "all the crime" in Lake Worth failed to do her due diligence and included crimes outside our borders of the City.

Note the image below of a crime in Greenfield, CA, on the 4400 block of Teague Avenue. Monterrey deputies investigated the crime. If Greenfield, CA has their own PD why did the Monterrey Sheriff deputies investigate?
The answer is simple. The 4400 block of Teague Ave is outside the city limits of Greenfield, CA. I discovered this in about 90 seconds. 

I recommend that the TOB slow down and take time to check "facts" before she spouts non-truths to the populace.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Serge Jerome Jr. (Lake Worth District 2 Candidate): Truer Words Were Never Spoken


"We have to raise the tax base. We need to bring more revenue into the city. Every time the city tries to do something like bring in more revenue, we have some people that are completely against it; they are against anything that will increase any property value...they are always going to find some reason to say it isn't going to happen and they don't want to increase our tax base in any way. But then, when code enforcement comes up or infrastructure comes up, they are going to be the first ones to raise their hands about all the issues we have."
--Serge Jerome, Candidate for District 2

Lake Worth: road closure tonight, North Palmway (infrastructure maintenance & construction)

News from the city website:

Road Closure: 100 Block of North Palmway

The city is performing maintenance and construction work on the underground sewer system within the city. Work will be done at night when sewage flows are the lowest. The next shutdown will be the night of Wednesday, February 11th (TONIGHT). Work will be performed at the Master Pump Station at Bryant Park. At this time 100 block of North Palmway will be closed for excavation of the air release valve.

Did you see this full page ad on Monday?

On Monday, 2/9, on the back page of the Post's Local & Business section, was a full page ad by the Ironhorse Property Owners Association who oppose trash from outside Palm Beach County being burned in the county's new incinerator. 

Joe Capozzi of the Post wrote this on Tuesday, the following day, about the ad:
     Opponents of a plan by Palm Beach County to accept imported trash took out a full page ad Monday in The Palm Beach Post.
     “Toxic capitalism hurts my family,” says one part of the ad next to
a little girl wearing a gas mask and holding a doll.
     The ad — paid for by the Ironhorse Property Owners Association — lists the emails of the seven Palm Beach County commissioners, who also sit as the Solid Waste Authority’s governing board.
I went back and found the ad; here is the part of the full-page ad Mr. Capozzi refers to:
We'll see how the county commissioners vote but I don't see how an image such as this helps their cause very much; it just may have the opposite effect. Ironhorse is a high-end community, built around a golf course, in the northwest part of West Palm Beach.

Freedom Riders: National Traveling Exhibit, West Palm Beach Public Library, free admission

Monday, February 9 to Thursday, March 4 on the 3rd floor. Note the special times and dates for guided tours:
Remember, only three weeks ago (Monday, January 20th), the little City of Lake Worth held its largest Martin Luther King Jr. March ever in the history of this signature Lake Worth event. The Post's Julius Whigham II was there to document the event. The Freedom Riders exhibit is very timely. 

From the Lake Worth NAPC: you can still volunteer at our Street Painting Festival!

Read here for important news from the Lake Worth Neighborhood Association Presidents' Council (NAPC).

Volunteers, of course, are what make the Lake Worth Street Painting Festival so wonderful. The festival and the volunteers showcase our wonderful little City to the world. There are still a few volunteer opportunities available.

Does greeting our visitors on the trolley for the ride downtown sound like fun? Contact Mr. Greg Rice.

How about serving beer at the "beer tents" to make money for your neighborhood association? Then contact Marshall Pass.

Every little bit helps. See you at the Festival!

Ft. Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler wins in mega-landslide: over 70% of the vote

Mayor Jack Seiler, remember, had two opponents running against him. One of the groups opposing Mayor Seiler was Food Not Bombs (FNB). FNB staged countless demonstrations and even had several hunger strikes. The Broward New Times covered FNB's activity sympathetically and never held back in their criticism of Mayor Seiler.

Today, the day after the re-election of Mayor Seiler, the New Times' Chris Joseph had this to say about the result:
     Jack Seiler has won reelection as Fort Lauderdale Mayor for a third-straight term. With polls closing at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, New Times is reporting that Seiler has won a decisive victory over opponents Earl Rynerson and Chris Brennen, getting 70.85 percent of the votes.
And later in the article:
     Seiler had appeared vulnerable entering Tuesday night's election, following a public relations beating over his handling of the city's homeless feeding ordinance.
 "Seiler had appeared vulnerable"? To whom exactly? If Mayor Seiler received a "public relations beating" how did he get over 70% of the vote?

Is school "choice" a myth?

So it is according to Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director of the National School Boards Association. He is published in the Palm Beach Post today in a takedown of Charter Schools saying, "it's time to debunk the myth of [school] choice." School choice would likely have a grave impact on our carbon footprint and commuting patterns.

From the opinion piece by Mr. Thomas Gentzel:
     Our nation’s grassroots democracy was founded on the principle that all children, regardless of ZIP code, deserve access to a world-class education. Nine out of 10 school-age children today are enrolled in public schools, which are their gateway to the future. Choice absent accountability can hurt vulnerable students when the choice turns out to be a bad one. Unfortunately, the “choice” movement — and its glossy public relations campaign that masks flaws by hyping “empowerment” — jeopardizes opportunity for all students, ultimately harming our nation’s global readiness and economic prosperity.
     Choice exists within the public school system, as magnet schools and charters approved by local school boards attest — with a key difference: accountability. Much like nutrition labeling, publicly funded education ensures that student outcomes are fully accountable to the public — and accountability leads to improved outcome for all students. It is important to be aware of the choice that exists now in our nation’s public schools, and discover why public school choice is the best choice — www.standup4publicschools.org.
[and...]
     America’s school boards understand that transparency, accountability, and real achievement demand true engagement, not PR hype. Research shows a significant relationship between effective school board governance and student achievement. According to the Center for Public Education, the Iowa Lighthouse study, and others, strong local governance means schools boards that create vision, are accountable, make effective policy, support strong teaching and learning, engage families and communities, and ensure adequate funding for their schools. Across local community public schools, student and financial performance evaluation and open-meeting requirements are the rule, not the exception.
     It’s time to debunk the myth of choice. It’s time to reveal the profiteers who are funding the school choice movement to line their own pockets. It’s time to look at real results, and see that student performance data does not support educational privatization. It’s time to recognize that “real choice” is in the public schools, not “out there.”

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

LAKE WORTH CRIME BLOTTER, WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 28

In another example of how the perception of crime is manipulated in the little City of Lake Worth we have this example. Read the following entry in a LAKE WORTH CRIME BLOTTER on Friday, February 6, 2015, and identify the crime that was committed:
Deceased Person: A woman living on the 1800 block of North N Street called police [sic, should be "PBSO"] to report that she'd found her longtime friend, Sue Ives, lying on the floor of the home, deceased. She said she'd seen Ives going into the bathroom at 1 a.m., complaining of possibly catching a cold. At 8:45 a.m. she went to check on her and found her lying on the floor of the bedroom, unresponsive. There were no signs of trauma.
Approximately 70 words. In Margaret Menge's CRIME BLOTTER. And there was no crime here. This is just another attempt by some in Lake Worth to manipulate the perception of crime and damage the image of our City and our PBSO.

And consider this, how disrespectful of a human life, the life of Sue Ives, to be used as "filler" in a Ms. Menge CRIME BLOTTER. Has Ms. Menge no shame. No empathy?

In the very same issue of Margaret Menge's 'newspaper' on the front page, she writes about a Lake Worth business owner who committed suicide on August 18, 2014. In yet another example of disrespect for the dead she quotes an unidentified "UPS driver" saying, "He wasn't friendly with anybody".

So what, Ms. Menge? The man is dead. Give it up.

Is this the oddest Valentine's Day invitation ever?

Below is an actual Valentine's Day invitation that was left in various downtown Lake Worth establishments. A reader of my blog was kind enough to snag one for me. 

Besides the optics, which are strange enough, notice there is no address or location given for the "2nd Annual Valentine's Day Performance Night & Cafe" except a long, printed Facebook link which, as of Monday night (2/9), doesn't work. However, there was one clue. Note highlighted where someone wrote in felt pen "Passion Vine Farm".
Now I was hooked. I Googled "Passion Vine Farm" and look what I found: The 'Passion Vine Farm' is located at 1134 19th Ave North in Lake Worth. Here is their information on PAPA
RAD EL DUB COMMUNITY LAND TRUST  
3400 PLACE VALENCAY
DELRAY BEACH FL 33445 2217
With that information did another screen grab from the PAPA maps and added two labels for some perspective, see below. 
As recently as August 5, 2014 a visitor to the 'Passion Vine Farm' called it "The best farm in Lake Worth". That's interesting since the Grey Mockingbird Community Garden is a 3-minute walk away.

I've been by 1134 19th Ave North and never noticed any gardening or farming going on. I'll have to take a closer look later today or tomorrow.

The upshot for you Ladies and Lads who picked up one of these flyers for the "2nd Annual Valentine's Day Performance Night & Cafe" and are interested in the "Date Auction", "Cosmic Matchmaking", and "Dinner Theater"? I suggest show up at 1134 19th Ave North and hope for the best. Bring a box of chocolates. 


Happy Valentine's Day!!

Video from last night's Candidate Forum at South Palm Park NA meeting...Part I


Some crowd pics from the South Palm Park candidate forum last night...(2/9)




Video up soon!

Civil Disobedience Training Exercises

From WSVN in Miami/Ft. Lauderdale we have this story about law enforcement training for civil disobedience events that get out of control (click title for video)
Broward County Sheriff's Office deputies and other law enforcement agencies took part in a civil disturbance training event Wednesday.

Along with BSO, five other area agencies -- including the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, Davie Police, Sunrise Police, Margate Police and Miramar Police -- took part in the training that took place at Central Broward Regional Park.

Officials believe the training is completely necessary, especially with recent events. "These drills and this training is critically important," said Broward Sheriff Scott Israel, "because if we have an incident like Ferguson, it's probable that many agencies are going to be working together to resolve the issue. Riots are going to spread over different towns and communities, so that exchange in the interoperability becomes critically important."

Monday, February 9, 2015

A Brilliant Political Analysis:

"I don't know our [Palm Beach] county commissioners well, but what little I know about them makes me suspicious." --Margaret Menge, LW Tribune, self-proclaimed 'journalist/editor', 2/6/15.

[UPDATE] Candidate Forum Tonight (2/9): Lake Worth Golf Course Clubhouse

[See end of post for update]

As part of the regular monthly meeting of the South Palm Park Neighborhood Association, candidates on the March 10th municipal election ballot have been asked to attend, give an introduction and answer questions. The public is welcome. Social hour begins at 6 and goes until 7. At 7 p.m. the meeting begins and the candidates for the District #2 and #4 seats will be part of that agenda.

This will be the second opportunity to meet the candidates in one location. Hope to see you there.

Update:
Check back tomorrow (2/10) for videos. Thank you.

6th Annual "Taste of Lake Worth": Friday, February 20, 2015, 6:00–9:00 PM

Compass Community Center of Lake Worth, FL
Is Proud to be Presenting
6th Annual “Taste of Lake Worth”
Friday, February 20, 2015
From 6:00 – 9:00 PM

The evening event highlights the restaurants and businesses of
Lake Worth and serves as a kick off to the weekends
Street Painting Festival

Participants of the “Taste of Lake Worth” can expect to enjoy food and drinks provided by more than fifteen downtown merchants with the advance purchase of a $20 ticket from Compass Community Center (or purchase tickets the day of the event for $25.)

The funds raised from the event will be used to fund programing offered at the Compass Center. For over 25 years, Compass has been leading the way in diminishing stereotypes by challenging long-standing misconceptions about the character of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. Compass accomplishes this by emboldening youth, promoting pride in the community and acting as an educator, advocate, health service provider and focal point for community organizing.

Tickets can be purchased at: Compass Community Center
Located at: 201 N. Dixie Hwy., Lake Worth, FL 33460 or here on-line

Tickets are limited, so don’t delay, order today!
Check-In the night of the event for your Wristband and Map will be located at:

The corner of Lucerne Avenue and J Street (by the Post Office)
For more information contact: Jimmy Zoellner at 561-533-9699
or jimmy@compassglcc.com

What's troubling about Democracy For America's (DFA) endorsement of Ryan Maier and Commissioner McVoy

Besides the fact that a diehard Tea Party Republican like Lynn Anderson is supporting two Progressive candidates, the bigger question is this: What exactly is a DFA endorsement? 

When you go to the DFA website this is what you see: they have four pages of endorsements and neither Ryan Maier or Commissioner McVoy are among them.

DFA states as part of their endorsement process that:
DFA does not have a litmus test of specific progressive positions for which a candidate must stand.
The DFA endorsement, it seems, casts a very wide net. However, now things get interesting. Here is how the DFA Palm Beach County was formed:
We [Democracy For America] don’t start affiliate groups or chapters, but instead give activists and volunteers tools and support to empower them to organize from the community up. While there are many groups that associate with the national DFA brand, they are all unique entities who are free to endorse candidates, take issue positions, and design their own campaigns.
For example, tomorrow morning I could start my own DFA. Maybe I'll call it the DFA Lake Worth or the Everglades DFA Chapter. Then I'll endorse whatever candidates I feel like endorsing, just because I feel like it. Or I could throw out my endorsement to whoever brings me a bouquet of flowers.

The fact is this: The Democracy for America Palm Beach County endorsement isn't worth anything besides window dressing on a flyer or web site.

And note this: I know for a fact that Lake Worth Commissioner John Szerdi was never contacted to interview for the DFA endorsement. Why? I guess Ryan Maier's bouquet was too big to compete with.

Why Ryan Maier was removed from a Lake Worth City board

Ryan Maier, a candidate challenging Lake Worth City Commissioner John Szerdi, states on his campaign website that he...
"[W]as a member of the Sister City board in Lake Worth.

'I have the energy, enthusiasm and experience needed to represent our multi-faceted city.' "
During Mr. Maier's introduction at the Genesis candidate forum on 1/26/15, he mentions his time on the Sister City Board as evidence of his city involvement. His enthusiasm for being in that position apparently was low: he was removed from the board due to lack of attendance and not participating in mandatory ethics training. (Why would Mr. Maier refuse to take his mandatory ethics training? It only takes 20 minutes.) 

At the end of this post is a link to a video of Mr. Maier where he states, at the 1:20 mark, that his "service" on that city board prepared him to be a city commissioner.

Here, from the Lake Worth City Clerk:
Mr. Maier was removed from the Sister City Board for not participating in the mandatory ethics training and his membership was declared vacant due to excessive absenteeism on March 19, 2012.
From the Minutes of the City of Lake Worth Special Meeting (City Commission) on 8/29/2012, page 2 at the top of the page:
Note the line, "Ryan Maier was absent for his interview."

I videotaped the candidates at the Genesis forum on 1/26/15. Here are the videos of Ryan Maier and Craig Frost. Read my thoughts and watch the videos here

Mark Foley in the news: baseball, PBC and Washington D.C. connection

George Bennett in the Palm Beach Post today has a story (2/9) about Spring Training Baseball in Palm Beach County and the connection to the power players in Washington, D.C. From the article:
     The prospect of northern tourists visiting and spending money has enticed many Florida communities to lay out public dollars to lure Major League Baseball teams for spring training. There’s an added benefit, says former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley, if those tourists include members of Washington’s political class.
     Foley, hired as a lobbyist by the Washington Nationals, says a planned $135 million spring training complex in West Palm Beach for the Nationals and Houston Astros will bring big political benefits for Palm Beach County. The bulk of the financing for the project is to come from “bed tax” revenues that Palm Beach County collects on hotel stays.
     Members of Congress, cabinet secretaries and other movers and shakers are regular attendees at Nationals regular-season home games in Washington.
[and...]
“I’m seeing the symbiosis of having our sister city be the nation’s capital. … This opportunity to be close to the nation’s purse is significant,” Foley said Friday after state legislators endorsed a land-use change that will move the project forward if the entire Florida Legislature signs off this spring.

Is Everglades EarthFirst! going on vacation? What of the carbon footprint?

Ever since November 7, 2014, our good friends at Everglades EarthFirst! have been very busy. November 7th was the day their protest went terribly wrong as they inadvertently shut down a school and somehow a battery ended up thrown into a lake. Three were arrested that day and two more were arrested on 2/3/15, six days ago. This is in addition to the near-weekly scheduled protests in Palm Beach Gardens on Friday from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

You can see why the folks at Everglades EarthFirst! need a break and it looks like they might be getting away for a few days:
"The 2015 Earth First! Winter Rendezvous" is at the "colonially occupied Chumash territory in what is known as Santa Barbara, California" from February 20th to the 23rd.
For someone in south Florida to attend, bikes, skateboards, and canoeing are out of the question. You'll leave a carbon footprint to attend this event at the "colonially occupied Chumash territory", aka Santa Barbara, CA. Here are some of the workshops:
• EF! History and tactics
• Strategic direct action
• Santa Barbara fossil fuel infrastructure
• Threats to Sespe Creek/Condor Sanctuary
Decolonization and collective liberation
• Know your rights
Navigating conflict in your community
• Genetically engineered trees: a new threat
IF YOU GO:
• Sliding scale suggested donation of $20-40 (no one will be turned away for lack of funds)
Directions to the event will be posted to the website a few days before the start 
Visit our website at www.efoc2015.WordPress.com
If there is anything our community of Lake Worth can do to help you attend, please let us know.

City of Lake Worth Ribbon Cutting Ceremony: New Greenway and Road Improvement Projects at 9th & 10th Avenue South

The City of Lake Worth will be hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funded greenway and road improvement projects on Tuesday, February 17, 2015. The first ribbon cutting ceremony will take place on 10th Avenue South at South E Street from 1:00 - 1:30 pm and the second ceremony will take place on 9th Avenue S. at South E Street from 1:30 - 2:00 pm.
10th Avenue South – South A Street to South F Street: this project consisted of converting the existing/unimproved right-of-way into a new roadway complete with sidewalks with ADA ramps, Type F curb and gutter, new pavement section, sodding, and striping/signage. Water, sanitary sewer, and stormwater systems were also addressed in this project.
9th Avenue South – South B Street to South F Street: this project consisted of converting the existing/unimproved right-of-way into a greenway by means of clearing and grubbing the entire site, fine grading to provide positive surface drainage, construction of a multiuse pathway, and the installation of sod/landscaping/irrigation system as well as site amenities like fixed trash receptacles and benches. This is the first location to implement the City’s new greenway concept.
All are invited to come and take part in celebrating these exciting new projects as we continue to improve our City infrastructure! Please contact Public Services with any questions or comments.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Taste of Lake Worth - Right before Street Painting Festival!

Reminder: Deadline to Register to Vote for the 3/10 Election is 2/9!

Tomorrow!

A few words from Lake Worth Commissioner Andy Amoroso in support of John Szerdi's re-election:

Dear Residents and Lake Worth Constituents:

I hope that 2015 is a prosperous and healthy one for you, your family and friends.

I have fielded questions about this upcoming election and I believe there is some need for clarification. So, I’d like to tell you about the regular Municipal election that th
e city will be having on March 10th.

You might remember that at one time, the city’s elections for Commissioner and Mayoral seats occurred in November of each year. Based upon the results of a referendum held in March of 2013, our regular municipal elections will now be held each March. This is also consistent with the election schedule for most other Palm Beach County municipalities.

And, as a reminder, the city of Lake Worth has four City Commissioners that come from four districts within the city. Each Commissioner has to live in one of those districts in order to qualify for that seat, but is elected on a citywide basis. For example, I am the Commissioner for District #3, which is the northeast corner of the city and it is where I live. But I am elected on a citywide basis. The Mayor can come from anywhere in the city and is also elected on a citywide basis.

As far as timing, on March 10, 2015 there will be candidates appearing on the ballot for the District #2 (northwest part of the city) and District #4 (southeast part of the city) seats. Everyone can vote in this election. It is not based upon where the voter lives, you just have to live and be registered to vote in the city.

It’s also important to remember that my District #3 seat is not up for this election. Districts #1, #3 and the Mayor’s seat are up in 2016. They were also up for the March 2014 election, but no one drew a challenger, so no election was held last year.

All that being said, I want you to know that I wholeheartedly support and endorse John Szerdi, your current District #4 Commissioner, who is running for re-election on March 10th. Commissioner Szerdi brings a wealth of knowledge to the city. He is a practicing architect and specializes in “green” building techniques. He has helped the city significantly in re-writing our land development regulations. We can count on him to continue the city’s progress in addressing our most pressing issues going forward.

Thank you for allowing me to serve as one of your Lake Worth Commissioners and please remember to vote on March 10th.

Sincerely,

Andy Amoroso
Lake Worth City Commissioner, District #3


Political advertisement paid for and approved by John Szerdi, non-partisan for City Commissioner

Hearing about all the great food...

...that was served at the McNamara's manse on North Lakeside Drive. It was a $30 a head fundraiser for Ryan Maier's campaign. If you went, tell us what you thought about the evening in the comments below.

Breaking News: I guess Brian Williams was everywhere!

And believe it or not, there is a picture of Brian Williams on one of the Apollo missions to the Moon. Where does he get the energy?

Enjoy an Art Deco Evening at the Historic Art Deco Armory Art Center Wednesday February 11, 2015 at 7 PM!

Two Messages from the Lake Worth Neighborhood Association Presidents' Council (NAPC)

21st Annual Street Painting Festival: callout for volunteers
Be a Part of the Art at the Heart of Lake Worth. Sign up today as a Volunteer for this year's Lake Worth Street Painting Festival.

To serve in the beer tents (and make $$ for your Neighborhood Association) contact Marshall Pass marshallpass@hotmail.com

To expound on the Wonders of Lake Worth with visitors to the Festival, sign up to ride the Trolley as it ferries folks back and forth. Contact Greg Rice gregrice33460@gmail.com

To sell Festival T-Shirts, check in other volunteers, help at the Artists Oasis, survey the crowd, help with set-up and tear down and lots more, visit the Street Painting Festival website above and sign up today!

And more news from the NAPC: Council Elects 2015 Officers
Congratulations and Thank You to the new NAPC Officers for 2015. Leader of the Pack for this engaged and committed Council of Presidents is Jon Faust from Downtown Jewel. Vice Chair is none other than Greg Rice from Mango Groves. Serving again this year as Treasurer is Anthony Marotta from Parrot Cove and Mary Lindsey from College Park is Secretary. Huge Thanks to Karla Engel for continuing her service this year as Assistant Secretary. Contact the NAPC here

VisitFlorida and the effort to increase "hospital" tourism in Palm Beach County

VisitFlorida is the most popular source for information tourists and visitors use when planning a stay in Florida. Lake Worth, in case you're unaware, has its own VisitFlorida page you can see here. Two Lake Worth B&B's have ads on VisitFlorida as well as some restaurants.

Now VisitFlorida has come out big supporting a new type of tourism in Palm Beach County called, "medical tourism".

Jennifer Sorentrue has an article in today's Palm Beach Post, front page/above the fold, titled "Surf, sand and surgery: Tourism's new frontier".
     Palm Beach County is known for its sand and surf, but its state-of-the-art surgical centers could soon be drawing international tourists looking for medical treatment and a sun-filled vacation on the side.
     Jupiter Medical Center last month received a $500,000 state grant to market its medical programs to tourists in South America and the Caribbean. The hospital plans to use the money to help launch an international marketing campaign that promotes its work in spinal care, orthopedics, intra-operative radiation therapy, and alternative treatments for tumors.
    Hospital officials say a growing number of patients from outside of the state are traveling to Jupiter for medical services. Many are looking for a hospital that offers the latest medical treatments and warm weather for their recovery.
At the end of the article is a list of the top 5 recipients from VisitFlorida to increase medical tourism:
     Visit Florida, the state’s tourism marketing arm, awarded $3.1 million in grants to 25 organizations to help promote Florida as a medical tourism destination. Jupiter Medical Center was one of three organizations to be awarded $500,000 — the largest amount given to any of the groups. Here are the top five grant recipients:
  • Jupiter Medical Center, $500,000 for destination promotion
  • Mount Sinai Medical Center, $500,000 for medical meetings and training
  • Tampa General Hospital Transplant Marketing, $500,000 for medical meetings and training
  • USF Health Professions Conferencing, $217,000 for destination promotion
  • Miami Neuroscience Center, LLC, $210,000 for destination promotion

Natural gas in Lake Worth: inexpensive, safe, and reliable

Is natural gas available in your neighborhood? Not all areas of Lake Worth have natural gas service. One of these days I will post a map of Lake Worth where gas is available and where it is not. For instance, the College Park neighborhood in the northeastern part of the city, does have gas service. Know this: if you lose electric to your house that does not affect the gas service: hot water, stove, grill, etc.

When switching from electric appliances to gas appliances there is an initial investment: new or used gas appliances and the hookup to the main gas line has a cost.

Here is another reason to switch from electric to gas appliances: it's good for the environment. 

Amazing UFO sighting filmed over Vero Beach, Florida 27-Jan-2015 + UPDATE


Interesting. Click title for link to an update. No word if there was an ICLEE Conference at the time.