Saturday, May 30, 2015

What's so humane about TNVR of cats?

The Post editorial board is rethinking the wisdom of this effort (Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate, Release [TNVR]). Cats are an invasive species here in Florida and are devastating to the bird populations. In south Florida many species of birds have adapted to living closer to the ground (or even underground nests) and easy to hunt by cats. Extermination of the feral cat population is the answer to save these species, however even the Sierra Club sees this as politically impossible given the strength and numbers of the various cat lobbies. The answer is to keep cats indoors at all times.

As far as feral cats a writer from the Audubon Society came up with a new use for Tylenol. The reaction to this suggestion was quick and not pretty at all. Here is an excerpt from LiveScience on the devastation cats are believed to cause:
     Marra [Pete Marra, animal ecologist with Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute] and his colleagues are looking at human-related causes for bird and wildlife deaths in the country, from windmills and glass windows to pesticides.
     But first, Marra and his team looked at the
impact of the feline population, one of the biggest putative causes of bird demise in the country. [emphasis added]
     While past studies had used critter cams or owner reports to estimate the number of birds killed by cats, those studies were usually small and not applicable to the entire country, Marra told LiveScience.
     For this broader analysis, the team first looked at all prior studies on bird deaths and
estimated that around 84 million owned-cats live in the country, many of which are allowed outdoors.
     "A lot of these cats may go outside and go to 10 different houses, but they go back to their house and cuddle up on Mr. Smith's lap at night," Marra said.
     Based on an analysis of past studies, the researchers
estimated that each of those felines killed between four and 18 birds a year, and between eight and 21 small mammals per year.
     But the major scourges for wildlife were not those free-ranging, owned-cats, but instead feral and un-owned cats that survive on the streets. Each of those kitties — and the team estimates between 30 million and 80 million of them live in the United States — kills between 23 and 46 birds a year, and between 129 and 338 small mammals, Marra said.
The Florida Scrub Jay, only one species of bird whose numbers are dwindling.

From Alexandra Seltzer: "What did this driver do to get a $606 fine?"

The Palm Beach Post reporter explains:
     You’re late for work and come upon a school zone. 20 mph! You’ll be even later now. “Can I speed through it?” you think. “Just a little bit. The fine isn’t that bad, I don’t see any cops and there aren’t any kids around.”
     The next time you have that thought, think about this driver.
     A driver came upon Freedom Shores Elementary School on Thursday afternoon, and instead of slowing down to the 20 mph school zone speed limit, the driver raced through at 53 mph.
     So is it that bad?
     Boynton Beach police slapped the driver with a $606 fine, along with three other drivers who happened to be speeding through the area as well.
This image is from the Boynton PD Twitter feed.

SFWMD: Expanding and enhancing recreational activities on lands they manage

Here is extensive information from the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) on the recreational activities open to the public to enjoy.
     Hiking, fishing, camping, bird-watching, horseback riding, nature study, cycling, hunting, geocaching, stargazing – what's your pleasure?
     The South Florida Water Management District is the steward for more than 1 million acres of public land. Over the years, we've taken great strides to expand public recreational opportunities on land purchased with public dollars – and it keeps getting better.
     Each year we take steps to enhance and expand recreational use of all District-owned property throughout our 16-county region. Activities at each location are compatible with natural resources protection and intended land use priorities.
    We invite you to explore recreational opportunities on your public lands.
 Here is the Discover Florida Wild page on the VisitFlorida tourism site. For residents and tourists alike there is so much to do and see in Florida.

Do you remember that monkeywrenching homophobe who pulled that stunt at this years PrideFest?

The day before last March's PrideFest a homophobe here in Lake Worth tried to monkeywrench the festival by calling FDOT complaining about the rainbow paintings across Lake and Lucerne Avenues that were planned. Everyone aware of the situation has a very good idea who it was. But the organizers were undeterred and painted the East/West city roads instead. This years festival was the most successful ever, by the way. 

And note that at the time you could still see the remnants of the Street Painting Festival on both Lucerne and Lake Avenues and also some green pigment from the St. Patty's Day festivities also. 

Well. . .guess what? The person believed responsible for this act has a history, shall we say, in Key West. Guess what Key West just did?
Here is a link to the original story I posted about this on March 29th. And here are some pictures of the PrideFest event. 

And a nice YouTube video of the new crosswalks in Key West:

"Editor's note" in Palm Beach Post: a slight understatement on Ric Bradshaw's 2012 campaign for Sheriff

There's a Letter to the Editor in The Palm Beach Post today critical of Sheriff Bradshaw. Big surprise, huh?

But this time they bring out one of their big guns: Joe Talley. After the rehashed laundry list of grievances the letter ends with an "Editor's note":
Would it be fair to say that the word "unsuccessfully" is a slight understatement?

Friday, May 29, 2015

Shining the light on hate in City of Lake Worth

CBS12/WPEC's Jonathan Beaton with news segment on sober home issue in City of Lake Worth

CBS12/WPEC's Jonathan Beaton does a very good job reporting on this issue. Here is an excerpt from the text of the news segment:
     A Palm Beach County town wants to drop the hammer on sober homes, demanding more oversight over the controversial halfway houses at the federal level.
     CBS 12 learned a Lake Worth commissioner recently made the trip up to Washington D.C., meeting with some of Florida’s most powerful lawmakers discussing how to finally get the problem under control.
     It’s an issue we’ve has [sic] investigated for years, sober homes and their occupants moving into neighborhoods filled with families.
     “They are buying up property and renting property in and around neighborhood children,” said Andy Amoroso.
     Commissioner Amoroso just met with several Florida lawmakers on Capitol Hill, including Senator Marco Rubio and Representative Lois Frankel, presenting the problem and asking for solutions.
     His contention, the halfway houses often increase crimes of opportunity, disrupting neighborhoods where families and children should live in peace. [emphasis added]
Note Mr. Beaton's email address. If you appreciate this story let him know. True community journalism in TV news, such as this news segment, is sorely lacking in Lake Worth and has been for many years.
State Rep. Lori Berman recently gave a legislative update to the Lake Worth City Commission and discussed this issue. At the 12:15 mark Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell and Rep. Berman have an interesting back-and-forth on the role of insurance companies in this important debate:

From CBS12/WPEC: Bad news for Katie LaGrone at NBC5/WPTV and Lawrence Mower at the Post, all that effort. . .

And according to CBS12/WPEC's Michael Buczyner, attorney Jack Scarola cannot be reached for a comment. The "LINE OF FIRE" story has been shooting blanks.
Will be very interesting to watch Katie LaGrone explain this one tonight. The spin control effort is in hyperdrive, no doubt. Will she double down on the "LINE OF FIRE" or concede the Sheriff is indeed acting responsibly and move on? Stay tuned.
"Bullets, badges and death on the street", OH MY!

Sun Sentinel: "All Aboard Florida expects 5.3 million riders by 2020"

That's a lot of cars off the road, don't you think? Michael Turnbell reports these numbers from All Aboard Florida (AAF):
     The planned passenger rail service, set to begin running in 2017, would initially see about 1 million riders a year, ramping up to 5.3 million a year by 2020 and 7 million by 2030, according the report prepared by the Louis Berger Group.
     Revenues are projected to be $293 million a year in 2020, rising to $400 million by 2030.
    The numbers offer the first public glimpse into the viability of All Aboard Florida's plans, which include running 32 trains a day — 16 each way — starting in early 2017 between Miami and West Palm Beach. A second leg is planned from West Palm Beach to Orlando.
   
 "When we're putting as much money into this as we're risking, not based on a delusional belief about something, you want to be very confident that the economic outcome is reliable and based on a conservative outlook," said Michael Reininger, president of All Aboard Florida.

The Facts About SeaWorld's Killer Whales

[MOVED UP; BY REQUEST] The Lake Worth Casino complex: Cara Jennings' search for the boogeyman

It's not my intention to put the spotlight on any one particular character however former Commissioner Cara Jennings does represent well the tone of those who are responsible for the failed Lake Worth Casino buildingher along with JoAnn Golden and Commissioner Christopher McVoy at the City Commission meeting on Tuesday, 5/19. In fact, I predicted this before the meeting last night (5/18).

They've chosen the builder of the Casino building as their boogeyman but what the public needs to know is this: the City at that time didn't have anyone on site responsible for monitoring what was going on. They turned a blind eye to the process and waited for the final product (and of course the big party to follow).

Note in the video below what Jennings chooses to focus on and also note that she rudely does not introduce herself as is customary for a citizen to do when addressing the mayor and city commission:
Jennings still does not understand the Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) process as she demonstrates in her unfair representation of Sustainability Director William Waters and Commissioner Andy Amoroso. Members of the ITN, as part of the process, are encouraged to speak freely and Jennings suggests something improper was done which is ludicrous. She also makes mention of the now-defunct tabloid by Margaret Menge which was partly responsible for fueling the public hysteria:
Most importantly note that Jennings is trying to distance herself from Commissioner McVoy and JoAnn Golden now. In a terrific display of historical revisionism she now suggests she never supported "privatization" at "the beach" even though she supported the construction of their 'new' Casino structure with private businesses trying to make a profit. Try to wrap your brain around that one.

I would say confidently, from what I heard last night, the public understands now that this commission has been given a tough task fixing the Casino complex in its entirety: the Casino building, pool, and the woefully inadequate parking. All in all, except for Peter Timm and a few others, the public wants to learn more about what is happening and is engaged in the process. That is a very good thing.

Check back later for more videos. I think you'll find the comments of people such as Barbara Aubel very enlightening. And, as always, thank you for visiting by blog.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Community Clean-Up TOMORROW, 8:00 to 11:00

Both Lauren Hills and Michael Buczyner at WPEC retweeted my tweet about this clean-up tomorrow. Are one of them planning on showing up? Would appear so. These clean-ups are popular events; a chance to get out and meet your neighbors and leaders in the community who make these clean-ups happen.

Crime in the City of Lake Worth, what if. . . (a task for an enterprising reporter)

What if there is something wrong with the crime data? I am not saying there IS. Just suggesting there might be. At the beginning of the year wrote this article about an Interactive Map published by The Palm Beach Post. The reporters who compiled the information made the common mistake of using 'Lake Worth' addresses to conclude there were 50 homicides in the City between 2009 and 2014. There were 30 homicides, not 50.

To the Post's credit they fixed the map to accurately reflect the reality. I remember at the time thinking how many people researched a possible relocation to Lake Worth to say purchase a home, for instance, and decided not to because of the 'high murder rate' they discovered on the Post's web site. Just a thought but I digress.

Now consider this: a 'reporter' in Lake Worth (Ms. Menge) who claims to be an experienced researcher on several occasions published crimes in her paper that occurred outside the City limits but she reported them as occurring IN the City. Another blogger in Lake Worth many times has posted crimes IN the City but were actually committed outside the City borders; sometimes well outside, west of Lantana near the airport in one case. In another instance recall a crime in John Prince Park that one of the above attributed to the City.

How did this happen? Are they making the data up or altering the data? It's certainly possible but don't think so.

Could it be that human error at PBSO is incorrectly attributing crimes outside the City (in unincorporated Palm Beach County) to District 14? The only way to know for sure is to ignore the data and look at the actual crime reports. That's something that I am tracking down.

Glen Torcivia: The Village of Palm Springs Attorney receives award

Frances Burke Goodman has an article in The Lake Worth Herald this week on an award Glen Torcivia received. Here are two short excerpts:
PALM SPRINGS – Village Attorney Glen J. Torcivia has received the Associate Member of the Year Award from the Palm Beach County League of Cities “For exemplary involvement and support to the priorities and programs of the League of Cities.”
[and. . .]
     Torcivia has especially been acknowledged for his work with the league’s FECI Legal Task Force and for assisting with the mandatory ethics training that was instituted in January.
     He has practiced law in Palm Beach County since 1982 and has served as the village attorney for Palm Springs since 2007. He is founder of the law firm Torcivia, Donlon, Goddeau and Ansay.
Mr. Torcivia is also the city attorney for the City of Lake Worth. Here is a recent video of him giving a Sunshine Law presentation at a city commission meeting recently:

Congratulations Mr. Torcivia.

CITYLAB: "It's Time to Say Goodbye to the Front Lawn"

Gwynn Guilford also includes maps with projected water use and drought areas. Florida residents are expected to use 76–100 gallons by 2030 EACH DAY. Here is an excerpt on an effort in California to get residents to dig up their front lawns of grass:
     Los Angeles and 25 other southern California cities are paying their residents up to $6,000 to dig up their lawns and put in fake turf and woodchips—part of a bid to help meet the state’s mandatory reduction in water use issued in April. That comes out to about two dollars per square foot of lawn replaced.
     It’s easy to see why: During California’s summer dry season, 50-80 percent of residential water consumption comes from lawn care and other outdoor uses [emphasis added], reports the Los Angeles Times.
     So far, the lawn replacement program has proven wildly popular. Since governor Jerry Brown’s executive order to cut urban water use, weekly lawn replacement applications more than tripled. The new plan adds another $350 million for rebates granted by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD), which serves about 19 million people. Residents exhausted the original $100-million budget earlier this month.

News from Kevin D. Thompson in the City of Lake Worth about crime (but what of the homicides)?

We're all very familiar with how some Lake Worth citizens get so excited when there is a rise in crime, or a perceived rise in crime, in the City. The issue for a few malcontents is not crime per se but the supposed 'inability' of PBSO to stop it. And that leads to their inevitable conclusion: the City needs its own police department. Been there and done that. Before PBSO had taken over for the Lake Worth PD the gangs had taken over large areas of the City.

The Post's Kevin Thompson may or may not be aware of those terrible days prior to 2009, when Lake Worth had its own police department and they were, to put it mildly, ineffective.

Remember this video from 2009? Go to the 8:00 minute mark and learn about Lake Worth right after PBSO took over and soon solved the problem the LWPD could not:
And then there's this from Tom McGow:
Here is the article by Kevin Thompson. It's noted that Lake Worth has a high rate of some violent crimes. But one violent crime is not mentioned and that is homicide. It's highly unlikely there were no homicides in Lake Worth in 2014. However, if that was the case it would make for very big news indeed. Especially in an article about violent crime.

In time I'll get all the FDLE numbers and go over them. When it comes to statistics though Mark Twain said it best:

"There are lies, damned lies and statistics."

Mr. Thompson makes this mention in his article:
     The city is also tackling the issue through neighborhood associations, Crime Watches and Crime Walks.
     Commissioner Scott Maxwell said the city has also been pushing harder to demolish abandoned homes, many of which harbor criminals.
Here is one recent event in the City, residents working WITH PBSO:

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Lake Worth history: Susan Stanton, former Lake Worth city manager, fired on Dec. 12, 2011

[PINNED POST] It's AMNESTY WEEK in Lake Worth: no penalty for "early-outs"; get ready for Hurricane Season

FAU's University Press Editor "Plagiarized by Boca Raton Tribune"!

Discovered this story at Michael Koretzky's Mouth of the South (SPJ Region 3 Blog). Here is what Emily Bloch wrote about being plagiarized in her column on 5/22:
     At FAU, if I get caught plagiarizing a paper, I’ll get an F. [emphasis added] It would go on my transcript and on a repeat offense, I could get expelled.
     But if I do it at The Boca Raton Tribune, I’ll get a paycheck.
     Three weeks ago, I wrote this story about an alleged gang rape involving an FAU student.
     A week later, The Boca Raton Tribune posted a similar story. If it looks familiar, that’s because sections of it are literally the same, word for word, as mine. I’ve been plagiarized.
[and later she writes this:]
     To journalists, ‘plagiarism’ is practically a mortal sin. And as a student journalist, and a student member of the Society of Professional Journalists, to have to deal with it like this is pretty disappointing.
     “Never plagiarize. Always attribute” is bullet number 18 out of 35 in SPJ’s Code of Ethics.
     People keep telling me “imitation is the greatest form of flattery,” when I tell them what’s happened to me this month. Well in this case, if the “imitation” means stealing a student journalist’s words, I think it’s pretty pitiful.
     Consider me unflattered.
The article by Emily Bloch is very detailed and lays the case out very convincingly. An excellent read and encourage everyone to read it.

Community Safety Roundtable 2015—PBSO, local police chiefs, and law enforcement experts

Politics/tactics explained: How everyday, local government functions such as planning are getting hijacked

[This is the fourth or fifth time I've re-posted this. The first time I posted this (in early March) within 24 hours the blog traffic was off the charts and was getting emails and phone calls from people wanting to talk about it. What I think struck a chord is it speaks to truth: it only takes a few people with clever tactics to alter public perception. And the other truth is this: even otherwise very intelligent people, people who know what is happening and are involved, can be manipulated to believe something that is untrue. If you have time study up on what's called a meme. A meme is like a virus; instead of an actual virus this is an idea or thought that spreads from one person to another. And once you "catch" the 'virus', like any real sickness, it takes a long time to recover.

So without further ado, here is that op/ed that has gotten so much attention (the first two paragraphs are my intro):]

If you live in a small city in south Florida such as Lake Worth (it could be any city) and you've wondered how even the most reasonable and popular projects get thwarted, the excerpt from an op/ed below will explain a lot.

This is a sobering op/ed by Patrick Fox, "Broken Planning: How Opponents Hijacked the Planning Process" [an excerpt with emphasis added]:

     Grassroots movements do not organically spring up to support a project, but opposition groups driven by fear, self-interest and cynicism can take off like wildfire. The proliferation of digital tools like Facebook and Twitter give average people the ability to find like-minded project opponents and to build effective grassroots opposition movements. While project supporters certainly have access to these same tools, they are far less motivated to use them. The process is overwhelmingly dominated by opponents.
     Why should an elected official support a project and subject him or herself to the slings and arrows of angry opponents? Standing with opponents and harnessing their passion and energy is the politically expedient path. Standing with opponents and dramatically pounding your fists in opposition is the right political posture for today's elected official seeking to build a political base and grab headlines.
     Imagine a grocery store is proposed in your community that will redevelop a vacant retail site. The developer is well known and respected and promises major site improvements and community amenities.
     On a Tuesday night, a public hearing is held at Town Hall by the Planning Board or the City Council to get public input prior to voting on the developer's application. Who shows up and makes their voices heard? Not the supporters. While the vast majority of residents may fully support the project and welcome it to their community, the hearing is packed with those who vigorously oppose it.

From Douglas Hanks, "Miami-Dade’s sewage system declares flushable wipes the enemy"

Our good friends to the south in Miami-Dade County have quite the problem and they're appealing to the public for help: it's about all those disposable wipes. Even though some products are touted as being flushable the sewer department would disagree. There is even a video about this to some cool hip music:
The Miami-Dade sewer department wants everyone to throw those disposable wipes into the trash, not down the toilet.

Here is an excerpt from Douglas Hanks' article in the Miami Herald:
     Miami-Dade County’s sewer department launched a campaign Tuesday against “flushable wipes,” joining a national effort to keep the popular products out of the toilet.
     “It’s hard to believe the kind of problems that these things are creating,” said county sewage chief Lester Sola. “There are some pump stations where we have to go almost on a daily basis to solve these issues.” [emphasis added]
     With a brief press release sent Tuesday, Florida’s largest local government inserted itself into one of the messier national controversies involving household products and municipal sewer systems.
     Cities and counties around the country have complained of epic clogs as the toilet-paper alternative holds firm inside the bowels of sewer systems and pump stations. With sales on the rise, sewer engineers say the problem is only getting worse.
Wonder if we'll be seeing a similar campaign here in Palm Beach County in the near future.
Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article22383243.html#storylink=cpy

AnnaMaria and the College Park Social last night (5/26)

The Lake Worth College Park neighborhood association had their social meeting last night at The Beach Club (located at the City's golf course). I was unable to attend however AnnaMaria was there with her camera. Check out the pictures here.

You can also visit the Neighborhood Association Presidents Council (NAPC) Facebook page for more pictures and additional information on what is happening in the City.

Tea Party out for revenge with early attack on Patrick Murphy (still stinging from Allen West/Carl Domino smackdowns)?

You can read the entire story at SaintPetersBlog. Here is what Congressman Patrick Murphy had to say about this silly political ad:
     In addition to opposition of EXIM [Export-Import Bank of the United States], Murphy’s campaign points out other radical right-wing positions taken by the Club [Club for Growth], which was formerly led by Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. The group’s main issues include privatization of Social Security, raising the retirement age for benefits and plans to turn Medicare into a voucher program. [emophasis added]
     Murphy also argues that the 30-second ad favoring Grayson is proof that Republicans are “afraid” of the Jupiter Democrat’s campaign.
     “The fact that an ultra-right-wing Super PAC that aims to privatize Social Security is attacking Patrick is the clearest sign that he’s the strongest candidate in this race,” Murphy campaign manager Josh Wolf said in a statement. “Patrick entered public office to fight back against Tea Party obstructionists like the Club for Growth, who are intent on outsourcing Florida jobs overseas and privatizing Social Security and Medicare.”
Here is the silly political ad and note that alarming voice of impending doom, the "corporate fat cats", and "giant corporations":
Do voters still fall for this stuff from the Tea Party? The Tea Party thinks so.

[PEOPLE CAN'T GET ENOUGH OF BARBARA] Barbara Aubel's thoughts on Lake Worth ballroom at "THE BEACH!"

And that's just the beginning. This video will blow your mind. If you thought the 2nd floor Ballroom at the Lake Worth Casino was a bad venue you have no idea. . .

Editor's note: Juan Ruiz, Leisure Services director, confirms that the Casino building second floor has always had hot water.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Other Blogger (TOB) introduces Kevin D. Thompson, our Post beat reporter, to readers of her blog

Last Thursday, 5/21, TOB (aka, Lynn Anderson) introduced The Palm Beach Post beat reporter Kevin D. Thompson to her readers for the first time. As an aside if you Google the name 'Kevin Thompson' you can understand why he uses his middle initial; there are a lot of "Kevin Thompson's" in the world.

Anyhow here is how she introduces the reporter for the first time and I (Wes Blackman) get referred to IN THE VERY FIRST SENTENCE:
The reference to me running reporters "out of Lake Worth" has already been dealt with. Again. But it's what appeared a short time later on her blog which is very curious and a bit odd. We're all very aware of some recent incidents in our City having to do with race and racism. There's no need to rehash those incidents of blog posts, Facebook entries, and generally disgusting behavior by a small group in the City. A video of a former city commissioner at a recent city commission meeting said really all that needed to be said. And quite powerfully I might add. 

Before we proceed to TOB's odd blog post note that Kevin D. Thompson is a Black man. This is not unusual by any means: The Palm Beach Post has many Black people working there including editor Rick Christie, reporters Leslie Streeter and Wayne Washington to name just a few. 

Here is what TOB put on her blog only a few short hours after introducing the reporter to her readers that is well, very odd:
CNS News refers to itself as "THE RIGHT NEWS. RIGHT NOW". 

Why in the world would TOB feel it necessary to use Walter Williams and Ben Carson in a blog post soon after introducing our new beat reporter? I'll leave it to you to draw your own conclusions.

The bigger issue, I believe, is this: on many issues be it Climate Change, or 'Dark Skies', race relations, or even issues such as infrastructure repairs too many see our little, tiny city as some crucial cog in the national stage. We're not. Lake Worth is a small city, like many other small cities all over the country trying hard to solve our problems and make life better for all our citizens. Let's put Lake Worth in perspective:
  • Lake Worth has 36,000 residents
  • Lake Worth is approx. 7 square miles in land area
  • Lake Worth is one of 38 cities in Palm Beach County
  • Palm Beach County has 1,400,000 residents
  • Lake Worth's population is less than 3% of PBC
  • By land area, Lake Worth is less than 1% of PBC
A little perspective is in order, don't you think?

Margaret Menge gets educated by the Palm Beach Post editorial board

Nothing better illustrates the tactics of Margaret Menge than her 'Letter to the Editor' that is appearing in The Palm Beach Post tomorrow. The Post doesn't fall for it and sets her straight.

Menge in her now-defunct tabloid was known for asking questions with the target being tasked with proving a negative. In the Post tomorrow she puts into question the integrity of Judge Jeffrey Gillen suggesting he was acting due to political motivations vis-à-vis getting re-elected. Wrong.
Smackdown. And she also twisted one of her facts. I'll deal with that tomorrow.

Of course this 'Letter to the Editor' is about the recent news of a woman in a dispute of not wanting to have her child circumcised and was put in jail by Judge Gillen. Haven't paid much attention to the story actually.

On that topic have no opinion; I have no skin in the game.

Planetizen on a 'demographic crisis': "Why Bikeshare Doesn't Appeal to Low-Income Commuters"

In some locales around the country a solution for this problem is being sought. Here's an excerpt from the article in Planetizen:
     Bikeshare faces a demographic crisis. [emphasis added] Often a success where locals are wealthy, it has failed to take root in poorer communities of color, where a greater proportion of bike commuters live. "This is a glaring issue, critics say, especially in places where public money is being used to help bike share systems break even."
     Despite efforts by cities like Philadelphia to locate bikeshare stations in poor neighborhoods and allow payment by cash, the system has yet to catch on fully.
     Reasons for this disparity coincide with more general transportation challenges low-income neighborhoods face. 

Palm Beach County hotels: rising rates & occupancy from last year [and why Lake Worth needs a hotel(s) downtown]

This news comes from Arlene Satchell at the Sun Sentinel:
     Hotels in Palm Beach County were 77.9 percent full last month at an average daily rate of $189.51. That compared 76 percent and $181.28 for the same month last year, according to STR.
And note that the numbers are up for Broward and Miami-Dade counties also.

And what of all those hotels in the little City of Lake Worth? This is what you see when you go to the Lake Worth VisitFlorida website:
Note that VisitFlorida is the most visited site in the world for those considering a trip to Florida. Along with two B&B's the Gulfstream Hotel is listed (which is not open for business as yet), and two hotels that are not in the City. 

Also listed as a place for visitors to stay is John Prince Park which is also not in the City of Lake Worth (and also not a hotel). 

And South Palm Suites is on the list for visitors to consider. Just one problem: that hotel doesn't exist any longer; it's now a sober house. 

From Jennifer Sorentrue: All Aboard leader seeks to duplicate success at Disney, Denver

If All Aboard Florida (AAF) is of interest to you then this story is a must read. You learn much about Mr. Reininger's previous successes and probably why he was tasked with this massive project. As you're probably aware construction of the AAF station in downtown West Palm has begun. Here's a short excerpt from this very good story in The Palm Beach Post:
     As All Aboard Florida's president, Reininger has been tasked with an equally complex level of planning and coordination as the company works to bring its express passenger train service to South Florida. He points to the station in Denver, saying All Aboard Florida's train stations in West Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale and Miami will have a similar impact on the downtown neighborhoods that surround them.
     "We learned a lot about the integration of transit systems into downtown environments," Reininger said of his work in Denver, where he spent two years as a managing partner with the Union Station Neighborhood Company. "In my view, if you do things right, a place should have a feel unto its own. One of the great things about Denver is it is unique. You get a real sense of place in Denver, and Union Station really contributes to that sense of place. We are going to do the same thing in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach."
Here is a demonstration of an AAF train going through a train crossing (it's a very short video):

William Kelly reports: "Taxable values up 7.6 percent in Palm Beach, early estimate show"

Of course, we all know by now that the City of Lake Worth which sits across the Intracoastal from Palm Beach (33480), far outpaced the Town of Palm Beach this year (9.5%) when it comes to an increase in taxable property value. We in Lake Worth are very proud of that. But I digress, here is an excerpt from William Kelly's story in the Palm Beach Daily News (aka, The Shiny Sheet):
     The tax roll for all residential and commercial real estate in town is listed at $14.4 billion, up from $13.4 billion a year earlier, according to the estimate.
     Countywide, values leaped by 8.7 percent over last year — the largest one-year increase in a decade.
     John Thomas, director of residential appraisal services for the property appraiser’s office, said this is the fourth consecutive year for countywide growth, and the second straight year for growth in all 38 municipalities.
 

Save the Date: Community Clean-Up on Saturday, May 30th

CBS12/WPEC's Jonathan Beaton: South Florida National Cemetery on Memorial Day

Here is Jonathan Beaton's story on the incredible effort honoring the fallen at the South Florida National Cemetery.
Here is an excerpt from the story:
SUBURBAN LAKE WORTH (CBS12)--For the first time in history the 17,000 plus stones at the South Florida National Cemetery have Old Glory proudly displayed for Memorial Day.
     CBS 12 learned more than 450 volunteers came out, who showing their love of country and it’s veterans during this beautiful, holiday tribute.
     “What better way to pay your respects than to do this, especially for Memorial Day tomorrow,” said Benito Avendano.
     Benito Avendano with Flags for Fallen Vets helped to spur the tribute, rallying local residents, raising $18,000 to ensure a sea of red, white and blue for Memorial Day.
     With a smile on his face, the 11 year Air Force veteran says the holiday weekend is an extra special time of remembering with friends and family.
NBC5/WPTV's Jacqulyn Powell was there also and here is her video of the event at the cemetery. Here is an excerpt from her report:
A new Memorial Day tradition begins in Lake Worth Sunday morning.
     Miniature American flags are being placed on every grave in the South Florida National Cemetery.
     It's one of the few national cemeteries in the country where flags haven't been placed on the graves every year for Memorial Day.
     But this year, a national organization raised enough money to start up the program in south Florida.
Of course this is a great story about Memorial Day here in south Florida. However, the one glaring error is Jacqulyn Powell misreported the location of the cemetery and at least one person commented on the WPTV site and is none to happy about this:
It's time for another class for the folks at NBC5/WPTV on "what is Lake Worth" and "what is NOT Lake Worth". If you have any questions please feel free to email me and I'll answer whatever questions you have. You can also contact Jonathan Beaton and he can help you out also. 
For the curious among you the South Florida National Cemetery is west of the Florida Turnpike

The Other Blogger accuses me of powers I do not possess...

Kevin D. Thompson is the new beat reporter here in Lake Worth for The Palm Beach Post. He's being warned, apparently, about me and my supposed history of kicking the Post's reporters out of town. I really should be honored having so much power! This goes back to the hand-wringing and hysteria when I pointed out again and again the errors in Chris Persaud's news reports. Chris Persaud was the last reporter, prior to Kevin Thompson, the Post assigned to Lake Worth. There was a time when we had no coverage by our local paper of record, and they found a way to endorse the wrong candidates in this past election. Editorial board member Stacy Singer admitted that she was hesitant about that endorse since they had no one on the ground here in Lake Worth

Ultimately what sealed the fate of Mr. Persaud was when he borrowed (there is a "P" word I am trying to remember; you know, when you use someone else's words and don't give them credit) a news story from the Associated Press. You can read about that here.

Before I continue, here are the other Post reporters we had in the City in recent memory that I "ran out of town":
  • Lona O'Connor (she took the Post buyout and retired; she wasn't here long prior to retirement but while reporting on the City did excellent work [maybe we'll review some of her past articles soon])
  • Eliot Kleinberg (he attended, I think, one City Commission meeting; I'm not a mind-reader but think he concluded rightfully it was unfair to both him and the City to continue. Really now, he is the West Palm beat reporter, writes a history column, writes books, and has a blog too. How much can you ask of one person?)
  • Willy Howard (you could fairly say Willy Howard, who I referred to as "Press Release Willy") and I had some issues. Chiefly being the lapdog of then Commissioner Mulvehill and former City Manager Stanton. However, whenever we ran into each other we were cordial and respectful. I think Willy Howard would be greatly offended at the notion I "ran him out of town". He, like Lona O'Connor, took the Post buyout and retired. And I'm happy to report he now contributes on occasion for The Coastal Star.
A little history is in order now: The Post buyout several years ago, of which many employees took advantage of (if recall correctly) was a one-time offer over a short period of time. It was take it or leave it. The papers editor at the time, Randy Schultz, eventually took the buyout also.

As you can see, the notion I ran any Post reporters "out of town" is absurd.

Now back to Chris Persaud.

He had a number of corrections printed in the Post due to his mis-reporting. And he's known as probably one of the few reporters in U.S. history to have a correction and then a correction to the correction. He called me one day asking for Herman Robinson's phone number. He had mistakenly referred to Mr. Robinson as a "developer" in one of his reports which is absurd. (Mr. Robinson is retired and does work as a contractor, the "Mr. Fix-It" variety; not exactly what you would call a 'developer'.)

The obvious question comes to mind: why would a 'reporter' do a news report about a man and not talk to him in person first? I gave Mr. Persaud the phone number and a correction was made. Note that any reporter can call half the people in Lake Worth and get Herman Robinson's phone number in about two minutes. Or less.

Obviously there are some in this City who still harbor hard feelings about Mr. Persaud's exit from the Lake Worth scene. All I did was correct the errors he made; nothing more and nothing less. Which begs another question: was I supposed to just ignore factual errors in The Palm Beach Post, the areas paper of record? Or any other paper for that matter. And it turns out that he was an intern and was there temporarily anyway.

Monday, May 25, 2015

President Obama's Weekly Address: Honoring Our Fallen Heroes—A Message About Memorial Day

Andrew Marra: Blanca Diaz graduates High School despite near insurmountable challenges

This story by Andrew Marra appeared on-line early last week. Don't recall seeing this story in the print edition but may have missed it. This is an incredible story and an equally interesting read. Here is a short excerpt:
     There were times last fall – after her mother’s capture, after the flights to and from Mexico, after the bleary-eyed mornings rousing her 6-year-old sister from bed – when Blanca Diaz thought she would never manage school again.
     Both of her parents were in Mexico, her mother deported after being caught sneaking across the border to reunite with her in Jupiter. Parentless and living with an uncle, 18-year-old Blanca cared for her little sister alone.
     Each morning she woke her sister, dressed her, arranged her hair in a ponytail and walked her to Jupiter Elementary School. She prepared meals for her uncle and cousin and kept their small home clean.
She was far from certain about her own future when she re-enrolled at Jupiter High School in November, months behind her classmates and newly weighted by motherly concerns.
     But today, when Jupiter High’s seniors walk for graduation, Blanca will be among them, a tassel in the crowd that, if not for her mother’s urging and her school staff’s concern, might not have made it to graduation day.
Here is a picture taken by Bill Ingram that appeared in the story:
Congratulations!

Vox: New Yorker, one of country's most liberal magazines, "Women and minorities are way under-represented" in iconic cartoons

From Vox: "Someone did a statistical analysis of New Yorker cartoons and it's actually pretty depressing"; an excerpt from the article:
     Recently, in a series of articles, the semi-satirical journal Proceedings of the Natural Institute of Science conducted a thorough statistical analysis of a very important topic: New Yorker cartoons. [emphasis added]
     Okay, so the basic idea of analyzing these alternately beloved and mocked cartoons is admittedly a little tongue-in-cheek in the first place.
     But Matt J. Michel and the series' other authors actually looked at real data — they coded every cartoon the magazine published in 2014 — and they came to some pretty depressing findings about the portrayal of non-white dudes in one of the country's most liberal magazines.
Women and minorities are way under-represented in these cartoons
I'm not a fan of editorial cartoons but maybe I should start paying more attention to what appears in The Palm Beach Post.

[UPDATE] Do you live in City of Lake Worth? Ignore NBC5/WPTV & Palm Beach Daily News story about shooting on Sunday, 5/24

From the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics: "Remember that neither speed nor format excuses inaccuracy."

[UPDATE: CBS12/WPEC got it wrong too. Aren't the good citizens of the City of Lake Worth deserving of fair and accurate news stories? Apparently not. 

If any of these news outlets were this sloppy in West Palm Beach, Delray, or Wellington they would get corrected immediately. Is it time for Lake Worth to assign a Public Information Officer (PIO) to monitor the TV news and print media? An official seal on an email might get more attention than some blogger concerned that his city is being poorly represented.]

This incident occurred outside the City, in suburban Lake Worth. And Palm Beach Daily News reporter also got it wrong.
  • Being west of Congress Ave. is a clue the incident did not occur in Lake Worth 
  • And being north of Atlantis is a clue
  • And being southwest of Palm Beach State College is a clue
  • And being northwest of Palm Beach County/Lantana Airport is another clue

Landmarks board likes design of new Southern Boulevard Bridge

Click title for link about the new replacement for the Southern Boulevard bridge. It is quite an improvement, both aesthetically and functionally. David Rogers wrote the piece in the Palm Beach Daily News. From the article:
     To add visual interest, architect Enrique Woodroffe of Tampa plans to place a dome-shaped pergola on the north side of the main pier east of the Intracoastal Waterway. Commissioner Page Lee Hufty encouraged the team to allow plants to grow atop the pergola to provide more shade for pedestrians.
     The bridge tender house will move from the bridge’s south side to its north side. Windows on all sides will give bridge tenders a better view of the channel, Woodroffe said.
     Other improvements will include 10-foot-wide shoulders — to accommodate car break-downs and bicycle traffic — and sidewalks to 
double in width to 6 feet, according to Costa [engineer Luis Costa of Boca Raton-based USR Corp.].

Cool idea! Part of a Kickstarter campaign, almost doubled their goal.


I wonder when these will be available?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Ft. Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler on C-SPAN

Mayor Jack Seiler talked about the history of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as scenes of the city were shown. Says that the biggest problem is getting around the city due to its success and people wanting to be there.

He was interviewed at the New River Inn before the kickoff event for C-SPAN’s visit to Fort Lauderdale.

Quick video, lasts 1:40.

Comment left under: "Why all the pulling of hair? Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell's comments from Lake Worth ITN Beach Workshop Meeting (5/19/15)"

This comment was left last night at 8:19 p.m. on this blog:

The only re-writing of history is right here on this blog and out of the mouth of Maxwell. Mcvoy was not even a commissioner then. In fact, he formed a Pac AGAINST the city for what they did for contracting with Greater Bay. To tell you the truth, the gals above did some great things in Lake Worth. 

My response this morning:

To Anon at 8:19. Fact: McVoy was first elected Commissioner in 2010 in November. Stanton started as City Manager in April of 2009. Demolition of the existing Casino building happened during 2011. There were a lot of decisions regarding the design of the beach project from 2009 on, while Commissioner Jennings was still in office and then after Commissioner McVoy was elected. Commissioner Golden was on the Commission until November 2011. Commissioner Mulvehill was there until 2012. During the Stanton period, we had Varela, Waterman and very late in this period Triolo. It was late in 2011, after the election of Mayor Triolo and Amoroso, that Stanton was led to the door.

Prior to all this, Christopher McVoy led the "We Love Lake Worth" petition drive to rescind the zoning and land use designation on the beach property to Beach and Casino. That is the same zoning classification we have on the property today that was later amended to include a .1 floor area ratio (FAR) which allowed a commercial square footage on what is an 19 acre property, approximately. Doing the math, that means we could ultimately have 82,764 square feet of floor area at the beach, less what is already there in the way of the Casino building and the pool.

McVoy's petition led to him being sued by the city spawned from the rezoning and land use challenge's effect on the Greater Bay agreement and halting progress there. 

As I type this, I can understand the confusion that is out there as this creates a lot of smoke and more than a few mirrors to hide behind.

Many of the major construction decisions were made from 2008 onward by a Commission that included Jennings, Mulvehill and Golden, and then one that replaced Jennings with McVoy.

Hence this picture:

Here it is! First article by a real beat reporter in Lake Worth since Lona O'Connor (it's been a long time folks)

Lake Worth mentioned WAY ABOVE THE FOLD in today's Sunday paper (5/24)
The story by Lake Worth beat reporter Kevin Thompson appears in the print edition on the front page of the 'B' section. Here is the on-line article.

It was Stacey Singer of the Post editorial board who told me in March of this year, and I'm paraphrasing here, that she had no idea what was going on in Lake Worth because they didn't have a reporter covering the City. Well now we do.

If there is good stuff happening in your neighborhood or a good story about your City of Lake Worth if you don't contact Mr. Thompson then that's your fault it doesn't get reported. I think we have a good, accurate report here; balanced and representing both sides of this very complex issue facing our City.

The 'other side', if you will, those opposed to any change, those afflicted with paralysis by analysis, and the many who oppose any discussion at all on how to fix the failed Casino complex business model will be spinning their story to Mr. Thompson: most likely daily phone calls, emails, whatever means they have to get his attention. Remember, these people are pros at spinning the media; been doing it a long time. The excuse that "we work and they don't" doesn't hold water any more. The future direction of the City in on the line.

Here is "Kevin's" contact information:
Here are the last reporters tasked with covering Lake Worth from most recent:
  • Chris Persaud, who was actually an intern and not a beat reporter
  • Eliot Kleinberg, the beat reporter for West Palm Beach worked briefly as a reporter in Lake Worth but was stretched too thin and went back to the West Palm beat
  • Lona O'Connor did the Lake Worth beat until she was part of the last Post buyout and retired
  • Willy Howard worked the beat for many years prior to him also taking the Post buyout and retiring
Did I miss anyone?

[RE-POST] The Facts: Pastor Mike Olive & Common Ground (no 's') Church—What You Need to Know

[This is a re-post. Note that until February 20th, 2015, no one had ever heard of pastor Mike Olive or the Common Ground (no 's') Church. Mike Olive and his church were first introduced to the public in Vol. 1/Issue 6 of Margaret Menge's ALWAYS FREE newspaper. The original post follows:]

An on-line magazine with 2.5 million monthly readers picked up the story about Pastor Mike Olive and the Common Ground (no 's') Church. This is an investigative story by The Raw Story. Here is how The Raw Story is described in Wikipedia:
The Raw Story is an American online tabloid publication founded in 2004 by John Byrne. It covers current national and international political and economic news and publishes its own editorials and investigative pieces.
Here is the title of the story by investigative reporter Travis Gettys:
Right-wing Christians screech about ‘KGB’ spies after city simply checks church’s zoning permit
The title sums up the nonsense being put out there Pastor Mike Olive and the self-described 'editor/reporter', Margaret Menge. Excerpts from the article in The Raw Story:
     The city does not require churches or nonprofit organizations to pay a business license tax, but they are required to obtain a use and occupancy certificate [emphasis added] – which officials use to ensure they don’t pose public safety hazards or break any local, state, or federal laws.
     Olive became alarmed last month, when a code officer stopped by the church and recorded video evidence on his cell phone.
     “We had one gentleman come in from the city wearing a hoodie, and he was hiding the camera in the pockets of his hoodie,” Olive said.
News accounts of the incident compared the code officer to KGB spies and suggested city officials were waging war on religion.
     The code officer, Gerald Coscia, found the church may have been overcrowded and possibly lacked a sufficient emergency exit, and he said the building likely failed to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act.
     He determined that Olive’s landlord, Mission Education International, had a valid business license for the coffee shop with an exemption for charitable organizations, but the church lacked a use and occupancy certificate.
[and...]
     The conservative Liberty Counsel sent a letter to the city on his behalf, demanding they stop requiring churches to pay for the business licenses.
     The city manager, Mike Bornstein, said the dispute is apparently based on some misunderstanding, because churches are not obligated to pay those fees.
     They are, however, required to submit to inspections to obtain the use and occupancy certificate to ensure they’re safe for public use.
     Liberty Counsel claims in its news release that the city threatened the landlord with foreclosure and daily $500 fines, but the letter sent by officials makes no mention of those penalties.
[and...]
“Please be assured that the City has the best interests of the public in mind and wants to ensure there are no life safety issues with regard to the operations,” the letter adds.
[The letter referenced is by William Waters, the City of Lake Worth Director for Department of Community Sustainability.]

Thank you Mr. Travis Gettys for getting the truth our there. Pastor Mike Olive and Margaret Menge have done a tremendous amount of damage to our city that we don't deserve. If you're ever in Florida make your way to the little City of Lake Worth and we'll show you how wonderful our City really is.

More fallout from Margaret Menge and 'pastor' Mike Olive:
Kathleen Walter at CBS12/WPEC did a 'news segment' on Mike Olive.
Christians persecuted in Lake Worth?
The "End Times"?
Are you sick to your stomach yet? Want to see more?

From Vox: "How suburban sprawl hurts the poor"

Joseph Stromberg has this information about suburban sprawl. When you read this information think about all those western communities popping up in Palm Beach County. Eventually the jobs are going to follow, very far from the cities that have people with less means looking for jobs (many without their own motor vehicle):

     One of the basic problems here is called spatial mismatch: the fact that millions of low-income urban households are located far from the suburban places where jobs are often available. [emphasis added] Danielle Kurtzleben'sVox article on spatial mismatch is a great primer on the issue.
     Part of the root cause of this mismatch is historical. Starting in the 1950s, extensive highway systems were built through almost every major US city, linking them with budding suburbs. Along with other factors, this led many wealthy, white residents to flee cities, initially commuting in for work on the highways.
     Employers eventually followed them, bringing workplaces to the suburbs and leaving fewer jobs in the cities. Since at least the 1990s, the majority of suburbanites commute to the suburbs for work. "The dominant pattern today," says Alan Pisarski, a commuting researcher, "is suburb to suburb."
     As a result of this job sprawl, another recent Brookings report found, the number of jobs available within a typical commute distance for the average US metro area resident fell by 7 percent between 2000 and 2012. But it declined more than twice as much — by 14.3 percent — for people living in high-poverty urban areas.
     For the disproportionately low-income people left behind in the cities, this poses a huge problem. "We've ended up with a lot of people in cities who look at job listings and see openings in places they can't easily get to," Norton says.

Train/Auto Accident - Sixth Avenue South and FEC Tracks this morning:

Thanks Kevin D. Thompson: "Want to get wet and have fun this weekend? Lake Worth may have the answer"

Thanks to our new reporter at The Palm Beach Post, we have information on the water exercise classes that take place on the weekend. These are the same ones that I participate in and will be going to shortly. There is a class tomorrow, Monday, since it is a holiday. It will start at 10 a.m. like the regular classes and be followed by a potluck picnic at the pool.

From the article:
Well, a water exercise class will be held on Memorial Day at the Lake Worth Casino pool. The class is taught in shallow and deep waters. Equipment is provided.
Everyone is encouraged to bring something to eat so the group can have lunch together.
Class is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Fee is $5. For information, call Sally Welsh, 561-281-5086.