Saturday, November 21, 2015

Video: Glen Torcivia's "boring" observations that are anything but—More on the prayer issue at City meetings in Lake Worth

For more of the background on this use this link and this one too. The Lake Worth City Attorney, Glen Torcivia, at the City Commission meeting on 11/10 asked to "bore" the others on the dais with an explanation on a U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) case to help guide the decision-making process vis-à-vis invocations/prayers at the beginning of City meetings.

The video below is enlightening to say the least. Mr. Torcivia explains a case that went to SCOTUS concerning the Town of Greece in New York. What is so interesting is that public perception is the city lost that case and that is not true. The Town of Greece won the case on a split 5-4 vote despite their invocations at city meetings being overwhelmingly given by Christians in the town.

Note that Mr. Torcivia talks about certain standards that can be applied to invocations which the insulting atheist, Preston "I'm an Atheist!" Smith, chose not to adhere to. Instead of explaining atheism's role in society, or more broadly, why it should serve a legitimate role in our country, he chose to demean people of faith.
A side note: Is Preston "I'm an Atheist!" Smith a spokesman for the American Atheists?
The video below is a little over 7 minutes and would encourage you to share it (using this link) with anyone you know who has an interest in this debate and wants to learn more:

Lastly, I've written quite a lot about this subject and in case you're curious my personal opinion is invocations have no place in government meetings. Then-candidate Ryan Maier agreed with me and after he got elected to a Lake Worth city commission seat he changed his mind. Another example of how muddled things can be when you mix religion and government.

"Hmmm, what's this I hear about a 'donut hole' in West Palm Beach?" Learn more at NBC5/WPTV

Chavy Chase said, "A donut without a hole, is a Danish." 
As you'll read below, West Palm's 'donut hole' might be on its way to becoming a 'danish'. Brian Entin has this news; here is an excerpt from the text in the news segment:
     There is record development in Downtown West Palm Beach.
     But some people who live downtown still complain about what is known as the "donut hole" between Clematis and City Place.
     It's darker than other, more popular areas downtown and there are some abandoned buildings and parking lots.
     "It you look around, it is not that well lit and there is not really anything here but bushes," Amy Mattingly said.
Later in the article you discover many who live in the area rather drive those four blocks in downtown West Palm than walk: they don't feel safe due to poor lighting. The subject of lighting and safety at night was a recent topic of debate here in Lake Worth if you recall. Here is the video from WPTV last night (11/20):

A thoughtful and profound response to the show "War on Religion" from the 'Common Ground' (no 's') church:

"Liars Lie, Haters Hate, Bloggers Blog" is the response to the thorough review of the dramatic, fictional show called the "War on Religion" in Lake Worth.
The 'Common Ground' (no 's') church is absolutely correct! We gotta stop the hate from The Obtuse Blogger (TOB):

[UPDATE] Murders in Greenacres—Read the Post article in the print edition today, B section, page B2 by Julius Whigham II

[UPDATE: Here is the latest from Lulu Ramadan at the Post. This news makes the front page, above the fold, in the print edition. If you weren't aware below is the latest on the work in Greenacres to solve their issues with crime:
It was a 4-1 vote by the city commission to merge their police department with PBSO. Continue reading the original post from yesterday (11/20) and the news from Julius Whigham II:]

Here's the online news from the Post about the two murders in Greenacres last night. Here is an excerpt:
     The [two] unidentified people were stabbed multiple times in a home on Chickasaw Circle and were taken separately to Delray Medical Center and St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, police said. Both of them died at the hospitals.
     City police are withholding the name of the victims until they notify their next of kin.
     Anyone with information on the slayings is asked to call city detectives at 561-642-2160. [emphasis added]
     The homicides are the 84th and 85th in Palm Beach County during 2015, according to a Palm Beach Post database of homicides in the county since 2010. They are the eighth and ninth this year in Greenacres, or two more than the city of 39,000 residents had from 2010-2014 combined.
Monica Magelhaes and Brian Entin at NBC5/WPTV have this news segment:

GMO myths debunked: Why the debate has become more reasonable sans the uninformed anxiety

It does seem that the debate about GMO's has shifted quite dramatically. Not long ago remember the anxiety about GMO's got people marching in the streets locally in a 'protest' if you want to call it that. The impact of that protest hovers around zero and probably drew more customers to Chipotle in the end. GMO salmon was recently approved and it was all over the news; NBC5/WPTV did a news segment on that. The public's reaction seems to be "who cares?"

GMO mosquitoes that slow the insects breeding process are coming to Florida if they're not already here. Did you know mosquitoes kill more humans each year than any other living thing? Other than other humans, of course. GMO yellow rice is helping to solve the food crisis around the world and a kiwi smoothie would be a dream were it not for altering the fruits DNA.

Answers are being sought to solve citrus greening problem in Florida but ultimately the answer will be found in a few years in a lab. Without an answer to that problem all the license plates in the state will need to be switched: What's the point of having oranges on plates if their aren't any orange trees left?

Last year remember the local hysteria over GMO's here in Lake Worth, FL was at a fever pitch. Happened to walk by a booth downtown with anti-GMO literature and a very nice lady told me a lot of frightening things such as GMO's were responsible for the declining bee population, yellow rice was a menace, and we were all going to die. Needless to say, she wasn't a big fan of Monsanto.

This website might be why the debate has shifted:
This is a website for those concerned about GMO's. They take questions from anyone and they have a group of experts who will give you an answer. Why don't you try it and see what happens? Let me know what happens. I'll publish your question and the answer you receive here.

Friday, November 20, 2015

The little City of Lake Worth: Four time winner in the South Florida Gay News

The South Florida Gay News (SFGN) is a massive publication covering news in south Florida, mainly Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, and Broward counties. A lot of what they report on might surprise you, such as lane reductions in cities and altering traffic patterns to make city life safer. All regular readers of this blog will know my position on that.

Anyhow, the latest issue of the SFGN is available and it's the Best of 2015 edition AND LAKE WORTH WON FOUR TIMES! In these categories:
  • Best City and BEACH!
  • Best Non-Profit (Compass)
  • Best LGBT Activist (Julie Seaver at Compass)
  • Best LGBT Event (PrideFest of the Palm Beaches)
Congratulations! Here are the images from the print edition:
Note that PrideFest is already lining up volunteers for next years festival on March 19th and 20th. To help call 561-533-9699 or send an email.

The hypocrisy of Lake Worth Commissioner McVoy on display

The vote to go forward with the City's new invocation policy regarding prayer prior to commission meetings was 4-1, with McVoy the lone vote against. In the short video below he gives every reason why he should have made the vote unanimous but he chose not to—it was a purely political calculation. This is all about the insulting atheist, Preston Smith, and his act before the City Commission prior to Christmas last year.

The City is considering doing almost the same thing the county commission does prior to their meetings: the invocation, if there is one, is on a rotating basis with each on the dais having their chance. What Lake Worth will likely adopt is this: each elected official will have their chance in an order and can choose a moment of silence, say their own invocation, or choose someone from the community. Sounds pretty fair doesn't it? Not to McVoy because he voted 'No'.

Note that if the City chooses to go this route, which stands Constitutional muster, McVoy can invite Preston Smith back again to insult the citizens of the City. No one's freedoms are being violated. Also in the video Commissioner Maier chimes in and refers to those of the Jewish faith who, as you'll learn in a later video, have never been denied the chance to do an invocation in Lake Worth. Maier's pitch falls flat and doesn't further the debate in any meaningful way.

Enjoy this short video from the November 10th City Commission meeting and ask yourself this question: what was McVoy hoping to gain politically by dissenting?

And another question: should the City adopt rules for how elected officials act while his or her elected colleagues are out of the room? (Note: Things get real interesting starting at the 1:00 mark in the video below.)

Monorail in the Florida Keys? It's being seriously considered by the Monroe County Commission

This is what confuses the public. On the one hand there's concern about sea level rise and climate change but "The [Monroe] county's Climate Change Advisory Committee requested the study [emphasis added]" to embark on a major infrastructure project in the low-lying Florida Keys. The word "disconnect" comes to mind. Don't get me wrong, I am not a 'denier' on climate change or rising sea levels; my position is I don't have the answers.

Interestingly, the 7th Annual Southeast Florida Regional Climate Leadership Summit is in Key West starting December 1st. This is the news from Local10 referenced above:
     County commissioners in the Florida Keys will be asking state transportation officials to help study whether a light rail or monorail system would be feasible for the island chain.
     The Monroe County Commission agreed Tuesday to work with the Florida Department of Transportation on the study.
     Some commissioners and residents opposed the idea, saying a rail system would add visual clutter to scenic U.S. Highway 1.
This would be a fascinating panel discussion at the Climate Leadership Summit coming up.

Vox explains: How to use the y-axis in statistics to lie and confuse the public on almost anything

In other words, something big changes when you start the y-axis at zero, and that's what changes everything. The website Vox is one you should check out once or twice a week, especially after a major news event like the ISIS terror attack on Paris. They look at things from a different angle and don't fall in line like so many in the media always seem to do.

Now about that y-axis. . .

Everybody knows fracking is bad, right? How hard could it be to get it on the ballot?

Well, the prospect of daily earthquakes, sinkholes in the backyard, and eternal damnation might not be as easy a sell as you might think. This article in the Detroit Free Press is a very interesting one. Here are two short excerpts:
     A group looking to get a ban on hydraulic fracturing on the 2016 ballot has fallen well short in gathering the necessary signatures to put the issue before voters.
     The Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan announced Wednesday that they gathered 150,000 signatures in the last six months, but they needed 252,523 to qualify for the ballot.
[and. . .]
     The group has tried to get a fracking ban on the ballot in the last two election cycles in 2012 and 2014, but hasn’t gotten enough signatures, Kozma said, adding the group doubled the number of signatures they got this year over their 2014 totals.
If you recall, The Palm Beach Post editorial board, not to be confused with the news, has already chimed in and said "No fracking way." If you're interested in the history of natural gas in Florida read about the Sunniland formation here. Although the amount of natural gas there is tremendous and known since prior to WWII the technology hasn't been available to reach it.

The technology is available now but the price of fossil fuels is too low to make it a wise business decision. That along with the federal and state environmental guidelines. BTW, natural gas extraction in Florida is nothing new by any means.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

City Manager in Lake Worth, FL, Michael Bornstein: Prepare for the firestorm "that will happen again"

Will the TV news crews and fringe media be back in Lake Worth this holiday season trashing our City? Absolutely. No doubt about it. As City Manager Michael Bornstein explains in the video below, Lake Worth is the "poster child" now for all the fringe agendas, both far left and far right in this country on the role of religion: the Christian Right, Fox News, satanists, etc. You all know who they are.
The Obtuse Blogger (TOB) is all excited about the return of the insulting atheist: Preston Smith.
Don't take all this nonsense personally. Lake Worth doesn't matter. These people couldn't care less about the City OR its people. It's only the agenda that matters.

I will be posting a series of videos you can also see on my YouTube channel. The videos are from the November 10th City Commission meeting about the invocation issue that was on the agenda. I think you be "enlightened" by some of what you see and hear on these videos. One of the funnier ones is when Commissioner Andy Amoroso found out he was the 'poster child' for the far right until they found out he was gay and not particularly religious. Then they 'pivoted' and hated him. Hate and love can be changed like a switch on the wall: especially when it's the agenda at stake.

Enjoy this video as the city manager let's everyone know what to expect this Holiday Season in Lake Worth:

Oh, and Merry Christmas to all!

Is the climate changing in south Florida? Or is it the weather? What to expect this Winter

Remember: climate and weather are two very different things. The weather is not an indication of a changing climate or a harbinger of things to come. Weather changes all the time but climates are long-term. This Winter is likely to be a very wet one. Storm Team 5 Meteorologist James Wieland explains what to expect from El Nino in the Pacific Ocean:

What TV station do you choose to watch? Here is my rating of local TV news in the Lake Worth area in central Palm Beach County.

The Lord's Place making a difference in Palm Beach County

Michael Readling has an article in The Palm Beach Post about The Lord's Place. Here is an excerpt from the article:
     For the past 30 years, The Lord’s Place has been one of Palm Beach County’s leading homeless organizations, helping people get their feet under them, focus on making things better and, perhaps most important, take a deep breath.
     Having nowhere to sleep the next night can be a daunting thought and The Lord’s Place comes prepared with a newly enhanced, multi-pronged approach to make sure their clients have beds, counseling and job skills for when they get back on their feet.
     Of those three things, the bed is the most important, said Diana Stanley, The Lord’s Place CEO.
     “What we’ve learned is the first state of ending homelessness is providing someone with a home,” Stanley said. “People think you are homeless because of addiction or substance abuse of loss of a job, but that’s not always the case.
It's important to focus on these community efforts. All to often it's the one's making noise at the podium that get all the attention. Meanwhile, the heavy lifting is being left to others. Here is another recent article from Kevin Thompson on efforts to aid the homeless in Lake Worth.

If you have positive, community news on ways to aid the homeless in the City of Lake Worth, suburban Lake Worth (including Palm Beach State College) and Greenacres here is how you contact the Post reporter:
Email: kthompson@pbpost.com
561-820-4573
Twitter: @kevindthompson1

The Holiday's in Lake Worth and the Bike Give-Away: The goal is 100 new bikes!

Click on image below to enlarge:
If you have any questions about the bike give-away or would like to help out, contact Juan Ruiz at 561-533-7363.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

NSFW*: Hillary Clinton To Nation: ‘Do Not F### This Up For Me’

[Note: There are some who took the following blog post seriously and are all twisted out of shape. America's Finest News Source, or AFNS for short, is The Onion. If anyone thought I was denigrating Progressives note that I was a volunteer for the Nan Rich campaign for governor in Florida. Lighten up folks!]

Warning: vulgarity and foul language. Do not read if you are easily offended. Do not share with young children or known Progressives who do not get amused easily.

You've been warned: Here is the link to story at AFNS (aka The Onion)
*NSFW = Not Safe For Work

[UPDATE] Can a Lake Worth City Commission meeting that happened on November 10th not happen at all?

[UPDATE: The video of the 11/10 City Commission meeting is now available online (as of 11:00 today, 11/18). Check back for some takeaways from that meeting during the week.]

The meeting happened because I watched many segments myself online in real time. The meeting most certainly happened. Unfortunately wasn't able to be there with my camera that particular day. But where is the City's video? It is not available yet but hope it's up on the website soon.
Usually the video is available two days after the meeting but not this time. As of 9:30 on 11/17 it's still not up (a full week later). I'm not suggesting anything other than the video is not up yet so don't get all conspiratorial there Weetha!

I'm told I missed a very interesting comment. Stay tuned as they say.

Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia is the "greenest" NFL stadium in nation

During Sunday's football game between the Dolphin's and the Eagles noticed something peculiar: odd spinning devices at the top of the stadium. So I did a little research and this is what I found (not sure if this is the most current information available):
In 2013, Lincoln Financial Field became the "greenest" NFL stadium to date. [citation needed] Energy-efficient additions include 11,000 solar panels, and 14 UGE-4K wind turbines outside and on top of the stadium respectively. These installations account for 30% of the electricity used to run the facility. 2013 also marked the fourth year in a row that the venue made the top of PETA's list of "Vegetarian-Friendly NFL Stadiums".
That got me thinking about our own charming structure, the Lake Worth Casino. Remember when the previous city commission who approved the project came up with all those 'green' ideas like solar panels, a windmill, a rain collecting system, and a large cistern for fresh water? All those ideas were eliminated. 

The structure still does not have a Certificate of Occupancy (it's operating on a "temporary" CO) and to date is not LEED Certified. All of the 'green' ideas were eliminated—Oh, and the structure was not built on pilings either:
Very charming, isn't it? This is what the citizens of Lake Worth received for their guaranteed fixed price contract.

From Jason Hackett: A message from the Islamic Center of Palm Beach

Here is an excerpt from the news segment at NBC5/WPTV:
Sharif Elhosseiny with the Islamic Center of Palm Beach wants to make one thing clear:
     "Evil is evil, no matter what," Elhosseiny says. "It has no religion."
     After last week's terrorist attacks in Paris, Elhosseiny says his religion has been the target of discussion - and scrutiny.
Here is the video from the news segment:

Save the Date: The Everglades Bike Ride with the River of Grass Greenway

Learn more about the River of Grass Greenway across the Florida Everglades. Eventually there will be a bike lane from Miami to Naples/Marco Island along the Tamiami Trail. No doubt there will be stops along the way for those bicyclists who want to make it a 2-day trip or longer: hotels, campgrounds, and restaurants.
Here is the link to register.
Check out this 1:00 minute video below; a very enterprising idea presented in an entertaining way:

Southern Baptist Group reaffirms marriage is between 1 man and 1 woman for life: but there's trouble in paradise

Here is the subtitle of the article by Bob Allen at Baptist News Global:
Southern Baptists have been vocal in defending marriage as the union of a man and woman for life but haven’t always been faithful to their own standard [emphasis added], a Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma resolution admits.
Here are some excerpts from the article in the Baptist Global News article:
     We have not always lived up to our own standards, sadly,” Dilbeck, senior pastor of Quail Springs Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, told the newspaper. “Even as our commitment to the biblical definition is unchanging, we recognized in this resolution that we need to do better in living up to our beliefs, which stem from the Scriptures.”
[And. . .]
     The resolution doesn’t specify which “recent public scandals” it references, but it comes on the heels of a couple of high-profile media scandals involving evangelicals this year.
     Billy Graham’s grandson Tullian Tchividjian resigned in June as senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., after admitting an “inappropriate relationship” with a friend while he and his wife were separated. After losing his ministerial credentials, he filed for divorce in August.
And so it goes. Interestingly, this Commentary by Joseph R. Murray II appeared in the Post today (11/18); here is an excerpt:
     [T]oo many hard-core Christians have decided to model their evangelism after Sherman’s treatment of Atlanta. It is either black or white, with anyone sporting gray damned to hell.
     This view of Christianity is conducive to political movements that must continually secure fundraising to survive, but it hardens the very thing Christianity is about — the heart. It is how one social media guy can attract international media attention over a red coffee cup while those working the mission go unnoticed.
     Starbucks isn’t battling Christmas or Christianity; it is a company trying to make a buck. It is the self-proclaimed defenders of the faith who are terrorizing the faith from within.
Stay tuned as they say.

An error in The Palm Beach Post today (11/18), page B9, above the fold

Here is the article that appears in the digital edition. The canal mentioned in the article, the E-4 (Keller) Canal, is east of another location in Palm Springs that a blogger in Lake Worth mistook for Lake Worth. The Walmart on 10th Ave, in case you didn't know, is in Palm Springs. Here is an excerpt from the Post article:
[. . .] how a healthy man in his 20s drowned in the canal behind Flanigan’s Seafood Bar & Grill on 10th Avenue in Lake Worth. [emphasis added]
Flanigan's Bar & Grill is in unincorporated Palm Beach County correctly also called Suburban Lake Worth (SLW). The property on the other side of the canal is also in SLW. The location of the unfortunate death of a young man found in the canal is almost equidistant (east/west) between Palm Springs and the City of Lake Worth. The Lake Worth Park of Commerce which has been in the news recently is south of 10th Ave and east of the canal (along Boutwell Rd.). Phew!

The definitive answer on the actual location of a property is finding the address or owner of the property and going to the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser website. For information purposes only: The Lake Worth campus of Palm Beach State College is also not in Lake Worth. But many people think it is.

Lake Worth City Manager Michael Bornstein says: "Don't ask the question, 'what is possible' in this city"

The video below is more on the City's failed Casino complex/pool at the beach. Focus on what the city manager says starting at the 2:00 mark:
"Somehow just asking the question is taboo and I think that's what I keep hearing from people. Don't ask the question, "what is possible" in this city [Lake Worth]. Don't ask the question about what is possible, be it the beach, be it the road infrastructure. . ."—City Manager Michael Bornstein

In order to solve problems there are questions that need to be asked. In Lake Worth, though, there's a cabal of thought-police that jump into action when anyone begins to ask questions and they try to shut down the debate. That's getting harder to do in this City as more people question how and why the Casino complex was bungled so badly.

If, as the city manager suggests, you need to find out what is possible at Lake Worth's Casino and pool then that would necessarily lead to questions about how we got into this dilemma in the first place. And those are questions former city commissioners don't want asked. Why?
And did you know the City has fallen far behind in the loan payments and is relying nearly entirely on parking revenue to keep the Casino afloat? It's true.
The City's Casino complex is no longer "failing". It's now a confirmed business failure.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

New Palm Beach County Mayor Named

This is an honorary role that passes around the County Commission on an annual basis. The Mayor runs the meetings and represents Palm Beach County as its titular head for special occasions, etc.

My favorite Tweet of the Week

The City of Lake Worth, in case you didn't know, is less than six square miles in land area. However, in that little area are (by my count) at least 29 Christian churches. How many Muslim, Jewish, Hindu or others are there? I don't have the answer for that but maybe someone else does.

The point is if you're searching for a church or a faith-based organization there are no shortages of them in the City. This City is very friendly to the people of faith. Learn more about the St. Andrew's Episcopal Church here.

Episcopalian not for you? Here is a partial list of other churches in the City:
This may be of interest to you on Thanksgiving Day:
For more details about this service use this link.

The 7th Annual Southeast Florida Regional Climate Leadership Summit is in Key West

Here is the link to find out more and register if you wish.

Of course, there will be much discussion about public policy and where/how to spend money in preparation for rising sea levels. Possibly we'll learn more about what to expect in the next ten, twenty years. The Florida Keys is nearly finished their sewer project—one of the largest infrastructure projects in recent Florida history at a cost of nearly $1 billion. History will be the final judge on the wisdom of embarking on such tremendously ambitious project if sea levels do overtake low-lying Monroe County. 

Below is an excerpt from Cammy Clark at the Miami Herald on this subject titled, "The big billion-dollar stink over sewers in the Keys":
     From the era of Ernest Hemingway to the days of Jimmy Buffett, the island city of Key West got rid of its raw sewage the old-fashioned way, by dumping it into the sea.
     But, in 1979, the adage “the solution to pollution is dilution” no longer was acceptable for the environmentally sensitive waters near the world’s third-largest barrier coral reef. The state demanded that Key West clean up its act, and the city of 25,000 did just that, by building a treatment plant.
     The rest of the island chain, however, continued to rely on septic tanks, cesspits and other onsite disposal systems, meaning that with every flush, more nutrient-rich human waste seeped through the porous limestone and into the fragile ecosystem of a national marine sanctuary. The once-cobalt blue waters of this self-described paradise were becoming choked with algae. So the state, in 1999, ordered the rest of Monroe County to convert to central sewers.
     Nearly $1 billion later, the plumbing of the Keys is within sight of the finish line.
Rising sea levels was a topic of education for our friend here in Lake Worth, Larry the Lenz. You may find his take on the subject of rising sea levels interesting.

Latest Newsletter from the City of Lake Worth: Legislative Priorities in 2016

To sign up for the City's Newsletter use this link. Below is information from the latest Newsletter about the legislative priorities for next year in the Florida Legislature:
     Public safety, roads, sidewalks, water, sewer—basic infrastructure—are all in the purview of government. And all play into the needs of a healthy economy that creates jobs. Although Lake Worth has seen property values rise in the past year, the City simply cannot afford to invest in all of the infrastructure improvements that are necessary within the City.
     Each year during the State of Florida Legislative Session, counties & municipalities have the opportunity to request dollars—based upon specific criteria—and bring them back “home”. It isn’t an easy task to qualify for funding with every county and city competing for a limited amount of tax payer dollars.
     Projects must be well thought out, with plans completely designed by engineers and shovel-ready. Other factors play into the decision process: does the project enhance public safety; improve the physical environment; or enable job creation?
Lake Worth has two projects that are shovel-ready and in need of state funding:
  • Boutwell Road Infrastructure Improvements (Lake Worth Park of Commerce
  • School Safe Access & Water Infrastructure Improvements (fire hydrants, street resurfacing, and sidewalks)
More on the Lake Worth Park of Commerce:
What makes the Park of Commerce project unique is that it has buy-in from a local, county, regional and national level. “This is infrastructure needed for critical job creation,” said Richard Pinsky, who works on behalf of the City of Lake Worth. “This will absolutely increase Lake Worth’s tax base, economy, bring more jobs, and help with the housing situation.”
The two sponsoring this legislation are Representative Bill Hager and Senator Jeff Clemens. You might recall the video below of Senator Jeff Clemens (beginning at the 3:35 mark) on the unfortunate results at the last legislative session. Hopefully we'll get better news next year.

This Week's Neighborhood Association Meetings

Neighborhood meetings tomorrow (11/18) at Royal Poinciana and Thursday at Mango Groves. And for further news about current events at the Lake Worth Neighborhood Assoc. Presidents' Council go to the NAPC's Facebook page.

And then there are THE THREE. . .meet your City of Lake Worth incumbents

Come Ye All, Canadians! Come Ye All to Sunny Palm Beach County, Florida

Jennifer Sorentrue at the Post has more good news about Palm Beach County tourism and travel. Our good friends from Canada taking a cruise from Port Everglades will spend the day and night and the next morning in PBC before heading south to Ft. Lauderdale. Here is an excerpt:
     Hundreds of Canadian cruise passengers will spend a night in Palm Beach County before setting sail from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale as a result of a new partnership between Canadian North and Celebrity Cruises.
     The weekly Canadian North charter flights from Moncton, New Brunswick, and Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Palm Beach International Airport are expected to begin in January and continue through April, bringing roughly 1,300 visitors to Palm Beach County during the 11-week period. The partnership is set to result in roughly 700 nightly hotel rooms booked in Palm Beach County, said Sophie Gaeta, who oversees airlift development PBIA.
Jorge Pesquera, the president/CEO of Discover The Palm Beaches, is also quoted in the article. Here is a video called The Palm Beaches in 60 seconds and if you pay attention the City of Lake Worth gets one!

Westbound Flagler Memorial (North) Bridge Closed Overnight on November 18th

The big myth debunked for good: No, Lake Worth isn't and never was a "sanctuary city"

From the Center for Immigration Studies is a map of all the sanctuary cities. Lake Worth is not on the map. So that's that. Please spread the word and end this nonsense once and for all. I repeat: Lake Worth IS NOT a sanctuary city.

Lake Worth never officially became a sanctuary city despite what Cara Jennings says. It's not true. It was long a hope of former commissioners Cara Jennings, JoAnn Golden and Suzanne Mulvehill that it would be (all candidates supported by The Obtuse Blogger [TOB]). Former City Manager Stanton was here while the Day Labor Center was operating at what is now the Armory Art Annex. It was also under her direction that the City hired day laborers for odd tasks here and there. Then-Commissioner Jennings told of how the Labor Center served the "entire city" and that we should be glad that we have it due to the state of the economy at the time.

Below is a visit I made to the "labor center" and notice the 'hustle and bustle' of activity:

The Labor Center lasted about a year while those three previously mentioned commissioners were in office. Then the City had to address repairs to the building upon the center's departure. There were also expenses incurred in preparing for a Labor Center that the city never recouped. Other than the city commission not extending a lease for the center, former City Manager Stanton did little to thwart the efforts of her friendly commissioners.

Brian Entin with the latest: "Who was in charge when Corey Jones was killed?"

Haven't seen a word about this in The Palm Beach Post. Here is an excerpt from the text of the news segment:
     Police sources tell WPTV a sergeant was in charge of the night/early morning shift when Corey Jones was shot and killed by Officer Nouman Raja.
      "It is surprising and unusual to have a sergeant in charge of a shift and be the highest ranking police officer in the entire city," police expert and former Fort Lauderdale Asst. Police Chief Chuck Drago said. [emphasis added]
     Following a meeting with Corey Jones protest organizers and city leaders Monday, the mayor said he was not sure who was in charge of the department when Corey Jones was killed.
Here is the video:

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Criminal Justice Commission in Palm Beach County approves changes

The PBC Criminal Justice Commission will probably be front page news in The Palm Beach Post tomorrow. They're going to change the organizational structure and possibly become a more diverse group then they currently are.

If they really want to shake things maybe Lake Worth Anarchist Panagioti Evangellos Nasios Tsolkas (aka Peter Tsolkas) would be a good choice? Read about Mr. Tsolkas' Ecology of the Police State and you can also read Tsolkas' now-famous Kalamata Treatise. You can see why having someone like Mr. Tsolkas' on the Criminal Justice Commission would give another perspective on PBSO and Sheriff Bradshaw for example. Below is an excerpt from the Kalamata Treatise written October 10, 2011, where he predicts the future of global economics and what he sees coming to Lake Worth, FL:

Not to be doom-and-gloom, but things are not looking up in the world of conventional economics. [emphasis added] As I write this from the olive-laden hills of Kalamata [Greece], the European Union is on the verge of crumbling. The writing is literally on the walls of every city I’ve been through (usually with black or red spraypaint...) And despite the state of the EU, the exchange rate for the dollar gets lower by the day. Which is another way of saying, things are worse here in the US. Globally, things are worse than we are admitting… Surely you’ve noticed some signs of this yourself. Anyone else notice that Wall Street has been "occupied" all month?! Nearly 1000 people arrested in NYC amidst the growing rebellion against the dictatorship of the market. I hear the "occupy everything" fever might even be coming to Lake Worth...

—panagiotis evangellos nasios tsolkas:
PBC Environmental Coalition, co-chair
Night Heron, steering committee member
Earth First! Journal, editorial collective
Everglades Earth First!, agitator
Sierra Club, Loxahatchee, ExCom member
Lake Worth Community Relations Board, chair etc.
A sign used at a protest in Lake Worth. Read about that event here.

From Bethany Rodgers at the Orlando Sentinel: A clever way to fix a vexing problem in Altamonte Springs

The problem of dirty water run-off from I-4 into Altamonte Springs was solved in a very clever way by the city, FDOT, the St. Johns River Water Management District and the Florida DEP. Here's an excerpt from the article in the Orlando Sentinel:
     On the average day, a slurry of dirty rainwater capable of filling seven Olympic-sized swimming pools slides off a section of Interstate 4 and drains into Altamonte Springs.
     City officials couldn't be more excited.
     They see the runoff that many would treat as waste as a resource that can help meet water needs for miles around. And with the recent completion of a $12.5 million system called A-FIRST, they'll be collecting the water, cleaning it up and using it to hydrate lawns across Altamonte Springs and Apopka.
     "With this project, we now make usable 4.5 million gallons of rainwater a day," Altamonte Springs city manager Frank Martz said.
It's the first time that runoff from a major highway in Florida has been collected and re-purposed in this way. In fact, city officials say A-FIRST might be the first system of its kind anywhere in the United States. [emphasis added]
The Friends of the Wekiva River, a local environmental group, is also quite happy with this development.

An important distinction: the difference between Baptists and the Southern Baptists

Within the Protestant realm there are Baptist churches of many varieties and there are also different types of Southern Baptist (SB) churches. For instance, there's the SB church in downtown Lake Worth, Florida that's been acting out in all sorts of ways: like this example and this one too. There are radicals in all faiths and no one church is indicative of all the people who practice that particular religion.

How many different views are there in the SB faith? Peoples beliefs can break down into differences over how the world is going to end: amillennialism or dispensationalism. And there are many others.

Around 1960 or so many Southern Baptists became angry with the liberalization of America and they broke away from the Baptists. Suffice to say it was a nasty fight and it continues to this day. In 2004 the SB church withdrew from the Baptist World Alliance and swung far to the right in American culture. That move has hurt their membership and you can read about that in this article. Here is an excerpt from that article which appeared in Christianity Today on June 11th of this year:
     Headlined "SBC [Southern Baptist Convention] reports more churches, fewer people" by its official Baptist Press, the story is that even as the number of congregations affiliated to the denomination grew for the 15th year in a row, membership dropped by 200,000. It's the largest one-year decline since 1881. [emphasis added]
     Baptisms fell by 5,067, and weekly worship attendance also fell, by 2.75 per cent.
     This year's headline is a virtual re-run of last year's, which saw the South Carolina Baptist Courier report on 2012 figures: "State of the Church: SBC churches increase, but members and baptisms fall."
      The 2014 figures were announced by the SBC's LifeWay Christian Resources, whose president Thom Rainer said: "It breaks my heart that the trend of our denomination is mostly one of decline." He added: "Programs and meetings are not going to revive our people – only prayer and repentance will lead our people to revival."
The big takeaway seems to be, keep doing what you're doing at the 'Common Ground' (no 's') church here in the little City of Lake Worth:
"Jesus hates religion" in Lake Worth.
Another charming message from the Common Ground church.
Read about the "War On Religion".

Just to be clear: I agree with Ryan Maier (now a Lake Worth commissioner)—Invocations before City meetings should be eliminated

At a debate at the Lake Worth Playhouse, John Paxman (the moderator) had a Yes/No question for the candidates: Should the invocation at the beginning of City Commission meetings be eliminated? Then-candidate Maier said "Yes", they should be eliminated from the City's agenda.

Just to be clear. . .I agree with Ryan Maier. It's my personal view that prayer has no place in government meetings. But I also have nothing but respect for those that disagree, like Lake Worth Commissioner Ryan Maier.

I hope that clears things up.

Lake Worth's Parrot Cove Neighborhood Meeting Tonight (11/16) at 7:00

The Parrot Cove Neighborhood Association is part of the greater Lake Worth Neighborhood Assoc. Presidents' Council (NAPC). You don't need to live in the neighborhood to attend; it's actually a good idea to attend any neighborhood meetings that you're able to. For instance, the recent meeting by Tropical Ridge received a lot of attention in the City.
The Beach Club is located at 1 7th Ave North.

Signs of the times: The hot real estate market in the little City of Lake Worth—a city with a BEACH!

These two properties were featured in The Palm Beach Post yesterday (Sunday 11/15):
If you're looking for a home in Lake Worth, one of the more charming and historic cities in south Florida, there's a lovely home on the city's south side. If you've thought of operating a Bed & Breakfast a quaint and spectacular one is for sale next to Lake Worth's golf course

Visit Lake Worth and look at these beautiful properties and have lunch at Callaro's. One of my favorite spots for lunch. 

Very interesting article from Kimberly Miller at the Post: Why is Florida so hot this year?

No one has the answer but a lot of smart people are searching for clues. Here is one possible theory, an excerpt from the article:
     One variable that may have indirectly impacted Florida temperatures this year is La Nina’s brother, El Nino. This year’s El Nino, which warms ocean waters and changes weather globally, is one of the strongest on record.
     It’s responsible for the fierce upper-level winds that steered most of the tropical systems, including four hurricanes, away from Florida.
     But the lack of storms impacting Florida has meant less rain, fewer cloudy days and more sunshine to jack up temperatures. [emphasis added]
When the subject of weather comes up two things get lumped together (not in the article cited above; the reporter does a good job explaining the nuance) many times which are completely different topics: they are climate and weather. Weather can change by the minute but the climate is long-term; weather is not necessarily an indication of the climate and vice versa.

And an observation on the "climate change" debate in general: Why are people who question whether the climate is changing called "deniers"? It's a very clever word to use when you think about it. Saul Alinsky would be very proud of whoever came up with the tactical use of this word. It ends any constructive debate right in its tracks just like it's intended to do.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Looking at a new hotel west of I-95? On the south side of 10th Avenue North near the Park of Commerce. . .

The architecture for hotels of late leaves one uninspired. Long, four story rectangular boxes that consume most of the property. It would be nice to find a way to bring more motels/hotels to the eastern side of Lake Worth, perhaps along Dixie Hwy. I stumbled on some inspirational designs that would be considered Mid-Century Modern that would fit into a highway architecture theme. I am sure that elements of these are not possible due to building code issues (wind standards, etc.), but can we have a little more creativity in the designs that we do end up building? I hear a Holiday Inn is slated for the southwest corner of Boutwell and 10th Avenue North. Can we expect another corporate box there? And where praytell will be the location of our new Wawa?

Homeless advocates declare war on family park in Lake Worth; but what West Palm Beach is doing is just fine? (a re-post by request)

At a Lake Worth city commission meeting (8/18) the City was given a warning, or some might take as a threat, to make our Bryant Park ground zero in the continuing debate about homelessness in south Florida.
Again at a city commission meeting on 9/1 former commissioners Cara Jennings and JoAnn Golden ramped up their rhetoric. They are determined to use our City's family park, Bryant Park, as a pawn in their fight against "homelessness". Pay particular attention to what Golden says the the 1:20 mark in the video below:
Here is the reality: this drama is a Kabuki dance and has nothing at all to do with the homeless. The homeless, innocent actors, are being used as pawns in a political struggle to regain control of City Hall once again. And if they can drive tourism away, damage businesses in the City, and stop a hotel from re-opening (across the street from the park) that would be an added bonus.

Here is proof this has nothing at all to do with the homeless: just north of Lake Worth is West Palm Beach and the city there is taking steps to reign in the out-of-control homeless along Flagler Drive. What has been the response from the 'homeless advocates'? Silence.

Here is a news segment from Rachel Leitao at NBC5/WPTV, and an excerpt from the text of the news segment:
"Basically we're trying to discourage people [the homeless] from hanging out here and turning this into a make shift camp," says Elliot Cohen, Communications Director for the City of West Palm Beach.
So it's OK for West Palm to take steps and make their public spaces better for the public but not OK for Lake Worth? It's not hypocrisy; it's just politics.

From Vox: Was the attack on Paris by ISIS a sign of weakness?

Vox is one of my favorite websites for an alternate take on the news. After any major event such as the Paris attacks the media settles on a narrative and, for the most part, they all fall in line. In this 2-minute video Vox has a different take you might find interesting:

It is ordained. Lake Worth is that city!

Stop bragging and procrastinating! Go forth to That City and Buy and Sell and Make Money. Sell Coffee or whatever. Just Go!

Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city. We will spend a year there. We will buy and sell and make money." — Jas 4:13


Oh, and did you know there is one church in Lake Worth, Florida that is superior to all other churches in the City?

The downfall of suburbia and the road that got us there

"Racism, bad intel, profits, taxes – all played a part in our unsustainable suburban sprawl. The pending demolitions of Northland and the Silverdome bring that home. What lessons we learn remain to be seen."
John Gallagher, Detroit Free Press (see link below)

Here is an article from the Detroit Free Press on the suburban phenomenon and the automobile. Perhaps no other North American city suffered more of the effects and the unintended consequences of designing cities around the convenience of the automobile than the Detroit metropolitan area did. Most everyone understands the flaws now but few did when the exodus from the cities began. The "driving" principles (pardon the pun) ruled the day and Detroit fell to decay and neglect.

The Silverdome, once the home to the Detroit Lions, still stands with its 80,000 seats empty and open to the elements; its once-revolutionary fabric "roof" is in tatters. Northland, one of the first major suburban shopping centers was built in 1954. It is now empty due to changing consumer tastes and in part because it was designed specifically for the automobile to get you there.

From the article cited above, below are four of the eight reasons given by the reporter why once revolutionary structures like Northland and the Silverdome now lay in ruin :
Home Rule. Michigan law gives every local community wide leeway in deciding its own development policy. That has led to a lumpy development map across the region, with some townships opting to remain more rural while others go for more intensive development and the taxes that brings. What’s best for the region as a whole never gets considered. [emphasis added]
Bad demographic estimates. Back around 1950, when Southeast Michigan still enjoyed a heady population growth, some regional leaders believed that perhaps 10 million people would call the region home in the year 2000. Today the real number is a little more than 4 million. Planning for a population surge that never came lay behind much of the urgency in suburban growth.
Urban planning. Urban planners during the era of suburban sprawl paid more attention to the concerns of vehicle traffic than to concepts of walkability and urbanity. The result: Vast expanses of low-density suburbia are given over to paved parking lots and extra-wide streets. Northland and the Silverdome were typical in being plopped amid acres of concrete.
Racism. Toxic racial conflicts between blacks and whites did more than drive middle-class residents out of the city of Detroit. It also gave the newly minted suburbanites a sense of correctness – that Detroit had become a hell-hole best left abandoned. Better race relations no doubt would have lessened the urge to sprawl.
The four other reasons given are federal policy, local elected leaders, and the home builders/road builders who reaped the rewards from the elected's largesse.

These elements are not unique to a metropolitan area such as Detroit. Many are at play here in south Florida. We can thank Florida's growth management apparatus that operated (past tense) to mandate at least some level of state and regional oversight for growth and development. Michigan never had such a state agency. Regional planning was an afterthought there.

My school district as a youngster in suburban Lansing, Michigan projected a high school population of 10,000 people when it built its new high school in the late 1950s. To accommodate that future growth it was built into different "modules" so that new buildings could be added to the campus over time. That resulted in having to walk between buildings to get to your next class. This was especially fun in February when the wind chill was −40°F. When I graduated from high school the total enrollment was 1,200. The anticipated growth never arrived but the roads and other infrastructure went ahead anyway.

One other factor that portended the future was the impact of the oil crisis of the 1970s and the domestic auto industry being slow to react. Fuel prices are market driven; when supplies are plentiful few plan for a future when they're not.

A question we need to ask ourselves here in south Florida is why do we keep developing land "out west" for new, greenfield development? Why are we following the same steps that have led to the collapse of entire regions? We don't have to research ancient societies on other continents for answers—what happened to Detroit in the late 20th Century is clear enough.

It's estimated that 800 people are moving permanently to Florida each and every day on average. We should be encouraging these new residents towards our older, coastal communities and Lake Worth is one of those. Lake Worth is a bikeable and walkable city that was designed and platted prior to the automobile becoming the dominant transportation choice, pre-I95, pre-Turnpike, and pre-Uber too if you can believe that.

But instead politics, pandering, and short-sighted leaders get bogged down in arguments about 3-story buildings versus the charming 2-story variety and whether a developer should install gates or use hedges instead and on and on it goes. The gullible public gets furiously excited like hamsters on a spinning wheel and when they get tired or distracted their puppet masters yell "sea level rise!" or "somebody's trying to steal our BEACH!".

Meanwhile the Florida Everglades are getting paved over and another Lake Worth-sized city is planned between I-95 and the Florida Turnpike. Sad.

Is a Southern Baptist church in downtown Lake Worth, Florida superior to all other churches in the City?

There's a group out of Orlando that's been trying to plant a church in downtown Lake Worth and you might have read a thing or two about that on this blog. Church 'planting' is lot like franchising. Let's say you come up with an idea for the best chicken slider ever dreamed of and you want to start a chain of restaurants. You would search for interested franchisees and go from there.

The church in question, the 'Common Ground' (no 's') church, in order to attract people to their church located in a nightclub/bar is pitching the idea that they're the best church in town. Here is one way they're trying to do that (via Facebook):
"Jesus hates religion" in Lake Worth?
Their pitch is that they're not a religion and offer the best interpretation of what Jesus' message is to the world unfiltered by humans. They don't want you to be manipulated, you see. Are we therefore to conclude that all the other churches in Lake Worth are teaching the wrong message of Jesus according to the 'Common Ground' (no 's') church? If you use this website to find a Christian church in Lake Worth I count a total of 29 that are within the City limits and that's only Christian religions. 

Here is a breakdown of religious affiliation in Lake Worth. Baptist is 4% and Southern Baptist is a tiny fraction of that. In perspective, the people of the Jewish faith number 3% in the City. You can say with some confidence the supreme message from the 'Common Ground' (no 's') church isn't exactly "carrying the day" in the City of Lake Worth. 

Below is a partial list of the 29 Christian churches in the City. Being somewhat familiar with a few of the churches below can attest they're more concerned with making Lake Worth a better community and City than criticizing their counterparts in the greater religious community (a link is provided to each church in the list):
If you're looking for a church in Lake Worth there are many to choose from. But if you're looking for the Good Word in a bar. . .

Learn more about the debunked yet fanciful and hilariously mythical "War on Religion" in the video below. Watch 'pastor' Olive (starting at the 1:30 mark) when the 'war' was at its hysterical peak.

Grand Bahama Island: Plan to create clean electricity and doing their part to save planet Earth

Below is an excerpt from an article by Susan Salisbury in The Palm Beach Post on efforts in the Bahamas to cut down on greenhouse gases:
     The U.S. Department of Energy has given the go-ahead to a Canadian energy company that wants to export compressed natural gas from the Port of Palm Beach in Riviera Beach to Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, but the operation still needs further local approvals.
     Emera Inc., a publicly traded company headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia, is the majority owner of Grand Bahama Power Co. The utility supplies power to all of Grand Bahama Island. Its main source of power generation is heavy fuel oil. [emphasis added]
What is fuel oil you wonder? You can learn more at Wikipedia:
The term fuel oil is also used in a stricter sense to refer only to the heaviest commercial fuel that can be obtained from crude oil, i.e., heavier than gasoline and naphtha.

Considering a move to Florida, like Lake Worth for instance, but worried about Sea Level Rise? Don't Fret! (at least for the foreseeable future)

Re-post. Back by popular demand! Larry the Lenz teaches Misty Meanor on the facts about Sea Level Rise:

My intrepid roving photographer, Larry the Lenz, sent me some pictures and notes concerning his good friend, Misty Meanor. Here is the story from Larry's notes and photos.

The lovely Misty Meanor panning for the camera.
Misty and Larry with Lake Worth's 1200' long BEACH! in the background.
One standard measurement scale for Sea Level Rise is a slice of Kraft Single White American pasteurized cheese.
Misty and Larry have known each other for many years now and Misty has been considering purchasing a house in Lake Worth. After a life of partying and causing trouble Misty wants to calm down and enjoy the slow pace for a while. Misty settled on a house west of Dixie not far from the Arts Lofts, a fixer upper and she can purchase the property at an excellent price. Here is the problem: Misty is concerned about the talk of rising sea levels that Commissioner McVoy keeps bringing up and some reporter called Pissant is writing about all the time. In fact, even an ex-city commissioner talked about the looming threat of rising sea levels.

Larry invited Misty for a ride to the beach and he brought along some props and information for her. 
First Larry showed Misty the 'Conclusions' from the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact Action Plan of October 2012:
"Southeast Florida [Regional Climate Change Compact] require active learning OVER THE DECADES TO COME. [emphasis added] The Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact has developed the institutional capacity to enable the collaborative learning required to MEET THESE CHALLENGES OVER TIME."
So Larry was able to demonstrate there is no immediate threat from sea level rise. In fact, the property Misty is considering is 20 feet above sea level.

Then Larry took out his visual aids. He brought along a slice of Kraft Singles American pasteurized prepared cheese. Actually Kraft cheese is one of Larry's favorite foods. Larry showed Misty that in any year the rising seas, over a year, MAY be as much as 3 mm or .119 inches. Larry even stood on the cheese slice and asked Misty if he looked taller, she laughed and said, "No!"

So, Misty was relieved and a little embarrassed she had been duped by the hysteria and misinformation. She was also a bit upset that people in positions of responsibility were misleading the public in such a fashion.

Thank you, Larry, for getting the information out and getting us in Lake Worth a wonderful new resident!