Saturday, March 19, 2016

Sea level rise, infrastructure in Lake Worth, and the roads that need fixing. Remember the 2014 'LW2020' bond vote that failed by just 25 votes?

Over "concerns" about sea level rise Commissioner Chris McVoy campaigned against the City's 2014 bond to fix our roads. The next time you go to Publix, commissioner, try taking North 'J' Street.
You'll learn why the bond vote failed later in this blog post. But first read the laughable hypocrisy of this letter published in the Palm Beach Post:
McNamara was one of the most vocal opponents of the LW2020 Bond that would have upgraded 1st Ave South and many other roads too. If he was hoping to elicit empathy from his fellow Lake Worth residents. . .
Anyhow, back on topic, if you live in Lake Worth and sea level rise is a concern for you, know that the LW2020 bond, had it passed, would have brought this City up to current infrastructure standards that take sea levels into account. Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell, for example, understands sea levels are a concern and for that reason he attended the 7th Annual SE Florida Regional Climate Leadership Summit in Key West this year and here is a quote from a City Newsletter:
“What is reassuring to me,” says Vice Mayor [Scott] Maxwell, “is that all levels of government are coming together to address the issues, each within their own individual capabilities. In Lake Worth, we need to focus on practical solutions and protect citizen’s property and wellbeing while balancing the fact that we must live within our means.
The City of Lake Worth isn't like Miami and isn't like Ft. Lauderdale either. Those cities have much more resources than Lake Worth to deal with multiple, complex issues but they're always brought up as examples of what Lake Worth should do. Sea level rise is an important topic but shouldn't, in my opinion, be any more important then the neighborhoods currently without adequate lighting and have too few fire hydrants—just two of the many challenges our City faces.

The concern many have with too much focus on sea levels is that human health and safety will take a back seat to what is essential and necessary for our City now. A balanced, thoughtful approach is necessary but with a keen focus on the current needs of our residents. Lake Worth Commissioner McVoy also attended the conference and he is quoted saying:
"The gorilla in the room is the rate of melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, which would add tens of feet of rise.”
Think many of our approximately 37,000 residents will disagree with McVoy about the true "gorilla in the room" as any car or bike ride through some City streets can attest.

Consider for a moment how small Lake Worth is: We're just 37,000 residents in Palm Beach County (PBC) which has nearly 1.4 million people. PBC is nearly 2,400 square miles and Lake Worth is only 6 (six square miles) of that total. Our beach is only about 1400' long. FYI, Lake Worth is only one municipality among 38 in PBC.

The "LW2020" bond vote would have gone a long way towards solving this issue and many others by bringing our City up to current standards. By just 25 votes it failed. That failure to pass the bond was primarily due to a former Lake Worth mayor from many years ago who now lives in Atlantis, Mr. Dennis Dorsey. He started a PAC called, ironically, "Citizens Against Unfair Taxation" (or "CAUT") along with a City resident named Katie McGiveron.
Do you remember these signs courtesy of CAUT? Remember when North 'J' Street north of Publix had these signs all up and down the street?
Know that commissioners Ryan Maier and McVoy also opposed the "LW2020" bond but they are also insistent on reminding City residents that we need to prepare for rising sea levels. If you can figure out that logic please let me know (my email address is in the right-hand column of this blog). We have yet to hear another plan to fix our City that's better then the bond proposed in 2014 but in an interesting twist, when Mayor Pam Triolo, Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell, and Commissioner Amoroso (all big supporters of the "LW2020" bond) take the long ride to Tallahassee for money to fix these issues, they were criticized for that too by many who lobbied against the bond.

The bond to fix the roads and infrastructure failed by just 25 votes. I never did get around to congratulating Mr. Dorsey on his win. Mr. Dorsey, who lives in the fine, well-kept city of Atlantis funded the effort to kill the bond. Katie McGiveron ran the ground campaign to confuse and mislead the public and she won. I forgot to congratulate her too.

I hope Dorsey and McGiveron didn't hit a pothole on their way out of town after their victory party because a streetlight wasn't working. The City is doing what it can to fix that. But congratulations Mr. Dorsey: all that money you spent paid off. The question is: Who really was the winner in that 2014 vote? We know who the loser is though: the City of Lake Worth.
Katie McGiveron (in white "Frank McAlonan" shirt) and Mr. Dorsey (in dark shirt next to her) at a candidate forum leading up to the last election. Did the voters remember what Dorsey and McGiveron did in 2014 which contributed to the recent landslide re-election of Mayor Triolo, Vice Mayor Maxwell, and Commissioner Amoroso?