Saturday, July 30, 2016

It's drizzling in Lansing, Michigan today but that didn't stop us from going to a car show (check back for car show pics)

Classic car fans will hardly believe their eyes. . .
A very rare car. Dad in his 1983 Oldsmobile Toronado convertible. A custom by Hess and Eisenhardt in Cincinnati.
The "Rocket Wall"
"The 135-horsepower 'Rocket' engine, introduced in the new 88 model in 1949, made Oldsmobile one of the world’s top-performing cars."
Dad and Yours Truly at the "Car Capitol Car Show" in front of the Michigan State Capitol in downtown Lansing hosted by the R. E. Olds Museum.

The Blueway Trail presentation by TCRPC at the Lake Worth City Commission

Rumors, mis- and disinformation, plus the myths are spreading fast as evidenced in comments made by two Lake Worth commissioners as you will discover below. To see a video explaining the Blueway Trail project use this link. The following information will provide many answers and, as always, Thank You for visiting.
The video from the City Commission meeting is below and here is a tease: The award for most absurd, ridiculous comment goes to Commissioner Chris McVoy, PhD. More on that below.

To see the slides from the presentation use this link to the City's agenda and go to page 5.

Kim DeLaney, the Director of Strategic Development and Policy at the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council (TCRPC) gave the update. The first 8 minutes is her presentation. You can't see the slides but she explains what is happening with the Blueway Trail on the C-51 Canal quite succinctly. Here is what to take note of following her presentation:
  • Commissioner Ryan Maier is the first to ask questions and that begins at the 8:20 mark. He talks about rumors he heard about it taking a boat 25 minutes to get from one side of the S-155 Spillway to the other. False. DeLaney politely says, "the numbers we've seen are a little different." About 6–8 minutes.
  • At the 10:20 mark Mayor Pam Triolo begins her remarks.
  • At 13:50 McVoy begins his comments and questions.
  • At 14:15 he makes the most ridiculous comment you can imagine. Talking about those people who live near the C-51, east of the Spillway, and the worry about increased boat traffic he says, "Hey, we were just thinking of putting I-95 right there." Not joking.
  • At 17:50 Triolo puts things in perspective once again noting that this project was once a dream of former Lake Worth Commissioner Suzanne Mulvehill. Oooops. McVoy gets a 'deer-in-the-headlights' look, mumbles, and then goes completely silent. Priceless.
For those of you who don't remember Suzanne Mulvehill. . . another classic photoshop by the inimitable Tom McGow from 2010:
Mulvehill bemoaned that the S-155 Spillway on the C-51 Canal blocked kayakers, like herself, from access to The Chain of Lakes.
Enjoy the video and hope this information helps to clear up some of the misconceptions and myths concerning this proposed project. No doubt the rumor mills, mis- and disinformation campaigns will now go into overdrive here in Lake Worth. Especially from those who think something like 'I-95' is coming to their neighborhood.

About the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County located in Lake Worth and contact information

The Cultural Council is a Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf VISIT FLORIDA Certified Tourism Information Center.

Galleries and Roe Green Uniquely Palm Beach Store open 10:00–5:00, Tuesday–Saturday. Call 561-471-2901 (Facebook.com/palmbeachculture).

For more information call Judith Czelusniak at 561-471-1602; jczelusniak@palmbeachculture.com
The Cultural Council of Palm Beach County is the official support agency for arts and culture in The Palm Beaches, serving non-profit organizations, artists and arts districts. The Cultural Council administers $4.5 million in grants annually, supports arts and cultural education, provides capacity-building training, and advocates for arts funding and arts-friendly policies. The Council promotes Palm Beach County’s cultural experiences to visitors and residents through multi-platform marketing and public information programs, including its one-of-a-kind Cultural Concierge service. The Cultural Council presents exhibitions featuring Palm Beach County artists and provides additional programming at its headquarters in the historic Robert M. Montgomery, Jr. Building, an iconic Streamline Moderne former movie theater in Downtown Lake Worth.

Since I'm in Michigan, a look back. . . Day the Earth stood still, October 17th, 2015

A happy tweet before Michigan fumbled the ball and lost the game:

Friday, July 29, 2016

Greetings from Michigan: "Si Quæris Peninsulam Amœnam Circumspice" [If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you]

Statue of Ransom E. Olds.
A much-anticipated day trip.
This Oldsmobile is an electric model from 1899.
A "personal luxury car", the Oldsmobile Toronado.
The Lansing City Market. The colorful structure (Tall Building!) overlooks the minor league baseball stadium for the Lansing Lugnuts.
"The Michigan State Capitol opened on January 1, 1879, to great acclaim. Designed by architect Elijah E. Myers, Michigan’s Capitol holds a special place in American history . . . It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1992."

Press Release from the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Lake Worth, Florida – The Cultural Council of Palm Beach County offers Northeast residents the perfect chance to plan a quick escape from the stifling Heat Dome—an upcoming week and weekend filled with arts and culture, 45 miles of Atlantic shoreline, and temperatures lower than in the Northeast.
     With more nonstop flights available from East Coast gateway cities than ever, getting to The Palm Beaches is easier than getting to most shore destinations—including the Hamptons. Cool ocean breezes and more cultural venues per capita than anywhere south of Atlanta make The Palm Beaches an ideal getaway now.
     Best of all, guests who want to take advantage of rich arts and cultural experiences have at their disposal Palm Beach County’s very own cultural concierge, who will curate your cultural itinerary in The Palm Beaches.

[Re-post] Instruction for reporters who care, both print and TV news: What Is and What Is Not the City of Lake Worth

What follows, in detail, is the definitive instruction on the municipal borders of the City of Lake Worth. Given recent articles and false headlines in The Palm Beach Post and TV news too, it's once again time to re-post this information. For example, use this link for a list of false news reports that will be updated soon. And a question, don't newsrooms have maps?

When a news report claims "Lake Worth" as the location of a crime, for instance, many conclude that this happened in the City of Lake Worth. That ends up being the public's perception, to the detriment of the image that we are trying to build. After all, we are proudly different from those vast areas that reach all the way to the turnpike, and south toward Boynton Beach. All of those places with a Lake Worth mailing address are in the unincorporated area of Palm Beach County.

Gather 'round news media. Enter the world of "on-line classroom" as you are about to receive a Master Class on what IS Lake Worth and what IS NOT Lake Worth.
Note the orientation of this Lake Worth Zoning Map. North is clearly to the right. The areas with color are in the City of Lake Worth. Areas in white are either suburban Lake Worth, Lantana, or West Palm Beach, to name a few. Note that Lake Worth is bordered (with a few exceptions) by water on three sides: the Lake Worth Lagoon, C-51 Canal, the E-4 (Keller) Canal, and John Prince Park (Lake Osborne). I'll deal with the southern border later. This is the area governed by the Lake Worth City Commission.

To keep it simple we'll deal with the City of Lake Worth in two parts: the North and South. For this discussion we'll divide Lake Worth in half at Lake Worth Road. Here is a Google map of north Lake Worth:
As you can see, the C-51 Canal is the northern border of Lake Worth and the western border roughly follows the E-4 Canal. The dashed red line denotes the border of the city. Note the southwestern area of the map. This is referred to by many as the Park of Commerce. As time goes by, some or most of these areas will be annexed into the city. This is one area of the city where the news media can be given some leeway in their reporting. The following is a zoning map of the Park of Commerce. It's ragged edge allows for some ambiguity. Note areas that are in the City and other areas that are unincorporated and governed by Palm Beach County (in white):
Class, let us proceed to the southern part of Lake Worth. Here is a Google map that shows the boundaries of south Lake Worth. The western border is Lake Osborne Drive until you come to High Ridge Road. Once on High Ridge Road though the city border ends on Lake Geneva Drive, heading east. In the southeast part of the city, the city border is 18th Ave South.

Added later: As people are reading this, some have noticed that it says southern Lake Worth ends at Lake Geneva Dr. But it's actually the next street, Nanette, that divides properties on one side of the street as Lake Worth and properties across the street as unincorporated PBC.
Like the western part of Lake Worth, the southern area has some anomalies also. The most interesting is this one:
There happens to be a small part of unincorporated county within the City of Lake Worth. This is called a "finger" in this configuration, or an "enclave" when it is surrounded on all sides by a municipality. If you happen to drive down Lake Osborne Drive and turn onto Collier Ave you are in the City of Lake Worth (the 2100 block). If you continue to the next block east on Collier Ave (the 2000 block) you are now in the county once again (shown in white with surrounding shaded areas). The white square area south of Collier Ave is called the Sunset Property. It should be permanently shown in gray in honor of its limbo status.

I conclude the session with this: With a few exceptions and some curious anomalies, the border of the City of Lake Worth is clear. Anything outside of Lake Worth should be referred to as either "Suburban Lake Worth" or "Unincorporated Palm Beach County". Just because somebody has a Lake Worth mailing address is insignificant, misleading and detracts from whatever "brand building" the city is trying to do.

If you're not sure if you're in the City or not? Ask somebody. Or go to the property appraiser's website and do a search for your property or any property in question. Look at the first two digits of the parcel identification number. If the first two digits of the group of numbers is "38" - congratulations! That property is in the City of Lake Worth. If the first two digits are "00" - congratulations! That property is in unincorporated Palm Beach County. When there are any other numbers other than those as the first two digits, the property is in another "incorporated" area, meaning it is within the limits of a city.

This is where you cue the discussion on whether or not we should change the city's name to Lake Worth Beach, Jewel or another name. I think that discussion will continue on for a while before anything is done about it.

To the media who cares, the citizens of the City of Lake Worth would appreciate your cooperation and factual reporting. Learning the importance of where you are reporting from would have been covered in your journalism classes, no?

Class dismissed. Say tuned for a more intricate discussion of utility services areas that do not match municipal boundaries!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Palm Beach Post editorial board got it wrong. Again. It's not PBC School Superintendant Robert Avossa the public doesn't trust. It's you.

Here is an excerpt from yesterday's Post editorial:

As school officials have surely noticed, this is a year in which voters everywhere are slow to trust government — especially with their tax dollars.

Below is an excerpt from a blog post earlier in the week titled, "THE CASE AGAINST THE MEDIA. BY THE MEDIA":

Today, the only institutions Americans have less faith in than television news (21 percent) and newspapers (20 percent) are Congress and “big business.” That’s pretty damn low — humiliatingly low, especially for a group of people who fancy themselves members of “the Fourth Estate.”
To get some idea of the challenges faced by the Palm Beach County School District, in just one (1) little 6 square mile city called Lake Worth, this video of School Board Member Erica Whitfield at the City Commission in December of last year may offer some insight to the editor(s):

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

"Port of Palm Beach building $10 million mini-slip to handle more cargo ships"

News from Arlene Satchell at the Sun Sentinel, excerpt from beginning of article:

     The Port of Palm Beach broke ground Thursday on a $10 million infrastructure enhancement project that will create a new mini-slip at Berth 17, its southernmost cargo dock.
     The improvement project will replace 376 feet of aging seawall and extend the berth's capacity to accommodate vessels up to 300 feet in length, port officials said. The 12-month project is expected to be completed in summer 2017.
     "The construction of this mini-slip will allow the port to significantly diversify its operational profile and revenue stream, adding space for another user to operate at the port 365 days a year," said Wayne M. Richards, chairman of the port's Board of Commissioners, in a statement.

Do you work in a newsroom in Palm Beach County? New challenge fund fosters newsroom innovation

Below is news from the Knight Blog, "The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation":

     Creating innovative ideas from scratch to advance the field of journalism and make a difference in people’s lives isn’t easy.
     Encouraging newsrooms to evolve and adopt fresh innovations can be even harder.
     The John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships program at Stanford University aims to foster new ideas in journalism through innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership. Each year it brings up to 20 journalists and journalism innovators from the United States and around the world to spend the year at Stanford.

[and. . .]

     The support is aimed specifically at those who are working in newsrooms. [emphasis added] Using the funding, they can launch new storytelling formats, digital tools or other disruptive ideas that might not have been tried due to newsroom budget constraints. Projects will be chosen by fellowship program leadership and lessons will be shared widely.
     We are launching this new initiative on the 50th anniversary of journalism fellowships at Stanford. The program was founded in 1966 as the Stanford Professional Journalism Fellowships program; it was renamed for Knight Foundation co-founder John S. Knight in 1984, after the foundation made a major gift to endow the program.

Is there a list of events in Lake Worth?

Yes there is. Use this link for the goings-on, both new and ongoing events. The City is also on Twitter:
Lauren Bennett and Chiquita Brown deserve a lot of credit at the Department of Leisure Services. Some day give them a call at 561-533-7335 and tell them how much you appreciate keeping everyone informed.
If you would like to schedule an event or get more information send an email to abrown@lakeworth.org

[UPDATE] John Prince Park: Groundbreaking for dog park and expansion this Friday. But what about the Gopher tortoises?

Here are the details from the County website:
Palm Beach County Commissioner Shelley Vana and county officials will host a groundbreaking ceremony on Friday, July 29, at 9 a.m., in John Prince Park near Mound Circle Pavilion.
This dog park will have new gazebos, parking, 6′ wide asphalt and concrete paths, and other amenities (see excerpts from the Lake Worth Herald below). But what about the Gopher tortoises who live there? Will they be relocated or just buried in place?

If you didn't know, one of the biggest objections to making any changes to John Prince Park, such as a Spring Training baseball facility, is that Gopher tortoise habitats will be disturbed. Learn more using this link.

Then there's the additional traffic, noise from barking dogs, additional need for more infrastructure such as roads, water and sewer lines, electricity, and possibly even LED lights at night that some think cause safety/health issues.

In Lake Worth a nearby neighborhood, the Residences of Lake Osborne (ROLO), will certainly be severely affected. Expect to hear from the president and vice president of ROLO at the next Lake Worth City Commission meeting about this in August. They will surely demand that their concerns be addressed and that Gopher tortoises are not adversely affected.

For more on this, below is news from the July 7th edition of The Lake Worth Herald:

     The dog park will also include five gazebos with benches, drinking fountains for human and dog use, dog wash areas, and doggie bag stations with trash receptacles.
     The expansion will also include accessible six-foot wide asphalt and concrete circular paths in each area, park benches along the pathways, and asphalt bike/pedestrian trails that connect to the rest of the park. [emphasis added] 

[and. . .]

     In addition, 42 regular parking spaces and four ADA accessible parking spaces will be added.
     Future improvements include a new playground and renovation of the existing playground, two new restrooms, new pavilion, wider multipurpose pathways, additional picnic tables and parking.
ROLO must demand less intensity from the impact of this new dog park in John Prince Park. Will Gopher tortoises be protected? Noise issues? Traffic? So many unanswered questions.

Lake Worth's Budget Work Session tonight (Tuesday, 7/26) and city manager's message to City

To watch this meeting Live Streaming see the instructions at the end of this blog post. First, here is the agenda: 

City Commission Budget Work Session
Tuesday, July 26, 6:00 p.m.
1. Roll Call
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Updates/Future Action/Direction
    A. Presentation of proposed Fiscal Year 2017 budget
4. Adjournment
Commissioner Chris McVoy was absent for the entire first budget meeting on July 12th. No reason given.
The message from City Manager Michael Bornstein opening the budget process:

Honorable Mayor, Vice Mayor and the Members of the City Commission, and Citizens of Lake Worth,

     It is my distinct honor and privilege to present to you the City of Lake Worth’s annual Budget in-Brief document.
     This document is intended to provide residents, business owners, and visitors with a clear and succinct perspective regarding the City’s financial state. This organization prides itself on transparency and fiscal stewardship, and this document reaffirms this organization’s perspective regarding open, honest, and effective local government.
     Over the next year, economic development, human resource and infrastructure stewardship will be at the forefront of this organization’s initiatives. [emphasis added] Even though the economy remains fragile, we are beginning to see major market indicators depicting the perspective that economic stabilization is beginning to occur. Furthermore, infrastructure investments in roadways, public safety, and housing will be critical to this organization’s long-term sustainability.
     In order to accommodate responsive growth, the appropriate infrastructure must be present to accommodate both existing demand and future needs. The City will embark upon creating a strategic plan intended to map out the City’s future goals and objectives. This project will enlist public participation (civic engagement) for the purpose of charting the course for City of Lake Worth over the next three (3) to five (5) years.
     Long-term economic sustainability and fiscally prudent investments will always be at the forefront of this organization’s list of priorities. We will continue to manage our finances in the most responsible manner possible and ensure that transparency will always be preserved in order to maintain good governance.

Respectfully Submitted,
Michael Bornstein

To watch this meeting live streaming use this link and then click on "Video/Audio of Public Meetings". If the video feed does not appear wait a few minutes and try again.

Worth another look. . . True Islam vs. extremists: "Elephant in the room" at City Commission meeting on July 19th

Opportunists here in Lake Worth will take any news about Muslim's and stir the pot, "to agitate a situation to cause a reaction or trouble." Would you expect any less? What do you do? See the situation for what it really is: Law enforcement doing their job and. . .
. . . it was probably someone in the Muslim community who provided the tip.
Do I know this? No. But what do those who are trying to 'stir the pot' know? Exactly. Read the following blog post from last Wednesday:

At Lake Worth's Quaker Meetinghouse (823 North 'A' Street) on June 2nd was a meeting about True Islam that Prophet Muhammad taught and how that message has been distorted by extremists. Below is a Tweet I used to help promote the event on this blog:
Below you'll read about the "elephant in the room" at a City Commission meeting on July 19th. A proclamation was unanimously approved to support our Muslim neighbors in Lake Worth and many got up to speak at public comment that followed. I'll have video of that later on so please check back. It was very inspiring to watch. What was said and the feeling in the room was undeniably upbeat and positive but. . .

Is this what Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren was referring to, an example from The Obtuse Blogger (TOB)?:
'Thought' provoking? And "after much study. . ." We're better than this, right?
There are many people in Lake Worth with Irish surnames. If you know American history many of the Irish were once second-class citizens, indentured servants, mistrusted, and despised. . . just because they were Catholic.

Monday, July 25, 2016

In case you missed this. . . From Dave Aronberg, State's Attorney for Palm Beach County, to Lake Worth Commissioner Andy Amoroso:

"As you are aware, our country faces significant challenges in the ethical treatment of drug addiction. In Palm Beach County we face an epidemic of drug overdoses, predatory practices and criminality related to the proliferation of unregulated sober homes within our communities. This is why the legislature has asked me to form a Task Force 'to identify statutory clarifications and enhancements to existing law to ensure that communities remain safe and individuals with substance abuse disorders are protected.'

I would like to invite you [Commissioner Andy Amoroso] to participate in the State Attorney's Sober Home Task Force. The goal of the civilian side of this Task Force is to assist my office in developing common sense solutions in areas of regulation, marketing and oversight of the addiction recovery industry. We intend to assist the legislature and appropriate state oversight agencies in cleaning up the abuses, both unethical and criminal, that have become all too common.

The Task Force will consist of individuals from within the industry, as well as oversight agencies, industry associations, addiction treatment professionals and elected officials who have demonstrated knowledge and commitment in this area."

[and. . .]

"Thank you for your dedication to those persons in recovery and to the protection of our community from unscrupulous and illegal practices within the recovery industry."

Another idea to save south Florida's birds from predation by feral and roaming cats

In order to get anything done in any significant way will probably be a grassroots effort of some sort. Here is an idea from our neighbors to the north, Canada:
Stumbled on this yesterday on Twitter, do you remember Lisa Vaughn when she was at NBC5/WPTV? Well, she's back in Texas again and no, she hasn't "lost it." Cats can indeed be trained to walk on a leash:
This is a complicated political problem and the County's Animal Care and Control (ACC) won't do anything much different from what's happening now: encourage more trapping, neutering, vaccination, and release (TNVR) of cats back into communities and neighborhoods. The program is a complete failure and that will be acknowledged in a decade or so after many more millions of birds have been slaughtered by cats.

The 'elephant in the room', so to speak, is that TNVR cats DO NOT lose their hunting instinct and no one wants to address that. If neutering was effective city's like Lake Worth wouldn't be dealing with this problem that only gets worse all the time, would they? And vaccination will keep cats cats healthy and hunting for a long time.

The natural world may offer some help in the form of coyotes (look in the right-hand column for "Can coyote save native birds from extinction?"), monitor lizards, or maybe a virus will come along that will cull the population. But as far as intervention by County government, environmentalists, and ACC that's not going to happen any time in the foreseeable future.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

What a difference a city manager can make

"Michael Bornstein seems to be a happy soul and seems to be happy with the job," [Barbara Jean] Weber said. "I suspect his stamina has not yet been tested."
—Ms. Weber quoted by Willy Howard, Palm Beach Post article titled, "New City Manager Michael Bornstein makes welcome changes in Lake Worth", 6/3/2012.

Today marks 1,570 days since City Manager Michael Bornstein was hired on April 16, 2012. There is nothing significant about 1,570 days except as a matter of perspective. Consider this, the previous city manager, Susan Stanton was fired on December 6, 2011 after 953 days on the job. Stanton's tenure was marked by divisiveness and a lack of outreach to the greater community. To put it bluntly, Lake Worth did little but continue being a mess under the tenure of Susan Stanton.

Under Stanton, the relationship between the business community and the City was strained to non-existent. The relationship with the CRA was contentious, at best. Stanton caused such a rift with our neighboring cities that only until recently are they no longer wary of partnering on projects fearing Lake Worth would be too much trouble.

Under direction of then-sitting commissioners (Jennings, Golden, Mulvehill, and an assortment of do-nothing mayors), Stanton gutted the code department and sent neighborhoods already on the brink on a downward spiral for almost three years. A local blog at the time, referencing the coming Christmas holiday season and the firing of Stanton, wrote:

"In this joyous season, I am celebrating the potential for renewal in Lake Worth which began with a bold move to clean out city management from the top down."

[and. . .]

"Yes, I know there are those who are disappointed to see Stanton fired but dwelling on one side of her performance while ignoring the other side of the story… is delusional."

One of the least remembered and bungled efforts by Stanton was the "Fire Assessment". Here is an interview NBC5/WPTV did with Commissioner Andy Amoroso after Stanton's firing and he references the failed Fire Assessment initiative by Stanton.

Believe it or not, there are still some that try and resurrect Stanton's tenure with delusional logic and misinformation. The romantic notion of her Golden Haired era would be enough for some sort of clinical diagnosis. Here are some initiatives Stanton supported:
  • "Day Labor" Center (succeeded)
  • Gutted the Code Enforcement Department (succeeded)
  • "Street Light" Assessment (failed)
  • Red Light cameras (failed)
  • Eliminate PBSO and restore the LWPD (failed)
  • Regional Sewer billing fiasco
Without doubt the worst policy decision by Stanton was being an obstructionist to thwart the CRA's acquisition of NSP2 funds. Thankfully that effort failed. She along with commissioners Golden, Mulvehill and Jennings did not want the CRA to acquire the $23 million available. It was only action by the CRA to apply for the funds that allowed many blighted areas to be home to new residents and families. Since then the CRA, led by Joan Oliva, has received national recognition for their outstanding efforts.
Michael Bornstein with Mayor Pam Triolo receiving recognition for the City's municipal golf course.
In conclusion, the form of government we have in Lake Worth requires a confident and engaged city manager. We simply cannot solve our problems without such an individual in that position.