Saturday, August 20, 2016

Today at our Lake Worth BEACH!

For a comprehensive list of all events, both new and on-going in Lake Worth, check the City's website often (see link in caption below).
Things to do in Lake Worth are added all the time so check the "Events" site often. If you would like to book an event or have a question, call Leisure Services at 561-533-7335.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Lake Worth Charter: Article II. Section 5. Subsection c: Filling of vacancies.

If a sitting City Commissioner in Lake Worth decides to resign, what is the process moving forward? The answer is in Municode: 

"Filling of vacancies. A vacancy of the city commission shall be filled in one of the following ways:
(1) If there are less than six (6) months remaining in the unexpired term or if there are less than six (6) months before the next regular city election, the city commission by a majority vote of the remaining members shall choose and appoint a successor to serve until a newly elected commissioner or mayor is qualified.
(2) If there are more than six (6) months remaining in the unexpired term and no general city election is scheduled within six (6) months, the city commission shall fill the vacancy by a special election to be held no more than sixty (60) days following the occurrence of the vacancy. If a run-off election is necessary, it shall be scheduled two (2) weeks after the special election."

[UPDATE] Errors in Palm Beach Post on discussion at August 16th's Lake Worth City Commission meeting

The public in Boynton Beach received their correction for an error in the Post. Will Lake Worth get ours? Try to blame it all on City staff? Here is the correction in today's (8/19) print edition, page A2, below the fold:
Because of a reporting error, a story in Tuesday's [8/16] Palm Beach Post misidentified two organizations working with the city of Boynton Beach . . . The error appeared on Page B2 of the Local section.
Continue reading, Thank You for visiting, and stay tuned as they say:

Significant errors were published in the Post about the discussion on sea turtles and balloons at the last City Commission meeting. Read all about that using this link. Will a correction be coming? Probably not. What the Post usually does is just ignore it.

This week's Lake Worth Herald is out (each Thursday online; print edition on Friday) and their reporter has information about this discussion—a brief and accurate account of what is going on. Here are two excerpts (with link and emphasis added):

     In an effort to protect the marine life and birds along our seashore, Loggerhead Marine Center representatives are asking municipalities up and down the coast to pass ordinances banning balloons and sky lanterns.

[and. . .]

     Loggerhead Marine Center offers three levels for municipality participation. 
     Level one consists of signage or educational material distribution. Level two consists of signage and educational material to distribute and level three has the added inclusion of an adopted ordinance.
     Lake Worth City Commissioners stopped short of adopting an ordinance after debate brought out the fact an ordinance would have no “teeth” as written and would create nuisance calls to PBSO.
     The City will move ahead with signage for the beach and parks east of the Intracoastal Waterway and explore further participation after seeing the results.
     Other local municipalities have participated on different levels.

This dovetails nicely with another recent article in The Palm Beach Post by their reporter Sarah Peters:

     The Post plans to continue print a newspaper seven days a week, Burke [Palm Beach Post Publisher Tim Burke] said. Although video is gaining popularity, the written word isn’t going away. It’s the distribution that’s changing.
     “The credibility of the written word is more important than ever. [emphasis added] The credibility of media is more important than ever,” he said.

Truer words were never spoken.

Today (Friday, 8/19): Screen on the Green and the Evening on the Avenue in Lake Worth

The Evening on the Avenue is every 1st and 3rd Friday of the month. Tomorrow will be the final Screen on the Green for 2016:
A message from LULA: "Please join us for the showing of "Monsters Inc." (G) at Evening on the Avenue. Event begins at 6:00 and the movie is at 8:00 at the Cultural Plaza. For more information please call 561-493-2550."
For a comprehensive list of events in Lake Worth, both new and ongoing, use this link.

Two birds with one stone. . . alcohol carry-out and an amazing, previously unpublished video on my YouTube channel

The blog post below was originally posted on Saturday, 8/13, and continues to be the most-viewed blog post this month, if not longer. Continue reading and Thank You for visiting my blog. 

There is a lot of discussion this week about how Lake Worth prohibits packaged alcohol sales (carry-out) after 10:00 p.m. and before 7:00 a.m. This became an issue when the City sent out a somewhat ambiguous poster to some businesses that could be interpreted that it applied to bars and restaurants. It does not. The City issued a press release clarifying that.

That didn't stop some residents from discussing the merits of the ordinance itself. They wondered when it was passed and made wild assumptions about which commissioners voted for it. To check it out I went to Municode.com and searched the Lake Worth code. It turns out the ordinance on restricting package alcohol sales was made at the January 5th, 2016 City Commission meeting.

Here is an excerpt from that meeting that shows the vote on that ordinance WAS UNANIMOUS.
That's right. Contrary to what you may have heard, the vote was unanimous to ban packaged alcohol sales after 10:00 p.m.
Then I went to see if I had a video from that meeting. It turns I did and hadn't gotten around to uploading it to YouTube. To check out my YouTube channel use this link. Use the red "subscribe" button to get noticed when new videos are uploaded.

If you go to the 10:15 mark in the video (below) you'll watch the discussion of the ordinance and PBSO Captain Baer comes to the podium to explain why it would help the Sheriff in their duties.

Now things get very interesting.

Coincidentally, another major news item this week happened to be the unanimous ruling by three judges that upheld the City's position on the zoning for the Gulfstream hotel project, specifically dealing with the allowed 65′ height limit and the applicability of the charter amendment on heights.

Starting at the beginning of the video below you'll witness Commissioner McVoy's tortured attempts and equally tortured logic claiming that the attorney used by JoAnn Golden in her lawsuit against the City had some validity. We all know now it didn't.

The back and forth between McVoy and City Attorney Glen Torcivia is a good review of the entire issue. All this is timely due to the favorable decision issued this week on the Gulfstream Hotel redevelopment.

Simply put, three impartial judges proved once and for all that Commissioner McVoy, PhD, and Ms. Golden are 100% wrong. Period. End of story.

Enjoy the video: 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Lake Worth Herald on the news about the Gulfstream Hotel

There was a respectful gathering at the Gulfstream last Monday to celebrate the good news and to honor an old friend who worked so hard to save the hotel, Loretta Sharpe.
     "A three-judge Appellate Panel of the Circuit Court unanimously issued a ruling that states: 'The Petition for Writ of Certiorari is DENIED.'
     The decision is the Court’s rejection of an effort that would have resulted in thwarting the revitalization of the Gulfstream Hotel and the 12-block surrounding area known as Lake Worth’s Hotel District. 
     In February, the City was challenged by three citizens, Linda Mahoney, Roseanne Malakates and former City Commissioner JoAnn Golden about whether construction of a 65-ft new building expansion of the Gulfstream Hotel was in compliance with downtown height limits."

[and. . .]

     "Asked what their plans were now, Steven Michael of Hudson Holdings said, they plan on moving forward and said there were never any other plans. Hudson Holdings was unable to move forward until the lawsuit was over. City of Lake Worth Mayor Pam Triolo said she is thankful for Judges’ decision. 
     'This community has longed for the reopening of our beautiful, historic hotel and this decision now clears the way,' said Mayor Triolo. 'The Gulfstream Hotel will revitalize the community and serve as a catalyst in our Downtown, to bring in much-needed tourism for our businesses and great lodging for the friends and relatives of our residents.' "

"Send The Water South!"? A few questions for Lake Worth Commissioner Ryan Maier:

How would you explain your position to fellow Palm Beach County elected officials in Belle Glade, Pahokee, South Bay, and Clewiston? How about all the people in unincorporated areas too who have lived all their lives south of Lake Okeechobee? How would you respond, Commissioner Maier, to the former mayor of the City of Pahokee, J. P. Sasser (see below)? RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF U.S. HOUSE BILL 4793 EVERGLADES LAND ACQUISITION ACT OF 2016* [see the vote result below]

Under public comment, J. P. Sasser, former mayor of the City of Pahokee read the following from a letter to the editor:


"The community activists pushing to buy the lands, send the water south are quick to point to numbers that support their cause, but there is one number that they will not use when making their tired argument. 35,561. [emphasis added] That is the population of Belle Glade, Pahokee, South Bay, and Clewiston. I want to add that is within the city limits. (He stated there are probably another 10,000-12,000 in the unincorporated areas).


It suggests the coastal elites are doing a better job with their land then we are with ours yet we are not the ones flushing septic tanks into our own waters. Our farmlands are feeding people, not only our communities, but yours as well. They provide jobs for real people just like you, people who certainly deserve better than what you propose for our future.


To the people of the Treasure Coast and the Southwest Florida, we live here too. We care for the same rivers, lakes and streams you enjoy despite the fact that as South Florida Water Management District data shows, 97 percent of the water and pollution in Lake Okeechobee is coming from somewhere other than south of the lake. Why then should we be responsible for 100 percent of the cleanup? You would not tolerate calls to buy your neighborhoods and businesses to clean up someone else’s mess and neither should we."


[the vote on the resolution:]


Chairman [Michael] Davis stated the current motion is to table this item. Councilmember [Tobin] Overdorf stated this was not the original motion. Keith Davis stated the substitute motion is to be considered first and if that does not pass, then the original motion will be considered. He stated that if the substitute motion passes that will be the action of Council. Upon being put to a vote, the substitute motion passed by a vote of 11-4.


*From the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council (TCRPC) meeting on May 20th, 2016, page 18 from approved minutes.

Reasons why the little City of Lake Worth is so very unique: Photographs and video from the Jim Stafford Collection

The City's CRA and LULA Lake Worth Arts.
Events all year long such as the Gay Pride Festival in Bryant Park. The Compass Community Center is located in the downtown.
Lake Worth is home to the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County.
Street Painting Festival (stay tuned for news on that!).
Municipal golf course and Snook Islands.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Bombshell: City of Lake Worth will try to recover court costs/attorney fees over frivolous lawsuit against the Gulfstream Hotel

Before we get to that news, for everyone in attendance or watching online who hadn't heard about that horrific crime, it likely came as a big shock to hear Commissioner Ryan Maier talk about someone's face getting devoured. Very bad form and totally unnecessary, commissioner. You'll see that for yourself at the 2:45 mark in the video below.

The Lake Worth Herald will likely have more about recovering this taxpayer money in tomorrow's edition. The Herald comes out on Thursday and the print edition is available on Friday at the City's newsstand at 600 Lake Ave. If you're expecting the Post to report anything about this, well, good luck with that.

Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell "stole the thunder" of City Attorney Glen Torcivia when, at the 3:40 mark in the video during "Commission Liaison Reports", Maxwell expressed his relief regarding the judges' favorable ruling on the Gulfstream Hotel and then asks Torcivia about recovery of court costs and attorney fees.

Torcivia responded that, yes, the City will be going after court costs and other taxpayer money spent to defend that frivolous lawsuit. The exact amount will be determined later:
At the beginning of the next video, following the applause, Torcivia gets a little of his thunder back and gives his report about the Gulfstream lawsuit. This was near the end of the meeting when the City's attorney typically gives his report. He commented on another employee-related case and going after taxpayer money to defend that lawsuit also.

It needs to be noted that Commissioner Chris McVoy was absent for this entire meeting:

It's been a great couple of weeks for the City thanks in large part to the great work by our City Attorney, Glen Torcivia. To learn more about what the City's attorney is tasked with doing use this link.

Meet Christine Spain at Callaro's today. She is running for Supervisor of Elections in Palm Beach County

There is a fundraiser for Christine Spain at Callaro's today in downtown Lake Worth from 5:30 to 7:00:

"Christine is a 40-year resident of South Florida and a graduate of Florida universities, including the University of Miami School of Law, where she served on Law Review; Florida International University, where she earned a Bachelor of Business in Accounting and University of Florida, where she earned her Associate of Arts Degree."

IF YOU GO:
Callaro's Steak House is located at 717 Lake Ave. next to the Lake Worth Playhouse.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Lake Worth City Commission agenda tonight and, "Hmmm. Is there a way I can watch the meeting tonight?"

Yes! Here is how you do it: At 6:00 use this link and then click on, "Video of Public Meetings". If the video doesn't appear wait a few minutes and try again. Unfortunately, I will be unable to attend this evening but will have a citizen/reporter or two in attendance to let me know what happens. Continue reading about tonight's meeting and about an interesting item that IS NOT on the agenda:

The interesting news is item 9C on the Consent Agenda at the August 2nd City Commission meeting, the one on "Send the Water South!" that was ingloriously deleted is not on tonight's agenda either. It might appear again some time in the future after the embarrassment fades away. The way that item was addressed must have been quite confusing to all those people who made the trip down from Martin County to support it.

What must have been even more bewildering for those people is finding out the vote was unanimous to delete 9C and how quickly the City Commission tossed it. It was like they couldn't get rid of it fast enough, like a hot potato. Anyhow, below are excerpts from the Commission meeting tonight with some highlights:

City Hall Commission Chamber
Tuesday, August 16 at 6:00
1. Roll Call
2. Invocation or Moment of Silence
3. Pledge of Allegiance
5. Presentations (there is no public comment on Presentation items)
A. Bryant Park Living Shorelines project
B. Proclamation declaring August 31, 2016 as Overdose Awareness Day

[and. . .]

10. Public Hearings
A. Resolution No. 40-2016 - Adopt the final assessment roll for non-ad valorem assessment of unpaid lot clearing, board and secure, and demolition special assessments

[and. . .]

12. New Business
C. Discuss the City Manager's annual evaluation [see the blog post following or use this link]

It should be a short meeting but then again, a lot of people probably thought the Budget Workshop last week was going to be a short one too.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Important news about the Lake Worth Budget, Fiscal Year 2017. News you'll only read about in the Herald:

UPDATE: At the end of this blog post is updated information received today from Juan Ruiz, the City's Leisure Services Director:
Subscribe to the Herald using this link. The next scheduled FY2017 Budget Workshop is Tuesday, August 23rd.
Below are excerpt's from last week's Lake Worth Herald. Very good news and a little not-so-good news (highlights added):

     Burton and Associates, the City's rate consultants presented the Burton models for each of the funds in the budget. The models enable variables to be plugged in and in real time see the effect the variables have on each of the other funds, and the general fund. Eric Van Malssen of Burton Associates explained the fund reserves for operation and maintenance for each fund and presented graphs showing the effects of their recommendations on the reserves.
     Van Malssen explained the proposed rate increases are less than anticipated last year because Lake Worth is experiencing above average growth and this has boosted the revenues for each fund. The water fund has a reserve target of four months operating and maintenance. The recommended rate increase for FY 2017 is 2.75 percent. This is below the 3.5 percent increase anticipated.
     The Local Sewer fund increase is proposed at three percent. The Sanitation fund and the Stormwater fund have received a recommendation of no increase, as has the Electric fund. These funds are in pretty good shape according to the Burton models. The Beach fund is another story.
     Van Massen showed a graph with expenses rising over the next few years and revenues remaining flat, indicating a continued loss in the fund and the fund can't maintain the desired reserves.

[and. . .]

     Leisure Services Director Juan Ruiz was questioned and said it cost's about $90,000 per year to maintain the pool when it is closed. The pool currently costs about three hundred thousand dollars per year with it open as it is. There is a lease on the pool for a swim team that creates about $180,000 annually and the total revenue for the pool is about $210,000, leaving an annual cash flow deficit of nearly $90,000.

[and. . .]

     Director of Sustainability, William Waters reminded the commission an inspector had tagged the [pool] building with a condemnation notice back in 2008. The commission set a six month deadline to look at all options for the pool in an effort to find a way to stop the bleeding of dollars.

Hmmm. Remember the ITN anyone? 

UPDATE: These are numbers just received about the municipal pool:
  • Cost to maintain pool if closed to the public (filled with water) to keep it from cracking = ≈$90–$98,000/year
  • Annual estimated cost to operate pool part-time year round = $300,000
  • Annual revenues ≈$85–$100,000 depending on the weather
  • Pool heaters (2) are broken = $40,000 each to replace
  • Pool lease to the East Coast Aquatics Program = $3,000/month

Scary people talking to the press: CBS12/WPEC and Post beat reporter during break at a City Commission meeting

During break at a City Commission meeting on July 19th, CBS12 and the Post beat reporter did interviews in the chambers. For no reason in particular decided to record the happenings (see video below) which took 3 segments of video. Later on spliced the videos together and uploaded to YouTube. If you wish, check out my YouTube channel using this link. You can register to get updates when new videos are available.

Didn't think much about it until one of my blog readers called with some interesting observations. First, the two interviewed at the beginning by CBS12 look like they were both expecting a TV news crew to show up. If you're familiar with Commission meetings and those who attend, well, their appearance was noticeably different. At the 4:45 mark the Post reporter starts interviewing Commissioner Chris McVoy and watch their body language: draw your own conclusions.

There was quite a lot of ambient noise with a lot of conversations going on all over the room so I replaced the audio with music. Enjoy:

Lake Worth's PBSO Cpt. Baer looking for volunteers for Citizens on Patrol (COP) program

Call 561-433-2003 for more information on the COP program.
To subscribe to the free Worth Noting newsletter use this link. It's free and delivered to your email inbox.
In this previous issue of the City's Worth Noting newsletter is information about the Citizens on Patrol program in Lake Worth:

     Citizens on Patrol or C.O.P is a large program in Palm Beach County, with over 2,500 volunteers. In the Lake Worth area, the number of volunteers ranges from 20-30 throughout the year. According to Baer, the goal is to double or triple that number.
     Volunteers use a cell phone provided by the sheriff’s office to report any suspicious activity. The volunteers also use cars which are specifically dedicated to the program. Volunteers are trained to observe and report, but not get involved in any crime they witness.
     “We provide the uniforms and the training. We would like to boost involvement. The more eyes we have out there for crime prevention, the safer the city will be.” 

[and. . .]

     The first step towards improving the program in Lake Worth is to recruit more volunteers. Both Baer and Captain Lindskoog from the Community Services Division have spoken at the NAPC, or Neighborhood Association President Council. The goal is to have at least two volunteers from each neighborhood in Lake Worth.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The ugly side of Free Speech in the little "charming" City of Lake Worth: Anyone want to discuss 'civility'?

Some of you will recall the background on this Lake Worth kerfuffle from June 2015 following the March elections. What led up to Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell and Commissioner Andy Amoroso being depicted the way they were isn't the point. The point is this:

"The First Amendment is very important, but it's not everything."
Anthony Lewis

Monitoring pilot "fix" for Casino building water leaks: Keep your fingers crossed. We could use some good news.

For those of you who keep track of such things, the architect and contractor for the Casino are working on a way to stop the water intrusion into the Casino building. If this pilot experiment works it will be employed where other water leaks occur on the second floor. At the beginning of June the City Commission gave them both until October to come up with a solution.

Below are two sets of pictures. It's of the northeast area of the second floor terrace. You can see where a temporary plywood wall has been erected to cordon off the area. The first set of pictures was taken July 23rd. The second set was taken on August 13th.

July 23rd:
Plywood partition to protect work area.
Area where the pilot "fix" is being implemented.
There are "porcelain-ized" tiles part of this project. 
August 13th:
A layer of visqueen is held down by the new tiles.
The edge between old stone and new tile.
It appears that the area where the wall meets the floor has some new flashing which might go under the new tile. The level between the new tile and the old appears to be at the same height, which means that the old tile was either removed or lowered somehow to accommodate the new. Further waterproofing probably went under the new tile.

There has also been work on the door's threshold (top photo), which has been a major source of water after rain events. The work area goes approximately ¾ around the north side of the terrace. There will be an evaluation of the method's success and then a decision will be made about doing the rest of the terrace area.

There is some hint this work may come at an additional cost or cause the building to change enough that Commission action will be needed to proceed. Stay tuned.
This water leak, and the resulting news segment on NBC5/WPTV, got the attention of a lot of people.

Latest news from The Cottages of Lake Worth: "We're moving closer to print every day."

It's true. You can still pre-order the The Cottages book and save $5 (details below). Confirmed that information yesterday. This hardcover book would make for a wonderful Christmas gift. On the heels of news about our Gulfstream Hotel redevelopment moving forward the history of Lake Worth, a long one, will be getting much more attention far and wide.

As much as this book celebrates the present, it's also a tribute to the pioneers who settled here over one hundred years ago and had a vision: A City platted with tidy square blocks with little houses up and down the street each with their own unique personality: 
The Lake Worth pioneers, 1919. Photo from the State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory collection.
To learn more about the hardcover book The Cottages of Lake Worth use this link. And read about The Cottages presentation and overwhelming turnout (nearly 200 officials and guests) at the recent PBC League of Cities meeting in Lake Worth.
"We're moving closer to print every day. Recently we asked for a "dummy book" to be sure that the dust jacket fits our book perfectly.* It does! One more step closer to the presses. You can still reserve your copy to get the pre-launch $5 discount. Click "shop now" on our Facebook page to order. If you want to send a check, email us at TheCottagesofLakeWorthBook@gmail.com for details."

*Publishing definition of the term dummy book: "Sample of a book usually bound with the title page and a few pages of text, and occasionally a representative illustration, with the rest of the pages blank, created in order to demonstrate what the finished book would look like."