Monday, October 16, 2017

Historic Preservation Program in City of Lake Worth: A very big issue to be addressed in the near future.

By the way, on the City’s calendar for next Wednesday (Oct. 18th) is a scheduled “Joint Workshop” between the Planning & Zoning Board (P&Z) and Historic Resource Preservation Board (HRPB). Notice of this meeting was also published in The Palm Beach Post yesterday (Sunday, Oct. 15th, page B3).

However, after contacting the Chair of the P&Z Board and Chair of HRPB, neither of them knew about an upcoming Workshop this week. Hopefully this will get cleared up soon. Also on Wednesday is a scheduled meeting of the City’s Recreation Advisory Board. Will let everyone know when that agenda is available for the public.

Anyhow. . .

There IS a scheduled City Commission meeting tomorrow (Tuesday, Oct. 17th at 6:00). The two items many of the public are highly interested in and received much media attention as well ARE NOT on this agenda:
  • RFP 17-210, “Lake Worth Historical Resources Survey Update, Phase 2”.
  • RFP 17-211, “Lake Worth Historic Preservation Design Guidelines”.
The next regular Commission meeting, after tomorrow’s, is coming up on November 7th. It’s possible these items will be on that agenda or to be addressed at a City Workshop or upcoming Work Session. So. Stay tuned as they say.

However, there are some very interesting items on tomorrow’s Commission agenda. Use this link to learn more. Also, check back tomorrow for how to watch this meeting Live Streaming on YouTube.

An early sign? Election Day in the City of Lake Worth on March 13th, 2018.

This just may be a first ever: All of the M9 (Month 9, September) campaign treasurer reports have been turned in by the three incumbents (for mayor and commissioner in Districts 1 and 3) and the 2 challengers, so far, for commissioner seats. Mayor Pam Triolo is thus far unopposed.

There are 4 “Waiver of Report” for September, meaning no money was raised or spent and one contribution to one of the challengers for $50. Not $5,000. Not $500. Just fifty (50) dollars.

Draw your own conclusions.

To see all of the campaign reports and to check in every now and then to see if there are any more challengers use this link to the City’s website.

To learn how to run for a seat on the Lake Worth City Commission use this link. The Qualifying Period, the two-week’s one has to actually get your name on the ballot, is from noon November 28th to noon on December 12th. You can also visit the City Clerk’s office at City Hall to get more information or call 561-586-1662, Monday–Friday, 8:00–5:00.

A Brief History: Code Enforcement in the City of Lake Worth, 2009–2017.

“Most code enforcement fines were never paid, and no efforts were made to collect them. Dangerously dilapidated properties were left untouched, while code enforcement officials continued tacking on fines they knew would never be collected.”
—Quote, Andrew Marra, editor at The Palm Beach Post, editorial dated October 20th, 2013.

There are now many more updated and new City ordinances to reduce blight but in 2009, 8 years ago, the situation was so out of control there was just no way to catch up. Hard to believe, but at one point (in 2014) it was decided to just burn these former homes down (see video below), using these dilapidated structures to train firefighters, and then have the CRA build a new home in its place.

Finally, in early 2016, things began to turn around in a big way. City Manager Michael Bornstein wrote in a City newsletter, “Code is Moving Forward”:

“[I]t was apparent that the City’s Code Compliance Division was having some serious problems. The Division’s operations were hampered by trying to enforce outdated and inconsistent City Codes and they did not have the resources and training necessary to deal with the difficult circumstances in our City.”

How did we get into this terrible situation
to begin with?

When a prior administration began to gut the Code Enforcement Dept. — starting in 2009 — a well-respected resident stated later,

“After [Susan] Stanton was hired [in 2009] she made a statement concerning code and indicated that it was no longer a priority. The number of code officers dropped and she did not replace them. I met with her a year after she took over and confronted her with the fact that code was doing nothing to stop the blight and that I was extremely disappointed with her decision to allow the department to fall apart.”

Stanton was fired in December 2011; Mr. Bornstein was hired in April 2012.

Now fast-forward to July 2017 (use this link)
from City Manager Bornstein:

“Maintaining community standards through Code Compliance is not an easy process. But it is one that we are committed to and one that we have made great progress in over the past several years. Thanks to new and enforceable laws adopted by the City Commission, the creation of the Code Remediation Fund, and a dedicated staff committed to the improvement of the City, we are working to make things better.”

Last June here in the City of Lake Worth there was a proclamation for “Code Enforcement Officers Week” at the City Commission. I was in attendance at that meeting. It was one of the biggest aplauses I’ve ever heard in a very long time at City Hall. They deserve it.

Unfortunately, however, the current beat reporter from the Post was not there to see it all.

Anyhow. . .

Would you like to contact the City of Lake Worth’s Code Compliance Division and give them some kind words of encouragement and say, “Thank You”?
  • The office is located at 1900 2nd Ave. North.
  • Open Monday–Friday, 8:00–4:00.
  • Phone number is 561-586-1652.
  • Email:

Oh, and remember that video
I mentioned earlier? Here it is:

Rising to the next level: Our City of Lake Worth needs to learn from a Delray Beach businessman.

In June 2014 I received the most unfortunate correspondence from a visitor to Lake Worth from a Delray businessman (see letter below). In well over a decade our City of Lake Worth still has no store for a man to purchase a quality pant for a business meeting. Incredulous.

If you cover your eyes and throw a Bouncing Ball high up in the air over our Downtown, when it comes down and bounces around you’ll hit three or four stores that sell a women’s pant but if you’re a man in need of a business pant you are out of luck.

Read the letter below — from over 3 years ago! — and ask yourself this question: How much of a future does our City really have if we don’t have a quality store for a businessman to buy a pant for a business meeting?

Dear Blogger, I was recently in your charming city and had a most unfortunate experience. I live in Delray Beach and have a small consulting firm. Received a message from one of your Lake Worth business owners about a project she was considering in the downtown. We set up a meeting at the restaurant Brogues Downunder for early afternoon, just a casual meeting we both agreed. I took the shuttle in downtown Delray Beach to the TriRail en route to Lake Worth and then the cab to your downtown.
     On the cab ride received a call that our meeting was now to include not just my contact but other Lake Worth residents with influence in your city. Now here I am dressed Florida casual with nice shoes, fashionable short sleeve shirt, and SHORTS! Exquisite shorts, Hilfiger, but still shorts. I was so upset I instructed the cabbie to hurry to the downtown area so I could purchase a pair of men’s business pants for the meeting. Just the thought of being at a professional meeting at Brogues wearing shorts was horrifying. Not having a suit jacket is one thing but not having long pants is downright uncivilized.
     I get to the downtown and I rush madly down your Lake Avenue looking for a men’s pants store. Then I traverse over to your Lucerne Avenue and cannot find a men’s pants store there either. I couldn’t believe it. Frantically I stopped a man on a Segway and he told me, “Sorry, Sir, Lake Worth doesn't have any men’s pants stores.” Appalling. With just minutes to go, now desperate, I happened on a store with women’s clothing and did what I had to do.
     The meeting went very well and your city is so charming. The people of Lake Worth are so nice and pleasant. Must say the potential of your city is limitless. Oh, and the Grilled Mahi at Brogues Downunder was the best Mahi ever. Superbly cooked.
     After the meeting went to a friends house to change back into my casual clothes and thought, hey, why don’t I take picture of myself first! What better way to show the need for men’s fashion in your fine city.
     So here is my picture attached.


[You decide. Is this acceptable?]
If you think this is a big problem, contact
the City of Lake Worth’s Dept. of Economic
and the Lake Worth Community
Redevelopment Agency
too and say, “We need a
store for men to buy a business pant!”

A message from Lake Worth’s inimitable, iconic resident, Mr. Greg Rice:

“We have a great surprise
for you!”

President Greg Rice of the Mango Groves Neighborhood Assoc. has organized “a little field trip” to Mathews Brewing Company:

“Dave from Mathews Brewing Company has kindly
agreed to show us around what will be
L-Dub’s first craft brewery!”
Next Thursday (Oct. 19th) at 7:00. Meet out
front of Mathews Brewing Co. located at
130 South ‘H’ St. in our little
City of Lake Worth.  

Whilst on the subject of craft beer use this link for, “Some notes from my recent trip to Michigan and the popular scene now: micro-brewing.”

For anyone looking to open a new Hipster and cool bar serving craft beer and food on Dixie Hwy. in the City of Lake Worth, the vacant lot north of Tacos Al Carbon and across the street from World Thrift — between Cornell and Dartmouth drives — would be the ideal spot with outstanding potential.

However, that too-long-vacant lot on N. Dixie Hwy., the former “Patio Restaurant”, does have some issues (contact the Dept. of Community Sustainability Dept. for more details).

To the folks at Mathews Brewing:

Welcome to our little
City of Lake Worth!

Very important meeting coming up on Friday in West Palm Beach.

This Friday (Oct. 20th) at the Flagler Gallery Room in West Palm Beach, located at 401 Clematis St., a meeting to begin at 9:30:

Joint Meeting of the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council (TCRPC) and South Florida Regional Planning Council (SFRPC).

From the “Preliminary Agenda” with emphasis added:
  • Welcome and County Update: Verdenia Baker, County Administrator, Palm Beach County.
  • Comments: TCRPC Chair Doug Smith and SFRPC Chair Tim Daubert.
  • Terrorism Preparedness and Prevention. Response and Lessons Learned from the Pulse Nightclub and Fort Lauderdale / Hollywood International Airport Mass Shooting Events: Carrie Proudfit, Senior Public Information Officer, Orange County and Bertha Henry, County Administrator, Broward County.
  • Affordable Housing Trust Fund: Resolution of Support.
  • The Southeast Florida Coral Reef Tract. Resolution of Support for House Bill 53 Establishing the Southeast Florida Coral Reef Ecosystem Conservation Area: Representative Kristin Jacobs and Senator Lauren Book.
  • Amazon Corporate Headquarters 2.0, Regional Application Update: Presentation by Kelly Smallridge, CEO, Business Development Board of Palm Beach County.
  • U.S. Highway 27 Multi-Modal Corridor Project Update.
This meeting on Friday morning is very significant and very important for our region in South Florida.

We all need to do our part: Help our returning Snowbirds settle in and adjust for the Winter.

If you spot a Snowbird, just smile and say, “Welcome back. Is there anything I can do to help?”

Or. . . “Tervetuloa takaisin. Voinko auttaa?”

This is a community effort. The faster our Snowbirds get back moved into places like their condo on Lake Osborne Drive, relearn the parking rules, call up Lynn and say, “Hi! We’re back!”, get their utilities and cable hooked up. . . then it’s off to our local restaurants, the Beach, Evening on the Avenues, and spending money at our local shops, the money that keeps these business people in business all year long.

Then they’ll go to Kilwins Chocolate at the Beach or maybe the Kilwins in Downtown Lake Worth too and not regret a bit that Hoffman’s is gone.

Then they’ll start thinking about exercise.

Welcome Back, Snowbirds! Excited about
exercising in our gorgeous, warm, sunny
South Florida weather?

Let’s say public pools don’t excite you and that chlorine smell is just annoying. Running is out, too rough on the knees and back. Going to parks is boring, repetitive and bicycling is just working the same muscles over and over. What to do?

Kayaking sounds interesting and there are all sorts of water sports available . . . but you’re just looking for something simple, inexpensive, easy to learn, and FUN!

Is there a sport here in South Florida you can do alone, with a friend, or in groups small and large?


And what’s great about this sport it’s for young and old and for every age group in between, for the very healthy and even those convalescing from an injury or illness.

What is this sport? It’s called “Prancercise”,
a novel way of prancing.

Please watch this instructional video.

For example, if you’re a Snowbird in the Lake Worth area here in Central Palm Beach County you can meet up at Bryant Park and prance over the bridge to the Beach! How cool would that be?

Or prance to the Beach for a bonfire!
The City of Lake Worth has been very busy
getting ready for Snowbirds.

Think about all the people that would come out from their condos in Palm Beach just to watch all the prancers prance proudly on by!

Then there’s this variation on the theme:

Even year-round residents can create clubs like the “LDub Prancers”, the “Prancing Mangos”, or even the “Pineapple Prancettes” and they can prance gleefully around the neighborhood or exercise up and down the Robert Harris (Lake Worth) bridge.

After all the fun they can prance over to Benny’s on the Beach or prance back downtown to Callaro’s or any one of our other prime lunch venues in the City.

However, there’s one place you can’t prance to any longer: the City of Lake Worth’s municipal pool at the Beach.

The pool is now condemned due to structural issues
and safety concerns.
 The good news is you might be able to prance to
a brand new aquatic facility at the Beach next
year with all kinds of things like water slides,
a cabana, and water playground too!

Looking for a home out west? Why you need to reconsider and look around in coastal Central Palm Beach County.

If you’ve been paying attention to press and media reports, “reading between the lines”, western sprawl in PBC is coming to an end.
The future is our established cities, towns,
and villages near the ocean. Why?
Please continue reading.

For those of you paying close attention to press and media reports and following local and government meetings one knows this sad fact: we cannot rely on the State and Federal governments or even our Congressional and U.S. Senate representatives to step in and solve our pressing problems. The answer going forward is cities working together, e.g., West Palm Beach, Palm Springs, Lake Clarke Shores, Greenacres, Lake Worth and other cities nearby all working together as a region.

For many in the public the recent news from Post reporters Sarah Peters and Tony Doris (news about the Coastal Link and West Palm Beach golf course, respectively) are stand-alone news items. But they’re not. Both of these news stories, in their own way, have a profound effect on everyone living in the cities of West Palm Beach and Lake Worth.

The news articles cited above and many others are linked (pardon the pun) to the new Brightline train station in West Palm Beach, Blueway Trail project, the recent Palm Beach MPO charrette and new housing projects in the City of Lake Worth, hotel construction, road repair, and many other items that are coming together:

There is a vision for coastal Central Palm Beach County (CPBC) and that future is inexplicably linked to ingenious and creative answers to transportation.

When this vision comes together in the mind of the public, all those people who bought houses and condos out in western Palm Beach County will come to regret that decision. But by then it will be too late. Their ‘investment’ will be worth pennies on the dollar and the reasons they moved out west, one reason being the “fear of crime”, will arrive on their doorstep as socioeconomic problems increase exponentially.

Residents who chose to stay in coastal CPBC — and those who opted to relocate here from other places in Florida, northerners escaping the cold Winter, or from other countries — will reap the benefits. The “cookie-cutter” communities out west will have no appeal any longer. The Millennials will be long gone and so will everyone else who came to Florida to be closer to the beaches.

Putting the pieces together, in no particular order:

  • Brightline Station in West Palm Beach.
  • Moving excess truck traffic (I-95) and freight train traffic (FEC/CSX) to U.S. 27 multi-modal corridor.
  • Tap your phone for an electric taxi.
  • C-51 Canal, Blueway Trail, and water taxis.
  • Palm Beach MPO charrettes on future of Dixie Hwy.
  • Been following what’s going on at the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council?
  • What’s that about a new trolley or bus service in Lake Worth?

Before long the Millennials will have no
use for a car. And. . .

Oh. And did you see that article in the Post about the Coastal Link?

Note “Spillway Park” in image below.
Click on image to enlarge:
A future trip: Uber to Downtown Lake Worth, take in all the excitement for a bit. Stroll to Bryant Park for a scenic water taxi ride to the Coastal Link, then Brightline to Miami, Orlando . . . and all the while wonder why you bought a house or condo in a cookie-cutter community out west somewhere.

And missing all the fun.

Front page news, above the fold, in The Palm Beach Post today:

“Tourism surge lures 6
new hotels to area”

“An eight-year stretch of record-breaking growth for Palm Beach County’s tourism industry has led to a surge in new hotel construction.”
—News from business reporter Jennifer Sorentrue. Use this link to read entire article.

The City of Lake Worth is not mentioned in this article. However, things looked promising last April for a new hotel in our Downtown:

“Demolishing the derelict structures on the neighboring [Gulfstream Hotel] property began Thursday [March 30th], said Jeff Mustard, a Hudson Holdings spokesman.”

But later we learned the Lake Worth CRA paid to demolish those eyesores — derelict structures on the western side of the property — not Hudson Holdings.

Going back even further, to a former tabloid that’s since gone defunct:

“This seems to call into question whether the developer would re-open the Gulfstream Hotel . . . and build a ‘second hotel’ if not awarded the beachfront project.”

Click on image to enlarge:
“We would like to immediately get to an agreement,” the developer writes in a March 2 [2015] letter. . .

If our City of Lake Worth is not going to join the “Hotel boom” here in Palm Beach County, why not at least do something with the Gulfstream Hotel property to attract visitors and tourists to out Downtown? Like maybe host the “World’s Largest Ghost Hunt”?

Click on image to enlarge.
This event was cancelled last September.
A “Ghost Hunt” would at least be something!
By the way, Halloween is coming up on Oct. 31st
and Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)
on Nov. 4th. Perfect timing?

“Code Enforcement issue at Holiday House”. It’s very sad to see our history be called a “nuisance”.

From the May 2nd Lake Worth City
Commission meeting:

“William Waters, Community Sustainability Director, introduced City Attorney Glen Torcivia who spoke about the nuisance property known as the Holiday House.”

Back in October 2013 the Holiday House came before with Historic Resource Preservation Board proposing a restoration. Four years later it’s a “nuisance property” here in our City. Makes one wonder when this structure will succumb to the wrecking ball.

The Holiday House, postcard circa 1962.
“Back in the day” the Holiday House located at 320 N. Federal Hwy. was anything but a “nuisance”.
It was an anuual destination for many,
including Snowbirds.

Here is how many visitors arrived in
Palm Beach County:
Our “International Airport”.

And they arrived by train too:
Much like they will in the near future via the Brightline Station in West Palm Beach. Visitors
and tourists from Orlando and points south,
Ft. Lauderdale and Miami.

But will the little City of Lake Worth have
any hotels for these people to stay?
Until there’s a public outcry, and the political
will to make it happen, a future hotel in our
Downtown looks very bleak.

Part 2. “RFQ 17-305 for Lake Worth Beach Complex Conceptual Plans Design”, and a little history too.

For Part 1 use this link: Quote by Lake Worth Asst. City Manager Juan Ruiz, “It’s obviously a high point of interest in our community.”

Any future project at the Lake Worth Beach will follow many months of public meetings, charrettes, and much public input.

And it’s important to remember the SNMREC “Ocean Wave Energy Generation” project is still being talked about, the Neighborhood Road Program is rolling out, a new housing project (actual stand-alone homes!) is set to begin construction soon and, of course, there’s the Blueway Trail project as well and. . . “Distributed Energy: The Lake Worth Solution”.

And that’s just some of the things going on in this little 6-square-mile City of Lake Worth. The future looks exciting and full of promise.

Without further ado, “RFQ 17-305”:

The future, the past, and our regional Lake Worth Beach.

Meeting in the Commission Chambers on October 12th (also note, the second of five videos is below).

Today, let’s explore some history and the concept of a “regional beach” as opposed to “our Lake Worth Beach”.

Last year Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell brought up this topic and expressed some frustration our City of Lake Worth was spending so much time, effort, and political capital on the Casino complex — principally the now-condemned municipal pool — when so many people who were using the pool didn’t even reside in the City but in other nearby towns like Palm Beach.

In the case of the now-closed pool, one that had to be subsidized by the taxpayers of Lake Worth, Maxwell made a very good point. At just $4 a visit, much less so with a 20-visit pass, was a pretty good deal especially so if you were close enough to walk or ride a bike and not pay another $4 for parking.

Since the inception of the City of Lake Worth, our Beach has been billed and celebrated as a destination. There’s much evidence of very early construction on the west side of the Intracoastal, on the east side the remains of the former Lake Worth Bridge and at the Casino property as well there’s the seawall (which is another whole topic of discussion all by itself).

The Town of Palm Beach’s origins are further north and happened earlier. Its development began in 1894 with the arrival of Henry Flagler’s Florida East Coast (FEC) railroad. A stop on the FEC didn’t come to Lake Worth until 1912, soon after which it became the City of Lake Worth. That meant the development pattern and relationship between the developed Palm Beach and West Palm Beach already had been established.

During the 1920s, the Florida “Boom” period and an increase in automobile travel, the City actively and proudly promoted the Beach, the Casino building at the time, and the pool (then saltwater) as a tourist destination. This drew traffic from US 1 (Dixie Hwy.) through the Downtown area which increased commercial opportunities for Lake Worth.

During the early and middle part of 20th century, Palm Beach had its own pier at the end of Worth Avenue and Gus’ Baths nearby which had its own pool. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, those destinations were eliminated leaving the Lake Worth Beach as the only beach in Central Palm Beach County (CPBC) with ample parking, a pier and other amenities.

In 1971, the City of Lake Worth rebuilt its water facilities in the form of a 50-meter lap swimming pool (not to Olympic pool size standards) and promoted it for diving and other activities to take advantage of other infrastructure developments in the area. One of the more important was the construction of a higher, dual-span drawbridge in 1973. This made it easier to access the barrier island by vehicle from the mainland than other crossings at the time. This in turn increased the popularity of the Lake Worth Beach as THE beach in CPBC along the ocean.

Other destinations like John G’s restaurant, the Casino ballroom and the fishing pier kept our Beach a consistent, steady, year-round destination.

Beginning in the 1970s and into the 1980s, western development in CPBC created new residential areas, one we now call the “Village of Wellington”. Over the years this led to its incorporation as a municipality with an increasing population. The Lake Worth Beach is on the same latitude as Wellington, so besides being a CPBC location, it also became landlocked Wellington’s beach too.

When I moved to South Florida in 1989, I referred to the Lake Worth Beach with its 50s-era feel as Palm Beach County’s urban beach. Even though I lived in the city of West Palm Beach for the first three years after my move from Michigan, our Beach in Lake Worth is the one that I would go to most often.

John D. MacArthur Beach State Park opened about the same time I moved here. It was the place to go if you wanted more of a naturalistic beach experience. Getting there was a longer drive by car and it was a longer walk to the beach from the parking area to the ocean. The Lake Worth Beach was a convenient alternative and my most favorite and still is. Afterwards, I could head Downtown to one of the restaurants or my favorite watering hole at the time called Inn Exile, currently called Propaganda.

For all these reasons, the Lake Worth Beach serves as CPBC’s beach that has a regional draw. It is one of the major reasons that the City gained a portion of the cultural and recreational bond money, to the tune of $5 million, as part of its rehabilitation earlier in this decade.

So, in conclusion. . .

The Lake Worth Beach is “our Beach”. But it’s also CPBC’s beach too. And that’s how we need to approach the future, to make sure the Beach remains a regional draw, providing entertainment, restaurants, and other services many residents in other communities in CPBC do not have in or near their communities, e.g., having dinner, maybe watching an outdoor movie, or scheduling a wedding venue WITH A VIEW OF THE ATLANTIC OCEAN!

Once again, there are 5 videos of this meeting on October 12th. To watch them all at your convenience use this link to my YouTube channel and look for “City of Lake Worth RFQ Evaluation Meeting”.

Below is the 2nd video, which starts off with the second half of the presentation by CPZ Architects (use this link which includes the first half of the presentation). CPZ is the proposer to the RFQ who beat out Kimley-Horn to proceed working with the City on ideas going forward how to improve and fix the defects and other long-standing problems at the Casino and Beach complex:

Stay tuned for Part 3 coming soon.

UPDATE. The “Urban Chicken” is getting cooked.

If you didn’t know, our Urban Chicken groupies here in the City of Lake Worth always held up the City of Stuart as forward-thinking and on the cutting edge of “backyard chickens”. Well, there’s bad news for the all the fans of backyard chickens from Stuart, news from the TCPalm:

“No backyard chickens in Stuart after one commissioner rescinds support”

STUART — In late June, residents of single-family homes were told they could have up to two backyard chickens.
     That’s no longer the case.
     Commissioner Jeffrey Krauskopf on July 10 backtracked his approval, tipping the scale against backyard chickens, which had been narrowly approved last month.

Let’s take a look back. This history here in our little City of Lake Worth.

Thankfully, this was an idea a former Lake Worth City commissioner kept “cooped” up: The Urban Chicken. First, is raising chickens legal in the City? No. Raising chickens, aka “Urban Chickens” IS NOT allowed in the City Lake Worth.

Do you have a “chicken problem” in your neighborhood? Contact the Citys Code Enforcement.
Image from the Lake Worth Chickens Facebook page (3/16/2013), which then-citizen, former-Commissioner Ryan Maier founded.

The Urban Chicken idea is not a new one. In 2009 the City came very close to allowing chickens, ducks, and bees to be farmed for ‘personal’ use. If you can believe it, there was even a mayoral candidate (Rachel Waterman) who thought the Park of Commerce would be great for a large chicken breeding/egg production facility.

For some perspective, here is a blog post from the inimitable Tom McGow on April 18, 2009 titled, tongue-in-cheek, Farm Living Is The Life For Me. . . In the image below from Mr. McGow’s blog, notice item ‘C’ from the Lake Worth City Commission agenda back then:
“. . . fowl ordinance to permit chickens”

Then-commissioner Cara Jennings was a big proponent of raising chickens. Below is one of Tom McGow’s classic photoshops, note the image of Cara Jennings (top right).
It’s funny but not really. Chickens in an urban environment are a major public health issue, especially so for young children.

Besides chickens needing much maintenance and coop cleaning, chickens spread viruses/bacteria and also attract predators. Raising poultry in an urban environment is a serious public health issue. In a City that is still plagued with blighted properties it doesn’t need one more thing to regulate. In fact, chickens are out of the hen house already as many readers can attest by sightings in their neighborhoods.

Why the big deal about raising chickens in Lake Worth besides the health, safety, and code issues? Because it’s a really bad idea that just won’t go away. Even after all these years there are still some in the City that want to make it legal to raise chickens in their backyard on the pretense that eggs are too expensive at Publix. Below are excerpts from a 2011 Post article about the “clandestine chicken army” that still struts.

     “There’s a whole clandestine chicken army out there,” said former City Commissioner Cara Jennings, who mother-henned the 2009 effort but is lying low this time.

and. . . 

     Freelance hairstylist Ryan Maier, 31, started a Facebook group called Lake Worth Chickens recently because of his interest in growing his own food.
     “I had never been on Facebook,” he said. But I saw what was going on in Egypt, so I decided to do something. [emphasis added]

thankfully, the anti-chicken forces rallied. . .

     The anti-chicken organizer, Karri Casper, wrote that Lake Worth Chickens is just a subversive effort to stop development of the city and turn Lake Worth into farmland.
     “This is another plot from the Anarchists to distract us from the critical issues at hand,” the group’s Facebook page says. “For criminy sakes, this is NOT a rural area.

It would be reassuring if, once and for all, the urban chicken idea gets cooked for good. Especially considering all the important issues that face this City such as infrastructure, potholes, and fixing all our sidewalks.

With the looming elections on March 13th, 2018, this would make for an interesting candidate question: “What is your position on the urban chicken?”.

Explore YouTube videos about the little City of Lake Worth.

For the most-viewed videos on my Lake Worth YouTube channel use this link. Along with each video is a red “Subscribe” button. Subscribers get an email when new videos have been uploaded.

Coming in at #10 of the most-popular is “Art on the Water: Can you do the Can Can? Yes we can!”, a performance prior to the City’s July 4th Raft Race a few years back. At #16 is a former Lake Worth City Commissioner during “Break” to the music, The Love For Three Oranges Suite by composer Lutz Kohler (Op. 33bis: III. March, Arr. F. Tull for Brass Ensemble).

And hope you enjoy this one as well — at #24 the ever-popular visit to City Hall by ‘Weetha Peebull’ — “Why it’s generally unwise to be disrespectful to City employees”.

Hope you enjoy the video below as well. Whilst everyone awaits the end of all the talk and actual work begins to renovate our historic Gulfstream Hotel. . . this video is from February 2016 when the public was very excited about the rezoning of the Gulfstream property believing progress was finally on the horizon:

Sunday, October 15, 2017

“We want Lulu!” And tomorrow is another LWVVSMCPE in the Post.

Wouldn’t it be great to see that first news
report by Lulu at LULA?

Of course, am referring to Post reporter Lulu Ramadan writing about LULA Lake Worth Arts. Ramadan is stuck covering the stodgy, declining city of Delray Beach (learn more below). How terrible!

And to make matters even worse, the political climate in Delray Beach, according to Mr. Jeff Perlmana former journalist and once mayor of Delray, author, commentator, speaker, and visionary — Delray was once a “city on the cutting edge”, and is now “losing talent to Lake Worth, Boynton Beach and other cities.”

“We want Lulu!”

Here’s an idea for the editor at the Post: Create more excitement and energy, switch out beat reporters!

Send Lake Worth’s beat reporter to Delray and bring Ramadan to the City of Lake Worth?

Remember, tomorrow is just another Lake Worth [Not So] Very [Not So] Very Special Monday Cursory Print Edition (LWVVSMCPE). And every week, month after month, are the same phone numbers for the Parks Dept., Sewer Dept., and more information for people who don’t know how to save phone numbers or use the Internet.

Who says newspapers are in decline!

The City of Lake Worth is a Special City.
Every Monday! Delray Beach is boring.

Just if you’re one of the special six.
Proof in The Palm Beach Post every week: Delray Beach has been eclipsed by Boynton Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, West Palm Beach, Lake Worth, the Town of Jupiter and Village of Wellington too.

Why is the City of Lake Worth in ascendance?

Do you remember the “KEEPSAKE” published by the Post that was all the rage in Palm Beach County?

“Lake Worth is truly the place ‘where the tropics begin’ and the fun never ends.”
“Lake Worth is a dynamic, multi-cultural City with a strong social and environmental consciousness.”

Lake Worth PBSO District 14 “Needs You To Volunteer”.

Contact PBSO’s Volunteer Headquarters: 561-433-2003; email:

“Volunteering not only fosters a great feeling of accomplishment but helps your community
become a safer place.”

Or you can visit the Volunteer Services Unit at
2601 S. Military Trail, Ste. 29 in West Palm Beach.
Open Monday–Friday from 9:00 a.m.–noon,
1:00 p.m.–4:00.

A program having an extraordinary and positive effect is the Lake Worth Advocates Group sponsored by the Lake Worth Neighborhood Assoc. Presidents’ Council (NAPC). Volunteers are notified the night prior to attend 1st Appearance hearings for offenders. The Lake Worth Advocates have:
[P]roven to be a very effective tool for businesses and residents to fight and reduce the blight of street walkers in our neighborhoods.
Contact the Advocates by email:

Citizen Observer Patrol (COP)

Also inquire about the Citizen Observer Patrol unit at PBSO. This program is “comprised of individual COP units from neighborhoods much like your own. Volunteers wear distinctive uniforms and drive specially marked vehicles; each COP vehicle is equipped with a radio and police scanner.”

Other COP volunteer opportunities are:

  • Media Unit.
  • Administrative.
  • Traffic Monitoring.
  • Parking Enforcement Specialist.
  • Volunteer Emergency Response Team (VERT).
  • Honor Guard.
  • Airport Unit.
  • Mounted Unit.
  • Marine Unit.
  • Bike Patrol.

One can also contact “Friends of the Volunteers”
at 561-317-7624:

This is a non-profit established to benefit volunteers and provide support for the PBSO volunteer program.

Analysis, discussion, and unanimous result from KABAB, to the question:

“Is The Palm Beach Post news blackout about the Blueway Trail project still in place?”

The answer is below.

The two questions to KABAB were simple ones:
  1. “Did the article published in the print edition of the Post on Monday, October 9th provide enough detail or ‘news’ to end the news blackout?”
  2. “Does this regional issue of concern in Central Palm Beach County, the Blueway Trail project on the C-51 Canal, require closer study, background, and perspective since the last in-depth news report published in the Post almost 2 years ago, in December 2015?”

Before we proceed. . .

A special thanks, of course, has to go to NBC5/WPTV reporter Alanna Quillen. It was Quillen, back on August 10th that broke this story wide open after being ignored for so long by the press and news media.

But one thing is for certain:

The article published in the Post did not rise to the standard of reporter Brooke Baitinger’s article in the Sun Sentinel datelined Oct. 6th, three days prior to the Post article. And an observation from this blog on October 9th following that Post article:

What’s being missed here is all the hard work by Commissioner Omari Hardy paid off. Several times Hardy asked for a resolution of support for the Blueway Trail project to be placed on the Commission agenda and he finally had enough of the delays on August 15th. The next regular meeting was on September 19th, right after Hurricane Irma, so the resolution Hardy wanted was on the October 3rd Commission agenda.
     And besides, “Resolution 50-2017 Supporting the C-51 Boat Lift” passed unanimously so it’s over and done with. And did you know, on the very same night the City of Lake Worth passed a resolution of support for the Blueway Trail, the City of Boynton Beach did so as well, unanimously. That wasn’t reported in yesterday’s Post article. Boynton Beach became the 16th “Resolution of Support” for this exciting regional project in Central Palm Beach County.

and. . .

     Focusing on just one aspect, a testy exchange between Commissioner Omari Hardy and Mayor Pam Triolo may sell a few more newspapers but doesn’t provide information or the context the public needs to stay informed like the news reports in the Sun Sentinel and NBC5/WPTV did.

The final result from KABAB:

Is the news blackout at The Palm Beach Post
still in place: “Yes”!

And “No”.

KABAB acknowledges in their final report the Post needs to do more. Much more. But newspapers are under tremendous pressure these days to compete with blogs and other news outlets. All these years after deciding to chase after “the online chimera” the Post owners and editors must certainly be looking back and wondering if they made a colossal mistake when they shut down their printing presses 9 years ago.

Thus far, only a few newspapers like “The Gray Lady” (aka The New York Times) and the Tampa Bay Times, for example, have been able to turn a nice profit using social media with an online newspaper presence.

Anyhow. . .

Now that the issue about the “news blackout” is finally settled, hopefully very soon the public here in Central Palm Beach County will get more in-depth coverage about the Blueway Trail project from the “paper of record” in this County, maybe by a Post business writer or real estate reporter.

About KABAB*

The Kômmîttèe Ãvèrmênt Biweekly Advisory Board (KABAB) is a group of American expatriates, now retired on small pensions, that settled near the Balkans and are committed to settling matters fairly. Being outside the United States they have a unique perspective. The board meets in Greece and they skewer the data presented them:
Tradition has it something very similar to KABAB was created by medieval soldiers who used their facts provided from feudal officers and commoner witnesses about battlefield tactics. They would gather and “grill the officers over open-field fires.”
Note: the rulings and determinations by KABAB are dependent on the quality of the facts presented.

Special thanks to the board:

  • Cağ (President)
  • Shìsh (KABOB Vice President)
  • Döner (Treasurer)
  • Adâna (Founding member)
  • Têstí (from Central Anatolia, newest KABAB member)
*To learn more about KABOB use this link.

You want a new Olympic-size pool at the Lake Worth Beach? “We need to get very serious about this issue”:

From yesterday, use this link for Quote #1 by Commissioner Omari Hardy, his thoughts on constructing a new pool at the Lake Worth Beach, an excerpt:

“When this line [Hardy referencing Beach Fund graph] gets to zero in Fiscal Year 2018 that means we’re taking money out of the General Fund. . . . the idea of taking money out of the General Fund to subsidize what’s happening at the Beach is repugnant to me on many levels.”

Something very important to remember:

Both the quote above and the quote below are from a Budget Workshop on July 11th, over 3 months ago. If you’re a regular reader of this blog you know there have been many developments (pardon the pun) in the meantime vis-à-vis the now condemned municipal pool, Casino complex and Beach property.

Also below are a few excerpts from a newspaper editorial penned 3 months ago, “Stop the bleeding!” and “[A]lso need some Staffers with some creativity.”

Quote #2 by Hardy:

“As regards the pool [now closed, at the Beach], I’ve been corresponding with staff. Staff has been great getting me information about other pools throughout the County. Basically, I just want to make sure this is very clear. A lot of people assume when we talk about the pool there is a negative correlation between traffic and losses at the pool, ‘If we double our traffic at the pool we’d lose less money.
     Based on what I’ve seen throughout the County, that’s not true. . . . You can talk about Lake Lytal [Family Aquatic Center] which a lot of people compare us to, you can talk about the North County [Aquatic Complex] pool, you can talk about the Gaines Park pool [Warren Hawkins Aquatic Center], you can talk about the aquatic facility they have out in Wellington, or the Boynton Beach [John H. Denson] pool.
     They all have traffic that’s twice what we have and guess what their losses are? Two or three times what we have. . . . As we get the pool designs back, which I understand we’re in that process, we have to understand that what we’re doing — I’m not even sure that I can call it taking a risk — because what we’re doing is talking about spending more money at the pool to achieve an outcome that is the opposite of what we want, which is the pool to not contribute so terribly to the losses we’re experiencing at the Beach.
     We need to get very serious about this issue because it’s really going to threaten our ability to provide services to people who really need them. And need more than we’re able to provide. I think that’s incredibly important. We cannot be immature. I don’t use that word lightly. But if we’re unable to have priorities about this stuff, what we’re being is immature.”

Excerpts from a recent editorial in
The Lake Worth Herald:

Lake Worth needs a pool, not necessarily an Olympic pool, but at least one big enough to serve the community and teach children how to swim. There are plenty of opportunities for children to come into contact with water in Lake Worth. It is imperative they learn to swim.

and. . .

     Lake Worth does have some under-utilized parks with enough space to accommodate an aquatic center and should consider investing in a pool somewhere other than the beach. Bryant Park has space, but that would raise the ire of those who walk their dogs in the park. What is more important, dogs or children?
     What about Sunset Ridge Park, there might be enough space there too.
     Go to the north end of the city, there sits numerous baseball and softball fields, some of which are never or seldom used. Take PONY field for example, it is in shambles and occupies a large portion of the park area.

and. . .

     Stop the bleeding!
     Lake Worth needs a pool, but they also need some Staffers with some creativity. How many times do we have to fail at the same thing before we realize it is the taxpayers who suffer in other areas so we can keep failing?

Have thoughts on this issue?
Use this link to contact your
“Mayor and Commissioners.”

“Hmmm. I heard about something called the Sunset property. Where is it?”

Many long-time residents of the City of Lake Worth will remember the “Sunset property” (see image below). For a stroll down memory lane or to learn more read this blog post from June 2006. This property — still underutilized — is located west of I-95 in the southwestern area of the City very near the County’s John Prince Park (now home of the World’s largest dog park).

Interestingly, just east of I-95 in the northwestern part of the City, another long-time vacant property will be developed near Vernon Heights for new single-family houses: Meritage Homes’ Lake Cove Residential Development was unanimously approved by the City Commission.

If you’re interested, use this link and check out the City of Lake Worth’s Zoning Map, Future Land Use maps, and Land Development Regulations. Without further ado. . .

Image from The Lake Worth Herald, October 13th, 2005.
Click on image to enlarge:
Opening paragraph in the Herald about this City Commission meeting back in 2005: “When the tumult and shouting died down Tuesday night, Lake Worth was still without a decision on the number of townhouses the city would allow at 826 Sunset Dr.

Whatever happened to “Gentrification!” in the City of Lake Worth?

Below is more on the “Politics of Fear” plus something called, “The Gentrification Paradox”.

What follows is a fairly long read with a brief introduction to that “loaded word”: Gentrification. Later on in this blog post is about a “paradox” (self-contradictory, false proposition) and how the public can be manipulated by a looming threat or fear that doesn’t exist, e.g., “The Wolf at the Door”.

The word gentrification, once a favorite loaded word to create fear and instability in neighborhoods throughout the City of Lake Worth in years past has disappeared from the lexicon. Why? We’ll examine that a little later. But first:

A loaded word is one, 

[T]hat attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes. Such wording is also known as high-inference language or language persuasive techniques.

Do you know what gentrification is? No one does.

There is no accepted definition. Another interesting thing is how this word can show up in the strangest of places, even when there are much better words to choose from, like in this article about The Cottages of Lake Worth.

Emily Badger at The Washington Post wrote an article titled: “It’s time to give up the most loaded, least understood word in urban policy: gentrification”:

These questions get at a fundamental problem with one of the most controversial (and fuzzy) concepts in urban policy: Even researchers don’t agree on what ‘gentrification’ means, let alone how to identify it. (And this is to say nothing of its even more problematic derivative, the “gentrifier.”)

Think about this, since urban gardens are so popular with some, are they actually promoting gentrification? Because developers love urban gardens. Have you read this article, “Urban farmers find that success leads to eviction”? This is called “The Gentrification Paradox” (read more about that below).

One last question, a very troubling one: Is it possible there were people or groups here in Lake Worth intentionally using tactics like “Gentrification!” to suppress neighborhood improvements, increase the crime rate, and create fear for political objectives? A shocking thought isn’t it? Or maybe not so much for others.

Everyone knows the naysayers and malcontents here in Lake Worth. The ones that have nothing good to say about the City Commission first swept into office in 2012. Finally this year the last of the holdouts (see image below), lost his District 2 seat held since 2010. Some of those naysayers, once upon a time, were in control of this City and you may be wondering how such negative people ever got into positions of power. They accomplished that with the politics of fear, also called “The Wolf at the Door”.

Photo taken of prior administration in 2012 at the Lake Worth Casino:

“Gentrification!” was a word Cara Jennings (on right, facing) was fond of using. Chris McVoy, PhD (beaming, blue shirt) managed to hold on for a
while but lost his re-election bid last March.
Recognize anyone else?

The public in Lake Worth woke up one day 5½ years ago and realized there was no “Wolf at the Door”, or “Vulture at the Door” if you will. The real problem was a few commissioners in City Hall. Unsurprisingly, the mood in this City began to change beginning back in 2012 and despite some setbacks and disappointments, the outlook going forward is mostly positive about our City’s future. The passing of the Neighborhood Road Bond last year by a “whopping 69%” was proof a new positive attitude had swept over the City.

So. . . why did the cry of “Gentrification!”
stop working?

Also in this blog post are more of the tactics used to stop neighborhood improvements and ways to discourage people from being more involved in their communities. And. . . why blaming elected officials for ‘gentrification’ is a fallacy, merely a tactic to gain political advantage.

Gentrification is one of the most misunderstood phenomenons in American culture. It’s a term that’s derogatory to some and a very hopeful one for others who live in persistently blighted areas. The logic by some is a certain level of blight is ‘charming’ because it makes the area undesirable to investors or ‘outsiders’.

People who rail and frighten a neighborhood against gentrification (G) are then in the unenviable position of having to balance how much blight is good to deter more people from moving in but still keep the area in a state of limbo: not getting better and not getting worse either. Because if the neighborhood gets too blighted the people who live there will move out.

On the other hand, if one person decides to do a home renovation and improve his or her home, another home will have to decay further to maintain that balance. And what if, God forbid, a homeowner decides to replace the roof!

If one property increases in value, the anti-G logic is, then that is a threat to all the other homes on the street. Then to show the neighborhood how enlightened, resilient, and sustainable they are, then they encourage urban farms and urban gardens which leads to what? Less blight. A bland, unkempt home doesn’t look as bad when surrounded by a garden or a farm. Welcome to what’s called the Gentrification Paradox.

Here is one explanation of this phenomenon from the Strong Towns blog. To put it very simply: Some tactics to stop ‘gentrification’ actually do the opposite. They make neighborhoods, towns and cities more attractive rather than less.

However, the ‘anti-G’ folks have other tactics from the grab-bag to try and stop, or at least slow down, the process of a neighborhood improving that do terrible long-term damage and truly affect people’s lives in a negative way:
  • Upzoning (destabilize residential neighborhoods).
  • Increase the crime rate (or the perception of crime in an area).
  • Encourage the homeless to take over a “space”, like the Cultural Plaza downtown.
  • Promote needle exchange programs to attract more drug addicts (another tactic in Lake Worth from the bag of tricks).
  • Try to make it easier for sober homes to operate without supervision and less scrutiny.
  • Under-fund or obstruct education initiatives for children and recent immigrants.
All of these tactics, and there are many others, are ultimately unsuccessful. Why? Because the process is market-driven and as the economy improves people want a better quality of life. Those who who live in blighted areas will do things like paint a house, clean up the front yard, remove abandoned cars, and engage in activities like forming neighborhood groups, request bike lanes, and become interested in things like community policing. All these changes increase real estate value over time.

In the City of Lake Worth is the Grey Mockingbird Community Garden (GMCG). This garden located at the Scottish Masonic Temple has greatly increased visitors and interest in the area not only due to the garden but also with their educational and entertainment activities. The GMCG is discouraging blight and encouraging neighborhood improvements. How many people have visited the garden and decided to look around the City, liked what they saw and either decided to invest in or move to Lake Worth? That is hard to gauge but it certainly has happened.

In the 2015 election cycle the word “gentrification” was used almost constantly by the ‘anti-G’ faction who knocked on doors to frighten certain neighborhoods in Lake Worth. They blamed some politicians for promoting it and others were praised for trying to stop it which is all nonsense, but it did play well ‘at the door’ to some degree but was much less effective than in previous elections.

However, the tactic was completely ineffective in the 2016 elections and not used at all in the 2017 elections. Why?

The answer is easy: They simply overplayed their hand and ‘crying Wolf!’ had lost its effectiveness.

In conclusion, if someone tells you that your commissioner, mayor, or state representative is responsible for ‘gentrification’ they are lying to you.

And on the issue of trust:

Why would you ever trust anyone who told you that your neighborhood can’t aspire to be better for your children, friends, and family?

Generation of electricity in modern-day South Florida. But environmentalists are out of touch, out of ideas.

Probably nothing sums up the vacuum of ideas in the environmentalist community better than this news story from Palm Beach Post reporter Susan Salisbury, titled “FPL: Less natural gas would hurt consumers, increase coal use”. Here is an excerpt with emphasis added:

     By 2021 the new pipeline [Southeast Pipeline System] will have the capacity to deliver about 1.1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day.
     The Sierra Club, Chattahoochee Riverkeeper and Flint Riverkeeper filed the challenge last year to FERC’s [Federal Energy Regulatory Commission] approval of the pipeline. FPL and Duke Energy Florida intervened.
     But following the ruling, FPL officials said the challenge from environmental groups is self-defeating.
     “If the Sierra Club succeeds in curtailing access to natural gas, Florida consumers would experience increased fuel costs due to more limited availability of natural gas and increased air emissions due to the continued use of older coal-fired power plants,” McDermitt [FPL spokesman Dave McDermitt] said.
     “FPL has been working to phase out three coal-burning plants in Florida, but the Sierra Club’s actions would jeopardize these plans,” McDermitt said.

So, according to the Sierra Club, our future electric needs will depend on coal? Coal from where? China maybe? Or maybe shut down all the FPL plants creating electricity from natural gas and go completely solar?

By the way, millions of people were severely impacted not having electric power after Hurricane Irma in Florida. All but a tiny few of those without power care a whit where their electricity comes from, including the vast majority of Lake Worth Electric Utility customers.

Where does the City of Lake Worth get most of its electric power from now? Use this link to find out.

In fact, a significant amount of power purchased by the Lake Worth Electric Utility comes from coal via the Orlando Stanton #1 electric generation plant.

Fully one-third of our City’s electric power comes from natural gas (purchased from Orlando Utility Commission) and the rest is electricity from the FP&L St. Lucie nuclear electric plant. A small fraction, small now but bigger plans later on, comes from our solar energy field but that electric generation will hardly be enough to power the entire City, one which is growing in population each and every year.

The Sierra Club is good at finding problems.
But they’re not so good at finding solutions.

If the Sierra Club thinks going 100% solar energy is the answer, well, it’s not. Whilst on the subject of solar and green energy, two members of Deep Green Resistance (DGR) discuss green energy alternatives they believe have created unintended consequences (click on link to watch the video). DGR takes a sobering view of modern-day environmentalism and call out some environmental groups by name, including the Sierra Club.

In the video (use link above) a member of DGR says:

“Today we’re going to introduce you to some ideas that you’re probably familiar with already as environmentalists. But we might also be talking about some things that are surprising or even shocking to some of you.”

When you watch the video by DGR, many of you will indeed be shocked by what you hear. However, the strategy by the Sierra Club has never been to keep your electric bill affordable. Because if it was, the Sierra Club would be working with FPL, not filing lawsuit after lawsuit against them.

By the way, have you ever seen a press release from the Sierra Club praising the City of Lake Worth Electric Utility for our new solar field and moving forward with sustainable and diverse “Distributed Energy: The Lake Worth Solution”?