Sunday, August 20, 2017

Liza Minnelli: “Put On a Happy Face”!




Read about the fabulous Liza Minnelli using this link.

From Post reporter Lulu Ramadan: “Eight projects on Delray’s penny sales tax revenue wish list”.


There are some very interesting items on the City of Delray Beach’s “wish list” and one of them may be on the City of Lake Worth’s list as well. Below are excerpts from Post article this week.

But first, here is the agenda for Lake Worth’s budget meeting this coming Tuesday:

Lake Worth City Commission Budget Work Session
Tuesday, August 22nd, 6:00
Item 3: Updates/future action/direction
A. FY 2018 Budget wrap-up overview.
B. FY 2018 Review of policies and direction.

Check back next Tuesday for how to watch this meeting Live Streaming.

Last July the City of Lake Worth had a work session to prepare a preliminary “wish list” for the proceeds from the ¢1 County sales tax increase. However, because the infrastructure here in Lake Worth was ignored and allowed to deteriorate for so long, most (or all) of the County ¢1 sales tax proceeds will have to used for the necessities, e.g., roads and infrastructure projects.

The City of Delray Beach has some leeway to be more creative. Use this link to read the entire article by Post reporter Lulu Ramadan.

Here are two items from the Delray Beach
“wish list”:

Hybrid downtown trolley. The city has a Downtown Trolley Roundabout that transports patrons and employees from parking lots throughout the downtown to the businesses on East Atlantic Avenue. [emphasis added] It has budgeted $1.5 million for a new, environmentally-friendly electric or hybrid trolley, according to the [City] report.

and. . .

Skate park. About $410,000 is set aside to repair and replace the skate park at city-owned 505 Teen Center, a drop-in center for local youth at 505 SE 5th Ave.

Here’s an idea from Delray that Lake Worth Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell has been pushing for to help lower the crime rate in certain areas of the City:

License plate readers. The city [Delray Beach] aims to purchase license-plate readers for the downtown “to reduce crime in high tourist areas” for $400,000, the report says. It adds: “Nearby cities are already utilizing these technologies to reduce crimes and have higher percentage of crimes solved.”

Lastly, one more from the Delray “wish list”:

Pompey Park pool.* About $470,000 was budgeted to redesign the pool at Pompey Park, at 1101 NW 2nd St, as well as add shading and improve the indoor gymnasium, according to the report.

It’s nice to see a city address the needs of residents and families that need to learn how to swim, isn’t it?

But here in the City of Lake Worth some still want a brand new pool at the Beach to replace the “white elephant” that was condemned last December and ignored by a previous commission when the Casino was ‘renovated’ back in 2012. Even prior to 2012 everyone knew the pool at the Beach was a big problem but it was “kicked down the road”.

Remember when the pool was shut down in 2010?


And whereas parking is FREE at almost every public pool, to use the pool at the Lake Worth Beach cost $4 (2 hour minimum) every time to park.

No wonder so many kids never used it; many parents couldn’t afford it. For a family of four it cost $16 for 2 hours each trip to the pool at the Beach. Staying longer than two hours and it gets even more expensive (note: that doesn’t include a soda or a slice of pizza).

But with the elections looming in March 2018, some continue to pander to a very small but loud group of constituents.

The editor at The Lake Worth Herald nailed it
when he wrote about a pool at the Beach,
“Does it have to be there?”

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.

But once again, as is the case way too often, the hard decisions and political will have to wait until after the elections are over.

*From the City of Delray Beach: Pompey Park Pool is a modern aquatic facility adjacent to the Pompey Park Recreation Center. It is fully accessible and meets ADA regulations.
  • Facilities: Drinking fountain, restrooms, swimming pool, wheelchair accessible.
  • Activities: Swimming, swimming lessons, aquatic exercise, scuba diving lessons.
  • Hours of operation: Tuesday–Friday 9:00 a.m.–1:00 and 4:00–8:00 pm; Saturday 9:00–5:00.

Do you remember what the ballot question was last March?

“Question”

COMMISSIONERS AND MAYOR ELECTED
FOR THREE YEAR TERMS

The present Charter provides that commissioners and the mayor are elected for two year terms. The Commission has proposed that commencing with the March 2018 election the commissioners and mayor shall be elected for three year terms. Shall the above described amendment be adopted?

The results from March 2016:
City of Lake Worth - Question.
The public said,
“Yes”.

On March 13th, 2018, the mayor’s seat and commissioners for Districts 1 and 3 will be decided. Whomever is elected will serve a 3-year term.
  • Have you considered running for election?
  • “How do I qualify? Is there a time limit?”
  • Who is already committed to running for election next year?
Use this link to find the answers to all those questions and more information.

Remember last time the mayor’s seat and
Districts 1 and 3 were on the ballot in 2016?
Remember, there is a moratorium (using the honor system) on putting out campaign signs prior
to January 8th next year. Why Jan. 8th?
Use this link to find out.

2010 Flashback — Amendment 4: A ‘conservative blogger’ and Anarchist affinity friends and “fellow travelers” on the economy in South Florida.

Remember back in 2010 when the world as
we know it was on the verge of total collapse if
Amendment 4 didn’t pass?

Well, here we are 7 years later. . .

What happened to all the panic about the fate of the world in Lake Worth? Pay special attention starting at around the 1:00 mark in the video below. Lake Worth’s ‘conservative’ blogger makes a cameo supporting her Anarchist friends and allies in “The Struggle”:



Only thirty-three percent of voters statewide voted for Amendment 4. It needed over 60% to pass into law.
Local governments like the City of Lake Worth would have been paralyzed if Amendment 4
had passed.

Imagine having elections for almost
anything and everything?

To have even the simplest and mundane functions of government — like fixing street lighting — having to be put up for a vote. Need to purchase another vehicle for the fleet? Have a vote for that too. That’s what life would have been like in Florida had Amendment 4 passed. The business of government and governing would have ground to a halt.

Imagine life here in Lake Worth in
perpetual election season.

Never stops. The signs, mailers, and knocks at the door a constant fact of life. There are some people who like that idea. Imagine that.

When it comes to elections here in the City of Lake Worth we took a big leap forward. The referendum to increase the terms of mayor and commissioners from 2 years to 3 passed. We’ll have an election of candidates next year and another one in 2019. Then 2020 will be an off year. No elections.

Imagine that.

News: Economic development in the little City of Lake Worth (and why you need to support LOCAL newspapers).


Front page news (see below) about economic development, new construction, and more businesses opening up in the City of Lake Worth was reported in The Lake Worth Herald just recently.

And, of course, everyone else in the press is jumping on the bandwagon now which is to be expected.

The so-called ‘mainstream’ press and news media uses a much different model now to gauge public interest than do local newspapers like the Herald. Reporters at the Herald attend meetings and neighborhood groups, contact public officials and staff (not just when it’s convenient for a story), and they don’t go about “shamelessly” over-hyping stories like a tabloid would.

A classic example of over-hyping was a ridiculous news report last Christmas when a Palm Beach Post beat reporter tried to make the closing of a Downtown chocolate store a huge story — which it wasn’t — a non-story to try and sell more newspapers suggesting our Downtown was suffering from a lack of foot traffic. Nonsense.

[The real story was Hoffman’s couldn’t compete with Kilwins Chocolates on Lake Ave. And don’t forget Kilwins at the Lake Worth Beach too!]

For example, Reporter Will Oremus explained how the news reporting process works in the present day: 

“[S]hamelessly covering and promoting the most crowd-pleasing stories. . . . What it probably won’t mean is robust, daily coverage of such institutions as city hall, the statehouse, and the local schools.”

The oft-cited observations on this blog by reporter Jennifer Brandel:

“So how do newsrooms determine what the audience wants? They’re increasingly looking to analytics for answers. With finer and finer grain metrics, they pore over which of the newsroom’s offerings get the most clicks, shares, time on site, or whatever the metric du jour is. They then do their best to repeat whatever they believe was the magic ingredient of the story’s success.”

Does that remind you of a certain crime that occurred in Downtown Lake Worth three weeks ago?

Remember the blaring headlines in the Post and stories that followed for a week with little new to report? What was the point? Just for more smartphone and Facebook clicks and selling a few more newspapers?

Anyhow. . .

Here’s the latest news (with emphasis added) from your LOCAL City of Lake Worth newspaper, the Herald:

The City of Lake Worth has suffered through empty buildings on Lake and Lucerne Avenues and up and down Dixie Highway. There was a period of years through which there were no applications for commercial building permits in the City.
     Times have changed, there are a number of new building permits pulled for Dixie Highway and along Lake and Lucerne Avenues. Second Avenue North and Dixie Highway sport two construction projects which are bringing new businesses to town. Starbucks will be occupying part of the southwest corner of 2nd Avenue North and Dixie while TD Bank is building on the southeast corner.
     12th Avenue North has seen a major renovation of the former Chuck’s Appliance building and it is said to be preparing to house a controversial Medical Marijuana Dispensary. 7-11 is building a new store on the southwest corner of 10th Avenue North and another Medical Marijuana Dispensary has renovated the building on the southeast corner of Lake Avenue and Dixie Highway.
     Mathews Brewing Company has remodeled the building on the Northeast corner of 2nd Avenue South and H Street (the former home of The Lake Worth Herald).
     Many fault a former commission for the lack of progress, many fault the Building Department. The policy changes made by the commission majority over the past few years and the direction of City Manager Michael Bornstein has led to more economic growth in the city in the past two years than in nearly a decade before.
     With the efforts being made to find ways to accommodate parking along Dixie Highway, It shouldn’t be long before the empty buildings are occupied by vibrant new businesses.

Remember, the City of Lake Worth isn’t just charming any more. We’re VIBRANT too!

Support your LOCAL newspapers: The Lake Worth Herald and Coastal/Greenacres Observer.
Use this link for the online editions. Contact the editor at 561-585-9387. Pick up the print edition
at the City’s newsstand at 600 Lake Ave.
in the Downtown.

“FEC [Florida East Coast] Railway station at Lake Worth, Florida”.


Image Number: DG01369. 1965 or 1966. Source: Howard C. “Pappy” Yochum. Description: 1 digital image, b&w. Click on image to enlarge:
For interesting history about our little City, enter “Lake Worth” into the search bar at “Florida Memory: State Library & Archives of Florida” some time soon. If you would like to contact the State Archives use this link.


Wes keeps on “beating a dead horse”.

One-way streets in our City.

Try an experiment: Return a few
back to two-way traffic?

The City’s bond referendum passed overwhelmingly last November to fix the roads and potholes, can we try a little experiment? Try changing a few one-way streets back to two-way like our City was designed in the first place over 100 years ago? Two-way streets it’s thought creates more “eyes on the street”, reduces crime, increases property values, and slows down speeding cars. Just a few benefits.

Here’s an article from the Strong Towns blog
written by Rachel Quednau; an excerpt:

     A recent article out of South Bend, IN suggests that the movement toward two-way streets is growing. [emphasis added] South Bend plans to convert many of its downtown streets back into two-ways by the end of 2016.
     As an example from the neighboring state of Kentucky, the article explains how one multilane couplet (two parallel one-way streets that move traffic in opposite directions) was previously a high crime, low-property value area:
     John Gilderbloom, director of the Center for Sustainable Urban Neighborhoods at the University of Louisville, lived on First Street with his wife when he first moved to the city. 
It was awful, he recalled recently. “There were prostitutes, people selling fenced goods, drugs, everything like that. . .” But after the couplet was returned to its two-way origins:
     Steadily, crime fell, property values rose and retail revenues increased, he said. New investment followed, as residents and business owners rushed to take advantage of the improving landscape.
Remember, Lake and Lucerne avenues in the Downtown weren’t always a multilane couplet (one-way each way). That came later when the most important goal for FDOT and traffic engineers was getting cars from point A to point B as quickly as possible, pedestrians and bicyclists an afterthought.

Many streets in Lake Worth could easily be returned to two-way without many changes to the road infrastructure. Of course things like signage will have to change along with driver behavior as well.

Good idea? Or is Wes still “beating a dead horse”?
Important to remember: Lake and Lucerne avenues are controlled by FDOT, not the City. Other FDOT roadways in the City are Dixie Hwy., Federal Hwy., Lake Worth Rd., and of course I-95.

What are the best trees for our City? Should we have a contest to find out?

“Officials said they hope to make the [Tree Board] contest an annual event”.

“Lake Worth Tree Board winners”
by Post reporter Lady Hereford.

“Tall and short, flowering and spiky, majestic
and just plain odd.”

“Anyone could nominate a tree, regardless of who owned the property”, and the “oddest tree category yielded two first-place winners: A strangler fig and a spiky Madagascar palm.”

Two page spread, feature article in the Post,
August 10th, 2005.

Ever been to a Tree Board meeting? Like the idea of an annual tree contest? The Tree Board meets the 2nd Thursday of every month. The staff liaison is Mr. Dave McGrew at the Parks Dept.

Other winners of the tree contest (by type) reported in the Post:

  • Most Beautiful Flowering Tree: Royal poinciana.
  • Most Useful Tree: Jaboticaba.
  • Best Native Tree: Slash pine.
  • Oddest Tree (tie): Madagascar palm and strangler fig.
  • Historic Tree, Most Majestic Tree, Most Sheltering Tree, and Biggest Tree: Banyan.

What’s your favorite tree?

Show up at the next Tree Board meeting at City Hall on September 14th (meetings start at 5:30). Tell your story. By the way, the 13th Annual Festival of Trees here in the City of Lake Worth is on February 17th, 2018, the weekend prior to the City’s Street Painting Festival.

Blueway Trail and rumors in Lake Worth: Beware marauding bands of looters and “bad people” from Lake Clarke Shores.

What’s the latest rumor you heard about the Blueway Trail project?

This project is still in the design phase and no work will commence for 3–5 years, minimum. Commissioner Omari Hardy wants the political paralysis and hand-wringing to stop, once again calling for a resolution of support for this project like the County has done so already. Many other cities have “Resolutions of Support” as well.

But the City of Lake Worth, famous for bandying about the word “Potential” with great frequency,
has so far sat on its hands.

Is anyone surprised?

Anyhow, if you’ve heard another rumor about the Blueway Trail below you’ll find a way to verify whether or not what you heard was true.

Ever been to Spillway Park in the City of Lake Worth? Take Maryland Drive off Federal Hwy. and the park is at the end of the street.
Only in Lake Worth: Rumors about “bad people” and hoards of looters from Lake Clarke Shores
using the C-51 Canal to maraud neighborhoods in
our City of Lake Worth.

Below is a not-so-subtle observation by Pelican Pete, a bird with an attitude at the Lake Worth Herald, referring to the Blueway Trail at the S-155 Spillway on the C-51 Canal between the cities of Lake Worth and West Palm Beach:

What are all the people doing at the spillway? I know. . . they’re measuring for new “Blueway”. . .

You know, the one Mayor Shalhoub has worked so hard to get for his community. . .

. . . and the one star on the east side of the locks says she doesn’t want. . . All those bad people will be on the water now. . . You know, all those that live in Lake Clarke Shores. . . sometimes people fight the good just to fight.

Guess who was a very early proponent of water access bypassing the Spillway? That would be none other than former Lake Worth City Commissioner Suzanne Mulvehill. Would she be considered a “visionary” now?

“Come on Lake Worth”. The image below is from the inimitable former blogger-extraordinaire, Tom McGow.
The Blueway Trail is a “game-changer” not only
for our City but for the entire region as well.
Have you heard a rumor about the Blueway Trail?
To get the facts use this link.

Anyone can write a Letter to the Editor (LTE). But what’s the trick to having it published in The Palm Beach Post?


Can you pick the day of week your LTE will appear? Ensure your LTE isn’t edited by a junior copy editor? How will your LTE be titled? Are these matters beyond your control?

No, not at all. Not if you know the trick:
Always follow up with the editor!

Learn the rules below how to write a proper LTE. It only takes 5–10 minutes. Write one today about our City of Lake Worth!

Did you know the City of Lake Worth is only city in Palm Beach County to receive “Hometown Destinations” status in the Post, beating out Delray Beach?
Write a LTE about what you think makes your school, community, and neighborhood
so
“SPECIAL”!

Below, unfortunately, is one of the rare exceptions: a positive LTE published about the little City of Lake Worth. Do you have something uplifting, inspirational and informative to write about our City? Here is an excerpt from an LTE a few months ago:

“I urge prospective buyers to look into the abandoned home market for their families. In the city of Lake Worth, a charming, diverse and culturally rich area, there are abandoned homes looking for someone to love them. Ask your Realtor to show you some.”

The Rules. How to write a LTE:

  • Keep your LTE to 150–200 words in length. The “shorter the better” is a good rule.
  • An LTE submitted by email (see below) is the best method and remember to include your phone number and complete address.
  • Engage like-minded “average citizens” to write LTE’s on the same subject.
  • Listing your credentials will help greatly.

Then always follow-up. This is the trick!

  • Follow up your LTE with an email or fax later that day or the next morning.
  • Then later, call or contact the editorial department and explain why your letter is important.
  • Don’t be timid! Stay pleasant and respectful but make a strong pitch.
  • To seal the deal, just ask outright, “Are you planning to publish my letter?”.

So get cracking and have your LTE published in
the Post, maybe even in next week’s paper:

  • Email: letters@pbpost.com
  • Fax: 561-820-4728
  • Phone: 561-820-4441

Using snail mail:

Palm Beach Post
ATTN: Letter to Editor (LTE)
2751 S. Dixie Highway
West Palm Beach, FL 33405

Good Luck!

Just in case you missed this from yesterday. . .

Blog post titled, “City’s Historic Preservation program: Regulations aren’t the problem. It’s administration of the regulations.”

Already read this? Please scroll down and Thank You for visiting today.

Allow me to share a few thoughts regarding the recent discussions of changes to the City of Lake Worth’s historic preservation ordinance. This most recent kerfuffle has made news in the Post but this all goes back much further. The current beat reporter from the Post was here in January 2016 when things “came to a head” in the City’s South Palm Park neighborhood, but what happened didn’t make the news back then.

The reverberations from that event still continue
to this day (after reading this blog post come back,
use this link
and learn more about what happened
in January 2016)
.

Some of you may recall, for varying lengths of time, I was on the combined Planning & Zoning and Historic Preservation boards. It was later the Historic Resource Preservation Board (HRPB) was separated from P&Z and became its own entity. I also served as Chair over most of that time.

If you’ve been paying attention, the City staff and HRPB have put together some changes that would create more of a distinction between contributing and non-contributing properties within historic districts. Those changes would also provide a hierarchy of what requires more attention and less attention as it relates to approving changes to a property within historic districts.

The intent of those changes is good,
but misses the mark.

Staff, somewhat after the fact, presented those proposed changes to the State Historic Preservation Office for their opinion on whether or not they would negatively impact the City’s Certified Local Government status. Of course, the answer was the state had some concerns about what they saw as the loosening of restrictions, as is the nature of any bureaucratic organization charged with enforcing certain standards. Bureaucracies are not in the business of giving up control.

There does seem to be hope a discussion can continue between the state and the City staff. Some agreement may be reached on acceptable language. I won’t “get into the weeds” of what might be possible or even workable given the current situation vis-à-vis the public mood as it is, which is very unhappy and impatient.

I could examine possible language to the ordinance. But I won’t. Because that misses the real issue.

The real issue at play here is the increasingly over-zealous enforcement of provisions in the historic preservation ordinance and the importance or weight of staff’s opinion of changes to structures affected. Let’s start backwards and work forward as it relates to the customer/resident/property owner experience as they approach the staff in charge of administering the City’s historic preservation ordinance. 

If the phones of the city manager, mayor and commissioners are ringing with complaints about the time it takes to go through the historic preservation review process, there is something wrong with the way the regulations are being implemented. 

For example, it is not “the regulations” that do not return phone calls or emails in a timely basis. That is the staff’s job.

One of the reasons I chose to resign from the HRPB two years ago was because I was getting 4–5 calls a week from people stuck in what seemed a never-ending circle of subjective reasons why they couldn’t do something to improve their property in a historic district. At the same time, at least 80 percent of the time our meeting packets would be filled with staff reports carrying recommendations for denial. This set up an adversarial relationship between the City and residents trying to improve their properties, with the HRPB to be the ultimate arbitration authority in the matter.

[It needs to be pointed out, the HRPB is a volunteer board. It’s no small sacrifice of time and energy to be a member of the HRPB, or any City volunteer board for that matter.]

As each case is different, there are seven members on the board with seven varying points of view, consistency is difficult to achieve each and every time. A difficult case shouldn’t be an automatic appearance at the HRPB. Staff is paid to make hard decisions, and yes, sometimes it’s unpleasant to work with the public. That’s why they call it “public service”.

One solution would be to have a set of “design guidelines” that would clearly lay out what would be permitted and what would not be. There are guidelines in existence for properties along major thoroughfares in the City and in College Park as well. Those were done soon after the initial adoption of the historic preservation program in 2000 or so.

When asked for design guidelines for other areas governed by historic district regulations the oft-heard reply was “We didn’t have the staff”, “Not enough money to complete them”, or “The state was cutting back on grant money”, etc. etc. etc. Understandable and comprehensive guidelines never rose to a “line item in the budget” priority.

The City does have a grant now from the state to prepare guidelines and work should commence soon if it hasn’t begun already.

Why the City spent $14,000 on an outside attorney to do the work to change that ordinance language, then present those changes to not one but two HRPB meetings and then the City Commission — only to be told by the state we couldn’t do that, possibly risking the loss our Certified Local Government status — one can only speculate. But it doesn’t look good. Not what one would expect from a professional staff and well-paid attorneys.

I suggest the City staff closely examine the process as seen from the property owner/applicant experience with the historic preservation program.

When these “customers” receive what is assumed to be a default “No” from staff they are left to put together an application, with attendant fees, and present that application to the HRPB. By doing so they are putting their own time, money, and effort into a request that may or may not even be approved by the board. The very act of applying carries its own risk.

You also have to overcome what is most likely a negative recommendation from staff. The process itself is more onerous now than it has ever been. I’ve had the experience of putting together a few applications over time.

The simple summary is this: It is not the regulations that are the problem. It is how the regulations are being administered.

And lastly, having a historic preservation program does increase property values over time as many studies have shown. A study to try and prove otherwise would be a waste of time and energy.

Going forward, imagine if there were sets of guidelines for historic preservation everyone could follow? Not just for the public and the HRPB, but for the City staff as well.

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:

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Press Release: Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, “Come On Inside, The Culture’s Fine In The Palm Beaches”.


LAKE WORTH, Fla., Aug. 16, 2017 /USNewswire/ Travelers who want a sunny vacation with a dose of culture, and those looking for a beach break that’s fun in any weather, are seeking out The Palm Beaches for the best of both worlds.
     More and more travelers are choosing to visit Palm Beach County year round, as a destination with as many indoor delights as there are outdoor diversions. A vacation to The Palm Beaches is a feast for the senses and for the soul, with lush natural beauty and pristine shores, plus indoor exhibitions and cultural experiences that guarantee a memorable visit in any weather — for beachgoers and the sun-shy alike.

For more information contact:

  • Judith Czelusniak
  • 561-471-1602
  • Email: Judith@palmbeachculture.com
The Cultural Council of Palm Beach County* is located at 601 Lake Ave. in the City of Lake Worth’s vibrant Downtown. The Cultural Council galleries, visitor information center and Roe Green Uniquely Palm Beach Store are open 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Tuesday–Saturday.

Across ‘L’ Street is a public parking lot and plenty of FREE street parking nearby.
The Cultural Council presents exhibitions featuring Palm Beach County artists and additional programming at its headquarters in the historic Robert M. Montgomery, Jr. Building, an iconic Streamline Moderne former movie theater in Downtown Lake Worth.

Currently at the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County in City of Lake Worth:

The Cultural Council Biennial 2017, a juried exhibition of works by Palm Beach County artists, is on view through September 2. Through September 23, the Council is exhibiting the works of nine Palm Beach County artists/members of the prestigious Florida Artists Group (FLAG).
     Be sure to explore the Council’s Roe Green Uniquely Palm Beach Store for artist-made jewelry, whimsical and practical items, books and more, produced in Palm Beach County.

*For a complete calendar of cultural activities in The Palm Beaches, connect with the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County or call 561-471-2901. To plan your own personalized cultural itinerary and explore options curated just for you, connect with the Cultural Concierge.

Save The Date: Wednesday, August 30th from 6:30–8:00.

To RSVP Erica Whitfield’s Re-Election Kick-Off call 561-329-0310 or email: ericazwhitfield@gmail.com

Click on image to enlarge:
To volunteer for the campaign or make a monetary contribution visit Erica4Schools.com

“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.

Unsolved. Jose Aguilar Juarez murdered in City of Lake Worth. Robert Adams murdered in West Palm Beach.


Both of these homicides (details below) remain unsolved. If you have have any information about these crimes — or any other crime — you can remain anonymous and receive a reward.

“No tip is too small”.

Click on image to enlarge:
To learn more about CrimeStoppers use this link.

The murder of Robert Adams was the 14th homicide in West Palm Beach in 2017. To this date the number of homicides in WPB stands at 21 (a 600% increase from this time last year [August 2016]):

BEACH — A man was found shot to death on a sidewalk in the city’s north end late Wednesday [June 7th].

Officers received a 911 call just after 11 p.m. Wednesday and found a white male victim with a gunshot wound on a sidewalk in the 2800 block of Spruce Avenue, between Broadway and Flagler Drive north of Good Samaritan Medical Center. He died at the scene, police said.

Jose Aguilar Juarez was murdered on June 17th in the City of Lake Worth (the 2nd of four homicides in the City this year). Two excerpts from the beat reporter:

ORTH — ■■■■■■ ■■■■■■■■■■ was watching “Orange Is The New Black” when he heard four gunshots in the early Saturday morning hours where he lives on North F Street in Lake Worth.

While ■■■■■■■■■■ was checking out the popular Netflix series, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said a man was shot and killed at 914 North F Street.

The moment you hear gunshots TURN OFF THE TV!

Call 911 and DO NOT GO OUTSIDE.
Let PBSO District 14 handle the situation.
Make the Call Y’all, “¡Haga la Llamada!”,
and “An Nou Tout Rele!”

Proud of your ‘Confederate flag’? Know the difference between the “Stars and Bars” and “Southern Cross”?

Learn more about the difference below.

Most people running around with flags and banners in support of the ‘Confederacy’ don’t know the difference either.

The Post’s Eliot Kleinberg posted this information in June 2015. It’s a lengthy article about the Confederate flag and what is causing so much confusion. Two flags are in question (both images below are from Wikipedia):

Note the stars and bars:
This is the official flag of the Confederacy, called the “stars and bars”.

This flag IS NOT the flag of the Confederate army:
This flag is confused as the ‘Confederate’ flag.
It
’s not. This is the “Southern Cross”, also
called the Confederate Battle flag.

Here is an excerpt from Kleinberg’s article:

The first casualty of any war, it often has been said, is the truth.
     First, this [the “Southern Cross”] is not the official flag of the Confederate States of America. [emphasis added] That flag, the real “stars and bars,” had a circle of stripes on a blue bed in the upper left corner, with two half-stripes alongside, red and white, and a full red stripe along the bottom.
     The flag that’s drawn all the attention, the “Southern Cross,” is a square banner showing diagonal blue bars and white stars on a sea of red. It started as a battle flag.
     In the last two years of the Confederacy, it created what later was called “the Stainless Banner.” It placed the “cross” in the upper left corner of a white flag. In the closing weeks of the war, to avoid the appearance of surrender, the Confederacy added a vertical red stripe on the far right.
     The “Southern Cross” spent 100 years in obscurity, then sprang to prominence in the 1950s. It was part of a movement scholars say had nothing to do with heritage and was instead an act of defiance to federal civil rights efforts.
     A big part of the problem is ignorance of the complexity of the Civil War and its causes, said Irvin Winsboro, a professor of history at Florida Gulf Coast University and author of “Florida’s Civil War: Explorations into Conflict, Interpretations, and Memory.”
     “The event is fact,” Winsboro said of the Civil War. “The causation is open to interpretation.”
     Many Floridians now are Northern transplants. But Florida in the 1860s had more black slaves than white people and was the third state to secede from the Union. And brutal Jim Crow practices continued for decades.

The “Southern Cross” is an act of defiance, not against ‘Northern aggression’ but against the civil rights movement in the 1950s.

Period. End of story.

At a ‘Confederate flag’ rally in Loxahatchee in July 2015 the attendees rallied around the wrong flag.

Here is a picture from the rally taken by Bruce Bennett (including caption) from The Palm Beach Post:
“If the south would’ve won, we would’ve had it made”. Who exactly is “we”?

Whatever happened to “Gentrification!” in the City of Lake Worth? More on the “Politics of Fear” plus something called, “The Gentrification Paradox”.


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?

Just in case you missed this from yesterday: Natural gas service and the little City of Lake Worth.

The uncertainty and fear about spiking
electric rates is over.

However, still thinking about converting to
natural gas in your home?

The election results last March here in the City of Lake Worth put a lot of people’s minds at rest about the future of electric rates, including many customers who live outside the City limits. However, it wasn’t too long ago when many were seeking relief from spiking rates and switching to natural gas (NG). Below is a brief history about that.

One of the benefits of NG is during long electric outages, after a hurricane for example, you can still cook and boil water if a “boil water notice” is issued and 9 out of 10 professional cooks prefer NG as well.

Learn more below how to switch over to NG. Gas is “cheap, clean, affordable, and plentiful”.

When the Lake Worth Electric Utility rates were sky high prior to 2012 and some elected’s continued to hint they wanted the rates to go even higher, that set off a panic in this City. Residents who lived in areas with NG service lines, who were fortunate enough to be able to afford the initial investment, began switching over or “hooking up” new or pre-owned appliances to NG provided by Florida Public Utilities, e.g., stoves, cloth dryers, and water heaters.

Homeowners previously on full-electric in their homes in NG service areas, who later converted over to gas, saw their utility bills drop significantly — but others in areas without NG service available were out of luck — it came as a surprise to many when they found out their neighborhood didn’t have gas lines but other areas in the City did.

Prior to 2012, City administrations used the Electric Utility to fund their wish lists, ergo the term “cash cow” that our City’s Electric Utility used to be called. Then in September 2015, well, all hell broke loose again when this news broke.

After all the work to lower electric rates since 2012, two commissioners wanted to spike up rates again in 2015.
Of course, this “push” came as the Summer heat was winding down. Later, then-District 2 commissioner, Chris McVoy, PhD, lost his bid for re-election and then-District 4 Commissioner Ryan Maier
opted not to run again.

Anyway. Enough of the history how we got here. Interested in finding out more about NG?

Call 888-765-4601 to contact Florida Public Utilities or use this link and “Ask4Gas”.
Ask4Gas! “Better meals. Longer baths.
Softer laundry.”

Here are more benefits:

  • NG is cheap, clean, affordable, and plentiful.
  • NG is extremely safe. Remember to “Call 811 Before You Dig!” or use this link.
  • Nine out of 10 professional chefs prefer cooking with NG.
  • NG is the “Green” choice.
In the video below, a Florida Public Utility expert explains the benefits of switching over to a NG range/oven.

Remember, 9 out of 10 professional chefs
prefer natural gas.

From Post staff writer Nicole Janok, “Lake Worth moving to rebuild pier”.

Article subtitled, “The $2.8 million project is slated to begin in January and take approximately 10 months”.

LAKE WORTH — Longtime surfer James Linkins remembers the days when Lake Worth Beach had sandbars that produced killer waves. But ever since Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne destroyed the William O. Lockhart Municipal Pier two years ago, the waves haven’t been the same.”

Clipping from The Palm Beach Post,
October 28th, 2006.

Click on image to enlarge:
In 2004, on Sept. 4th, Hurricane Frances pummeled Lake Worth — then just two weeks later we got hit again by Hurricane Jeanne — winds estimated at 120 mph. To learn more about what it was like back then use this link.

Keep your fingers crossed!

At the City Commission meeting last July 11th, Asst. City Manager Juan Ruiz said there is an issue with “spalling concrete” (also called scaling) at the City Pier. On July 18th and 19th a crew of divers inspected the pier and an engineering report will be issued. The “new” pier, if you didn’t know, was raised 5′ for more protection from storm waves.

Ruiz said, “don’t want to alarm the public” and then explained the Pier may need major concrete replacement.

BONUS! More City of Lake Worth history.

Do you remember the original “Benny’s on the Beach”?

In November of 2013 the 28-year-old Benny’s closed down, “the time has now come for us to say goodbye.” And the rest is history, as they say. Benny’s later reopened under new management and in August 2014 the Post’s Liz Balmaseda penned this article titled, “Benny’s on the Beach chef has new flavors to match killer view”.

Have you been yet? If you plan on going to Benny’s would highly recommend the Tuna Tostada. Excellent!

The owner of Benny’s is Lee Lipton; he has strong opinions about the Lake Worth Beach property, the Casino Complex, and particularly the since-closed and now-condemned municipal pool.

It would be a very good idea — when you’re planning to visit Benny’s — to make reservations. Avoid a long wait: call 561-582-9001.
The Tuna Tostada: Enjoy sushi-grade quality tuna with a “killer view” of our LAKE WORTH BEACH while watching the “killer waves” roll in!

PART ONE: “IT’S ALL ABOUT RISK”!


The blog post following this one is PART TWO: REMEMBER! “IT’S ALL ABOUT RISK”! (Do you remember where you put your gasmask?)

From Post reporter Jennifer Sorentrue about “Brightline foes’ new twist”.

About halfway through reading this article checked the date to make sure it wasn’t April 1st. Would guess Jennifer Sorentrue wasn’t the least surprised to hear:
Brightline officials on Wednesday declined to comment on the attorneys’ letter.

Another excerpt from the news story:

In a 6-page letter sent to federal transportation officials on Monday, attorneys for Martin and Indian River counties and the anti-rail group CARE FL argue a loan from the Federal Railroad Administration to help pay for the Brightline project would create “unique financial concerns” for the [President] Trump administration.

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane!

“It’s All About Risk”

Below is a blog post from November 2015.

How far along is All Aboard Florida [AAF; now Brightline]? When they’re ordering seats for the trains that’s a good indication how far. Only three months ago when the anti-AAF fever was at its highest pitch this full-page ad appeared in The Palm Beach Post [August 2015], last page of the ‘B’ section:

Part of full-page ad in image below,
“. . . wrecks like this one in Philadelphia.”
Everyone knows, “It’s All About Risk”!

The Guardians of Martin County tried to make the intellectual argument that AAF is too risky because there was a train wreck in Philadelphia.

Profound.

Planes and cars crash, ships sink, and satellite launches fail. . . are all those to be abandoned due to risk? Surely Henry Flagler was informed of the risks and he decided to go ahead anyway with his railway project into the “backwater swamp”.

The Guardians in the ad went on with a laundry list of risks from AAF: Financial RISK, Ridership RISK, and the Funding RISK

What the Guardians didn’t do was provide any solutions for the future of Florida. Are we to presume they want more lanes and more cars using I-95 and the Turnpike?

How wide does I-95 have to be in the future? 6 lanes each way? Or maybe just make it 8?

Or maybe study once again the “fundamental rule”?
Learn more about the fundamental rule” of traffic: Building new lanes for cars and trucks just creates more traffic.

PART TWO: REMEMBER! “IT’S ALL ABOUT RISK”!

What happened to all the angst and hand-wringing over trash being hauled to the County’s incinerator? 

“Toxic capitalism hurts my family”. The image below is from a newspaper ad at the height of the trash hauling debate vis-à-vis the County incinerator back in 2015:
“IT’S ALL ABOUT RISK”!
Does the Loxahatchee Sierra Club have any gas masks in children’s sizes too? The one shown above is way too loose-fitting to provide any health benefit.

Anyhow, learn more about the County’s Solid Waste Authority using this link and below is a Sun Sentinel article about the incinerator that is burning trash, turning that waste into energy, and extending the life of landfills. Here is an excerpt from the article:

     Nearly a decade in the making, the incinerator on Jog Road will reduce the amount of waste dumped in the county's landfill by more than 90 percent. It’s expected to extend the life of the landfill by about 30 years and, at the same time, generate electricity to be sold to FP&L, officials said.
     In an average day, the incinerator will burn more than 3,000 tons of trash. That’s in addition to the 2,000 tons already incinerated at the county’s existing waste-to-energy plant, built in 1989.
     Between the two facilities, the Solid Waste Authority expects to annually generate enough electricity to power about 40,000 homes for a year.
     Though some environmental groups have raised concerns about potential air pollution, officials say the incinerators are a clean and safe alternative to landfills.

and. . .  

In addition to reducing the garbage put in the county landfill, their use will reduce greenhouse gases.