Thursday, January 12, 2017

“We [the City] are held to a higher standard, they [the press] should hold themselves to a higher standard” too.

Interestingly, the editor of The Palm Beach Post, Rick Christie, is more upbeat and complimentary of our City of Lake Worth and its people than our very own beat reporter from the Post is. To read what the editor wrote last November, following the overwhelming passage of the bond referendum use this link.

The quote in the title above is by Lake Worth City Manager Michael Bornstein laying into Post reporter Kevin Thompson for an outrageously unfair article* last September about the Code Enforcement Department here in the City:Then later, on November 14th, Thompson had this quote in an article about the City’s bond referendum:
“Building more trust, after all, is still on the line.”
Huh? Almost 70% of the voters voted “Yes” for the bond. If that doesn’t demonstrate “trust” then what does? Does it need to be 75%? 80%?

It’s the issue of  ‘trust’ that needs to be examined and why there is this deep-seated mistrust within some quarters of our City. And that’s what is never, ever addressed by Thompson: the critics who had two years to come up with their own plan to fix our roads and instead did nothing. They just sat on their hands and complained.

Commissioner Chris McVoy’s role, or lack of a role for that matter, is never mentioned by Thompson. Ever. McVoy gets a free pass. McVoy never has to explain why he always says “No” without ever offering up an alternative. And that’s very unfair to the city manager, Mayor Pam Triolo, Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell, and commissioners Andy Amoroso and Ryan Maier as well.

It’s rare for any city manager to do what Michael Bornstein did, calling the Post beat reporter “incompetent” and his article, “egregious” (watch video above). But that’s what happens when things reach a boiling point. When the City keeps being put on the ‘hot seat’ and have to defend itself but the people who cause the trouble in the first place skip away whistling, “What? I didn’t do anything!”.

Remember, Bornstein was here working for the City in 2014 and saw the shenanigans going on firsthand. He had to sit there and listen to McVoy go on and on why ‘sea level rise’ was the reason we should hold off fixing our roads. There were PowerPoints and all kinds of ‘proof’ from self-described experts in other cities like Hoboken. Not exactly to scale of our little City.

The press likes to say, “keep elected’s feet to the fire”, but that doesn’t apply to McVoy? It’s no mistake the press in public opinion polls is ranked just slightly ahead of used car sales and about that of the U.S. Congress.

The City has a very hard job going forward. And it doesn’t help matters when a Post reporter keeps sowing the seeds of mistrust. What the Post should focus on is what happened between August 28th, 2014 and November 8th, 2016. And specifically the effort that people like Commissioner McVoy contributed: nothing. He stopped looking for answers to fix our roads in August 2014 and just sat on his hands for 26+ months.

Imagine if all Commissioner Andy Amoroso did was play the role of obstructionist? The Post would tear him apart. But there’s a double-standard when it comes to McVoy. And that’s very unfair to the rest of the City Commission, the City staff, and the public in Lake Worth as well.

Commissioner McVoy has a PhD. He’s a scientist. But since August 2014 how much has that diploma on the wall helped us? All the public can do now is sit back, watch and listen. Then on March 14th, Election Day, you get your chance to be heard.

I’m hoping the voters in Lake Worth keep paying attention and see through all this.

*Note: Link to the Post article was deleted. Draw your own conclusions why. Would strongly encourage you to read this article titled, “Code is Moving Forward”, by none other than City Manager Michael Bornstein in February 2016.