Saturday, March 18, 2017

Worth Another Look: What does “Progressive” really mean in City of Lake Worth politics?

Now that the elections in the little City of Lake Worth are over this year, things will begin to re-shuffle, and somebody who called a commissioner a “thug” will wish another word was chosen. A candidate who became the convenient darling of one side last month will go back to being the mean person they despised the month before that.

The candidates and their supporters who grabbed the banner of “Progressive” and ran with it will wonder how much that helped or hurt. But prior to the election last Tuesday penned the blog post below that asked the even deeper question: What is a Progressive? One of the things wearing that label is to imply you are something and somebody else isn’t.

Continue reading and Thank You for visiting today. Without further ado. . .

It took a while, but the claim of being “Progressive” by one former commissioner wore thin for many voters back in 2011. Learn why below.

Many of us are proud to live in a city such as the City of Lake Worth that touts itself as Progressive. But being Progressive is what you do, not something you say when it’s convenient. Labels are easy. Question: Can a Progressive only be a Democrat? A Liberal? Or is it more complicated than that?

For example, back in 2014, how many thought Charlie Crist was the Progressive choice in Lake Worth? The rest, as they say, is history:

I still think Nan Rich had a better chance of becoming the governor of Florida. But she was never given a chance by the powers-that-be.

Remember, it was a previous ‘Progressive’ Lake Worth administration that almost lost all those Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, a County grant to fix problems in District 1, unpaved streets and broken sidewalks, areas in the City with a high number of minority residents, e.g., Black, Haitian immigrants, and Latino. Remember the 10th Ave. South project in 2014, one project to try and remedy those issues?

When the current majority took over in 2011 (Mayor Pam Triolo, Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell, and Commissioner Andy Amoroso), they discovered the unused CDBG funds and worked hard to save that money and succeeded. Then they proceeded to make infrastructure improvements in District 1: the reason the CDBG funds were to be used for in the first place.

Do you remember any of those commissioners that left those CDBG funds sit idle, unspent? Meet three of them (from left to right), JoAnn Golden, Suzanne Mulvehill, and Cara Jennings:

How ‘Progressive’ was it to almost lose all that County CDBG money? The image above is from the inimitable former resident and blogger Tom McGow. 

In an ironic twist, it was the very same commissioners, Golden, Mulvehill, and Jennings that wouldn’t lift a finger to help the CRA acquire an NSP2 $23 million grant. How “Progressive” was that decision?

How Progressive was it to make the City’s Code Enforcement Dept., “no longer a priority”? Promoting Lake Worth as a “sanctuary city” when it was not and encouraging residents to raise their own backyard chickens when this practice was known to be a public health hazard? Are all these policies what define someone as Progressive?

Here’s something else from Mr. McGow, a blog post from 2009 titled, “Lowe and Behold”:

At yesterday’s special City Commission meeting to swear in Scott Maxwell and Jo-Ann Golden, three events showed the continued sideshow like behavior of Lake Worth politics.
     Protester Ana Rodriguez interposed herself at the podium to protest Scott Maxwell’s supposed involvement with hate groups.
     Cara Jennings sniped at new Commissioner Scott Maxwell through a letter.
     An elderly Lake Worth citizen hurled the F-bomb twice across a crowded City Hall lobby.
     But the last laugh was had by Retha Lowe who reminded everyone that she handpicked her successor, Commissioner Scott Maxwell.

That’s why the City of Lake Worth has non-partisan elections. Sometimes labels are just too convenient and yes, misleading as well.