Monday, April 17, 2017

“Lake Worth’s Code Enforcement”: Another in a long line of stories about this topic posted online (4/14) now in the LWVVSMCPE.

Update: The article in the Post cited in the title published 3 days ago online about Code Enforcement finally made it into the print edition today (use this link), in the LWVVSMCPE (explained below), on page B1, above the fold. Also in today’s paper is the phone number for the Parks Dept. in this City.

However, what never did make it into the print edition was this news: Greenacres’ Mayor Joel Flores to honor residents at the Town Council tonight, “The city at Monday’s City Council meeting [today at 7:00] is scheduled to honor the 2016 President’s Volunteer Service Award winners. The awards recognizes citizens of all ages who have made a significant committment [sic] to volunteer service. In 2005, Greenacres was approved as an official certifying organization for the awards.”

“[T]he division had made ‘great strides’ during his tenure.”
—Pulled quote from a article in the Post: Former Code Compliance Manager Mark Woods on his 3 years working for our City of Lake Worth and his efforts to improve Code Enforcement.

First, before we delve into the latest from the Post, this point needs to be hammered home:

“Is the Gulfstream Hotel still sitting vacant because of Code Enforcement? No. That’s complete nonsense. Maybe later on The Palm Beach Post will blame Code Enforcement for the weather and bridge openings too.”
—To learn more about this important topic: Why Code Enforcement is blameless for the continued lack of progress at the historic Gulfstream Hotel, use this link.

If you didn’t know, other than the ever-continuing updates about Mr. Bruce Webber and his Downtown art gallery, Code Enforcement is one of the most reported (and also mis-reported) topics by the beat reporter at the Post. Below are excerpts from an article likely to be published on Monday in the Lake Worth Very Very Special Monday Collector Print Edition (LWVVSMCPE):

Code compliance, charged with improving neighborhoods by enforcing building, zoning and housing codes, has been under fire since former City Manager Susan Stanton gutted the division in 2012, saying it wasn’t a priority. A year later, Kenneth Oakes, the city’s former internal auditor, in a special report criticized the division for poor attendance, falsification of inspection results and having inexperienced workers.
     The division was in “complete and utter disarray” when William Waters [emphasis added], the city’s community sustainability director, was hired in January 2011.
     “When 20 percent of the city is in foreclosure, abandoned or is being neglected it will take a while to turn it around,” Waters said at Tuesday’s meeting.

and. . .

     Maxwell [Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell] said the city should be more aggressive in staying ahead of those who flip properties and who continually “beat the system.” Lake Worth should also go after a property owner’s assets — car, boat, bank accounts — or shame them, like Maxwell said is done in Milwaukee by putting their name and contact information on a public sign for all to see on a derelict property.
    “There’s a lot of talk about tools and what’s in our tool box,” Maxwell said. “Let’s identify all the tools that are available to us and lay them out there.”
     Hardy [District 2 Commissioner Omari Hardy] said Lake Worth should investigate rotating code enforcement officers, something he said is done in West Palm Beach.

And whilst on the issue of Code Enforcement in the little City of Lake Worth, a quote from Lake Worth City Manager Michael Bornstein:

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