Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Tonight: Big news about the Blueway Trail project at our City Commission.

What is the big news?

News you’ll only learn about on this blog because there’s a news blackout at The Palm Beach Post.

A hint and the answer is below.

The news is about a formerly “disgraced politician” who never gives up, redemption, and somebody Post reporter Joe Capozzi knows very well.

Remember, there is what’s called a “Press Blackout” at the Post about the Blueway Trail for almost two years now. But don’t get worried, there’s plenty of information on this blog.

Press blackouts are nothing new here in the City of Lake Worth. For example, there’s the news blackout since February on ocean wave energy generation and the more recent blackout on any news about Meritage Homes’ Lake Cove Development project at the Post as well.

Interestingly, both of these projects are in the same area, in the northern parts of Districts 2 and 3 in the City of Lake Worth — near the City of West Palm Beach — not very far from the headquarters of The Palm Beach Post.

But I digress.

Do you know about the City of Lake Worth’s C-51 Advisory Committee (CAC; pronounced kack as in “cackle”)? Nobody does really. The board was created in November 2016 at the urging of Mayor Pam Triolo and the vote was 4-1 with Commissioner Andy Amoroso dissenting.

Note this was prior to the elections last March and two of those “Yes” votes are no longer on the dais. Those seats on the Commission are now occupied by Commissioner Omari Hardy and Herman C. Robinson. Commissioner Robinson is an important part of this (more about that later).

The CAC sat silent for quite a while until April of this year, maybe because of what appeared in The Lake Worth Herald:
“An advisory committee with no one to advise . . . Think the State or County will listen to them?”
And on this blog last November also pointed out:

No City advisory board on crime? And the City doesn’t have an advisory board for Sober Homes. Or heroin. And no advisory board on literacy. And not one for the Zika Virus either. But the City is moving ahead with an advisory board to monitor the Blueway Trail on the C-51 Canal? A waterway that’s not even in the City and over which the City has no jurisdiction whatsoever?

Would this be a good example of what’s called bureaucratic overreach?

Yes. That’s right. The CAC is a committee formed to watch over something the City has no control over. The C-51 Canal is owned by the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD). The Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council (TCRPC) has already been tasked with overseeing this project.

The Blueway Trail project location can be seen at Spillway Park in the City of Lake Worth and off Arlington Rd. in West Palm Beach.
By the way, do you have a question about the Blueway Trail? Contact Kim DeLaney, PhD, the Director of Strategic Development and Policy at the TCRPC.

So after the CAC was created — the CAC just sat there — a committee of one CAC for six months.

Then in April of this year Commissioner Amoroso appointed business owner Michelle Sylvester to the board. Now CAC was a committee of two. And soon to be a committee of five! To do what? No one knows for sure.

Now for the Big News!

The CAC will soon have three new members.

That means they can reach a quorum and actually have a meeting. To find out who two of them are use this link to download the Lake Worth City Commission agenda for next Tuesday, June 20th, and go to page 214.

Who is the third member? Do you remember the hint above?

It’s Mark A. Foley!

Do you remember the article by Joe Capozzi in the Post titled, “Spring training hardball: How a disgraced politician helped save the game”?

Foley, 61, stepped up when the baseball proposal, originally involving the [Houston] Astros and Toronto Blue Jays, was dying in Palm Beach Gardens. He helped keep it alive by introducing the owner of a new team to a new site [now The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches], a site now in position to host spring training for the next 30 years.

Mr. Foley’s application for CAC was received on July 12th. On the item “Why do you desire to serve on this board”, Mr. Foley wrote:

“Important economic development opportunity to change the gateway into the city [of Lake Worth]. It was a request of City Commissioner Herman Robinson.”

Thank you for stepping up to the plate, Mr. Foley.

And for those of you crying “foul”, remember Mr. Foley has experience serving on a board here in the City of Lake Worth. He was a City commissioner in 1978–1979 and 1982–1984.

I don’t know about you folks, but I’m looking forward to the CAC meetings.

Who knows. Maybe even a reporter from The Palm Beach Post might stumble on in.