Sunday, October 7, 2018

By 2025: When our City of Lake Worth becomes “Majority Minority”.

Briefly, before we proceed, let’s deal with the latest myth about this City of Lake Worth. The latest mantra is something happened “about twenty years ago” to dramatically change the demographics in this City. Hogwash.

Quite cogently, the demographics in the City of Lake Worth began to change 50–60 years ago when the ‘elites’ — e.g., former elected leaders, professionals and former leadership in the community and neighborhoods — abandoned this City in droves to places west like the Great Walled City of Atlantis and other places out near the Everglades. One of those places would later be called the Village of Wellington. If one wants to trace the devastation to the environment in western Palm Beach County one can blame it squarely on what was called “the White Flight”. Read more about that below.

So the next time you hear someone say this City changed “about twenty years ago”, you can say, “B■■■■■■t”.

Without further ado, what to expect by 2025 when Palm Beach County and this City of Lake Worth become “Majority Minority”.

Or, because of Hurricane Maria, will it be in 2024? It’s important to remember. . .

“People are drawn to the City by its independent character, acceptance of different cultures and lifestyles . . . The City is the geographic and artistic center of Palm Beach County.”
—From City of Lake Worth’s official website.

Palm Beach County, in the next 6–7 years, is highly likely to become “majority minority”; the only real question is when.

Palm Beach Post reporter Mahima Singh projected in July 2017 this would happen in 2025 (more about that below). What Singh didn’t count on was Hurricane Maria two months later in September 2017, a major storm that devastated the Caribbean. Maria changed everything and is already changing the demographics and politics here in South Florida as more and more professionals with the means (e.g., teachers, engineers, law enforcement) abandon the islands in that region.

For the vast majority of residents here in the City of Lake Worth our cultural diversity is something to celebrate, but that wasn’t always the case as you’ll read about below. Now our City embraces changing demographics and most understand this will make our City stronger, more vibrant, and a more exciting place to live.

Shortly after Hurricane Maria hit the Caribbean was when the true impact on the future demographics in the State of Florida and in South Florida became clear. Just a few weeks after Maria there was news from journalist Alex Leary at the Tampa Bay Times not-so-subtly suggesting that cities need to prepare, and very quickly, for another major shift in demographics:

Experts at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College in New York estimate that more than 300,000 Puerto Ricans could leave the island in the next two years, and Florida would likely attract many.

Here is an excerpt from news last year by Post reporter Mahima Singh:

     By 2025, the county’s [Palm Beach County] white population is on pace to fall below 50 percent for the first time.
     As of July 2016, whites made up 56 percent of the county’s 1.44 million residents, a drop from 60 percent in 2010. Hispanics made up 21.5 percent while growing at a 23 percent clip since 2010. Blacks, growing at an 18 percent pace, represented 18.3 percent of the county’s population.

Before we go forward, let’s go back.

The City of Lake Worth, since its founding 105 years ago, has been largely a white majority. But the demographics began to change in the late 1950s and early 1960s when many of the wealthy, well-to-do, and upper middle class whites, not pleased about the growing population of minorities, moved further west into Central Palm Beach County (CPBC).

Just one of those relics from 50–60 years ago is the City of Atlantis. The founders built big walls to protect themselves and those walls remain in place today.

But for many others — when Congress Ave. wasn’t far enough away from the inner cities and ‘crime!’ (the big myth that persists over the decades despite the facts) — they packed up and kept going further west, past Military Trail draining more and more ‘swamp’, building new roads and communities for themselves and destroying even more of the Florida Everglades.

Now, the ironic twists of history. . .

In one ironic twist — the children of the children of those people who abandoned our City 50–60 years ago — now young artists and professionals and Millennials with families — are now searching feverishly for a home in our vibrant and wonderful City. The cry now is “Eastward Ho!

What happened 50–60 years ago was not unique to the City of Lake Worth. It happened all across the country and was even given a name, “The White Flight”. Sixty years later one can still see the devastation as the inner cities and urban areas were abandoned by the well-to-do in the majority and even more of the fragile Everglades was devastated as a result.

The other ironic twist is we’re now in a “Housing Crisis!” Why? Because when we should have been building more housing in coastal Central Palm Beach County, 10–20 years ago, the NIMBYs were firmly in control in every city and town:

     “Imagine a grocery store is proposed in your community that will redevelop a vacant retail site. The developer is well known and respected and promises major site improvements and community amenities. On a Tuesday night, a public hearing is held at Town Hall by the Planning Board or the City Council to get public input prior to voting on the developer's application.
     Who shows up and makes their voices heard? Not the supporters. While the vast majority of residents may fully support the project and welcome it to their community, the hearing is packed with those who vigorously oppose it.” 

Slowly but surely though, the YIMBYs are taking over and reversing those trends of the past.

So. In conclusion. 

Our City of Lake Worth IS a City of Cultures: Guatemalan, Haitian, Black, Finnish, White European, South European, Hispanic (non-White), Mexican, Venezuelan, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Caribbean, South American, Central American, Asian, Filipino . . . did I miss anyone?

So if you’re not happy with the quickly changing demographics here in the City of Lake Worth, as a French Canadian Snowbird would certainly encourage you, before it’s too late:

 “Bon voyage!”

Our City of Lake Worth needs the room. And that’s no B■■■■■■t!