Saturday, March 11, 2017

BY REQUEST. Another stroll down memory lane. Suzanne Mulvehill and “Mission Impossible”.

A former Lake Worth commissioner, Suzanne Mulvehill from the Best Commission Ever!* (BCE), remains steady at #9 on the most-viewed videos all time on my YouTube channel. To see the top 30 most-watched videos use this link. To become a subscriber click on the red “subscribe” icon and you’ll get an email when new videos have been uploaded.

Apparently, hard to believe, there are still a handful of people that don’t know what happened to John G’s. That iconic restaurant moved south from the Lake Worth Beach down A1A to 264 South Ocean Blvd. in Manalapan and they’re doing very well.

It ended up that ‘saving’ John G’s was “Mission Impossible”. To learn the latest in the continuing drama that is our precious Lake Worth Casino and pool at the Beach use this link.

Here’s another stroll down memory lane to April 2010. If you’re short on time proceed to the 1:45 mark in the video, highly entertaining:
*The now-satirical chant “Best Commission Ever!” (BCE!) was the cry of ever-dwindling supporters like The Obtuse Blogger (TOB) trying to prop up a horrid City administration back in 2012. Five years later we’re still fixing all the mistakes by the ‘Best Commission Ever!’ and just one of those is the Casino fiasco. Imagine if all that money wasted (lawsuits, legal fees, $1.6 million settlement to Greater Bay. . .) had instead been used to fix our roads and potholes?
Recognize anyone? Would that be Comm. McVoy in the blue shirt? Hes now claiming he wasnt there and had nothing to do with all those mistakes. The hugging, back-slapping, and giggles didn’t last long. “Ooops! Did we really forget to fix the pool!”

Just because. Worth Another Look: A positively positive person about Downtown Lake Worth. . .

. . . smacking down the perpetual “Negative Nelly’s”. The image below was posted to Facebook following that nonsense about Hoffman’s Chocolate closing their Downtown location due to “not enough business” (click on image to enlarge):

And don’t forget! If you’re a true chocolate lover visit Kilwin’s Chocolates. They have one location at THE BEACH! and another location at 512 Lake Ave as well.

A high voter turnout vs. a low voter turnout next Tuesday: The winners and losers going forward.

The only elected official up for re-election is Commissioner McVoy. He needs to suppress the vote and hope for a low voter turnout next Tuesday to get re-elected. Basically he needs to rally his trusted base of 400–600 voters and count on votes because of “name recognition” and from others who just don’t pay attention to what’s going on for various reasons: not enough time, “don’t like politics”, etc.

March 2015 was an extremely low voter turnout. Dismal. And so was the turnout for the bond referendum in August 2014. That bond vote in 2014 was defeated by just 25 votes and McVoy was elected by just 1,636 votes against an unknown and untested opponent in 2015.

The elections in 2016 were just the opposite due to a high voter turnout. Mayor Pam Triolo, Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell, and Commissioner Andy Amoroso were all re-elected by landslides. The Neighborhood Bond referendum also was a landslide victory, with 69% of voters saying “Yes” to the bond.

Briefly, here’s the chronology of McVoy’s previous elections and his involvement fixing the City’s roads and potholes following his initial election in 2010 (his campaign promise was to come up with a plan to fix our City roads in 2010):
  • In 2012 he faced a serious challenger and won. However, the Post endorsed the challenger, Jim Stafford, citing McVoy’s broken campaign promises in 2010.
  • 2013: By referendum, municipal elections were moved from November to March, so McVoy’s next election was moved to March 2015.
  • August 2014: The first bond referendum was defeated by a loose coalition formed by McVoy, the bond vote losing by just 25 votes.
  • March 2015: McVoy wins again in a very low turnout election. Many voters were still unaware in 2015 elections had been moved to March from November like they had been previously.
Then:
  • March 2016: The majority on the City Commission (Triolo, Maxwell, Amoroso) win by landslides, high voter turnout.
  • November 2016: Second bond referendum wins by a landslide. Another high voter turnout.
Now let’s examine why the first bond referendum lost in 2014. There is one very clear example why that happened, it was due to low voter turnout and some voter suppression as well.

Below is an analysis that was done of the election results back on August 26th, 2014. Once again, remember, that bond vote to fix our roads and potholes lost by just 25 votes and that’s significant.

On the map below (click on or hover to enlarge) focus on the southern part of Lake Worth, precincts 7160, 7162, and 3078. What happened on each side of I-95 is startling in contrast, especially knowing the terrible condition of the roads east of I-95 in District 1. Road conditions that have only gotten worse since August 2014 and have continued to deteriorate ever since.

Note the dismal voter turnout east of I-95 and south of 6th Ave. South (below the red 2 on the map). The first number is votes “For” the 2014 LW2020 bond.

I was shocked again just like I was when seeing these numbers for the first time almost 3 years ago. Not so much by the dismal turnout City-wide in 2014 but specifically by the low voter turnout east of I-95 and south of 6th Ave. South. Note the totals when compared with the much smaller precinct 3078 which is west of I-95:
  • 3078: Votes AGAINST the bond in 2014, 202
  • 7160: Votes FOR the bond, 92
  • 7162: Votes FOR, 81
The difference? Twenty-nine (29) more votes AGAINST the bond from west of I-95 in precinct 3078. Remember, the 2014 bond vote lost by just 25 votes. Twenty-five.

Had just 26 more voters east of I-95 voted “For Bonds”, many of our streets and potholes would be fixed already.

Anecdotally back then heard reports of voters being turned away at the polls in precincts 7160 and 7162 for various reasons. Many were also directed by “workers” to the wrong polling location which caused quite a bit of frustration. Some ended up returning to their original precinct to vote, the correct one to begin with. Of course, that’s the voters who bothered to go through all the trouble.

So, what does this all have to do with McVoy next Tuesday, Election Day? He needs to suppress the vote in many areas of the City, areas and neighborhoods with terrible infrastructure and streets and also hope many voters don’t remember his involvement is scuttling the bond vote in 2014 and his attempt to scuttle a bond vote once again in 2016.

So, who are the winners and losers if there is a low voter turnout next Tuesday? Almost everybody loses and there will be very few winners.

How to get a high voter turnout next Tuesday? That’s very easy. Remind people what McVoy did. Get busy folks and hope to see long lines on Election Day.

Keep the City’s alleyways clear ALL THE TIME: Not just during hurricane season.

The pioneers. Early on the City was platted with alleys for deliveries and utility services to the rear of homes, off the neighborhood streets. Vehicles are much larger now and demand for services has greatly increased.

From the City’s website: Lake Worth was platted in the early 1900s with an extensive network of alleyways. Historically, alleyways were used as service corridors for utilities and deliveries in the back of homes and businesses. Alleyways also provided a rear access to a property where a garage may have been located in residential areas.
     While times have changed - deliveries may no longer take place in alleys and garbage collection takes place out front – many of Lake Worth’s water and electric lines are still located in the alleyways.
     Lake Worth alleys are narrow, ranging in size from roughly 10 ft. in residential areas up to 15 ft. wide in commercial areas. They are barely wide enough to accommodate the big, burly trucks, equipment and teams for the efficient delivery of utilities services when clear.

 [and. . . who's responsibility are the alleyways?]

City’s Responsibility:
  • Mow and grade alleyways
  • Keep powerlines clear of foliage
Citizen’s Responsibility:
  • Keep alley clear of all trash behind your property
  • Dispose of any bulk items in the proper manner – not in the alley
  • Keep hedges, shrubs, and trees trimmed - out of the alley
[and. . . 2 items from the Q&A]

What is an easement?
Portion(s) of a property owner’s land where the City is provided legally granted access for utilities or other City essential services.
Who owns the easement anyway – the property owner or the utilities company?
Property owners own the land. As a property owner, it is your responsibility to keep all areas of the easement free of debris and structures so City utilities crews can do their work.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Lake Worth, Florida in 2009: Shhhhhhhhhhhhh! Stop that noise downtown! Quiet!

Following multiple efforts to make our Downtown “Quiet as a Dead Thing”, then-Commissioner Golden got trounced by Andy Amoroso in 2011; he remains the District 3 commissioner to this day.

Below is a classic photoshop by former Lake Worth blogger-extraordinaire Tom McGow of JoAnn Golden back in August of 2009. Remember when the mantra in our City was:

“There will be no merriment and beatings will continue until morale improves around here!
 
After Golden lost her race to Andy Amoroso in 2011 she then complained of wolves, errr, vultures at the door, wanting to suck the life out of every possible cubic foot of Lake Worths sky, water, sea, land, anything they can get.

Who exactly are the “vultures”? I guess that would be anyone who wants our City’s Downtown to be a lively and vibrant place to be. A place where the public, visitors, and tourists actually want to visit and see. And come back again. And again.

News from South Florida Water Management District: “Appeals Court Sides with SFWMD in Major Legal Victory”

The news below is from January 18th, a SFWMD press release 51 days ago. Question: Have you seen this news reported anywhere else? It’s never been reported in The Palm Beach Post.

“Ruling frees taxpayers from costly permitting obstruction in the operation of South Florida’s water management system”


For the entire press release from January 18th, use this link. Here are the opening 3 paragraphs:

West Palm Beach, FL - In a decision that saves South Florida families potentially billions, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (New York) ruled that entities such as the South Florida Water Management District do not need costly federal permits to transfer water in operating water management systems: Trout Unlimited, Inc. et al, v. EPA et al, Docket No. 14-1823. The SFWMD intervened in this case supporting the EPA.
     “For decades, South Florida’s network of canals, pump stations and levees have successfully delivered flood protection while supplying water to millions of families, visitors and the environment,” said SFWMD Governing Board Chairman Dan O’Keefe. “In this critical ruling, the court has affirmed that SFWMD can continue its crucial work without the burdens of additional federal regulation.”
     The ruling that impacts water management on a national scale affirms SFWMD’s system, which serves 8.1 million people from Orlando to the Florida Keys, is consistent with the Clean Water Act. As such, SFWMD does not need National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits to operate its system. Obtaining such permits is a complicated, litigious and costly endeavor.

Debunked: Commissioner Chris McVoy’s ‘popularity’ with voters since first being elected in 2010.

Consider Commissioner McVoy a multi-year, double-blind (pardon the pun) experiment. Does the City of Lake Worth (or any city for that matter), need someone with a PhD on the Commission? After 7 years the results are in. No. We don’t.

One reason why McVoy is so unprepared and late for City Commission meetings all the time:

McVoy is counting on good luck to get re-elected next Tuesday running on coattails of the majority on the City Commission. He’s not trying to stir things up, “lying low” in the muck for endangered gadflies (Obstructicanus mcvoyticus) in the Everglades.

It’s important to remember that for McVoy to get re-elected again he’s counting on “name recognition” and a very low voter turnout. Some think McVoy is not beatable. Not true at all. Especially after what he said at the City Commission on Jan. 24th, his latest silly reason for opposing last November’s bond referendum.

Photo taken soon after the new Casino opened in 2012. Comm. McVoy (center, beaming) now thinks all the problems at our Beach can be fixed with “coats of paint and whatnot”. Recognize anyone else from a previous City administration?

McVoy was first elected in 2010. For some perspective, it was in 2010 a man rose from obscurity named Conan O’Brien and became big news, something about late night TV.

McVoy was re-elected in 2012 and again in 2015. In 2015 he received 1,636 votes. That’s it. How does an incumbent win with only 1,636 votes? His campaign succeeded in suppressing the vote by going so negative a lot of voters got disgusted and stayed home.

Following the landslide re-elections of Mayor Pam Triolo, Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell, and Commissioner Andy Amoroso in March of 2016 and the road bond referendum later that year in November there aren’t many “hot button” issues like baked ziti and McVoy’s false accusations of Sunshine Law violations.
So McVoy is hoping to skate sideways—or put another way—flitter like a gadfly into another 2 year term on the City Commission. All because of the hard work and successes of everyone else on the City dais, not anything he’s done.

Interestingly, at the Commission meeting on Jan. 10th McVoy brought up the issue of term limits:

Isn’t one of the reasons for term limits to get new, fresh ideas from the City Commission?

#5 in series: Lake Worth city manager on racial slur uttered in Commission chambers, “I feel compelled to respond.”

See below for links to #1–4 in this series from a former tabloid in Lake Worth started prior to the elections in March 2015 and shut down shortly after commissioners Ryan Maier and Chris McVoy were elected, almost 2 years ago now.*

“Domine, ut videam” in Latin means “Lord, I want to see”. Many in the City of Lake Worth prayed for that tabloid’s day “to see”. But it never did.† The tabloid shut down 4 months later.

The clippings below are excerpts from Friday, April 10th, 2015, Volume 1,‡ Issue 10, page 2, above the fold (click on image to enlarge):

Both City Manager Michael Bornstein (hired in April 2012) and Dolores Key, Economic Development & Marketing Director, continue working for the City of Lake Worth.

Below is a video of former Commissioner Retha Lowe on March 24th, 2015, at the City Commission meeting following the incident that occurred 2 weeks previously (note: Lowe mentions an article in The Lake Worth Herald):



To review Series #1–#4, here is a list§:
  • For #1 in this series of excerpts from the “Worst Local Newspaper Ever” use this link. An excerpt: “It’s a big deal for us,” said Laurel Decker, who filed suit against the city in 2013 . . . “We’d like to get the dais back, and get the city moving forward again.”
  • For #2 use this link: “Tree Board Switches to Gumbo Limbo!”
  • For #3 use this link: “LAKE WORTH CRIME BLOTTER”!!!!!
  • For #4 use this link: “Need money for Roads? Sell the Golf Course!”:
The City’s municipal golf course can never be sold. Why? It’s deed-restricted. Hello.

*Commissioner Ryan Maier is not seeking re-election this year. However, Commissioner McVoy is up for re-election. He was first elected in 2010.
†The “Premiere Issue!” of this tabloid first appeared on January 16th, 2015 with a restaurant review by Joseph Thompson III. He later disappeared and was never heard from again. Whereabouts unknown.
‡There wasn’t another volume to follow. The tabloid failed from little advertising even though it was given away for free. Downtown littering became a big problem throughout the City following this tabloid’s release.
§A collection of archives for this tabloid remain, separate from and not to be confused with The Lake Worth Herald—the City’s oldest businesss, “Established in 1912”.

“X × X” Exhibition at the Cultural Council in Downtown Lake Worth.

The Cultural Council of Palm Beach County is located at 601 Lake Ave. in Downtown Lake Worth. Open Tuesday through Saturday* from 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Plenty of free parking nearby. Call 561-471-2901 for more information.

For more news, notices, local business ads, and community events subscribe to The Lake Worth Herald. The print edition is available at the City’s newsstand located at 600 Lake Ave. in the Downtown. The Herald print edition is still ¢50! Below is an excerpt about another exhibit at the Cultural Council:

The adage “Good things come in small packages” is being expressed artistically in the “X × X” exhibition ongoing now at the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County. The exhibition will run through March 18 in the Cultural Council main gallery.
     Gallery visitors will see works across several media such as paintings, prints, drawings, photography, collage, textiles, metal, assemblage, ceramic relief and mixed media, created by 68 professional artists and 32 students from Palm Beach County elementary, middle and high schools.
     The Cultural Council hosted a Call to Create for this juried exhibition, in which every artwork is exactly 10 × 10 × 1 inches in size. Artists were asked to create work in any medium, on any subject, bound only by the limitation of size. All artists live or work in Palm Beach County, and they include students at various levels from grade school to college, senior citizens and amateur and professional artists.

*The Cultural Council is closed Sunday and Monday. For any other questions send an email to: info@palmbeachculture.com

A day in the life of a Gopher tortoise in City of Lake Worth—Avoiding cars and bikes, curious kids, and golf balls falling from the sky.

Isn’t the safety of this reptile something we can all agree is necessary and all rally together to help?

The Gopher tortoise,* image from Wikipedia.

One reason given why the City’s Park of Commerce (POC) shouldn’t be improved upon, the Neighborhood Road Bond and water/sewer system upgrades delayed, is because a Gopher tortoise burrow may be in the vicinity. Another claim is these tortoises can’t be relocated. That is completely false.

An urban environment of which the POC and the City of Lake Worth are partmost reasonable people can agreeis not the ideal place for this threatened species of turtles to live. The creature is trapped because of roads and development and has no way of escape. The near-constant interaction with humans is a safety issue. There are nature preserves in Florida specifically for creatures such as the prehistoric Gopher tortoise; one is the spectacular Nokuse Preserve here in Florida.

Finding Gopher tortoise burrows, rescuing the reptile and taking them to a safer and more hospitable location is quite common. Watch this short video of the process:
You can learn more about this reptile at the FWC and find out about the permit process for finding them a new home in a safe place. Let’s all come together and do all we can to help these tortoises in our little City of Lake Worth.

*WARNING. Never try to save a Gopher tortoise by throwing it into the water. Turtles can swim. Gopher tortoises can’t! Theyll sink right to the bottom and drown.

Until 4:00 today: Another good example of the new and improved “New Lake Worth”.*

Please Note: There is an “Open House” today at the Dept. of Community Sustainability from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., located at 1900 2nd Ave. North. Use this link for the press release from the City.

I happened to visit the Dept. of Community Sustainability office on Wednesday for a matter. This office houses the planning, historic resources, building and code enforcement staff. The whole look of the interior has been transformed.

Bright, contemporary colors combine the walls, office furniture and signage. You are greeted by a row of “windows” clearly marked “Customer Service” with a chair in front of each. This allows you to talk face-to-face with the city employee behind the opening. There are more new chairs in a waiting area.

For those who have never visited this office, a large conference room with windows (physically unchanged) lines the eastern wall so you can see who is meeting but not able to hear what is being said. Once in the conference room there are new black chrome office chairs along with more bright, contemporary colors.

I really encourage you to check out the “Open House” all day tomorrow.

The staff was very interested and engaged about whether you were being helped or if there was anything you needed while waiting. This combined with the steady heartbeat of press releases coming from the City’s Communications Specialist† (about time for a better title?) gives me more reason for hope about the future of our City.

We are seeing the transformation of our local government before our very eyes. There is still work to be done in terms of operational efficiency, but again, these changes are positive physical signs that things remain moving in the right direction.

*The idea of changing the name of the City of Lake Worth to “Lake Worth Beach”, “Jewell”, and the most recent idea, “New Lake Worth”, continues to be bantered about and discussed. Possibly an item at a future City Commission meeting?
Would Ben Kerr be the City’s spokesman? Another way of saying “Communications Specialist”? For questions and media inquiries contact Mr. Kerr at 561-586-1631; email: bkerr@lakeworth.org

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Palm Beach Post and election news today about the little City of Lake Worth: A bullet list in progress.


Update: More items have been added to the bullet list below.

Check back later on to review the growing bullet list with questions about this article in the print edition today (page B1, below the fold) and generally about the election news this year about the City of Lake Worth in the Post.

Also find out below what the editors at the Post don’t think (and didn’t think previously) the voters need to know about, e.g., large-scale projects on the horizon in this City, “distinct strides” thus far unreported—draw your own conclusions why—and what the editors, in their opinion, think the voters need to know about next Tuesday, Election Day:
  • Why wasn’t the condition of our roads listed as one of the “deep-rooted issues” voters care about? Maybe because Commissioner McVoy opposed the bond and 69% of voters disagreed with him?
  • Why wasn’t the error on March 6th corrected? There is no election in District 3 this year.
  • A major Downtown polling location was eliminated. Two precincts with a high voter turnout. The Post never reported this. Why not?
  • District 4 Commissioner Ryan Maier dropped out his race for re-election back on Dec. 27th. The Post didn’t report this until Jan. 30th, over a month later. Why?
  • Likely in response to non-factual, misleading news reports the City hired a Media Specialist. Comm. McVoy was quoted today, “We have a noticeable number of people on the edge on whether they are staying in the city or if they’re going to move. . .”. Was it articles like this one, later retracted, that contributed to so many misconceptions about our City?
  • The “code compliance division under fire” is another quote in the article today? Would that be because the Post falsely reported the Gulfstream Hotel remains closed because of the Code Dept.? Totally untrue.
  • City Manager Michael Bornstein called another Post article about Code, “egregious” and “incompetent. Did that create more “fire” on this election issue? The Post editor(s) never responded to its news report being called “egregious” and “incompetent”. Why not? Because it was?
  • On March 6th in the Post a quote by candidate Omari Hardy was taken out of context. Mr. Hardy was referring to Comm. McVoy’s lack of focus on the issues and problems in District 2 at the Playhouse debate. One of those issues important to Mr. Hardy are finding ways to increase home ownership.
  • Did you notice in the article today the line, “Unfortunately, the problem is never going to be solved”, a quote from Herman Robinson was used completely out of context. The quote is referring to the heroin epidemic, not street lighting in our City.
  • When Laura Tingo was hired to be the City’s media specialist that made the print edition. She was put on “the hot seat”. She soon left that position. When the next person was hired, a man, it went unreported in the Post. Would that be an example of sexism?
  • The Post references “distinct strides of late” in Lake Worth. Isn’t news about renewable energy one of those “distinct strides”? Why is this news going unreported in the Post? Don’t the editors think the voters in this City care?
  • The Blueway Trail is a project that will help “a city struggling to realize its potential” and revitalize businesses and tourism but is also going unreported in the Post. Why would that be you think?
  • The editors thought Hoffman’s Chocolate closing a Downtown location was big news for residents and voters to know about. Around the same time though, they never reported shutting down their Tallahassee Bureau and let reporters John Kennedy and David Rogers go. (FYI. The Sun Sentinel in Broward County prints the Post newspapers. How many Lake Worth residents used to work at that former facility on Dixie Hwy. in WBP? Press work wages are very good. Union jobs too.)
  • Last November on the question of “Yes” for the Neighborhood Road Bond or “No” against, the Post editor(s) didn’t make an endorsement. Why not? Flipped a coin and lost it under the sofa?
  • And we haven’t even touched on the Beach, pool, and the mayors State of the City Address yet! Check back tomorrow and Thank You for visiting today.
And. . . on Jan. 30th the debate at the Playhouse went unreported in the Post. But “Artsy Fartsy Decor & More” was the big news of the day “IN FOCUS: LAKE WORTH”?

Kevin Thompson is a reporter. Reporters have a team of editors that verify facts prior to publication and are responsible to The Editor. Would you like to review the bullet list once again?

A sitting Lake Worth commissioner up for re-election doesn’t think our City volunteers can be trusted?

City board volunteers are the backbone of Lake Worth. Without them our City couldn’t function. But who would want to volunteer their time, energy, and being away from the family at night after hearing what Commissioner Chris McVoy, PhD, said at a Commission meeting?

A crucial part of the City’s Neighborhood Road Improvement bond (which passed overwhelmingly last November) will be an advisory committee, the Finance Advisory Board, to oversee the process. We learned at a Commission meeting last October this oversight committee will increase from 7 members to 14 for more community representation.

Was this enough to placate McVoy who has opposed any plan to fix the streets and potholes? No. 

Not even that was good enough. McVoy then went on to suggest these volunteers couldn’t be trusted. Mayor Pam Triolo took great offense to this as did many others in the Commission chambers that day. We simply cannot have volunteers serving the City being used as political footballs by “raising the question”, casting doubt and suspicion about volunteers.

Have you ever sat through one of McVoy’s lectures from the dais? “Make speeches”, talk “at great length”, and the ever-looming, “raise the question”.

Sadly, this kind of political attack is not new. The statement (see below) was originally posted last March on this blog. This was in the lead-up to the municipal elections in 2016. Mr. Greg Rice, the Chair of Lake Worth’s Planning and Zoning Board, demanded an apology (which he never received) for false statements made about volunteers on the P&Z board (see video below):

“I would like to make a public statement. Somebody running for city commissioner [the challenger to Commissioner Andy Amoroso] has made public comments at public meetings accusing members of this Planning and Zoning Board, and there are several of them in this room tonight, for being involved in secret meetings with the developer of the Gulfstream hotel and the Planning and Zoning Board. He’s making a slanderous statement. That has never happened [emphasis added]. I want everybody to realize that. I don’t know why, whatever that means, to possibly create doubt and suspicion about what’s going on here at City Hall. But these volunteers on this board that aren’t elected officials that are serving this City, making the sacrifices, this could have a significant, things like slanderous statements like that, could have a significant impact on their ability to be able to make a living. Especially those that are involved in professions that are construction-related or design-related. I would like an apology before the election that [‘secret meetings’] never happened.

Use this link for the video—hear the quote above for yourself—Mr. Rice giving his yearly Planning and Zoning Board update. Now you can better understand why it’s so hard to find volunteers, especially professionals in a specific field, to serve communities like the City of Lake Worth.

Elections are very important. In more ways than you may think. Hope this helps you to “raise the question” about one particular commissioner up for re-election, next Tuesday, March 14th.

This will not take long today: More about the Blueway Trail Coalition meeting in West Palm Beach on March 3rd.

Please note: Below is a re-post from yesterday just in case anyone missed this latest update. Stay tuned throughout the week for more information with a photo or image including a short explanation. At the end of this blog post is a link to the original post from March 6th and an update that followed.

As always, Thank You for visiting today.

The image below is roughly the position of the proposed fishing piers on the West Palm Beach side and in Spillway Park (Lake Worth). Remember, these will be constructed using concrete pilings and much closer to the water, better for fishermen and the fish too. The piers that existed prior were about 15′ above the water. Upon catch and release the fish weren’t given any favors when hitting the water with a loud Smack!

In defense of fishermen and fisherwomen, there was and still is no access to the waterline by trail or any other means, due to heavy vegetation, trees, and debris.

Click on image to enlarge:
The image above (orientation: up is north) is a current one with an overlay of the proposed fishing piers on each side of the C-51 Canal. The S-155 Spillway is on the left (west). Water flows east into the Intracoastal, aka, Lake Worth Lagoon.

One of the big benefits of the Blueway Trail Coalition (BTC) project are those substantial number of people who live along the freshwater Chain of Lakes along the eastern part of Palm Beach County. That waterway network, after the Blueway project is completed, will then allow those County residents access to the Intracoastal Waterway by small boat, canoe, kayak, and attract tourism and ecotourism as well.

The historical record is clear. Access to and from the Intracoastal Waterway, once upon a time, did exist. But when the S-155 was constructed, circa 1960, public access was severely limited: 

Dixie and Federal highways are clearly visible in this circa 1950 photo. See what’s in between? Look close. That is a former marina in Lake Worth (south side of C-51 Canal). Read about that using this link.

Fishing and the boating industry were once vital for our regional economy in Central Palm Beach County. My theory is when the S-155 was constructed, later followed by I-95, that precipitated an almost 50 year economic decline for this part of Palm Beach County, and cities like Lake Worth are still trying to recover and find a new purpose for our once-vibrant Dixie Hwy.

Back to the first photo of the fishing piers above. The small extensions on the eastern leg of the docks will not be included in the final plan. These were to be “floating” docks. The South Florida Water Management District will not permit this type of dock on the C-51. However, another fixed extension of some type may be possible for kayakers and other uses.

For the original blog post about the BTC meeting on March 5th use this link: a blog post that is quite lengthy but does provide a lot of background and demonstrates how the project has progressed, and changed, over the last year. Use this link for the update on March 8th.

Elections in Lake Worth, campaign contributions, and Anarchists still trying to cause trouble.

Anarchists and their supporters causing trouble in the City of Lake Worth is nothing new. Below is a completely false rumor leading up to the March elections in 2016:

An Anarchist and self-described conservativeteam up to start a rumor, The following was reported to me by Ryan Hartman. . ..

If you’ve been hearing things about campaign contributions and vague accusations, who do you think made a campaign contribution to the Anarchist candidate Ryan Hartman last year? Click on images to enlarge:

Remember, it was Hartman who wrote on Facebook, “start striking fear, shooting down all cops we see by their selves.”

Who is The Obtuse Blogger (TOB) supporting this year? TOB contributed campaign money to this candidate running for the “open seat” in District 4. You see, A + B = C. Anyhow. . .

At a Lake Worth City Commission meeting last January, Mayor Pam Triolo took quite the grilling from Commissioner Chris McVoy, over a campaign contribution she received back in early 2016. There was nary a word about this at the next Commission meeting on Jan. 24th from McVoy. Why?

You see, bringing up campaign contributions can be problematic sometimes, as you’ll see below.

When you’re in the position of McVoy, and have no record of success to run on, the only hope is to try and get the focus off yourself. How is that done? This tactic is actually very easy. Click this link to find out how to create a “wedge”, or political distraction.

Back to the question. Did McVoy give campaign money to an Anarchist? The answer is yes. McVoy gave money to Peter “Panagioti” Tsolkas for “Canvassing”.

So while everyone went scrambling through campaign reports this year. . .

. . . check this out one from McVoy. Oh, and do we need to rehash the “Dear Neighbor” letters too?

A reminder: Tree Board meeting is tonight (every 2nd Thursday) . Consider becoming a volunteer?

The staff liaison for the City of Lake Worth’s Tree Board is Mr. Dave McGrew from the Parks Department and you can contact him for additional information at 561-586-1677 or by email: dmcgrew@lakeworth.org

Please note: The City of Lake Worth’s Sister City Board meets next Monday (3/13) and is also looking for volunteers if that issue is of more interest to you. Learn more using this link. 

To learn how to become a volunteer for the Tree Board, what the board does and its stated mission, and what happened at the Tree Board meeting last month use this link. Here is the agenda for tonight’s meeting:

City Tree Board, Feb. 9th at 5:30
City Hall Conference Room, 7 North Dixie Hwy.
  • Call to Order
  • Pledge of Allegiance
  • Agenda additions, deletions, reordering
  • Approval of minutes
  • Public participation of non-agenda items
  • New Business
  • Advisors report: Exotic pest plant removal at 17th Ave. North Natural Area.
  • Old Business: 1) Landscape Ordinance review and recommendations. 2) Festival of Trees. Evaluate 2017 Festival, set date for 2018 Festival.
  • Adjournment
NOTE: If a person decides to appeal any decision made by the board a record of the proceedings is required per F.S. 286.0105. One or more members of any board may attend and speak at the Tree Board meeting.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Two City press releases. One concerns this Friday. Long-awaited changes for residents, home and business owners.

The latest press release below dated March 7th is from Ben Kerr, the City’s Communications Specialist. For further information or media inquiries contact Mr. Kerr at 561-586-1631; email: bkerr@lakeworth.org

Lake Worth, FL* — Community Sustainability Open House this Friday

On March 10 [Friday] from 8:00 am–4:00 pm the City of Lake Worth Community Sustainability Department will be hosting an Open House at 1900 Second Avenue North.
     This will provide an opportunity for the public to see the results of a nine month overhaul of the Community Sustainability space as part of the ongoing customer service initiative. The department’s aesthetic and organizational changes were designed to foster improved staff efficiency, productivity, effectiveness and morale as well as provide an improvement to the customer experience for all visitors.

“To be able to best serve the community we have undertaken a significant upgrade to a larger and more accessible space as well as an in-depth customer service initiative. Our goal throughout has been the improvement of the customer service experience. With the number of building permits, plan reviews, business license inspections and code compliance cases up dramatically over the past few years it was important to better organize the space so that customers could be seen quickly and efficiently.
—William Waters, City of Lake Worth Director for Community Sustainability.

For the City press release dated March 6th, titled “1st Annual Historic Preservation Awards (nominations now open)”, use this link. An awards ceremony will take place at the Lake Worth Casino Ballroom during National Historic Preservation Month, on Wednesday, May 17th.

*Located in central Palm Beach County, Lake Worth is a dynamic, multi-cultural city with an individualistic style. People are drawn to the City by its acceptance of different cultures and lifestyles, historic districts, hip downtown and colorful arts district.

What’s next? “It wasn’t me. I was doing a soil survey in Mongolia and my phone was turned off.”

Lake Worth Commissioner Chris McVoy, PhD, is trying to “wash his hands” of any involvement whatsoever with the Casino and pool at the Beach. Just one problem. It’s not true.

Below is a photo from the groundbreaking for the ‘renovated’ Casino in May 2011. Recognize anyone?

Click on photo to enlarge. Who is that on the far left with a shovel? Is that the soil expert with a PhD?

Below is a photo after the ‘renovation’:

The former Casino was actually 94% demolished. What about McVoy’s water cistern he wanted so badly? Eliminated. Most of the “Green” features? Eliminated. The Casino was “Greenwashed”. To learn about the Casino’s Greenwashing use this link.

There was a big party following the completion of the ‘renovated’ Casino. Hey! Who is that in the blue shirt? “Hold on JoAnn. Did we forget to fix the pool next door?”
“It wasn’t me. I was in Mongolia”? Commissioner McVoy was first elected in 2010. Click on image to enlarge.

Anyhow, doesn’t the Greater Bay plan for the Casino and pool at our Beach look better and better all the time now that the pool is shut down because it’s crumbling and falling apart? But back then McVoy et al. had the money to fix it. Instead they all turned a blind eye to “our precious pool”.

Back in 2009 the public wasn’t permitted to see the Greater Bay plan which included a new Casino, a new pool, along with a parking garage. You see, a former administration (see photo above) wanted to keep our Beach “charming” instead.

SPREAD THE WORD: Theft and vandalizing of yard signs: Déjà vu all over again.

New residents of this City may be alarmed about this, but there’s no reason to be. It’s sort of like a tradition for one side of Lake Worth politics to send out teams on bikes in the dark of night to steal and vandalize signs. And it should be noted these nocturnal teams are completely harmless, except to themselves of course.

However, here is how you should look at this: they wouldn’t be stealing signs of candidates they didn’t think were very strong on Election Day, right? So, it’s actually sort of a compliment to how well some candidates and campaigns are doing:

Click on image to enlarge:
Two guys hanging out at the Midnight Sun Festival last weekend, Omari Hardy (left) and Herman Robinson.

Was your yard sign showing support for District 2 candidate Omari Hardy stolen or vandalized? Call Tricia at 561-847-6898 for a new sign.

Your sign supporting Herman Robinson stolen or vandalized? Call Marshall at 561-762-7922 for a new yard sign.

Stealing and vandalizing political yard signs IS A CRIME. Someone trespassing on your property and stealing YOUR RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH as well.

If your sign supporting Omari or Herman was stolen, slashed, or the metal stake cut by a bolt cutter, contact PBSO and report it: Use this link to learn how.

Wish to show your support for Omari and/or Herman? Use the same phone numbers above. Election day is next Tuesday, March 14th.

What happens when City gets the critical media spotlight, then it’s discovered they did the right thing after all?

What happens? Nothing. There’s silence from the media and the critics. The press goes on to other things (e.g., a little chocolate store closing in the Downtown) and then the “big issue” goes away.

That’s what happened with the kerfuffle over the ban on packaged alcohol sales after 10:00 p.m here in the City of Lake Worth.

After hearing what Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell had to say at the Commission meeting last December and also his comments at the meeting back on November as well, the ordinance prohibiting packaged alcohol after 10:00 pm is here to stay. Maxwell said he’s hearing positive comments and feedback from many neighborhoods and PBSO Cpt. Baer has confirmed that information: crime is down as a result and compliance with the ordinance is up:

Information from PBSO update at the Dec. 13th City Commission meeting.

However, at a City Commission meeting last September many convenience store owners showed up to express their displeasure at public comment and during break at the dais. Maxwell insisted that store owners, per the rules, give their home address and not their business address. It wasn’t lost on many that none of those addresses were in the City of Lake Worth. The cities I recall where the owners reside was Wellington, Riviera Beach, Boynton Beach, Broward County, etc.

Draw your own conclusions. From the City’s website, learn the reason why this ordinance was adopted in the first place:

     In response to neighborhood concerns and thanks to a new City Ordinance, it is now illegal to sell packaged alcohol products between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. The law is designed to help stop unnecessary, late night commotion associated with breaches to open container laws taking place in parking lots and outside of shopping venues. 
     Under the Ordinance, bar hours will not change. Restaurants and establishments with a valid liquor license may continue to serve alcohol on-site.
     The City was motivated to create the Ordinance due to numerous calls to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office about public disturbance issues surrounding packaged sales outlets. Deputies found that people were treating stores like “de facto bars,” going in, buying a single packaged item, drinking it outside and coming back in to buy more.

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.

After beat reporter Kevin Thompson’s article about the Gulfstream Hotel last January the Post backpedaled and fast. It was completely nonsensical to report someone blaming Code Enforcement for the problems ongoing with that hotel. The reaction if you recall was swift from both the public and the City’s elected’s and staff.

Ever since that article the Post reporting has changed significantly and it probably didn’t hurt when the City hired a communications specialist either.* Undoubtedly a reaction to terribly unfair and inaccurate stories such as this one.

It was just last September, in response to another article about Code Enforcement, City Manager Michael Bornstein became “infinitely aggravated” and took Thompson to task and calling his news report, “egregious” and “incompetent”.
Remember when those two ficus trees on North Palmway were “big news” concerning Code Enforcement? A breaking news story in the Post with a huge photo and even a TV news crew came flying into town?

Those two trees on North Palmway weren’t a major news event or even a minor one. It wasn’t news at all. The reality is that was a simple code case that went through the process, something that happens all the time all across this country. But this is Lake Worth and there are some who are really good at dangling shiny objects in front of reporters to get their attention. And the press is more than happy to oblige.

It’s taken a herculean effort to bring Code Enforcement back to a level of effectiveness. It was a terrible mistake by former City Manager Susan Stanton when she gutted the Code Dept. and one of the main reasons she was fired in December 2011. There remains work to be done but still a surprising turnaround for a department that had to be rebuilt.

The implications in the Post are that Code Enforcement is a bureaucratic mess. True, the Code Dept. is a work-in-progress and has been an issue for many years. We learned last year at a City Workshop work continues to fix that department. However, to understand the reality of the situation you have to look back and see why this department was gutted in the first place.

But that takes resources and time for a newspaper, of which the Post has little of or tolerance for. Hope this helps explain things.

*The City’s new communications specialist is Ben Kerr. Phone: 561-586-1631; email: bkerr@lakeworth.org

“Kilroy Was Here” is a famous meme. Know what a “meme” is? “HANDS OFF OUR BEACH” is an example of one that failed in Lake Worth.

A meme is like a virus, but unlike an actual virus in humans a meme is a ‘word virus’, a word or words transmitted from one person or entity to other people or groups. Some memes take off wildly, some hang around awhile and then go away, and others just die off. A video from Vox (see below) gives a very good explanation.

The meme “Kilroy Was Here” is one of the most famous American historical memes. Will the acronym “YIMBY” become a famous one like “NIMBY” some day? It will if young professional Millennials rise up some day and say, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take this any more!”, due to the lack of housing in cities like Lake Worth.
Here’s something to think about: Why do some attempts to create a meme fail in the City of Lake Worth? Remember “secret meetings” and that baked ziti nonsense by a City commissioner?
Were those headlines in the Post with the word “curfew” an attempt to create a meme? And “Hands Off Our Beach” too, read more about that “Hands Off” nonsense by the SRS platoon below.

The examples above are memes that didn’t quite ‘infect’ enough people to alter opinions and behavior over the long term, like a “pitch” that couldn’t “seal the deal”. Anyhow. . . about the video:

“We know about the epic drama of World War II, but what about the jokes? The video tells the story (as best as we can). The iconic piece of graffiti that was known, in America, as ‘Kilroy Was Here’ traveled the world in a fashion remarkably similar to a modern meme.”
Wikipedia defines a meme this way:

“A meme (/ˈmiːm/ meem) is ‘an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture’. A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices that can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena with a mimicked theme. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate, and respond to selective pressures.”

So some memes are wildly successful and spread like wildfire, others take a long time to gain traction, and some make a big splash and then flame out. “Hands Off Our Beach” was a failed meme that attempted to convince the public there’s a “wolf [or ‘vulture’] at the door” trying to “steal our beach”:

Would the public’s reaction to these signs now be a sign we’re finally healthy once again?

These red & white signs only draw shrugs and laughs now. However, there remain some holdouts in the City from the Silly Red Sign (SRS) platoon.

Ironically, the ones who said “Hands Off Our Beach” were the very same ones who screwed things up so badly in the first place. What we needed was “COMPETENT HANDS ON OUR BEACH”!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Where you go to vote on Election Day: For each precinct in the City, with address and directions.

Please Note. This is very important. The church at 127 South ‘M’ Street (formerly the 1st Baptist Church) is no longer a voting location in the City of Lake Worth. Precincts 3066 and 7164 that voted at that church last year now vote on the other side of Dixie Hwy (more details below).

Below is the map of all voting precincts in the City. Later in this blog post is the location (address and directions) where each voter in each precinct goes to vote on Election Day: Next Tuesday, March 14th:

Click on image to enlarge:
Precincts 3066 and 7164 (note locations in map above) both vote next Tuesday at a location west of Dixie Hwy., unlike the situation last year. 

Precinct 3066 now votes at Our Savior Lutheran Church, 1615 Lake Ave., located on the south side of Lake Ave. between South A and South B streets.

Precinct 7164 now votes at the Osborne Community Center, 1699 Wingfield St., just south of the Lake Worth Municipal Gym.

The City of Lake Worth has 18 precincts but only 10 voting locations. Why? Because six voting locations are where multiple precincts vote. For example, precincts 3052, 3058, 3060, 3066 and 3076 all vote at the same location, the church at 1615 Lake Ave., Our Savior Lutheran Church.

Unsure where you vote? Use this link to the Supervisor of Elections website.

Here is the list, precinct by precinct (with the address and directions), where you vote on Election Day (if you wish, use the precinct number and refer to the map above):

3034 3040 Scottish Rite Masonic Center. 2000 North ‘D’ Street. The lodge is located on the southeast corner of North D St. and 22nd Ave. North (Worthmore Drive). Parking is accessed from the east side of North D St.

3036 3038 Sunlight Community Church. 1325 North ‘A’ Street. The church is located on the west side of North A St. between 14th Ave. North and Crestwood Blvd. Parking can be accessed from either 14th Ave. North or Crestwood Blvd.

3042 3064 1st Congregational Church. 1415 North ‘K’ Street. The church is on the east side of North K Street between 13th Ave. North and 16th Ave. North. Parking is at the north end of the church.

3052 3058 3060 3066 3076 Our Savior Lutheran Church. 1615 Lake Ave. The church is located on the south side of Lake Ave. between South A and South B streets. Parking is accessed from the east side of South A St.

3062 Lake Worth Towers. 1500 Lucerne Ave. Lake Worth Towers is located of the north side of Lucerne Ave., approximately ½ mile west of Dixie Hwy and 2 blocks east of North A Street.

3068 St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church. 100 North Palmway. The church is Downtown on the northeast corner of Lucerne Ave. and North Palmway.

3074 All Nations Church. 1510 High Ridge Rd. The church is on the east side of High Ridge, north of Lantana Rd.

3078 Lakeside United Methodist Church. 1801 12th Ave. South. The church is located on the south side of 12th Ave. South, between Lake Osborne Drive and the I-95 overpass.

7160 St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church. 928 South ‘E’ Street. The church is located on the east side of South E St. between 9th and 10th Avenue South. Use the south parking lot. The ramp leads to the Fellowship Hall.

7162 7164 Osborne Community Center. 1699 Wingfield Street. The Osborne Community Center is located on the west side of Wingfield St., just under ½ mile south of 12th Ave. South, or just south of the Lake Worth Municipal Gym. 

Remember! If you end up at the wrong polling location do not leave until you get directions to the correct location where you vote.