Saturday, March 18, 2017

Parrot Cove meeting with guest speaker Brian Shields, Director of our City’s Water Utility.

Everyone is welcome to attend. Below is the message from Anthony Marotta, president of the Parrot Cove Neighborhood Assoc. 

You do not need to be a resident of Parrot Cove to attend. Anyone from any neighborhood is welcome.

We will be having our Parrot Cove neighborhood meeting this Monday, March 20th, 7:00 p.m., at our regular location, The Beach Club restaurant at #1 7th Ave. North at the Golf Course.
     This month our speaker will be Brian Shields, P.E., Director of the Lake Worth Water Utility. He will be talking about the following topics:
  • Water treatment and operations.
  • Why “boil water notices” are issued.
  • Our distribution system: Water from the state-of-the-art plant through pipes that need replacement in many areas.
  • Upcoming changes to the distribution system.
  • Reasons for routine water releases, for example, from fire hydrants and devices in the College Park neighborhood.
This is a great opportunity to get a better understanding how fresh, clean water is delivered to our taps.

Please take this opportunity to come out and hear Mr. Shields’ discussion. Write down and bring your questions and concerns about the water distribution system here in the City.

Anthony Marotta, president, Parrot Cove NA.

Final Score. Game Over. The Fat Lady Sang. “It ain’t over till it’s over”? It’s over. The game is up.

“It has your name on it”. “It goes with the territory”. “It’s all over but the shouting”. “[Add your own idiom here]”. . .

Meet your soon-to-be new Lake Worth City Commission, a photo taken at the City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade yesterday:

Herman Robinson (on left) is next to Omari Hardy. Both men will be sworn in as the new commissioners for Districts 4 and 2, respectively. Mayor Pam Triolo is flanked by Commissioner Andy Amoroso and Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell (green hat, glowing in The Sunshine).

“The numbers don’t lie” is another example of an idiom. Click on image to enlarge: 
The Official Results from Election Day: City of Lake Worth, March 14th, 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.

WARNING. A new idea is below. New ideas can be very upsetting for some here in Lake Worth. You’ve been warned.

And it’s also important to remember this blog is not required reading. If you get upset and yell, “Clutch The Pearls!”, it’s your fault.

Last chance.From an article by Peter Schorsch at the SaintPetersBlog titled, “Can public drinking revitalize downtowns?” are these first 4 paragraphs:

     In an attempt to bring tourists and young people back to aging downtown districts, many cities have legalized outdoor drinking — and it has been somewhat successful in revitalizing those areas, according to an article from The Pew Charitable Trusts.
     In 2016, cities in Mississippi and Ohio legalized “outdoor refreshment areas,” zones where patrons can carry drinks in the street, often in plastic containers rather than cans or glass bottles.
     The new wave of cities follows similar laws passed in Nashville; Lincoln, Nebraska; and Mobile, Alabama, in recent years in an effort to draw in millennials and boomers to turn around lagging downtown districts. [emphasis added]
     Most of these refreshment areas cover a pre-defined zone with police patrolling the borders to keep alcohol, and the rowdy behavior that sometimes accompanies it, from spreading into other areas of the city.

Just for fun, think of places for an ‘outdoor refreshment area’ here in Lake Worth:
  • Near the Artists Lofts on the west side of Dixie Hwy.?
  • Following the monthly Critical Mass bike ride in Bryant Park? That way riders wait until after the ride to imbibe.
  • A neighborhood somewhere near the Downtown that wants more attention from the “drive-by” public?
  • Neglected lots or vacant eyesores somewhere on Federal Hwy.? Dixie Hwy.? 
An event such as this might help draw more Boomers, Millennials, and those of the Hipster variety too. But there’s the risk of attracting more Anarchists from Miami and Ft. Lauderdale as well. A definite downside but a potential upside as well: many of those Anarchists will become Apatharchists over time as many have in Lake Worth already.

A lot to take into consideration if anyone wants to push this idea forward and “test the waters”, errr, the cold beer in plastic cups I mean.

Does anyone remember Thomas Altman? He was murdered last year, on March 25th. Remember Woodley Erilas?

Everyone working so hard in the City of Lake Worth to cut down on senseless violence, continue to work hard and pray.

Statistically, there will be homicides in our City this year. And when that happens the media and press will descend on us like a frenzy for a few days with blaring headlines and breaking news alerts. They always do. It’s in the manual I think.

It’s a mystery why some homicides get the overwhelming attention of reporters and news outlets and others, like the murder of Woodley Erilas for example, don’t. Remember the murder of Thomas Altman last year? That case, still unsolved, received multiple articles in The Palm Beach Post and from several TV news stations for well over a week. News about that murder was well-publicized by social media as well.

The good news, if you can imagine any good news about the subject of homicide, is the homicide rate in Palm Beach County dropped significantly in 2016. For more about that use this link. Hopefully that trend will continue in 2017.

The murder of Woodley Erilas, however, received scant attention from the news media. He was murdered on January 9th, 2015, in the early morning here in Lake Worth. The case remains unsolved and the family continues looking for leads. This crime occurred on the 900 block of North ‘H’ Street. The family wants anyone with information about this homicide to call Palm Beach County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-458-8477.

Woodley Erilas was only 27 years old when he was murdered in 2015.

There was one news station, NBC5/WPTV and their reporter Jacqulyn Powell that covered this news, including an update from July 2016 about the family and friends of Woodley Erilas. Here is an excerpt from the text of a news segment:

“His sister says her family won’t rest until detectives find the person who is responsible for his death.
     ‘He accepted everybody,’ Vanesa Erilas says. ‘He looked at the bright side of every situation, and for him to leave the earth this way is heartbreaking.’
     Anyone with information about Woodley Erilas’s death is asked to call Palm Beach County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-458-8477.”

This week’s Lake Worth Herald print edition is one you want to pick up and save for posterity.

All sorts of news and photos in the Herald about the elections in the City of Lake Worth and Greenacres and a hard-hitting editorial as well. There is also a very interesting article about Commissioner-Elect Herman Robinson (see below).

To see the front page of the Herald this week use this link. Pick up the print edition each Friday (still ¢50!) at the City’s newsstand at 600 Lake Ave. in Downtown Lake Worth.

Below is an excerpt from the article about Commissioner-Elect Herman Robinson titled, “102 Year Old Women’s Club Welcomes First Male Member” and excerpts from this week’s editorial are below as well. First, the news about Mr. Robinson:

With a positive approval of the Florida Federation of Women’s Clubs, Herman Robinson, with unanimous vote, became a member of the GFWC Women’s Club of Lake Worth. [emphasis added] Robinson, a 17 year resident and businessman in Lake Worth, took a brave step and became the first male in the history of the club.
     When Robinson suggested membership, he was made aware, because of the special circumstances, that a courtesy call to the District #10 and Parliamentarian was in order. Both approved Robinson’s request.
     The Lake Worth Club, as part of its mission fosters and encourages and welcomes change.

Now for some excerpts from the editorial this week titled, “A New Era In Lake Worth”:

They [Commissioners-Elect Omari Hardy and Herman Robinson] were elected by voters who have high hopes they have strong minds and a vision for the City. This is not to say they have to disagree, but the hopes are for creative and critical thinking in the direction to improve the living conditions of the residents of the city and to steward tax dollars responsibly.
     Commissioner Christopher McVoy is a creative and critical thinker but he never brought forth anything that would improve the city. Instead he spent much of the time talking just to keep things from moving forward.
     Three terms and nothing to show for it. Just a carryover from the Jennings/Golden/Mulvehill era, an era when nothing progressed in Lake Worth except the rebuilding of the Casino Building which by their design did not include the pool and facilities.
     Now we sit with a pool that is closed until many millions are spent to repair or rebuild it. Something that should have been included from the beginning.

[and. . .]

     Commissioner Ryan Maier spent the first year on the dais just supporting whatever McVoy said. He did begin, during his second term to think more for himself and showed some promise.
     He, however, chose not to run for re-election citing personal reasons, and that is OK.

[and. . .]

     This commission now has the opportunity for good clean debate to bring forth well thought out decisions, not just bicker back and forth in political gamesmanship. It is time to put the City first, the residents have suffered through a few commissions with members who really didn't want Lake Worth to succeed.

[and lastly. . .]

     Both of the new commissioners have the ability to be part of a team that can lead the City into the future on a path that will keep the city viable for many years to come. Do they have the desire? That is what remains to be seen.
     Our hopes are for the best for them and the City.

Very well said, Editor, very well said.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Feel-good City government: Doing something that doesn’t mean anything and hoping the public thinks otherwise.

The City Commission will be different next Tuesday. Commissioner Ryan Maier (blue shirt) opted not to seek re-election and Chris McVoy (far right) lost to Omari Hardy in last Tuesday’s election.

The new Lake Worth City Commission has a lot of work to do and they can’t waste any time getting down to it. They can’t spend any time “looking over their shoulder” or getting bogged down in senseless, meaningless debates and discussions.

The tone of our new City Commission will be set next Tuesday starting at 5:00 with the Swearing In of Commissioners-Elect Omari Hardy and Herman Robinson.

Next Tuesday at City Hall, 5:00, is the Swearing In of Omari Hardy and Herman Robinson to the City Commission.

Probably the best example of feel-good, meaningless government was the now-famous and terribly embarrassing “inglorious demise of Consent Agenda item 9C” by a soon-to-be former commissioner, Chris McVoy, PhD.

It’s quite common for a city’s elected leaders to voice concerns over an issue, especially one of great concern to the community. But when trying to set a policy is where things go off the rails, so to speak. Like when Commissioner Ryan Maier suggested trying to regulate the volume of train horns: those pitch and volume levels are set by the Federal government. Even the State of Florida cannot regulate the sound levels of train horns.

Below is another example of what happened back in 2015.

If you didn’t know any better you would think the 6-square-mile City of Lake Worth took a major step forward in the protection of the honeybee colonies. Nothing of the sort happened. The first reading of Ordinance No. 2015-17, “to regulate, inspect, and permit managed honeybee colonies” is already regulated by state law and there’s nothing anyone in Lake Worth can do to supersede that.

This was city government doing something that isn’t doing anything at all. But it does play well with certain constituents that can be convinced otherwise. I believe the item below was brought forward by Commissioner Maier. It that is incorrect please feel free to send me the correct information.

Click on image to enlarge:
“To this end, the proposed Ordinance simply acknowledges the State Legislature’s preemption of this area of the law.” Let’s hope with our new City Commission there’s more focus on the things we can control, and less on things we can’t.

Blast from the Past: The Swearing In Ceremony, March 18th, 2016.

Please Note: In the blog post below from last year’s Swearing In ceremony is mention of a possible “Chief Information Officer” being hired by the City. After a bumpy start the City did hire a young fellow named Ben Kerr who is doing a tremendous job. Unfortunately though, Mr. Kerr will end up some day on the radar of some city manager in another city with a bigger budget. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen any time soon.

If you’ve been paying attention, you have seen the welcome and consistent flow of information coming from the City. Prior, others had to take time away from important duties to try and get information out and sadly, many times the press and media had already done that, too many times reporting false and misleading information to the public.

The adage is, “If you don’t control your message, then someone will control your message for you.” Hope you enjoy this look back to what happened in the City Hall chambers last year:

The City Commission convened a special meeting in order to certify the results of the municipal election held this past Tuesday. Residents, family and supporters filled the Commission chambers to hear the newly re-elected Mayor Triolo and Commissioners Maxwell and Amoroso. Better late than never, commissioners McVoy and Maier participated in the meeting. It was apparent their supporters, and those that campaigned for the opposing candidates, chose not to attend this festive occasion.

Mayor Triolo thanked many friends, her family and people who work for the City for all the support that allow her to do her job. Commissioner Maxwell did a great job at summing up what the landslide results from the election mean to him and to the City’s future. Commissioner Amoroso gave an emotional talk thanking his many supporters. He even threw out a mention to Yours Truly, along with Mark Easton of The Lake Worth Herald, as being reliable sources of truth for what goes on in the City.

Clearly, this team received a mandate. It is time to forge forward over these next two years and accomplish even more than the previous years. The Commission can’t be caught looking over its shoulder. It must lead, inform and instruct through improved and upgraded communication, including more social media. I’ve heard the term Chief Information Officer, or CIO, possibly being a idea. That would free up staff to concentrate more on their assigned duties, the ones they were hired to do.

I hope you join me in looking positively at the prospect of these next two years. And, as always, Thank You! for visiting my blog, Wes.

Two weeks later still catching friendly fire for the blog post below, first posted on March 4th.

The blog post was titled, “On the issue of sea level rise please explain using inches instead of the metric system.”

Since that blog post Commissioner Chris McVoy, PhD, lost his re-election bid and the blog post below probably had zero effect in the outcome. However, after seeing one of McVoy’s mailers about his efforts to battle sea level rise (SLR) a question came to mind: “Does the public in our City understand the issue of SLR any better since McVoy was first elected in 2010? Or not?”

True. Our country no longer uses the “Imperial Standard” of measurement. In the comment section below was taken to task and quite deservedly so. But if I may, a few questions:
  • Almost everyone in South Florida knows how many miles Cuba is from Key West. But how many can calculate that into kilometers? On the fly, the number 1.6 is a good way but how many people know that?
  • There’s a proposal to sink the USS Clamagore “in about 75 feet of water”. Should the reporter have used the metric system?
  • An outfall pipe off the coast of our City may become very big news. McVoy talked about that and referred to the pipe being “¾-mile long”. Why didn’t he use the metric system?
  • Our Beach in Lake Worth is approximately 1,100′ long. Quick. Convert that into meters!
  • Should all future hurricane warnings and risks be cited in kilometers?
  • It’s very important to map turtle nests along our coast. Are all these locations/coordinates being collected using the metric system or in lengths and distances of feet?
Encourage everyone to read the blog post that follows and the comments as well. Disagree if you wish as many have done so already. For those of you unaware, you’ll find my email address in the right-hand column. Try and not use foul words please.

Without further ado. . .

Commissioner Chris McVoy knows how to calculate millimeters into inches, but do you know how? For City of Lake Worth residents puzzled about sea level rise, technical jargon, and not well-acquainted with the metric system use this link. For example,
3 millimeters (mm)  =  ≈⅛th of an inch or 0.125% of 1 using the standard of measurement in the United States since July 4th, 1776, called the Imperial Standard.
Now that McVoy is running for re-election, when you hear about sea level rise from McVoy’s campaign material, is that issue more important than the ones that affect your daily life, like our roads, potholes, street lighting, and public safety? Or should the cry from the public be, “Keep It Local!”?

Lake Worth elections can be very entertaining for the rest of Palm Beach County, especially the skill and political savvy displayed by some elected’s to skirt, duck, or otherwise avoid the actual issues the City has to deal with.

Of course, there’s always issues like our Casino that haunt our City going all the way back to 2010, the year McVoy was first elected. On the notion of his popularity with voters. . .

Lake Worth, if you didn’t know, is just one of 39 cities in Palm Beach County. With under 40,000 residents and about 6 square miles it does stand out in a very big way: The City has more than its share of difficult problems to address. And it doesn’t help matters when one City commissioner in particular tries over and over again to distract the community.

If you’ve been following this blog you know Commissioner McVoy is trying hard to find an issue to run on. He was first elected in 2010 and one of his tactics to get re-elected is to hang on the backs of the majority and their successes, not his own. Why? Because he doesn’t have any or very few at most. Leadership is not part of McVoy’s skill set.

However, one of the ways McVoy tries to distract the community is to bring up issues like “sea level rise” (SLR), comparing Lake Worth to much larger cities like Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and Hoboken, NJ. It’s no secret Lake Worth is not to scale of those cities.

And doesn’t Palm Beach County have a “czar” to monitor sea levels?

Although a timely topic, many in Lake Worth are very concerned that SLR is being used as a “wedge issue to distract the community from things like our crumbling roads and potholes, street lighting, and public safety. In 2014 this tactic did work when McVoy campaigned against the LW2020 bond to fix our roads. By just 25 votes that referendum failed.

Anyhow, now there’s this from a reader of this blog, something discovered on the City’s Wikipedia page* that was recently added:
“The [Lake Worth] pier is home to a tide gauge with a sporadic history, showing an above average rate of sea level rise.[18]”
Here is footnote 18:
“Mean Sea Level Trend 8722670 Lake Worth Pier”. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved December 30, 2016. [emphasis added]
However, for some perspective about the image below cited on the City’s Wikipedia page:
3.56 millimeters = 0.1401575 or approximately ⅛th (0.125%) of one (1) inch.
The following image is from this website:

Comm. McVoy has a PhD and he reminds people all the time about that. However, can we please stick to the “Imperial system” of inches for everyone to understand, instead of using the metric system?

*Please note: When visiting the City’s Wikipedia page always look at the very bottom of the page for a line like this, “This page was last modified. . .”, and jot down the date and time. That way you know when the page was last updated, edited, or otherwise altered the next time you visit this Wikipedia site.

Become a “Guardian Angel” for the City of Lake Worth. Help put a “dent in crime” in our little City.

How can you become a trained and confident “Guardian Angel” wearing that iconic and recognizable red beret? Call 561-582-7755 or 954-881-7068. Maybe you’ll even get noticed by PBSO and become a deputy some day.

As reported by an uncited County newspaper reporter (see news below) and verified last year by CBS12 reporter Luli Ortiz and once again recently on Feb. 13th is news how to volunteer your time and effort to help solve the issue of crime in your Lake Worth community:

Recruitment is ongoing to join the Guardian Angels. Contact Lake Worth Chapter Leader Cobra at 954-881-7068. The program includes free martial arts, CPR, and a course in basic law. Patrol may be a bike patrol, foot patrol, or mobile patrol. “The Presbyterian Church [231 N. Federal Hwy.] is doing their part to make our community safer.”

[and. . .]

     Because of problems experienced in and around the First Presbyterian Church (FPC) of Lake Worth, Rev. Joan Abell, Pastor and the congregation invited the Guardian Angels Safety Patrol, to be part of their church campus.
     FPC provides the space and electricity for them to work from. It is from this area that they will patrol the area.

[and. . .]

     The uniform includes black pants, white shirts with the Guardian Angel Safety logo, black shoes and a red beret. Members are required to maintain a neat appearance.
     “At no time, does the Guardian Angels wish to replace the authority of the Police/Sheriff Department. We are the unarmed eyes and ears of the Police/Sheriff Department.”

Once again, Cobra’s phone number is 954-881-7068. Here is the contact information for the First Presbyterian Church:
  • Phone: 561-582-7755
  • Email: firstpresby60107@bellsouth.net
  • Location: 231 North Federal Hwy., Lake Worth, 33460
If you are in need of immediate assistance contact Lake Worth’s PBSO District 14:
For more information about PBSO District 14 use this link. Have a tip? Call CrimeStoppers at 800-458-8477 anonymously to solve a crime.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Two years ago today. Day that shocked so many in our little City, when resident hurled “N-word” in our City Hall.

Commissioner Chris McVoy, PhD (recently defeated in re-election bid), is pictured below soon after his third election in 2015. Both him and then-citizen Ryan Maier, both sworn in on March 16th, 2015, had no clue of the storm of controversy to follow in just a few short days.

Click on image to enlarge:
McVoy (seated) happily reads about his re-election in 2015. Soon afterwards a major controversy erupted.

For more information about this terrible incident in our City Hall use this link (news corroborated in The Lake Worth Herald from March 2015).

“City Manager Reprimands Private Citizen” (click image to enlarge):

Image from #5 in series, a former City tabloid reported this incident. (FYI: Tabloid began publishing in Jan. 2015 and shut down shortly afterwards—following elections that year—other than that the tabloids’ origin was purely by coincidence.)

OFFICIAL UPDATE, Press Release: Special Commission meeting to swear in Commissioners-Elect Omari Hardy and Herman Robinson

For public questions and press/media updates contact Ben Kerr, the City of Lake Worth’s Communications Specialist at 561-586-1631 or by email: bkerr@lakeworth.org

Lake Worth, FL – Special Meeting Regarding Election (update)

On Tuesday March 14th, 2017 a municipal election was held for two of Lake Worth’s Commission Seats. Initially a Special Meeting to swear-in the new commissioners was planned for Thursday, March 16th; however, due to a delay in the certified results coming from the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections the Special Meeting has been officially rescheduled to Tuesday, March 21st at 5:00 pm.

The meeting will take place in the City Chambers prior to the Regular City Commission Meeting. This Special Meeting is open to the public. The agenda is as follows:
  • 5:00: Swearing-in of new Commissioners
  • 5:30: Reception
  • 6:00: Regular Commission Meeting 
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.

Breaking News: Palm Beach Post reports good news about Superintendent Robert Avossa and the County School Board.

It’s unclear what reporter broke protocol reporting this news story in The Palm Beach Post today titled, “PBC teacher turns tables, gives awards to superintendent, school board”, but there are certain to be repercussions.

Below is an excerpt from the article which may be updated later with some negativity about Mr. Avossa and the Palm Beach County School Board:

Without fail, the Palm Beach County School Board’s monthly evening meetings are loaded with presentations, awards and recognitions – but almost always ones dispensed by the school board or district administrators to students, educators or community members.
     This Wednesday’s meeting was different. Veteran middle school teacher Betty Wells thought it was time for board members and Superintendent Robert Avossa to receive some recognition.
     Veteran Bear Lakes Middle teacher Betty Wells thanks the school board and superintendent for their work.
     So the Bear Lakes Middle teacher reserved herself a spot on the board’s meeting agenda to formally thank Avossa and board members for their efforts to improve the county’s schools.
     “Today is your day,” she said. “It is my goal to see that you are treated with dignity,” she added.

Question: Should public demand City remove all Silly Red Signs (SRS) from sight?

UPDATE: It’s come to my attention from a loyal blog reader there is no known cure for RSS (defined/explained below) but research continues. There was a similar outbreak of RSS in El Paso two years ago and another well-documented one in Old Quebec soon after. A French researcher from the WHO coined the term Sthaltus signentititis robrusistiticus (SSR) for those afflicted with RSS and a highly visible SRS.

Coming Soon: There is a manual available which contains a schedule of maintenance and care requirements for your SRS, e.g., bi-monthly waxings, red color enhancers (non-toxic ingredients are an option), and never use bleach on the whites! Too many SRS signs have been damaged beyond repair by even a dab of bleach. Emergency repair instructions are handily available with an index and color tabs. The suggested retail price is $14,999. A little steep but if you have access to family wealth and/or a trust fund it shouldn’t be a problem.

Thank you for visiting today and continue reading and learning more about SRS and RSS.

The City of Lake Worth would be well within their right to require the Silly Red Signs (SRS, for short) be removed and put in the backyard or behind the outhouse. To learn more about the SRS use this link.

Not only are the signs a visual nuisance but the signs (see two examples below) are illegal per City code. All signs that display a political message, no matter how silly or stupid, must have a disclaimer. For example,
Political advertisement paid for and approved by The Silly People in the little City of Lake Worth, Florida, 33460.
Or should the SRS be left alone as a reminder of past elections and the silly issues used to try and distract the community from the real issues? Or should the effort be to find a cure for Red Sign Syndrome (RSS)? Everyone with RSS is easy to find and possibly cure: they all have a SRS in the front yard.

Do you know someone with RSS who has more than one SRS? There may never be a cure for that, well, beyond election results that is.

Think about this and attend the next City Commission meeting on Tuesday, March 21st, and speak your mind at public comment. Should every SRS be removed from sight by the City or just left alone as a reminder?

The problem isn’t “Private Development”. The problem was some commissioners in control back in 2010–2012 didn’t have any clue what they were doing.

“HANDS OFF OUR POOL”? Because the pool was ignored back in 2010 it’s now closed for good. What we needed was more competent “HANDS ON OUR POOL at the time.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Lake Worth’s Anthem for Today

March 10th, 2015. Seven hundred and thirty-six days ago.

Click on image to enlarge:
Former commissioners JoAnn Golden and Cara Jennings at an election party in 2015 for soon-to-be former commissioners Ryan Maier and Chris McVoy, PhD (a tribute to McVoy is below).

FYI: The video below really starts getting interesting at the 1:00 mark. Enjoy:

And something tells me we don’t have to worry about Commissioner-Elect Omari Hardy going through the paperwork of other commissioners when they’re not looking. Mr. Hardy would ask for permission first, of course.

“McVoy could not be reached for comment Tuesday”.

Click on image to enlarge. “. . . McVoy and his supporters were spreading a rumor. . .”
The image above is from The Palm Beach Post—an online article from yesterday—Election Day in the little City of Lake Worth. Some of the text above has since been edited out.

A win and another win and another thing to remember: Almost nobody remembers the score 2 days later.

Soon-to-be-former-Commissioner McVoy, PhD, and Maryann Polizzi may find solace that both Omari Hardy and Herman Robinson won in squeakers.

By tomorrow no one will be walking around saying, “Hey, Omari only won by a few votes” or “Herman should have won by more.” The numbers are meaningless. The fact is our City Commission has undergone a major shift. A seismic one.

And then there were none. McVoy, in blue shirt beaming at the grand opening of the Casino back in 2012, is off the Commission. McVoy was beaten by 27-year-old Omari Hardy in his first political race.

Losing an election is not easy. I know. Been there and done that twice.

If you’ve never heard the term, “Hermanese”, you will soon enough. I’ve worked along side of and served with Herman for many years on boards and committees. I’m probably one of Herman’s best translators. Many times heard people say, “What did Herman just say?” And then all eyes would turn to me. Herman is a really smart guy. Extremely intelligent and deliberate.

And another thing about Herman: he’s one of the most kind and caring men I’ve ever known.

The sour grapes will be this new City Commission will just be a “rubber stamp”. Herman is not and neither is Omari Hardy. Probably one of the greatest compliments I’ve ever received was from Hardy. He told me one of the reasons he decided to run for a seat on the Commission was due to reading my blog.

Commissioner-Elect Hardy has strong opinions. He’s not shy in the least telling people what he thinks and he’ll do the same thing as a commissioner. But unlike the former commissioner in that seat, Omari Hardy will be respectful to his colleagues.

And lastly, about three weeks ago started getting phone calls from the most unlikely of people, former political opponents and others I’ve fought in the mud with over the last 10 or so years, and the conversations curiously never took to politics. We talked about history and architecture and things like that. And then we said goodbye and wished each other well. And we meant it.

At Mayor Pam Triolo’s State of the City Address last January she talked about the “New Lake Worth” and I remarked on this blog a little later that a “fresh breeze” seemed to be blowing through town.

Some time this week call somebody you fought with over a long-past campaign and maybe you still have the scars to prove it. Call and say “Hi” and just start talking. Our City is much different today. There’s a lot to talk about.

Younger people like Omari Hardy are taking over now and it’s time to embrace that. Our City isn’t only about the things we disagree about, it’s also about things we agree upon as well. There were a lot of things I agreed with Chris McVoy about. What was most disagreeable were his methods and tactics—but that’s all over now—a “fresh breeze” really is blowing through our little City.

City Manager Michael Bornstein, “City Elections Are Over: Full Speed Ahead”.

Below is the title of Michael Bornstein’s newsletter published on March 29th, 2016, following the elections in March of that year:
“City Elections are Over: Full Speed Ahead”
Words from last year that are just as relevant today, almost a year later, following the election results from yesterday. Here is an excerpt from that article written a year ago:

“City elections are over, the results are in, and now we move to the next chapter.
     The Mayor and Commissioners have wasted no time in laying out several ambitious items for the City staff to get to work on. Along with the ones we are currently implementing, the new list of projects will take a lot of effort and will require everyone to work together to ensure the best outcomes. 
     Therefore, in the coming months, Lake Worth will be a place alive with activity and debate.
     We will be a community striving to explore exciting and wonderful opportunities and resolve longstanding and difficult problems. I encourage you to get involved and help create the best version of Lake Worth possible.”

Here is how the newsletter ends:

Yours in Public Service,
Michael Bornstein
City Manager

When Chris McVoy was first elected in 2010, two years before Mr. Bornstein was hired, he promised to help resolve problems like our crumbling roads but instead did nothing of the sort. In 2012 he faced a serious challenger, Jim Stafford, but McVoy won that election. Stafford got the Post endorsement but McVoy’s promises won the day. Promises that were quickly ignored following the election.

In 2013 McVoy got a reprieve when the referendum passed to move elections to March from November. McVoy’s next election was put off until March of 2015. That’s when the monkeywrenching began: false allegations of Sunshine Law violations and accusations that the mayor and other commissioners were unethical, and worse, corrupt too. Remember the “baked ziti” nonsense?

McVoy drew a weak opponent and won that election in 2015. But with McVoy’s bag of tricks empty he ran straight into another election this year against a strong candidate with big ideas, Omari Hardy, and the rest as they say is history.

In 2014 and again in 2016 the City needed Commissioner McVoy to help us find a way to fix our roads. But he did the opposite both times. He fought the City using all sorts of tactics, even leaking emails and saying that volunteers on the Finance Advisory Board, the Neighborhood Road bond oversight committee, couldn’t be trusted.

The Palm Beach Post endorsed Omari Hardy. Even the editor of the Post had enough. The editor called McVoy an ineffective “gadfly”.

McVoy said he would “build long-term stability in Lake Worth.” After 7 years as a commissioner he said, “I ask for your vote on March 14th.” The people spoke and said, “No. It’s time for you to go away.”

A “Sunsedt” west of I-95 following the elections in the City of Lake Worth on March 14th, 2017.

No comments.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Congratulations and Best Wishes to Commissioner-Elect Herman Robinson and Commissioner-Elect Omari Hardy.

Election Day. Polls closed. Until the results enjoy two of my YouTube videos.

This first video is my personal favorite, historic postcards of Lake Worth to the iconic and unforgettable Sarah Vaughan singing the classic, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. Music critic Scott Yanow described Sarah Vaughan as having “one of the most wondrous voices of the 20th century.”
This next video is more recent, the second day of our Street Painting Festival, Sunday, Feb. 26th:


Very important Election Day news for the file, “Better Late Than Never”.

Prior to future elections in Lake Worth, what happened this year is a good example how the press and Supervisor of Elections office “dropped the ball” so to speak and could have done a much better job of informing the public about very important election information.

Last night at around 6:00 p.m. this article was published online in the Post and appears in today’s print edition, on page B1, below the fold, ON ELECTION DAY.

What is the news about? Two very important precincts in Lake Worth have to vote somewhere else. The former 1st Baptist church on South ‘M’ Street is no longer a voting location.

Two precincts east of Dixie Hwy. vote today on the west side of Dixie Hwy.:
  • The Downtown 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 located in the far southeast corner of our City now votes at the Osborne Community Center, 1699 Wingfield St., just south of the Lake Worth Municipal Gym.
News about this has been widely spread already, thanks mostly to this blog, and it’s good to see the Post finally get around to reporting this, better late than never, as they say.

By all means, go and check out Artsy Fartsy today, but go and vote first!

And there’s a picture of Yours Truly in “the big chair” (see below) and one of Mr. Schlitz, the owner of Artsy Fartsy as well!

Regular readers know this blog references the new store in the Downtown, Artsy Fartsy Decor & More on Lucerne Ave., a lot. It all began when The Palm Beach Post made the story about the opening of Artsy Fartsy the big headline of the day—the very day of the Lake Worth Playhouse Debate—an event that’s traditionally a big draw every year.

I knew something was up that morning. When the phone starts ringing just as the sun starts coming up that’s the first clue.

Please understand, nothing against Artsy Farsy. However, the editor(s) opting not to mention the debate at all in the newspaper that day was simply irresponsible.

But I digress. After some urging and jovial persuasion stopped by and checked out Artsy Fartsy and had a wonderful time with the owner, Brian Schlitz. He is a regular blog reader and knows about all the coverage he’s gotten here on this blog (thanks in large part to the Post) and is very appreciative.

But it was time to turn the spotlight on me, so I hopped on the big, really big red Adirondack chair in front of his store. To put the chair in perspective, my shoes are size 13 and Yours Truly is 6′5″:

Meet Wes! This photo reminds me of the character Edith Ann, played by Lily Tomlin on Laugh-In in the 60’s.

I had a big laugh when I first saw the picture Brian sent me. This chair could become an iconic, one of those must-get tourist photo ops in downtown Lake Worth. The creative writing on the chair and partial rendition of the City’s logo helps out a lot as well. It’s a really BIG chair, so you might need some help getting in and out of it yourself. A true Instagram moment.

The inside of Artsy Fartsy is startlingly bright with wall-hangings and all sorts of interesting items. They all combine to create colorful patterns when you take pictures of them all hanging on the yellow-painted walls. You are sure to find items to pique your interest. Here are some pictures I took whilst inside.

Meet the owner, Brian Schlitz, in front of his colorful inventory.

It truly is fun to watch and be part of our funky little town under the sun, the little City of Lake Worth that can. We’ve truly come very far since the days when our Downtown was a place to avoid for many. Our City was once joked about, especially by the media and press, called “Good ’Ole Lake Worth”, and was referred to back in the day as the city that can’t and couldn’t and would never be able to get out of its own way.

But those days are over. And it helps to have more creativity, fun, and yes, more laughs in our Downtown. Thanks to people like Brian Schlitz.

Vote today in the City of Lake Worth to have your City Commission do “better”, wrote the editor in the Post today.

Vote to end the “divisiveness” and send the incumbent, McVoy (pictured above) on another of his long “retreats” to do other things that interest him more than our City.

The editor at the Post wrote today, “The same can be said of Lake Worth”, that “after several years of divisiveness centered mostly around one individual, has a chance at a fresh start at bridging that political divide.”

“. . . divisiveness centered mostly around one individual”

Who is that “one individual”? That would be Comm. McVoy, up for re-election today. Today is the day to end all that “divisiveness” once and for all.

The Editor at the Post endorsed Omari Hardy for the District 2 seat. In another editorial written today, which is also online, one of the last paragraphs was edited out of the print edition because the editorial ran a little too long for the page (page A9, above the fold).

Here are those words, click on image to enlarge:
“The same can be said of Lake Worth . . . All that’s left is for those residents to do is vote.” Below is from the Editor’s endorsement for Omari Hardy and reasons why not to re-elect McVoy:

The reason to elect Omari Hardy is “a good one.” Our City needs someone “to build consensus around the things we know to be problems.” 


On the election today and why our City needs a big voter turnout.

Already read this blog post? Thank You for visiting and please scroll down.

Imagine this scenario: Omari Hardy gets the most votes by far today, but the incumbent skates sideways and gets re-elected anyhow. Don’t think that can happen? Yes it is possible and you’ll find out how below.

That’s why we need a big voter turnout today (look in the right-hand column for “Numbers tell the story”) and a decisive victory for Omari Hardy

First, there was an error by the editor(s) in the print edition of The Palm Beach Post last Sunday. It was this line in the endorsements for next Tuesday, “Two City Commission races will be [sic] decided Tuesday in Lake Worth in citywide races.”

The line should read, “Two City Commission races may be decided Tuesday. . .”.

Because there are three candidates in the District 2 race and in the District 4 race as well, to win the election a candidate in each race has to win by 50% + 1 vote to avoid a runoff which would be held two weeks later. Last year if you recall, Mayor Pam Triolo had two challengers but easily avoided a runoff, winning her election in a landslide.

This year I’m supporting Omari Hardy in the District 2 race and Herman Robinson in the District 4 race. By far am convinced they are both the best choices this year, and if you’ve been reading this blog, you know the reasons why.

But this blog post is about something else very important to keep in mind: the dangers and pitfalls of a runoff election. If no candidate in a race reaches 50% + 1 vote, a runoff is 2 weeks afterwards and anything can happen. Like what? Let’s say a whole lot of voters don’t turn out again. That happened in 2008, when almost 60% of the voters (4,986 in total) stayed home and didn’t vote in the runoff.

Because of a runoff in 2008, Suzanne Mulvehill got elected and the rest is history. It was because of Mulvehill and her campaign promises, one to break a contract with Greater Bay, that ended up costing the City a $1.6M settlement and started the ball rolling, all those terrible decisions at our Beach, Casino, and of course, the municipal pool. Problems many of which we’re still dealing with today, all these years later.

How did Mulvehill get elected? She only got 36% of the vote and came in 2nd place out of three candidates in the race. But two weeks later Mulvehill got 58% in the runoff and won that election back in 2008 because of a low voter turnout the second time around.

Here is the wording from the City of Lake Worth’s Charter pertaining to elections:

Sec. 4. - General, special and run-off elections.
Whenever a general or a special election is held to fill any elective office in the city, the candidate receiving a majority of the votes cast at such election to fill such office shall be declared to be duly elected; provided that in the event no candidate for a particular elective office shall receive a majority of the votes cast at such election to fill such office, then a run-off election shall be held two (2) weeks after the original election to elect a candidate to fill such office . . .

Here’s what happened and how Mulvehill got elected in 2008:

Note the total number of votes cast: 7,985.

Even though incumbent Commissioner Dave Vespo received more votes than the other two candidates (by nearly 1½ times), he did not win that election by 50% + 1 vote. A run-off was scheduled to be held two weeks later. Here’s what happened then:

Note the number of voters this time, 2 weeks later: 2,999. Hard to believe, isn’t it? 4,986 voters did not vote in the runoff.

It’s important to remember this election was in November during a high-turnout presidential election. In 2013, by referendum, elections in Lake Worth were moved back to March. We’ll know the voter turnout numbers, absentee votes, and the results on Tuesday night. But the thing is this, if a runoff is needed, what if only 40% that vote next Tuesday come out again two weeks later?

Take this scenario: Omari Hardy gets the most votes on Tuesday but doesn’t get 50% +1 vote. He’ll go into a runoff with Comm. McVoy, the incumbent. McVoy rallies his devoted base of 500 or so voters and he could win that District 2 seat again. It could happen.

That’s why if you’re looking to take this City in a new direction, take back that District 2 seat held by Cara Jennings (2006–2010) and then McVoy from 2010 to the present, McVoy needs to be beaten outright on Tuesday. (FYI, some think it’s been the plan all along by the McVoy campaign to be in a runoff, ergo why they’re “slow playing” this time around.)

For some the District 4 race between Herman Robinson and Maryann Polizzi is a “flip of the coin”. I’m supporting Herman Robinson and have so since the beginning of his campaign. He’s the best choice and by far the most qualified and experienced.

I’m supporting Omari Hardy as well and hope that race isn’t a “flip of the coin” for anyone. I think I’ve made the case many times over on this blog why McVoy should not be re-elected. And the editor of The Palm Beach Post did as well:

Vote for Omari Hardy today and finally, “build consensus” in our City, stop the dysfunction and obstruction ever since 2006 in District 2. We need a decisive victory for Omari Hardy. Why? Because strange things can happen in a runoff.

From a mailer dropped into the mail box the other day. . .

Recognize anyone? The endorsements above are for Herman Robinson, District 4 in Lake Worth.

Election Day is next Tuesday. Let’s make it a big voter turnout once again. Great things happen in this City when the voters turn out in large numbers.