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.

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.

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.

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.

Another timely message from Erica Whitfield, endorsing Omari Hardy and Herman Robinson today

Click on image to enlarge:
Vote today! Herman “will make an amazing commissioner” and Omari has a “true commitment” to our City of Lake Worth.

FLASHBACK: A quite memorable and comedic moment at the Lake Worth Commission, January 5th, 2016.

Time again for some comedy (video below). First a little background: The Obtuse Blogger (TOB) who claims to be a conservative Republican in the style of Allen West supported the Anarchist (Ryan “The Golden Boy” Hartman) who challenged Lake Worth Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell last March. TOB also thought, and maybe still does, that the Anarchist Cara Jennings “was such a good commissioner”.

Do you remember this delightful message from Hartman?

Hartman, the Anarchist candidate, said it’s time to start, “shooting down all cops”? So very “charming in Lake Worth, isn’t it?

TOB aligning up with Anarchists doesn’t make any sense, does it? Think of it this way, could you ever imagine a far left wing liberal blogger coming out in support of a John Bircher? It’s ludicrous to even imagine.

Anyhow, enjoy this hilarious moment at the City Commission when TOB said Anarchist Cara Jennings, “was such a good commissioner” and the entire chambers broke out in spontaneous laughter:

Monday, March 13, 2017

FDOT Open House on Wednesday.

“The project [SR 80 (Southern Blvd) Bridge Replacement] will replace the existing bascule bridge and tide relief bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway between Palm Beach and West Palm Beach. A temporary bridge will be built north of the existing bridge to maintain traffic during construction. Work will begin in April.

and. . .

“Project team personnel will be available throughout the meeting to discuss the project and answer questions.”

“Attendees will have the opportunity to review renderings. . .”.

Commissioner McVoy’s month-long “retreat” prior to a crucial vote in Lake Worth. He then promised to “call in”, but never did.

We don’t need any more “empty chairs” on our City Commission in this City:
Tomorrow give Comm. McVoy another long “retreat”. He needs one. The editor at the Post called McVoy an ineffective “gadfly”. It’s time for new ideas from someone like Mr. Omari Hardy, candidate for District 2, who won’t be “taking off” from his job on the Commission. 

Don’t believe McVoy took a month off from the City Commission leading up to a crucial vote? He did. The video is below. You can hear McVoy’s words for yourself.

McVoy promised to “call in” for budget meetings during his “retreat”. He never did. Instead he planned and cavorted to defeat the City’s bond vote in August of 2014. All the while in July of 2014 he was “off”. But Mayor Pam Triolo didn’t take off. And neither did Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell or Commissioner Andy Amoroso.

City Manager Michael Bornstein didn’t take off either and neither did the City staff. But, due to McVoy and his loosely formed coalition of special interests, he was victorious and defeated that bond vote in 2014. By just 25 votes.

For those of you “on the fence” whether to vote next Tuesday for Commissioner McVoy, PhD, maybe what he did in August of 2014 will convince you otherwise, and vote for somebody else to represent District 2 in Lake Worth. Let’s digress briefly and review what the editor at The Palm Beach Post wrote in the recent endorsement of Mr. Omari Hardy, a challenger in District 2:

“[McVoy] has been a commission gadfly, frequently skeptical of the panel’s majority and often on the losing end of 3-2 votes.” And later, “It’s healthy to have opposing views on a decision-making body, but McVoy has become so predictably contrary that he has lost effectiveness. That’s the argument that his chief opponent, Hardy, is making — and it’s a good one.[emphasis added]

Remember, McVoy never came up with an alternative plan to fix the roads in 2014. And all the while since the August 2014 bond vote was defeated he never took the time to come up with one. He could have—he has a PhD from Cornell—but he didn’t.

When the 2016 Neighborhood Road Bond plan was suggested to be put on the ballot again in early 2016, McVoy again quickly came out in opposition. And again, never even tried to come up with a plan of his own, any alternative at all to the City’s plan. Here’s another quote from the Post endorsement for Omari Hardy to represent District 2:

“McVoy opposed last year’s $40 million bond issue to fix city infrastructure. It won with 69 percent of the vote, putting the commissioner [McVoy] far from the city mainstream.

McVoy didn’t take a ‘retreat’ in 2016. Instead he spent his time actively and publicly trying to defeat another bond referendum to fix our roads. And he tried doing that by saying that volunteers on an oversight committee, the Finance Advisory Board, could not be trusted. And he leaked an email to the Facebook site called, ironically, “Positively Lake Worth”, information that was later altered to confuse and mislead the public. And those are just two examples of what he did. There are many others.

If you’re planning on voting tomorrow, consider giving Commissioner McVoy another “retreat”, but this time for much longer. After listening and hearing to what Omari Hardy has to say, don’t think he has any plans to “take off” any time soon. Hardy has bigger plans and ideas. Something lacking from McVoy for a very long time now.

Enjoy the video of McVoy from July 2014 announcing his “retreat” which really wasn’t a retreat at all. That claim was just subterfuge. Do you want a commissioner who decides to take a month off and promises to “call in” but doesn’t even do that? Isn’t that another broken promise to the residents and voters in this City?


*For those of you wondering about, “. . . [O]ften on the losing end of 3-2 votes.” Commissioner Ryan Maier was the other “no” vote on many items early on, aligning with McVoy many times. About 1 year into Maier’s 2-year term he began to distance himself from McVoy but it was too late. The damage had been done. Maier dropped out of his race and is not seeking re-election.

Today: Lake Worth Community Development Block Grant Program, Public Meeting.

The news below is in this week’s Lake Worth Herald:

Pick up the Herald print edition (still ¢50!) at the City’s Downtown newsstand, 600 Lake Ave. A nice man named Andy will assist you.

Please join the City of Lake Worth for a Public Meeting to discuss the upcoming Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for Fiscal Year 2017-2018. During this meeting City staff will describe eligible uses of CDBG funds and solicit public input on how these funds should be used.

Date: March 13, 2017
Time: 6:00 P.M.
Location: City Hall Conference Room, City Hall, 7 North Dixie Hwy.

The actual allocation of CDBG funding has not yet been announced. It is estimated that it will comparable to the CDBG allocation of $258,118 that the City received for Fiscal Year 2016-2017. Eligible uses of these funds includes the following activities:
  • Acquisition of real property for a public purpose
  • Demolition/clearance
  • Infrastructure installation and improvements
  • Public facilities and improvements
  • Historic preservation
  • Economic development
  • Energy conservation and renewable energy
All eligible activities must meet one of the following National Objectives of the CDBG Program by:
  • Benefiting low and moderate income persons;
  • Preventing or eliminating slums or blight; or
  • Meeting an urgent community development need.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

A Lake Worth commissioner has been a “gadfly” per the Post editor. Harsh but true. But a campaign “with an emphasis on energy issues”?

The editor at The Palm Beach Post endorsed Mr. Omari Hardy to represent District 2 in the City of Lake Worth in the elections on Tuesday. The editor wrote that now-Commissioner McVoy, PhD, is “a commission gadfly”, harsh words but very true. And the editor also wrote McVoy is running for election “on energy issues”? Huh? Where did that come from?

McVoy is still suggesting a spike in electric rates in the City of Lake Worth? FYI: Commissioner Maier is not seeking re-election for a host of reasons.

And more from the editor at the Post, solid reasons to vote for Omari Hardy next Tuesday:

The Post editor explains why Omari Hardy deserves your vote next Tuesday: McVoy has become “predictably contrary” and Hardy’s case for being elected is “a good one”. Very true indeed.

Right-of-center, left-of-center, progressive, “political core”, those people and that group over there.

Lake Worth politics couldn’t have possibly gotten more bizarre than in the March 2016 elections. Hope you enjoy the blog post below from March 19th, 2016, following the election loss of the Anarchist Ryan Hartman. Hard to believe, but true, Hartman tried to position himself in the “mainstream”, or middle of the political spectrum in our City. It didn’t work. But that didnt mean he didnt try.

It’s not hard to see much the same thing going on this year on a smaller scale. Candidates staking a “conservative” position on issues like aggressive panhandling, hoping voters will say, “Oh, I understand. This candidate is against those people over there who support aggressive panhandlers, when in fact no one running for office in the City of Lake Worth has or ever had supported anything of the sort.

And others who’ve always been adored by some for being “out of the mainstream” like District 2 Comm. McVoy, when up for re-election, then shift more to the center hoping supporters will say to themselves, “But I understand. He’s doing what he has to do to swing votes from the other side.”

All this predictable political maneuvering took to the heights of absurdity last year. Enjoy! 

A theory is gaining steam why the Anarchist Ryan Hartman lost so badly to Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell: His style makeover was just too disingenuous for the voters to believe or trust. Some voters certainly accepted his apology for his comments about shooting police officers but a complete makeover within days of announcing his candidacy from disheveled Anarchist to “I’m Chuck Bass” was just way over the top:
  The video below is one of Hartman and his campaign manager at the Lake Worth High School library for a candidate forum that included Scott Maxwell. My guess is Maxwell was as surprised as everyone to see Hartman transition from this Hartman (image below) prior to his campaign kick-off to the Hartman you see in the video:

Ryan Hartman in full, anti-establishment Anarchist-style with angry, piercing look and hands on hips. Read more about this style and his later makeover using this link.

Here is Hartman in a very short, 1½ minute video, following his makeover and take note: the person asking the question of Hartman is Yours Truly: This video was lost in the mix on my YouTube channel and didn’t get much attention. But it should have. It really gets into the mindset of Hartman, how he would have performed as an elected official, and how he likely views many neighborhoods and communities in this City.

He sees the people who show up at City Commission meetings as being mostly “right of center” and him and his followers as all “left of center”. He hasn’t gotten to know many of those who attend Commission meetings. To call them mostly on the “Right” in American politics is ludicrous.

On one issue in particular, sea level rise, Hartman tried to demonstrate how far out of the mainstream some elected officials in Lake Worth were, like Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell. Here is Maxwell’s position on sea level rise:

Does Maxwell’s position on sea level rise seem extreme to you?

“SEND IT [Lake O water] SOUTH!”? Remember the inglorious demise of Consent Agenda item 9C?

This was a huge embarrassment for one particular City commissioner and for the City of Lake Worth as well. Maybe this was an attempt to influence policy on the issue of water discharges from Lake Okeechobee. Or maybe this was a chance for one commissioner to take to the soapbox and get his name in the newspaper while the issue was still “hot” with flowcharts and a colorful PowerPoint.

Whatever it was, it failed quickly and ingloriously. Sadly too, a lot of people who drove down from Martin and Indian River counties in support of this item on the agenda never got to speak. Instead, they were quietly ushered out of City Hall and told to go back home, by the very same people who had invited them down in the first place.

How did this whole kerfuffle come to be? It’s very simple.

Last August Commissioner Chris McVoy, PhD, had an item placed on the City Commission agenda to “Send It [water discharges] South!” from Lake Okeechobee. A little problem with this agenda item is McVoy didn’t give Belle Glade Mayor Wilson, Pahokee Mayor Babb, South Bay Mayor Kyles, or Mayor Roland in Clewiston a courtesy call and say, Hey, I think your cities should be wiped off the face of the Earth.”

Another problem with McVoy’s item on the agenda was this: septic tanks were not cited as a factor in algae blooms, conveniently left out. And the dike surrounding Lake O which needs serious repairs, the Herbert Hoover Dike, was also not cited as one of McVoy’s concerns either.

Around the same time last year, the Palm Beach Town Council also dealt with this issue, but in quite a different way. They had a resolution about Lake Okeechobee and below are three short excerpts from this article by reporter Aleese Kopf at the Palm Beach Daily News (aka, The Shiny Sheet):

     Town Council members agreed this week to adopt a resolution urging federal and state officials to spend more money on and speed up work to store, treat and move clean water to and from Lake Okeechobee.

[and. . .]

     Specifically, the resolution urges lawmakers to speed up planning for water storage reservoirs south of the lake in the Everglades Agricultural Area, to speed up repair of the Herbert Hoover Dike and to eliminate septic tanks in the region. [emphasis added]

[and. . .]

     Council members unanimously passed the resolution. Council President Michael Pucillo said it’s worded in a way that is not “particularly controversial.”
     “We’re talking about expediting planning,” added Councilwoman Bobbie Lindsay. “We’re not asking them to buy land.”

Here is the ingloriously deleted Consent Agenda item C at the Lake Worth City Commission:
Resolution No. 38-2016 - implement a solution to long standing water discharge issues plaguing the City
“Plaguing the City”? The Commission meeting had barely started when, at the 2:00 minute mark, Consent agenda item 9C is pulled from the agenda. Gone. Erased. Wiped out. Which raises some interesting questions:
  • Why did McVoy put the item on the agenda in the first place?
  • A sizable group of people showed up (or were invited) to support the resolution. Did he wave goodbye to them on their way out of town?
  • The vote was unanimous to delete it from the agenda. That’s right. McVoy voted to delete his very own agenda item. Why would he do that?
Below is the text of the brief that accompanied this item:

AGENDA DATE: August 2, 2016, Regular Meeting
DEPARTMENT: Commissioner McVoy
EXECUTIVE BRIEF
TITLE: Resolution No. 38-2016 – implementing a solution to long standing water discharge issues plaguing the City
SUMMARY: The Resolution urges the Federal and State governments to implement solutions and fix the problems of water discharge from Kissimmee River Valley, Lake Okeechobee, and areas west of the City into the C-51 Canal.
BACKGROUND AND JUSTIFICATION: The current plumbing in South Florida allows for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to, at times of high water and for reasons of human safety, discharge waters from Lake Okeechobee into the Lake Worth Lagoon through the C-51 Canal. The discharged waters degraded quality and elevated nutrient status of Lake Okeechobee causes undesirable and widespread algal blooms.


Has anyone seen any “widespread algal blooms” in Lake Worth? Has the water been “plaguing” us? The “current plumbing”? Not exactly the language or terminology one would expect from a PhD, is it?

And in case you’re interested, J.P. Sasser, the former mayor of the City of Pahokee, had a thought or two on “Send It South!” and septic tanks.