Saturday, March 25, 2017

Dangerous, unhealthy alleys: Clean them up, reduce crime, make them a community asset for almost no money? Impossible?

This blog post is about ways a neighborhood can reclaim a dangerous, unsafe, and under-utilized alleyway in the City of Lake Worth. However, prior to making any changes to an alley you must contact the City first. Why? That is explained below.

So, is it impossible for a neighborhood to make an alleyway a community “backyard”? Try telling that to a creative group of people in Seattle who are reclaiming their alleys and making the community safer. Here is an excerpt from the article:

     [Todd] Vogel started with a small poetry reading. Sixty people showed up. It was the first in a series of events that included music performances, readings, cat adoptions, circus acts, and doggy costume parties. A few neighbors had liked the idea and helped orchestrate the first events. Soon, nearby business owners began to contribute as well. Windows that were previously boarded up were now open, a cinder block wall that blocked a doorway was removed, and neighbors put in planters and contributed to the upkeep. [emphasis added]
     “If you treat it as a place where nobody goes, then you’re inviting illicit activity and you’re inviting people not to respect it” said Vogel, who noted seeing changes in his ”backyard.” “The healthy activity meant that the unhealthy activity was self-policing.”

Seems like a worthy experiment for our Downtown and other neighborhoods in Lake Worth, doesn’t it?

However, prior to “reclaiming” an alley nearby you need to contact someone such as your City commissioner for advice or maybe someone at the Neighborhood Assoc. Presidents’ Council (commonly called the “NAPC). The vast number of alleys in the City of Lake Worth are owned by the City and it’s crucial to keep these alleys accessible for power line maintenance, clearing of vegetation, and in case of emergency situations as well.

So permanent structures will most likely not be permitted.

To find out what an easement is, the City’s responsibility and a citizen’s responsibility vis-à-vis an alley, and for a helpful Q&A use this link for the article titled, “Alleyways — The City’s Roadway to Utility Services”.

Are Hipsters really not hip at all? Or former non-conformists conforming? And what is a Hipster?

Are you a White Millennial living in an area that’s undergoing neighborhood and infrastructure improvements, or what some falsely decry as “gentrification”? How do you make yourself stand out amidst all the hubbub of activity? Make yourself noticed? Be a Hipster!

By standard definition a Hipster is White, born after 1980 (or so. . . still a matter of debate), and attracted to ‘blighted’ areas within up-and-coming cities: that’s Lake Worth, Florida!

Now the popularity of World Thrift makes all the sense in the world.



Or if Hipster isn’t your cup of tea you can take another path like the dwindling number of Anarchist Millennials (see example below). Many former Anarchists here in LDub (for the definition of “LDub”, cool slang for “the City of Lake Worth”, use this link) have been drawn to the life of Apatharchism, then later becoming business people, opening salons, big fans of Starbucks, and use the word “charming” a lot:

Look closely at the written instructions on how and when to empty the human waste bucket. Would this be considered “charming” to an Apartharchist?

Starting next Wednesday: City of Lake Worth to alter water chlorination process.

“Tropical fish tank owners, hospitals, dialysis patients and residents with pools should be aware of the chlorination changes and make adjustments accordingly.”

For questions or concerns from Water Utility customers: Contact Timothy Sloan, Water Treatment Plant Manager: 561-586-1710; email: tsloan@lakeworth.org

Media/press inquiries: Contact City’s Communications Specialist, Ben Kerr: 561-586-1631; email: bkerr@lakeworth@org 

To maintain high water quality in the City of Lake Worth water distribution system, the City of Lake Worth Water Treatment Plant will temporarily change the water chlorination methods for two weeks from March 29, 2017 through April 16, 2017. The City of Lake Worth will also increase hydrant flushing during this time. This is a preventive maintenance process.

Business owner at the Beach and thoughts on Casino complex and pool. Observations almost 2 years ago remain relevant today.

The video (see below) is from May 2015, now one of the most-viewed all-time on my Lake Worth YouTube channel.

Mr. Lipton is the owner of Benny’s on the Beach. Now here we are 22 months later. The Casino complex at our Beach along with the municipal pool—now closed for safety and structural reasons—will be big items to address. A former commissioner last year chimed in with his ideas going forward:

“[D]o some things you can do with coats of paint and whatnot.”

Prior to even thinking about a new pool is whether or not a pool at the Beach is a good idea. An idea to consider is a municipal pool located centrally in the City and more accessible for the public.

Hopefully 2017 will be the year we put all or most of this to rest and move on as a community. We’ve been dealing with this mess for far too many years now.

Interestingly, at the 20 second mark in the video many of you will recall who that person is that walks past Mr. Lipton while he is making a comment at the City Commission podium. She is one of those from a previous City administration that made all those decisions in the first place, e.g., the Greenwashing due to an out-of-control budget.

All these problems are now left for the current City Commission to fix: Mayor Pam Triolo, Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell, and commissioners Andy Amoroso, Omari Hardy, and Herman Robinson.

One problem likely never to be solved. . . nice view from Mama Mia’s On The Beach, huh? Parking and/or a loading dock for large commercial vehicles was never part of the planning back in 2009.

Below the video is the blog post written back in 2015 that accompanied the post. You’ll hear Mr. Lipton say things you’ll agree with and maybe some things you don’t. Hopefully our City will rally around people with ideas and solutions—not all of them accepted or agreed upon—instead of following past ‘visionaries’.

Without further ado. . .
“It was good to see and hear Mr. Lipton and what he said appearing at his first City Commission meeting. This gentleman has owned Benny’s for the last two years and increased its employment from 21 to 76 employees. He’s made changes and been successful doing so: he has high standards.

Lipton looked at the restaurant space above Mulligan’s. His question: If it’s such a great place for a restaurant, why aren’t they lined up around the block waiting to sign a lease? He caused a stir at the 2:40 mark in the video when he said our municipal pool is an embarrassment, not because of what it is, but because of what is possible. ‘It could be great’, he said.

That concept of ‘potential’ strikes again. Tough to argue with what he says. Most definitely worth a listen.”

FYI: If you plan on going to Benny’s would highly recommend the Tuna Tostada. Excellent! And it also would be a good idea to make reservations to avoid a wait: call 561-582-9001.

Sushi-grade quality tuna along with a view of the BEACH!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Saturday morning: Sharon Koskoff’s Walking Tour in our little City of Lake Worth’s unique and special Downtown.

The details for the tour are below.

Last Wednesday I was fortunate enough to be able to attend Sharon Koskoff’s talk at Brogues here in our Downtown Lake Worth. Koskoff is one of those rare people that brings everything to the table. She is knowledgeable about her field of study, passionate, engaging, and makes the time listening enjoyable and yes, entertaining as well.

Sharon Koskoff, if you’ve never met her or attended one of her events, is uniquely special in many ways. I still remember well when several years ago Koskoff returned from a trip to Cuba and gave a slide-show presentation at the Stonzek about the state of Art Deco architecture in that country. This was when Fidel Castro was still firmly in control.

The people who showed up for last Wednesday’s talk was a “Who’s Who” in the fields of history, preservation, and architecture here in Palm Beach County. Up until a few hours prior didn’t know if I would be able to attend. Very fortunate I did.

Sharon Koskoff will be leading a tour in our Downtown. I’m not able to attend but hope a big crowd shows up and an attendee or two takes down notes and a few photos for me. And there’s a special treat: while the tour is strolling our City you’ll be able to watch and experience all the buzz and activity prior to PrideFest which will be happening near the bridge crossing the Intracoastal that flanks our Bryant Park.

The “Walking Tour” guided by Koskoff begins to assemble at 9:45 outside the Lake Worth Playhouse (713 Lake Ave.) and begins at 10:00. The cost of the tour is $30 and refreshments are included. The tour is sponsored by the Historical Society of Lake Worth.

A slide from last Wednesday, “Art Deco Lake Worth!” (click on image to enlarge) 
To learn more about Sharon Koskoff use this link. For more information about the Art Deco Society of the Palm Beaches use this link

It was a packed house at Brogue’s Downunder:

Some of the “Who’s Who” in attendance.

While much of Sharon Kosskof’s talk last Wednesday was about Lake Worth’s unique character it was also about the characteristics of the Art Deco style. She talked about how the style morphed from Art Nouveau and became a product of the machine age with straight lines and geometric qualities.

The presentation also spanned beyond the boundaries of Lake Worth and included buildings like the original Norton Museum of Art and the Amory Art Center in West Palm Beach. If you have a chance, try to attend one of her talks. You will not be disappointed.

A major concern of mine is getting more Millennials involved in historic preservation, especially here in the City of Lake Worth. The “passing of the torch” so to speak will continue to happen and there aren’t enough people in line to hand that torch to. If you’re a young person or Millennial tomorrow’s walking tour may be the thing that inspires you to go to the next level, get involved, and help save our uniquely special history in this City for generations to come.

And lastly, if you didn’t know, the City of Lake Worth has the Lake Worth Historical Museum. Try to contact them some day or go and visit. Our Historical Museum is located at the City Hall Annex Building (414 Lake Ave., 2nd floor) across the Cultural Plaza from the City’s Library:
  • 561-533-7354
  • Hours: Wednesday and Friday from 1:00–4:00.
  • Tours by appointment.

Monday, March 27th: A neighborhood meeting about issue of crime in the City of Lake Worth.

Everyone in the City of Lake Worth is welcome to attend.

Come out and hear Lake Worth’s PBSO District 14 Cpt. Baer. He’ll have a Crime Watch update, talk about the issue of crime in the City, and will also discuss crime prevention.

This meeting will be on Monday, March 27th at 7:00 and is sponsored by the Bryant Park Neighborhood Assoc. and will be held at the Beach Club restaurant located at the City’s municipal golf course. The address is #1 7th Ave. North.

UPDATE: From the City of Pahokee, a Letter to the Editor in The Palm Beach Post today.


If you would like to just quickly read the Letter to the Editor today scroll down to the end of this blog post. And, as always, Thank You for visiting today.

Last Sunday, March 19th, was surprised the news from Pahokee, expecting to see on page A1, wasn’t. Instead the big news was an open-ended question and a big photo of Sheriff Ric Bradshaw. The news from Pahokee ended up on the front page — just not the “A” section — but in the “B” section instead.

An editor or editors made a very poor decision. The story about Bradshaw should have been in the “B” section and the news from Pahokee should have been front page news in the “A” section. And then it occurred to me we’re getting real close to addressing the “Elephant in the room”. A conversation and public debate that should have started many years ago.

Then put up a blog post later that day titled:
“One thousand people ‘turned out’ in Pahokee: News and photo that did not make the cut for front page today in Palm Beach Post”.
Below are the excerpts from a Letter to the Editor in today’s Post. But first, here is the blog post from last Sunday:

From Post reporter Susan Salisbury: “The auditorium was filled to its capacity of 400, and several hundred people who quietly waited outside were turned away. Police estimated the total number of people who turned out at 1,000.”

Click on image to enlarge:
However, this news from Pahokee in today’s Sunday Palm Beach Post did make it to the front page of the “B” section. The opening paragraph from Salisbury’s article:

“PAHOKEE — In a face-off Friday night at Pahokee High School, hundreds of Glades area residents came out in force to tell Florida Senate President Joe Negron his proposal to build a 60,000-acre reservoir on farmland south of Lake Okeechobee would kill jobs and economically devastate their rural communities.”


Excerpts from Letter to the Editor written by Robert Rease from Belle Glade titled, “Negron still giving short shrift to Glades”: 

I, along with many of my brothers and sisters in the Glades communities, attended the March 17 town hall meeting that state Sens. Joe Negron and Oscar Braynon conducted in Pahokee.
     It was thrilling to see nearly 1,000 of our residents and supporters peacefully attend the community meeting. It was disappointing to hear Negron repeat his talking points than actually listen to us, as we in the Glades are also members of his district.

and. . .

     Negron can now proclaim he came, he saw, and he left. Negron has checked the Glades communities off his list. Our work to protect our communities, our jobs and our lands continue despite the 90 minutes given to us in the seven months it took for Negron to visit.
     We will continue to pray for truth and equality to prevail in his bumper sticker campaign that seeks to upend our way of life. [emphasis added]

Powerful. The “bumper sticker campaign” mentioned above is, “Send the Water South!”.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Following the elections last Tuesday: The City Commission liaison and board appointments.

There was a little reshuffling but not much. Note the appointments below for newly-elected Commissioner Omari Jamal-Hatchett Hardy and Commissioner Herman Robinson:
  • Mayor Pam Triolo: Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)
  • Vice Mayor and District 1 Commissioner Scott Maxwell: Florida Municipal Power Agency
  • District 2 Comm. Omari Hardy: Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council (TCRPC) and Sister City Board
  • District 3 Comm. and Vice Mayor Pro Tem Andy Amoroso: Palm Beach County League of Cities, Community Redevelopment Agency, and the Downtown Cultural Alliance
  • District 4 Comm. Herman Robinson: Neighborhood Assoc. Presidents’ Council (NAPC)
Commissioner Robinson’s appointment to be the representative to the NAPC is a very good one with his history going way back working with neighborhood organizations. Going forward the City will also try to find a way for more than one elected to appear at neighborhood meetings on a regular basis.

Some in this City are quick to the yell, “Sunshine Violation!” if one commissioner just happens to be within 1,000′ of another elected official. The Sunshine Law was never intended to be a wall between the public and their elected officials. However, there are very specific rules for how electeds need to behave when together at a meeting or public event.

The appointment of Commissioner Hardy to the TCRPC is also a very good one. Although Hardy will not be an appointed member of that council, and cannot vote or participate officially, he will be able to observe and listen to discussion about topics that concern our City. That is very important.

There is no agenda as yet for the TCRPC meeting on April 21st, however, below are some examples of the topics and items from the meeting on March 17th:
  • Resolution for support of proposed House Bill 1087 and Senate Bill 1488.
  • Status of Florida’s KIDS COUNT data.
  • Intergovernmental coordination and review.
  • Comprehensive Plan amendments.
There is also public comment at these meetings. A chance for Comm. Hardy to discuss issues and concerns here in the City of Lake Worth and to get those comments into the record.

On the generally muddled, confusing, and specious final comments by a Lake Worth City commissioner: A “Ben Franklin” you are not.

Former Lake Worth Commissioner Chris McVoy’s concession lecture was a laundry list of things he could have helped to accomplish but never did. Following McVoy’s lecture at his final Commission meeting on March 21st was a round of applause. Many, including myself, were so happy to see him go away.

Mr. McVoy ever since being first elected in 2010, has harped on and on about having a PdD, using any and every opportunity to remind everyone. Why? Who knows. Maybe because it was so easy to forget. Here’s a quote from his final lecture from the dais at the City Commission, the opening line:

It is not often that a scientist is granted the opportunity and not every city that gets the benefit of a scientist!

As far as scientists who did “participate directly in the American experiment of democracy”, Ben Franklin came to mind. Ben Franklin was a scientist and a tremendously gifted one. And his contribution to American history is immeasurable. But he was an outlier, not the norm. Of all the Signers of the Declaration of Independence he was the only true scientist by profession. Ben Franklin was quoted saying:
“Yes, we must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.”
Mr. McVoy, you are not a scientist in the tradition of American science like Ben Franklin was:


Anyhow, the most twisted line from McVoy, especially following his election loss was this:

I am honored to have been able to serve as “voice of reason,” as a “voice of the people,” unburdened by allegiances to vested interests.

The voters thought much differently.

Possibly, when writing his final lecture, Mr. McVoy should have done more empirical research. The information below was fairly easy to find. From Bill Steele at the Cornell Chronicle, Cornell University located in Ithaca, NY, is this information (use this link to read the entire thesis):

Whether it’s a line from a movie, an advertising slogan or a politician’s catchphrase, some statements take hold in people’s minds better than others. By applying computer analysis to a database of movie scripts, Cornell researchers have found some clues to what makes a line memorable.

and. . .

The study grows out of ongoing work on how ideas travel across networks. “We’ve been looking at things like who talks to whom,” said Jon Kleinberg, the Tisch University Professor of Computer Science, “but we hadn’t explored how the language in which an idea was presented might have an effect.”

and lastly. . .

Later analysis also found subtle differences in sound and word choice: Memorable quotes use more sounds made in the front of the mouth, words with more syllables and fewer coordinating conjunctions.

Interestingly, in McVoy’s lecture he made no mention of the referendums in 2014 and 2016 that he opposed and the principal reason he was booted out of office. In The Palm Beach Post endorsement for Mr. Omari Hardy, an opponent in that race, the editor called McVoy a “commission gadfly”.

Ben Franklin was a scientist but he spent his time trying to find solutions to the pressing issues of the day. Ben Franklin worked with his contemporaries despite the disagreements and opposing points of view. Ultimately, it came down to this: finding a solution to a problem. And isn’t that what scientists are supposed to do?

The most exquisite Folly is made of Wisdom spun too fine.
—Ben Franklin.

It was a dismal voter turnout the last election cycle, on Election Day, March 14th.

It’s difficult to analyze the last election results and come to any firm conclusions. The elections in March 2015 were dismal as well. However, the 2016 elections were a relatively high voter turnout and all the incumbents (Mayor Triolo, Vice Mayor Maxwell, and Commissioner Amoroso) were all re-elected in landslides. The 2016 Neighborhood Bond referendum was a significantly high voter turnout and passed by a “whopping” 69%.

The 2016 bond referendum was in November and that’s important. Back in 2013 elections of candidates in the City of Lake Worth were moved to March from November. One theory is there remains some confusion for voters here in the City. There could be some truth to that. Presidential election years also draw more attention.

However, voter turnout was terrible county-wide last March 14th, not just in Lake Worth. So it cuts both ways.

McVoy raised 25% more money than Omari Hardy, a political newcomer, who is now Commissioner Hardy. How much did McVoy spend for each vote? Find that out below. By far, now-Commissioner Herman Robinson raised the most campaign dollars.

It surprised a lot of people when Omari Hardy and Herman Robinson won their elections outright and both of them avoided a run-off.  The conventional wisdom is an incumbent will win, or have a big advantage, in a low turnout election since the incumbent has a base already in place and name recognition. My bet is then-Commissioner McVoy was very disappointed and surprised on the night of March 14th.

However, if there is a trend, I believe it’s this: The power and effectiveness of endorsements. This was quite noticeable in the 2016 Jeff Clemens race for the State Senate last year. The power of endorsements from other elected officials is on the rise. The more the better. And getting those endorsements lined up early is key. Prior to even having any challengers Clemens had a long list of endorsements and that payed off in the end.

And this last election on March 14th is showing something else: The power of a Palm Beach Post endorsement is dwindling here in Central Palm Beach County. Again, the conventional belief used to be a Post endorsement can draw 10% more votes. After tallying up the Post’s endorsements for last March 14th the likelihood of the candidate endorsed actually winning was about 50%, a coin toss.

And for organizations that make endorsements it’s time to take notice and reconsider who to endorse just by using a checklist and a candidates voting record. Sort of like picking the best horse in a race by just using recent race results and nothing else. If this trend continues then some of these organizations will find themselves ineffective and meaningless. Just check writers.

If you’re going to endorse someone let voters know why.

For example, the Realtors Political Advocacy Committee wrote $1,000 checks to then-Commissioner McVoy and Maryanne Polizzi. Did they take the time to call Realtors here in Lake Worth?

For elections going forward think another lesson is this: Raising money is very important. But just as important is having an excited, motivated, and well-organized campaign staff. Both the Hardy and Robinson campaign staffs were very well run with strong leaders coordinating everything.

Having a good group of volunteers can more than make up for the weaknesses of a candidate. For example, Robinson’s difficulty with communication never became an issue. His campaign staff was leaps and bounds ahead getting Herman’s message out. Hardy’s perceived weakness as a newcomer was turned into an asset. His campaign team took to the high road and never looked back. Any misgivings people had were quickly erased after hearing the message of Omari Hardy.

Hardy raised, from the latest G3 campaign report, $9,965. McVoy raised $13,091, about 25% more than Hardy, and approximately $13 per vote. Hardy? About $8 per vote.

Why does this mean? Nothing really except as a matter of perspective. Last year the money raised by Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell, a huge amount of money, was an issue for some in the press and others here in town upset the Anarchist Ryan Hartman basically got clobbered on Election Day.

But what the supporters of Hartman conveniently forgot to mention is when that money for Maxwell started pouring in. It was after it being discovered that Ryan Hartman had a big problem with police in general when he wrote about “shooting all cops we see by their selves”, and:

“Happy F%&# The Police Day! Remember children. All Cops Are Bastards! Have a great day!”

And on campaign signs: the public may becoming immune to them. McVoy signs went up all over the City the night before election day. And many of Hardy’s and Robinson’s signs disappeared. But signs don’t vote.

And going forward, it would probably be a good idea to consider more carefully which former commissioners for help to get elected. Former commissioners Nadine Burns and Retha Lowe were very helpful for Herman Robinson. On the other hand, McVoy reaching out to Cara Jennings was probably not very helpful at all.

Worth another look: Why it’s generally unwise to be disrespectful to City employees.

Watch the video below taken by a resident in the little City of Lake Worth and then read the legal opinion regarding the ‘concerns’ that are raised.

This is In response to your request for a legal opinion regarding the emails from Suzanne Squire below.
Here is the header line of the email; the text follows below.

Ms. Squire [emphasis added] states that she did not receive an opt out form to opt out of having her property included in the designation of the Northeast Lucerne Townsite Local Historic District. 

The Northeast Lucerne Townsite Local Historic District was created in December, 2002 when the City Commission approved Ordinance Number 2002-38.

Prior to the adoption of this ordinance and in accordance with the Lake Worth Code of Ordinances, the city took the steps required to implement the Lake Worth Comprehensive Plan as mandated by F.S. Ch. 163

1. A survey and inventory of historic resources within the city was done. The nomination of the historic district was based upon the survey.

2. In July of 2002 a Courtesy Notice was sent to all property owners within the proposed district. This Notice advised property owners of their ability to oppose the creation of the district. The Notice stated that if a majority of the eligible property owners oppose creating the historic district, no action would be taken to create the district, at that time. There was no ability to opt out. If less than a majority opposed the designation, the process of designation was moving forward.

3. Public hearings were then held. The Historic Resources Preservation Board held a hearing on August 21, 2002, and finding that the area met the code criteria for designation, recommended that it be approved by the City Commission.

4. The City Commission had two readings of the Ordinance approving the Northeast Lucerne Townsite Local Historic District, the second being a public hearing with notice pursuant to Statute, on December 17, 2002. At the second hearing the Commission declared the Ordinance duly passed and enacted.

5. The Ordinance Designating the Northeast Lucerne Townsite Local Historic District was then recorded in the public records of Palm Beach County at OR Book 14675 Page 1418.

6. Appeal of actions taken by the City must be made within thirty (30) days of the action taken. Given that the ordinance creating the historic district occurred in December, 2002, the appeal period has long since expired

7. There is no provision in the Lake Worth Code of ordinances to opt out of a historic district. 

Barbara Alterman 

TORCIVIA, DONLON,
GODDEAU & ANSAY, P.A.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Changes on the City website, tab City Commission, a “work in progress”.

If you would like to send Commissioner Omari Hardy and Commissioner Herman Robinson a short note or leave a short message congratulating them, that information is below. To contact everyone on the City Commission use this link.

Please be patient awaiting a reply. As you can probably imagine, there will be a lot of changes going on and time will be needed to sort everything out.

Mayor Pam Triolo flanked by Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell and Vice Mayor Pro Tem Andy Amoroso:

Ryan Maier (right side, blue shirt) opted not to seek re-election and Chris McVoy (far right) lost his bid for re-election to Commissioner Omari Hardy.

See below: Meet your new District 2 City Commissioner Omari Hardy (on the right) and District 4 Commissioner Herman Robinson (on left). To contact them:
  • Commissioner Hardy: 561-586-1732; email: ohardy@lakeworth.org
  • Commissioner Robinson: 561-586-1734; hrobinson@lakeworth.org
Leave a short message and they both will get back to you when things settle down a bit. And if there’s anything you think you can do to help, please let them know.

Click on image to enlarge:
Yours Truly (center, in red hat) just so happened to run across these two gentlemen after a performance of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas in Downtown Lake Worth last December.

Video: The Swearing In of Messrs. Omari Hardy and Herman Robinson, now Lake Worth City Commissioners.


FYI: “Messrs.”, pronounced mes-erz is the plural for Mister, “a title of respect prefixed to a man’s name or position.” The plural of the term Miss is Misses, to “represent a particular attribute of the person, especially one excessively prominent”, for example, used in a sentence, “Misses Pam Triolo and Joan Oliva said. . .”.

The video of the ceremony (see below) begins during a soon-to-be former-commissioner’s final lecture. Here are the highlights to fast forward and watch:
  • At the 2:20–3:00 mark: Ryan Maier makes his final remarks as a commissioner, gracefully and respectfully, lasting all of 40 seconds. He then left the chambers.
  • At 3:40 begins the Swearing In of Omari Hardy.
  • At 5:30 is the Swearing In of Herman Robinson.
  • From 8:15 are the first comments from the dais from Commissioner Hardy. At one point he tried to thank the former commissioner in District 2 for his service but by then had already left the building.
  • At 16:00 begin the comments by Commissioner Herman Robinson. He was quite struck by the words of Comm. Hardy and was very humble as well about his election.
  • And in an interesting few moments, Commissioner Hardy asked Mayor Pam Triolo if he could make an additional comment which the mayor allowed. At the 19:45 mark Hardy talked about the first and best decision he made upon deciding to run for election: his choice of campaign manager, Tricia Mischler.
  • The last minute of the video is the mayor’s concluding remarks and the adjournment.
Enjoy the video:

What a wonderful day in the little City of Lake Worth.

Check back later on today or tomorrow morning for some of my thoughts about all the things that happened yesterday: the Swearing In of Messrs. Omari Jamal-Hatchett Hardy and Herman C. Robinson and the City Commission meeting that followed.

The City Commission had a new fresh tone thanks to the voters last March 14th.

The “fresh breeze” that Mayor Pam Triolo talked about at her State of the City Address last January finally made it through the front doors of City Hall.

Congratulations to both of you.
Commissioner Hardy with his family.

Commissioner Robinson.

Patience is wearing thin.

The pictures below were taken on January 1st, 2012:
“My New Year’s wish is our landmark historic hotel re-opens in time for the City’s Centennial celebration in 2013.”

The old City of Lake Worth in the rear view mirror. Keep your eyes on the New Lake Worth up ahead.

Hard to believe: City Manager Michael Bornstein was hired on April 16th, 2012.

It’s not unusual for some to feel a tinge of regret or maybe even misgivings for vociferously criticizing a former elected official, one who later went on to lose a bid for re-election. However, to put things in perspective, has one former commissioner in particular ever expressed any concern or misgivings for a new pothole that opened up on your street? Or ever lamented the fact that maybe if he was more involved, the LW2020 Bond referendum would have passed in 2014, with changes and additions to the plan more to his liking?

Nothing changed in 2016 either. For two years the roads, sidewalks, and our infrastructure continued to deteriorate. Because of this commissioner’s inaction and outright trouble-making the editor of The Palm Beach Post called him a “commission gadfly” and endorsed Mr. Omari Hardy instead.

If you want to do something positive, and focus on other things like the future of this little City then use this link. Soon this site will be updated with the phone numbers and email for Commissioner Omari Hardy and Commissioner Herman Robinson. Send each of them a note or a short phone call and congratulate them and ask how you can help.

And looking forward, City Manager Michael Bornstein was hired on April 16th, 2012. In a little over 3 weeks will be his 5 year anniversary working for this City. Send him a short note as well, just a quick “Thank You” for doing such a great job.

The “former commissioner” hinted at above liked to say, “he agreed with the majority 90% of the time.”

However, when he was most needed he sat on his hands and did nothing. Think of it this way: the City spends years investing and training an employee. Then on the one day the City counts on that person to do an important task, he or she calls in sick instead or just decides to take the day off and go home.

The job of a City commissioner is no different. The citizens and taxpayers expect and deserve more than just 90%.

A former candidate for City Commission in Lake Worth “fanning flames of mis- and disinformation.”

Ellie Whittey didn’t get mentioned a lot on this blog after qualifying and leading up to Election Day, last March 14th. Frankly, could never quite figure out why she was in the race to begin with. Did hear that almost everywhere she went Whittey attracted a large crowd and enthusiasm but that never translated into votes.

The District 4 race was already an odd one to begin with, a rarity in Lake Worth, an “open seat” election due to then-Commissioner Ryan Maier exiting his re-election bid. Herman Robinson won outright avoiding a run-off and Maryann Polizzi came in second place and Ellie Whittey a distant third.

What may have sealed the fate of Whittey was what she said about the Lake Worth Casino. And to make matters worse she then doubled-down and made the same claim again in front of a packed City Commission meeting on January 24th during public comment: 

“I can understand the hesitation of wanting get involved with this company [Morganti] legally. Morganti is not a United States owned company. They're based out of Athens. So again, they don’t have to comply with our rules. I would be hesitant. I don't believe people knew this going into this contract. Again, we learn from our mistakes. NEVER [Whittey raises voice] have a contract with a company which is not an American-owned company. Because again, what can we do when they mess up? They don’t have to comply with our laws as you know. Thank you.”

So, is Morganti, the construction company that built the Casino going to skip town and screw over Lake Worth? Go back to Athens and give our City the shaft? No. Not at all.

Sure, it’s taking much longer to fix all the problems at the Casino but progress, although slow, is being made. Whittey said, “They don’t have to comply with our laws.”

ABSOLUTELY FALSE. The public, the City of Lake Worth elected’s and staff working so hard to fix all this, as well as Morganti all deserved an apology. It’s irresponsible, at the very least, to be spreading this complete falsehood, especially from a candidate seeking elected office.

Unfortunately, mis- and disinformation leading up to elections is all-too-common in this City. Like the rumors spread days prior to Election Day that Mr. Omari Hardy wasn’t a resident of this City.

In the end this is a hopeful sign. The voters seem to be paying very close attention to what’s going on in this City and then making their choices wisely.

Tonight: Lake Worth’s Library Advisory Board meeting (see agenda below).

Have you thought about volunteering for the City of Lake Worth? Come out to this meeting tonight and learn more about another volunteer board, the City’s Library Advisory Board. Want to find out about board vacancies and other ways to serve as a volunteer? Use this link or contact:
  • Silvina Donaldson, Volunteer Coordinator
  • 561-586-1730
  • Email: sdonaldson@lakeworth.org
The agenda for tonight’s meeting:

City Hall Annex, Meeting Room, 414 Lake Ave.
Wednesday, March 22, 6:00 P.M.
  • Roll call.
  • Approval of minutes.
  • Discussion: A) Librarian’s Report. B) Budget Update FY 2017 and FY 2018 preparation. C) Long Range Plan discussion.
  • Public participation of non-agendaed items and Consent Agenda.
  • New business.
  • Board comment.
  • Adjourn.
NOTE: One or more members of any other board or member of the City Commission may attend and speak at this meeting.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Final Performance. A composition by conductor Lutz Köhler to the video of soon-to-be former-Commissioner Chris McVoy, PhD.

From Wikipedia: Conductor Lutz Köhler “studied bassoon, piano, composition and conducting at the Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien Hannover. In 1974, he was appointed professor. From 1999 he was professor for conducting and director of the Symphonieorchester at the University of the Arts Berlin. From 2009 he was also a professor of conducting at the Escuela Superior de Música de Cataluña in Barcelona.”

The video of McVoy is below. Please be patient, a short explanation how we got here. Click on image to enlarge.
It’s important to remember who wrote soon-to-be former-Commissioner McVoy, PhD, was a “gadfly”: That was the editor at The Palm Beach Post in their endorsement for Mr. Omari Jamal-Hatchett Hardy.

Music was needed in the background because the audio was turned off in the City Commission chambers that day back in August of 2014. The reason why is during breaks at Lake Worth Commission meetings the sound is always turned off; however, what McVoy didn’t know apparently is the video keeps on recording.

Draw your own conclusions when you watch the video below. Was McVoy waiting for the mayor, commissioners, city manager, et al. to leave the room? Did he receive a signal from someone in attendance that day?

How McVoy reacts when Commissioner Andy Amoroso returns to the dais is especially interesting. And some were offended that McVoy ate his dinner in his seat at the City Commission, commenting that food should be eaten in the conference room, not out in the open in front of the public.

Now that you know why music was added to the video, about the composition, “The Love For Three Oranges Suite, Op. 33bis: III. March (Arr. F. Tull) for Brass Ensemble)” is by Lutz Köhler. From Wikipedia:

The Love for Three Oranges, Op. 33, also known by its French language title L´amour des trois oranges, is a satirical opera by Sergei Prokofiev. Its French libretto was based on the Italian play L´amore delle tre melarance by Carlo Gozzi. The opera premiered at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, Illinois, on 30 December 1921.

Tonight will be McVoy’s final performance on the City of Lake Worth City Commission. Apparently he has a speech to deliver, or what’s come to be called a “pontification”. Hopefully that will not occur.

Tonight the new City Commission sets the tone and direction going forward. McVoy’s speech needs to be short, gracious and then say, “Good-bye”. But it could also be the opposite: divisive, angry, and mean.

The Swearing In will begin today at 5:00. The reception begins at 5:30. At 6:00 starts a whole new chapter in the history of Lake Worth. The focus will be off McVoy and on Mr. Omari Hardy and Herman Robinson, your new City Commissioners in District 2 and 4.

However, for one final time, enjoy the video to the composition by Lutz Köhler: The Love For Three Oranges Suite, Op. 33bis: III. March:

The Parrot Cove Home Tour, tickets still available, but not for long.

Click on image to enlarge:
To purchase tickets use this link. To learn more about the Parrot Cove neighborhood use this link.

Art Deco Architecture of Lake Worth. Free lecture on Wednesday, a tour on Saturday.

Lake Worth is renowned for its surviving examples of Art Deco architecture and has the largest concentration of Streamline Moderne buildings in Palm Beach County. Sharon Koskoff is President/Founder of the Art Deco Society of the Palm Beaches. The lecture and tour (information below) are sponsored by the Historical Society of Lake Worth. 

LECTURE: An in-depth “virtual” tour of Lake Worth’s Art Deco architecture by Sharon Koskoff, a well-known expert in the field. The lecture will be given on Wednesday, March 22, 7:00, at Brogues DownUnder, 621 Lake Ave., in the meeting hall. This lecture is FREE, sponsored by the Historical Society of Lake Worth. A special cocktail hour will begin at 6:00.

WALKING TOUR: Guided by Sharon Koskoff, this tour will focus on architectural history, public art, and the gallery scene in Lake Worth. Assemble on Saturday, March 25th, 9:45 in the morning in front of the Lake Worth Playhouse, 713 Lake Ave. Light refreshments included. Cost for the tour is $30.00. Use this link to the Historical Society of Lake Worth.

How to do a TV news or press interview: Two easy but very effective techniques anyone can learn (instructional videos below).

Understand that most reporters, TV news and the press, are a good bunch and highly professional.* When you see a reporter don’t hesitate to walk up and say, “Hi” and strike up a conversation. If they’re in a hurry the best of the best will hand you a card and apologize. Keep the card handy to contact the reporter later on.

A little trick: Most of the time you’ll find the video crew to be very polite and respectful. Sometimes the best way to get information to a reporter is to “bend the ear” of the crew. They’ll pass that information on if he or she thinks it’s important to get the story narrative correct.

But what do you do if you’re approached by a hostile reporter asking leading questions, e.g., “Aren’t you concerned about Lake Worth’s road and pothole repairs? All that construction going on creating more traffic accidents and road safety issues?”.

First pause! Never respond quickly. Take your time and think it out for a moment. Then. . .
  • “Rephrase the question”
  • “Give to Get”
This short video explains how these techniques work: Don’t let anyone in the media “spin” what is happening in and around our little City. Here is how you accomplish that:
  • Rephrase the question: Respond to the reporter with something like this, “Have you seen all the potholes in so many City neighborhoods? If you want to learn more visit the City’s website. There is a lot of information about what is happening. And the City is moving ahead with the Park of Commerce as well to help struggling areas west of I-95. Would you like to go and see this for yourself? I can give you directions.”
  • Give to Get: Give information to the reporter to Get positive media coverage, such as saying, “The public in Lake Worth is excited the bond referendum passed last November to fix our roads and potholes. But did you know a similar referendum failed in 2014 by just 25 votes? Those critics of the 2014 bond also opposed the referendum in 2016 too. [then raise your voice for emphasis] And get this! This is the same group that was against the City’s new LED street lighting too. Have you thought of asking those people why they oppose so many improvements?”
Try this technique the next time a reporter approaches you for a comment. Take a deep breath, pause, and remember what to do:
Rephrase the question and then Give to Get”.
Now for an example: A news crew showed up at Lake Worth City Hall last year (see video below) during discussion about moving forward with the referendum to fix the roads and potholes. However, despite all the efforts by one particular City commissioner to put a negative “spin” on the referendum, he failed. The November referendum later passed overwhelmingly with 69% saying, “Yes” to the bond. The positive message won the day at that Commission meeting.

If you see an interview in progress and hear false and misleading information being given to a reporter don’t hesitate to get the facts out. Approach the reporter and ask to be interviewed and remember to be polite, respectful, stay calm, and don’t get too excited. Just stick to the facts.

Study the body language closely in the video below, e.g., hand gestures, posture, reassuring facial expressions, smiles, and try using these techniques the next time you’re interviewed by the media and press (please note, proceed to the 3:00 mark in the video and practice these techniques yourself in front of a mirror):

*Very Important: If you’re interviewed by the TV news or press ALWAYS GET THE REPORTERS CONTACT INFORMATION, either a business card or write down their phone number and/or email. When the news hits the print edition or airs on TV and there is a reporting error you want that corrected as soon as possible.

Interfaith discussion tomorrow: Everyone of all faiths, or no faith, is invited to attend.

Everyone is invited to attend the Masjid Al Tawad of Florida Mosque on Wednesday, March 22nd from 7:00–9:00, located at 6240 S. Congress Ave. in suburban Lake Worth. For more information call 561-469-1453; email: tawadfl@gmail.com

Here is the program:
  • Public event; everyone is welcome.
  • Slideshow on peace work of Abrahamic Reunion in the Holy Land.
  • Presentations by local Jewish, Christian and Muslim faith leaders.
Last year individuals and families of the Muslim faith were invited to a City Commission meeting and soon thereafter were insulted and disparaged. If you’re a resident of the City of Lake Worth, and you plan on attending, make sure to let everyone know we’re better than this:

Do you think this “content is thought provoking”?

There was a time when people said Japanese-Americans and Irish Catholics would, “. . . destroy us from within”. History proved them wrong.

Monday, March 20, 2017

While riding my bike along the seawall in Bryant Park in the little City of Lake Worth, Florida:

I just happened to look up and to the east, and look what I saw! An airship above “The Island” of Palm Beach:
“The Goodyear Blimp is any one of a fleet of airships operated by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, used mainly for advertising and capturing aerial views of live sporting events on television.” And more from Wikipedia. . .

“The term blimp itself is defined as a non-rigid airship – without any internal structure, the pressure of lifting gas contained within the airship envelope maintains the vessel’s shape.” The Goodyear Blimp has its very own website too!

It’s all the rave in the little City of Lake Worth: de Vine Marketplace in our Downtown.

Stop by today or some time this week and visit de Vine Marketplace and chat with Andrea and Chip. What they’ve done to that structure located at 318 North Dixie Hwy. is a sight to behold.

I could go on and on but it’s better for you to go and see for yourself. Below is a short collage of photos put together with music. And make sure to try one of their deVine smooothies. Bon appétit!

Just in case you may have missed this.

Already read the latest about the Blueway Trail? Thank you for visiting and please scroll down.

Below is another short update about the Blueway Trail Coalition meeting in West Palm Beach on March 3rd. At the end of this blog post is the link to the original blog post on March 6th and the two updates that followed on more specific items about this exciting project. Heard a rumor about the Blueway Trail and wish to verify what you heard or were told? Use this link.

First want to emphasize again, the historical record is clear, public access to and from the Intracoastal Waterway, once upon a time, did exist prior to the Spillway structure (S-155) being constructed, circa 1960. Since that time access for small boats, kayaks, and other pleasure craft has been severely limited: 

Dixie and Federal highways are clearly visible in this 1958 aerial photo. See what’s in between? Look close. That is a former marina in Lake Worth (south side of C-51 Canal). Read about that using this link.

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

Another photo from the Blueway Trail Coalition meeting.

Click on photo to enlarge:
On the right, facing, is Kim DeLaney, PhD, the Director of Strategic Development and Policy at the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council (TCRPC). Recognize anyone else?

Below are more items from my notes taken at the most recent Blueway Trail Coalition (BTC) meeting that I’ve not addressed thus far (in no particular order):
  • Facilities will be ADA-accessible.
  • Water depths in areas of the C-51 Canal/S155 structure can be as deep as 10′.
  • Structures will be designed to last at least 40 years, minimum.
  • Sea level rise is part of the planning process.
  • The design of the facility must account for a certain acceptable minimum water depth. Water too shallow (low tides) would make the bypass more problematic or not workable at all during certain periods.
  • Corporate sponsorship is a possibility. How much so? Unknown thus far.
  • Other boat lifts and boat bypass facilities in Florida are being studied as well. Some of those may be owned and operated privately.
For the original blog post about the BTC meeting on March 5th use this link: a blog post that is quite lengthy but does provide a lot of background and demonstrates how the project has progressed, and changed, over the last year.
And finally, if you happen to be “scratching your head” and wondering why The Palm Beach Post is not covering this news, well, that is anyone’s guess.

Would you like to go and see for yourself where this project will be constructed?

Here are the directions to Spillway Park in the City of Lake Worth: Take Maryland Dr. that parallels the C-51 Canal and go to the dead end. The park entrance will be on your right.

From the Lake Worth Interfaith Network, Siddur Avodas HaLev: A Jewish View of Prayer

“Prayer: Its Hebrew name is, tefillah, a word that gives us an insight into the Torah’s concept of prayer. The root of tefillah means to judge, to differentiate, to clarify, to decide. In life, we constantly sort out evidence from rumor, valid options from wild speculations, fact from fancy. Thus, prayer is the soul’s yearning to define what truly matters and to ignore the trivialities that often masquerade as essential.”
—From The Interfaith Prayer Book compiled by Ted Brownstein; the Lake Worth Interfaith Network, Expanded second edition 2014, page 31.

“Gentrification!” was not a factor in our elections last Tuesday. Why? Explained: The politics of fear in this City and what’s called “The Gentrification Paradox”.

The blog post below is quite lengthy. If you’re short on time today please scroll down to see my New Years Wish in 2012 for our Gulfstream Hotel and Mr. Brian Schlitz, the owner of Artsy Fartsy, is making all kinds good news and bringing smiles to a lot of people. Later on will link to this blog post at the top of the right-hand column of the blog. As always, Thank You for visiting today. Without further ado. . .

The word “gentrification”, once a favorite loaded word to create fear in past elections was not a factor at all in the last election here in the City of Lake Worth. A loaded word is one,

that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes. Such wording is also known as high-inference language or language persuasive techniques.

Do you know what gentrification is? No one does. There is no accepted definition. Another interesting thing is how this word can show up in the strangest of places, even when there are much better words to choose from, like in this article about The Cottages of Lake Worth.

Emily Badger at The Washington Post wrote an article titled: “It’s time to give up the most loaded, least understood word in urban policy: gentrification”:

These questions get at a fundamental problem with one of the most controversial (and fuzzy) concepts in urban policy: Even researchers don’t agree on what ‘gentrification’ means, let alone how to identify it. (And this is to say nothing of its even more problematic derivative, the “gentrifier.”)

Think about this, since urban gardens are so popular with some, are they actually promoting gentrification? Because developers love urban gardens. Have you read this article, “Urban farmers find that success leads to eviction”? This is called “The Gentrification Paradox” (read more about that below).

One last question: Is it possible there were people or groups here in Lake Worth intentionally using tactics like “Gentrification!” to suppress neighborhood improvements, increase the crime rate, and create fear for political objectives? A shocking thought isn’t it? Or maybe not so much for others.

Everyone knows the naysayers and malcontents here in Lake Worth. The ones that have nothing good to say about the majority on the City Commission, swept into office in 2012. Some of those naysayers, once upon a time, were in control of this City and you may be wondering how such negative people ever got into positions of power. They accomplished that with the politics of fear, also called “The Wolf at the Door”.

Photo taken in 2012 at Lake Worth Casino of the prior City Commission:

“Gentrification!” was a word Cara Jennings (on right, facing) was fond of using. Chris McVoy (beaming, blue shirt) managed to hold on for a while but lost his election bid last Tuesday to a newcomer in City politics, Mr. Omari Hardy.

But the people in Lake Worth woke up one day 5 years ago and realized there was no “Wolf at the Door”, or “Vulture at the Door” if you will. The real problem was a few commissioners in City Hall and in 2012 they got tossed out. Unsurprisingly, the mood in this City began to change beginning back then. A much more positive outlook about our future.

So. . . why isn’t the cry of “Gentrification!” working any more? Also in this blog post are more of the tactics used to stop neighborhood improvements and ways to discourage people from being more involved in their communities. And. . . why blaming elected officials for ‘gentrification’ is a fallacy, merely a tactic to gain political advantage.

Gentrification is one of the most misunderstood phenomenons in American culture. It’s a term that’s derogatory to some and a very hopeful one for others who live in persistently blighted areas. The logic by some is a certain level of blight is ‘charming’ because it makes the area undesirable to investors or ‘outsiders’.

People who rail and frighten a neighborhood against gentrification (G) are then in the unenviable position of having to balance how much blight is good to deter more people from moving in but still keep the area in a state of limbo: not getting better and not getting worse either. Because if the neighborhood gets too blighted the people who live there will move out. On the other hand, if one person decides to do a home renovation and improve his or her home, another home will have to decay further to maintain that balance. And what if, God forbid, a homeowner decides to replace the roof!

If one property increases in value, the anti-G logic is, then that is a threat to all the other homes on the street. Then to show the neighborhood how enlightened, resilient, and sustainable they are, then they encourage urban farms and urban gardens which leads to what? Less blight. A bland, unkempt home doesn’t look as bad when surrounded by a garden or a farm. Welcome to what’s called the Gentrification Paradox.

Here is one explanation of this phenomenon from the Strong Towns blog. To put it very simply: Some tactics to stop ‘gentrification’ actually do the opposite. They make neighborhoods, towns and cities more attractive rather than less.

However, the ‘anti-G’ folks have other tactics from the grab-bag to try and stop, or at least slow down, the process of a neighborhood improving that do terrible long-term damage and truly affect people’s lives in a negative way:
  • Upzoning (destabilize residential neighborhoods)
  • Increase the crime rate (or the perception of crime in an area)
  • Encourage the homeless to take over a “space”, like the Cultural Plaza downtown
  • Promote needle exchange programs to attract more drug addicts (another tactic in Lake Worth from the bag of tricks)
  • Try to make it easier for sober homes to operate without supervision and less scrutiny
  • Under-fund or obstruct education initiatives for children and recent immigrants
All of these tactics, and there are many others, are ultimately unsuccessful. Why? Because the process is market-driven and as the economy improves people want a better quality of life. Those who who live in blighted areas will do things like paint a house, clean up the front yard, remove abandoned cars, and engage in activities like forming neighborhood groups, request bike lanes, and become interested in things like community policing. All these changes increase real estate value over time.

In the City of Lake Worth is the Grey Mockingbird Community Garden (GMCG). This garden located at the Scottish Masonic Temple has greatly increased visitors and interest in the area not only due to the garden but also with their educational and entertainment activities. The GMCG is discouraging blight and encouraging neighborhood improvements. How many people have visited the garden and decided to look around the City, liked what they saw and either decided to invest in or move to Lake Worth? That is hard to gauge but it certainly has happened.

In the 2015 election cycle the word “gentrification” was used almost constantly by the ‘anti-G’ faction who knocked on doors to frighten certain neighborhoods in Lake Worth. They blamed some politicians for promoting it and others were praised for trying to stop it which is all nonsense, but it did play well ‘at the door’ in 2015. However, the tactic was ineffective in the 2016 elections and not used at all in the 2017 elections. Why?

The answer is easy: They simply overplayed their hand and ‘crying Wolf!’ had lost its effectiveness.

In conclusion, if someone tells you that your commissioner, mayor, or state representative is responsible for ‘gentrification’ they are lying to you.

And on the issue of trust:

Why would you ever trust anyone who told you that your neighborhood can’t aspire to be better for your children, friends, and family?