Saturday, March 25, 2017

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.

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.

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.

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.

Dixie Highway in Lake Worth: Fertile ground for the classic car afficionado and car shows

I went to a “Cars and Coffee Palm Beach” held at the Palm Beach Outlet Mall last Summer. The video below is assembled from pictures taken of the cars that interested me. The more original variety find very interesting; not so much the custom/modified type. However, those too have their place. My car is the light blue 1963 Buick Riviera that appears in the first slide:

This is a monthly event and doesn’t have a fixed day. I discovered it by seeing Adam Raizin’s car on Facebook. Called him up and found out where it was. There was a big crowd and it was hot. A really hot South Florida day. They charged $2 for admission if you have a car to show. Free for the public.

Coincidentally, later on found this article on Mid-Century motels. These old motels happen to be in Wildwoods, NJ. There is a preservation effort to save these structures but many have already been lost to redevelopment or too far gone to rehab. They certainly represent a much different time and place like the people and their cars that frequented them.

I’m not suggesting Disney-like car venues along our short section of Dixie Hwy. but a nod to some of the design features present here would be true to Lake Worth’s heritage and perhaps jump start investment along the empty stretches of road we all ride on every day. Something to think about. We do have a fairly blank canvas.

Leadership doesn’t require a PhD.

Remember when critics of City’s street lighting project said 2700kV LED lights would make you sick? One of those critics and naysayers was soon-to-be-former Commissioner Chris McVoy, PhD.

When the program first began to roll out others wrote (see image below) these new LED lights would be a “road hazard”, drivers would careen off the road causing all sorts of terror. Of course, this was all totally baseless nonsense.

The parallels between the tactics used to confuse the public about street lighting are eerily similar to those used against the Neighborhood Road Improvement referendum last November: this time dust and noise while constructing new roads will ruin everyone’s quality of life. Nonsense. What about the quality-of-life now?

When the first LED lights were installed some began suggesting drivers would careen out of control and wantonly crash all over the City.

This nonsense was another attempt to scuttle yet another infrastructure improvement. The critics, true to form, came up with a bevy of objections.

Just as the City’s street lighting project began to roll out. . . Comm. McVoy, PhD, used his Critical Thinking skills and suggested the new LED streetlights would make you and your family sick.

Do you remember the meme about ‘Critical Thinking’ (CT)? What does CT mean? It can mean anything you want it to. What the CTers suggest is something has been missed or has to be thought out even more. The result is delay after delay as a topic or issue gets the CT review. Decision after decision is analyzed, turned upside down, examined piece by piece until any possibility or future outcome is predicted, which is impossible to predict.

A good way to describe CT is “paralysis by analysis”. Take the street lighting issue, for example. The City was faced with a problem: many neighborhoods don’t have adequate lighting. So the City comes up with an idea and starting in 2014 goes through the process considering different proposals. As the City begins rolling out the project in 2016 some like McVoy then suggest more thinking is needed?

The suggestion is it might be shrewd to hold off and let the CTers do their work. And what if they succeed? The project gets delayed. Again. For months if not years.

Probably the grandest example of CT is Amendment 4 in 2010. If Amendment 4 had passed virtually any decision a City tries to move forward with would be subject to CT review. Analyzed from every angle, delayed for months or even years, and then put on the ballot.

Below is an example of CTers at work (see if you recognize anyone in the video)
Fortunately only 33% of voters statewide voted for Amendment 4. It needed over 60% to pass into law. Once again, I applaud the City for moving forward with the street lighting project and the Neighborhood Road Bond. The public has demanded these problems be fixed and our leaders, the majority of them, listened.

That’s what elected leaders are supposed to do: Lead.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

At ceremony when speeches were over, a soon-to-be former commissioner gadfly pulled mic from City Manager Bornstein’s hand. . .

. . . and what happened next was hilarious for everyone in attendance who saw what happened: people began walking away in droves (video below).

In the video you can’t see the back rows and people standing outside the tent but they all just simply walked away when Chris McVoy began to speak.

At the 35 second mark in the video even a Post reporter had enough. He got up and walked away too. Another soon-to-be ex-commissioner, Ryan Maier with his little dog, they remained seated. Most of the people in the first few rows felt obligated to listen for some reason, but few others did.

Yours Truly remained in place too. To get one of the last pontificating lectures on video from McVoy, PhD, to be filed away in “Riding The Coattails of Other Electeds”. Enjoy!

At next Tuesday’s new City Commission: Liaison appointments to boards and organizations.

This is a formal step after every election and very important. Important because these appointments will be the ones responsible for representing our City before some very influential groups, e.g., the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council (TCRPC).

Below is the executive brief and summary for next Tuesday’s meeting and note the one name that’s missing from last years appointments: soon-to-be former Commissioner Chris McVoy, PhD. Why was he not chosen for any of the positions in 2016? One reason could be he didn’t wish to be involved.

Commissioners-Elect Omari Hardy (District 2, replacing McVoy) and Herman Robinson (District 4) will both be eager to be involved, I’m certain. The agenda with highlights follows:

Agenda Date: March 21, 2017
Department: City Clerk
Executive Brief: Appoint City Commission members to various organizations and boards

Background and Justification: Historically, the appointment to various organizations and boards has been scheduled on the first regular meeting following the municipal election. On March 22, 2016, the City Commission made the following appointments: 
  1. Metropolitan Planning Organization (Mayor Pam Triolo): They provide a cooperative, comprehensive, and continuing transportation planning and decision-making process. The process encompasses all modes and covers both short-range and long-range transportation planning. 
  2. Palm Beach County League of Cities (Commissioner Scott Maxwell): Their purpose is to promote and advance the collective interest of the municipalities of the County to study municipal issues and seek desired results through cooperative effort, to respect the principles of Home Rule, to encourage and enhance the quality of life of the citizens of the County, and/or to engage in any other lawful purpose not for profit. 
  3. Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council (Commissioner Ryan Maier): This is a regional forum where elected and appointed leaders regularly come together to discuss complex regional issues, develop strategic regional responses for resolving them, and build consensus for setting and accomplishing regional goals. 
  4. Florida Municipal Power Agency (Commissioner Scott Maxwell): This is a wholesale power agency owned by municipal electric utilities. They provide economies of scale in power generation and related services to support community-owned electric utilities. 
  5. Downtown Cultural Alliance (Commissioner Andy Amoroso): This is a membership organization of downtown businesses, galleries, merchants and restaurants formed to enhance the downtown corridor. Their mission is to organize and promote events that will benefit the entire community. 
  6. Community Redevelopment Agency (Commissioner Andy Amoroso): The Agency is responsible for formulating and implementing projects that are consistent with the Lake Worth Redevelopment Plan to assist in revitalizing and redeveloping portions of the City. 
  7. Sister City Board (Commissioner Ryan Maier): The Board initiates, plans, sponsors, organizes, and promotes cultural exchanges. It also provides support for international economic development programs and acts as the City’s official hosts for international guests. 
  8. Neighborhood Association Presidents’ Council (Mayor Pam Triolo): The Council supports and promotes their members’ neighborhood associations and serve as an umbrella type organization with no opinion on how each association individually chooses to decide matters.
Check back on Tuesday to learn how to watch this City Commission meeting Live Streaming. If you didn’t know, there is a new setup at the Commission chambers with more cameras installed. A big improvement from the situation prior.

Some random thoughts about the election in Lake Worth last Tuesday, in no particular order.

May add more thoughts later on today. Check back on Tuesday morning prior to the Swearing In of Commissioners-Elect Omari Hardy and Herman Robinson. Will move this blog post back near the top. Buckle Up! Here we go:
  • Here is the scorecard for the Post editorial board endorsements in 20 City elections, basically a coin flip, a winning rate of 54%. They were 50% right in Lake Worth.
  • Omari Hardy didn’t get the HRC endorsement. Neither did State Rep. Bobby Powell last year. They both won anyhow. Feel free to “read between the lines”.
  • Endorsements do matter. But some less so when what the organization says in public is different in private.
  • Herman Robinson campaigned hard. People like Dave Kerner, Jeff Clemens, Erica Whitfield, and a whole lot of others endorsed him. All Herman had to do was call and ask. It was an easy choice for a lot of people to say, “Yes”.
  • Interestingly, the pay raise for mayor and commissioners was a non-issue in the election.
  • Cara Jennings told people what she thought on Facebook and even campaigned with McVoy. It didn’t matter. Nobody listens to her any more.
  • McVoy got the Realtors endorsement. What were they thinking?
  • Yes, it was a dismal voter turnout. But extrapolate using a 2, 3, 5× or higher turnout and it wouldn’t have made a difference. The wins by Hardy and Robinson would have been larger margins.
  • Some tried to make this Lake Worth election about national issues and the mood of the electorate nation-wide. Many are burned out on politics. However, the election was decided on local issues: the way it should be.
  • Omari Hardy kept to the high road. McVoy didn’t. The question looming is how will McVoy leave the stage. The consensus? Not very nicely. All eyes and ears will be on what he says this coming Tuesday, that is, if he shows up at all.
  • The referendum extending terms of electeds from 2 to 3 years passed easily. Cara Jennings was against it. But then again, she is irrelevant.
  • Being the “environmentalist” candidate, McVoy sure used a lot of #5 Chloroplast signs, especially on election day. I told one of his supporters they make great TV trays. We can only hope they were recycled appropriately.
  • For most people, Mr. Hardy’s race was a non-issue. That should make our entire City proud.
  • When the “other side” gets stung what they do is go silent. They were silent a whole lot this last election. But sometimes when they get stung they will do things like send a “former journalist” to give quotes to a newspaper reporter. This was the day after a mailer about McVoy.
  • The usual suspects going voting location to voting location for McVoy did not seem very motivated this year. They didn’t laugh at my jokes either.
  • Everyone in the Hardy and Robinson campaigns should be very proud. They all worked extremely well, stayed coordinated, and worked as a team.
So that’s it for now. In April is another big day for this City. City Manager Michael Bornstein was hired on April 16th, 2012, five years ago. For a man who has worked so hard it would be nice to see a result: a City Commission that respects each other, disagrees without being disagreeable, a learns to work together.

We all know what can happen when one commissioner decides to do the opposite. That’s why the voters sent McVoy packing.

Tomorrow: Gil Walsh and Steven Stolman, a luncheon at the Cultural Council.

The Cultural Council of Palm Beach County is located at 601 Lake Ave. in Downtown Lake Worth.

For more information and tickets to this luncheon (11:30–2:00) use this link. Valet parking will be available. About the speakers:

A conversation between Gil Walsh, one of Palm Beach’s leading interior designers, and author and designer Steven Stolman. Two of our Palm Beach County’s leading tastemakers will share their knowledge of integrating fine art into the home.

Gil Walsh, known for her masterful use of color and deep knowledge of classical design, has been working as in interior designer for over 40 years, most notably overseeing the interior design department of one of Pittsburgh’s largest architectural firms. Her company, Gil Walsh Interiors, employs over a dozen people and maintains full-time offices in West Palm Beach and Martha’s Vineyard.

Designer, author and observer of all things stylish, Steven Stolman has called Palm Beach County home since 1995, when he opened his eponymous resort wear shop on Worth Avenue. His unique designs, cut from fabrics traditionally used for home décor, caught the eye of collectors from around the world.

To learn more about the Cultural Council:
Contact Judith Czelusniak, Public Relations
Email: Judith@palmbeachculture.com
561-471-1602
Main number: 561-471-2901

The next Lake Worth Sister City Board meeting is tomorrow (Monday, March 20th).

Due to a conflict with another meeting last Monday on Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, the Sister City Board meeting was rescheduled and will be tomorrow at 5:30 in the conference room at City Hall.

Some faces on the City Commission will soon change:
Soon-to-be former Commissioner Ryan Maier (beaming, blue shirt) is the City liaison to the Sister City Board and the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council as well. New liaisons will be chosen shortly.

To learn more about the City of Lake Worth’s Sister City Board, how to become a volunteer for this board, and sadly, about one of our very own neglected and forgotten Sister Cities, Lappeenranta, Finland, use this link. Other Lake Worth Sister Cities in need of attention and outreach are Saint-Marc, Haiti and Southend-on-Sea, England.

The City of Boynton Beach is taking big strides forward establishing a stronger relationship with the country of Finland. Below is recent news from The Lake Worth Herald, excerpts from an article titled, “Rauma, Finland Becomes Boynton Beach Sister City”:

The Finnish American Chamber of Commerce hosted a luncheon on Feb. 17, at Benvenuto’s restaurant, at which Boynton Beach Mayor Steven Grant formally announced the establishment of a Sister City relationship with Rauma, Finland. “Les Cayes, Haiti, and Qufu, China, are already our Sister Cities, so Rauma will be our third,” says Mayor Grant.

[and. . .] 

     President Eisenhower championed the concept of Sister Cities in 1956, when he envisioned that fostering bonds between people from different communities around the world would create a path for peace and prosperity.

To learn about the Eisenhower Advisory Council use this link.

The Sunshine Law: What it is, what it is not, and how it’s used to try and manipulate the public.

One of the ways to try and discredit elected officials, especially newly-elected ones who may be easily rattled, is to plant the seed of wrongdoing. For example, all a person or group has to do is just suggest a “Sunshine Law” violation, not even an actual allegation. People will say things like, “so-and-so was spotted with so-and-so making a pitch over lunch at such-and-such restaurant”.

There is nothing wrong with elected officials having lunch together. Or talking. Or acting like a regular human being in general. But there are rules for electeds (explained in a video below).

For example, The Obtuse Blogger (TOB) went off on a rant when Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell had lunch with Congresswoman Lois Frankel some time back. There was no allegation made except that maybe the soup wasn’t spicy enough. TOB just decided to go on a rant. Why? Who knows.

If you ever hear an elected’s name mentioned and the Sunshine Law cited, it’s very important to know what the law is and what it’s intended to do — and just as importantly — what the law does not cover and is not intended to do.

Lake Worth City Attorney Glen Torcivia gave an excellent summation of the Sunshine Law. The video below is highly-recommended viewing for anyone interested in learning more:

The political theater of “Sunshine Law Violation!, or “Wag the Dog” tactics to manipulate the public aren’t new by any means. Soon-to-be former Commissioner Chris McVoy, PhD, was a big fan of using the Sunshine Law as a political weapon. Remember Mayor Triolo’s baked ziti and McVoy’s claim of a violation?

For a brief time, an editor at the Post tried to come to the defense of McVoy, but that fell flat too like pasta sauce left on the burner too long. Read all about that using this link.

No allegation was actually detailed about the baked ziti, just implied. But some suggested McVoy thought there may have been secret messages slipped into the ziti hole: secret pasta messages in a zesty meat sauce. McVoy claims to be a vegetarian so it would be a conspiracy, you see, to keep him from reading clandestine messages.

This tactic used by McVoy that worked so well and got him re-elected in 2015 fell flat in 2016 when the public saw right through it: Mayor Pam Triolo, Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell, and Commissioner Andy Amoroso all got re-elected by landslide victories. Below is a video from early in March 2016 when McVoy tried his final “Sunshine Law Violation!”. It didn’t work this time.

In fact, McVoy was invited to join the barbecue and campaign event at Sunset Ridge Park but declined, instead prancing the perimeter before slinking away after a few minutes:

Sadly however, there remain some in the public left “scratching their heads” when allegations of Sunshine Law violations are alleged and misunderstand or are confused about what is actually happening: one day a commissioner is throwing around allegations like cheap confetti and a few days after an election the claims about the “baked ziti” and false (aka, alt) allegations just go away like it never happened.

So the next time you hear somebody yell, “Sunshine Law Violation!” you can yell back, “Where’s the beef ?”, and then. . .

“Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire! And Mayor Pam’s baked ziti in her famous meat sauce is tremendous too!