Saturday, April 1, 2017

Monday: Meet newly-elected Lake Worth District 2 City Commissioner Omari Hardy.

Please note: This meeting is open to everyone, no matter the neighborhood where you reside in the City of Lake Worth.

Greetings Friends and Neighbors,

The Tropical Ridge regular monthly meeting is this Monday, April 3rd, 7:00, at The Lake Worth Towers, 1500 Lucerne Ave.

Our newly-elected Commissioner Omari Jamal-Hatchett Hardy will be the guest speaker. Please stop by to welcome and congratulate him.

Meeting hosted by the Tropical Ridge Neighborhood Assoc.

Carleton Varney on “The Cottages of Lake Worth” hardcover book. Special to Daily News, aka, “The Shiny Sheet”.

Just in case you may have missed this from yesterday, an article about a book which recently appeared in “The Shiny Sheet”:

“THE LEADER IN COVERING THE ISLAND”, Established in 1897:
To learn more about Mr. Varney, see below. To read the entire article use this link. Below are two short excerpts from the book review of “The Cottages of Lake Worth”.

“Every so often a design-oriented book arrives on my desk that I find delightful, charming, informative and truly beautiful to look at, explore and wonder about. Such is a book published by The Cottages Press in Lake Worth, and the book’s title is similar to the name of the publisher — The Cottages of Lake Worth.
     Since I first saw it, I have purchased several copies from Studio 205 at 600 Lake Avenue in Lake Worth, a magazine and bookshop that’s also a boutique with trinkets extraordinaire. Andy Amoroso, the proprietor, will fetch you a copy of the book if one is not on display.”

and. . .

     “If you delight in color, charm and old world Florida, The Cottages of Lake Worth is a must for your home library! I just cannot say enough good things about this book.”

About the writer: Palm Beacher Carleton Varney is president of Dorothy Draper & Co., an international design firm with offices in New York, West Palm Beach, London and White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. Visit his website or email him at: cvarney@dorothydraper.com

Friday, March 31, 2017

When everyone else had little fight left in them, an ill and frail woman took up the fight.


First an update. Per City Commissioner Andy Amoroso: Court sides with City, appeal denied over lawsuit filed to stop the Gulfstream Hotel redevelopment (which includes a new hotel to 65′). Question for City: recoup legal fees?


The news above comes on the heels of a blog post from last Thursday titled, “Loretta Sharpe. November 4th, 1938–January 26th, 2016”.

This will take only a few moments. It’s a short story about a woman and a hotel too, the Gulfstream Hotel. A story that’s legendary in Lake Worth.

It was Loretta Sharpe, in very poor health even then, who first stood up 4 years ago to fight against THE BIG LIE about building heights in Lake Worth. Back in early 2012 THE LIARS got such a huge head start confusing the public that no one thought it was possible to get the truth out.

Downtown Lake Worth? A stealth propaganda campaign had gotten a huge head start back in 2012–2013, month’s in the making. But Loretta saw a way to fight the propaganda. How? It was spectacular! 

How did Loretta do it? It all started with rallying the troops, “The Hanging of the Banner” from the Gulfstream Hotel (see video below).

Here’s the short version of the story: I got a call from Loretta in January 2013 and she told me there was a meeting at her house, she lived on South Palmway at the time, and my attendance was mandatory. When Loretta told you to be somewhere you better be there. She had ideas to talk about: one of them was hanging a gigantic banner atop the Gulfstream Hotel to win the ‘heights vote’. Everyone thought she had lost her mind. Including myself. But Loretta’s idea was brilliant and everyone noticed. . .



Loretta got fined by the State of Florida for that banner. And she paid it, all $200 of it, with pride and great fanfare.

Thank You everyone at the Lantana Public Library last night.

Some time stop by and check out the Lantana Public Library, “A place for serious readers”. The library is located at 205 West Ocean Ave., 561-540-5740. Use this link for the hours, resources, and much more information.

Yours Truly last night. Click on image to enlarge:
 A nicely framed photo taken by “The Cottages” photographer, Taylor Jones.

The Lantana Library graciously invited me to give a “Cottages of Lake Worth” presentation and even provided hors d´oeuvres (a word with a long interesting history) and drinks for everyone who showed up. It was a very nice crowd and all the seats were taken, 30+ people showed up including Town Councilor Malcolm Balfour. A couple library users walked in and got a little more than they expected and stayed for the presentation as well.

Eleven or twelve more “Cottages of Lake Worth” hardcover books were sold. Time is running out to purchase one but the good news is more books will be coming in the future. When? Don’t as yet know the answer; it’s in the hands of the publisher right now.

The questions at the end were excellent and let’s just say a few interesting topics were brought up like what’s happening, or rather not happening, to the Gulfstream Hotel. The topic is of much interest outside the City of Lake Worth as well. I’ll leave it at that.

Everyone at the library including Sid, the head librarian, did an excellent job setting up the audio-visuals, screen, chairs, and all the other things that go along with an event such as this. If you’re looking for a place to do a presentation on a topic of interest to you, the Lantana Library is a very good option. The library did a very good job of promoting “The Cottages” presentation as well.

To watch one of these presentations, like the one recently with the BBC, use this link.

Thank You all for showing up last night. It was my pleasure and I’m very happy with the event and so is everyone else who has worked so hard all this time for “The Cottages of Lake Worth” organization. Especially so of Janice Snearer (the “Cottages” book coordinator, one title), who was thankfully present once again to make sure, politely with grace and charm, everything happened on time and the right way.

Lastly, for all you Facebook users, this is the link to “The Cottages” page.

Just in case you missed this from yesterday. . .

And there’s a bonus (see below), the “5 Tips” proven that work from the business editor at the Post, to give your restaurant or even Hipster food venue more attention.

Thankfully, Post business reporter Jeff Ostrowski is doing his part making a dent into the dearth of quality restaurant reviews here in the little City of Lake Worth. The City is still reeling after Nicole Danna was moved by her editor-in-chief at the New Times to cover the restaurant scene further south. She is missed.

Without further ado, to read the entire review by Ostrowski of Lilo’s Lake Worth in our Downtown use this link. Was the food review helpful? Let him know. A few excerpts:

ATMOSPHERE
Cool and casual. Lilo’s took the space long occupied by Rotelli’s, the pasta place. The dining room is dominated by a bar surrounded by tables, and there are more tables outside. This newly opened spot is an offshoot of a Lilo’s location on Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach.

OUR FAVORITE FOOD/PRICE
The spicy tuna taco ($5.50) was excellent [AGREE!], and the sweet plantains ($3) and chips with guacamole ($12 for a large order) also were quite good.

REASON TO GO
A wide variety of reasonably priced plates, and a laid-back vibe that matches the eatery’s surroundings in downtown Lake Worth.

At the end of the review:

Lilo’s Lake Worth is located at 701 Lake Ave. (the former Rotelli’s)
561-518-7880
Hours: Daily, 11 a.m.–2 a.m.

Without further ado, from the Business Editor at the Post, the “5 Tips”:
  1. Know whom you want to reach out to, the editor writes, “. . . the trick is reaching to the right journalist.” For example, sending information to a beat reporter may not be the best option. Have you considered a business reporter? An entertainment reporter?
  2. Who’s your audience? “So, tell us how many followers do you have on Twitter? How many friends/fans do you have on Facebook?”
  3. Local, local, local, “. . . there must be a direct and definite Palm Beach County connection.”
  4. Newsmakers, “Some of the best-read content we produce isn’t on the front page.” For example, per the Business Editor, the “weekly Newsmakers section”.
  5. Video, “So if your business has ‘good visuals,’ drop in a link to some B-roll video that we can attach to the story.”
Think you’re ready to get your business noticed in the Post? Then get cracking folks!

More history of hotels in Palm Beach County.

Henry Flagler’s Whitehall mansion on Palm Beach once had a 300 room, 10 story hotel built to the west of the original structure. This comes from the collection of the Historical Society of Palm Beach County. The hotel was removed in the early sixties and the property was bought by Jean Flagler Matthews, one of Flagler’s grand-daughters.

We need more young people to step up and get involved in this little City of Lake Worth.

The City of Lake Worth needs more young people to get involved, especially the Millennials. This City is ever-evolving and a very unique place. I’m beginning to see new faces at City Commission meetings but it’s just not enough of an “emerging engagement” as a preservation expert is quoted later in this blog post:

It’s at the city level that you make decisions affecting preservation.

One by one the old tired arguments in this City from yesteryear are being forgotten and that space is filling up with new ideas and new visions for the future:
 
Picture taken in 2016, just prior to the City’s Street Painting Festival. Shortly thereafter, some with money to burn returned to start over an old, tired argument from 2013. But elections, however, are one way to put an entirely new perspective on things.

“Closer to home, he [historic preservation consultant Donovan Rypkema] said, research indicates U.S. young people are showing an ‘emerging engagement’ in preservation efforts. [emphasis added] He also noted a trend among leaders in ‘knowledge industries,’ including digital entrepreneurs, who are eager to house their companies in restored buildings.
     Early in his talk, he emphasized how the success of preservation efforts often hinges on local activists working within their communities to influence policy-makers.
     ‘It’s at the city level that you make decisions affecting preservation,’ he said.”
Quote from this article in the Palm Beach Daily News (aka, The Shiny Sheet) dated January 14th, 2017 by reporter Darrell Hofheinz.

The blog post below has been re-posted several times in various ways. The last time in August, 2016.


The post was titled, “Consequence of Palm Beach Post’s ‘LINE OF FIRE’: More crime, fewer arrests, and an increase in the crime rate?”

Almost everyone has heard or seen something and formed their opinions on The Palm Beach Post’s “LINE OF FIRE: Bullets and badges, death on the street! It was nearly impossible to ignore the constant drumbeat by a cadre of reporters at The Palm Beach Post and their editorial board.

One particular Sunday paper stood out. A cautionary warning or a subconscious wish?
The editors chose a headline which could have also read, Leaders Urging Calm, which is what the article was about.

People and communities can and did debate the “LINE OF FIRE!” any which way. But what if the result is ultimately deputies and police officers more concerned about appearing in a news story than on doing their jobs? Or would law enforcement, even without realizing it, avoid high crime areas and high-risk situations for fear a Post reporter is around the corner with a notepad in hand?

There are communities in the City of Lake Worth that have too much crime for many reasons and they deserve protection as much as any other neighborhood. The near constant anti-Sheriff/PBSO stories in a few news media outlets and blogs, purportedly done to give more protections to citizens, may end up having the opposite effect: putting many in our poorest and most at-risk communities in even more danger.

No one is suggesting the news media be cheerleaders for Sheriff Bradshaw and PBSO. But it’s also not healthy for our community to have the media treating PBSO like an adversary. An editorial in the Post dealt with law enforcement biases; maybe it’s time the editorial board and the Post examine their own. Consider this comment left under the Post editorial in the highlighted link above:

“Bias is a two way street. . . . The media itself could be a root problem. . . . For the record remember ‘everything matters’ regardless of what anyone says when it comes to understanding.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

In The Lake Worth Herald this week.

Use this link for the City’s website, “Mayor & Commissioners”.

PINNED POST. Tonight at 6:00. Discussion on “Immigration & Civil Liberties in a New Era”.

The blog post below is a “Pinned Post” meaning it will stay at, or near, the top of the blog to get the word out: 

The City of Lake Worth IS NOT and NEVER WAS a sanctuary city. 

Please scroll down for new blog content and, as always, Thank You for visiting.

There was a short blurb (see below) in the Post print edition last Tuesday on page B3, Local Section. Things to take note of:
  • The City of Lake Worth never was, and is not now, a “sanctuary city”.
  • The Town of Jupiter is not a sanctuary city either.
  • Just because a city or town has a center to help immigrants adjust and find services, doth not make the municipality a “sanctuary”. However, if the State and Federal governments would like us to become an “official sanctuary city” they should send us millions of dollars to cover the costs.
And once again, as stated on this blog many times in the past, after many years of searching no document or proof of any kind has ever been found that the City is, or ever was, a ‘sanctuary city’. Please share this information at the meeting tonight.

If you wish to attend this meeting, here are the details:
Copy & paste for your calendar: Meet at Palm Beach Community College tonight at 6:00, 4200 S. Congress Ave., Public Safety Building, room 108.

How long before coyotes begin appearing here in the City? And why that’s not such a bad thing.

Warning! Never feed coyotes. Ever. These animals have a tremendous fear of humans. When people feed coyotes the animals lose that fear. That is not good for anyone. Especially those with small pets.

Are coyotes roaming the streets and alleys of Lake Worth now? Last year coyotes were reported in Greenacres, is that a bad thing? The reports were they’re hunting feral cats which are a big problem in Palm Beach County, especially so in Lake Worth.

Watch this news report from CBS2’s Weijia Jiang from Long Island City, NY:
This article in Slate raises some interesting points. First, you can hardly call coyotes a nuisance because they have a tremendous fear of humans and are virtually impossible to find. The video above is a rare one of a coyote roaming (hunting?) within a city’s borders. And you could argue that coyotes are good for public health and the environment. Here is an excerpt from the article:

     Gehrt [Stanley Gehrt, head of the Cook County Coyote Project] and his team have just completed a large-scale feral cats study, which found that coyotes are repelling them from natural areas within the city. “That has a positive impact on native fauna,” Gehrt says—cats kill a lot of birds. [emphasis added] Recently, researchers at the Illinois Natural History Survey have also been considering white-tailed deer, which are responsible for a remarkable number of automobile accidents; findings suggest that coyotes are making a dent in their population through fawn predation. Out of 15 fawns collared this season, Gehrt says 11 have already been taken by coyotes.
     All of this would seem to be good news for the New York metropolitan area, which could certainly use a better form of rodent control than dangerous poisons. Even a fraction of the effects seen in Chicago could help restore biodiversity, enrich parks, and counteract decades of environmental damage.

Image from Wikipedia.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Looking forward to October 7th, my dear friend Dustin.

From the minutes of the December 13th, 2016, Lake Worth City Commission meeting is this little item from public comment, an example of comedic lampooning or superciliousness, if you will:

“Mayor Triolo read the comments written by Dustin Zacks. Mr. Zacks wrote that everyone should wish Wes Blackman and the Michigan State Spartans good luck on their bowl game.”

It’s true, Dustin. It was not a good year for Michigan State. For those of you who don’t get the joke, Michigan State didn’t go to a bowl game last year. Then a little later on Dec. 30th Michigan went to play Florida State and. . .

“Michigan’s season ended on a couple of low notes, losing in double-overtime to Ohio State to blow a shot at both a Big Ten title and a Playoff bid. The Orange Bowl loss doesn’t help.”

And who can ever forget this?

It’s nice to know one of the editors at the Post still has a sense of humor.

The Palm Beach Post endorsed Mr. Ben Klug, but they don’t seem too bitter about it:

“Delaney slips past Klug”
Or vanquishes” Klug would be better? Or “drubs” Klug? “Whips” and “shellacks” him with a “KO”? “Trounces”? “Waxes”? “Scalps”?

Analysis of run-off elections yesterday: Not today, maybe tomorrow. Frankly, there’s something bigger to talk about.

What’s with all those “precincts” in Palm Beach Gardens? Fifty (50) of them? Really? More on that in a little bit.

Frankly people are tired of elections right now, the near constant buzz of late and need a rest, myself included. However, congratulations are in order to Commissioner Mack McCray in the City of Boynton Beach, Councilor Ron Delaney in the Town of Jupiter, and Rachelle Litt for the open seat election in the City of Palm Beach Gardens.

But watching the election results roll-in last night was surprised to hear about the high voter turnout. The turnout on March 14th was dismal and the trend should have been even more so. But it wasn’t. Interesting.

Then. . .

I just happened to look over the precincts reporting and was startled to see this, the number of precincts:
  • Boynton Beach: 7 (1 district race)
  • Jupiter: 29 (one district race here too)
  • Palm Beach Gardens: 50 in “Group 5”?
Just 2 cities and a town in Palm Beach County for one run-off: Eighty-six (86) precincts in all. Use this link to see the list of precincts in this County, literally “off the charts”, from 1002 to 8002. And remember, a precinct is not always a, or 1, voting location. In some cases a voting location can have multiple precincts vote there.

However, how much does it cost to have 86 precincts? How much time and effort does it take to organize all this? “Mabel, why do we have thirty-two precincts around here?” (And remember, when it comes to “precincts” and where to vote on election day, we had that little issue here in the City of Lake Worth.)

Why so may precincts? And then. . .

Looking at the editorial page in The Palm Beach Post today, the very first Letter to the Editor was titled,
“Don’t suppress vote; make it easier to do
The letter ends with these 2 lines:
“Let’s not further restrict the vote. Let’s increase participation.
So, let’s start that discussion how to increase the voter turnout in Palm Beach County. Wouldn’t the best place to start be the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections (SOE) office? Begin talk about possibly reorganizing the SOE and streamline what needs to be simpler? It’s not the 20th Century any more.

Johnnie’s Trick Shop, downtown West Palm Beach (and other images).


1945
Click on images to enlarge.
Photos courtesy of Susie Rambeau Best.

1959
“112 Clematis St.
Opp. Flagler Park
West Palm Beach”

1937 
Classified ad. Note the addresses in the City of Lake Worth:
FOR SALE: “. . . portable heaters, one round metal ice refrigerator.”, and “Single bed, spring and mattress, $5.”

An update: The talk and walking tour given by Sharon Koskoff in Downtown Lake Worth.

I was very fortunate to attend the talk given by Sharon Koskoff at Brogues Downunder in Downtown Lake Worth on March 22nd. Unfortunately, was unable to attend the “walking tour” the following Saturday. The tour was sold out I found out later.

When I arrived at Brogues was a little surprised to see all the veritable “Who’s Who” in attendance, faces many of you would recognize in the world of architecture, historic preservation, and related fields here in Central Palm Beach County. Then I saw Sharon Koskoff at the podium and wasn’t surprised at all to see the large turnout and interest. She is a very popular speaker.

The day after Koskoff’s talk wrote a blog post about it, use this link.

Below is more information from the Historical Society of Lake Worth, the sponsor of these events, about the talk given on March 22nd:

This was the kick off presentation, sponsored by the new Historical Society of Lake Worth on the Art Deco Architecture of Lake Worth by Sharon Koskoff, Founding President of the Art Deco Society of the Palm Beaches. . . . Lake Avenue is marked by two of the most striking examples of the characteristic Art Deco streamlining of the 1920s and 30s – the Palm Beach County Cultural Center and the Lake Worth Playhouse.
     Other commercial buildings in central Lake Worth have also maintained the representative “eyebrows”, columns, stepped rooflines, pastel highlights, and porthole windows of the Art Deco style.

and upcoming is. . .

     A special photographic exhibit developed by the Society called “Lake Worth in photos – Work and Play in the First Two Decades”, will be hosted by the Cultural Council of the Palm Beaches in April/May in conjunction with National Historic Preservation Month.

And lastly, try to make time to visit our Lake Worth Historical Museum in Downtown Lake Worth some day soon, located across from the City’s Library at the Cultural Plaza (City Hall Annex Building, 2nd Floor):
  • 561-533-7354
  • Hours: Wednesday, Friday from 1:00– 4:00.
  • Tours by appointment.

Look Back to June 2013: Craig McInnis, the City Seal, and our 100th Anniversary at Bryant Park Bandshell

This one is my favorite. Note the cool shadow.

Lake Worth news: “Children’s Artwork Featured on Refuse Trucks Helps Raise Recycling Awareness”

To read the entire article use this link. Below is an excerpt:

“In September 2016, the City of Lake Worth, Florida initiated a unique recycling awareness contest; Lake Worth’s Refuse Division invited all four elementary schools in Lake Worth, FL to participate in the city’s recycling awareness project, in which the winning artist’s design would be ‘wrapped’ onto two new refuse trucks that were acquired from Scranton, Iowa-based manufacturer New Way.
     Students were tasked with developing a poster and slogan that demonstrates the types of recyclable material, showcases school and community pride, and ultimately, promotes recycling within the city. The contest, which ran from October 10, 2016, to November 11, 2016, yielded 154 entries from Barton Elementary and 74 entries from South Grade Elementary.”

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Remember that eyesore and public nuisance on Lucerne Ave.? It was demolished nearly 2 years ago, in April of 2015.

In the near future many more vacant and under-utilized lots will become part of our “New Lake Worth” that Mayor Pam Triolo spoke about at her State of the City Address last January.

Do you remember that eyesore that used to be on Lucerne Ave.? Click on image to enlarge:
Back in 2015 our iconic resident Greg Rice worked with the Dept. of Community of Sustainability and the Director, William Waters, to demolish this structure.

The “New Lake Worth” isn’t about forgetting the “Old Lake Worth” as some would have you believe. Here’s another Tom McGow flashback to 2009, “Get Used to It?”:

“While listening to last night’s City Commission meeting from home I was appalled to hear Vice Mayor Golden state, ‘We all have to get used to change. Manny has to get used to living in a ghetto until things pick up around here.’, or words to that effect. She was referring to a resident who spoke earlier in the meeting citing the deterioration of his neighborhood.
     Wait until things pick up around here? What in the world is she thinking?

Here is another McGow flashback, a photo from 2009:

Do you remember this City view? Things are a little different now:

This photo is prior to the addition of new LED streetlights installed throughout the City.

Lake Worth CRA meeting on Thursday, March 30th, has been “regretfully canceled” and will be rescheduled.

Click on image to enlarge:
Please spread the word.

Monday, March 27, 2017

The “New Lake Worth” City Commission and a lesson from basketball.

And there’s a bonus video below.

Those who fought so hard to defeat Commissioner Herman Robinson and Commissioner Omari Hardy have the easy job now. Why? Because they’re like the ones at a basketball game, during a free throw, behind the basket in the seats waving colorful rags, hooting and howling, and being annoying just in general.

But the City Commission, staff, and administration leadership have to concentrate and keep the “ball rolling” (errr, I mean “dribbling”) down the court and only “foul” the critics “in the lane” when they absolutely have to — keep them outside throwing 3-pointers all day long — and grab all the rebounds.

And that’s where you come in. When the City, mayor, commissioners, staff, et al., takes a beating in the press, and they will, call or send a message and give them encouragement. And when it looks like they’re “taking their eyes off the ball”, call them and raise all kinds of hell.

Going forward all kinds of tactics will be used to try and derail and distract this City Commission, but. . .
“More close games are won and lost at the foul line than with any other skill area in the game of basketball.”
So, if you support the Commission and their goals going forward, “keep your head in the game” as well.

“Heel or Hero? Which role will YOU play?”

“The Electeds” in the PrideFest Parade yesterday and a video below!

Click on images to enlarge (sadly, the mayor was ill and could not attend):
Newly-elected City of Lake Worth Commissioner Herman C. Robinson. . .

. . . and newly-elected Commissioner Omari Jamal-Hatchett Hardy.

No parade is complete without Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell. . .

. . . or Vice Mayor Pro Tem Andy Amoroso either. Enjoy the montage, videos and photos:


A word of caution: When considering any “minor zoning adjustment” engage the public quickly and schedule a lot of neighborhood meetings.


The “Official Zoning Map” for the City of Lake Worth:
Use this link to the City’s website for Planning & Zoning, Land Development Regulations, helpful links, contact information and much more.

A “minor zoning adjustment” isn’t always so minor when it happens next door. Below is a cautionary tale — how not to go about changing zoning in a city, any city — not just here in the City of Lake Worth.

Below are two interesting excerpts from this article that also appears in today’s (3/27) print edition of the Post by Kevin Thompson titled, “Lake Worth: City of art, artists”, and Jan Rodusky from the Cultural Council is quoted:

     “We [the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County] looked at their branding and how they [Austin, Texas] leveraged art and culture to develop their own identify and brand,” Rodusky said. “That could be used as a foundation for city’s brand strategy.”

and. . .

     That’s how Lake Worth wants to be known. The city wants to allow artists to create in their own homes, which would result in a minor zoning adjustment and to the existing occupancy permit process [emphasis added], Rodusky said.

The key words are “minor zoning adjustment”.

Now let’s take a stroll back, what happened in 2015, the cautionary tale:

Despite the City Commission’s work in recent years to tighten zoning ordinances, there was and still is in this City public concern over the talk of expanding the definition and allowing more types of home occupations (what some call ‘upzoning’, which confuses the issue even more), especially as it relates to residential property values, increased traffic, and what role code enforcement would have in all this, to name just a few.

The group called the Lake Worth Artist and Cottage Entrepreneurs (ACE) had been promoting the expansion of home occupations and I met with them in 2015. You can read about that using this link. What I found interesting about ACE was their goal of engaging the public by beginning a community-wide discussion about changing the zoning to attract more artists to this City.

But, for some reason, that never happened.

Instead what they did is try to gain political support through various channels but not in a very public way with community involvement. Then later, all hell broke loose.

Part of the confusion was created by comparisons way out of scale to such a small city like Lake Worth. For example, former Commissioner McVoy’s mention of Portland, Oregon (and other large cities) just confused and muddled the issue even further. Then there’s always that special place, the mecca for artists working out of their homes, the beacon on the hill and shining example for home occupation proponents everywhere, Key West.

Just one problem. It’s not true.

It is easy to get carried away with what you think a situation may be in another city. The viewpoint you hold may be influenced by anecdotal evidence, word of mouth, tourism advertising, etc. There seemed to be the expectation that Key West would be a thriving home to people working out of their homes in sort of an artists’ Garden of Eden.

Well, I checked their code and Key West is as strict or moreso than Lake Worth’s when it comes to home occupations in residential districts. So the image that some had of Key West’s residential ‘progressive’ artsy mystique was a myth. It’s also easy to not know what is zoned residential and what is commercial if you are just visiting a town and you don’t have a zoning map with you. How many people carry zoning maps around with them?

There were other possible examples around the nation that could have served as models for home occupations, places more in scale and layout to Lake Worth. But I cautioned everyone back then to not get carried away with romantic notions that may not actually be based in reality. I know that can be a challenge here in the charming little City of Lake Worth.

Another former Lake Worth commissioner, Ryan Maier, was one of those proponents of expanding home occupations in this City. However, prior to being elected in 2015 he had much concern for traffic and congestion in his own neighborhood. How one squares expanding the zoning code to allow more artists (one example) to work out of their homes, having deliveries made, clients visit, and possibly adding employees (without additional parking) didn’t make any sense coming from someone who was already worried about congestion and traffic in his neighborhood.

That is what’s called a “disconnect” and why the public became so worried and confused in 2015 and 2016. Zoning, when it’s discussed and debated in a public way, doesn’t have to be confusing. It can also be a great way to educate and engage the public going forward.

Just in case you missed this yesterday: Once upon a time the future looked so bright. . .

Click on image to enlarge:
From the Sunday Post insert: Mr. Greg Rice during our City’s Centennial in 2013 with the shuttered Gulfstream Hotel in background.

Then 3 years later on January 5th, 2016, after all sorts of activity and promising news and an overwhelming turnout from the community in support, the City Commission voted to approve the re-zoning for the property next to the Gulfstream Hotel in Downtown Lake Worth.

So where are we now? Yesterday, March 26th, 2017, The Palm Beach Post published a 12-page “Special” insert titled,

LAKE WORTH!
The Quirky Life
WELCOME TO THE L-DUB:
Where SMALL delights create BIG personality
TURN INSIDE . . . FOR A COLORFUL RIDE

Page after page is all about the great and wonderful things that have happened in recent years — and except for a small item on page 9 and small photo on p. 12, there’s no mention of the most significant and recognizable structure in our City’s history — the Gulfstream Hotel.

It still sits vacant. Unused. Some call it an “eyesore”. And today others in our City consider it a reminder of our unrealized potential.

We have a new City Commission after 2 new commissioners were recently elected. In fact, the pictures of the new commissioners haven’t even been added to the City’s website yet.

As people attended the City’s recent and world-famous Street Painting Festival, or another PrideFest being held down the street (unbelievably large crowds march down the street from the center of our Downtown past the Gulfstream in a parade), the historic hotel still sits empty.

It’s not the City of Lake Worth’s fault the public has to endure the unrelenting pain of shuttered doors and windows. It’s long after the time to show progress.

Now get busy and start making some noise — like we did back in 2013* over ‘heights’ — that silliness over adding just 20′, or two stories, the length of a college football goalpost — to one little piece of property in our Downtown next to the Gulfstream Hotel.

*Please Note: Do not go trespassing on the Gulfstream Hotel property and do not enter the building unless you have permission to do so.

Enjoy this video from 2013 just prior to the Street Painting Festival that year. Vote “No!” to save our Gulfstream Hotel!


Look Back: A blog post from April 8th, 2016 with observations about the elections in 2017.

The blog post was titled, “It’s already started. And it’s only early in April. Why? The people of Lake Worth want big changes on our City Commission.”

Fortunately, one of my predictions, that the elections on March 14th would just be the primary election for the run-offs to be held two weeks later, turned out not to be the case. Here is the blog post from last year the day after “Herman C. Robinson has declared his intent to be a Commissioner. . .”: 

Someone has already filed to be on the ballot for the March 14th election in Lake Worth next year. Here is an email from the City:

From: Karen Hancsak
Sent: Thursday, April 7, 2016 4:10 PM
To: Pam Triolo; Scott Maxwell; Andy Amoroso; Christopher McVoy; Ryan Maier
Cc: Michael Bornstein
Subject: Candidate for Commissioner, District 4

Please be advised that Herman C. Robinson has declared his intent to be a Commissioner for District 4 in the 2017 election.
Karen E. Hancsak
Interim City Clerk

And there are many more people having serious discussions, I’ve heard, about being on the ballot to defeat commissioners Ryan Maier and Chris McVoy. How about you? Would you consider a run for a City Commission seat?

You see, there’s a big difference between obstruction/delay versus open and genuine debate. Commissioners can disagree on issues, and they do all the time, but still engage in honest discussion bringing up their constituents concerns. However, what Maier and McVoy have been engaged in is complete obstruction and tactics to delay anything and everything that they can. Be it the Park of Commerce, beefing up code enforcement, the Gulfstream hotel redevelopment, or the failing Casino complex, they only try to obstruct the process instead of moving the discussion forward in an honest, reasonable way.

Expect the election on March 14th, 2017, to be more akin to a primary with the actual election two weeks later on March 28th, for both Districts 2 and 4. Hope to see a field “flooded” with candidates that want the City Commission, all five of them, to be completely focused on our crucial issues.

Fully expect any future debates and discussion to be about what Lake Worth can do instead of what isn’t possible in this City with so many issues to address. City Manager Mike Bornstein had a thing or two to say about that recently.

And lastly, pay special attention to any candidate that devotes too much time and effort on things the City can’t control, such as climate change and rising sea levels just to cite two. Those topics do nothing other than take the focus off potholes, fixing the roads, broken street lights, crumbling water pipes, and crime. Which is exactly why those topics are brought up in the first place: to distract the public.

So, back to the question. . . have you considered running for a seat on the Lake Worth City Commission?

Vintage postcards from visitors to the little City of Lake Worth “back in the day”

Below is a blog post from 2011 (and so are the four comments that follow, remember The Inimitable Tom McGow?). Thought you might enjoy browsing through some of the messages from tourists in Lake Worth from long ago: an interesting glimpse into our past.

A special thanks to Frank Palen for allowing me to borrow and scan these historical postcards:

Click on images to enlarge.