Saturday, May 6, 2017

“Is Arden really in the Village of Wellington”?

The blog post last week was titled, “Arden is open in Wellington! And it’s only about an hour from Lake Worth Beach!”

The answer is no. Arden is not in Wellington.

The community of Arden doesn’t even exist yet (here is ‘an address’, an empty lot, 912 Wandering Willow Way). Why is this important? Because the City of Lake Worth, its elected leaders and administration, needs to watch how the Village of Wellington deals with this. More about that below.

To put it mildly, the electeds in Wellington are not happy.

The “new master-planned community in Palm Beach County” called Arden is located at 19425 Southern Blvd. west of the Village of Wellington in unincorporated County. The Post beat reporter in Wellington, the actual village, is Matt Morgan. He penned an article titled, “Wellington has an issue with Arden development: It’s NOT in Wellington!” Here is an excerpt from the article:

     It’s a big deal for the council because it could mislead people who want to buy a home in Wellington and don’t realize it’s not in the village, McGovern [Vice Mayor John McGovern] said.
     When someone buys a home in one of these outside communities, Wellington doesn’t see any benefit in taxes or otherwise.
     “We want people who desire and intend to live here to know that by going there that is not what we’re doing,” McGovern said.

The Village of Wellington is very aware of its brand and how important it is to protect that. What will they do? It will be interesting to find out.

The City of Lake Worth lost its “brand” many years ago and is still trying to create one. For many people “Lake Worth” extends all the way to the edge of the Everglades. Some time back here in the City of Lake Worth some thought of a way to deal with this: create our own unique brand by renaming our City. Read about that using this link.

For someone thinking about running for a seat on the Lake Worth City Commission this is a ready-made campaign issue. Maybe even a winning one.

How badly has the “Lake Worth” brand been damaged? Consider just one example, our local beat reporter from the Post — from news about the number of homeless in our City (false and misleading data) to flawed crime data from real estate aggregation sites — just reports like those hurt and misrepresent our City for years to come.

If Matt Morgan wrote an article in the Post about Wellington that falsely misrepresented that City there would be hell to pay. But he knows how much pride there is in the brand they’ve spent decades working to create. 

Would a new name for our City do anything to help fix the false image of Lake Worth so many have? It’s at least “Worth” a conversation and community debate.

News from the Town of Palm Beach: “Prohibition of Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers on Properties Less Than One Acre”


“At the April 13, 2017, Town Council meeting, Ordinance 11-2017 was approved on second reading, prohibiting the use of gas-powered leaf blowers on properties less than one acre. After significant research and lengthy public discussion Town Council determined that frequent use of gas-powered leaf blowers in residential and commercial districts within the Town creates excessive noise, emits fumes, and creates annoyance for persons of normal sensitivity and a prohibition in higher density areas with smaller lots was a reasonable compromise to a town-wide ban on leaf blowers.
     Ordinance 11-2017 mandated a phase-in period to provide staff time to conduct outreach to inform and educate residents and landscape maintenance companies about the new restrictions. The prohibition is effective October 1, 2017.
     For more information, please contact Code Enforcement at 561-838-5465.”

Official photograph of the New Lake Worth City Commission.

From left to right: Vice Mayor and District 1 Commissioner Scott Maxwell, District 2 Commissioner Omari Hardy, Mayor Pam Triolo, District 4 Commissioner Herman Robinson and District 3 Commissioner Andy Amoroso.

Here is how you can contact the electeds in the little City of Lake Worth (copy/paste email addresses into your email browser):

Silvina Donaldson, Executive Assistant, Commission
561-586-1730
sdonaldson@lakeworth.org

Pam Triolo, Mayor
561-586-1735
ptriolo@lakeworth.org

Scott Maxwell, Vice Mayor & District 1
561-586-1731
smaxwell@lakeworth.org

Omari Hardy, District 2
561-586-1732
ohardy@lakeworth.org

Andy Amoroso, Vice Mayor Pro Tem & District 3
561-586-1733
561-398-8340 (cell)
aamoroso@lakeworth.org

Herman Robinson, District 4
561-586-1734
hrobinson@lakeworth.org

TODAY: The 16th Annual Derby Day Party from 4:30–7:30.


News in this week’s Lake Worth Herald.
“Ladies, get your prettiest or most creative hats ready. Gentlemen, bring out your loudest shirts or your best ‘racetrack-side’ attire for the Annual Kentucky Derby Day Party.

Bryant Park Neighborhood Association invites everyone to the Beach Club at the Lake Worth Golf Course on 7th Avenue North and North Lakeside Drive to enjoy this Sixteenth Annual Derby Day event and to watch the the horse race on big TV screens.

and. . .

     Join your friends and neighbors for fun, contests, sweeps, raffles, prizes good food and drinks. You do not need a ticket, just show up. Food and drinks will be available at Happy Hour prices.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Lake Worth News: “Inoperable Derelict Vehicles To Be Removed From Public Right of Way”.


“The City of Lake Worth Code Enforcement department gave a presentation to the City Commission explaining the two week initiative which began Monday to have derelict inoperable vehicles removed from the public right of way in the city.
     Vehicles will be red tagged and the owners will have five days to remove them or they will be towed. Lori Milano of Code Compliance told the commission the inoperable vehicles will be towed by Priority Towing, the company working with the city on the initiative.
     Lake Worth City Attorney, Glen Torcivia, informed the Commission there will be further towing ordinances forthcoming.”

“Lake Worth’s Oldest Established Business — Established in 1912”
Pick up the print edition at 600 Lake Ave. in Downtown Lake Worth, across ‘L’ Street from Starbucks. The Herald is still ¢50!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

A message from State Senator Jeff Clemens. “Now regarding the bill that everyone has questions about, SB1238.”

This information (see below) from Senator Clemens* was posted on Facebook last Tuesday evening. The message is quite lengthy and am not including the introduction. This has to do with another loaded word (“fracking”) that can get so many in the public upset; sending off nasty notes and calls to elected officials.

However, “You are buying energy from fracking [hydraulic fracturing] that is powering your computer right at this moment”, Clemens writes. [FYI: Senator Clemens is scheduled to give a Legislative Update at the Lake Worth City Commission on May 16th.]

The message follows with emphasis added:

First, let me say that I am not infallible and it is entirely possible that I voted poorly on this issue. If you feel that way after reading this explanation, I ask for your forgiveness. Hopefully, it is some measure of comfort that I helped prevent the bill from coming to the floor in the Senate in the end.
     But it is important that everyone actually understand what the bill does, what it doesn’t do, where we as a state currently sit, and where I stand on the issue that is most important to all of you: fracking in Florida.
     Let me state that I am 100% opposed to fracking in Florida and have repeatedly been a co-sponsor of the bill that bans fracking here. So that is where I stand on that issue.
     Now for the bill itself.
     Here’s what SB1238 actually does, as opposed to the reports that have labeled it as simply a bill to allow fracking:
     It allows power companies to petition the Public Service Commission to invest in energy exploration operations in order to smooth rates, and requires evidence of such ability to either keep rates steady, or reduce increases.
     But there are some misconceptions that need clearing up first.
     If you are an FPL customer, about 65–70% of your current energy comes from natural gas. I don’t know for sure, but I have been told by those that do know that almost all of that comes from fracking, mostly in Texas and the Plains states. So, in other words, the vast majority of your energy right now comes from fracking. You are buying energy from fracking that is powering your computer right at this moment.
     This bill would not have increased that. If allowed by the PSC, it would’ve given a company the ability to pre-purchase, through an investment, the gas that is in the ground now, before it is brought up. So in other words, the gas is going to be purchased by FPL either way, the question is do they do so by purchasing a piece of the exploration and get a cheaper rate, or by purchasing it after it’s out of the ground at a higher rate.
     As someone who once was responsible for setting the rates of tens of thousands of residential and commercial utility customers in Lake Worth, I believe there is a rate benefit to allowing companies to prospectively buy energy sources, as opposed to buying it after it is produced. As an example, ratepayers also paid for the construction of large FPL solar farms, thus paying for that future energy production before it actually produced any energy.
     Yes, the investments are in natural gas, which is obtained by fracking. So perhaps I should have done a better job of thinking about what that means, in terms of optics and a potential endorsement of fracking in our Plains states. But I believe it is inaccurate to simply call this bill a fracking bill.
     The other argument against the bill is that it put the burden to pay for these operations on the rate payers, as opposed to the shareholders. This one, I have trouble understanding. How, exactly, does any publicly held company charge shareholders for its expenses, no matter what they are? I’m not wealthy, but I’ve owned a couple of stocks in the past. I’ve never received a bill from a company that I own shares in, charging me for expenses, or construction, or anything.
     I suppose a non-publicly held company could benefit from this clause, but all of our Investor Owned Utilities in Florida are publicly traded. So the rate payers pay the bill either way, whether you are buying the gas before or after extraction. There is no mechanism that I am aware of (although it may exist) for charging stockholders of a company.
     As more and more questions and concerns arose about the bill, I asked the representatives of the proponents to pull the bill from consideration, and I believe others did the same thing. Perhaps it was too little, too late, and that is something I will have to bear. But I do believe you all deserved an explanation of the bill, my thought process and what happened. The bill is dead.
     Thanks for listening.

*To learn more about State Senator Jeff Clemens, including contact information for his staff in Tallahassee and office in the City of Lake Worth, use this link.
If you didn’t know, Clemens was a former mayor of Lake Worth prior to being elected to the State House.

From Wikipedia: “Jeff Clemens is a Democratic member of the Florida Senate, representing parts of Palm Beach County since 2012. He currently represents the 31st district, which includes Lake Worth, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, and Greenacres. He previously served one term in the Florida House of Representatives, representing the 89th district from 2010 to 2012.”

Our City’s Sister City Board meeting is on Monday. Do you remember Lappeenranta, Finland, our forgotten Sister City?

Would you like to help reinvigorate the City of Lake Worth’s Sister City Board and help re-establish a bond with our good friends in Lappeenranta? Other Sister Cities are Saint-Marc, Haiti and Southend-on-Sea in England as well (the city of Sopot in Poland was never a Sister City; that was a rumor started by a former commissioner).

Sister City meetings in Lake Worth are always the 2nd Monday of each month. For the last 7–8 months reaching a quorum has been an issue and maybe it’s finally time to turn that around.

Boynton Beach is making big strides with their Sister City program; there’s news about that below from Palm Beach Post reporter Alexandra Seltzer. To learn how to become a board volunteer for any City board here is who to contact at the City:
  • Silvina Donaldson, Executive Secretary to the City Commission and Volunteer Coordinator
  • 561-586-1730
  • Email: sdonaldson@lakeworth.org
Here’s the news in the Post from last December with the headline: “Boynton Beach residents, meet your new sister from Finland”, two excerpts:

Boynton Beach residents: You have a new sister, and her name is Rauma.
     City officials this week agreed to becoming Sister Cities with Rauma, Finland.
     The two cities can connect on issues they both experience, part of a bigger national picture that goes back to the 1950s. [emphasis added] President Dwight D. Eisenhower founded the Sister Cities International, a nonprofit, in 1956, and now cities all over the country have been partnered with communities across the world.

[and. . .]

     There are about 26,000 Finnish residents of Florida, and between 10,000 and 12,000 in Palm Beach County, Makila [Honorary Consulate of Finland Peter Makila] said. Traditionally, the Finnish residents have lived in Lantana and Lake Worth, but Makila said there has been a recent shift south of there.

Good luck and hope to hear about a big turnout at the Sister City Board here in Lake Worth!

Lake Okeechobee and a sobering read: The Lloyd’s of London report

The Army Corps of Engineers has been putting a lot of resources and effort into making the Herbert Hoover Dike safer and more secure. (The dike is more accurately referred to as a dam now because it’s being used for water storage.) You can read about that here, an excerpt: 

     The corps inventoried all dams in the country after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. It found the Hoover Dike urgently needed some repairs to prevent a catastrophic breach of the dike.

The report by Lloyd’s of London* is one of the most alarming things you’ll ever read if you live in south Florida. Below is an excerpt from that report on the Herbert Hoover Dike (which technically no longer serves as a dike):

     And this brings us to the key concern; the dyke is no longer being used solely as a levee to protect the area from flooding when storms are in the vicinity but also to hold a permanent reserve of water. The lake is being used as a reservoir and therefore the dyke is now operating as a dam. [emphasis added]
     This means that water is pushing against the dyke nearly all of the time and that the risk does not come solely from a hurricane event. The dyke must act like a normal reservoir, i.e. be able to safely store floodwaters without overtopping.
     The dyke was built from un-compacted earth, made up of naturally porous materials such as peat, gravel, sand and shell and is therefore prone to leaks.
     Since the construction of the dyke, the land outside of the dyke has been eroding, particularly on the south side of the lake.
     The Herbert Hoover Dike, when built, was never intended to be used in this way and it has only recently been designated to be a dam. The flood criterion for dams is far more stringent than that which it has previously been subject to and also to which it is currently able to meet.

*Google search, “The Herbert Hoover Dike: A Discussion of the Vulnerability of Lake Okeechobee to Levee Failure, Cause, Effect and the Future” for the PDF.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

“Corrections & Clarifications” today (May 3rd)


“Because of an editing error, a story in Friday’s Palm Beach Post incorrectly quoted a Greenacres councilwoman about conditions near Bowman Park. Lisa Rivera declined to speak about the neighborhood’s past issues with crime, saying only it continued to deal with problems of ‘trash, debris and code violations.’ The error appeared on Page 5 of the A section.” 

Use this link to read the original story on Friday, April 28th, where Councilwoman Rivera is misquoted in an “editing error” as saying, “Nothing has changed”.

“The State of Florida has once again turned its back on Lake Worth.”


UPDATE: Don’t get excited and don’t get your hopes up. Word is the $2M for our Park of Commerce (POC) is back in the State budget. The POC is one of the few bright spots on the horizon vis-à-vis a future tax base going forward. Maybe this year’s legislative update, scheduled for the City Commission on May 16th, will have good news from State Senator Jeff Clemens.

Following is a blog post from earlier this morning about the Commission meeting last night:

Sobering comments by Lake Worth City Manager Michael Bornstein in the video below.

No matter what the City does, crossing all the t’s and dotting all the i’s, Gov. Rick Scott and the State legislature have no intention of helping little cities like Lake Worth. Despite all the problems — and all the progress our City has made over the last five years — none of that means anything to them.

Our City’s Park of “Commerce”, a project and word that should get the attention of every elected in Tallahassee, is just ignored.

Keep this in mind at tonight’s Planning & Zoning Board meeting (see the blog post following). According to Mayor Pam Triolo we’re going to “have to get creative” addressing the problems in our little 7-square-mile City of Lake Worth.

Please share this video with your friends and neighbors:

A huge victory for Palm Beach County and our neighbors out west near Lake Okeechobee.

Read an excerpt from the latest news by reporter Mary Ellen Klas at the Herald/Times Tallahasse Bureau below.

Click on image to enlarge. This was when “Send The Water South!” was a much larger project that would have wiped out the way of life for so many here in Palm Beach County:
The public came out and they spoke. And the electeds listened.

Latest news from the Herald/Times, an article today titled, “Compromise yields gift for the Everglades: 78 billion gallons of cleaner water”:

Months of negotiation and compromise over whether to build a deep-water storage reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee ended in victory Tuesday for Senate President Joe Negron as the Florida House agreed to the Senate plan and sent the measure to the governor for his approval.
     The proposal, SB 10, will cost the state and federal government $1.5 billion and will accelerate the state’s 20-year goal of storing water from the lake by using land the state owns, known as the A-2 parcel, as well as land swaps and purchases.
     The House passed the measure 99-19, after it reduced the amount the state could bond for the project to $800 million, and the measure was then passed by the Senate 33-0.
     The plan will create at least 240,000 acre feet of storage — about 78 billion gallons — south of the lake by converting 14,000 acres of state land now used as a shallow reservoir to build a deep-water reservoir. The measure will set in motion negotiations for the state to purchase land for the project from willing sellers, while prohibiting the use of eminent domain to force the sale. [emphasis added]

North of Lake Okeechobee there remain very serious issues to address. Stay tuned for news to come about all the septic tanks along the Indian River Lagoon.

A newspaper headline editor gets the facts correct:


“Wellington has an issue with Arden development: It’s NOT in Wellington!”

The title above is from an article by the Post’s beat reporter Matt Morgan. Use this link to read the entire article which provides a good framework for the City Commission and administration here in the City of Lake Worth when they truly get around to protecting “our brand” and educating the public about our municipal borders and things like the “Lake Worth Corridor” too.

It’s good to read an elected official saying it “infuriates him” businesses and developers are using the Village of Wellington’s brand to promote themselves in unincorporated County. The most you ever get from an elected official here in Lake Worth is maybe a slight annoyance and nothing more. Anyhow, here are two excerpts:

The Wellington Village Council thinks the village has a branding problem.
     Or, more specifically, it has a problem with developers and businesses using the Wellington name even though they’re not in the village.
     The most recent case is Arden, a nature-focused new community that’s located miles west of Wellington’s borders. [emphasis added] It’s in unincorporated Palm Beach County, west of Loxahatchee Groves and Lion Country Safari.

and. . .

     It’s a big deal for the council because it could mislead people who want to buy a home in Wellington and don’t realize it’s not in the village, McGovern [Vice Mayor John McGovern] said.
     When someone buys a home in one of these outside communities, Wellington doesn’t see any benefit in taxes or otherwise.
     “We want people who desire and intend to live here to know that by going there that is not what we’re doing,” McGovern said.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Attention all concerned anti-development rad enviros here in the little City of Lake Worth.

You may be very interested in attending a meeting today from 5:30–7:30 ‘in Lake Worth’ that’s not actually here in the City of Lake Worth. It’s not that far away though.

Click on image to enlarge:
The meeting location, 6000 Northtree Blvd., is in suburban Lake Worth west of Boynton Beach and east of Jog Rd.

And whilst on the subject. . .
Five months later still waiting for a response to “Eastward Ho! Development Futures: Paths to More Efficient Growth in Southeast Florida” published in 1999.

Success! Below is proof the media and press, even beat reporters, can learn and report the facts.

“Stop using divisive term ‘sanctuary city’ Kathy Castor tells immigration advocates”.

Above is the title from a blog post last month. Ever since the local press and media have been very careful throwing around the word sanctuary. Going through all the press and media reports yesterday about the immigration “march” in the City of Lake Worth did not see the word sanctuaryused one single time. So. Yes. It is possible for the media and press to learn and report the facts.

If this march happened a month ago they would all have been throwing around the word “sanctuary” like cheap confetti.

The march yesterday fell way short of the “200–300” that were expected but the good news is everyone was well-behaved and there were no incidents. Without further ado. . .


Above is the title for the news story by Mitch Perry at SaintPetersBlog (see below). Why is this important? Because the little City of Lake Worth, Florida, IS NOT and NEVER WAS a “sanctuary city”, despite what anyone says to the contrary. The Town of Jupiter is/was rumored to be a “sanctuary” as well. Not true.

Simply put, as stated on this blog many times over:

Because a city or town has a center to help immigrants, doth not a ‘sanctuary’ make.

To learn more about this situation in the City of Lake Worth use this link:

In 5+ years of searching has one single piece of documentation ever been produced that Lake Worth IS a sanctuary city? No. Not one. Zero. Nada.
    And is it proper journalistic method to have elected leaders and City staff prove a negative?

But. . . If. . . And. . . !, suggest local reporters at the Post, for example, who try over and over again to cleverly try and make the case (A  +  B  =  C) for their readers that the opposite is true. The facts are: 
A  [Lake Worth]  +  B  [the Guatemalan/Maya Center]  ≠  C  [a ‘sanctuary city’] (the symbol  ≠  means “does not equal”).

Anyhow. Two excerpts from the article in SaintPetersBlog follow and “Kathy Castor” is quoted (if you didn’t know, “Castor” is Katherine Castor, the Democrat U.S. Rep. for Florida’s 14th congressional district since 2007).

“It appears that some of the mean-spirited rhetoric out of the Trump administration has emboldened certain immigration agents to act outside of their typical powers, and we really need to hear that if you of these cases locally,” [emphasis added] Tampa Congresswoman Kathy Castor told several dozen activists and citizens who jammed into the Blind Tiger Cafe on Ybor City’s 7th Avenue Wednesday morning.
     When an audience member talked about a local detention that lacked specifics, Castor said she would need more information before acting.
      “That’s the only way that I’m empowered to ask Secretary Kelly and say,’ they’ve overstepped their bounds,” she said, referring to John Kelly, who heads the Department of Homeland Security.

and. . .

     Regarding the issue of sanctuary cities and/or counties, Castor told the crowd they should stop using that phrase, as it was intentionally divisive. The loosely defined term is best described as local government limiting cooperation with the federal government to help undocumented immigrants avoid deportation.
     “There’s a lot of confusion and emotion around the term,” Castor said. “I think it’s a trap. I think it was a term that was created to divide people and to demonize diverse areas.”
     The Tampa Democrat said the real question to ask is what are the responsibilities of the local law enforcement compared to federal officers.

Once again. . . “the real question to ask is what are the responsibilities of the local law enforcement compared to federal officers.”, and. . .stop using that phrase [‘sanctuary city’], as it was intentionally divisive.”

The rules and fine example how to give public comment at the City Commission.

There is an instructional video (see below), an excellent example how to give public comment at the City Commission meeting tonight. The simple rule is: Be respectful and follow the rules. Don’t hesitate to ask people around you if they understand the rules for giving public comment.

It’s not unusual for someone to get “cold feet” if it’s the first time at the podium. It that happens just raise your hand until the mayor sees you. She will understand and read your comments into the record for you. Always be respectful to the Chair, Mayor Pam Triolo, and most importantly:

The time limit is two (2) minutes. When you hear a little bell your time is up. Please be courteous to the mayor and return to your seat. 

Over and over again people have to be reminded about the 2-minute limit and yet, over and over again the very same ones get either perturbed or confused when that little bell rings. The lesson here is prepare your remarks ahead of time using a timer (most cell phones have timers).

When the little bell rings, if you haven’t finished your comment, hand your card to City Manager Bornstein and ask him to have it entered into the record. Your card will then be given to the City Clerk.

Note how City resident Kathy Turk approached issues of importance to her. She didn’t get angry. She didn’t point fingers. And she didn’t put anyone “on the hot seat”. Read the bullet list and then watch the video for yourself:
  • At the 10:50 mark (click play and go to the minute marks) she begins her comment at the January 10th City Commission meeting.
  • At the 11:50 mark she begins speaking about the issue of unanswered emails and phone calls.
  • At the 12:50 mark about the pay increase for elected officials, she says, “. . . the pay is well worth the hours you put in.” She should know having 25 years of experience in Human Resources.
Hope you find this video helpful:

Heavy Sigh.



And meanwhile our Gulfstream Hotel in Downtown Lake Worth continues to sit. Vacant, neglected, and a community eyesore. Our local beat reporter at the Post reported it was all because of Code Enforcement. Remember that nonsense?

So sad isn’t it? Delray Beach gets another hotel and we can’t even have one. Next year’s Street Painting Festival will be another one without our City having a hotel Downtown.

But reporters continue to happily spread the company line, this time from the Sun Sentinel, “Lake Worth’s historic Gulfstream Hotel slated for $80 million makeover”:

“Our plans are to rehabilitate this hotel [and] bring it back to its historic significance in the public areas, the lobby, corridors etc.,” said Steven Michael, principal of developer Hudson Holdings during a tour Friday [April 10th]. “We’ll do a complete rehabilitation of the whole building from top to bottom.”

Heavy Sigh.

Question: Did Chris McVoy, PhD, a former commissioner in Lake Worth, submit his report for the pool at the Beach yet?

With great aplomb and to everyone’s surprise at a Commission meeting last February, McVoy found an engineer or expert of some sort who ostensibly has the answer how to fix the pool and re-open the facility. And quite cheaply too. If you recall, all this happened while McVoy was running for re-election. The public wasn’t all that impressed. He didn’t win.

Most of the debate about the municipal pool at the Beach starts with an assumption — that we should have a pool at the Beach — shouldn’t that assumption be challenged?

What percentage of City residents actually use the pool? If the same 20–30 people are contacting their elected officials all the time demanding a new pool, is that representative of the entire City? Has anyone thought of conducting a survey and finding out what the public wants? What do their kids want?

“We need a pool to teach our kids how to swim and for safety classes too!” OK. But does that pool need to be at our Beach? Every time having to spend $4 to park? No one who uses the County pool at Lake Lytal seems to mind there is not a beach nearby.

What about “Engaging Youth to Create Community Places” (see below)? More and more people are questioning the idea of a new municipal pool at the Beach when there are so many other and better options for community access. One location bandied about is Bryant Park and there are other locations Downtown as well. Starting some time in June the debate will begin about the pool and the questions need to asked in order: 1) Should the City even have a municipal pool? 2) Where should the pool be located?

Just having a pool at the Beach because we’ve always had one there is not justification enough. For most families here in the City of Lake Worth a trip to the pool costs too much: a family of four each day at the pool is $16 with parking. And that’s just to start.

[FYI: The County will be constructing a new pool facility at Lake Lytal; the pool I now use for my water exercise routine. To learn more about the pool at Lake Lytal use this link or call 561-233-1426. Parking is FREE. With a 20-visit pass the cost/visit is $2.44.]

Back in 2010 when there was another raging debate about the pool it was called a “white elephant” from a bygone era when A1A and Dixie Hwy. were major north-south thruways for tourists and visitors. The pool was shut down that year because the City was running out of money to keep it operational.

To construct a new pool (or repair the old one) at the Beach the public in the City of Lake Worth will be tasked with subsidizing it. But what about the Beach? Could something be constructed there to attract more people and get more interest? What do Millennials want at our Beach? Teenagers and “young people”?

Below is an excerpt from the Project for Public Spaces written by Cheryl Millard:

     “Young people use public spaces just as much as anyone else, if not more. And yet, too often young people, or young adults between the ages of 12 to 25, are not included in the process of Placemaking and end up “loitering” in other spaces. [emphasis added] Some communities frown upon loitering, which can create a negative image for young people and just contributes to the stigma surrounding them, especially those who are at risk. By being actively engaged in youth-friendly spaces, young people can feel like they have investment in their community and they can develop a strong sense of ownership in these places.
     Parks and public spaces are often built with small children and adults in mind, with an emphasis on playgrounds for the children and benches for the adults watching them. Alternatively, some public spaces are simply devoid of activity or amenities – conducive to picnicking or maybe playing ball, but offering little else for young people. With nothing to do after school, they hang out at train stations, shopping centers, and local parks.


The conversation will begin soon on how to fix all the problems at the Lake Worth Casino and the future of the pool. As part of that conversation wouldn’t part of that discussion be how to keep the younger people, teenagers for instance, more “busy” and engaged? What better place, or space, for that than the Casino complex at the Beach?

If the City is going to have a public amenity at the Beach, is a pool the best option?
Photo of Lake Worth Casino Complex by Skyline Aerials, LLC. Where else can you envision a public pool in the City of Lake Worth?

What could be at the Casino complex to attract more young people and keep them excited? Not all of the younger people get excited about laying on the beach or surfing. How about a skate park? There is plenty of space for one. Volleyball courts with stands for the community to watch? Or an outdoor auditorium for plays, movie nights, and other activities?

Start coming up with ideas. Before long your elected officials will asking you what you think. Here’s another idea: How about shuffleboard courts as part of a sports complex?

Two PACs are no more: Citizens Against Unfair Taxation (CAUT) and Forced To Farm.

To see the current list of Political Action Committees (PACs) here in Palm Beach County use this link to the Supervisor of Elections website. Imagine my surprise to find out two PACs in particular are no longer on the list. One of those not listed any longer is the “Forced To Farm” PAC.

Former Lake Worth Commissioner Suzanne Mulvehill, the champion of resiliency, sustainability, anti-development, etc., while an elected commissioner here in the City of Lake Worth later became Chair of the Forced to Farm PAC that was organized to loosen regulations on land development in the Ag Reserve. Try to wrap your head around that one.

Here is an article from Post reporter Wayne Washington from back in 2016, an excerpt:

     “The Palm Beach County Commission gave final approval to comprehensive plan changes that could spur more residential and commercial development in the Agricultural Reserve, a 22,000-acre farming and conservation zone west of Boynton Beach and Delray Beach.
     Commissioners voted Wednesday on two changes, one that makes it easier for small landowners in the reserve to sell developers the development rights attached to their property. The other change grants three specific property owners — Delray Growers, Steve and Rose Homrich, and Jim Alderman — the right to have commercial development on their property.”

And there’s another PAC that’s not on the list any more: Citizens Against Unfair Taxation (CAUT). You may recall the kerfuffle when the Chair of CAUT lost control at a City Commission workshop last year:

We learned at this City Commission workshop that because that Katie McGiveron's CAUT PAC scuttled the LW2020 bond to fix the roads and potholes BY JUST 25 VOTES in 2014 it will now cost $9 million more to fix the City’s roads.
     At the end of the City’s workshop McGiveron went completely nuts to the shock of nearly everyone in the chamber and the meeting was shut down. At one point Vice Mayor Maxwell was heard saying, “Is there a doctor in the house?

The CAUT PAC is no more:
CAUT may be gone, but there’s still the “Save Our Neighborhood” PAC:

A “Waiver of Report” from last year. Click on image to enlarge:
Use this link to download one of this PACs latest treasurer reports. By the way, where exactly is “Our Neighborhood” they’re trying to “Save”?

Monday, May 1, 2017

A reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee: Build it, sit back, then see what happens? What about the Herbert Hoover Dike?

Later in this blog post is an excerpt from a report by Lloyd’s of London, one of the most alarming things you’ll ever read if you live in south Florida.

The Herbert Hoover Dike surrounds Lake Okeechobee:
For the PDF, copy & paste following words in italic, then Google search: The Herbert Hoover Dike: A Discussion of the Vulnerability of Lake Okeechobee to Levee Failure, Cause, Effect and the Future.

If you’ve been following the news such as this from Post reporter Susan Salisbury you know there is a lot, and growing, resistance to the idea of constructing a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee to fix South Florida’s ‘plumbing’.* Here’s an excerpt from the article in the Post titled, “EAA Farmers [Everglades Agricultural Area farmers south of Lake Okeechobee], landowners to tell legislature: We do not want to sell”:

“We are not willing sellers,” said John L. Hundley, chairman of the board of the Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida, Belle Glade, and president of Hundley Farms. “Taking our farmlands out of production to pursue a plan that is not science-based will not fix the problems in the coastal estuaries. [emphasis added] Instead, taking fertile farmland will punish the thousands of hard-working farm families and farming businesses in our rural Everglades Agricultural Area.”

The one thing that’s important to remember is this: the idea to “Send the Water South!” into a reservoir is a theory. No one knows if it will work. Or not work. But the taxpayers will have to fork up billions of dollars to find out.

However, if the Herbert Hoover Dike surrounding Lake Okeechobee fails what will happen is not theoretical: a mass grave in West Palm Beach is proof of that (that mass grave, by the way, was only for Black people. The White people were buried in caskets somewhere else).

Now for the report from Lloyd’s of London on the Herbert Hoover Dike which technically no longer serves as a dike: 

“And this brings us to the key concern; the dyke is no longer being used solely as a levee to protect the area from flooding when storms are in the vicinity but also to hold a permanent reserve of water. The lake is being used as a reservoir and therefore the dyke is now operating as a dam. [emphasis added]
     This means that water is pushing against the dyke nearly all of the time and that the risk does not come solely from a hurricane event. The dyke must act like a normal reservoir, i.e. be able to safely store floodwaters without overtopping.
     The dyke was built from un-compacted earth, made up of naturally porous materials such as peat, gravel, sand and shell and is therefore prone to leaks.
     Since the construction of the dyke, the land outside of the dyke has been eroding, particularly on the south side of the lake.
     The Herbert Hoover Dike, when built, was never intended to be used in this way and it has only recently been designated to be a dam. The flood criterion for dams is far more stringent than that which it has previously been subject to and also to which it is currently able to meet.

Should the Herbert Hoover Dike be breached, or collapse anywhere, the result would be disastrous. Not just for people and the communities surrounding Lake Okeechobee, but for the environment as well.

And one more fact: There was another algae bloom along the Treasure Coast this year. There haven’t been any water releases from Lake Okeechobee into the Indian River Lagoon so far in 2017. How does one explain that? And. . .
For more “Myth vs. FACT” use this link.

*On August 2nd, 2016, in Resolution No. 38, an item by Lake Worth Commissioner Chris McVoy, PhD, referred to the “plumbing in South Florida” and supported the idea of building a reservoir. This became an embarrassment and the resolution was quickly and “ingloriously deleted”; the issue was never brought up again by McVoy. It should be noted that Belle Glade Mayor Wilson, Pahokee Mayor Babb, South Bay Mayor Kyles, nor Mayor Roland in Clewiston was ever given a courtesy call ahead of time about this resolution by McVoy seeking their thoughts on this topic.

Just in case you missed this from yesterday.


Do you know what a “YIMBY” is? And thoughts about “Making Room for the Middle”, housing and city planning by Jeff Perlman:


“I’m in the boat, pull up the ladder” is not a strategy for economic sustainability.
Jeff Perlman, community activist, author, and former mayor of Delray Beach.

The blog post below is from April 2016. If housing, Millennials, western sprawl, and similar topics are of interest to you here in Lake Worth, look around and see how far we’ve progressed over the last year and where you think there’s a need for improvement. Are we doing enough as a City to help solve the lack of housing in Palm Beach County?


Jeff Perlman is going to get a lot of people talking with this article. And that’s a good thing; but not so good for others. He doesn’t mention any names, groups, or “movements” locally here in Palm Beach County and neither will they be mentioned in this blog post. That effort would take a long time. If you’ve been paying attention to planning issues, housing, and zoning you already know who the opposition always is to new development.

In short it comes down to a disconnect. The very same people that will decry the lack of affordable housing and/or economic opportunity will rise up in opposition to nearly any development at all. That opposition, to cite one example, housing, has resulted in the pace of new homes, condos, apartments, etc., being much too slow keeping up with demand and — per market rules — prices have gone up. Especially so now that we’re in another boom period in south Florida.

What occurred in San Francisco is a cautionary tale and those lessons need to be heeded here in Palm Beach County. So, without further ado, a few excepts from the Perlman article on “Making Room for the Middle”:

     “The headline blared ‘Build, Baby, Build’ in Sunday’s New York Times.
     The story focused on the growing YIMBY (yes in my backyard) movement [emphasis added] in the hyper expensive Bay Area of California.
      The lack of work force housing in the San Francisco area is stoking a movement to pressure local governments to allow the construction of more housing. Led by young professionals, groups are forming to confront those who fight new development.

and. . .

     “Several local elected officials have welcomed the YIMBY movement saying it is important for young professionals to feel they have a future in the region and that cities need to be thinking about ways they can plan to accommodate their needs.
     It’s an interesting debate and one that may soon break out in the Sunshine state.
     In case you haven’t noticed, housing is expensive around these parts and if you know your economics one way to lower prices is to increase the supply.

     While that is a simplification of the issue, it’s hard not to include density in any serious argument about addressing the need to create workforce housing.

and. . .

     “[T]he best economic development strategies would include plans to make our cities appealing to young professionals. There are several legs to that stool: abundant job opportunities, good schools, low crime rates, amenities such as arts, culture, parks and recreation, good transportation and attainable housing.
     Regardless, to ensure a positive future you have to plan for it. The operative word is plan. Perhaps, there would be less antagonism toward new development if it was tied to a long term vision or strategy. If that strategy is to make room for young families or to plan for our kids to come home it may resonate. Still, just about any plan for the future would require making room for those who may wish to live here. ‘I’m in the boat, pull up the ladder’ is not a strategy for economic sustainability.

That last line is a really good one, isn’t it?

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Calling All Artists: The 2017–2018 Palm Beach Charity Register Cover Competition.


“We are now accepting submissions for the fourth annual Palm Beach Charity Register Cover Competition. Entries should be original works that convey the concept of philanthropy, community, sharing or charitable giving.”

The 2016–2017 Cover.
For more about the contest use this link. For questions send an email to Nicole Ehrlich: nehrlich@palmbeachmedia.com

“The winning image of the Charity Register Cover Competition will be published on the front cover of the 2017–18 edition of the Palm Beach Charity Register. A photo and brief story of the artist will appear inside the magazine and this year’s winner will be awarded a $500 cash prize.”

Twenty-Six Sunday’s Ago. Published in The Palm Beach Post: “DRAIN THE WASHINGTON SWAMP! VOTE TRUMP!”

All us Democrats here in Palm Beach County were in stunned disbelief when Mr. Donald Trump was elected President of the United States last November 8th. Readers of The Palm Beach Post who were Democrats were in stunned disbelief two days prior as well, on Sunday, November 6th, when they turned to page A5 (see image below; note: may be disturbing for some readers) — a full-page ad with that blaring message in BOLDFACE!, ALL CAPS! — “VOTE TRUMP!

When Mr. Donald Trump was elected President of the United States two days later the editors at the Post were consumed with grief. Then for Democrats, to add insult to injury, the editors hosted a Facebook forum to appease Trump supporters who felt they were disparaged and maligned by the newspaper.

Didn’t Hillary Clinton supporters deserve an explanation why the Post published full-page ads for Trump?

However, the big unanswered question is why didn’t The Palm Beach Post editorial board endorse Hillary Clinton in heavily Democrat-leaning Palm Beach County? They didn’t endorse then-citizen Mr. Trump either. Why didn’t they make any endorsement for President of the United States?

Did the decision of no endorsement for Hillary Clinton simply come down to appeasing the Bernie Sanders supporters? If that’s the case, maybe they forget this election result:

Bernie Sanders: 27.2%.
The primary results from 2016.

Didn’t Clinton supporters in Palm Beach County deserve an explanation or even a Facebook “Live Chat” like the supporters of once-citizen and now President Donald Trump got? 

Did you spill your coffee all over the place when you turned the page from A3 that day and saw this image on the spread?
Maybe Hillary Clinton supporters should purchase an ad in the Post next Sunday, a full-page one titled, “DRAIN THE WASHINGTON SWAMP AGAIN!”

Deadline is tomorrow. Attention all families with children in the City of Lake Worth: “2017 Summer Camp Scholarships”.


The deadline to apply for “Cultural Summer Camp Scholarships” has been extended to Monday, May 1st at 11:59 p.m.


“The Palm Beach County Cultural Council [located at 601 Lake Ave. in Downtown Lake Worth] and our partner organizations provide various scholarships and prizes to Palm Beach County families looking to participate in the county’s many summer cultural offerings.”

To read the guidelines and apply for a scholarship use this link.

Demand our City’s Code Enforcement Dept. give notice to residents with Silly Red Signs (SRS): Remove signs or deal with the Magistrate.


Please note: There is an important update below following the SRS image, HANDS OFF Our BEACH & POOL”. Thank you for visiting today and learn more about SRS’s, Red Sign Syndrome (RSS), and Sthaltus signentititis robrusistiticus (SSR).

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

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

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

Think about this and attend the next City Commission meeting on Tuesday, April 18th, and speak your mind at public comment. Should every SRS be removed from sight by the City or just left alone as a reminder?

Are residents with SRS’s receiving special treatment from Code Enforcement officers?
The problem isn’t “Private Development”. The problem was some commissioners in control back in 2010–2012 didn’t have any clue what they were doing.

Interesting, isn’t it? The SRS platoon wants “HANDS OFF Our POOL”, but wants “HANDS ON” our municipal pool to re-open the crumbling facility?
Which is it: Hands “On” or Hands “Off”?
“HANDS OFF OUR POOL”? Because the pool was ignored back in 2010 it’s now closed for good. What we needed was more competent “HANDS ON OUR POOL at the time.

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

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

Another reason why elections last March were indeed “seismic”? A theory about City of Lake Worth politics.


The change in City politics can be called “palpable” following the elections last March. Below is a theory about what happened vis-à-vis the shift in political power. New residents in this City will be surprised to learn this: Prior to the election of Omari Hardy on March 14th, District 2 was represented by a self-proclaimed Anarchist (Cara Jennings) from 2006–2010 and then Chris McVoy (who the Post editor finally got around to calling a “gadfly”) from 2010–2017.

Over those eleven years not much happened between Dixie Hwy. and I-95. Going forward many believe that will change. So. Without further ado. . .

If the theory proves right (explained below), there has been a major shift of power here in this little City of Lake Worth. You can call it, “the rise of the middle”. A local politico (to go unnamed) has bandied about this theory for many years and it does help to explain a lot of things. Our City has, or had, three major factions vying for political control. Two of them were dominant for many decades, forming an alliance; but that dominance is now over following the elections last March.

The elections changed everything and they were indeed “seismic”, including the passage of the referendum extending terms of the electeds from two to three years. But maybe seismic for other reasons too, other than just the obvious. Because two of those City factions, the theory goes, had a coalition that’s now in tatters and one of those factions is now in total, complete disarray.

Don’t misunderstand: this blog is still an “OFFICIAL ELECTION-FREE ZONE”. Meaning not until after the July 4th Raft Race will the elections in 2018 or any current or future candidates be discussed on this blog. However, that in no way suggests looking at past elections will not be addressed.

Prior to the elections last March the mantra from “the other side” was Messrs. Omari Hardy and Herman Robinson would just be two more “rubber stamps” for the majority: Mayor Pam Triolo, Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell, and Commissioner Andy Amoroso.

However, commissioners Hardy and Robinson, if you’ve been paying attention, have wasted no time putting that ‘rubber stamp’ label to rest. Remember, these two are fresh off the campaign trail and they’ve heard all the complaints. Many of those complaints were about the majority on the City Commission, not just all about the former do-nothing commissioner in District 2 or the former lame duck commissioner in District 4.

“We’re working on it”, isn’t going to fly with Omari and Robinson. They both clearly want to see results. The Commission meeting on April 18th bears this out. For example, Robinson took on the issue of body cameras for PBSO and Hardy dove right into the topics of a City Facebook page (the tortuous reasoning to not begin one) and he took on the issue of panhandlers as well, what the City is and isn’t doing to fix the problem. Read more about that meeting using this link.

Do both Hardy and Robinson have reason to be so confident pushing forward their issues of importance and concern? According to the theory the answer is “Yes, absolutely”. The balance of power is now either 3-2 or 4-1 in their favor.

Here is the theory, briefly, and will delve into this in depth some time later on. The three factions are:
  • Lake Worth East (LWE): the boundaries are Federal Hwy. east to the Intracoastal, including the Casino and Beach.
  • Lake Worth West (LWW): West of I-95 in the City limits, including parts of Suburban Lake Worth, and other groups west of the City with political interests at stake.
  • Lake Worth Middle (LWM): Everything between Federal Hwy. and I-95 including the Downtown and Dixie Hwy. Corridors.
For at least 20–30 years, the theory goes, LWE and LWW both have held sway on the City Commission. Up until the elections last March both Districts 2 and 4 remained both solidly in the LWE/LWW faction. LWE still has a significant presence on the Commission, but less so after the elections. For LWW, however, it’s a totally different story — they’re in total disarray now — again, as evidenced at the last Commission meeting when they sent one of their core members “laying on the charm”, to the new City Commission. A change in demeanor that didn’t go unnoticed.

LWE has little use for LWW now. The future power arrangement will be one between LWE and LWM.

Very few people here in Lake Worth expected this all to end on March 14th. Chris McVoy, PhD, was the incumbent and would at least force a run-off with the newcomer, Omari Hardy. Herman Robinson’s race was seen as a toss-up. But Hardy and Robinson both won their elections outright and that shocked almost everyone. That night the word, “seismic” started being used around the City. Why? Because the election results rocked the status quo over the last few decades.

What’s to be determined now is if that new power of LWM translates into getting people out to vote. Because, except for select precincts in LWM, the vast majority of residents don’t bother to come out and vote (ergo the failed “LW2020” bond referendum in 2014). And that’s where commissioners Hardy and Robinson come into play: they both have to keep “the middle” excited, engaged, and the public needs to see real and tangible results.

There’s little time left for “We’re working on it”, coming from the City Commission, administration, and staff.

The job of LWW now, if you follow the theory through, is to do everything they can to make sure that doesn’t happen, that both Hardy and Robinson don’t succeed and that every obstacle possible is thrown in their way.

If the theory above is valid — or until proven otherwise untrue — well, expect the political changes going forward to be indeed “truly seismic” for our little City of Lake Worth: The “rise of the middle”.

Club meetings, free instruction, and other things to do here in this little City of Lake Worth.

Some meetings and other events published in the Lake Worth Herald are below:

“Free listing for service clubs’ and charitable organizations schedules and special events open to the public. Send information to About Town, 1313 Central Terrace, Lake Worth, FL 33460, fax 561-585-5434 or email lwheraldje@gmail.com
     Please keep it brief. We reserve the right to edit and/or reject any announcement deemed not appropriate for this column.”

Free Adult English Classes. Tuesdays 6:00–8:00 at the Compass Community Center, 201 N. Dixie Hwy. To register call 561-863-5778. Everyone is welcome. [Clases gratis de inglés para adultos. Martes 6:008:00 en el Centro Comunitario Compass, 201 N. Dixie Hwy.]

GriefShare. A support group for people who have lost someone either recently or some time ago meets on Wednesday nights from 6:30 to 8:00 at Lake Osborne Presbyterian Church. The church is located at 2101 6th Ave. South in Lake Worth. For more information, call 561-582-5686.

Adult Pickleball. Every Wednesday evening from 6:30 to 8:00 at Sunset Ridge Park Tennis Courts, 14th Avenue North, Lake Worth (between A and D streets). Adults 18 and over. $1 per player, balls and paddles provided. For more information call 561-533-7363. Sponsored by the City of Lake Worth Recreation Dept. For more information contact Steve Haughn, 561-214-0685,

Lake Worth Rotary Club. Meeting every Wednesday at Brogues Downunder, 621 Lake Ave., downtown Lake Worth at Noon. Come visit, become a member! For info call Ron Leeds at 561-969-9600.

For contact information at the Herald use this link.
The Herald is still ¢50! Pick up the print edition at 600 Lake Ave. at the City’s newsstand in the Downtown, across the street from Starbucks.