Saturday, July 22, 2017

UPDATE: Blueway Trail. News blackout continues at Palm Beach Post.


Post reporter Tony Doris has more news today in the print edition (page B3) about the “Golf Commission” meeting in West Palm Beach last Wednesday, titled “Golf course redesign undecided”:
“And the winner is. . .? Nobody.”

You’ll see why that is below.

Although the Blueway Trail was cited in the RFP, it was not mentioned at all in the article today. So, the news blackout remains in place. From this blog last Thursday, in a post titled, “Do you live in WPB’s South End? Lake Worth’s North End?”

West Palm Beach City Commission considers RFPs for “Lease and Development” of Municipal Golf Course and nearby properties (196 acres total).

The presenting developers:
And the results. . .

From 1, top choice–3, worst choice. The results (click on image to enlarge).
WPB Golf Links and Greg Norman Golf Design tied. MWV Golf came in a very distant second place. 

Now, if you’re interested in learning more about the Blueway Trail. . .

Click on image to enlarge. Note the “West Palm Beach Golf Course” in relation to the C-51 Canal:
Stay tuned: You’re going to be hearing about a property in West Palm Beach, city-owned, called “8111”. An empty lot on Dixie Hwy. along the C-51 Canal, east of the FEC tracks, south of Winn-Dixie.

“Are Millennials the key to preservation?”

Here is more news about historic preservation from Modern Cities, two excerpts:

According to a new survey Millennials and Historic Preservation: A Deep Dive Into Attitudes and Values, nearly all (97 percent) of the nation’s largest and most diverse generation appreciate the value of historic preservation. Commissioned by American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the survey reveals the salient role preservation plays in the millennial narrative and the development of communities courting this generation.

and. . .

“The report reflects what we’ve seen in cities from Los Angeles to Buffalo to Houston – that millennials prefer to live, work and play in neighborhoods with historic buildings,” said Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “The revitalization of many urban communities is being driven in large part by the influx of young people seeking authentic experiences and places with character that are found in historic neighborhoods.”

And from this blog recently:

Along with promoting historic preservation we need to take on the mis- and disinformation (e.g., by those in the press), that damages historic preservation efforts. The editor at The Palm Beach Post published this nonsense recently:

“The Gulfstream Hotel should be taken
back by the city. . .”
.
The City cannot take back this historic hotel — it’s private property — but thanks to the editor at
the Post how many believe our City can just take it back now?

You can better understand now the headwinds historic preservation faces. Going forward not only does the public need to be educated about historic preservation, but all the while false and misleading information is being fed the public at the same time.

On the subject of historic preservation:

There was a time the Gulfstream Hotel stood tall in our Downtown. One of many was the New Year’s Gala on January 1st, 1942.
“Everything Florida Has — We Have”

Friday, July 21, 2017

Surprising news: We do have septic tanks east of I-95 within the City of Lake Worth!

Do you remember WPTV/NBC5 reporter Andrew Lofholm’s story about a “toxic tide” here in the City of Lake Worth that didn’t happen here in our City?

Read more about that below. But get this:

One of the surprise revelations to come of Meritage Homes’ Lake Cove housing project next to Vernon Heights at the Planning & Zoning Board meeting last June was there are some homes still on septic tanks east of I-95. However, this will be remedied when the project begins and new sewer lines are installed along with the City’s Neighborhood Road Program and new street construction.

[If you didn’t know, the “Lake Cove” housing project passed unanimously on First Reading at the City Commission last Tuesday. Second Reading is August 1st. Although this news broke last May it remains unreported in the Post.]

Are there other areas in the City still on septic? Areas west of I-95, e.g., the Lake Osborne area and in the vicinity of our Park of Commerce? If that’s the case then this is something a reporter such as Mr. Lofholm needs to investigate. And quickly.

What if THERE IS sewage overflowing in our City?

And that human waste makes it into our storm drains, leaks into our acquifer, and maybe even into Lake Osborne itself? If sewage gets into Lake Osborne that human waste will then make it into the L-4 (Keller) Canal, then to the C-51 Canal, into the Intracoastal, and then into the ocean. That cannot be allowed to happen.

We simply have to be more responsible and set an example for all those communities along the Indian River Lagoon.

Any areas within our City limits still on septic MUST BE PUT ON MUNICIPAL SEWER. Why? Because besides being an environmental hazard it’s also a health issue. Below is an excerpt from the text of this news segment by the WPTV’s Mr. Lofholm which gives the incorrect location — the actual location is SUBURBAN LAKE WORTH — however, every step needs to be taken so something like this never happens in our City:

LAKE WORTH, Fla. - This story stinks. [yes, it does]
     Overflowing, fresh sewage pouring into a Lake Worth apartment complex parking lot. Tenants say it’s been happening for a year! A fed up renter called NewsChannel 5, saying nothing has been done about this health hazard.
     Around 6 p.m. every night, a toxic tide rolls in.

Stay tuned for more about this situation.

“Blame it on the clerk!” and “Corrections & Clarifications” in The Palm Beach Post.

In today’s paper is a “clerical error”.

“Because of a clerical error, The Palm Beach Post on Wednesday stated the wrong ending date for the Palm Beach Gardens Green Market. The green market will be held until Sunday, Sept. 24 [not ‘through July 30’ as originally reported]. The error appeared on page B3 of the Local & Business section.”

And. . . from last Tuesday:

The Palm Beach County Commission joint meeting with the Palm Beach County League of Cities last Wednesday was not at the Governmental Center in West Palm Beach:

“Because of a reporting error, The Palm Beach Post on Sunday stated the wrong location for a Palm Beach County Commission joint meeting with the county League of Cities on Wednesday. The meeting will be held at the Wellington Community Center, 12165 Forest Hill Blvd., Wellington. The error appeared in the Public Meetings list on page B3 of the Local section.”

Embrace the roll”!

Would imagine Washington Post reporter Callum Borchers wasn’t too thrilled to be “rolled” by this headline in the Post.

Just in case you missed this from yesterday.


MUST READ, by Betsi and Jim Hill, “Lake Worth and Lantana: A Florida Culinary Tour”.

From the article in “Confetti Travel Cafe we learn this:

  • Taste History Culinary Tours “are very popular and sell out quickly. Lori [Lori J. Durante] recommends that you book ahead.”
  • Taste History can arrange private tours during the week.
  • To learn more about Palm Beach County, all while eating delicious food, check out Taste History’s website:
Experience Lake Worth and Lantana like a local with Taste History Culinary Tours, a company that offers not only great food but art and history of the area as well. Taste History is a multi-dimensional experience that focuses on neighborhoods with an emerging art scene, lots of local history, and great food from family-owned eateries. This Florida culinary tour will be a trip highlight.

and. . .

Lake Worth is filled with street art. As we walked, Lori pointed out some of the more impressive murals and shared some of the art projects that the city has planned for the future. Inside the Post Office is one of Joseph D. Myers paintings, “Settler Fighting Alligator from Rowboat.”

and. . .

We cannot recommend this tour enough! Each stop brought awareness to the culture and flavor of Lake Worth and Lantana. The tours are perfect for both new visitors to the area and locals. No tour is alike, so there is always an element of surprise.

Some of our local popular spots highlighted in the news article are:

To contact Lori Durante at Taste History Culinary Tours, call 561-638-8277 or 561-243-2662. Make sure to follow on Twitter as well: @TasteHistory

For the Taste History blog and to see the many glowing media reporting about this tour, use this link.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

News from the NAPC: “Be part of the solution by becoming an Advocate for the City of Lake Worth”.

Prostitution, disorderly conduct, and petty street crime, “is not victimless” . . . “the community is the victim.”

—Chip Guthrie, July 18th, 2017, at the Lake Worth City Commission.

Below, learn more about becoming a “Lake Worth Advocate”.
Send an email today to: lakeworthadvocate@gmail.com

Sign up to be notified when residents and business owners are needed to attend “first appearances” (learn more about this new community program below).

The Neighborhood Assoc. Presidents’ Council (NAPC) says, “News of community involvement travels FAST!”

An excellent presentation was given by Mr. Chip Guthrie on the First Appearance Program at the City Commission meeting on July 18th:

“[W]here an arrestee [prostitute, burglar, violent offender, etc.] from the previous day stands before a judge who decides bail and other pre-trial conditions.”

City residents Tammy Pansa, Richard Guercio, and Lake Worth CRA Director Joan Oliva are very involved in this volunteer effort and promoting this new program. And Chip pointed out as well:

“The business community needs to get more involved”.

Just a reminder: Check back next Monday for the Gulfstream Hotel, “Weekly Progress Report”.


Did you know the current owner, Hudson Holdings, purchased this historic property located in Downtown Lake Worth in May of 2014? It’s true. To learn more about that and to read the “Weekly Progress Report” ending Sunday, July 16th, use this link.

Back in April 2015, a former Lake Worth tabloid (now defunct) had this: “[S]eems to call into question whether the developer would re-open the Gulfstream Hotel and build a ‘second hotel’ if not awarded the beachfront project [at the Lake Worth Beach].”

Click on image to enlarge:
And Hudson Holdings, “Proposes to ‘Beautify’ and ‘Re-establish’ Bryant Park”.

How the Gulfstream Hotel looked on Monday, July 10th, 2017:
Use this link to read the progress report for Sunday, July 9th: “Will next year be another Street Painting Festival, one more festival or big event in our City’s Downtown, with the Gulfstream Hotel closed and shuttered?”

STATUS. Container ship “Chicago”. Position received -- 25.7660007° / -80.1515884°-- at 2017-07-19 06:50 LT (UTC -5, USEC, [IMO 9248162]). Speed 0.0kn. Moored by towboat U.S. Ft. Lauderdate.

The container ship Chicago has arrived in Miami with the second printing of “The Cottages of Lake Worth” hardcover books!

Stay tuned for more information. Trucking company, no. of pallets, delivery ETA!
To learn more about The Cottages of Lake Worth book use this link. You can also get more information and “Follow” on Facebook.

At the Lake Worth City Commission meeting this week. . .

Where do you get your news about the City of Lake Worth? In The Palm Beach Post?

Below are a few other things that happened at the City Commission meeting last Tuesday. Click on this link [which includes links to items of interest below], from “notes, news, and observations” posted on this blog yesterday.

✓ PBSO Cpt. Todd Baer in quarterly update: Focusing on “blight hotspots” is working very well. ✓ Mayor Pam Triolo is meeting with Gov. Rick Scott in August. To get the money for our Park of Commerce? City got stiffed three times by the “jobs creator”. ✓ Lake Worth Casino, is it finally over? “Discussion with REG Architects, Inc., and The Morganti Group, Inc.,” vis-à-vis the “tolling agreement” at our City’s Casino at the Beach? We”ll find out at the next Commission meeting on August 1st. ✓ Meritage Homes’ “Lake Cove” housing project passed unanimously on First Reading. Second Reading coming up next. ✓ Commissioner Herman Robinson showing a bit of frustration: What’s going on with the Sister City Board? Recreation Board? ✓ Bus service coming to the Lake Worth Beach? Commissioner Andy Amoroso meeting with County Commissioner Dave Kerner today. Maybe another “Lolly the Trolley”? ✓ Commissioner Omari Hardy: “We have to get creative with CDBG grant money.” ✓ Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell (Happy Birthday!): “There was a time we took each day one day at a time . . . but now we’re looking to the future.”

and FYI:

Greenacres’ Councilman Anderson Thelusme was in attendance. He was warmly greeted by the electeds and residents of the City of Lake Worth.

As always, Thank You for visiting today!

News in this week’s Lake Worth Herald: “City Modifies Bicycle Ordinance”

Your trusted source for community news since 1912.

To contact the editor with community news and upcoming events use this link.
Pick up the Herald print edition every Friday. Still just ¢50 at the City’s newsstand in our Downtown, 600 Lake Ave. Two excerpts from the article:

In an effort to remove abandoned bicycles from the streets and sidewalks of Lake Worth, the Commission has modified the bicycle ordinance.

and. . .

     It will also allow any abandoned, unwanted, discarded, deserted or vacated bicycles to be removed after 48 hours.
     The abandoned bicycles will be stored in a secure location until claimed or discarded according to city purchasing policy.

Tomorrrow: Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council (TCRPC) meets. Come out and meet the legend: Drew Martin.

All of you know who Mr. Drew Martin is. He’s a living legend (FYI: the Herbert Hoover Dike was a big topic of discussion at the TCRPC, see below).

However, have you ever had the chance to meet Mr. Martin from the Loxahatchee Sierra Club in person? Maybe take a selfie with him and get an autograph as well? You’ll have your chance tomorrow at the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council (TCRPC). The TCRPC is located at:
  • Wolf High Technology Center.
  • Address: Indian River State College (Chastain Campus), 2400 SE Salerno Road, Stuart.
  • Meeting starts at 9:30.
  • For more information call 772-221-4060.

UPDATE!

Drew Martin got published in The Palm Beach Post AGAIN! He writes about the Cape Sabal Seaside Sparrow this time. His legendary streak of published Letters to the Editor and the nearly monthly “Point of View” in the editorial section by Mr. Martin are unparalleled in modern newspaper publishing. Inexplicably, however, Mr. Martin DID NOT make the Broward/Palm Beach New Times’ list of the “19 Best Environmentalists in South Florida”.

How is that even possible?

From the TCRPC meeting in June, on an east/west trolley system in Palm Beach County, Mr. Martin and myself are in complete agreement:

“He [Drew Martin from the Loxahatchee Sierra Club] stated he also attended the mobility conference in West Palm Beach and felt it was well done. He stated there was talk about public transportation and getting people out of their cars, but it was limited to I-95 and downtown West Palm Beach. He stated what we need to look at is some sort of trolley system that will run all the way out to the Village of Royal Palm Beach, because there really is no east/west public transportation. He also noted there was an interesting proposal to have air-conditioned train stations for the public to encourage more use of public transportation.”
From the “Minutes of the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council” meeting on June 16th, 2017, p. 10.

Use this link for the TCRPC list of meetings and agendas, past and present.

However, also at the TCRPC meeting last month Mr. Martin made this public comment:

He [Martin] indicated he attended an Oceans Forum presentation by the Nature Conservancy that showed the value of the reefs off Palm Beach County are particularly significant, because of their huge economic value. He noted another thing that is damaging the reefs is the use of sunscreen.

Not exactly sure what Martin is suggesting. That the public stop using sunscreen? Develop a line of alternative products with different formulas? Maybe we’ll get more information at the next meeting of the TCRPC.

Anyhow, another big topic of discussion at last month’s meeting was about the Herbert Hoover Dike surrounding Lake Okeechobee and these lines stood out:

He [Chairman, Martin County Commissioner Smith] stated one of the concerns is Palm Beach County getting their National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) accreditation, because the [Herbert Hoover] dike is not fixed. He stated the focus needs to be on the section between the Cities of Pahokee and Lake Port, because that will alleviate the accreditation issue for Palm Beach County and Hendry County on the west side. Ms. [Michelle Oyola] McGovern [Sen. Bill Nelson’s Dir. of Outreach] stated they remain in touch with FEMA* and the ACOE to make sure the moment the dike can be certified it will get done.

Lake Okeechobee and a sobering read:
The Lloyd’s of London “Emerging Risks Team Report”.
Quote by Melissa Meeker, “To say that the reservoir [south of Lake Okeechobee] will save the Everglades and prevent coastal discharges is wishful thinking that can’t be backed by science.”

*FEMA  =  Federal Emergency Management Agency. “The agency’s primary purpose is to coordinate the response to a disaster that has occurred in the United States and that overwhelms the resources of local and state authorities.”
ACOE  =  Army Corps of Engineeers. The corps’ mission is to “Deliver vital public and military engineering services; partnering in peace and war to strengthen our Nation’s security, energize the economy and reduce risks from disasters.”
CEO, Water Environment & Reuse Foundation and former executive director, governing board member of South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD).

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A few “notes, news, and observations” from the City Commission meeting last night.

Excellent presentation by Chip Guthrie on the First Appearance Program:

The “initial court proceeding where an arrestee from the previous day stands before a judge who decides bail and other pre-trial conditions.”

Tammy Pansa, Richard Guercio, and Lake Worth CRA Director Joan Oliva were lauded for their volunteer efforts and promoting this new program.

and. . .

  • Chip Guthrie pointed out, prostitution and petty street crime is not “victimless”. The community is the victim. To get involved with the First Appearance Program send an email to LakeWorthAdvocate@gmail.com
  • And Chip added, “the business community needs to get more involved”.
  • PBSO Cpt. Todd Baer in quarterly update: Focusing on “blight hotspots” is working very well.
  • Mayor Pam Triolo is meeting with Gov. Rick Scott in August. To get the money for our Park of Commerce? City got stiffed three times by the “jobs creator”.
  • Greenacres’ Councilman Anderson Thelusme was in attendance. He was warmly greeted by the electeds and residents of the City of Lake Worth.
  • Finally over? “Discussion with REG Architects, Inc., and The Morganti Group, Inc.,” vis-à-vis the “tolling agreement” at our City’s Casino at the Beach? We”ll find out at the next Commission meeting on August 1st.
  • Meritage Homes’ “Lake Cove” housing project passed unanimously on First Reading. Second Reading coming up next.
  • Commissioner Herman Robinson showing a bit of frustration: What’s going on with the Sister City Board? Recreation Board?
  • Bus service coming to the Lake Worth Beach? Commissioner Andy Amoroso meeting with County Commissioner Dave Kerner today. Maybe another “Lolly the Trolley?
  • Commissioner Omari Hardy: “We have to get creative with CDBG grant money.”
  • Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell (Happy 100th Birthday!): “There was a time we took each day one day at a time . . . but now we’re looking to the future.”

Thank You for visiting today and hope you found these “notes and observations” helpful.

To watch this City Commission meeting on YouTube use this link and go to the 3:00 mark (following a video of the July 4th festivities here in the little City of Lake Worth).

Lake Worth Planning & Zoning meeting tonight: Three interesting items.


All of the items on the agenda tonight are in the City’s Park of Commerce. Will briefly look at just one of those (see below)

To go over the agenda use this link and scroll down for “Planning and Zoning Board”, July 19 meeting and click on “Agenda” to download. The meeting is at 6:00 in City Hall.

The first item on the agenda is an empty lot east of the Palm Beach Mobile Home Park on Boutwell Rd. between 2nd Ave. South and 7th Ave. South:

The applicant has provided open storage at her property on Lantana Road for many years. The Lantana property is being sold and must immediately move such storage out. Many of the applicants’ customers live in Lake Worth and the location in the Industrial Park of Commerce zoning district is suitable for such use. 

Proposal: 

Ms. Jennifer Morton and Mr. Steve Pickett on behalf of, Mrs. Lisa Silva (“Applicant”), proposes that the current vacant lot, located at 2201 & 2205 7th Avenue North (“Property”) be used as open storage that would serve to store and park shipping containers. The shipping containers will contain nonperishable goods such as: canned goods, clothing, shoes, bags, bicycles, and other non-hazardous items. These nonperishable goods will be sent to Haiti and to the local Haitian Community. The subject property was utilized as a mobile home park and had connections to the City’s utility systems. Thus, the applicant is now before the Board to request a conditional use permit. The applicant already has chain link fence installed along parts of the sides, the front and rear.

Tonight: Guest speaker at the “Bourbon Sprawl” is Commissioner Shanon Materio.


The Bourbon Sprawl is the 3rd Wednesday of every month, a get-together for “wonks”, planning “geeks”, Millennials and those interested in local politics as well. The guest speaker last month was the always-fascinating Jeff Perlman.

The Bourbon Sprawl is held at Hullabaloo (the “subculture gastro-pub”) located at 517 Clematis St.

The talk begins at 6:00.
It’s always a fun time hanging out and listening to West Palm Beach Commissioner Shanon Materio. She is also a long-time business owner on Dixie Hwy. in the City of Lake Worth.

Last night the Lake Worth City Commission sent a very strong message to our future: the Millennials.

And they also sent another strong message:

Western sprawl in Palm Beach County needs to stop — and it needs to stop now — our coastal cities in PBC need you: young, retirees, and everyone in between. We need your ideas. We need your enthusiasm. We need your experience and your knowledge.

Last night the City Commission voted unanimously for the Meritage Homes “Lake Cove” housing project. These are new homes (not townhouses or condos) EAST OF I-95, in the City of Lake Worth.

And from a recent letter published in The Palm Beach Post:

[U]rge prospective buyers to look into the abandoned home market for their families. In the city of Lake Worth, a charming, diverse and culturally rich area, there are hundreds of abandoned homes looking for someone to love them. Ask your Realtor to show you some.

Then-Mr. Omari Hardy has a message for you:

“There are so many people throughout this community, throughout Palm Beach County generally, who would probably love to make Lake Worth home. . . but who won’t give it the time of day because we’ve made it too hard for them to understand what makes Lake Worth a great place to live and that has to change.
     And that is why I am running. We have to put our best foot forward as a City.
     We have to close the gap between where we are and where we have the potential to be.”

—Quote by now-District 2 Lake Worth Commissioner Omari Hardy at the Playhouse debate on January 30th:

Get prepared, Lake Worth. Is another press/media frenzy about to begin?

William Waters, the City of Lake Worth’s Dir. of Community Sustainability, gave some strong clues at the City Commission last night.

This could become a media frenzy like we haven’t seen in a long time: slamming the City administration, our Electric Utility, elected officials, city manager, staff, et al.

A prediction: how the scenario will play out.

An article will appear in The Palm Beach Post about this item on the City Commission agenda last night (maybe later this week?):

F. Ordinance No. 2017-18 - First Reading - Requiring Business License to Commence Utilities at Businesses within the City and to schedule the public hearing and second reading for August 1, 2017.

Summary:

The proposed ordinance amends Chapter 14, Business Tax Receipts and Business Regulations, to require a Business License before utilities will be provided to a business and to include an inspection warrant option and to further clarify the scope of the Use and Occupancy Inspection.

Background and Justification:

The City Commission adopted Resolution No. 07-2017 to require businesses within the City to have a Business License in order to open a new utility account and to continue to receive utility service.

Then a second article will come out, maybe in the Sunday paper, with quotes slamming the City for being “uncaring and insensitive” for turning off utilities at certain properties here in the City. Frank Cerabino will chime in with a sarcastically, mean-spirited column, and then the final act: the editor at The Palm Beach Post will try to deliver a coup de grâce.

The news media will get into the act: reporters from WPBF (ABC25), WPEC (CBS12), and WPTV (NBC5) will scour the City looking for people to interview, those who don’t understand why their utilities may be cut off.

Will “Legal Aid” be mentioned in any of these news reports? Maybe. Maybe not. Will it be reported the City is doing everything they can to help these people and families? Maybe. Maybe not.

But then later, after the dust clears, the truth will come out.

We’ve seen this all before. So get ready.

From last night’s City Commission meeting.

There’s big news.

Remember “Discussion with REG Architects, Inc., and The Morganti Group, Inc.,” vis-à-vis the “tolling agreement” at our City’s Casino at the Beach?

[Timeline below, early 2013–June 6th, 2017.]

At the end of this blog post is an update we’ve all been waiting for a very long time.

Remember, a tolling agreement is an agreement to waive a right to claim that litigation should be dismissed due to the expiration of a statute of limitations.

From September 17th, 2015 on this blog:

“Rain is not very kind to our Casino building. You would think a structure constructed next to the Atlantic Ocean in a sub-tropical climate would be built to standards to withstand a storm. But it’s not. Fortunately, the structure was spared last year [2014] being tested by hurricane-strength winds but did go through some heavy rain events [in 2015] and it failed the test miserably.”

Rain causes leaks at Lake Worth Casino building”.
Remember this news report on NBC5/WPTV in September 2015?
Timeline. February 15th, 2015: Item 12A on Commission agenda, “Declare REG Architects, Inc., The Morganti Group, Inc., and The Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania in default.”

March 2nd, 2016: “City Commission meeting regarding the default declaration for the Casino construction problems.”

October 31st, 2016: “Discussion with REG Architects, Inc., and The Morganti Group, Inc., on their proposed fixes at the Casino Building.”

January 24th, 2017:Item 9G. Extension of Tolling Agreement with REG Architects, Inc., and The Morganti Group, Inc.”

June 6th, 2017, at the City Commission during public comment. A concerned citizen did research and compiled a list of dates when the tolling agreement was a subject of discussion at the Commission, vis-à-vis the construction problems and continuing issues with the City’s Casino at the Beach:
  • Early 2013
  • November 2013
  • August 2014
  • September 2014
  • May 2015
  • Late 2015
  • February 16th, 2016
  • March 1st, 2016
  • March 22nd, 2016
  • June 7th, 2016
  • November 3rd, 2016
  • January 24th, 2017
  • May 16th, 2017
  • June 1st, 2017: the latest tolling agreement extension agreement expired.
The previous Casino structure prior to the newly ‘renovated’ one we have now at the Beach:



UPDATE:

City Attorney Glen Torcivia, near the end of last night’s Commission meeting, said something like “tied up with a bow”. At the City Commission meeting on August 1st, Torcivia is going to provide the details, this issue with the Casino complex construction and “tolling agreements” is finally coming to an end with a settlement!

Torcivia, by the way, looked quite pleased and very confident delivering this update. Stay tuned, as they say.

Peggy Fisher will be very happy as well.

From reporter Skylar Swisher. . . just in case you missed this news yesterday.

News in the Sun Sentinel about John Prince Park titled, “Palm Beach County looks to boost park patrols”.

Will a new County homeless shelter be constructed near John Prince Park?

It’s very possible. To read the entire article in the Sun Sentinel use this link.

About the reporter:

Skyler Swisher is a reporter covering Palm Beach County government. Before joining the Sun Sentinel, he wrote about health care for The Daytona Beach News-Journal. A native of Memphis, he is a graduate of the University of Tennessee.

To contact the reporter:

  • Call 561-243-6634
  • Email: sswisher@sunsentinel.com
  • Twitter: @SkylerSwisher

Here are excerpts from the recent news by Mr. Swisher [footnotes added with additional information]:

     John Prince Park, sprawling over 726 acres near Lake Worth,* is a popular spot for joggers, campers and homeless people, who congregate underneath shady pavilions. Some sleep there overnight when the well-known park is closed.
     The county’s budget would allocate $135,000 next year for off-duty deputies to patrol parks.
     Those dollars would be used to add overnight policing at John Prince Park and to strengthen law enforcement’s presence at other popular parks during busy holiday weekends, Parks Director Eric Call said.

and. . .

     About 30 homeless people were in John Park Prince during the most recent count, Call said.
     “I don’t want it to be a situation where we are finding needles and other types of things there and criminal elements are preying on this vulnerable population,” [emphasis added] he said.
     Commissioner Dave Kerner said he requested the additional money because of complaints about people using the bathroom in public at John Prince Park, hanging up laundry and leaving trash. He said he’s also concerned about sexual assault and other crimes that occur in the homeless community.
     “This is more to ensure the safety of park visitors,” he said.

and. . .

     Palm Beach County has a homeless shelter in West Palm Beach§ that offers 20 beds for women and 40 for men. A 1-cent sales tax increase will provide funding for the county to open another homeless shelter near the park, Kerner said.


*Take note: This reporter from the Sun Sentinel reports accurately John Prince Park is “near Lake Worth”, a concept lost on many local reporters from the press and news media here in Central PBC.
Twenty-four hour homeless “point-in-time count” conducted on January 26th.
Dave Kerner is the District 3 Palm Beach County Commissioner.
§Senator Philip D. Lewis Center for the homeless.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

News last night from the City of Greenacres


Do you remember this news from The Lake Worth Herald:

“Applications are being accepted from residents . . . who would like to serve a temporary unexpired term of office on the City Council until the Municipal Election held in March 2019.”
Here’s the latest:

“The City of Greenacres appointed John Tharp to District 1 Council at tonight’s City Council Meeting. He will serve the unexpired term until March 2019.”
From the City of Greenacres’ Facebook page.

Question: The City of Lake Worth does not have an official Facebook page. Can anyone think of a legitimate reason why?

This might be a good question to ask at the Lake Worth City Commission meeting tonight during public comment, don’t you think?

Meet Councilor John Tharp:


Wait a day or two and check out the city’s website to learn more about the new councilor for the City of Greenacres.

John Prince Park, homelessness, and “Cities look for remedies as homelessness rises”.


John Prince Park provides innumerable benefits for the City of Lake Worth. And there are challenges as well. One of those challenges is the homeless staying in the park at night and, for multiple reasons (e.g., seeking services and supplies), are in the City of Lake Worth during the daytime hours.

This was a topic of discussion at an Economic Opportunities Workshop called the “Heart of Palm Beach County”:
  • Create a new Strategic Plan for John Prince Park.
  • Address homeless camps at John Prince Park.
One of the other issues is “municipal branding”. Oftentimes, issues in John Prince Park — homelessness, crime, and vagrancy — are seen by many in the public as a “Lake Worth” problem, when the reality is it’s a regional Central Palm Beach County problem. A perfect example how the media and press confuse and muddle this issue is the blog post below titled,

“Debunked: The Palm Beach Post feature story on the number of homeless in the City of Lake Worth”

The blog post below is from December 2015, debunking the Post’s front page, feature ‘news’ story on the homeless situation in the City of Lake Worth. No one has ever challenged these conclusions. Several times this blog post has been re-posted, at least 5 times (or more).

The front page, above the fold story in Sunday’s (12/6/15) Palm Beach Post is not new news. The Post’s Matt Morgan reported on this in April 2015. You can draw your own conclusions why this story was a big splash in the paper eight months later.

As to the question, is the homeless count of 142 in Lake Worth bogus?

It most likely is and the clue can be found in this County news release from April 23rd, 2015 titled, “County Releases Numbers for 24-Hour Homeless Point-in-Time Count”. The Post story on December 6th relied heavily on this information and it’s dubious at best.

Here is an excerpt from the news release:

The 2015 Point-in-Time Count indicates that across Palm Beach County during a 24-hour time period, 1,421 individuals and families were considered homeless as defined by the federal “Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing Act.The count included those staying in emergency shelters, transitional housing and places not meant for human habitation.
     This year, the Point-in-Time Count was undertaken by a total of 220 individuals including staff from Palm Beach County, the Homeless Agency, Veterans Administration, School District of Palm Beach County, Homeless Coalition, and United Way; agency board members; a local city commissioner; college students and volunteers. They completed 1,214 surveys in the field along with initial vulnerability assessments. Surveys were completed on paper and with a mobile application.

and. . .

     Teams searched in wooded areas, abandoned buildings, alleyways and parks, and spoke with individuals at intersections and in front of stores. A targeted outreach was conducted at midnight in John Prince Park[you’ll see why this is important later] In addition, counters traveled across the county to survey in places where homeless tend to go, including food pantries, soup kitchens, and libraries.

When the data in Sunday’s Post indicated Lake Worth had 142 homeless as opposed to Delray Beach having 63 my radar immediately went up. Delray Beach in land area is approximately 2½ times the size of Lake Worth and Lake Worth has approximately 27,000 fewer residents than Delray Beach. Then how could Lake Worth, a small city in southern Palm Beach County (PBC), have 142 homeless?

The data can’t, by any means, be called scientific.

It’s a “snapshot in time”. Here is the final report submitted to Tallahassee by the PBC Human Services Executive Director. Below is an image from the PBC website:

Interestingly all of the above links work except for one [link no longer works], the scoring tool:
http://www.pbcgov.com/communityservices/programs/pdf/2015_Scoring_Tool_for_HUD_New_Renewal_Projects_Final.pdf
It’s an innocent error and will likely be fixed soon but you can’t truly analyze the data when the tool isn’t available to see how the data was collected in the first place. Was part of the tool” a person’s address/location with Zip Code? This is a crucial point.

As most everyone knows John Prince Park has a high number of homeless people and many of these people go into the downtown of Lake Worth for a multitude of reasons and then return to the park. Lake Worth has the closest downtown from the park, easily walked, biked, and is also along a bus route. When you search for John Prince Park on the PBC website this is what you find:

John Prince Park IS NOT in the City of Lake Worth.

The park is unincorporated PBC or suburban Lake Worth. The park’s address is a mailing address. Here are the people tasked with counting the homeless:

[T]he Point-in-Time Count was undertaken by a total of 220 individuals including staff from Palm Beach County, the Homeless Agency, Veterans Administration, School District of Palm Beach County, Homeless Coalition, and United Way; agency board members; a local city commissioner; college students and volunteers.

Were these homeless counters trained on the difference between municipal borders and unincorporated PBC?

One of the guidelines in counting homeless are people living in campgrounds — were campers staying in tents in John Prince Park Campground counted as homeless? There are anecdotal reports of homeless people being dropped off in our City’s Bryant Park; where did they come from? The Homeless Point-in-Time Count raises more questions than answers.

Remember. The number 142 is a snapshot in time.

A front page picture in the Post of the homeless in our Bryant Park is also a snapshot in time 11 months after the County's homeless count. An hour earlier or an hour later the homeless may have decided to go somewhere else, like John Prince Park or West Palm Beach or Boynton Beach. 

And once again, why is a news story from January, reported in the Post first the previous April now a front page, above the fold “POST EXCLUSIVE on December 6th? Raises more questions than answers does it not?
“Cities look for remedies as homelessness rises”. The previous April, Matt Morgan had this article in the Post titled, “Homelessness continues to decline in Palm Beach County”.

City Press Release: City of Lake Worth’s Pier closed today (July 18th) and tomorrow as well.


For more information and media inquiries, contact the City’s Communications Specialist, Mr. Ben Kerr, at 561-586-1631; email: bkerr@lakeworth.org

Press Release:

Lake Worth, Fl — Lake Worth Pier Closed

The City of Lake Worth Pier will be closed Tuesday, July 18th and Wednesday, July 19th, from 6:00 am until noon for an engineering study. The City of Lake Worth apologizes for any inconvenience caused.

From this blog on July 12th, notes from the City Commission Budget Workshop on Tuesday, July 11th:

Asst. City Manager Juan Ruiz said there is an issue with “spalling concrete” (also called scaling) at the City Pier. An engineering report will be delivered in about 2 weeks. Ruiz said, “don’t want to alarm the public” and then explained the Pier may need major concrete replacement.

Just in case you missed this from yesterday.

City of Lake Worth Advisory Boards:

“Mayor Triolo and Commissioner Amoroso spoke about requiring a workshop on the issue”.

The quote above is from the minutes of the Lake Worth City Commission meeting on April 4th (more excerpts below).

Our volunteer City boards were a very big issue last April, and recently this issue came up once again vis-à-vis the Sister City Board — or rather the lack of functioning Sister City Board — that Mr. Greg Rice is none too happy about.

Then there’s the “Recreation Advisory Board” that hasn’t had a meeting in over a year. The “C-51 Advisory Committee” formed last year that, to this point, also has never met.

Basically the issues are:
  • How many boards does the City need with such a small population of residents?
  • What issues should a board handle?
  • Should some boards be eliminated and others consolidated?
  • Should the qualifications, e.g., a résumé, be required to serve on a specific board for which technical experience would bring a big benefit to the City?
  • And how best to eliminate the possibility the public would see this process as politically motivated?
Here it is, over three months later, there has still not been a workshop or work session scheduled to discuss the issue of “Advisory Boards”. By the way, Commissioner Amoroso’s suggestion last April there be public comment on this issue is a very good one.

It’s important to remember, without our volunteers serving on boards, giving of their time and energy, the City would not be able to function — also important to remember — each of our boards require City staff time, resources, and taxpayer money.

From the minutes of the City Commission meeting last April from the City Attorney’s Report:

“Discussion on issue with Board Appointments and Newly Elected Commissioners”, City Attorney [Glen] Torcivia said that “formal policy direction would be needed going forward regarding board appointments.”

“Mayor [Pam] Triolo stated the rules should be revisited either in a work session or during a regular meeting. She said the current policy was instituted to keep the boards full all year. She said that there were inconsistencies in the rules and she would meet with the City Attorney to discuss the issue.”

and. . .

“Commissioner [Omari] Hardy said that processes that require more consensus on the appointees should be adopted.

Mayor Triolo and Commissioner [Andy] Amoroso spoke about requiring a workshop on the issue; Commissioner Amoroso suggested having a work session with several items on the agenda and open to public comment.

City Attorney Torcivia said that the Commission should have a policy before the issue would be placed on a regular meeting.”

Am not sure how current this information is, but take the “Recreation Advisory Board” for example:

“The Board assists in promoting awareness and involvement in City’s recreation programs. The Board also serves as advisors in policy, programming, finances, future land acquisition, and facility capital projects relating to recreational needs of the citizens. Members: Three year terms.”

OK.

The City of Lake Worth already has a Planning and Zoning Board, it’s the job of the City Commission to set policy and they get plenty of advice already, the City has a “Finance Advisory Board, and the big question is. . .

Why doesn’t this board just focus on the present recreational needs of the public in Lake Worth?

Also, there are only 3 members on this 7-member Recreation Board. They can’t have a quorum anyhow. Then why not just eliminate the board and give these volunteers the opportunity to serve on another board of their choosing?

Maybe the Sister City Board?

Monday, July 17, 2017

Weekly Progress Report, Gulfstream Hotel, Lake Worth, Florida.

Week ending Sunday, July 16th, 2017: Once again, there is no progress to report.

Remember, Hudson Holdings* purchased the Gulfstream Hotel in May 2014.

From an article published in The Palm Beach Post shortly afterward:

It’s not yet clear what Hudson paid for the Gulfstream, or what it plans to do with it. But it seems as if Hudson is looking to bring in additional investors to redevelop the property, which it calls a “history landmark redevelopment hotel project” on its website.


Remember this recent ‘news’?

“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. “We’ll do a complete rehabilitation of the whole building from top to bottom.”
Quote from this article in the Sun Sentinel datelined April 14th, 2017.

So. Remember. Hudson Holdings purchased the Gulfstream Hotel in May 2014:

Then, following 15 months of no progress renovating this historic hotel, Hudson Holdings holds a public meeting for their re-development proposal for the Lake Worth Casino at the Beach on August 24th, 2015.

At this meeting, Hudson Holdings did receive much “open and honest feedback” from the public (see image below).

The public came, they listened, and then they said: “NO. Leave our Beach alone.”

Following that meeting — held nearly two years ago — Hudson Holdings then wrote they were, “hard at work refining a proposal that we believe will work for everyone . . .”, because their idea for a “Better Beach” was rejected by the public.

Click on image to enlarge:
On January 17th, 2017, an excerpt from an article in the Post titled, “Real estate company considers selling historic Gulfstream Hotel in Lake Worth”:

. . . City Manager Michael Bornstein, who called Hudson Holdings’ decision a “huge” disappointment, disputed [Steven] Michael’s characterization, saying more than $100 million worth of new private investment and projects are underway in Lake Worth.
     “This is from a city that seven or eight years ago had no commercial permits pulled to now over $100 million,” Bornstein said. “(Michael’s comments) don’t match up with the realities.
     Bornstein also pointed out Lake Worth has $116 million in upcoming infrastructure improvements, including road, sewer, water and electric work.

The public was listening to Hudson Holdings back in 2015. Then Hudson Holdings asked the public to come out and speak.

And the public did — in big numbers — they came and kept on coming. Crowds of people in cars and on bikes and by foot over the bridge. And they spoke at our Beach. Many were asking this question: “Why isn’t the Gulfstream Hotel being renovated? What is the delay?”

When the public speaks you need to take the time and energy, and try to listen, and try to understand what they have to say:


So, where are we now?

How the historic Gulfstream Hotel looks today:

Title of Hudson Holdings’ press release cited above from last April: “National Historic Real Estate Property Developer, Commences Historic Gulfstream Hotel Project”.

Going forward, the ‘Progress Reports’ for the Gulfstream Hotel will be weekly, until of course, there is any “progress” to report.

Below are the previous “Daily Progress Reports”:

  • Thursday, July 13th: “[T]he claim by Hudson Holdings they paid to demolish the dilapidated structures on the west of the Gulfstream Hotel property last April is FALSE — the CRA paid for that work ($30,000) — not Hudson Holdings.”
  • Wednesday, July 12th: “[T]he Gulfstream Hotel is a glimpse into the past . . . undergoing a multi-million dollar face lift.”
  • Tuesday, July 11th: Recall the popular 4-part series in the Coastal/Greenacres Observer (Oct., 2015), “Dog Days and Glory Days”? Six hundred and sixty-four (642) days later not much has changed at the Gulfstream Hotel.
  • Monday, July 10th: This “Daily Progress Report” has information from Senior Reporter Brian Bandell at the South Florida Business Journal.
  • Sunday, July 9th: “Will next year be another Street Painting Festival, one more festival or big event in our City’s Downtown, with the Gulfstream Hotel closed and shuttered?”
  • Saturday, July 8th: “Maybe it’s our Gulfstream Hotel, still an eyesore in our Downtown following all that excitement in January 2016, that stands a constant reminder what historic preservation cannot do. What needs to happen is not happening.”
  • Friday, July 7th: Email from Hudson Holdings dated March 31st, 2017, “More good news from Hudson Holdings. The Gulfstream Hotel is a GO!”, following District Court of Appeals ruling.
  • Thursday, July 6th: “This sidewalk is nearly impassable due to all the unkempt vegetation and weeds.”
  • Wednesday, July 5th: “I do not believe anything Hudson Holdings says,” one resident posted on the Facebook page Lake Worth Local. “Look at how they let the property deteriorate.”
  • Tuesday, July 4th: “Once referred to as the ‘Jewell of Lake Worth’ . . . this elegant property is undergoing a multi-million dollar face lift.”
  • Monday, July 3rd: “A tree growing out of the structure cannot be good for this ‘elegant’ structure. Simple pruning shears would help this ‘multi-million dollar facelift.’ ”
  • Sunday, July 2nd: Special treat, “Preserving Tomorrow”. Watch this video, Hudson Holdings “is a national historic property developer”.
  • Saturday, July 1st: “[T]his elegant property is undergoing a multi-million dollar face lift”, according to Hudson Holdings’ website.
  • Friday, June 30th: “5 Star Luxury - Coming Winter 2015”.
  • Thursday, June 29th: “Grand Reopening of Lake Worth’s Historic Landmark”.
  • Wednesday, June 28th (windows left open all the time and plywood for security of the structure).
*To contact Hudson Holdings, a company specializing in “adaptive reuse of premier historic structures”, use this link or call 561-768-7621. For the Gulfstream Hotel’s Facebook page use this link. Email: info@hudsonholdings.com

Press Release. Received July 16th: “Everglades Water Quality Program Achieves 70 Percent Phosphorus Reduction”.


For more information, contact Mr. Randy Smith, Media Relations, at the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD):
  • Email: rrsmith@sfwmd.gov
  • Office: 561-682-2800
  • Cell: 561-389-3386
SFWMD is a regional governmental agency that manages the water resources in the southern part of the state. It is the oldest and largest of the state’s five water management districts. Our mission is to protect South Florida’s water resources by balancing and improving flood control, water supply, water quality and natural systems.”

Press Release [excepts]:

West Palm Beach, FL — A program to improve Everglades water quality by ensuring the water flowing from farmlands in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) meets phosphorus reductions required by law, has performed far better than state-mandated goals.

and. . .

     “These tremendous results year after year are proof positive of the hard work from our farming community, who are doing their part to improve Everglades water quality,” said South Florida Water Management District Governing Board Vice Chairman member Jim Moran.
“This program, coupled with the state’s investment in stormwater treatment areas and other measures, have restored Everglades water quality and continue to make it better every year.”
South Florida’s water, especially water moved into Everglades National Park by SFWMD, is cleaner than it has been in generations and meets stringent water quality requirements.
     SFWMD delivered this required annual report, comparing the current Water Year for which BMPs [Best Management Practices] are in place to a baseline period before the BMP program began, to determine whether the EAA has met the requirement of the law . . . BMPs include refined stormwater management practices, onsite farm erosion controls and more precise fertilizer application methods. These and other management practices by agricultural growers reduce the amount of phosphorus transported in stormwater runoff that reaches the Everglades and its connected water bodies.

Also, from July 13th, at the SFWMD Governing Board meeting is this important news:

Resolution No. 2017 - 0720, establishing a “Gopher Tortoise recipient site”.

Click on image to enlarge:
Use this link to learn more about what the SFWMD is doing to protect our wildlife here in South Florida.

Just in case you missed this from yesterday.

“Former Lake Worth Electric Utility director fired in Ft. Pierce”

Ironic isn’t it? The very same week Mr. Ed Liberty becomes the new Lake Worth Electric Utility Dir. (as reported last Wednesday in The Lake Worth Herald), a former director, Clay Lindstrom, is fired in Ft. Pierce.

Do you remember former Lake Worth beat reporter Lona O’Connor? Excerpts from an article in 2013 are below.

Lindstrom was fired by the Ft. Pierce Utility Board on a 3-2 vote. He was not given an opportunity to respond or even give a statement. Lindstrom ‘left’ Lake Worth around 2½ years ago to become director at Ft. Pierce Utilities. According to a FMEA rate study last May, Ft. Pierce electric customers were paying significantly more per 1,000 KW/hr than Lake Worth’s Electric Utility.

Linstrom claimed he did nothing wrong. However, it was discovered some businesses were not charged a connection fee and there were other discrepancies.

Time for a stroll down memory lane: 

Then there’s that pesky reliability issue, but there has been progress on that front, too.
     “Three years ago [2010], we were one of the worst for overall reliability,” said Lindstrom. “Now we’re in the top 10.
—Excerpt from news report by former Lake Worth beat reporter Lona O’Connor, September 2013, titled “Lake Worth works to improve utility billing, stem money losses”.

From NBC5/WPTV: “By a vote of 3-2, the Fort Pierce Utilities Authority terminated Clay Lindstrom’s contract ‘without cause’ for losing confidence in the director.”


More excerpts from the article by Lona O’Connor back in September 2013.

The city’s electric and water utilities are plugging away on fixes for a troubled system that was said to be losing about $1 million a year, due to inaccurate billing and metering.

and. . .

     Because some of the problems seemed concentrated in large commercial customers, staff first reviewed billing after the consultant, Burton and Associates, determined that at least one customer, Palm Beach State College, was being billed for water and fire line service but not sewer service, which cost the water utility more than $80,000 in lost fees.

and. . .

     Utility staffers are now also replacing meters, some of which date back to the 1950s, in a city that just celebrated its 100th anniversary.