Saturday, July 29, 2017

Today was the Woof Dog Park ribbon cutting at the County’s John Prince Park.

The Lake Worth Herald has more information:

In addition, 42 regular parking spaces and four ADA accessible parking spaces will be added. The adjacent cricket field has also been renovated and now includes a new grass playing surface, irrigation and dedicated parking.​

Please note: The 3 park entrances are just west of the City of Lake Worth:

  • 2700 6th Ave. South.
  • 2520 Lake Worth Rd.
  • 4759 South Congress Ave.
Lake Woof Dog Park features five enclosed landscaped dog areas with designated areas for large to small dogs, spanning more than four acres. The dog park also includes five gazebos with benches, drinking fountains, dog wash areas, and doggie bag stations and trash receptacles.

“John Prince Park is one of our largest regional parks and has existed for 65 years,” said Parks and Recreation Director Eric Call. “Adding a state of the art dog park and other amenities is something residents and their four-legged friends have looked forward to for a long time.”

Very cool video: Firefighter training and controlled burn of abandoned/unsafe structure in Lake Worth.

“We’re bringing back that vibrancy to the hotel. . .”


Why isn’t the owner of the Gulfstream Hotel giving our City residents any updates? Has anyone seen any press releases about the Gulfstream Hotel and what is going on? Do you remember the “vibrant” headline (see below) in the Sun Sentinel 3½ months ago?

Have you seen the latest “Weekly Progress Report” about the Gulfstream Hotel that — once again — shows no progress?

Headline: “Lake Worth’s historic Gulfstream Hotel slated for $80 million makeover”.

There are several excerpts below from this article in the Sun Sentinel by reporter Arlene Satchell, published on April 14th. It’s a short article but interestingly, the words “vibrant” and “vibrancy” are peppered throughout.

Here are three of them:

     “We’re bringing back that vibrancy to the hotel, which in turn brings back vibrancy to the downtown district,” said Michael [Steven Michael, principal of developer Hudson Holdings]. “Lake Worth has tremendous, tremendous potential… [it’s] a sleeping giant. Once this is renovated and this is vibrant again, it will be the catalyst to really bring more investors and development into downtown Lake Worth.”

and two more. . .

     “Lake Worth has tremendous potential to become a super vibrant downtown district,” Michael said. “It’s already a vibrant downtown district but it could be grown to a much bigger level.”

and a not-so-very-vibrant quote. . .

     “The city has been looking at this for the last 10 or so years as an empty facility and we can’t wait for it to be revitalized and rejuvenated because it means so much to this city in terms of its economics,” said Scott Maxwell, Lake Worth’s vice mayor.

On the upside, it was not reported in the Sun Sentinel article that Code Enforcement was responsible in any way for the Gulfstream Hotel being shuttered, as was falsely reported by the Post’s beat reporter here in the City of Lake Worth.

Everyone is waiting for more vibrant news about the Gulfstream:

     With its site plan approved for the renovation of the historic hotel, Hudson is estimating it’ll begin construction by this fall on the main building following completion of construction drawings and the finalization of its construction loan, Michael said.

There really is no Fall season in Florida. However, the official start of Fall in the United States begins with the Fall Equinox on September 22nd at 4:00 p.m. this year.

Stay tuned. That’s only about 2 months away.

Friday, July 28, 2017

$800M in bonds? For a new reservoir “which is intended to help” and “potentially reduce” algae outbreaks?

Is this theory even going to be tested prior to asking the Federal government for another $800M in matching funds, $1.6B [billion] total?

Do we know with any degree of certainty another “new” reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee will even work sending more ‘clean’ water into the Everglades? A journalist wrote recently this project will “potentially” reduce outbreaks of algae (see below).

How many reservoirs do we need? What about the Herbert Hoover Dike? Read more about that at the end of this blog post.

And we learned recently from Lake Worth Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell that “CDBG money may not be around for long.” And remember, even an expert on Everglades restoration said to Craig Pittman at the Tampa Bay Times, “this whole thing is part science and part what you can get politically.”

We know CDBG money works. Know one knows for certain another reservoir will work. But spend $1.6B, sit back, wait and see?

Journalist Jim Turner at the News Service of Florida has this article (reprinted in The Palm Beach Post) titled, “Army Corps needs more time on Negron’s Lake Okeechobee cleanup plan”; an excerpt (with emphasis added):

“The Senate bill allows Florida to bond up to $800 million as a way to speed construction of the reservoir, which is intended to help clean South Florida waterways and potentially reduce the recurrence of toxic algae outbreaks that have recently affected Negron’s district, which encompasses the Treasure Coast and northern Palm Beach County.”

Can someone please explain how $800M in bonds squares with these facts about the Indian River Lagoon (IRL)?

“To say that the reservoir will save the Everglades and prevent coastal discharges [into IRL] is wishful thinking that can’t be backed by science.”
Quote by Melissa Meeker, CEO, Water Environment & Reuse Foundation and former executive director, governing board member of the South Florida Water Management District.

and. . .

“Scientists, county leaders looking to solve Treasure Coast bacteria issues”
—Recent news segment by WPTV/NBC5 reporter Alex Hagan. Brian Lapointe from FAU was interviewed about septic tanks, “Poor soil conditions and in the wet season, high water tables that in many cases infiltrate the drains fields of septic tanks”.

What about the Herbert Hoover Dike?

Remember this report from the Lloyd’s of London “Emerging Risks Team Report”?
“The current condition of Herbert Hoover poses a grave and imminent danger… … [The dyke] needs to be fixed. We can only add that it needs to be fixed now, and it needs to be fixed right. We firmly believe that the region’s future depends on it.”

My tour of the Brightline Station in West Palm Beach yesterday.


View from the 2nd floor. A short video is below.
Check back for more photos, video, and observations over the next week.

The tour started off with a big surprise.

First, this tour was sponsored by the PBC Planning Congress in collaboration with the WPB Downtown Neighborhood Assoc. About 50 of us arrived at 6:00. Who is us? Community leaders, architects, urban planners, electeds, city staff, designers, thinkers and doers, and some from other professions as well.

We were all greeted and waiting for the tour to begin. Ali Soule, Brightline’s Dir. of Public Affairs began to speak and then in a sort of “What’s the point?” manner skipped to the major subjects of interest. After all, she knew all of us have been following All Aboard Florida and Brightline, some of us from the very beginning. She said, “I’m going to answer all of your questions”:
  • Do we have ticket prices? No.”
  • Do we have a start date? No.”
  • Can I share any more specifics on funding? No.”
Then came the surprise. Soule invited us all to tour and examine the facility ourselves, either in groups or wander off individually. For me, it was like Christmas Day. People took off inspecting the ceilings, floors, windows, lighting, signage, furniture, under the furniture, saw how travelers would flow through the building, and then this caught my eye:

A charging station.
And then I looked around. . .
There are charging stations EVERYWHERE.

And guess what? They have 2 USBs and 1 electric outlet. For Brightline, the future is here right now.

I took a ton of pictures. And I took a few short videos and will share them on this blog a bit later. For the next week or so will share a bit more about this tour along with observations, mine and the thoughts of others as well.

There was a splendid array of food and a beer/wine bar. At 7:00 people were ready to mingle and commiserate and that we all did.

I wish to thank Ali Soule and everyone else at Brightline who were so gracious to us all. And one last thing — congratulations Brightline — you’ve come a long way when we all met once before under a big tent on a very hot day.

July 2014. The press conference for the unveiling of Brightline, a big tent next to a vacant lot:
That vacant lot in Downtown West Palm Beach in 2014 is vacant no more. Three years later. . .

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Getting down to the nitty-gritty.

What is the early “wish list” from the Lake Worth City Commission for proceeds from the County ¢1 sales tax increase? There is a bullet list below.

Following the City Commission Work Session last Tuesday, Assistant City Manager Juan Ruiz is going back to Staff to fine tune the results from the “Proposed Projects” list. For more about this meeting use this link to read about,
“Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood”.
This meeting, in my opinion, set the standard how local governments deal with very important issues such as this. Yes. It was that good.

We learned from Ruiz there will be another Budget Work Session on August 8th. And the oversight for the “¢1 sales tax” proceeds Ruiz stated will be the task of the City’s Finance Advisory Board with guidance from the Palm Beach County League of Cities.

Ruiz summed it up this way, this money is to:

  • Fund infrastructure projects.
  • Leverage infrastructure projects.
  • Complete infrastructure projects.
Note the word, “Infrastructure”.

Will this money fund “Tree Beautification”? Tree-lined roads? No. It will not. Will the County have veto power over a decision? That is still unknown.

The bad news from City Manager Michael Bornstein was the FEC Railway’s maintenance funding for the City’s railroad crossings ($500,000?). The FEC is constructing the quiet zones but it’s up to the City to maintain them. Remember, railroad crossings are a right-of-way courtesy of the railroad and regulated by the Federal government. As they say,
“The railroad [Henry Flagler] was here first.”
City Attorney Glen Torcivia said a project is what, “serves the public purpose” and “needs to comply with the ballot language.” A crucial point. Also, the definition of Infrastructure is not a broad one; it’s very precise.

About ¾ way through the meeting Ruiz said “it’s been a healthy dialogue” and tried to gauge the consensus (top priorities) of the City Commission — by rank, highest to lowest — here it is:
  • #1: Roads (fix, repair, and maintain roads not on the Neighborhood Road Bond passed last year).
  • #2: Park of Commerce and Boutwell Rd.
  • #3: Construct a parking garage in the Downtown.
  • #4: Address/fix the Casino business plan at the Beach.
Mayor Pam Triolo then tasked the City Commission to each pick their top three. However, some added caveats and ended up with a list of more “top picks”.

Here we go. . .

Mayor Pam Triolo:

  • #1: Roads (along with Park of Commerce [POC])
  • #2: Parking garage
  • #3: Beach business model
Triolo also said, “Traffic calming is a big issue in all the [City] neighborhoods.” And Triolo set the theme for the evening, “Have everyone feel the love.”

Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell:

  • #1: Roads
  • #2: POC and Boutwell Rd.
  • #3: Parking garage.
Maxwell also suggested a parking garage Downtown in tandem with a parking garage at the Beach run by a “Parking Authority”. The City could capture the resulting revenue sans running the day-to-day operations. Maxwell’s big push was for land acquisition and then “mortgage” that land to developers like the Town of Lantana has done for many years, a “huge opportunity”.

License plate readers are a “big priority” and Maxwell told everyone, “CDBG money may not be around for long.”

Vice Mayor Pro Tem, District 3 Commissioner Andy Amoroso:

  • #1: Roads
  • #2: Parking garage
  • #3: Beach business model
Removing the pier at Spillway Park, now condemned, is “a no-brainer”. Amoroso also said, “Think Maxwell’s idea of land acquisition is a great idea.” And Amoroso also pointed out, “We know a parking garage will provide revenue . . . get multiple things done and share the love.”

District 2 City Commissioner Omari Hardy:

  • #1: Roads
  • #2: POC
  • #3: Parking garage.
Hardy diplomatically called the Beach a “recurring expense problem” and think it was Hardy who first said the pier removal at Spillway Park was “a no-brainer”. Hardy’s position was firm on, “Invest now to save money later.”

Hardy also reminded everyone there are streets in this City still unpaved (2½ miles mostly in Districts 1 and 2). Streets that were platted 104 years ago. [In my opinion? A historic disgrace that needs to be remedied.]

District 4 Commissioner Herman C. Robinson:

  • #1: Beach business model.
  • #2: Parking garage
  • #3: Roads
Robinson said, “Completing the Casino [business plan] is absolutely at the top of my list” and “has to be done.” Robinson’s focus was on ROI [return on investment] and the City can’t wait for “money from above”. Robinson was keen to Hardy’s idea of “pocket parks” to replace unpaved roads. [A consensus? No more unpaved streets in our City here in Palm Beach County?]

The big idea of the night was from Vice Mayor Maxwell and Commissioner Hardy seemed to agree:

Borrow money ($10M+) up front and pay off with the County money over the next 10 years. This would provide a big impact, for example, on fixing more of our roads in the City of Lake Worth. Is this even possible? Maybe we’ll find out at the next Budget Work Session on August 8th.

“Stay tuned”, as they say, and try not to get frightened or upset. All the City Commission is doing right now is exploring ideas. Why?

Because that’s their job as elected officials.

This will be exciting.


Tonight will tour the Brightline Station in West Palm Beach sponsored by the PBC Planning Congress in collaboration with the West Palm Beach Downtown Neighborhood Association.

Brightline representatives will be there to answer questions and provide information about the service. Following the tour will be “Clematis by Night” for the Summer in Paradise festivities.

Here’s the latest news:

Florida East Coast Industries (FECI) recently announced its new real estate brand Park-Line, offering residences for lease with unparalleled connectivity in urban locations. Located adjacent to the Brightline train station, Park-Line residences will debut in 2018 with a 290-unit tower in downtown West Palm Beach.
     The Park-Line residences will be located within steps of the Brightline express intercity train service connecting Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach with new downtown stations, a fleet of innovative trains and a complete customer-centric operating and communication offering that redefines what it means to travel by train in America.

For more information use this link.
Stay tuned for tons of photos from this tour over the next 3–4 days on this blog.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Viewing and funeral for Maxime Ducoste.


Maxime Ducoste was the Assistant Director for Planning and Preservation for the City of Lake Worth. Many of you in this City got to know him during his four years at the City’s Community Sustainability Dept. He passed away suddenly last Friday.

Maxime will be greatly missed. He had a family and was only 44 years old. A trust is being set up for the family as well as a meal train.

Viewing.

This Friday from 6:00–8:00, Quattlebaum Funeral Center, 5411 Okeechobee Boulevard, West Palm Beach (561-832-5171).

Funeral.

Saturday at 11:00, St. Ann Catholic Church, 310 North Olive Ave. in City of West Palm Beach (561-832-3757). A reception will follow.

Jeff Ostrowski with Post Exclusive today, front page news.

Below are two excerpts from this article titled, “Lake Worth to be home to Palm Beach County’s 1st pot dispensaries”:

LAKE WORTH — As Florida’s medical marijuana industry takes root, the state’s seven licensed pot producers have opened dispensaries from Miami to Pensacola — but not, at least so far, in Palm Beach County.

and. . .

     Modern Health Concepts of Miami-Dade County plans a 3,000-square-foot dispensary in a recently renovated building at 1125 N. Dixie Highway in Lake Worth. Building owner Scott Berman, who’s leasing part of a larger building to the marijuana seller, said the company aims to build a lavish space that could open in the next two months.
     “This is going to be the Starbucks of medical marijuana,” [emphasis added] Berman said. “Modern Health Concepts is spending $200,000 to $300,000 to make this a state-of-the-art facility.”

“Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. . .

. . . Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency.”
Daniel Hudson Burnham, American architect and urban planner (1846–1912).

Later today will have more information about the City of Lake Worth’s “Proposed Sales Tax Projects” and the discussion last night at the City Commission. Asst. City Manager Juan Ruiz was outstanding. And so was City Manager Michael Bornstein and City Attorney Glen Torcivia. But the stars last night were our City Commission.

The quote above was cited by Marty Welfeld, a City of Lake Worth resident, during public comment last night. And also at public comment, Downtown business owner Michelle Silvestri made an excellent case for metered parking on Lake and Lucerne avenues and connecting streets. It was wonderful to watch Betty Resch make her points about parking Downtown, as always with great aplomb.

[Note: There were many great suggestions by the public last night except for one that made the case — once again — for keeping the time limit at two minutes for the public to speak. Ergo the City Commission’s hesitancy increasing the time limit from two to three minutes across the board on all agenda items.]

The public mood seems to be, fix the problem before it becomes a bigger problem: parking Downtown. You know, “we don’t want to be like that city to the south of us.”

In brief, this was one of the best City meetings I’ve ever witnessed, an example for local governments everywhere.

A clear consensus is emerging. Last night, this City Work Session set the stage for our City — for the next 10–20 years at least — from which our future leaders will benefit and hopefully appreciate and admire. At the end of the last night’s meeting each elected official ranked their priorities going forward and will have more about that later.

Check back later on today for more about this and tomorrow as well.

A very clear vision for the future is taking shape.
Commissioner Omari Hardy on roads with a PCI* of 61–69% (the ones that didn’t make the cut for the Neighborhood Road Bond), “Invest now to save money later”. And, “We still have unpaved streets.

*PCI  =  Pavement Condition Index: “A citywide evaluation of roadway conditions was performed in which city roads were ranked according to relative condition. Evaluation parameters included roughness of pavement, cracking and pothole severity, depth of pavement and base and drainage deficiencies. Road segments were assigned a pavement condition index number (PCI) on a scale of 0 to 100 representing worst and best conditions respectively. Roadway projects were prioritized on that basis with an eye toward addressing the worst rated segments in early years. Utility master plans were also a factor in prioritizing projects.”

In hindsight: Voting for Commissioner Hardy last March — instead of the incumbent — was a “no-brainer”.


While watching the Lake Worth City Commission Work Session on the proposals for the ¢1 County Sales Tax proceeds last night (use this link or scroll down), couldn’t help but wonder what would be happening right now if the former commissioner in District 2 won his re-election bid — he didn’t — it probably didn’t help very much when the editor at the Post, in the endorsement for Mr. Omari Hardy called the incumbent a “gadfly”.

Commissioner Hardy’s first time through the recently started budget process as an elected official, his ideas for important acronyms like CDBG money, explaining what the PCI is, his coordination with the TCRPC and Dr. Kim DeLaney, the condemned pier in the C-51 that SFWMD is so concerned about and. . . well, you can see in hindsight why electing Hardy was a “no-brainer”.

For example, let’s take a look back to August 2016: the embarrassing and “Inglorious Demise” of an agenda item.

Last August the then-District 2 commissioner and now Mr. Chris McVoy, PhD, had an item placed on the City Commission agenda to Send It [water discharges] South! from Lake Okeechobee. A little problem with this agenda item (see below) is McVoy didn’t give Belle Glade Mayor Wilson, Pahokee Mayor Babb, South Bay Mayor Kyles, or Mayor Roland in Clewiston a courtesy call and say, Hey, I think your cities should be wiped off the face of the Earth.”

Another problem with McVoy’s item on the agenda was this: septic tanks were not cited as a factor in algae blooms last year, a fact he conveniently left out. And the dike surrounding Lake Okeechobee which needs serious repairs? The Herbert Hoover Dike was also not cited as one of McVoy’s concerns either.

Around the same time last year, the Palm Beach Town Council also dealt with this issue, but in quite a different way. They had a resolution about Lake Okeechobee and below are three short excerpts from this article by reporter Aleese Kopf at the Palm Beach Daily News (aka, The Shiny Sheet):

     Town Council members agreed this week to adopt a resolution urging federal and state officials to spend more money on and speed up work to store, treat and move clean water to and from Lake Okeechobee.

and. . .

     Specifically, the resolution urges lawmakers to speed up planning for water storage reservoirs south of the lake in the Everglades Agricultural Area, to speed up repair of the Herbert Hoover Dike and to eliminate septic tanks in the region. [emphasis added]

and. . .

     Council members unanimously passed the resolution. Council President Michael Pucillo said it’s worded in a way that is not “particularly controversial.”
     “We’re talking about expediting planning,” added Councilwoman Bobbie Lindsay. “We’re not asking them to buy land.”

The ingloriously deleted Consent Agenda item C at the Lake Worth City Commission:

Resolution No. 38-2016 - implement a solution to long standing water discharge issues plaguing the City
“Plaguing the City”? The Commission meeting had barely started last August when, at the 2:00 minute mark, Consent agenda item 9C is pulled from the agenda. Gone. Erased. Wiped out. Which raises some interesting questions:
  • Why did McVoy put the item on the agenda in the first place?
  • A sizable group of people showed up (or were invited) to support the resolution. Did he wave goodbye to them on their way out of town?
  • The vote was unanimous to delete it from the agenda. That’s right. McVoy voted to delete his very own agenda item. Why would he do that?

The text of the brief that accompanied this item:

AGENDA DATE: August 2, 2016, Regular Meeting
DEPARTMENT: Commissioner McVoy
EXECUTIVE BRIEF
TITLE: Resolution No. 38-2016 – implementing a solution to long standing water discharge issues plaguing the City
SUMMARY: The Resolution urges the Federal and State governments to implement solutions and fix the problems of water discharge from Kissimmee River Valley, Lake Okeechobee, and areas west of the City into the C-51 Canal.
BACKGROUND AND JUSTIFICATION: The current plumbing in South Florida allows for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to, at times of high water and for reasons of human safety, discharge waters from Lake Okeechobee into the Lake Worth Lagoon through the C-51 Canal. The discharged waters degraded quality and elevated nutrient status of Lake Okeechobee causes undesirable and widespread algal blooms.

Has anyone seen any “widespread algal blooms” in Lake Worth? Has the water been “plaguing” us? The “current plumbing”?

Not exactly the language or terminology one would expect from a PhD, is it?

Reporter Lori Hope Baumel at Around Wellington: “I have a well-kept secret and I’m going to share it with you.”


“Benzaiten is the goddess of everything that flows: water, time, words, speech, eloquence, music and by extension, knowledge.”
Source: Wikipedia.


In the past few months, the Benzaiten Center for Creative Arts has been a joyous discovery. We’ve attended a glass-blowing class, enjoyed their art gallery and have observed demonstrations by world-renowned glass artisans. Once a month they’ve hosted evening events complete with live music. The art space has a protected viewing area with bench seating for visitors and demonstrations.
     Unfortunately, the season for evening events is over. But, plan ahead, the nighttime festivities will begin again in the Fall. I will keep you posted when the live music activities return. In the meantime, you can take a glass blowing class or visit their gallery all year round.
     Located in the historic Florida East Coast Train Depot in downtown Lake Worth (in the Lake Worth Arts District), [emphasis added] this 14,500 square foot arts center is dedicated to working artists and the community at large. It has immersed the public in arts production and provides interaction with artists from around the globe. Benzaiten sponsors new works of art, encourages collaboration between peers and provides instruction from masters to emerging artists.

and. . .

     So there you have it. You now know my secret and have my permission to spread the word. As they say on their website: at Benzaiten Center for Creative Arts, “You too can become an artisan.”

To read the entire article in Around Wellington use this link. More information:

Benzaiten Center for Creative Arts:
1105 2nd Ave. South in the City of Lake Worth
561-508-7315
For more information email: aholmes@benzaitencenter.org
Hours: Tuesday–Saturday, 10:00–5:00 (closed Sunday and Monday)

FYI: From personal experience, if you’re looking for a place to hold an event or a public meeting, the Benzaiten Center is an excellent choice.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

It’s still just Silly Season and there are five already!

UPDATE: Another one has thrown a
hat into the ring!

Another candidate, this one to try and defeat Commissioner Amoroso in the elections next year. Who is it? We don’t know yet. Stay tuned.

What is Silly Season? It’s the time period prior to the Official Qualifying Period (explained below).

Election Day in the City of Lake Worth is March 13th, 2018. So far, here is who is running:

  • For mayor: Mayor Pam Triolo.
  • For commissioner, District 1: Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell, Sarah Malega.
  • For commissioner, District 3: Commissioner (and Vice Mayor Pro Tem) Andy Amoroso, ■■■ ■■■■■■■■■■.
To learn more, or to declare your intention to run for an elected seat, contact the City Clerk (561-586-1662; office hours Monday–Friday, 8:00–5:00).

To actually get your name on the ballot you have to wait for the Qualifying Period (Nov. 28th–Dec. 12th). However, some decide to declare their intention early on to begin raising money, organize a campaign staff, and gain “name recognition”, which is very important.

For a little light-heartedness, and for those of you who are new residents to this little “vibrant” City of Lake Worth, let’s take a stroll down memory lane:

“It’s a bit of an oxymoron to be an Anarchist elected official, and there’s a lot of contradictions to it.”
—Quote by Cara Jennings (watch video below).

Cara Jennings was a District 2 commissioner from 2006–2010. Jennings’ hand-picked successor was Chris McVoy, PhD (2010–2017). Omari Hardy, now Commissioner Hardy, defeated McVoy in March of this year.

Enjoy Jennings’ talk about her time as an “Anarchist elected official” after a brief introduction by The Obtuse Blogger (TOB):



It was TOB — you know, the self-described ‘conservative blogger’ — who campaigned for and supported another Anarchist who ran against Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell in 2016. Do you remember Ryan Hartman?

“By the end of the campaign, they [press/media] refused to even call me for interviews (in fact, [Post reporter] Kevin Thompson lied in two of his articles about trying to contact me). Two days before the election, the majority of my ‘team’ dropped me like a bad habit to focus on another challenger.”
Excerpt from Hartman’s concession message, March 2016. 

Get ready everyone! Will we be in for another bumpy ride? “Stay tuned” as they say.

Very soon. Lake Worth City Commission needs to have a serious discussion how it’s delivering its message to the public.


Remember July’s City of Lake Worth “NewsWorthy” newsletter delivered in the mail earlier this month?

The “Captain’s Corner” by PBSO Cpt. Baer on the “first appearance” program was especially helpful information (see below).

Later, at the City Commission meeting on July 18th, Chip Guthrie provided more information and an update on this new program. Also, on the back page of the City’s latest newsletter was “A Success Story from the Code Compliance Division”.

All great news, right?

This information and more was provided on an 8 × 10 piece of white, thrice-folded paper in black gray-scale using 6′ type.

So very 20th Century isn’t it?

As soon as possible, maybe at the next regular City Commission meeting on August 1st (or a workshop scheduled soon thereafter), there needs to be a serious discussion how the City is delivering its message. Because, “If you don’t control the message, somebody else will.”

This IS NOT how you do it:

Click on image to enlarge.
“The Art of Florida Living”? Maybe in 1980.  

Here is news, “Food Truck Invasion tomorrow night at Samuel J. Ferreri Community Park” from the City of Greenacres’ Facebook page today. Why isn’t the City of Lake Worth using Facebook?

Just in case you missed this from yesterday. . .


Already read this? Thank you for visiting today and please scroll down. Question: Have you been by the corner of S. Lakeside Drive and 1st Ave. South lately? See photos below.

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

Week ending Sunday, July 23rd, 2017. Once again, there is no progress to report. No press releases. No public community updates.

For the Weekly Progress Report ending the week of July 16th, use this link.

Do you remember the Post article last January titled, “EXCLUSIVE: Real estate company considers selling historic Gulfstream Hotel in Lake Worth” and when it was suggested the Code Enforcement Dept. was somehow responsible for all the problems at the Gulfstream property?

. . . 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.”

In the very same article in the Post Mr. Michaels, the “Hudson Holdings co-founder” suggested it was the fault of Code Enforcement for the project not moving forward (if you recall, the Post backpedaled fast from that story):

     According to William Waters, the city’s director for community sustainability who oversees the Lake Worth’s code compliance division, Hudson Holdings hasn’t done a good job of maintaining the property and has not acted in a timely manner to complaints.
     “The neighbors are unhappy,” Waters said.

Hudson Holdings* purchased the Gulfstream Hotel in May 2014. Remember how excited we all were in January 2016 when we saw the renderings for the ‘new hotel’ and how the Gulfstream would look after its “renovation”?

Let’s take a look back to the Gulfstream Hotel,
“Then and NOW!” (video from Feb. 2016):

Here are the recent photos, the corner of Lakeside Drive and 1st Ave. South:

Who is responsible for maintaining this corner? The owners of the Gulfstream? The City of Lake Worth?
Nice convenient Downtown location for criminals to hide from PBSO or ditch stolen bikes, isn’t it?

This public sidewalk is nearly impassable.

It’s Hurricane Season. Shouldn’t this overgrowth have been removed by now?

Just a reminder, from Hudson Holdings website:
“A Glimpse Into The Past”:

“Once referred to as the ‘Jewel of Lake Worth’ . . . this elegant property is undergoing a
multi-million dollar face lift”.

*To contact Hudson Holdings, 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

Reminder: Tonight. Proceeds from “1¢ Infrastructure Surtax”. Projects up for discussion at City Commission.

Earlier report this meeting was cancelled is wrong. Mistake on the City website. THIS MEETING WILL BEGIN AT 6:00 TONIGHT.

Please Note: To watch this meeting Live Streaming, at or after 6:00, use this link for the City’s website and scroll down for the “Live Broadcast Channel”.

If you haven’t see the list as yet, below are the “Proposed Sales Tax Projects” in the City of Lake Worth.

Summary

In 2016 the City Commission entered into an Interlocal Agreement with Palm Beach County and the School District of Palm Beach County to support a one-cent infrastructure surtax for capital improvement projects and equipment that were not funded due to recent economic recession and dramatic decrease in assessed property values over the past decade. In November 2016, the one-cent sales tax was approved by 56.63% of the voters of Palm Beach County. As a result, the City will receive approximately $21,675,296 million dollars over a 10-year period to complete various capital improvement projects.

and. . .

As of March 2017, the City began to receive monthly sales tax revenue distributions that are averaging nearly $213,000 for the first four months of distribution (four month total $852,000). Staff has developed a list of projects based on individual meetings with the Mayor and Commission. The projects identified as priorities will be submitted to the Palm Beach County League of Cities Infrastructure Surtax Oversight Committee to ensure that each project meets requirements of the City’s Resolution, PBC’s Sales Tax Ordinance as well as State law.

Proposed Sales Tax Projects:

  • Neighborhood Road Program [additional funding].
  • Parking garage [Downtown?].
  • Lake Worth Beach Complex Master Plan: parking, aquatics, Casino building.
  • Park of Commerce, Boutwell Road.
  • City Hall One Stop Center [customer service center].

Other Potential Projects:

  • Solar Powered School Crossing Signs.
  • Spillway Park Fishing Pier removal [closed for public safety].

Re-post: Let’s just say there was a huge spike — or a “storm surge” of interest if you will — traffic to my blog yesterday.

The City of Lake Worth’s Electric Utility, “Blows Again”.

“[S]everal appliances, such as refrigerators, were blown by the power surge, and the affected parties had difficulty phoning in their problem to the utility company because of the communication gap.”

From The Lake Worth Herald, its “Ninety-Fourth Year” of publishing, March 30th, 2006.

Click on image to enlarge:

Question: Were you a Lake Worth Electric Utility customer last year? Do you remember “Maligned Lake Worth survived storm well”?

“Back in the day”, even before hurricanes Francis and Jeanne in 2004 (exactly two weeks apart), and then Hurricane Wilma in 2005:

“We had what were referred to as ‘palm frond’ or ‘small dead animal’ excuses the City would use for virtually inexplicable outages, some occurring during clear weather, in the middle of the day.”

Needless to say, a lot has changed since then.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Charrette today through Wednesday: Dixie Hwy. Multimodal Corridor Study at the Lake Worth Art Center.


First, it’s great having our former shuffleboard courts in the Downtown being a hub of activity once again: a community meeting place for Central Palm Beach County residents.

The Lake Worth Art Center is located at
1121 Lucerne Ave.

This “Open Studio Charrette” is Monday–Wednesday, 10:00–7:00.
I attended the workshop last Saturday. Below are photos and more information.

There was a constant coming-and-going while
I was there: reviewing ideas and some
proffering their own.

The “Lake Worth Art Center” will soon be renamed officially Hatch 1121. It proved to be an excellent place to gather for an event such as this. Attendees used a sign-in sheet (see sign-in table below) and got to see and review possible makeovers to the most important local transportation corridor through eastern metropolitan Palm Beach County.

Table at the entrance with information
about this study.

As I was pulling into the parking area, Dr. Kim Delaney from the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council exited her vehicle with lunch for everyone. There were enough sandwiches, wraps, and provisions from TooJays to feed a small army.

While greeting and looking at the exhibits I found out a group had already left to go “out in the field”, walking the Dixie Hwy. corridor to familiarize themselves with conditions experienced by pedestrians, bicyclists, and those otherwise not using a motor vehicle of some sort.

Here are more pictures I took of the exhibits and those in attendance:

Mr. Greg Rice, one of our City’s most engaged citizens and Chair of the P&Z Board was there, next to Commissioner Herman Robinson (yellow shirt).

Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell (right) greets a visitor from the City of Lantana.
Meet Lantana Mayor Dave Stewart. 

“Building blocks” used to create different
right-of-way cross-sections.

The same “building blocks” used to show the
existing problematic condition of the
right-of-way on Dixie Hwy.







Remember, your role is to provide ideas. A charrette is the public’s time for input and feedback on planning and design of future projects.

Today, EVERY MONDAY, is the Lake Worth Very Very Special Monday Collector Print Edition (LWVVSMCPE)!

The big news today in the Post’s LWVVSMCPE isn’t by Lake Worth’s beat reporter.

The story with the biggest impact for many years to come on the future of our little City is by reporter Wayne Washington (check back later for link to article). If you’ve been following the latest developments on County “impact fees you know this is a very big deal for future City budgets and the changes sought by Lake Worth Mayor Pam Triolo:

These are fees developers, builders, etc., have to pay to move forward with a project. The amount of money these developers, et al., had to pay was not insignificant — dollars that were then sent by the County to communities, some far out west near the Everglades — and the City of Lake Worth received just pennies on the dollar in return.

The other big development (pardon the pun) is the news blackout on the Meritage Homes “Lake Cove” housing project is now over. It’s reported on page B3 today, a short piece about this exciting new project. However, several significant points were left out, e.g., the vote was unanimous at the City Commission, access points to the site, and how all this ties in with the Blueway Trail.

NOTE: The Posts news blackout remains in place, not reporting about the Blueway Trail project.

About the LWVVSMCPE: Did you know there are only six Special Cities in Palm Beach County? And Delray Beach IS NOT one of them.

But the City of Lake Worth is a Special City.
Every Monday!

“IN YOUR COMMUNITY”. To contact the reporter use this link.
Post reporter Lulu Ramadan covers the stodgy Delray Beach beat. That city has been eclipsed by Boynton Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, West Palm Beach, Lake Worth, the Town of Jupiter and Village of Wellington as well.

Why is the City of Lake Worth in ascendance?

Do you remember the “KEEPSAKE” published by the Post that was all the rage in Palm Beach County?

“Lake Worth is truly the place ‘where the tropics begin’ and the fun never ends.”
“Lake Worth is a dynamic, multi-cultural city with a strong social and environmental consciousness. People are drawn to the city by its independent character, acceptance of different cultures”. . .

The Herald: Addressing mis- and disinformation on amending the City’s “Chronic Nuisance Property Code”.


Below is front page news in The Lake Worth Herald.
Pick up the Herald at the City’s Downtown newsstand, 600 Lake Ave. To contact the editor use this link.

Excerpts from the article:

The City Commission of the City of Lake Worth passed on first reading an ordinance to amend the Chronic Nuisance Property Code. This ordinance will amend the Chronic Nuisance Property Code by updating many of its provisions.
     Under section 2-201, “Pattern of nuisance activity” was amended to include as nuisance activities: two (2) or more calls for service within a period of thirty (30) days to the same property [emphasis added] for police, fire, medic, or other emergency personnel to assist an individual who displays the symptoms of an overdose of a controlled substance; and failure to comply with a code enforcement order entered by the special magistrate.
     Instead of having the process where the property owner develops his or her own action plan, the ordinance was retooled to allow the city to create a “Chronic Nuisance Abatement Agreement” that will include an action plan developed by both parties. Director of Sustainability, William Waters said,
“A signed agreement will be more effective than an action plan standing alone and it will put all parties on notice as to what their duties and responsibilities are.”

and. . .

In the last few years the city has seen an increase in the number of calls the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and fire rescue and medics have responded to due to opioid overdoses.

lastly. . .

“These calls have created a disproportionate drain on public services and city resources.”

Pushing through to the other side: The Casino debate and the tipping point.


This time of year is usually a quiet one for local governments but it won’t stay quiet for long. The next Lake Worth regular City Commission meeting is coming up on August 1st. If you didn’t hear about what is likely to happen — news from City Attorney Glen Torciviause this link to find out.

Below, learn about the tipping point, vis-à-vis the public debate about our Beach, Casino and pool: It happened in May 2015.

There is simply too much to point out what is discussed in the three videos below (1st video is 2:36 minutes, 2nd is 9:22, 3rd is 2:46). What Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell said in these videos shocked a lot of people, caused much wringing-of-hands, hysterics, and quite a bit of furious historical revisionism from those who would prefer the Casino and “BEACH!” history all began in 2012.

The history of that structure and terrible mistakes went back much further than that.

Do you recall the Invitation To Negotiate (ITN) process? The majority on the City Commission, Mayor Pam Triolo, Commissioner Andy Amoroso, and Maxwell were greatly criticized for going this route to solve the problems with the Casino. But, interestingly, the ITN also opened the proverbial “can of worms” and many started asking the question:

How did we get here and who is responsible?

Note the “1/3” icon in the top left corner. Click on that to switch and watch another video:

Maxwell should know very well what went on back then. He was there at the time watching it all happen and warning of the train wreck to come. When Maxwell was speaking you could see how uncomfortable a former commissioner was, with good reason.

While Vice Mayor Maxwell speaks the former District 2 commissioner (Chris McVoy, PhD) reacts in 2015.
Why the deer-in-the-headlights look? McVoy was one of the ‘visionaries’ who made all those terrible decisions. “What! It wasn’t me! I was doing a soil survey in Mongolia.”

Do you remember Greater Bay? The plan with the parking garage and a renovated pool?
Use this link to learn more.

Editor at The Palm Beach Post goofs again. Did you see this ‘news’ in the print edition?

Lake Worth

Grouper workshop scheduled for July 31st

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has scheduled a public workshop to be held July 31 in Lake Worth to gather input on Goliath grouper management, including the possibility of a limited harvest in Florida state waters.

Is this workshop “in Lake Worth”? No.

This workshop will be held at the Lantana Road Branch Library located at 4020 Lantana Rd. in suburban Lake Worth (directions below). The library’s Zip Code is 33462; please refer to the map below.

And besides, Lantana Rd. doesn’t even go through Lake Worth. Click on image to enlarge:
The editor at the Post needs another lesson on Zip Codes. This map is courtesy of Palm Beach County government.

Would you like more information on Goliath grouper management and the upcoming workshop on July 31st?

  • Use this link or contact Amanda Nalley at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission:
  • 850-410-4943
  • Email: Amanda.Nalley@MyFWC.com

Directions to the Lantana Road Branch Library:

  • By Bus: Palm Tran Route 71 and Route 63.
  • From I-95: Exit at Lantana Road – SR 812 (Exit 61); go west to Lawrence Road and turn left at light. Library is on the southwest corner of the intersection.
  • From Florida’s Turnpike: Exit at Lake Worth Road (Exit 93); go east to Military Trail, turn right (south) to Lantana Road (SR 812); turn left and get in the right lane and turn right into the library parking lot just before the traffic light at the corner of Lawrence Road.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Reflections. The passing last Friday of Maxime Ducoste.


Maxime was the Assistant Director for Planning and Preservation for the City of Lake Worth. Many of you probably got to know him during his four years at the City’s Community Sustainability Dept. If you needed a variance or some sort, a development approval for your property, stopped in or called, you may have dealt with Maxime.

You’ll remember him a pleasant soul, respectful and ever courteous.

Earlier this week I announced his untimely passing and am still, like many others, having trouble dealing with the sadness and the suddenness of it all. A tragedy for his family, friends and all his colleagues presently and all of his colleagues in the past as well.

Readers of this blog are all too familiar of truly wonderful and dedicated people, older and in poor health, who succumbed to illness after a long battle. When the day comes though, it is still a shock. The news of Maxime’s passing is altogether different. He was only 44 years old.  

Maxime was the lead staff person who attended the Historic Resource Preservation Board (HRPB) meetings during my last stint as a member, and then later as the Chair of the HRPB. Mr. Ducoste, I referred to him that way because his personal demeanor deserved that respect, was the consummate professional.

Recall many contentious issues before the board. When applicants were confused or upset, and the board was going back and forth trying to work our way through one agenda item or another, Maxime was a steady and calming influence. He was always composed, deliberate. In a City known for “lively” public discourse, I never once recall Maxime getting flustered or impatient.

As the present members of the HRPB can attest he was always open to questions and queries. If he didn’t have that information right away, he would deliver it promptly. Maxime really was, in every way, one of the shining stars on the City’s staff. He will be sincerely missed.

My heart goes out to his surviving family members, friends and others who knew Maxime. I will make you aware of memorial arrangements when they become available.

Maxime left this Earth much too early. Keep his family in your prayers.