Thursday, February 7, 2019

For new and recently-new residents of this City of Lake Worth: There was a true crisis in this City that preceded you.

Two and a half years ago the problem reached a tipping point. The public had had enough. And then. . .

The public demanded answers.

The elected leaders listened.

Then a public meeting was called.

This was a night that shocked the press, news media, and County leaders too. The message then was sent to Washington, D.C.

Some background.

The ‘sober home’ crisis did not begin in 2016. It began much earlier than that. As early as 2015 Lake Worth Commissioner Andy Amoroso sent out the alarm about sending so many people, “back home to their families in body bags” — which some mistook as a joke — people being sent here on the pretense of getting ‘treatment’. It wasn’t a joke.

In 2017 seventy-four people (74) died from drug overdoses in this City. Many of them ‘in treatment’.

And crime was rampant in these ‘treatment facilities’ as well. Just one of many tragedies, for example, a tragedy for a family that lost a loved on September 9th, 2015.

But unfortunately our paper of record in Palm Beach County had other priorities back in 2015–2016.

Headquartered in West Palm Beach, the editor(s) at The Palm Beach Post did not come to realize the true extent of this crisis until much later. But by then the Post and WPB had their own crisis on their hands: the out-of-control homicide rate in 2017 that continued into 2018.

It is only speculation now, but what if the editor(s) at the Post had made the sober home epidemic a much higher priority and much sooner than they did? How much better off would this County be in the present day?

But it was left to municipalities to deal with this problem. And that they did. And crucially important people like State Attorney Dave Aronberg were already on the case.

The Lake Worth City Commission
back in September 2016:

From L to R: Now Vice Mayor Andy Amoroso, still District 1 Commissioner Scott Maxwell and Mayor Pam Triolo, still mayor. The two commissioners on the right came late to the problem of ‘sober homes’. They paid the price the following year.

The Lake Worth City Commission following the
March 2017 elections; the current City Commission:

And we continue. . .

Back to what happened in September 2016.

The residents of this City turned out en masse (see image below). One of the most crowded public turnouts for a public meeting going back many, many years. The public said: Solve this epidemic of so-called ‘sober homes’ in our neighborhoods. And start now.

It was this public meeting that later really got the attention of everyone in the press and news media when they heard about what happened that night on September 26th, 2016. Why? Because later, after this meeting was scheduled by the City, it was learned the Trump/Clinton debate would be held on the very same evening. It was thought a lot of people would stay home. And it was a Monday night as well. The political experts thought it would be a low turnout.

All the pundits and political ‘experts’ were wrong.

The public event scheduled at the Scottish Rite to address the high level of community concern about ‘sober homes’ began at 6:00. The Trump/Clinton debate would begin at 8:00 and that news was front page news and the TV news leads everywhere, a complete saturation.

But at 5:30 or so the cars started to arrive at the Scottish Rite. Then people began to arrive on bikes. There was a carpool or five and that huge hall was packed to overflowing. More crowded than most had ever seen it before. And the public kept coming. And coming. The editor at The Lake Worth Herald was in attendance. Reporter Peter Hayden from WLRN showed up and so did one from the Post. That was about it from the news media.

But it didn’t matter if the press or news media showed up anyway. Because the message from that night was heard loud and clear all throughout this City and Palm Beach County and to the halls in the U.S. Congress as well.

So. . . A question. Were you there that night?

Did you leave that meeting thinking
nothing would ever change?

Partial view of the hall.
Click on image to enlarge:

Your voice did matter. I was there that night.
It was a huge turnout by residents and business owners here in the City of Lake Worth.

To read more about that meeting, an account posted on this blog the very next day, click on this link.

Is the issue of crime, community stability, and protecting your neighborhood a high concern for you? Scroll back up and take another look at the photo.

Were you there?

There are many ways to solve problems like crime in our City. Lot’s of ways. Attend NAPC neighborhood meetings, organize your neighbors, or show up at a City Commission meeting and make public comment.

Or. . .

  • Contact PBSO’s Volunteer Headquarters: 561-433-2003; email:
  • Citizen Observer Patrol (COP).
  • Call the “Friends of the PBSO Volunteers” at 561-317-7624.

Use this link for more information.

Two more photographs from the
meeting in September 2016.
Assistant State Attorney Al Johnson
addressing the assembled crowd.

Lake Worth Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell:

It was Maxwell who invited Al Johnson to speak
and address this issue of high concern in
our City’s neighborhoods.

Make a big difference. Contact the NAPC and find out what you can do to help. Send an email to:

“No tip is too small.” Stay anonymous. No fear of retribution. And collect a reward.