Friday, April 26, 2019

Whatever happened to the bells and whistles, pots and pans, bullhorns. . .


. . . protesters chanting slogans, clever signs, colorful papier-mâché costumes, and noisemakers from the dollar store?


The absence of protests here in Lake Worth Beach has the public all over the County asking, “Whatever happened to good ole Lake Worth?”


This little six-square-mile City was once known as ground zero for the protest movement in Palm Beach County. Almost anyone could start a protest for almost any reason. For example, somebody from ‘Food Not Bombs’ upset about development in the Ag Reserve could rally local radical environmentalists (aka, “rads”) and fellow-travelers from places like Ft. Lauderdale and Sarasota, make a few calls to the press and news media, show up outside Lake Worth City Hall one day and . . . Voilà! A protest!

Getting 40–50 supporters to show up and protest used to be the norm here in the City of Lake Worth until about nine years ago.

Below are newspaper clippings, examples of how it used to be, protesters circa 2003–2005 shutting down traffic and climbing up in trees!


It truly is incomprehensible there has not been a protest of any significance in this City since early January to mid-March 2016, over three years ago during that year’s municipal elections. The Election Season in 2017 was quiet. And so was 2018 and 2019 too. What gives?

Sure, there have been a few polite and non-confrontational gatherings at City Hall and at City parks and a couple of well-controlled and well-mannered ‘marches’ from one place to another, but nothing like what happened in Downtown Lake Worth in early 2016.

One reason could be the tradition of protesting, shutting down traffic and protesters climbing up into trees went by the wayside after PBSO took over in 2009. PBSO, one could say, is a bit less tolerant of such activities than the former Lake Worth PD was. No doubt law enforcement improved greatly after PBSO took over but the case can also be made it’s become a whole lot less entertaining.

For example, the former LWPD had their hands full “back in the day” when the news first hit about a structure called the Lucerne in Downtown Lake Worth.


Front page of The Lake Worth Herald
datelined April 10th, 2003.

Click on image to enlarge:

Construction of the Lucerne began in 2003. Despite lawsuits and quite frequent and very creative protests, the structure was completed in 2005.

Now from the archives: Newspaper clippings from The Palm Beach Post and The Lake Worth Herald, protests and protesters circa 2003–2005.


From the Post: An Anarchist suspended from a bamboo tripod being saved by LWPD.

Click on all images to enlarge:

“. . . [W]ho was protesting downtown condominium plans in Lake Worth.” LWPD allowed the protesters a lot of leeway for Free Speech . . . but not when it came to shutting down traffic.


Back then Rodney Romano was the mayor
of Lake Worth.

Clipping from The Lake Worth Herald:

“More than 65 percent of the
condos have been sold.”


Another newspaper clipping from the Post:

“Protester goes out on a limb”: Thankfully our former City horticulturist was trained in
crisis management.


Summertime is always a slow time of year for protesters. Remember, protests are open to the public. So if you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to join a protest everyone is welcome to participate. Maybe some time soon the call will go out:


“Hey! Let’s protest like it’s 2016 again!”