Sunday, March 3, 2019

The greatest political feat ever in the history of this little City of Lake Worth.

It happened in the late afternoon on January 20th, 2013 on the top floor of the Gulfstream Hotel.

Here is a little background. . .

Back in 2013 the situation was dire. The ‘heights vote’ on March 12th, 2013 was later declared “null and void”. But the “Yes” crowd from the inaptly named ‘Respectful Planning Lake Worth’ (RPLW) had been on a seemingly unstoppable campaign to misinform and confuse the public.

Here are some of the images they used
to frighten the public:

Knock Knock. “Did you know your elected officials want to raise building heights all over the downtown?” Click on images to enlarge.

To learn more about that ‘overwhelming’ heights vote in 2013 that wasn’t overwhelming at all
click on this link.

Another one:

Gulfstream Hotel takes center stage with more tall big white boxes.

And another one. . .

Something had to happen. Some way to convince the public to vote “No”.

And something did happen. And it almost worked. But what did happen was the public started paying very close attention to what was happening.

Question 1 was moving municipal elections from November back to March. Question 2 was the so-called ‘overwhelming’ heights vote:

As reported by Post reporter Lona O’Connor: “On July 2 [2013], interim city attorney Glen Torcivia told commissioners that a new state law appears to nullify the election. At that meeting Laurel Decker, one of the organizers of the March 12 referendum, vowed to take the city to court.”

And they did take the City to court. And then they lost again.

Now back to the greatest political feat ever in this City of Lake Worth.

A true tour de force at the Gulfstream Hotel later on in this blog post. And also below is a lesson for everyone planning a run for elected office. Proofreading your election material is very important as well. For example:

“Please Vote on March 23th”
“For a ride to the pools call. . .”

Yes. The instructions above did make in onto an election mailer here in the City of Lake Worth, delivered to every single super-voter (one who votes in every election).

And there also is encouragement and forewarning below for everyone who is planning to run for election in the future. Losing an election can be devastating but if you are passionate about something keep moving forward, act like the election never happened. For example, let’s examine the case of someone who suffered a devastating election loss thirteen years ago.

Rest In Peace:
Loretta Sharpe, November 4th, 1938–
January 26th, 2016.

Loretta Sharpe was one of a kind. Raised in New England she grew up in an era when political entertainment was an art form in the tradition of politicians like Thomas ‘Tip’ O’Neill.

Loretta Sharpe was involved in City of Lake Worth politics for a very long time. And one of Loretta’s passions was the historic Gulfstream Hotel and the now vacant lot to the west where she envisioned a brand new hotel. Loretta would be thrilled to learn that Hudson Holdings is gone but the City’s approvals remain in place.

By May 2013 Loretta was very ill but that didn’t slow her down a bit, especially when it came to political causes important to her. For example, for many years she fought to get the roads and potholes fixed in this City, especially in areas west of Dixie Hwy. She went completely all-in to get the August 2014 Road Bond referendum passed but it failed by just twenty-five (25) votes. Following that loss — one that struck many of us supporters of the bond very hard — and in one of the lowest moments in Lake Worth politics Loretta’s name was put on a bullet by a self-described conservative blogger.

Yes. That really happened. Ask someone you know who was involved back in 2014 trying to get that bond referendum passed.

Maybe that bullet was a warning: don’t try and put another referendum on the ballot again. But if that bullet was a warning, it backfired in a big way. The ballot referendum on November 8th, 2016 passed by a whopping 69%. Sadly, Loretta was not here to celebrate.

Even after a very long illness and many trips to the hospital, it still came a big shock for everyone to hear of Loretta’s passing.

Because this City meant so much to her Loretta tried to get elected to the City Commission back in 2005 (see image below) but came in third in a three-person race. But politics was in her blood and she never gave up. The meetings at her home on South Palmway were the stuff of legends. And if Loretta was angry, everyone knew it. And sometimes it was just for show. If you knew what to look for she had that little wink of an eye. And. . . 

Loretta will always be remembered for the greatest political stunt in the history of this City: “Hanging of the banner from the Gulfstream Hotel (see video below).

Excerpt from mailer below: “There is no area of Lake Worth Ms. Sharpe has not ventured, and no issue on which she is not informed.”

A political mailer from 2005.

Click on image to enlarge:

Loretta lost this election. Maybe a more experienced proofreader would have helped:

“Please Vote on March 23th”

“For a ride to the pools call. . .”

Now to the greatest political show in this 105-year-old City.

It was back in May 2013, even though in very poor health, it was Loretta Sharpe who first stood up to fight against THE BIG LIE about building heights in Lake Worth. Back in early 2012 THE LIARS got such a huge head start confusing the public that no one thought it was possible to get the truth out: excerpt for Loretta.

And it all started with rallying the troops, “The Hanging of the Banner”.

Here’s the short version of the story: I got a call from Loretta in January 2013 and she told me there was a meeting at her house, she lived on South Palmway at the time, and my attendance was mandatory. When Loretta told you to be somewhere you better be there. She had ideas to talk about: one of them was hanging a gigantic banner atop the Gulfstream Hotel to win the ‘heights vote’. Everyone thought she had lost her mind. Including myself. But Loretta’s idea was brilliant and everyone noticed. . .

In Memoriam.

Oh — and by the way — Loretta got fined by the State of Florida for that banner. And she paid it, all $200 of it, with pride and great fanfare. After sending the check off to Tallahassee she had a big party. She was expecting a $500 fine.