Friday, December 28, 2018

Looking past the New Year, this is the calm before the storm.

The blog post below is from two weeks ago
reminding people that,

Public opposition to a homeless resource center nearby does not mean they “hate homeless people”.

Folks. This is a huge developing story in Central Palm Beach County. This story has been picked up by the Sun Sentinel and other news outlets. The public and business leaders in the City of Lake Worth and the Village of Palm Springs need to get involved. It would behoove the public and elected leaders in the City of Greenacres to pay close attention to this as well.

Below is contact information for your elected leaders on the PBC Commission and local City elected leadership.

When you contact elected officials: Be nice! Be courteous! Be respectful!

Whatever your opinion(s) about the topic below, make a case for your position. Saying things like, “If you let this happen I will never vote for you again.” That does not work. Your elected leaders hear that same line twenty times a day. Instead be proactive and come up with ideas.

Without further ado. . .

[T]he area is always looked at for “these types of facilities” and never for economic development. “Don’t just look at us for homeless resource centers,” he [Torcivia] told the commission.

Quote. Palm Springs Village Attorney Glen Torcivia addressing the Palm Beach County Commission. Source: Reporter Alexandra Seltzer at The Palm Beach Post. Datelined Dec. 5th, 2018.

The link to the story in The Palm Beach Post and more information about this topic is later in this blog post.

Just because residents oppose constructing a homeless resource center in or near their municipality does not mean they ‘hate homeless people’. If you listen closely, they may actually be saying there are better locations to be considered. And they may be right.

From two weeks ago on this blog pointed out, if you didn’t know know, very soon the Village of Palm Springs could be ground zero for another vociferous public debate about the homeless. And hopefully it will not get out of control like what happened in the City of Lake Worth two years ago.

The Palm Beach County Commission is seriously considering a homeless resource center in or near the Village of Palm Springs. That was front page news in the Post.

A clarification was needed in the print edition about that news report and of course no clarification was published. The editor(s) at the Post don’t do things like that. They should. But they don’t.

Briefly, in the third paragraph of this story headlined, “Proposed county homeless center faces opposition, money woes” is this sentence:

County commissioners signed off this week on allocating about $8 million for a new facility planned for western Lake Worth [sic].

There is no such place in Central Palm Beach County as ‘western Lake Worth’. This is a misleading geographic designation that gets resurrected now and then.

Some in the public may confuse ‘western Lake Worth’ to mean the area in the City of Lake Worth west of I-95. A new facility proposed as a homeless resource center would more accurately be reported in the Post as located in “suburban Lake Worth” or one could also say “unincorporated Lake Worth”.

That needed to be clarified. But those sort of clarifications never happen.

Now back on topic. About the front page news
in the Post.

What follows is a cautionary tale for the public in the Village of Palm Springs and this City of Lake Worth too.

This story is not a new one. On constructing another center for the homeless in the area originally it was argued by supporters the City of Lake Worth should construct one. Completely impossible. And then later the idea was to build one in the County’s John Prince Park. Also impossible. The residents in the City of Atlantis would never allow that to happen. And now the plan is to construct one in or near the Village of Palm Springs near the intersection of Lake Worth Rd. and Kirk Rd.

That area includes Palm Springs and some unincorporated areas as well. From the news report by Alexandra Seltzer is this excerpt:

County commissioners say addressing homelessness is both a legislative and a budgetary priority, but conceded the total cost projections for this center are hefty.

“This is a heavy lift,” Vice Mayor David Kerner said. “It’s an important lift.”

Looking back some of you may recall what happened in this City of Lake Worth back in January 2016. That’s when all hell broke loose when the homeless ‘advocates’ descended on the City when an ordinance was proposed, and later passed, to control the out-of-control activities in the Downtown Cultural Plaza at night. The Post referred to it as a ‘curfew’ which was completely false.

And also in January 2016 were all the antics in Lake Worth City Hall when critics accused our elected officials of not caring about the homeless and one of those critics said, “The last time I checked that [the Senator Philip D. Lewis Center] is in West Palm Beach.” The insinuation, of course, that our elected officials were either out of touch or didn’t care.

The upheaval in early 2016 was terrible. The supporters of constructing another center for the homeless pulled in protesters from Sarasota and Tampa and from out-of-state too. The objective was to throw the majority out of City Hall. But in the end, Mayor Pam Triolo and commissioners Scott Maxwell and Andy Amoroso all got re-elected by landslides.

The day after that election the protesters went away and never came back.

But maybe not for long.

Here is more information from Seltzer in the news today:

[O]fficials from Palm Springs listed a variety of other concerns for [County] commissioners, including:
  • Village manager Rich Reade said he worries about the safety of the men and women using the facility and accessing it by Lake Worth Road, a busy, major street that he said has seen 21 deaths in the past five years;
  • Village Councilwoman Joni Brinkman said the county hasn’t been communicating with Palm Springs officials about their interest in the site;
  • Village attorney Glen Torcivia said there are homeless residents across the county and questioned why this new facility was proposed for the Lake Worth area. Torcivia said the area is always looked at for “these types of facilities” and never for economic development.

The plan, it appears, is to get the municipalities in Palm Beach County to contribute to the “$5.29 million annual price tag”. What the City of Lake Worth’s contribution would be is not known at this time.

If you have thoughts or concerns about this topic then contact the three County Commissioners that represent this region in Central Palm Beach County (which includes the City of Lake Worth, the Village of Palm Springs and the surrounding unincorporated areas):

To contact the Mayor and four councilmembers in the Village of Palm Springs call 561-965-4011 or click on this link. To contact the Village Manager, Mr. Richard Reade, use this link.

To contact the Mayor and each of the four commissioners in the City of Lake Worth click on this link. The City Manager for Lake Worth is Mr. Michael Bornstein.