Saturday, November 17, 2018

From Drew Martin at the Sierra Club: East-west passenger rail in Palm Beach County and air-conditioned network of trolleys and platforms.


Passenger rail, the planning and construction of modern and convenient east-west transportation in PBC takes on all new significance coming on the heels of the exciting news yesterday about Brightline and Richard Branson, as reported by business journalist Jeff Ostrowski at The Palm Beach Post:


Brightline and Virgin Group said Friday [Nov. 16th] they will form a “strategic partnership” that includes a name change for the private rail service between West Palm Beach and Miami.

Brightline will rename itself Virgin Trains USA this month and adopt the Virgin Trains USA branding in 2019.


Let’t take a look back. An exciting and provocative idea: East-west rail in South Florida.


Imagine if you could take high-speed rail to West Palm Beach and then the trolley to Wellington? No traffic. No worries. And fast.

Drew Martin presented his ideas (see below) about improving passenger rail in Palm Beach County at the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council (TCRPC) meetings in October 2016 and in June 2017. Learn more about that below. Mr. Martin is the media/press spokesman for the Loxahatchee Sierra Club and he can be contacted by clicking on this link.


[Take Note: The next TCRPC meeting is on December 14th. In the meantime the public is awaiting the minutes from the meetings held on September 21st and the one on October 12th: “Joint Meeting with the South Florida Regional Planning Council in Broward County”.

Hopefully those minutes will be available soon. Do you know who represents Palm Beach County on the TCRPC? To find out click on this link.]

Now to Mr. Martin and his ideas for improving
the passenger rail network in PBC:


It really came as a big surprise at first for many upon learning that Drew Martin is a supporter of expanding passenger rail service going east-west in PBC even though much of this construction could possibly impact environmentally-sensitive areas such as the Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge, stormwater treatment areas and water sources such as Grassy Waters preserve.

But in the context of population growth, improving the environment, reducing greenhouse gases and making our transportation needs more sustainable, Mr. Martin’s idea makes perfect sense from the environmentalist perspective.

Mr. Martin brought up this idea at the TCRPC in June 2017. Read more about that below.

Another intriguing idea from Mr. Martin was providing air-conditioned bus stops and train platforms for the public to encourage more use of public transportation. Whether all that extra energy needed for air-conditioning provided mostly by FPL (generated by natural gas) would offset the use of gasoline and diesel fuel for passenger vehicles is something that will have to be studied, e.g., whether or not it’s carbon neutral and makes sense economically.

But on the topic of east-west passenger rail and public transportation it is worth noting that former Lake Worth commissioners Ryan Maier and Chris McVoy, PhD, two outspoken environmentalists in their own right and both of whom supported All Aboard Florida early on (later to become Brightline and the next phase of the project, the Coastal Link), it certainly makes sense that expanding passenger rail going east-west in this County is an idea worth considering.

From Mr. Martin about public transportation given at Public Comment at the TCRPC meeting in June 2017 on the topic of east-west transportation and commuter rail: 


“He [Drew Martin] stated he also attended the mobility conference in West Palm Beach and felt it was well done. He stated there was talk about public transportation and getting people out of their cars, but it was limited to I-95 and downtown West Palm Beach. He stated what we need to look at is some sort of trolley system that will run all the way out to the Village of Royal Palm Beach, because there really is no east/west public transportation. He also noted there was an interesting proposal to have air-conditioned train stations for the public to encourage more use of public transportation.”


And from a TCRPC meeting in October 2016 are these two excerpts:


He [Drew Martin] agreed it is not practical to always ride your bike or take transit in Florida, especially in summer, but until we get air conditioning at bus stops, it will be hard to get people to stand in the sun to wait for a bus. He said it is a good idea, but we would have to change how people live their lives.

and. . .


He stated he does not understand why people never turn off their cars. He stated he saw a woman yesterday park her car in the shade, leave the car running, and get out and smoke a cigarette. He suggested having the schools release the grades at different times. He said because everyone is released at the same time, there is gridlock anywhere near a school.


Do you like Drew Martin’s idea of air-conditioned bus stops and AC for passenger rail platforms? How about the idea of passenger rail going east-west in PBC?

Take some time and think about Martin’s idea of an east-west network of interconnected trolleys and how this could all fit in with Brightline passenger rail and the future project called the Coastal Link!

For example, you could get off a Coastal Link train in the City of Lake Worth and then take a trolley to Greenacres and then on to Wellington. Or. . .

  • Have a trolley connect Palm Beach Gardens to Westlake.
  • Connect West Palm Beach to Royal Palm Beach and Belle Glade.
  • Trolleys from Delray Beach to the US 27 Intermodal Corridor; then trains south to Miami or north to South Bay.

The ideas are limitless. Here is an environmental concern of Martin expressed in June 2017 at the TCRPC:


“He [Martin] indicated he attended an Oceans Forum presentation by the Nature Conservancy that showed the value of the reefs off Palm Beach County are particularly significant, because of their huge economic value. He noted another thing that is damaging the reefs is the use of sunscreen.”


Have yet to learn much more about the damaging effects of sunscreen on our reefs, but when that information becomes available will most certainly share the details and any alternatives to sunscreen available for local fans of our beaches and for visitors up north planning a vacation during the upcoming Fall/Winter Season later this year.

And maybe prior to considering Drew Martin’s idea of an east-west passenger rail trolley network. . .


. . . and maybe just slightly more important than the possible harmful effects of sunscreen came this information from the very same TCRPC meeting in June 2017 from Martin County Commissioner Doug Smith, news which came as a very big surprise for many of the public here in Palm Beach County:


“He [Commissioner Smith] stated one of the concerns is Palm Beach County getting their National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) accreditation, because the [Herbert Hoover] dike is not fixed.”


For more about the Herbert Hoover Dike and Lake Okeechobee click on this link to learn about what happened at the TCRPC meeting in July 2017.

For another interesting read click on this link for an article published in Risk & Insurance titled, “The Day the Dike Breaks” by reporter Dan Reynolds.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Invasive iguanas and upcoming Fall/Winter Season in South Florida: What you need to know.


As bad as the iguana infestation is this year in many areas in South Florida, next year could very well be much worse. And what is just as troubling is The Palm Beach Post has yet to report any news at all about this situation. One could say the editor(s) at the Post are avoiding this issue, “like the plague”.

How bad exactly is it? Bad enough that a Palm Beach County commissioner has sounded the alarm.

Here is the reason why.


Mother Nature in South Florida only has one answer to solving the infestation of iguanas. And that is 2–3 days of very cold weather with overcast skies so the critters cannot warm their bodies up during the daytime.

When the temperature hovers near freezing on the first night it zaps the reptile’s energy but they can still hang on. On day two around midnight is when they begin falling out of trees which sounds funny but it’s not if it lands on your head or on your pets head. Or your car. A case example is what occurred during The Great Iguana Crisis of 2009 here in the City of Lake Worth (learn more about that below).

And then on Day 3 when the sun goes down it’s “Thump! Thump! Thump!” all night long. It’s not all bad though for those who enjoy eating iguana and below are a few new recipes. But for everyone else hope for the best.

Because if this weather prediction is accurate, well, we’re in for some deep doo-doo next Spring and Summer:


The Farmer’s Almanac predicts a mild Winter in South Florida. That is good news for iguanas and very bad news for humans. To learn more continue reading.

And please note: This blog post today is a longer read than the typical post on this blog — but if the topic of iguanas and this year’s infestation is of interest to you then everything you need to know is below — including an alarming press release from a Palm Beach County commissioner.


This year’s iguana infestation was big news in the Sun Sentinel, The Coastal Star, and other press outlets but incredulously this news has yet to be reported in The Palm Beach Post.

This is no joke. This very serious problem was first noted in Miami-Dade and Broward counties in the Sun Sentinel last June (see news below). Reporter Dan Moffet at The Coastal Star broke the news about the infestation of iguanas here in Central Palm Beach County earlier in October.

The problem with iguanas has gotten so bad in Palm Beach County that County Commissioner Steven Abrams had issued a press release:


Many residents in South County (including myself) are experiencing ongoing problems with the growing population of iguanas. I recently met with officials at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC) to discuss the problem.


See the entire press release from Commissioner Abrams at the end of this blog post [FYI: Robert S. Weinroth is now the District 4 PBC Commissioner, winning election on Nov. 6th; Commissioner Abrams was term-limited and could not run for another term].

Ways to eliminate iguanas, news from WLRN reporter Nancy Klingener:

According to the FWC [Fish and Wildlife Commission], iguanas are not protected in Florida — except by anti-animal cruelty laws. It is legal to shoot them on private property during daylight hours with the property owners’ permission — but everyone should check with their local law enforcement agency about local laws regarding firearms before discharging them. [emphasis added]


DO NOT HUNT IGUANA within municipal limits or in unincorporated areas in Palm Beach County with a shotgun, rifle, handgun, crossbow, bow and arrow, blow gun, or any weapon that fires a projectile unless you contact PBSO first (or your local law enforcement agency) and find out what the rules are. More helpful information:

  • For the video, “How to Kill and Eat an Iguana” click on this link.
  • Recommended on this blog is the grilled tail with Wicked Okra and crusted Sriracha and also quite a delicacy are Iguana Carnitas Tacos using other cuts of meat from this invasive pest.
  • Here in the City of Lake Worth many iguana meat lovers call Hot n’ Sweet Mango Sauce “to die for”, an essential with any iguana dish.

    But, once again, for some reason this news about iguanas has yet to become news in the Post.

    The news about iguanas should be front page news in food section too. Iguanas are referred to as Gallinas de Palo (“Chicken of the Tree” in Spanish) and they are delicious! Really. It’s true. Especially when cooked on a gas grill because “Nine out of 10 professional chefs” prefer clean Green natural gas to propane.

    Iguanas, if you didn’t know, are not native to South Florida. You see them around because people buy them as pets and release them when the creature gets too big. The population of iguanas goes away after a deep freeze. Ergo, that sound you hear of something falling out of the tree and hitting the ground with a loud “Thump” which is what happened during The Great Iguana Crisis of 2009. Read more about that particular pestilence (aka, “plague”) a little later.

    Sun Sentinel reporters Ellie Rushing and Doreen Christensen broke this story last June. A pestilence that has reached Central Palm Beach County. But the all-important “clicks” and social media ‘kicks’ at the Post are still mostly focused on the ‘red tide’ and that blue-green stuff further up north, you know, that other plague, the ‘blue-green algae’ one.

    Just be patient. When the clicks start trending down they’ll be searching for other stuff like more exciting recipes if you happen to be a connoisseur of iguana tails and other prime cuts from the genus Iguana rhinolophus.

    Click on this link to read about “Out of control iguanas infesting South Florida”, an excerpt from the Sentinel by reporters Rushing and Christensen:


    South Florida’s not quite Jurassic Park, but it’s getting close.
         Packs of green iguanas are swarming seawalls, roaming yards and parks, and leaving a path of destruction and filth in their wake. Like a shot of espresso, the hot summer sun has stoked activity in the cold-blooded creatures, which experts say may be at record numbers.
         “This year is the most iguanas I’ve seen and I’ve been in business for nine years,” says Thomas Portuallo, owner of Fort Lauderdale-based Iguana Control. [emphasis added] He says the invasive lizards are out of control with “many hundreds of thousands” creeping around Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.


    Now to The Great Iguana Crisis nine years ago. Case example: The tiny City of Lake Worth.



    What happened during The Great Iguana Crisis of 2009 here in the City of Lake Worth is the stuff of lore and legend. Jeff Clemens was the mayor of this City then and it was during this crisis when Anarchist Cara Jennings (a former commissioner, 2006–2010) rose to the challenge that Winter nine years ago. It was bad. Real bad. Iguanas were everywhere. A true plague in every sense. Unless, of course, you’re an afficionado of perfectly cooked and seasoned iguana tail, legs, loin, strip, etc.

    Back in January 2009 was a dangerous time for Lake Worth residents including a report of a Yorkshire Terrier being squashed by an iguana that froze and fell out of a tree. In a blog post written back then by the inimitable Mr. Tom McGow (see below), then-Mayor Jeff Clemens was quoted:


    “We are in a state of crisis this morning,”
    stated Lake Worth Mayor Jeff Clemens. “We will be closing all city parks until this crisis has passed.


    There’s more about that crisis in 2009 below — one in which Cara Jennings was a big part in resolving to the benefit of everyone — including the freezing cold iguanas for a future dish that tastes a whole lot like chicken.

    Mr. McGow, if you didn’t know, was quite the creative type here in the City of Lake Worth back in the day.


    Take for example his take on “Green Acres”:

    “Remember the TV show ‘Green Acres’? You know, the one about the city guy who wanted to live in the
    boonies and his wife who was always
    fussing about the hillbillies.”


    And Mr. McGow went on to conclude in 2009 about ‘Green Acres’:

    “Too bad the town to the west of us is already named Greenacres. If a certain someone is elected mayor it might be a more fitting name for Lake Worth.”

    Back to The Great Iguana Crisis
    in Winter of 2009:


    Dateline: Monday, January 19, 2009,
    City of Lake Worth, Florida:


         The chilly weather in South Florida this week was cold enough to force some iguanas to fall from trees.
         Experts say the cold-blooded reptiles go into a deep sleep when the temperature falls into the 40s. Their bodies basically shut off and they lose their grip on the tree.

    and. . . 

         “[Cara] Jennings has proposed shutting down the courts at the shuffleboard center and enclosing them as a haven for the iguanas. ‘I have already looked in to a State Grant Program to provide heating pads and lettuce for the Iguanas until this crisis passes’, commented Jennings.


    If you haven’t figured it out by now the ‘news’ above about Jeff Clemens and Cara Jennings was an excellent parody by the inimitable former blogger Tom McGow.

    But in all seriousness, 2009 was a very bad year for iguana infestation. So in preparation for this Winter it might be a good idea to find recipes ahead of time for cooking the “Chicken of the Tree”. For most people, if you recall, grilling is the preferred method.

    If you’re interested in learning more about The Great Iguana Crisis click on this link to read the entire article by the inimitable Mr. McGow. . .

    AND REMEMBER! If it looks like a very cold Winter is coming up later this year keep your ear out for that very usual sound. . .

    Thump.
    It’s Dinnertime!


     The Iguana, genus Iguana rhinolophus.

    The pest, or as some people call it, dinner.

    Hope you found this blog post informative, helpful and entertaining as well and Thank Your for visiting today. And without further ado. . .

    Press Release. Palm Beach County Commissioner Steven Abrams,
    “Dealing with Iguanas”:


    Many residents in South County (including myself) are experiencing ongoing problems with the growing population of iguanas. I recently met with officials at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC) to discuss the problem. The bottom line is these pesky creatures are here to stay and we must learn to live with them. Unfortunately, they reproduce in large numbers and can wreak havoc on our property.

    There is a lot of helpful information on dealing with these pesky creatures provided by the FFWCC at their website. Here are some recommendations on discouraging iguanas:

    • Never feed iguanas.
    • Keep a water hose ready and available to spray basking iguanas on pool decks or boats.
    • A startling noise will also create an unwelcome atmosphere for a sunning iguana.
    • Hang CDs near seawalls or dangle them like wind chimes from trees or prized plants. Their reflective surfaces often scare away iguanas.
    • Protect plants with cages or screen enclosures.
    • Use iguana-resistant plants such as citrus, milkweed, pigeon plum, oleanders, coonties, etc., in your landscape.
    • Avoid planting iguana favorites such as hibiscus, orchids, impatiens, roses, garden greens, melons, etc.
    • Remove protective cover such as dense thickets and piles of landscape timber or rocks.
    • Fill vacant burrows with rocks.

    This FFWCC link provides additional information on removal, deterrents and prevention of iguanas.

    Please feel free to contact the FWCC Regional office at 561-625-5122 to speak with a wildlife assistance biologist or an exotic species biologist.

    Preparing for the upcoming municipal elections next year in Palm Beach County.


    Many municipalities in Palm Beach County will be holding elections on March 12th, 2019, including the always-exciting City of Lake Worth. In this continuing series about municipal elections is information many candidates throughout this County will find very helpful.

    Let’s proceed to Module #12, concluding Politics 101, before moving on to Politics 102.


    Politics 101 ends with this lesson. Module #12: Losing an election.


    Losing an election is heartbreaking. But there are a few simple rules one should follow.


    The #1 Rule is, “Always call and congratulate your opponent”.


    And using foul language is not advised. And telling the public that your supporters dropped you “[L]ike a bad habit” is also not a good idea.

    For example, here is the concession message by Mr. Ryan Hartman in March 2016:


    “By the end of the campaign, they [The Palm Beach Post] refused to even call me for interviews (in fact, 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, and my friends in the radical community stepped it up big time, passing out over 4000 letters and waving signs at every polling place. . . . I am stronger now than ever before and I’m not going anywhere. Let’s get s◼◼◼ done!!!”


    Lake Worth Commissioner Scott Maxwell defeated Mr. Hartman in a landslide.


    And you can better understand now why Hartman wrote, “[M]y ‘team’ dropped me like a bad habit”:

    Click on mailer to enlarge:

    Whilst on the topic of law enforcement PBSO just recently celebrated their 10th anniversary in the City of Lake Worth and before long it will be PBSO’s 3rd anniversary in the City of Greenacres as well.


    Hope everyone considering a run for elected office found this information helpful from Module #12 in Politics 101.


    And once again, the #1 Rule.

    Always call and congratulate the winner:

    In the March 2016 elections only one challenger, Mr. Frank McAlonan, called to congratulate Commissioner Andy Amoroso. No. Commissioner Scott Maxwell did not receive a congratulatory call from Mr. Hartman.

    Thursday, November 15, 2018

    This Saturday in City of Lake Worth: The Neighborhood Assoc. Presidents’ Council presents. . .


    The Community Holiday Season Kick-Off Party will be held in the Downtown at the always-friendly C.W.S. Bar + Kitchen located at 522 Lucerne Ave.

    The C.W.S. motto is:
    “Damn Glad To Meet You!”


    Click on image to enlarge:

    All proceeds and donations this Saturday will go directly to schools in this City of Lake Worth. The hours for this Kick-Off Party are 4:00–7:00.

    Planning a holiday party? About C.W.S.


    “Serving up some good ole hospitality. Inside the scene is mysterious and relaxed, yet curious and upbeat. . . . Book your next private party at C.W.S. Bar + Kitchen. Whether it’s a small intimate group, corporate dinner, birthday party, holiday party, wedding reception or more. We can cater to groups ranging from 10–200.”

    A new lap swimming pool at the Lake Worth Casino and Beach Complex is a terrible idea. Just a few reasons:



    For example. . .

    Have you ever heard of the Coastal Construction Control Line (CCCL)?

    Learn more about the CCCL below, information provided by the editor at The Coastal Star.

    And why was the pool shut down in 2010? You see, the City ran out of money to keep a pool at the Beach open. It was no longer economically feasible. So what happens when the next recession hits? Also read more about that a little later.

    The editor at The Lake Worth Herald also had about enough of this senseless debate about constructing a new lap swimming pool at the Lake Worth Beach being there are so many other much better locations for a new public pool or pools.

    And hopefully it will not take a tragedy to bring everyone to the table. Public safety, children and young adults, and access to pools to learn how to swim couldn’t be more important for this City. For too many, a pool at the Beach might as well be twenty or thirty miles away and having to pay for parking is just one more hurdle to access. Not making this part of the discussion, public access to a public pool, is simply irresponsible and reckless.

    Here is what the editor at the Herald wrote:


    Lake Worth needs a pool, not necessarily an Olympic pool, but at least one big enough to serve the community and teach children how to swim. There are plenty of opportunities for children to come into contact with water in Lake Worth. It is imperative they learn to swim.

    and. . .


    Lake Worth does have some under-utilized parks with enough space to accommodate an aquatic center and should consider investing in a pool somewhere other than the beach.

    Bryant Park has space, but that would raise the ire of those who walk their dogs in the park. What is more important, dogs or children? What about Sunset Ridge Park, there might be enough space there too. Go to the north end of the city, there sits numerous baseball and softball fields, some of which are never or seldom used. Take PONY field for example, it is in shambles and occupies a large portion of the park area.

    and. . .


    Lake Worth needs a pool, but they also need some Staffers with some creativity. How many times do we have to fail at the same thing before we realize it is the taxpayers who suffer in other areas so we can keep failing?


    In 2010 the pool at the Lake Worth Beach was open. But then it was shut down. Why? A former City administration couldn’t afford to keep it open.

    The Great Recession and salt water spray had taken its toll. The pumps and pool heaters were breaking down constantly. The public began to attend other pools such as the nearly Lake Lytal facility.


    A public pool at the Beach, you see,
    was not economically feasible:




    But in 2010 revenue was a concern. Or was. The city manager back then was Susan Stanton. She was fired in 2011 and a few months later Michael Bornstein was hired to be the city manager. Now fast forward to 2015 following all the pressure that was put on Bornstein and the City to reopen the pool, which it was, but guess what happened next? A surprising turnaround. Learn more about that below.


     Some former electeds and administration official
    responsible for this mess at the Beach:

    From L to R, facing: Joann Golden has her hand on Suzanne Mulvehill’s shoulder, Chris McVoy, PhD, Susan Stanton (former city manager), and Cara Jennings (on far right).

    The surprising turnaround.

    The very same former commissioners from that prior administration who closed the pool in 2010 all of sudden in 2015 were no longer concerned the pool complex had lost hundreds of thousands of dollars. It was now an ‘amenity’ that must remain open no matter what the burden or shortfalls in City budgets.

    If we were to conclude that a pool at the Beach is a precious amenity that must remain open then why did a previous administration close it?

    Looking out to future City budgets if the pool was losing $300,000 or $500,000 every year who would be tasked with footing the bill? Would the nearby well-heeled residents in the Town of Palm Beach help with the shortfalls funding this ‘precious amenity’?

    The point here is the pool was ignored as an amenity for many years even though its value was used to compute the percentage of the ‘renovation’ to the Casino building. But the so-called renovation wasn’t a renovation at all. It was new construction. The pool was just the distraction.

    The IG had a thing or two to say
    about that back in 2011.

    Click on images to enlarge:


    So. Still think constructing a new pool at the Beach is a good idea? Now let’s examine the CCCL:

    The subtitle in The Coastal Star: “At issue is
    whether building should continue east of
    Coastal Construction Line”


    Here are two excerpts from the article datelined August 30th last year, 1½ weeks prior to Hurricane Irma’s arrival:


         The state has OK’d nearly all applications to build seaward of what is called the Coastal Construction Control Line in the past 10 years, according to a local spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
         The mansions and condos, including sea walls and swimming pools, lie perilously close to the ocean. Some of the pools and sea walls washed away in October 2012 when Hurricane Sandy brushed the South Florida coast.

    and. . .


         Why are these applications approved? In Florida, property rights are highly regarded.

         The only time a person is guaranteed a 12-person jury is when the government wants to take your life — or your property. The state Legislature passed the Bert J. Harris Act in 1995, strengthening a property owner’s rights. The act, toughened in 2015, reads that local governments must prove that not allowing owners to use their property would be in the public’s interest.


    Whilst on the topic of the Coastal Construction Control Line (CCCL), the ‘renovated’ Lake Worth Casino is mostly east of the line (see image below) and the CCCL actually straddles our now-condemned municipal pool at the Lake Worth Beach.

    Now that the City of Lake Worth is considering another project at the Beach, a City project using taxpayer dollars will the public accept future structures east of the CCCL? That remains to be seen. It was announced early on in the process the City would not seek a “private-public partnership”; however, with budgetary constraints that may be one of the few options available.


    Moving on. . .


    This image is from a presentation given at the City Commission in May 2017 (red line is the CCCL):

    Hurricane Matthew in 2016 was a small test. Irma wasn’t the “monster” like Frances and Jeanne in 2004 and then Wilma in 2005. The newest Casino complex at the Lake Worth Beach, completed in 2012, has yet to be fully tested.


    So in conclusion. Still think constructing a new lap swimming pool at the Lake Worth Beach is a good idea?

    Now the rest is up to you.


    Contact your elected leaders and tell them you support another location or even two locations for a public pool in this City.

    Wednesday, November 14, 2018

    Huge news to report today!


    At Second Reading last night “The MID” passed unanimously at the Lake Worth City Commission.

    This housing project has great support from the City of Lake Worth, the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), and public support from communities and neighborhoods. Why? Because The MID will get the attention and encourage other investors and developers to look at other sites along Dixie Hwy.


    To watch the YouTube video of the proceedings
    last night click on play.


    City Attorney Christy L. Goddeau starts off
    with the reading of Ordinance 2018-17:




    Now back to our regularly scheduled program today.

    For example. . .

    Other investors and developers will examine the process how The MID came to be and then take a look at three (3) vacant lots in particular on N. Dixie Hwy. between Dartmouth and Cornell drives in the City’s College Park neighborhood just north of The MID and minutes south of West Palm Beach. The perfect location for a new restaurant serving craft beer.

    If you’re a restaurateur or developer of food/adult beverage locations and have been considering opening a new craft beer brewery or Hipster restaurant then those three vacant lots — an entire block frontage on N. Dixie Hwy. in the City of Lake Worth — would be just the perfect location in College Park.

    Those lots also happen to be in the CRA district as well (click on this link to contact the CRA). There is a big demand for a new Hipster eatery in this City with so many Millennials and Apatharchists* moving into the area. The Meritage homes project is moving along and The MID will be breaking ground very soon as well.

    And of course there is the exciting Tacos Al Carbon serving “100% Comida Mexicana” which has attracted the ‘foodies’ to this area and the ever-growing popularity of World Thrift right across the street that attracts hoards of Senior Citizens, Millennials and Hipsters every week. Have you seen the new signage at World Thrift? It’s been called the most spectacular signage for a thrift store in the United States.

    So if you just happen to be eyeing those empty lots to open up a new eatery — but you’re concerned with all the hard work creating a new and exciting menu for the Millennials and young professionals — there is very good technology news:

    The craft beer/restaurant business has taken a leap forward with a convenient menu generator.


    Imagine if you could focus more time training management and staff about customer service? More time for ordering food and supplies from vendors? More time for marketing and promotion?

    How is that possible? Leave it to the experts at the Brooklyn Bar Menu Generator (BBMG).


    This idea started in Brooklyn but you can see how this new tool can be used anywhere in the United States.


    For example, in just seconds, look at this menu:

    The Blistered Acorn & Sardine Pie sounds delish; and for only $10. Ready to create a new menu?
    Use this link to learn how.


    Here is how the good folks at BBMG
    describe their service:


    “Have you recently purchased a bar in Brooklyn, but are completely bereft of original ideas? Firstly, congratulations on joining the thriving Brooklyn bar scene! Secondly, relax! You can use this handy tool to generate a name and menu for your fine establishment – absolutely no imagination necessary!”

    Hope you had a good laugh!


    Now seriously, contact a local Realtor in this City, the Lake Worth CRA and/or the City’s Economic Development Dept. today and ask about those three lots on Dixie Hwy. between Dartmouth and Cornell.


    *An “Apatharchist” is a former Anarchist who “doesn’t give a ■■■■ about government or politics” any more.

    The City of West Palm Beach has declared itself a “Welcoming City”.


    Joel Malkin at WJNO with the news below about “Welcoming City” status in WPB.



    Please remember. This is very important:

    The City of Lake Worth is and has been a “Welcoming City” for a very long time.

    However, our City IS NOT and NEVER WAS
    a so-called ‘sanctuary city’.


    The stark difference between “Welcoming” and the divisive term ‘sanctuary’ is explained at the end of this blog post.

    Not to be outdone or left behind in Palm Beach County history, West Palm Beach has declared itself a “Welcoming City” too following in the footsteps of the Lake Worth City Commission and Mayor Pam Triolo. But is West Palm truly “Welcoming”? West Palm likes to claim a lot of things. Time will tell. By the way, as long as one is not breaking the law, PBSO District 14 in the City of Lake Worth has strict rules about when and where not to inquire of someones immigration status. So if you happen to be undocumented just follow the law.

    West Palm quietly took their first “Welcoming” step by sending out their police chief to break the news. From the news by Joel Malkin at WJNO (AM1290), Chief Sarah Mooney said,


    Our municipal law enforcement agencies don’t really deal much with immigration and status of people and we don’t even really have an occasion to check on anybody’s status unless they’re involved in criminal activity. So, if you’re involved in criminal activity and there’s a reason to be checking documentation that’s related to a person that may be taken into custody [emphasis added] . . . She points out that anybody arrested in any Palm Beach County municipality gets processed at the county jail, which is operated by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.


    At the conclusion of Malkin’s news report is an all-too-common error in press and media reports:


    [W]hen the city [West Palm] first passed the resolution which declared West Palm a “Welcoming City,” there was controversy over some thinking that meant it was a “Sanctuary City,” [sic] but city officials say that is not the case.


    The term ‘sanctuary city’ must never be capitalized!

    It’s worth noting that according to newly-adopted standard uniform English-speaking accepted style guideline the mythical term ‘sanctuary city’ should always be lowercase within a sentence and in public speaking the speaker should always raise both hands in the air, above the shoulders, pause momentarily and wiggle the index and middle fingers of each hand prior to saying the word ‘sanctuary’.

    Air quotes are, as explained in Wikipedia:


    Air quotes, also called finger quotes, are virtual quotation marks formed in the air with one’s fingers when speaking. This is typically done with hands held shoulder-width apart and at the eye level of the speaker, with the index and middle fingers on each hand flexing at the beginning and end of the phrase being quoted. 


    Now let’s proceed to the topic at hand, the news in The Lake Worth Herald about the City of Lake Worth being a “Welcoming City” and not a ‘sanctuary’.


    To see the latest front page of the
    Herald click on this link.

    Have LOCAL community news you want to share, want more information on subscription and advertising rates? To contact the editor call 561-585-9387 or send an email to: Editor@lwherald.com

    Here are two excerpts from the Herald about our “Welcoming City” of Lake Worth:


    The City of Lake Worth has named April 17, 2018 as Welcoming City Day, celebrating all residents of the City. The proclamation, read by Commissioner Omari Hardy declares Lake Worth fosters a welcoming environment for all individuals, regardless of race, ethnicity or place of origin, enhances Lake Worth’s cultural fabric, economic growth, global competitiveness and overall prosperity for current and future generations.

    and. . .


    [T]he City encourages the business leadership, civic groups, other governmental agencies and community institutions to undertake their own initiatives, beyond this resolution, to make Lake Worth not only a welcoming place for new residents from other countries but also a center of world commerce.


    As always, Thank You for visiting today and hope you found this information helpful.

    Debunking the biggest myth of all about this little City of Lake Worth.


    So. Is it true what you heard,

    “Lake Worth is the next
    Delray Beach”?


    No. That is not true at all and I explained why last January at an event in — of all places — the fine City of Delray Beach in a presentation about The Cottages of Lake Worth. Part of that presentation was dedicated to comparing “apples to oranges”:


    Who would have thought when the exits off I-95 were decided upon, those decisions would have such a dramatic effect on the future of cities such as the City of Lake Worth and the City of Delray Beach.

    Learn more about comparing
    “apples to oranges” below.

    But first, let’s set the stage. . .

    The photograph below (courtesy of Lake Worth’s Neighborhood Assoc. Presidents’ Council [NAPC] president Jon Faust) is of the vice president of the Delray Beach Historical Society giving the introduction prior to “The Cottages of Lake Worth” presentation.


    Meet Michelle Donahue.

    Michelle Donahue said, as quoted by Mary Kate Leming in The Coastal Star, “For me, we’re standing on the shoulders of those who came before us.”


    In memory of Dean Sherwin. He lives on in our memories and in our history as well. Sadly, Dean passed away before seeing this book get published.

    It was due to volunteers such as Dean, his hard work and dedication, that the story of “The Cottages of Lake Worth” was finally told.

    Yes. Our City IS very much different than Delray Beach.
    Continue reading to find out why.

    Yours Truly (Wes Blackman) at the Old School Square Fieldhouse in Delray Beach giving The Cottages of Lake Worth presentation.


    A view inside this tremendous community facility.

    A view of the Delray Beach Historical Society’s “Heritage Lecture Series”.

    Now back to “apples”
    and “oranges”.


    “Compare and contrast. Two cities, Lake Worth and Delray Beach. And you heard what! Lake Worth is the next Delray Beach?”

    No. Not true at all. A myth and nothing more.

    The proof lies in the historical context. But what Lake Worth and Delray Beach will always be are two very unique cities that both share a very long history and yes, enjoy a little friendly competition from time to time as well.

    In addition to my usual presentation about the book — the activities of the Cottages group and Lake Worth’s history — I thought it would be good to include a little “Compare and Contrast” section.

    Did you know that Lake Worth City Hall and Delray Beach City Hall, depending on the route taken, are only 11–12 miles apart?

    Even though our cities share basically the same geography, being coastal cities within Palm Beach County, these two cities and communities are really very quite different.

    Did you know the City of Delray Beach has about 2½ times the land area than the City of Lake Worth does?

    First, let’s examine relative size:

    Source, 2010 Census.

    Why is Delray Beach so much larger than Lake Worth? This can be quickly explained by looking at the maps below and identifying the western extent of each city’s municipal boundaries.

    First, the City of Lake Worth (see image below).

    North of Lake Worth Rd. the City of Lake Worth’s border extends west to the L-4 (“Keller”) canal, the canal connecting Lake Osborne to the major C-51 Canal that then drains into the Intracoastal.

    By the way, the ‘Spillway’ (aka, S-155 water control structure) on the C-51 Canal is the future site of the Blueway Trail linking the inland chain of lakes, waterways and “Creating Access For All” which includes Lake Ida in the City of Delray Beach, Lake Osborne and other lakes as well.

    South of Lake Worth Rd. the border is the County’s John Prince Park and Lake Osborne, both in unincorporated Palm Beach County, or what’s referred to in the region as “suburban Lake Worth”.


    Note the position of I-95:

    Source, Official Palm Beach County municipal map.

    Note that about ¾ of the City of Lake Worth is east of I-95, which is significant. A much different situation than in Delray Beach as you’ll see below.

    Much of the City of Lake Worth’s western municipal limit, or footprint if you will, is blocked in the southwest by a County park (John Prince Park) and waterways in suburban Lake Worth. To the east is the Lake Worth Beach. In Lake Worth there is no private property east of the Lake Worth Lagoon (aka, the Intracoastal Waterway).

    The western footprint of Lake Worth is due to many decisions made by past City Commissions that chose not to aggressively annex property after I-95 was completed. It was only since the early 2000s that Lake Worth annexed much of the area that makes up the Park of Commerce, particularly west of Boutwell Rd. We also have the incorporated Village of Palm Springs and Town of Lake Clark Shores that limit our City’s expansion to the west.

    Now to the City of Delray Beach,
    a very different situation.

    Looking at the map of Delray Beach we find their municipal boundaries extend all the way out to Military Trail and in some places, even beyond. Unlike the City of Lake Worth where its western expansion was blocked in many places, the City of Delray Beach had no such problem.


    Here you see I-95 nearly goes through the
    center of Delray Beach:

    Note the Intracoastal Waterway in Delray Beach is part of what was known as the East Coast Canal and is much narrower than the “Lake Worth Lagoon”.

    There is a lot of high-value commercial and retail property on the barrier island from A1A to the west. Delray Beach also has two exits off of I-95 but their main downtown street, Atlantic Ave., has an exit off I-95 and therefore direct access through their downtown to the beach.

    This is not the case in the City of Lake Worth and one of the main reasons I point out in the “Cottages” presentation is that neither of Lake Worth’s two main streets, the east-west pairs Lake and Lucerne avenues have direct access to I-95. This, in essence, provided what I refer to as a “protective bubble” around our downtown areas which helped to preserve this collection of historic beach cottages that we enjoy today and celebrate in the book, “The Cottages of Lake Worth”.

    The Town of Delray was incorporated in 1911. Lake Worth became a city two years later, in 1913. Linton, the name of the Post Office in Delray, had a passenger rail stop on the Florida East Coast (FEC) railroad in 1896. That is only two years after the train arrived in West Palm Beach. Lake Worth would not see a passenger train stop on the FEC until 1912.

    Then, in 1923, the land east of the Intracoastal “canal” incorporated as “Delray Beach.” Finally, in 1927, the two merged into one city called Delray Beach. I thought the addition of the ‘Beach’ came much later on until reading recently about this period of time in history.

    Now let’s look at population growth throughout the 20th Century and see the ‘horse race’ between the two communities. Remember, these two cities are just about 11 miles apart from their center.


    Lake Worth and Delray Beach were ‘neck and neck’ throughout the first half of the century. At one point Lake Worth actually had a larger population.

    It’s interesting to note where the two lines cross.


    That point in time is during the mid-1970s when Delray Beach’s growth curve jumps ahead of Lake Worth. What else happened at that time? The completion of that section of I-95 through the southern part of Palm Beach County. That then ushered in more growth and Delray Beach took advantage by reaching out westward.

    Below is a United States Geological Service (USGS) map from 1958 that shows how the two cities compared back then. The tan areas on the map indicate the general municipal boundaries at that time. You can visualize the extent of growth — particularly by the size of Delray Beach 60 years ago — and the development that occurred since to become the present day City of Delray Beach.


    Click on image to enlarge:

    So. In conclusion. . .


    As much as these two cities are compared quite frequently to each other, and people like to say that oft-told mantra that “Lake Worth is the next Delray Beach”, this look back at the history of Delray Beach and Lake Worth shows quite clearly that is not the case at all.

    Comparing cities is a worthy and helpful exercise.

    But in doing so one must keep in mind, in many ways, you’re really comparing “apples to oranges” in the context of history. Who would have thought when the exits off I-95 were decided upon, those decisions would have such a dramatic effect on the future of cities such as the City of Lake Worth and the City of Delray Beach.

    ‘Back in the day’ few probably wondered about the impact, but today it’s very apparent those decisions dramatically shaped the future of this City of Lake Worth. And Delray Beach too.

    Tuesday, November 13, 2018

    TONIGHT: “The MID” is on agenda for Second Reading at City Commission.


    At First Reading of Ordinance 2018-17
    the vote was unanimous, 5-0.

    Some time today contact your elected leaders and let them know you support them. And always remember to ask, “What can I do to help?”


    The City of Lake Worth, the CRA and The MID need strong public support tonight and a big turnout from the community and neighborhoods. Why? Because that will get the attention and encourage other investors and developers to look at other sites on Dixie Hwy., both the north and south Dixie corridors.

    This City is suffering from a dearth of retail. Projects like The MID will attract more retail.

    Two weeks ago, on Oct. 30th at First Reading the Lake Worth City Commission voted unanimously in favor of The MID housing project located at 1601 N. Dixie Hwy.

    Tonight is Second Reading. To read about The MID and Ordinance 2018-17 and the resolution creating the “Economic Investment Incentive Program” click on this link.


    And Second Readings of ordinances are
    always a “slam dunk”? Right?

    Think again.

    Take for example what happened on October 16th when it came to Ordinance No. 2018-16:


    Motion made by Commissioner Robinson and seconded by Commissioner Maxwell to disapprove Ordinance No. 2018-16 on Second Reading amending Chapter 2 “Administration”, Article VII “Abatement of Nuisance”, Section 2-75.11 “Foreclosed, Vacant and Unimproved Property Registration Program” and to require additional requirements for vacant and unimproved property.

    Vote: Voice vote showed: AYES [to disapprove]: Mayor Triolo, Vice Mayor Amoroso and Commissioners Maxwell, Hardy and Robinson. NAYS: None.


    True. Ordinance 2018-16 was a special case. A real mess to begin with. But it did pass on First Reading. 

    So what could possibly happen to derail
    Ordinance 2018-17 tonight?


    It could turn into a procedural mess. Or in a last ditch effort to derail this project opponents could pack City Hall chambers with a line out the door into the parking lot with the press and news media catching all the action.

    Who knows, maybe just at the right time there could be another “Zombie Alert”.

    Or at public comment former District 2 commissioners Cara Jennings and Chris McVoy, PhD, could show up and claim to have found an indigenous Jaega burial site on the property and appear with a representative from the United Nations claiming sovereignty over the project site.

    Yes that sounds absurd but. . .

    Many of you aware of this City’s politics in the past know just about anything is possible. So therefore Second Reading should never be expected to be a ‘slam dunk’.

    That’s why it’s important for supporters of The MID to show up tonight! And show up in big numbers.

    Strong public support for The MID will encourage other investors and developers to look at other vacant and underutilized commercial properties in this City.


    The meeting begins at 6:00 tonight.

    The MID is agenda item 10A, a public hearing
    following the Consent Agenda:

    Also of note is a recent and very informative press release from the City of Lake Worth and the City’s Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA).

    Help for first-time home buyers from the Lake Worth Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA).


    Here is the CRA press release:

    LAKE WORTH — The Individual Development Account (IDA) program is a matched savings account program to assist low-to-moderate income individuals to save $2,000 over a 36-month period. The individual’s $2,000 is matched with $4,000 (2:1 match) to be used towards the down payment and closing costs of a first-time home purchase.


    To learn more about the Individual Development Account (IDA) program contact Emily Theodossakos, the Marketing and Program Manager at the Lake Worth CRA by clicking on this link, call 561-493-2550, or stop by the office located at 1121 Lucerne Ave., the CRA’s new HATCH 1121 building on Monday–Friday from 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.


     Have you heard the news about the crime rate dropping significantly here in the City of Lake Worth?

    The final results from District 14 PBSO show a significant drop in crime for 2017. Click on this link to learn more about the crime rate in the City of Lake Worth.

    Car show news and updates in the City of Lake Worth with a BEACH.


    Now that the Snowbirds are flocking back to town. . .


    And one of those popular car shows is at the Lake Worth Casino and Beach Complex. And yes, that condemned pool (aka, that “White Elephant”) is still at the Beach.

    It’s hard to believe but some still think that constructing another lap swimming pool next to the ocean is a good idea. It’s not.

    It’s a terrible idea. Why? Think of all the things that space can be used for? An outside movie theater, skate park, additional parking and more ADA spaces, a splash park with cabana pool, or maybe an open space for public events?

    For more information about, “What’s going on with that pool at Beach and Casino Complex?” click on this link:

    Now to car show news in this City. 

     

    There are now two monthly car shows.

    Upcoming. Save the dates: Friday, Dec. 7th
    and Thursday, Dec. 13th.


    First up is the all-new Lake Ave. Block Party the first Friday of every month from 6:00–10:00. The next event is on December 7th. Along with the street entertainment on Lake Ave., the music and food, the band and performers there is now another lively venue: those shop owners on J Street who claim they can’t make any money on the first Friday of the month because of the City’s Block Party. Dubious at best. But they are interesting to watch.

    However, if the Bamboo Room were open it would be an entirely different story on J Street. What they should be focused on is putting pressure on the owners of the Bamboo Room to actually do something. This City has enough churches. We never needed another one.

    The car show after the monthly Block Party
    on Lake Ave.


    The Lake Worth Beach Car Show is the second Thursday of the month from 6:00–9:00. Below is more information and photos from the show at the Beach.

    And really, isn’t it about time to demolish the pool buildings at the Beach, fill in the condemned pool with sand and pave it over for future events? Why just keep it all there as a reminder of that “white elephant”?

    Do you know who first called that pool at the Beach a ‘white elephant’? Find out by clicking on this link.

    The very first Lake Ave. Block Party was held last October with music, street vendors and all sorts of entertainment. Below are photos of featured cars at the event. Once again, the next event is December 7th. Save The Date!


    Click on all images to enlarge:

    For the comprehensive list of “Special Events” in the City of Lake Worth use this link.


    To learn more about the City of Lake Worth’s Recreation Dept. click on this link. The Rec office is located at 501 Lake Ave. across from the Cultural Plaza.


    And another classic. . .

    Now let’s head east over the Robert Harris Bridge to the Lake Worth Casino!


    Here is a photo from later in the evening,
    towards the end of the show:

    More photos are below, a very nice collection of cars.


    It was three months ago, on August 7th, when everyone heard the latest about the now-condemned municipal pool at the Beach.

    As it is now at the monthly Beach car show the roadway in front of the Casino is closed to traffic for this event and other public events throughout the year. Now consider this idea as plans are being considered to make this Beach complex more functional:


    How about a large open public space next to the Casino structure to the south? And a parking garage located behind that venue in the dune? Space for a skate park or outside movie theater? Shuffleboard is popular again with the Millennials, so why not 3 or 4 shuffleboard courts?


    So whilst you’re pondering those questions here are more photos from the car show:


    The view to the east.

    Click on images to enlarge:



    The view to the west:



    “Hey. Look at that! Why is the engine in the rear?”



    Some cars lined up. . .



    The American flag flying full mast. . .




    Note the “U.S. Marines” license plate.


     The next generation. . .



    And two more. . .

    So. What other ideas do have for a more functional Casino at the Beach? Stay tuned and click on this link to learn more about some schemes being considered by this City of Lake Worth.