Saturday, January 26, 2019

The Cottages of Lake Worth Home Tour 2019 is tomorrow, “Rain Or Shine”.

Just don’t expect much ‘Shine’ tomorrow much like what happened — as chance would have it — at the Home Tour almost exactly two years ago. Read more about that rainy, cold, and windswept day later in this blog post. Recall it felt more like a bad day in Maine than a normal day in South Florida.

But what will truly surprise all of you: The number of no-shows that Sunday in late January 2017. Really. You won’t believe how many who bought tickets did not show up. Absolutely amazing given the weather conditions.

FYI: If you purchased a ticket for the Cottages of Lake Worth Home Tour tomorrow please come prepared with a waterproof hat, comfortable rain gear, and walking shoes for a rainy day.

Remember, the tour tomorrow is SOLD OUT. For those with tickets the tour is from 11:00 a.m.–4:00 in the afternoon. Tour check-in is The Beach Club bistro (the City’s municipal golf course on the Intracoastal) at #1 7th Ave. North.

Also in this blog post today is more about The Cottages of Lake Worth going back to 2013 and the role former Palm Beach Post reporter Lona O’Connor played in The Cottages story, how a book about these historic cottages came to be, about our friendly rivalry with Delray Beach, what role I-95 plays in all this and much more information as well.

The chances of rain tomorrow will be very high. Would encourage everyone to use the app called “Ventusky” to plan ahead, e.g., if you plan on walking around the Downtown after the tour or going to Lake Worth Beach to watch the ocean for a while. Once you learn how to use Ventusky you’ll never need another source for current and future weather activity. It really is that good once you customize the site for your specific needs.

As to the question people are wondering.

Will rainy weather dampen the excitement at the Home Tour tomorrow? Of course not. We’ve been through this before. A story that could perfectly begin with the line,

“It ‘twas a dark and windy
and dreary day.”

In January 2017 everyone involved in the Home Tour that year was affixed to weather reports all weekend starting Friday. It looked bad. Real bad. But then as Sunday morning approached it became worse than bad. The temperature plummeted and it got dark. Real dark. The kind of dark that stays around for a long time. Then the rain came with slow rolling clouds. It rained all morning long and most of the afternoon too. Sometimes sideways.

As time clicked down for the tour to begin everyone at tour check-in wondered who would come out on a day like this? Five hundred tickets were sold for the tour. We were worried about no-shows that dreary morning.

There were only thirty no-shows that day.
Not kidding: 30.

That’s right. Just thirty no-shows out of five hundred tickets sold. All the volunteers working the tour that day just looked at each other with the same expression. Unbelievable.

One of the most memorable comments from that day came from a woman who asked me how many tours there are every year of the cottages. I said, “Just one.” She seemed surprised and suggested there should be more throughout the year.

Planning for the tour in 2017 began after the highly successful event in 2016, the very first Cottages of Lake Worth Home Tour. In its first year “The Cottages” Board decided to limit ticket sales to three hundred. The event sold out many weeks prior to the event taking many by surprise.

The surprise being how many people bought tickets from surrounding communities and others from far west in Wellington and Royal Palm (without an actual beach), north from Palm Beach Gardens and Jupiter, and others south from Delray Beach and Boca Raton too.

The tour in 2017 focused on the Bryant Park and South Palm Park neighborhoods. This area makes up the South Palm Park local historic district. A total of sixteen cottages participated. The number of tickets was increased to a maximum of five hundred and sold out quickly once again. The tour check-in was at the east porch of the Gulfstream Hotel.

And sad to report, nothing much has changed at this historic hotel. And can boldly say this. Patience has run out. Not just for the Gulfstream but for a new hotel in the Downtown.

But anyhow, back to what happened in 2017.

One of the trolleys that rainy and cold day.
 The public came prepared!

A rare day in Lake Worth, Florida: Rain and cold all day long. But it didn’t dampen the enthusiasm or interest for those attending the 2nd Annual Cottages Home Tour.

Your’s Truly, Wes, was a volunteer guide on one of the trolleys. People from all over Palm Beach County offered rave reviews of the event, the cottages, and the food as well along the way. There were many Lake Worth residents that took part as well, some having moved here recently, one or two years prior. They used the tour as a way to get to know more about the City of Lake Worth.

There was one lady who identified herself as a sixty-two year resident of Lake Worth and she was thrilled to learn more about the City and pleased to be taking part in the tour. I took pleasure in some Delray Beach residents who expressed how much they wished their city still had the feel they experienced during their time in Lake Worth.

By the way, the mention of Garlic Fest didn’t go over too well with those from Delray. That extremely popular festival was moved from downtown Delray Beach to John Prince Park just outside the City of Lake Worth. By the way, this year’s Garlic Fest will be held on the weekend of February 9th and 10th.

But I digress.

It was also good to see a large group of people from Boynton Beach as well back in 2017. Some of them attended a presentation to the Boynton Beach Historical Society a few weeks earlier about The Cottages of Lake Worth.

The Gulfstream Hotel aside it’s hard not to get enthusiastic about our City’s future. But also of note the historic Gulfstream is not a ‘Lake Worth’ issue. It’s a regional one.

So many people two years ago who attended the Cottages Home Tour were so terribly disappointed this historic hotel has not reopened. Some suggested that maybe “cleaning house” at City Hall might be the solution and others wondering what if anything the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County located in Downtown Lake Worth is actually doing to draw investors and potential developers. Good questions. And frankly, how many murals is enough? After a while more paint on another wall is just more paint on another wall.

Three years after the first Cottages Home Tour in 2016 the Gulfstream Hotel remains shuttered. But West Palm (without a beach) and the Town of Palm Beach continue to benefit from events in the City of Lake Worth. One can understand the frustration from residents and the business community.

Moving on. . .

About tomorrow’s Cottages of Lake Worth
Home Tour 2019.

This blog post is a tribute to former Palm Beach Post journalist Lona O’Connor who played a major role in The Cottages of Lake Worth story back in November 2013.

O’Connor, since retired, made a true and lasting impact on this City.

And later in this blog post, published in a recent Lake Worth Herald, is a feature story about tomorrow’s tour.

It was the initial story by Lona O’Connor in the Post five years ago about a group of resident volunteers that set things in motion for The Cottages. . .

“Among the group’s plans are to set up a cottage website, a Facebook page, cottage driving tours, street signs directing people to cottages, maps and brochures with historical information and anecdotes and, with the permission of the owners, feature a few cottages in home tours.

“The photos could be incorporated into a coffee-table book, [Roger] Hendrix said.”

Quote source: Lona O’Connor, Palm Beach Post, news datelined November 10th, 2013.

“The photos could be incorporated into a coffee-table book. . .”

Then three years later. . .

The hardcover book in 2016.
Then a second printing in 2017.

The Cottages of Lake Worth Home Tour 2019 offered a combined tour/book ticket. That became news in The Lake Worth Herald.

From the feature story:

The Cottages of Lake Worth Tour is scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will include 10+ cottages, along with appetizers, refreshments and trolleys. Attendees will visit the interiors and gardens of select Cottages in the Eden Place and Mango Groves areas of the City.*

Note: To follow the Cottages of Lake Worth on Facebook use this link. The news in the Herald continues. . .

City of Lake Worth volunteers formed a Cottages of Lake Worth organization in 2013 to promote this unique housing with the goals of encouraging tourism and the improvement of the properties.

Cottages are predominantly smaller houses that may serve as guest, holiday, vacation, or primary residence. They can be of any number of architectural styles, but in Lake Worth styles include Mission Revival, Frame Vernacular, Masonry Vernacular, Bahamian, Craftsman, Art Moderne, Art Deco and Contemporary. They can be of either one or one and half story in a simple form and massing. Many of Lake Worth’s approximately 1,000 cottages are on 25′ lots, under 1,000 square feet and built prior to 1939 and others after World War II.

After Henry Flagler extended his rail line south from West Palm Beach to Miami in 1896, a land development scheme was created for a town between the railroad and the lake. Purchasers of agricultural lots west of town received a 25′ wide lot within the City of Lake Worth, closer to the beach. Development slowed down then started again after World War II with many modest pensioners, especially from Quebec, Finland, and eventually Germany, moving to the city and building cottages.

The mission of the Cottages of Lake Worth is to educate the citizens and visitors of Palm Beach County through a variety of programs by celebrating and promoting the history of these unique structures and its people, assuring that this legacy is passed on to future generations.

Many of the cottages on this upcoming tour are featured in The Cottages of Lake Worth book. This City is home to over 1,000 historic cottages, the largest concentration of historic cottages in Florida, and located within minutes of the spectacular Lake Worth Beach.

Of note: Sorry to say, but The Cottages of Lake Worth home tours are not apropos for children or pets.

This year’s tour will feature the Eden Place and Mango Groves neighborhoods north of the Downtown.

The tour begins from The Beach Club bistro located at the City’s municipal golf course. About the neighborhoods Eden Place and Mango Groves:

The Mango Groves and Eden Place neighborhoods are two of the fourteen-member Neighborhood Assoc. Presidents’ Council (NAPC). To see where these two neighborhoods are located click on this link for interactive GIS map.

“Our Neighborhoods have Boundaries. Our Commitment to Each Other Does Not” is the motto of the NAPC. To learn more about the Mango Groves neighborhood, their goals and photos of “Merry Merry from Mango Mango!” click on this link.

For more details about the Eden Place neighborhood use this link.

For those who wish to learn more about
The Cottages of Lake Worth.

Last September there was a tour of this City’s historic cottages taken by the Florida chapter of the American Planning Association (APA) from their annual conference in West Palm, the municipality to the north without a beach.

The tour taken by APA members included the Lake Worth Historical Museum, historic cottages south of the Downtown, and spending time with City officials including Mayor Pam Triolo and Lauren Bennett from the Dept. of Leisure Services. And of course Helen Greene at the Historical Museum.

Many planners on that tour were surprised to learn that West Palm ‘Beach’ does not have a beach!

In conclusion, debunking one of the biggest myths of all.

Our City of Lake Worth and the City of Delray Beach have had a friendly rivalry for a very long time. But that oft-used line about Lake Worth ‘becoming another Delray’ is a complete myth. It could never happen. And there are several reasons why which include geography, western annexation, population, and most significantly, where the exits off I-95 are located.

To learn more about what those reasons are click on this link and more about “comparing apples to oranges”.

Hope all this information inspires you to become part of The Cottages of Lake Worth Home Tour on January 27th.

And if you are interested in learning more about The Cottages, a video with more information. . .

From back in November 2014 is a YouTube video, an interview of Your’s Truly with radio host Allan Mason at WBZT:

“There’s a rich history here. If you don’t do anything to preserve it, it’s gone.”

Newspaper clipping from The Palm Beach Post, September 3rd, 2003.

Click on images to enlarge: 

The CDC is not to be confused with the Lake Worth Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). The CDC went defunct many years ago.

“One part of the plan will involve interviewing lifelong residents to compile an oral history of the neighborhood.”

The plan, “[A]ims to boost community pride, improve property values and stave off gentrification.*

“The Osborne neighborhood is one of the target areas for the CDC, a nonprofit organization charged with improving blighted areas of the city.”

*Let’s take on that loaded word. . .

‘Gentrification’ is called a “loaded word” in that it’s used to confuse and frighten the public (learn more about that by clicking on this link).

There is no accepted definition of that word and therefore fuels the “politics of fear” just like another loaded word used to confuse and frighten the public: ‘sanctuary city’.

Whilst on the topic of ‘gentrification’, Joan Oliva became the executive director of the CRA back in January 2008 and she remains the leader of that agency to this day.

And also to this day former members of the CDC criticize the CRA for increasing property values which have steadily risen in this City. Ironically, as cited in the newspaper clipping above, one of the goals of the CDC was to “improve property values” whilst at the same time promising to ‘stave off gentrification’.

Ironic is it not?

The former CDC never accomplished much and not much remains from what they did actually do. However, how much do you know about the $23M NSP2 Grant the CRA received in 2010? Learn more about that below.

Do you remember when former commissioners, Cara Jennings was one, wouldn’t lift a finger to help the CRA acquire that $23 million grant?

Enjoy the video (below) about the CRA’s NSP2 Grant eight years ago. You’ll recognize more than a few people if you were here in Lake Worth during that time. At one point, if you pay close attention, you’ll see a few campaign yard signs of people you might know, including a current city commissioner. About the video:

This video is one in a series of case study videos intended for NSP grantees and partners interested in learning about how other grantees are successfully implementing NSP. In Lake Worth, FL, the NSP2 consortium has taken a comprehensive approach in their stabilization efforts. Nonprofits and community leaders featured in this video demonstrate the keys to running their NSP program, including homebuyer counseling, home-purchase assistance, and connecting stabilization with broader economic development and revitalization initiatives such as the Cultural Renaissance Program.

Now, about all those people who thought the NSP2 was a bad idea, like former city commissioners who didn’t make the effort to apply for the grant. But the CRA did step up and apply. Here is an excerpt from this blog:

“Both the City and the CRA were eligible to apply for the funds. Leading up to the grant application’s deadline, it became apparent that the City administration (Susan Stanton was the city manager in September 2009) and the City Commission (which included Cara Jennings, JoAnn Golden, and Susan Mulvehill) had demonstrated no interest in assisting the CRA or applying for the grant money itself. Wanting to make sure Lake Worth didn’t miss out on this opportunity to address slum and blight in a big way the CRA went ahead and made the application itself, without any help from the City Commission at the time.”

Want to learn more about the Lake Worth Community Redevelopment Agency? Click on this link.

Ventusky. The most amazing weather website/app you’ll ever use.

A few days prior to Hurricane Irma last year stumbled across the most incredible weather websites ever called Ventusky.

You’ll never look at TV and press weather reports in the same way ever again. Ventusky is a,

“. . . [C]ombination of two words. The first is Latin word, Ventus, means wind, the second is English word, Sky.”

You can customize Ventusky to your liking for the time of day, shows estimated wind speed, waves, etc. You can choose what you want to see on the left side of the page using various tabs. It will ask to follow your location (“Search for location. . .”) and works on mobile devices as well.

Once you enter your location into Ventusky (e.g., your zip code) you’ll be blown away (pardon the pun):

The Ventusky web application has been developed for you at our company, InMeteo, in collaboration with Marek Mojzík and Martin Prantl. We are a Czech meteorological company based in Pilsen. At our company, we focus on weather prediction and meteorological data visualisation. We have a wealth of experience in presenting weather data from our portal, In-počasí, which was founded in 2006 and is now one of the highest-traffic servers in the Czech Republic.”

This weather application is really amazing and encourage you to share it with all your friends and family.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Former-candidate Mr. Ryan Hartman:

“By the end of the campaign, they refused to even call me for interviews (in fact, Kevin Thompson lied in two of his articles about trying to contact me.”

And. . .

“I’m not going anywhere.
Let’s get s■■■ done!!!

In the continuing efforts on this blog over the last few months demonstrating the priorities when running for a seat on the Lake Worth City Commission — e.g., how crucial it is to create a credible “Opening Statement” — also advised is not using the word ‘s■■■’ if you lose your election bid, especially if one is planning on running again.

For example, “Let’s get s■■■ done!!!” wrote Mr. Hartman in his concession to District 1 Commission Scott Maxwell two years ago:

“By the end of the campaign, they [the press] 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.”

However, prior to becoming a candidate for the District 1 seat in the City of Lake Worth back in 2016, Mr. Hartman received well-deserved news coverage from Palm Beach Post reporter Daphne Duret:

WEST PALM BEACH — A trio of environmental protesters were sentenced to probation, community service and fines Friday after a jury convicted them of resisting arrest and disrupting a school function during a 2014 protest against Briger Forest development in Palm Beach Gardens.
     The verdicts against Bailey Riley, Ashley Lyons and Ryan Hartman came almost a year to the day after the members of Everglades Earth First! staged a Nov. 7, 2014 protest of the Kolter Group’s project to build 360 homes on the the Briger property between Hood Road and Donald Ross Road.

and. . .

     The two women had chained themselves to a disabled van blocking both lanes of Hood Road, which construction workers used to go to the Briger project. Hartman owned the van and had helped disable it.

“And I got to talk about Anarchism to a jury!”

To read Mr. Hartman’s concession message in March 2016 and about “Politics 101: How NOT to write a concession” click on this link.

Mr. Hartman lost in a landslide to Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell who received 65% of the vote in 2016 to remain Vice Mayor for the City of Lake Worth and commissioner for District 1. Maxwell was as on the ballot this year as well. He won again. But this time he will serve a three-year term.

How the City of Lake Worth addressed issue of intrusive panhandling and aggressive homeless people.

A short explanation and then two very short videos.

First let’s set the stage:

Coming on the heels of recent news about downtown West Palm Beach and another restaurant closing, “Clematis Street’s The Alchemist closes, citing changing area, homeless problem” consider what happened here in the City of Lake Worth when some homeless and panhandlers were aggressively targeting restaurants and other public spaces in this City.

The problem wasn’t all homeless people and those asking for money. It was just a few but those few created a very big problem.

The two videos below are from September 2016 at a City Commission meeting when the topic of aggressive panhandling and combative homeless people was a major one.

An ordinance proposed to control aggressive panhandling was passed by the City Commission but only after a very long process of educating the public. This was when the editor(s) at The Palm Beach Post tried to confuse the public that this ordinance was a ‘curfew’, which it was not. To read more about that click on this link.

Then-Commissioner Ryan Maier opted not to run for re-election in the March 2017 elections. The District 4 seat is now held by Commissioner Herman Robinson. District 3 Commissioner Andy Amoroso is now Vice Mayor Andy Amoroso; he was unopposed in this year’s [2018] March election cycle.

From the public debate in 2016 commissioners Maier and Amoroso made their case to the public. It was a grueling and contentious public debate that lasted well over a month on the Commission dais. But in the end, the public sided with Amoroso and the majority on the City Commission (which included Mayor Triolo and Commissioner Maxwell). Chris McVoy, PhD, then the commissioner in District 2 sided with Commissioner Maier.

Without further ado. . .

Former Lake Worth Commissioner Ryan Maier:

     “I do not support aggressive panhandling ordinances.
     I cannot see any definable loss through aggressive panhandling except that it is maybe annoying.

Click play to watch this 1½ minute video:

District 3 Commissioner Andy Amoroso:

     “Aggressive panhandling means somebody that’s literally following someone down the street.
     It does affect my business, the downtown businesses, City as a whole . . . and it’s the same ones over and over and over.

This video is 74 seconds long:

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Come celebrate the annual Midnight Sun Festival in the City of Lake Worth Beach!

To become a sponsor, press and media inquiries: below is contact information.

Later in this blog post today is news from journalist Sir Eddie Ritz at The Palm Beach Post about the annual Midnight Sun Festival coming up in just a few weeks.

And to get in the mood for this festival in this City is exciting information in The Lake Worth Herald this week about the American Finnish Club! The directions are below.

Here are just a few upcoming events to mingle and learn more about our wonderful Finnish friends and community.

  • Every Tuesday evening at 7:00 from now through March 12th is the “Nordic Film Series” with English subtitles. The fun includes coffee and Pulla (Finnish Cardamom Sweet Bread) and is sponsored by the Finnish American Heritage Center at Finland University.
  • This coming Saturday is a pancake breakfast from 8:00–Noon. The cost is $7.
  • And BINGO! BINGO! BINGO! every Sunday afternoon starting at 1:30. Complimentary coffee is included.

The American Finnish Club is conveniently located near Lake Worth Beach at 908 Lehto Lane just to the west of the Village of Palm Springs.

Directions: From Lake Worth Beach take 6th Ave. South and cross Congress Ave. heading west which then becomes Melaleuca Lane. About a ¼ mile past Kirk Rd., on the right side of the road (north side), will be the entrance to the American Finnish Club. There is plenty of FREE parking and plenty of smiling faces.

Get yourself excited about the upcoming Midnight Sun Festival!

Staff writer Sir Eddie Ritz at The Palm Beach Post has this question. . .

Do you have a “petite wife and deep desire to visit Finland?”

Why does Sir Ritz ask that question?
Continue reading to find out.

The Midnight Sun Festival returns to the City of Lake Worth once again on Friday, March 1st–Sunday, March 3rd.

To contact the festival organizing committee, e.g., how to become a sponsor and press inquiries, click on this link or call 561-200-8683.

The big event at the festival is the
“Wife-Carrying Contest”!

Sir Eddie Ritz, one of the top entertainment reporters at The Palm Beach Post writes in last year’s TGIF in the lead-up to the Midnight Sun Festival:

Got a strong back and legs?
     How about a petite wife and deep desire to visit Finland?
     Then lift up that loving ball and chain and go for glory during the Florida Championship Wife-Carrying Contest on Sunday. [emphasis added]
     The winning team will win a trip to Finland at the end of June to represent Florida at World Championships.

To learn more about the Midnight Sun Festival 2019 click on this link. All small business owners, by becoming a member of the Lake Worth Business Committee, for an additional $50 become a member of the Finnish American Chamber of Commerce.

Who ever declared that West Palm (without a beach) is a “world class city”?

Does a city become a ‘world class’ one by painting more and more murals? Or should some of that money, like maybe $5,000, go to organizations like PEACE? Or to the Palm Beach County Tenants Union? And West Palm has declared itself a “welcoming city” as well. Doth that make a city a ‘world class’ one?

Interestingly, earlier this month in The Palm Beach Post were two items about West Palm, one about homelessness and another one about murals.

“We are faced with alleviating the trauma to victims that is caused by deranged transient street people and finding ways to address the economic and financial impacts on our businesses, and our reputation as a world class city.”

West Palm Commissioner Paula Ryan. Quote from a “Point of View” published January 5th on the editorial page in The Palm Beach Post headlined, “Less talk, more solutions to downtown West Palm Beach homeless problem”.

And then there is this recent information about the homicide rate in West Palm:

West Palm Beach had 26 homicides, the most of any county municipality, and two shy of the city’s total for 2017.

Could there be an answer to these vexing problems? A way to solve homelessness and the homicide rate?

Well, let’s see. Maybe more murals will help.

Here is news also that was published in The Palm Beach Post by reporter Tony Doris on January 5th:

WEST PALM BEACH — A story will unfold on a West Palm Beach water tank in weeks ahead and another on a busy intersection, as the city brings public art to the fore in projects that are literally high-visibility and low-visibility.

The city commission is expected to vote its approval Jan. 14 for the two projects, one by international artist Daas on the water tank at 4400 Parker Ave., and the other by Dreyfoos School of the Arts students on the intersection of Fern Street and Tamarind Avenue.

This could make for an interesting editorial in the Post some day, the editor(s) can ask, “How many murals is enough?”

And if West Palm is a ‘world class city’ are they setting a good example for the rest of Palm Beach County by ignoring vexing problems and just painting more and more murals all over town?

Taking on the slumlords and their allies in this City of Lake Worth.

If there was ever a time to get involved now is that time. Send a very brief message to your elected officials. Just say “I support you” and ask the question, “What can I do to help?” Learn how to contact your elected officials at the end of this blog post.

And to all those people in neighborhoods west of Dixie Hwy., “[W]ho suffer daily from the unacceptable conditions and thuggery” please know this:

The message to slumlords in the Code Enforcement (CDBG) Target Area: this City is coming after you.

“[S]tep up and spend money to comply with basic community-wide standards, sell to someone who will, or I will authorize liens and foreclosures till their eyes bleed.”

Lake Worth City Manager Michael Bornstein as quoted in The Lake Worth Herald, article headlined “The Day Has Come For Slumlords in Lake Worth” published on October 11th, 2018.

See the full story in the Herald below. Also below is more backup information about this developing story and a video (at end of blog post) from the City Commission meeting that will put all of this in context.

And expect the “G” word to come back, that oft-used tactic to try and put this City on the defensive. That is explained in more detail below.

The news reported in the Herald about the CDBG Target Area should have been front page news in the Post too. But it wasn’t. This is important information about Code Enforcement in the City of Lake Worth, federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding made available, and taking the battle directly to the slumlords in this City: a serious public health and safety issue that even predates the “sober home epidemic”. Another serious problem the Post was slow to address.

This story about taking on the slumlords began to unfold last year, on September 13th at the City Commission as noted on this blog when an item on the Consent Agenda was moved by Commissioner Omari Hardy to New Business:

Resolution No. 57-2018 - Community Development Block Grant Agreement with Palm Beach County: “[A]uthorizes the Mayor to execute the Interlocal Agreement between Palm Beach County and the City that sets forth the terms and conditions for the use of $294,477 . . . for increased code enforcement activities within the CDBG Target Area.”

The “Target Area” is explained later in this blog post. Also in September 2018 at the Commission was this item in New Business:

Ordinance No. 2018-16 - First 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 and scheduling the Second Reading and Public Hearing [Oct. 16th].

Yes. Ordinance No. 2018-16 was on the City Commission agenda for Second Reading. And it did pass.

And expect those slumlords to fight back. And hard.

Expect that ‘G’ word to come back with a frenzy. Those slumlords have their allies and affinity groups to protect them. Who are those allies? They are the ones also making tons of money off disgraceful, unsafe and dilapidated properties. The ‘G’ word of course is “gentrification”. If you wish, after reading this blog post scroll back up and read about “the politics of fear” an oft-used tactic in this City.

Without further ado, to the news published in The Lake Worth Herald headlined, “The Day Has Come For Slumlords in Lake Worth”:

On October 3, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Street Team partnered with Lake Worth Code Enforcement and Building and Zoning to conduct a sweep on various locations between 7th South and 14th South on G, H and J Streets. The sweep resulted in 115 inspections/violations, 10 vehicles towed, 70 Red Tags issued and 8 horticultural cases were referred.

While in the area, deputies observed a known gang member with a felony warrant. After a foot chase, the suspect was captured. The suspect was found to be armed with a loaded firearm when he was captured and his vehicle was located nearby. A search warrant was authorized for the vehicle and 2 additional firearms along with approximately 3.5 pounds marijuana with a street value of $10,000. Two of the three firearms recovered were stolen and one was recently taken during an armed robbery. PBSO’s Violent Crimes Division Robbery and the Gang Unit were notified.

When informed of the success of the operation, City Manager Michael Bornstein said, “Awesome job to all!”

Bornstein continued his response with “the coordination and teamwork of this effort will be remembered as the starting point in turning around what is arguably the worst area in Lake Worth. This type of operation coupled with the City’s significant investments in infrastructure, an improved market/economy, and the use of technology (the camera project) will facilitate significant improvement.”

Bornstein wrote, “Understand that this operation is part of changing the business model for the existing owners of the housing stock and land. The profit margin they have been pulling out of this area has not included spending money back on their properties to properly repair and maintain them. Most likely when something is done, it is without permits and inspections.

“Additionally, they are obviously not managing their units to the level as occurs in other parts of the City. Your actions make this cash rich business model an impossibility. It also forces them to make a choice as to either: step up and spend money to comply with basic community wide standards, sell to someone who will, or I will authorize liens and foreclosures till their eyes bleed.

No longer are the current conditions acceptable. Your time and efforts will yield results, but it must be consistent and it must be regular. I thank you and I know that the law-abiding citizens who suffer daily from the unacceptable conditions and thuggery in this neighborhood also thank you.”

And in conclusion, Bornstein wrote. . .

“I look forward to more reports like this in the future.”

Code Enforcement in this City is one in particular that was quite often in the Post’s spotlight, or a target if you will, of many stories published in the past. One particularly “egregious” and “incompetent” story comes to mind, one in which City Manager Michael Bornstein was forced to respond in a quite forceful manner and many of you reading this remember that incident.

What exactly is going on in this City of Lake Worth?

Basically, what is happening is Code Enforcement will be going after the worst of the worst and then going after the less worst in the CDBG Target Area. And they are going to keep on going. This information came from the discussion as Commissioner Hardy wanted more information about what would be happening when ordinance 2018-16 passed at the City Commission.

The City of Lake Worth has received CDBG funding, this is Federal money administered by Palm Beach County. Due to this CDBG funding more fully-trained and experienced code enforcement officials will be hitting the streets going after “the worst first” in the Target Area.

The CDBG Target Area is roughly 7th Ave. North to the Town of Lantana border, west of Dixie Hwy. and east of I-95.

Here are some takeaways from the meeting at the City Commission last September:

  • City Manager Michael Bornstein emphasized the major goal is compliance with City codes and getting more structures on the tax roll.
  • City Attorney Glen Torcivia talked about the high rate of success by the City before the magistrate but expressed some frustration as well not mentioning any cases in particular.
  • William Waters from the Community Sustainability Dept. said that magistrates, “Need to treat the bad guy like a bad guy”.
  • Vice Mayor Andy Amoroso talked about how important the Neighborhood Assoc. Presidents’ Council will be in getting the word out to neighborhoods.
  • The practice of abating fines by 90% will be getting much more scrutiny and expect heavier fines (the limit is $250/day which is State law).
  • Commissioner Herman Robinson said, “The public needs to understand there is a new sheriff in town”.
  • And “Insert salty language here”, quipped Bornstein at one point in the discussion.

Now to the video.

The YouTube video below is an 8½ minute segment of the discussion about Resolution No. 57-2018 and Ordinance No. 2018-16, a portion of the discussion which sums things up quite well:

Hope you found this information helpful and informative. And as always, Thank You for visiting today.

And finally, to contact your elected officials click on this link.

And don’t forget to ask. . .

“What can I do to help?”

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

A blog post from yesterday. . .

The 2019 Cottages of Lake Worth Home Tour is SOLD OUT!

There are still people out there who don’t believe it. But it’s true. If you are planning to show up on Sunday and get a ticket there will be no tickets available. Sorry. But this tour was SOLD OUT nearly two weeks ago. But there are still some who don’t believe it.

By the way, did you happen to see that billboard on I-95 near the 6th Ave. South exit?

Thank You to the City of Lake Worth!

This spectacular billboard explains why the City
was a 3× winner at the SunSational Awards ceremony at the Florida Festivals and Events Association (FFEA) in 2018:

Once again. The Cottages of Lake Worth Home Tour 2019 is SOLD OUT.

Whilst on the topic of news, updates and promoting this City, have you signed up for “City Updates”? This is a newsletter and press releases that will be sent directly to your email inbox. To become a subscriber click on this link.

To look over recent press releases about “Lake Worth Casino Wins Couples’ Choice Award” and the “BiblioArte! Festival returning to Lake Worth” use this link for the email archives.

Back to The Cottages of Lake Worth
Home Tour 2019.

Thank You to everyone who purchased a ticket. And hope to see everyone on Sunday, January 27th outside The Beach Club bistro located at the City’s municipal golf course.

And turns out having the tour begin and end at the golf course suited many just fine. In a time-splitting arrangement of sorts while fans of the Cottages are on tour their favorite fan of golf will be playing a round or two! They’ll have a lot to talk about in the bistro afterwards.

For example,

“Gee Wiz, Mabel. Did you know Babe Ruth played golf right here! Right here at this very golf course!”

On behalf of Lake Worth City Manager Michael Bornstein and Mayor Pam Triolo come and check out the City’s municipal golf course:

The City’s golf course was a feature story by journalist Mike May, “Lake Worth Municipal Golf Club. A Coastal Paradise”. An excerpt:

“Opened on November 12, 1926, as a nine-hole course designed by the tandem of Theodore J. Moreau and William Langford, Lake Worth Municipal is perched on one of the most scenic parts of south Florida – adjacent to the Intracoastal Waterway, along the eastern edge of Lake Worth. In 1948, golf course architect Dick Wilson redesigned the existing nine holes and added nine more to create today’s par-70 layout.” 

The municipal golf course is just across the Intracoastal from Lake Worth Beach:

Babe Ruth golfed here in Lake Worth! He really did:

For the City of Lake Worth’s municipal golf course click on this link.

Know what a “meme” is? “Kilroy Was Here” is a famous one. Some memes succeed and then fail over time, like one created here in our City.

A meme is like a virus, but unlike an actual virus in humans a meme is a ‘word virus’, a word or words transmitted from one person or entity to other people or groups. Some memes take off wildly, some hang around awhile and then go away, and others just die off. A video from Vox (see below) gives a very good explanation.

The meme “Kilroy Was Here” is one of the most famous American historical memes. Will the acronym “YIMBY” become a famous one like “NIMBY” some day? It will if young professional Millennials rise up some day and say, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take this any more!”, due to the lack of new housing in Palm Beach County.

Here’s something to think about: Why do some attempts to create a meme fail in the City of Lake Worth? Remember “secret meetings” and that baked ziti nonsense by a former commissioner?

Were those headlines in the Post with the word “curfew” an attempt to create a meme? The term ‘sanctuary city’? And “Hands Off Our Beach” too, read more about that “Hands Off” nonsense by the SRS platoon below.

The examples above are memes that didn’t quite ‘infect’ enough people to alter opinions and behavior over the long term, like a “pitch” that couldn’t “seal the deal”. Anyhow. . . about the video:

“We know about the epic drama of World War II, but what about the jokes? The video tells the story (as best as we can). The iconic piece of graffiti that was known, in America, as ‘Kilroy Was Here’ traveled the world in a fashion remarkably similar to a modern meme.”

Wikipedia defines a meme this way:

“A meme (/ˈmiːm/ meem) is ‘an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture’. A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices that can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena with a mimicked theme. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate, and respond to selective pressures.”

So some memes are wildly successful and spread like wildfire, others take a long time to gain traction, and some make a big splash and then flame out. “Hands Off Our Beach” was a failed meme that attempted to convince the public there’s a “wolf [or ‘vulture’] at the door” trying to “steal our beach”:

Would the public’s reaction to these signs now be a sign we’re finally healthy once again?

These red & white signs only draw shrugs and laughs now. However, there remain some holdouts in the City from the Silly Red Sign (SRS) platoon.

Ironically, the ones who said “Hands Off Our Beach” were the very same ones who screwed things up so badly in the first place. What we needed was “COMPETENT HANDS ON OUR BEACH”!

Infill development and City of Lake Worth history: The one constant is constant change.

Many of the things City residents take for granted wouldn’t exist today were it not for infill development: Bryant Park, the Snook Islands, ‘Hot Dog Park’*, the City’s Golf Course, Park of Commerce, and the County’s John Prince Park are just a few.

For another example of infill development, coastal hardening and protection, you’ll be interested to learn what happened after the hurricanes of 1947 and 1949: A1A used to hug the coastline east of the Casino building but was moved west, away from the ocean and closer to the Intracoastal.

Later on in the 1950s more areas west of the Casino building were “filled in”. That is where the large Casino parking lot is located and where the Farmer’s Market meets during The Season. This first image is from Facebook and the next two color images are courtesy of Frank Palen, a long-time City resident many of you know very well:

Aerial view looking south likely pre-WWII. A1A hugs the coast in front of the former Casino structure. Then later, in the 1950s. . .

Note location of the pool (rear of building). The pool at the Beach now is condemned. Due to modern trends and market forces, a municipal pool at the Beach is unlikely an option going forward (but one may be constructed somewhere else in the City).

Notice all the parking close by the former Casino and short walk to the beach. The present structure has parking and traffic problems of which most of you are aware. Those weren’t issues “back in the day”.

*Many residents of Lake Worth will fondly recall why that area (base of the former Lake Worth bridge) was called “Hot Dog Park”. It had to do with ‘free hot dogs’ on a July 4th back in 2009. Former resident and blogger-extraordinaire Tom McGow explained this quite well in a post titled, “PAC your lunch for the 4th of July. . .”.

Ballot language is very important.

Do you want trees planted along Dixie Hwy. for “Beautification”?

Great idea.

But it’s not going to happen with money from the City of Lake Worth’s Neighborhood Road Bond or from the County’s ¢1 Sales Tax increase either.

If you try to force the issue and get trees planted on Dixie Hwy. using this money, as per City Attorney Glen Torcivia, the City will end up in court and that, “is not where you want to be.”

The voters in this City of Lake Worth didn’t
approve a $40M bond for trees.

The voters in Palm Beach County didn’t approve raising the sales tax for trees either. Torcivia cited Florida Statute 212.055; it’s very specific what this money can be used for.

The answer to Dixie Hwy. beautification is not waiting for “money from above”. The answer is to try and get creative and seek other funding sources, e.g., grants, donations, and contact philanthropic organizations as well. And don’t forget, Dixie Hwy. is controlled by FDOT (another bureaucracy), not the City of Lake Worth.

Ballot language (“questions”) for Lake Worth Neighborhood Road Bond and County ¢1 Sales Tax.

Please read both of these ballot questions very carefully. They both passed convincingly. This information would be good to know when you come before the City Commission (or a City board) with your next great idea.

November 8th [2016] General Election. Voters will be asked to either vote for, or against, authorizing the City of Lake Worth to issue a forty million dollar bond exclusively for the purpose of improving our neighborhood streets.

Shall the City be authorized to issue general obligation bonds for the exclusive purpose of improving local roadways and eliminating potholes in an amount not to exceed forty million dollars, payable from annual ad valorem taxes maturing no later than thirty years from the date of each issuance and bearing interest at a rate not exceeding the maximum legal rate with all expenditures reviewed by a citizens advisory committee?


To enhance education by improving district-owned school buildings, equipment, technology and security; purchase school buses, public safety vehicles and equipment; and equip, construct and repair roads, bridges, signals, streetlights, sidewalks, parks, drainage, shoreline and wastewater infrastructure, recreational and governmental facilities; shall the County levy a one-cent sales surtax beginning January 1, 2017 and automatically ending on or before December 31, 2026, with independent oversight by citizen committees?

Questions anyone?

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Upcoming municipal elections in Central Palm Beach County (CPBC).

Before we proceed, the Town of Lantana will not be holding elections on March 12th. Why?

Congratulations to the honorable Town of Lantana councilmembers Dr. Lynn J. Moorhouse and Malcolm Balfour on your re-election!

Neither received a challenge in the Qualifying Period and they were both re-elected. Learn more about this latest development below.

And now that GateHouse Media is the new publisher of The Palm Beach Post — as of May 1st, 2018 — what can the public expect from election reporting going forward? 

And wouldn’t every municipality in CPBC want a reporter with a track record of fairness and success? And a winner of several awards for journalism and political reporting?

Reporting on local elections here in CPBC would be the perfect beat for reporter Chris Persaud who just last month made his return to The Palm Beach Post. The latest effort by Persaud was reporting on the upcoming elections in Boynton Beach (see below).

Mr. Persaud is the former award-winning Post reporter who covered politics and elections here in the City of Lake Worth following on the heels of Lona O’Connor and long-time beat reporter Willy Howard.

Interestingly, it was Persaud who was at the PBC Supervisor of Elections (SOE) facility in Riviera Beach watching votes being counted by the canvassing board in August 2014 when the unimaginable occurred. About what happened the editor at the Post later wrote, “[I]t remains an offense to democracy.

That offense being when Susan Bucher, the former SOE in Palm Beach County, took ballots cast from the City of Lake Worth and the editor at the Post later wrote, “[S]he decided to deep-six them.”

Anyhow. . .

Just last week journalist Chris Persaud updated Palm Beach County with this news headlined, “2019 election: 14 candidates, including 5 for mayor, running for office in Boynton”. Here is the first paragraph from the story by Persaud datelined Jan. 17th:

BOYNTON BEACH — Voters this spring have a menu of choices in the third biggest city in Palm Beach County after qualifying ended this week.

Nine candidates are vying for three city commission seats while five are in contention for the mayor’s position March 12. Commissioner Mack McCray, who was elected in 2017, does not face reelection until 2020.

Now to the Town of Lantana.

Lantana is the City of Lake Worth’s neighbor to the south. The Town of Lantana incorporated in 1924, eleven years after the “Town of Lake Worth” became incorporated.

The elections scheduled for March 12th in Lantana will not happen. Why? Because both of the incumbents went unchallenged. They are the honorable Councilmember Dr. Lynn J. Moorhouse, DDS, in Group 1 and the honorable Councilmember Malcolm Balfour in Group 2.

The Lantana Town Council is comprised of five members who serve staggered three-year terms and are elected on a nonpartisan basis.

Town of Lantana Mayor David J. Stewart (first elected in 2000 and re-elected six times; up for re-election in 2021) and councilmembers in Groups 1–4 are elected town-wide.

Mayor Dave Stewart serves as the presiding officer at Town Council meetings and as the official head of the Town for legislative and ceremonial purposes. The Town Council is responsible for passing ordinances and other policy directives necessary for the operation of the Town.

About the Town of Lantana.

Lantana is a coastal community in Palm Beach County and encompasses an area of approximately three square miles. The Town’s recreational facilities include an “eight-acre municipal beach with 745′ of ocean frontage, open picnic areas, oceanfront pavilion, showers, restrooms, lifeguard station, and playground area.”

To learn more about this very unique municipality in South Florida click on this link.

“I swear! We got the plan that will work this time. You just need to trust us!”

Back in 2007 was one of the worst droughts in modern South Florida history (see images below). But for some people their only concern is when it rains too much. . .

“Send It [water from Lake
Okeechobee] South!”

and the latest mantra. . .

“Lower Lake O!”

But there is a big problem with ‘Lower Lake O!’ as you’ll learn about below.

Fingers are crossed a brand new reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee will be constructed for just about $1.4B. Plus or minus a few hundred million dollars. Sounds like a bargain, right? Especially when the dike surrounding Lake Okeechobee is in such need of repair.

And guess all those other millions and billions of dollars that was spent in the past just proves this latest $700M from the Feds and another $700M from the State of Florida is the right way to go? Sounds like a great plan. Until you consider what happened just about twelve years ago.

And the beat goes on. . .

Newspaper clipping from May 2007.

Click on image to enlarge:

How much progress has been made in the last twelve years getting Martin County off septic and hooked up to municipal sewer?

Another plan by the experts. . .

And all the while the experts knew the Herbert Hoover Dike was a great risk of being breached and flooding Palm Beach County. But instead, the experts are thrilled with a new ‘shiny object’.

A brand new reservoir. And it will
only cost about $1.4B.

Guatemalan child killed in trailer park. Case remains unsolved.

The hit and run killing of a 21-month-old child on New Year’s Eve was front page news, above the fold in The Palm Beach Post.

But the wrong location was given.

And to make things worse, no correction was ever issued by the editor(s). No contact information was supplied by the Post for who to contact at law enforcement with tips. And no reference was made to Crime Stoppers for anonymous tips from the public.

Is anyone surprised this case remains unsolved?

Had the Post reported this deadly hit and run accurately could that have made a difference and maybe solved this terrible crime?

This crime DID NOT happen in the Town of Lantana. This incident occurred out west in unincorporated Palm Beach County near Congress Ave. and Lantana Rd. But after the news published in the Post how many in the public came to believe this crime occurred within the municipal limits of Lantana?

FYI: GateHouse Media is the publisher of The Palm Beach Post. Learn more about GateHouse at the end of this blog post.

The lead news published in the print edition under the banner “REAL NEWS STARTS HERE” was a terribly sad story about a child being struck and killed and the driver did not stop. Reporter Pat Beall wrote the story but an editor is responsible for verifying the facts prior to publication. And one of the most important pieces of information is the location.

By the way, the mobile home community where this deadly hit and run occurred on New Year’s Eve is the very same mobile home park where Nicolas Cruz lived briefly. And as reported accurately in that news last year by former Post reporter Alexandra Seltzer it was headlined, “Alleged Parkland shooter left suburban Lantana home over gun dispute”.

Note the words “suburban Lantana” by Alexandra Seltzer. The word suburban means outside the border of a municipality which goes a long way in educating the public which is supposed to be the mission of journalism.

For the public, understanding exactly where this incident occurred may have provided that one tip to solve this crime. To read that top news story from two weeks ago click on this link. And no. The story still has not been corrected.

What needs to be corrected: The crime scene IS NOT “in Lantana” as reported.

The crime scene is in unincorporated Palm Beach County (see map below) south of the PBC Park Airport (aka, ‘Lantana Airport’). The nearest municipality is the City of Atlantis just to the north. The actual Town of Lantana is east of this location.

Also not included in that story was any contact information about who to reach at law enforcement with tips and information (this area is patrolled by PBSO). And also not reported is any reference to Crime Stoppers either for anonymous tips:

No arrests have been made in the hit and run killing of 21-month-old Jonnhy Ramirez. If you have any information you can stay anonymous.

Call 800-458-8477 and collect a reward for helping solve this crime.

How long did it take to discover the error in The Palm Beach Post?

About two minutes. How?

The mobile home community called Lantana Cascade is located less than one mile south of the City of Atlantis (south of Lantana Rd.) on the west side of S. Congress Ave.

Click on map to enlarge.

Lantana Cascade is not in this image; however, one can see where the Town of Lantana is located (shaded red). The City of Atlantis (shaded yellow) is north of the mobile home community called Lantana Cascade.

Were you or someone you know in the area of the hit and run killing on New Year’s Eve around 8:30? Do you have a tip? Then contact Crime Stoppers (800-458-8477) or PBSO immediately (561-688-3000).

It is very easy to verify and/or clarify if a press or news media story is accurate — or not — when reporting about any location in Palm Beach County

It’s called the Geo Nav mapping tool (link to site below) from the PBC Property Appraiser’s Office.

For example see another map below. Just by clicking on the “County Parks” tab (explained below) the County’s John Prince Park shows up as light green. Use the municipal parks tab and every park within a municipality will appear. Click on the “Municipalities” tab and each municipality shows up a different shade of color.

The areas not shaded? Those are unincorporated areas in Palm Beach County such as suburban Lake Worth. John Prince Park (site of recent plane crash) and the PBC Park Airport are both in unincorporated PBC.

Click on image below to enlarge.

See the legend in the top left?
Go to the Geo Nav mapping tool and click on
“Layers” tab (far left) and explore the tools.

Have you ever considered becoming a volunteer
for PBSO? For more information about that
click on this link.

If you think educating the public about municipal borders and suburban areas in Palm Beach County is important, then click on this link to contact an editor at GateHouse Media to share your thoughts.

“At GateHouse Media, our mission is to deliver high quality and trusted journalism, products and services that enrich the communities we serve — our readers, commercial partners, employees and investors.”

—Quote: “About Us” at GateHouse Media.

As of May 1st, 2018, GateHouse is the publisher of The Palm Beach Post.

Since 2008 the Sun Sentinel presses in Deerfield Beach (Broward County) has been the printer of The Palm Beach Post newspaper.

From the Top Ten.

Most oft-told lies heard “at the door” during election season.

Door knocker: “Did you know they’re selling
Lake Worth’s golf course to developers
so they can build condos?”

This is how it all begins:

Door knocker: “Knock Knock”.

City of Lake Worth resident: “Hello?”

We all have to be reminded from time to time how many new residents there are in this little City of Lake Worth and the many others who are considering a relocation here. If they come across the wrong person, let’s say an over-eager bird watcher at Bryant Park or the Snook Islands, they may come to learn that a condo community is being considered to replace the City’s golf course.

Just one problem:
That can never be done.

You see, the truth is the Lake Worth Golf Course is deed-restricted and cannot be sold — the people who donated the land to the City made sure of that: 

Click on images below to enlarge:

If anyone tells you condos can be built along the
golf course just turn to them and say,
“Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire”.

And did you know the New York Yankee legend Babe Ruth was a regular visitor to the little City of Lake Worth to play golf? It’s true:

To book a tee time use this link and also learn about the course’s “South Palm Beach charm”. The Lake Worth golf course clubhouse is located at #1 7th Ave. North along the scenic Intracoastal waterway.