Friday, July 20, 2018

City Commission “Visioning Workshop” is next Tuesday from 10:00–4:30.

The agenda is below. This meeting will be held in the City Hall conference room. A consultant has been hired and will be in attendance.

In his own words, Lake Worth City Manager Michael Bornstein explains to the Commission what will happen in this video from last Tuesday:

The agenda:

10:00. Welcome and Introductions.

10:15. Overview and Purpose of the Goal Setting Process.

10:30. Review Environmental Scan: Issues and data that will provide background to discussion (demographic, financial, workload, operational statistics, development trends, new technology, legislative issues, etc.).

11:30. Break.

11:45. Reaffirm Vision Statement, Mission Statement, and Core Values.

12:30. Lunch.

1:15. Discuss Key Issues and Identify Strategic Priorities (establish four or five broad priority areas and define success factors).

2:45. Break.

3:00. Identify Goals for Each Strategic Priority.

4:15. Wrap-up and Closing Comments.

4:30. Adjourn.

UPDATE: The big news this week in our City of Lake Worth: “Overcapacity Schools Cause for Alarm”.

Overcapacity (noun), “beyond what is normal, allowed, or desirable.”

Please note, for reference, at the end of this blog post is the video of PBC School Board member Erica Whitfield at the Lake Worth City Commission last Tuesday and “Resolution No. 41-2018 — encouraging action by the Palm Beach County School District to address the overcapacity issues at Highland Elementary and South Grade Elementary schools”.

This is a developing story. Erica Whitfield, also a City resident, attended the Commission meeting last Tuesday at the request of Vice Mayor Andy Amoroso to address the concerns of elected officials and the public. The subsequent resolution on the agenda passed unanimously, 5-0. An excerpt:

WHEREAS, the Mayor and City Commission recognize that regular communication with the City of Lake Worth’s elected representatives to the District School Board is necessary to improve the educational outcomes of the city’s public school students.

Why are the public schools so important? Simply put: our City’s future growth is tied to the public schools. The planning needs to start now for upgrading schools, constructing new schools and/or redistricting the public schools that exist. This needs to be a high priority for the City Commission.

Worth noting is this City has quite a number of volunteer advisory boards, e.g., a C-51 Canal Advisory Board, a board that has only met one single time since being formed in Nov. 2016.

This City has a Library Board, a Recreation Advisory Board, and even a Tree Board too. But guess what this City doesn’t have? A board tasked with coordinating and working with our one charter school, the four public elementary schools, Lake Worth Middle, and Lake Worth High School.

As reported in The Palm Beach Post this City and our public schools reached a crisis point back in 1989. It was a situation so dire the public rose up to challenge the School Board. And later, as reported by Scott McCabe, a wonderful thing happened: “Project Lake Worth turns diversity into strength”. Before this latest challenge turns into an avoidable crisis, is it time for Project Lake Worth II?

Highland and South Grade elementary schools are
the front page news in the Herald today.

Also front page news: “City Amends Land Development Regulations” and “Tattoos and Piercings Moratorium in Downtown”. For subscription rates or other questions call the editor at 561-585-9387 or by email:

From the Herald, an excerpt from the school news everyone is talking about:

City Commissioner Omari Hardy requested placement of a resolution on the agenda which encourages action by the Palm Beach County School District to address the overcapacity issues at Highland Elementary and South Grade Elementary schools.
     The resolution addresses the overcapacity . . . and encourages the Mayor and Commissioners to meet with members of the Palm Beach County School Board. [emphasis added]
     The School District of Palm Beach County’s 2018 Capacity Watch list* indicates that enrollment at Highland Elementary School is 15% above the school’s original built capacity and South Grade Elementary School is 16% above its original built capacity and 3% above its built capacity when its “concretable” classrooms are taken into account.
     School Board Member Erica Whitfield attended the commission meeting and made herself available to answer any questions the commission may have.

*To learn more about the PBC School Board Advisory Boundary Committee (ABC) board click on this link.
Concretable  =  Modular structure constructed of concrete.

Resolution No. 41-2018:

Agenda Date: July 17, 2018.

Background and Justification: Commissioner Hardy requested this item be placed on the agenda.

Motion: I move to approve/disapprove Resolution No. 41-2018. . .

WHEREAS, Highland Elementary and South Grade Elementary are both located in the City of Lake Worth; and

WHEREAS, the City of Lake Worth’s Mayor and Commissioners believe that all of the city’s children deserve a quality education, no matter their race, income, sex, or national heritage; and

WHEREAS, the City of Lake Worth cannot prosper unless its public schools are well resourced and its children well educated; and

WHEREAS, the Mayor and City Commission recognize that regular communication with the City of Lake Worth’s elected representatives to the District School Board is necessary to improve the educational outcomes of the city’s public school students;

WHEREAS, the School District of Palm Beach County’s 2018 Capacity Watch List indicates that enrollment at Highland Elementary is 15% above the school’s original built capacity; and

WHEREAS, the School District of Palm Beach County’s 2018 Capacity Watch List indicates that enrollment at South Grade Elementary is 16% above its original built capacity and 3% above its built capacity when its “concretable” classrooms are taken into account; and

WHEREAS, the School District of Palm Beach County has published no plan to address the capacity issues at either Highland Elementary or South Grade Elementary;


Section 1: The City Commission hereby encourages the District School Board to lower the number of students enrolled at both Highland and South Grade elementary schools by either redrawing their boundaries or constructing more, permanent student stations.

Section 2: The City Commission hereby seeks to establish biannual joint meetings in which the city’s Mayor, Commissioners, and elected representatives to the District School Board, as well as school district staff and city staff, shall discuss issues pertaining to the city’s public schools, and in which the city’s residents shall have the opportunity to comment on matters discussed.

Section 3: A copy of this resolution shall be forwarded to the Palm Beach County District School Board, the School District Advisory Boundary Committee, and the Palm Beach County League of Cities Executive Board.

Section 4: This resolution shall become effective upon adoption.

The passage of this resolution was moved by Commissioner Herman C. Robinson, seconded by Commissioner Scott Maxwell, and upon being put to a vote, the vote was as follows:

Mayor Pam Triolo: Yes.
Vice Mayor Andy Amoroso: Yes.
Commissioner Scott Maxwell: Yes.
Commissioner Omari Hardy: Yes.
Commissioner Herman Robinson: Yes.

The Mayor thereupon declared this resolution duly passed and adopted on July 17th, 2018.

Have thoughts to share on the topic of our public schools? To contact the elected leaders on the Lake Worth City Commission click on this link.

Here is the video of School Board member Erica Whitfield at the City Commission last Tuesday:

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

In Southeast Florida: News vans are packed, weather reporters ready and eager for the next major storm.

Sitting around and waiting for a major storm or hurricane to approach from the Atlantic must be so frustrating. So what are weather reporters to do? Let’s say an assignment editor sends a reporter to the Lake Worth Beach to cover an approaching weather event. The City of Lake Worth, being safe, sent out a press release advising the public not to swim in the ocean. Not much is happening at the moment except for some brisk wind and surfers taking advantage of the higher waves. So the reporter, with his or her back to the ocean, needs something to air and quick!

What a reporter could do is deliver the press release from the City using something called the “gale force” approach to weather reporting. This approach is not advised in most situations but it certainly will get the public’s attention (note the ‘gale force’ method may be encouraged in some newsrooms when assigned to report on anything that looks like blue-green algae in the water).

So if you’re a reporter please take a few moments and watch the weather news segment below courtesy of CNN, an example of the gale force method being employed.

If you are considering heading off to the
Lake Worth Beach to go swimming. . .

“Don’t Do It!”

Hope you enjoy this video and remember,
“Don’t Swim In the Sea! Incredibly. . .”

SFWMD: Mitigating high water emergency, sending more water east to tide and south to Everglades.

Where are you getting your news about the all-important topic of water levels in Palm Beach County? From TV news reporters? Newspapers? Too many of them are up in the Treasure Coast trying to chase down reports of a possible blue-green algae bloom and hoping to interview someone they haven’t interviewed five times before.

So instead get your news straight from the source: the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD).* To follow the District on Twitter click on this link.

Here is an excerpt from the latest press release datelined yesterday, July 19th:

West Palm Beach, FL — The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) has been working around the clock to lower water levels in the conservation areas and create capacity for sending more Lake Okeechobee water south. By installing additional temporary pumps and taking other operational actions, the District is doing its part to mitigate the high water emergency caused by record May rainfall.

SFWMD Hydrology and Hydraulics Bureau Chief Akin Owosina gave an update on the District’s operations through the agency's weekly video series dedicated to informing the public on current water conditions and the agency's actions amid the high water emergency.
[The video of Bureau Chief Akin Owosina being interviewed by SFWMD spokesman Randy Smith is below. For the District’s website dedicated to the emergency situation click on this link.]

The record rainfall in May caused Lake Okeechobee to rise more than a foot, which led the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to begin releases from the lake on June 1 to the northern estuaries. At the same time, this record rainfall inundated the water conservation areas, causing them to rise considerably above their regulation schedules. To combat this, SFWMD is taking every action within its authority to lower water levels, including storing water on public and private lands, utilizing every available structure and installing temporary pumps to move additional water.

SFWMD this week installed a third 42-inch temporary pump in addition to the two that were previously installed and pumping water from Water Conservation Area 2A in Broward County into Water Conservation Area 1 in Palm Beach County to be discharged to tide through the Hillsboro Canal.

Use this link to read the entire press release.

*The South Florida Water Management District is a regional governmental agency that manages the water resources in the southern part of the state. It is the oldest and largest of the state’s five water management districts. Our mission is to protect South Florida’s water resources by balancing and improving flood control, water supply, water quality and natural systems.

“Hey, Lake Worth, it’s 2009. No worries. Let’s party like it’s 1999!”

A very revealing graphic is below from April 2014, included in the back-up material at a City Commission Budget Work Session. For some perspective, Cara Jennings was elected in 2006 and JoAnn Golden in 2007. The former city manager, Susan Stanton, was hired in 2009.

Here in this City of Lake Worth there are still a few supporters of what was called the ‘Best Commission Ever!’ (or BCE!, for short), a reckless reign that ended for good in 2011. The BCE! is still glorified from time to time which is called historical revisionism. What actually occurred is spending was completely out of control.

After what happened in 2009 it was left up to future elected officials to pick up all the shattered pieces of this City following the Great Recession.

Click on image to enlarge:

In 2009 there were twenty-eight municipalities in PBC. South Bay and Pahokee suffered the worst following the Great Recession. The third worst hit? The City of Lake Worth.

In 2011 Pam Triolo became the mayor and Andy Amoroso replaced Golden on the City Commission. They both joined Scott Maxwell who had been elected the year prior. One of the first things “The Three” did — the new majority of Triolo, Maxwell, and Amoroso — was fire Stanton. In April 2012 Michael Bornstein was hired to be the city manager.

So the next time you hear anyone talk about how great the BCE! was, well, now you know really what happened. And maybe take a few moments and wonder how much further ahead our City would be right now if a former administration hadn’t recklessly squandered so much money away back in 2009, wearing blinders and acting like the year was 1999:

“Put On a Happy Face”!

First, briefly, if you live or have a business in the Lake Worth Electric Utility Service Area. . .

There is news to report!

Coming up on Tuesday, July 31st, per Lake Worth City Manager Michael Bornstein, there will be a “Special Commission Meeting” on one topic and one topic only: the Lake Worth Electric Utility. The very next day, on Wednesday, August 1st, will be the next meeting of the Lake Worth Electric Utility Advisory Board.

You see, the City Commission sitting as the Electric Utility Board, the City administration, and the Lake Worth Electric Utility heard your concerns!

However, if you recall, there was a power outage on April 9th, and then came the breaking news from Palm Beach Post staff writer McKenna Ross about Zombies on May 20th, then exactly a month later on June 20th was another power outage.

Take a look at the calendar. . .

Keep your fingers crossed
and “Put On a Happy Face”!

Read about the fabulous Liza Minnelli using this link.

From Coastal Star reporters Jane Smith, Michelle Quigley: “Along the Coast. . . A line in the sand”.

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.

How it’s done: Winning an election by splitting the vote, forcing a run-off.

Question: Should the City of Lake Worth have a referendum on eliminating run-off elections?

It was tried once before but failed. Try once again? Continue reading to find out why the time may be right for another ballot question to foil the ‘shills’.

Think about that as we’re heading into another Election Season here in the City of Lake Worth (yes, things have a tendency to start early in this City).

Do you know what a “shill” is? And more about the hazards and pitfalls of the feared run-off election: The case of Mr. Jorge Goyanes (see below).

Briefly — here is an idea that’s been floated around from time to time — why not have a referendum on a future ballot to get rid of run-off elections? The winner on Election Day would be the highest vote-getter instead of having to reach that magic number of “50% + 1”? In a four-person race it’s almost guaranteed to force a run-off and two more weeks of door-knockers, yard signs, and mailers.

Next year in the City of Lake Worth Districts 2 and 4 will be up for election on March 12th, 2019 and both of the incumbents have announced they are seeking re-election. In District 2 Commissioner Omari Hardy already has a challenger, Cathy Turk, a member of the City’s Planning & Zoning Board. Turk is a worthy challenger which whould hopefully make for an exciting campaign and healthy exchange of ideas.

In District 4 Commissioner Herman C. Robinson remains unchallenged but the two-week Qualifying Period doesn’t begin until Nov. 27th. So there is plenty of time.

But what happens when three or more candidates are on the ballot next year in one or both races in Districts 2 and 4? And what if one or more of those candidates is a “shill”? A ‘shill’, also called others things that can’t be mentioned on this blog, is someone who qualifies to get on the ballot but has no intention of winning — but just to get a certain percentage of the vote — whatever that number is deemed necessary to stop someone else from getting “50% + 1”. Why? To force a run-off election two weeks after Election Day.

Let’s take the case of what happened to
Mr. Jorge Goyanes in March 2006.

A political mailer.

Click on image to enlarge:

In 2006 Goyanes would most likely have won the District 2 seat but then something happened along the way to monkeywrench his plans.

Goyanes had three challengers in the General Election held on March 14th, 2006:
In a four-person race it’s very difficult to reach that magic number: 50%  +  1.

Then two weeks later, on March 28th, 2006,
the run-off election was held:
Ergo: The hazards and pitfalls of a run-off election.*

The point is this: Going forward in the 2018–2019 Election Season pay very close attention to who enters the races in Districts 2 and 4. Are they “in it to win it” or just to stop someone else from getting “50% + 1”?

Now explained . . . “What is a shill?”

In some cities and towns in Palm Beach County, to win an election outright you only need to get the majority of the vote to win. So if five or six people are running for a seat on a commission or council the winner would only need 30–40% to win, or maybe even less.

However, in most cities in PBC the winner needs 50% of the vote +1 which would then trigger an automatic recount (the winner needs a margin over ½ of 1% to avoid a recount). That’s where the shill comes in.

The shill may be in the race to help someone get 50% + 1 or, in other cases, the shill’s job is to damage another candidate and force a run-off election between the two top vote-getters that would be held two weeks after the general election. If the candidate being targeted is politically damaged enough two weeks may not be enough time to recover and beat the second-place finisher.

Now it gets more complicated: What if people think there is a shill in the race but instead all of the candidates are truly in it to win it? And now, the most complicated possibility of all that any serious candidate needs to plan for: the dangers and pitfalls of a runoff election!

*The drama that is District 2: Cara Jennings in 2005–2006 claimed not to be an Anarchist and continued to deny it running for re-election in 2008, an election she won. In 2010 Jennings passed the baton to Chris McVoy, PhD, who was elected and finally booted off the Commission in 2017.
     In 2016 Jennings reflected on her two terms on the Lake Worth City Commission and acknowledged her support for Anarchy.
     Had we known this in 2006. . .

FOR ENTERTAINMENT ONLY: Predictions about the number of hurricanes every year.

Below in this blog post, once again, is “The lesson from Hurricane Wilma” last year and why this lesson is so important for residents of this City and all customers of the Lake Worth Electric Utility (LWEU). To see the LWEU service area which includes areas in the Village of Palm Springs and suburban (unincorporated) Lake Worth click on this link.

Projections and predictions receive a lot of social media ‘clicks’ which the press and media follow frantically every single hour, they sell more newspapers and they make for really cool 10-second spots promoting the 6:00 and 11:00 o’clock news.

But other than that those predictions and projections don’t matter a hill of beans. Why? It doesn’t matter if it’s predicted to be a slow Season or a high Season for hurricanes. Because it only takes one, take for example what happened in August 1992. That terrible storm forever changed the building and construction codes here in the State of Florida.

In 1992 the first storm didn’t form until April, a subtropical storm, and it just fell apart. In June there was a topical depression that was quite significant, dropping a lot of rain on Florida. In late July another tropical depression formed and later became a ”fish storm” in the Atlantic. Then another tropical depression formed. A small, tightly-formed storm that weakened into a minimal storm. On August 23rd Hurricane Andrew hit the Bahamas with 165 mph winds. At Category 5 Andrew hit Homestead.

At Biscayne National Park there is a plaque that reads,
“On Monday, August 24,1992, at 4:30 a.m., the eye wall of Hurricane Andrew passed over this point before striking Homestead and southern Miami-Dade County.”

Now to another hurricane. . .

The lesson from Hurricane Irma was:

Prepare for the 2018 Hurricane Season.
Get your trees ready for the next hurricane!

Do you remember this video?
Outage Update following Hurricane Irma.
September 12th, 2017.

Delivering the information above is LWEU Dir. Ed Liberty. Here is another important message:

“Planting the right tree in the
right place is the single most important thing [electric
utility] customers can do.”
—Bud Fraga

Below is more about this quote from Bud Fraga along with more information as reported in the Post by reporter Susan Salisbury post-Hurricane Irma. Also below is an excellently written and composed Letter to the Editor published in the Post on this important topic.

Here in the City of Lake Worth, Hurricane Irma provided us a very important lesson without as much pain inflicted like the storms of lore: Frances and Jeanne in 2004 and then Wilma in 2005. The fewest days I was without power was after Frances, ten days. After Hurricane Matthew in 2016 went one day without power and then five days sans electricity following “monster storm” Irma last year.

Every hurricane is different and each
one teaches us a lesson.

The lesson from Irma was as clear as can be. Prepare for the next hurricane: get your trees and vegetation clear of the power lines on both public and private property.

The City of Lake Worth is unique in that we have our own Electric Utility, a Tree Board, and there are many educational opportunities like the annual Tree Festival each February and places to visit such as the popular Grey Mockingbird Community Garden, to name just one of many. So we have the tools in place to get the word out. But the problem is, will it?

It’s not like we weren’t warned repeatedly post-Hurricane Irma by many reporters, the Post’s Susan Salisbury is just one, “After Irma: Why planting the right tree in the right place matters”.

Frances, Jeanne and Wilma taught us how important hardening and fortifying the electrical grid is. We learned that lesson well. Matthew taught us how important it is for a city to be well prepared ahead of time. Another lesson learned. Only time will tell if we learn the lesson from Irma.

A Letter to the Editor by Mr. Lippman of Boynton Beach published in the Post:

“It appeared to me that most of the damage during the recent storm [Hurricane Irma] was done by falling trees and tree branches. But with few exceptions, palms were not the problem. Hardwood trees were.
     In my community, the standard set by Palm Beach County for a typical 5,000 square-foot property is followed, and that calls for one palm tree and two hardwood trees. Whatever the reason for county regulations requiring the planting of hardwood trees, it should be modified so they are kept at a safe distance from the roofs of homes and other structures, from roadways and, most importantly, from power lines. [emphasis added]
     It is not enough to require Florida Power & Light [Lake Worth has its own Electric Utility service area] to properly prune hardwoods near power lines. They [hardwood trees] shouldn’t be there in the first place. And planting them on grass medians in the middle of roadways is asking for trouble.
     If a certain number of hardwood trees is environmentally desirable, perhaps they should be clustered on golf courses, on very large properties and in parks where they can do little harm when the winds attack them.”

Going forward, it’s not as if there isn’t enough source material to educate the public. Some of this information has been out there for many years now:

Right Tree Right Place is all about
Trees and Power Lines”:

  • Find the right tree. “Before selecting your tree, make sure you know how tall, wide and deep it will be at maturity, and whether it’s a problem tree.”
  • Choose the right spot. “At maturity, will your trees’ canopy reach the overhead lines?”
  • Work safely. “Whether you’re planting a tree, preparing your property for storm season or picking fruit, remember to stay safe and stay far away from power lines at all times.”

And this too, Trees under and near power lines from the University of Florida.

Here are two excerpts from Salisbury’s article cited above:

     The Federal Regulatory Energy Commission began requiring utilities to manage vegetation growth along the path of their larger power transmission lines after shoddy tree-trimming around major power lines by Ohio Utility First Energy Corp. was found to be the root cause of an Aug. 14, 2003 blackout that cut power to 50 million people in the U.S. and Canada.

and. . .

     In Florida, a law that took effect in 2010 prohibits trees that will grow taller than 14 feet from being planted in utility rights-of-way. That law also requires utilities to conduct trimming in rights-of-way and prohibits municipalities from requiring utilities to obtain a permit to cut trees and vegetation.
     But utilities have no control over vegetation outside their rights-of-way. [emphasis added]
     That, FPL says, is where homeowners come in.
     Customers can do their part by planting the right tree in the right place — away from power lines — and by keeping trees trimmed before hurricane season each year, FPL says.
     “Planting the right tree in the right place is the single most important thing customers can do,” Fraga [FPL spokesman Bud Fraga] said.

And once again, this is very important, the City of Lake Worth has its own electric utility and is responsible for maintaining its own right-of-ways to deliver electricity, not the responsibility of FPL.

Uncontrolled hysteria about a controlled burn. . .

From the file labeled ‘H’ for hysterical. . .

In May 2014 the City of Lake Worth and the Lake Worth CRA posted press releases on the City’s website about a controlled burn (see video below) of an uninhabited, dilapidated former home in Lake Worth. As Palm Beach Post reporter Andrew Marra pointed out in late 2013 the situation was very dire in this City:
Dangerously dilapidated properties were left untouched, while code enforcement officials continued tacking on fines they knew would never be collected.

Following that news from the City in May 2014 there were several controlled burns of abandoned homes too dangerous to be left standing. For many neighborhoods these structures were creating issues with public safety, e.g., a chronic nuisance attracting drug users, vagrants, and prostitution.

Then later that year, in November 2014, I posted a notice announcing another upcoming controlled burn.

And that’s when the uncontrolled hysteria
about a controlled burn began. . .

A former City resident, Suzanne Squire, discovered the news and upon learning of that controlled burn had several options. She could have called the CRA. She could have gotten more information from the City. She could have called the Palm Beach Fire Rescue Academy. She could have done any one of a number of things to learn the facts.

But instead, this is what was posted on Facebook in Nov. 2014: Warning City residents to “EVACUATE”.

Cue the hysteria. Here is Ms. Squire’s post on Facebook:
FYI: These structure were prepared for a controlled burn ahead of time. Hazardous materials were removed prior to the controlled burn.

Here are the comments that followed the uncontrolled hysterical rant about controlled burns.

Click on image to enlarge:
As you can see, some City residents attempted to educate and calm Ms. Squire, but to no avail. Sincerely valiant attempts they were.

Now enters another former resident of this City, a professional photographer and drone pilot Jim Stafford to the rescue. Jim Stafford filmed this controlled burn on May 31st, 2014:

This is a screen grab from Stafford’s video that describes the procedure:

Due to training such as this, a life Palm Beach Fire Rescue firefighters save some day may be your own or someone in your family or neighborhood.

The lesson here is be wary from where you get your information. And to all our brave and hard-working men and women in the fire and rescue services we say, “Carry On!”

A very timely reminder: Health risks and concerns related to raising chickens in urban environments.

Although many of my blog readers are all-too-familiar with the history of the ‘Urban Chicken’ we all have to be reminded from time to time there are many new and recently-new residents who know little or nothing about this political fight that once raged in this City.

Yes. The story about the ‘Urban Chicken’ is funny. And yes, it’s a little tongue-in-cheek too. But what’s not so funny is thinking about all the people — including infants, young children and the elderly — who have gotten sick and ended up in the emergency room:
Seven outbreaks of salmonella linked to live poultry in backyard flocks have caused 324 cases of illness in 35 states since January, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. Sixty-six of the ill individuals have been hospitalized. . . . “Results from these investigations showed that contact with live poultry in backyard flocks was the likely source of these outbreaks,” the agency said.

Without further ado. . .

Raising chickens, aka ‘Urban Chickens’ IS NOT LEGAL in the City of Lake Worth despite what you may have heard. However, like the mythical “red herring” about Lake Worth being a ‘sanctuary city’, the myth about it being legal to raise chickens within the City limits is still believed and even promoted by some in the community.

Besides the many health problems created by raising chickens in an urban environment is attracting predators. Last year there were news reports of coyotes as close by as Greenacres killing cats and other small small animals as well. What other animals do coyotes especially like to hunt? You guessed right: chickens (see “Attraction of predators” below).

Some people argue that raising chickens in the backyard makes economic sense. To save a few pennies on eggs? Have you seen the price of eggs lately at Publix?

The ‘urban chicken’ IS NOT merely a nuisance.

The animals present very serious health concerns for young children and the elderly, issues with food safety, infectious diseases, biosecurity, not to mention the added burden on local Code Enforcement to answer complaints and having to take the time and educate the public about the facts.

The following information comes from a well-researched document about human health concerns associated with raising chickens in an urban environment:
  • Bacterial diseases: Salmonella and Campylobacter are common public health hazards potentially associated with chicken contact.
  • Histoplasmosis: Histoplasmosis can cause a respiratory disease with cough and shortness of breath.
  • Avian influenza (bird flu): Avian influenza is a theoretical public health hazard potentially associated with urban chicken farming.
  • Attraction of predators: The attraction of predators is a public health hazard potentially associated with urban chicken farming (e.g., coyotes)
  • Attraction of rodents: The attraction of rodents is a public health hazard potentially associated with urban chicken farming.
  • Nuisance issues

Management and handling of poultry in small backyard flocks:
  • Keep baby chicks and adult poultry away from persons with weaker immune systems, including the elderly, pregnant women, diabetics, patients receiving chemotherapy and people infected with HIV.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that person not keep chickens if the household has children less than five years of age.
  • Make sure that people who handle the chickens or their droppings, wash hands properly with soap and water following contact.
  • Do not eat or drink around the poultry.
  • Keep poultry away from food preparation areas.
  • Do not wash items, such as water or food dishes, from chicken coops in the kitchen sink.
  • Do not allow poultry to roam in the house.
  • Maintain the area where the poultry are present in a sanitary manner.
  • See your physician if you experience fever and diarrhea.

Communities that permit urban chicken farming are advised to ensure that flock owners receive educational materials on infectious diseases, animal husbandry, food safety and biosecurity. These communities also should have a system in place for responding to community complaints.

Are those few pennies saved raising chickens for eggs worth exposing your neighbors to avoidable health risks and safety issues?

This image is from the blog of Tom McGow, a former blogger-extraordinaire here in this City.
It was Mr. McGow who chronicled Cara Jennings’ 2009 crusade promoting the ‘urban chicken’. Note that it was during this time the City’s Code Enforcement Dept. was being gutted as well. Ergo why home values plummeted so deeply in this City 8–10 years ago.

UPDATE: It’s now up to three hundred and twenty-nine (329) days — over 11 months — and still counting. . .

. . . Since the last editorial was published in the Post about our little City of Lake Worth.

If you didn’t know, once upon a time it seemed like somebody sneezing at City Hall would elicit an editorial about this City. But that all changed last year. Find out why below.

That’s right, 329 days. Over twenty-three fortnights ago since this City was topic #1 by the editor(s) at The Palm Beach Post on the editorial page. It was about that time last year when everyone was excited about the upcoming annual L-Dub Film Festival at the Stonzek. That was later cancelled because of a storm that formed off the coast of Africa. You may heard about that. It was later named Hurricane Irma. And about the same time “Project title, RFQ 17-305” was big news here in the City of Lake Worth but was never worthy enough news to be published in the Post and that news still has not made the news this year. And the words “vibrancy” and “vibrant” were being used to describe the Gulfstream Hotel about this time in 2017 too.

Later, in November 2017, the Post was put up For-Sale and just last May 1st that newspaper was purchased by GateHouse Media. Have you read any news about that lately in the Post? The editor(s) last year excoriated our City officials and electeds over a medical marijuana facility on Dixie Hwy. and now this year medical marijuana is coming to West Palm Beach. So you see, medical marijuana is OK now.

Hard to believe isn’t it? Over eleven months since the last editorial was published in The Palm Beach Post about this City.

It’s sort of late now, but wouldn’t it be nice for the editor(s) to pen an editorial and at least acknowledge all the hard work and accomplishments during Irma last year by by the public, City Manager Michael Bornstein, Electric Utility Dir. Ed Liberty, PIO Ben Kerr, the City staff, management and coöperation, and also acknowledge the elected leadership as well here in this little, vibrant, and no-longer-‘inching’ BUT LEAPING City of Lake Worth?

A lot has happened in that 329 days. The beat reporter covering this City, along with almost the entire staff at the Post, evacuated ahead of Hurricane Irma last year and didn’t come back until many days later when it was safe to return. However, thankfully for residents of Lake Worth, there were a few reporters at the Post like Joe Capozzi and others from NBC5/WPTV (e.g., Eric the photojournalist) who hunkered in place and helped to get out the public safety news and updates from Public Information Officer Mr. Ben Kerr. Anyhow. . .

The last editorial published in The Palm Beach Post about our little City was on August 28th, 2017.

Learn more about the last editorial published about our City in the Post later on in this blog post.
It was a doozy.

But as far as doozy’s go, nothing will ever come close to that silly editorial published in April 2016 that was the subject of a lot of fun, jokes, and even a Letter to the Editor by a City resident titled,

The City that dines together. . .”

The editorial in August 2017, what was it
all about? Find out below.
Without further ado, excerpts from the editorial published in the Post from last August:

The editor wrote,

“As of Friday [August 25th], however, Espinoza [charter school Principal Renatta Espinoza] said she hadn’t been able to contact [Gregg] Roberts and there had been no dialogue.” [emphasis added] 

Well. The very next day Mr. Gregg Roberts, the chief executive officer of Modern Health Concepts, defending his marijuana dispensary across the street, located at 1125 N. Dixie Hwy. — a major bustling thoroughfare children should always be warned to avoid — wrote a “Point of View” published in the Post:

“Finally, as a matter of common courtesy, we hope there can be more truth in this discussion. I personally placed a phone call to Academy for Positive Learning’s principal, Renatta Espinoza, which I can only assume was immediately passed on to her attorney, as I received a phone call from him shortly after and we spoke for roughly 30 minutes.”


Former Lake Worth commissioner praises leadership in West Palm Beach for efforts to aid the homeless.

However, after steeping high praise on the City of West Palm Beach 2½ years ago (see YouTube video below from Sept. 2015), this same former commissioner said this about the City of Lake Worth:

“If a boat load of refugees came across on our shore here [Lake Worth Beach], how would we feel? I’d be ashamed to say we would probably take out guns and get rid of ’em. [emphasis added] Just like we’re doing with the folks in our city who are homeless and don’t have homes.”

—Quote. JoAnn Golden, former Lake Worth commissioner first elected in 2007 and soundly defeated by Mr. Andy Amoroso (now Lake Worth’s Vice Mayor) in 2011.

Golden, at the 40 second mark in the video below, praises the City of West Palm Beach for all their incredible work to help the homeless there and then goes off the rails at the 1:15 mark with a terribly unfair characterization of the caring and giving people of Lake Worth:

Which begs the obvious question: Are the loudest critics of the efforts to help the homeless in the City of Lake Worth really about helping those in need or just political pandering? For example, do you remember ‘Mr. Snarky’? And since when did the rights of the homeless trump the rights of people and families to use City parks in peace? Business owners and their customers who frequent these businesses?

And think you’ll find this interesting: What happens when citizens, even those supportive of helping the homeless, get pushed to the breaking point:

An email to Lake Worth City Manager Michael Bornstein.

Click on image to enlarge.
From the email: “A rigorous cleaning program might also work with the sleepers on the Bryant Park tables. And we would have a cleaner park.”

And one more thing. . .
A tourist walks past homeless passed out on pier in City park to take photographs. Is this the future you want for our City parks?

Explore YouTube videos about the little City of Lake Worth.

For the most-viewed videos on my Lake Worth YouTube channel use this link. Along with each video is a red “Subscribe” button. Subscribers get an email when new videos have been uploaded.

Coming in at #10 of the most-popular is “Art on the Water: Can you do the Can Can? Yes we can!”, a performance prior to the City’s July 4th Raft Race a few years back. At #16 is a former Lake Worth City Commissioner during “Break” to the music, The Love For Three Oranges Suite by composer Lutz Kohler (Op. 33bis: III. March, Arr. F. Tull for Brass Ensemble).

And hope you enjoy this one as well — at #24 the ever-popular visit to City Hall by ‘Weetha Peebull’ — “Why it’s generally unwise to be disrespectful to City employees”.

Hope you enjoy the video below as well. Whilst everyone awaits the end of all the talk and actual work begins to renovate our historic Gulfstream Hotel. . . this video is from February 2016 when the public was very excited about the rezoning of the Gulfstream property believing progress was finally on the horizon:

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Lantana and Hypoluxo: Important public safety news in The Lake Worth Herald.

Please share this very important news: Our good neighbors to the south, the towns of Lantana
and Hypoluxo, now have Quiet Zones
along the FEC railroad tracks!

Please Note: This week’s Lake Worth Herald is out. Click on this link to see the front page news. One top story this week is about Highland and South Grade elementary schools headlined, “Over Capacity Schools Cause for Alarm”.

School Board member Erica Whitfield is involved and working to find a solution. Stay tuned. This is a developing story.

Now to the news from Lantana and Hypoluxo: Brightline trains, freight train traffic, and train horns.

The Towns of Lantana and Hypoluxo enacted Quiet Zones. A Quiet Zone is a designation that allows train operators to pass through crossings without sounding their horns along the Florida East Coast Railway tracks.
     However, if there is an emergency situation, the train engineer has complete authority to sound the horn. The public should be vigilant near the tracks.
     If you see tracks look both ways for a train. Never cross the tracks when the lights are on nor when the arms are coming down or in the down position.

  Getting this information out to our non-English speaking communities is especially important (Spanish and Creole).

The message always is:
“See Tracks? THINK TRAIN!”

For further information about Railroad Safety in English, Spanish and Creole click on this link.

“¿Ves rieles? ¡PIENSA TREN!”

Below is a very important press release
from the City of Lake Worth.

“Lè w wè ray tren? SONJE TREN AN!”

To become a volunteer for Operation Lifesaver
click on this link.

Press Release from the City of Lake Worth:

Lake Worth, FL — Trains will no longer sound their horns routinely within the City boundaries except in instances where the train engineer deems it necessary due to an emergency or for safety of workers on the tracks. As train horns will no longer sound at crossings it is of utmost importance that everyone stay alert and obey the barriers, warnings, and signals of an approaching train. Trains can approach crossings from both directions within moments! Wait until the red lights stop flashing and the cross arms go up.
     The City reminds everyone it is illegal and highly dangerous to trespass on rail tracks. Train speed and distance is deceptive and without the horn a train is extremely quiet which can lead to tragic and deadly incidents when anyone tries to “beat the train” on foot or in a vehicle. Brightline trains can reach speeds up to 79 mph (127 kph).

Remember: The message is always:

“See Tracks? THINK TRAIN!”