Saturday, December 31, 2011

Carl Bard

"Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending."

Friday, December 30, 2011

Remember, these are fictional accounts...

Composed by another loyal reader

Lake Worth Theme Songs from the 1980s

The REAL Greater Bay Story, from an alert and loyal reader...

"The Commission, against the advice of the City Attorney, Karns, and led by the Cabal Leader, the Limo Liberal and Suzy Clueless voted to unilaterally terminate the contract with Greater Bay.
The resultant Greater Bay slam dunk winnable lawsuit was assured by the clouding of title by our infamous Dr. Dumb Dumb as President of the We Love Lake Worth PAC lawsuit against the city and then the McCauley-McNamara filing of their lawsuit gift to GB. It seems all of the requirements of Greater Bay under the Contract were contingent upon the City delivering “clean title”, which of course the lawsuits clouded.
Stanton commandeered the control over the Greater Bay lawsuit and ran up the legal bills and delayed the GB lawsuit at every opportunity for God knows what reason. Poor judgment or a desire to shelter the Cabal during Election Campaigns are the reasons most often given.
Stanton is accused of poor judgment in choosing the law firm that drew up the Contract to defend the city. Stanton also kept that law firm after their promise to easily dispense with Greater Bay through a quick Summary Judgment was thrown out of Court.
Stanton attended the Depositions and Interrogatories as the legal bill passed $500,000. We are waiting for Humphries & Carr to reveal the cost to date with expectations as high as $700,000. Of course, Never Settle Any Lawsuit for Any Number Stanton was true to form yet again.
If the city loses the lawsuit, the City will probably also have to pay Greater Bay’s legal costs. The only thing the city gained out of this was that Dr. Dumb Dumb no longer lectures us on his saving of the city from an evil developer."

To the above, I would add that the We Love Lake Worth PAC, headed by current Commissioner McVoy, gave him a chance to emerge from political obscurity and parade around town with other cabal storytellers.  The stories told at the doors of thousands around the city included the prospect of a hotel, a mall and other unspeakable evils that the new zoning and land use designation for the beach would allow and encourage. Many storytellers went so far to talk about other potential evils - demolition of the library with no windows on the east side of the Lucerne as evidence - completely unrelated to the content of the petition drive.  We now know that the zoning and land use designation that were the subjects of the petition drive to repeal ended up being needed for the current city-run project at the beach.  The City Commission met out of the sunshine to discuss the breaking of the contract and the possibility of suing Greater Bay - minutes of which have been produced to the court during the discovery process.  The city tried to duck by redacting, under Stanton's orders, large sections of relevant material.  Seeing these areas "blacked out" in the documents led the judge to suggest that the attorneys representing the city review public records law in the state of Florida and submit public documents intact.  Don't you think that the plaintiff's attorneys would compare the two sets - blacked out versus intact document - to assess what the critical areas of interest to the city are?  I have never heard of such a boneheaded move in my career.  It is just a matter of time until the court decides how badly the city loses this case.

HOT NEWS: Becky Mattey turned in her resignation yesterday.

That is our utility director.  She gave two months notice and offered to stay on three additional months to prepare the budget.  However, she requested three additional months of severance pay to stay longer.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Mango Groves Neighborhood Watch

Good afternoon neighbors,

At the last Mango Groves meeting several neighbors expressed an interest in starting a neighborhood watch for our neighborhood. Joel Morgenstern of PBSO has agreed to hold an informative meeting if a number of our residents are truly interested in making this a goal for our neighborhood. Please reply to this email ( if you would like to learn more about what this process entails. There is no obligation if you would like to attend a meeting on this topic. Thanks in advance for your interest and Happy New Year!

Sincerely, Mango Groves Neighborhood Association Board of Directors

Reopening of Phipps Ocean Park in Palm Beach

Palm Beach, FL – The Town of Palm Beach announces the reopening of the Phipps Ocean Park public beach on Friday, December 30, 2011.  The Town’s Public Works Department has restored access to the stairway that was covered in sand.  Currently, the only stairway access open to the public beach is at the south parking lot.

The north and central public beach access points along with the north parking lot still remain closed and will reopen sometime in the future.

Lifeguards will be on duty during normal operating hours.

A reminder that we are not alone...

Dee McNamara Speaketh

Click title for link. Why does this remind me of the North Korean mass display of grief accorded to Dear Leader?

Buzz Aldrin

‎"Here men from the planet Earth first set foot on the moon, July 1969 AD. We came in peace for all mankind." -plaque left on lunar surface by Apollo 11.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Officer K. Tucker-Carsillo Crime Prevention Unit West Palm Beach Police Dept

If you have statues that have been stolen, please call and make a report. If it's happening here, it is happening in neighboring cities. Knowing how far reaching it is can be helpful in solving these thefts. 

It appears as though there has been an increase in the number of statue thefts in the Southend. I have received several reports and was advised that there are several unreported thefts of lawn statues and other metal statue's in people's yards. Some of the victim's may not be making police reports but never the less they are still victim's of these theft's. Several people aren't documenting these incidents being that they feel as though the items are impossible to locate once stolen. These have consisted of cement Lions, large bronze figures, decorative pots and other misc. statues that all seem to be fairly heavy. Most of these items cannot be lifted by a single person so more than likely there a several men with a pick-up committing these crimes. These items are difficult to locate unless the victims locate them online or elsewhere. Just FYI for those working in the Southend if you do observe someone with those types of statues in the bed of their truck please get a name and tag. 

Note:  The "Southend" he refers to is West Palm Beach.  Here in the north end of Lake Worth, a neighbor reported a similar crime last week.  See previous post.


The aforementioned other blogger cites "Lake Worth" as being 35th on the list of most dangerous cities in the nation.  If you look at where the data for "Lake Worth" comes from, it includes all of the geographic area that carries a Lake Worth address.  Regardless of whether it would make the statistic better or worse, it is not reflective of crime in only the 33460 and 33461 zip codes and shouldn't be used as a comparison.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Rep. Jeff Clemens will run for the State Senate - see below

The press release reads:
Rep. Jeff Clemens (D-Lake Worth), whose House District was broken into four pieces during the first round of redistricting maps, announced today that he will run for Senate, provided that
amended maps produce a district in central Palm Beach County.
“I believe these maps that have been produced are unconstitutional and that subsequent amendments and court proceedings will change them dramatically,” Clemens said. “If the final maps create a Senate district largely east of the turnpike in Central Palm Beach County, I intend to run for Senate.”
Maps approved by the Senate are expected to undergo changes during the amendment process, and the Florida Supreme Court will also have the opportunity to weigh in on their constitutionality in the wake of the passing of Amendments 5 and 6 in 2010. Amongst other things, those maps required the districts to be drawn compactly in a way that doesn’t benefit incumbents.
“Central Palm Beach County deserves representation of its own,” Clemens said. “It has distinct issues, just like the western, northern and southern areas of the county. My hope is that the amendment process and the courts will recognize the need for a fair map that gives weight to each one of these regions of our large county.”
The first set of gerrymandered maps created for the House are clearly designed to fracture the current House District 89 by breaking it into four pieces, including dividing the small city of Lake Worth, where Clemens was mayor, into four separate districts. Clemens currently represents West Palm Beach, Lake Worth, Lantana, Greenacres, Boynton Beach and six other municipalities.

NYT article on Brazilian visitors/tourists flooding Miami...

Click here for link.  Apparently there could be more if not for the visa requirement and lack of enough U.S. consulates in Brazil.  Time to learn that third language?

Miami Has a Hearty Oi (Hello) for Free-Spending Brazilians
Published: December 27, 2011
Flush with cash, Brazilians are spending millions of dollars for vacation condominiums, clothes, jewelry, furniture, cars and art in South Florida.
Loosely related, since it is about a soon-to-be former city of Islandia in the Miami area, is this article from the Miami Herald.

I don't get this one...

From Lynn's blog by a "secret" graphic artist.  I miss Tom McGow.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Are we back to restoration now?

From the City Manager's report of 12/23/11:
And didn't someone's campaign literature talk about November 2012 - or are we to forget about that?  Isn't the building done when the utilities to it (water, sewer, electric) are completed?  That's not happening by Spring of 2012.  It also is finished when the tenants move in, open for business and pay market rents.  When is that happening?

Monday, December 26, 2011

New Life for an Old Depot

An example of how art and preservation can go hand-in-hand and be part of the redevelopment picture. Click title for link to article on how the Savannah College of Art and Design used the remains of an old train depot building.

And here's a song about Johnson City...

Maybe Commissioner Suzanne Mulvehill can use this song as a model to compose a song about Lake Worth's reverse osmosis plant?

How about an original Lake Worth song contest for the Centennial...

We could have it this year leading up to 2013 to build interest in the celebration.  I am serious about this suggestion.  We could gather sponsors for prize money and perhaps have different categories - traditional, rap, hip-hop, humorous, country, ethnic, etc...

Here are two examples from different eras about a town that I had the good fortune to live in for a while.  It's a medium-sized Midwestern university/college town, former home of UpJohn, Checker Motors.  Something to think about....or sing about....

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

Lake Worth needs to find a manager, not a toadie

Gag, cough, title for link. The only thing you need to remember from this editorial emanating from the paneled corner offices of the PBP is this:

"Former City Manager Susan Stanton, who had acknowledged faults as a communicator..."

One of the urban dictionary's definitions of a "toadie" is as follows: One who gives selflessly of himself, who's only concern is pleasing his Mistress, with no concern for his own health or well-being. One who's unquestionably sincere devotion to his Mistress is to be applauded, commended and encouraged, and most especially, Rewarded. I suggest you use a different word, but you are on to something.  The person you are alluding to did all these things in the name of his Mistress, which was his downfall.

Other beach parks in Palm Beach County...

Boynton Beach
Kreusler Park
Spanish River

Aerial of our lovely beach "park"...

From "Lynn's Little Bit of Trivia" 12/23/11

Gift from the City of Lake Worth

What makes up your utility bill.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Jared Diamond in "Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed"

"The values to which people cling most stubbornly under inappropriate conditions are those values that were previously the source of their greatest triumphs over adversity."


Thank you Ms. Margoles for posting the new date for the Shuffleboard Court planning meeting and thank you also for using that name.  It is January 25th at 6 p.m.  I also received an e-mail from Mr. Waters notifying us that the Tri-Meeting between the City Commission, Planning and Zoning and Historic Resource Preservation Boards regarding the land development regulations (LDRs) is rescheduled to January 26th at 5:30 p.m - in the Commission Chambers.

Yesterday, I chatted on the telephone with the leader of the Lake Worth Shuffleboard Club - he said that they had moved on from Lake Worth and are now playing at some courts in Boynton Beach.  He also said that the City treated them like (insert obscene slang term for feces here) and had little good to say about our former City Manager.  He was pleased to see her gone.  It looks like if people are going to use our shuffleboard courts, it will need to be a new group of people.  Talk about fouling your nest...

And a little gift for those who use Google Chrome as your browser.  There is an extension available that allows you to hover over images and automatically zooms in to them for you - without having to click on the image to make it larger.  I just installed it this morning and I am finding it very useful.

For those in a New York state of mind this holiday season...

Best in full screen mode

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

He couldn't make last night's meeting, but...

He can still post things on FaceBook today.

Everybody dance!

From the "This and That" file...

As I was packing up to leave the Commission Chambers, the City Commission was considering an item related to the two-way/one-way issue of 2nd Avenue North.  Staff presented the Commission with four options, which included temporarily returning the road back to a one-way condition from Dixie to A Street.  When Publix was originally approved and in order to accommodate entry and a workable parking lot configuration, the Planning Board and City Commission approved making 2nd Avenue two-way between Dixie and J Street.  That is the way the street is stripped now and the way the signal was re-designed and installed at 2nd Avenue North and Dixie.  After the building was built, it was further decided by the City Commission that the entire length of 2nd Avenue North should be two-way - from A to Federal.  Stripping for the two-way was completed west of the FEC tracks and signs were posted that it was indeed a two-way street.  That left a situation where the FEC crossing was unprotected for left bound traffic - that is why traffic has been blocked from going over the tracks for some time now.

This is where the city thought they were operating in a vacuum.  The city made this unilateral decision - a good one to make the street two-way, but doing it the wrong way - without consulting with the Florida Department of Transportation, FEC RR, Palm Beach County.  Permits are needed to do this - not just a city worker and a stripping machine.  It turns out the original cost communicated to the Commission, according to Commissioner Mulvehill, was around $45,000.  She pointed out that the real cost, according to the back-up material they were looking at last night, was closer to $300,000.  She was very quick to lay the blame at the feet now-departed Joe Kroll.  She did this in a way to say "Just in case you ever think you are going to hire him back..." - at least that's what was implied.

Come to find out, the new TD Bank that is going in on the southeast corner of 2nd Avenue North and Dixie has gone through site plan approval which assumes a two-way traffic pattern and Chase is looking to do a new branch location at the southwest corner of the same intersection.  There was a representative there last night who said that they would not consider locating there if the street was one-way - which lends credibility to the decision and shows that, in the long run, a two-way 2nd Avenue North, along with the new Publix, is attracting redevelopment.  Imagine that!

I pointed out in public comment that this situation resulted from an inadequately staffed and professionally challenged planning staff at the time of the original review of Publix - that is when this could easily have been dealt with in the proper way, with full review by all the applicable agencies.  It might have even been part of the original package which landed Publix at this new location in the first place.  So, the result is to open the road again as a one-way west of Dixie and wait until the permitting and money is in place to improve the RR crossing - which will be sometime in FY 2013.  I encouraged the Commission to leave the positions that are in the budget for additional planning staff in place in order to prevent things like this from happening in the future.

Then, walking out the door and down the hallway outside the Commission Chambers, Kathleen Margoles came up behind me to let me know that the city is going ahead with a study/examination of the seawall at the beach!  She said that the OIG said that just a visual inspection was o.k. (what do they know?)  I told her that I was aware that the OIG was backing off having the city do a study of the seawall, why I didn't know.  But, I was impressed that the city is finally going ahead and performing a study of it and I was surprised with the special effort shown by Ms. Margoles in informing me of the status of this.  Perhaps things are changing for the better after all??

Also, I want to let you all know that I had an interview with a reporter from the Wall Street Journal.  She is doing a story which will appear after the first of the year on shuffleboard courts in Florida.  I told her about the plight that ours face here in Lake Worth and referred her to Juan Ruiz for more details related to the condition of the courts and what is needed to make them playable.   I still have not heard of a time that the charette on the building or the courts has been rescheduled to - I will let you know if I do.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Live from City Commission Meeting 12/20

McVoy not present.  No presentations.Many people here publicizing the Haitian Tree Walkathon this coming 14th of January.  Proceeds will be used to plant 300,000 fruit trees in honor of those that died in Haiti during the January 2010 earthquake.  Charlotte Taylor is here indoctrinating the new Commission and reminding them of her lawsuits against the city.  Lynn Anderson and Lawrence McNamara ask that the minutes reflect public comment where they currently aren't now.  Clerk Pam Lopez says that the minutes changed a few years ago to the "industry standard" and that the audio from the City Commission is available on line from 2006 forward.  They are considering "tagging" the audio to mark different sections for easier reference.

Public hearings re fire assessment and street light assessment.  Carr is introducing the item - staff checked to see if it is possible to extend the date to February 21st.  Staff continues to meet with the Commission on varius budget reduction suggestions.  These will come before the Commission - the reductions - will be on the January 24th Commission agenda.  The items tonight are to approve the continuation of the item to 2/21 date certain.  Maxwell points out that advertising for this item took place under the previous City Commission and this keeps every option open in case they are unable to find items to cut that would counter-balance the lack of these assessments.  Motion passes unanimously - 4-0 (McVoy not present).  The second item is the same only relates to the street light assessment.  Motion on the street lights also passed 4-0.

Beach casino finance discussion.  This lays out the full and entire project cost - including the casino, the beach improvement project and utilities related to each.  There is a full presentation and then they will take questions.  This presentation consists of slides of what is in the agenda packet.  Carr - beach project has different meanings for different people and now we are looking at it in its entirety.  Ms. Mattey is talking about the utilities while the projection and computer system boots up for the presentation.  She says that the upgrade for the electric necessary is considered a cost of business and what the city is doing there is the same as it would be for any other business.  Sewer and lift station is out-of-date and will cost just over half a million and the city will be self-sufficient with sewer.  Water to the beach is provided by the City of West Palm Beach - not the city.  It will be metered - the utility will assume the charges from West Palm and act as a pass through from the tenants to the city.  They will need to create a water supply district to cover all of the costs at the beach.  There are capital improvements for water at the beach - they can be capitalized or included in the special overlay charge.  Their recommendation is go blend the cost into the overlay district.  Rate consultants will be called in early in January.

The projection system and computer are not working and they are reading from the back-up item.  Beach redevelopment is 5.8 million  and the casino  building is 6,5 million dollars.  Total cost is $13.5 million.  Still estimated costs are the lighting - they are assuming $800,000 for lighting.  The remainder are utility costs that would be capital costs.  $5 million from the County, $ 6 million as a loan from the city for the casino construction.  $1.2 million in cash contribution came from the city initially to front end some of the expenses which would be reimbursed by the County.  $450,000 or so was appropriated to REG Architects for architectural services for the casino building.  I will pull out these numbers from the back-up and double check them tomorrow.  Carr is going over the sources of money for all aspects, including the infrastructure improvements.  This is not an action item - for discussion only.

Maxwell asks about the utility upgrades.  He asks if the casino building could be able to open without them.  Mattey says that the water and sewer would be a problem and the electric would require underground service.  He points out that it was always represented as a $6 million building costs when it is more in the range of $8 million.   The cash portfolio would be recovered but there was lost interest - cost of the internal borrowing - was the equivalent of the the interest that the city would have made had it not been used for the beach project.  Carr says that is included in the casino business plan.  There is another number of around $200,000 that should be included in the total cost which represents lost interest.  He asks about tenant improvements - and if the city is on the line for any of those - Margoles says no, they are getting a vanilla box.  The broker cost is part of the beach business plan - and is an expense of around $200,000.  Carr says that they are operating costs.  Maxwell says that the Commission and the administration billed this as a $6 million project and he sees it as another $2.5 million plus - and we need to include that in the discussion regarding the tenant leases.  He says that these costs need to be included otherwise the city would end up subsidizing the businesses up there - he doesn't want it swept under the rug.  Mulvehill asks how much we saved over a construction loan - Carr says it is in the range of $400 to $500,000 more expensive with a construction loan.  She thinks that is great.  She asks how much we spent for Publix for infrastructure - Mattey says that is processed through their regular accounts for electric.  For sewer, it is part of the long term capital plan for the utility and when you are re-doing the parking lot, that would be the ideal time to do it.

Amoroso asks about the situation with West Palm Beach - is there a reason they are not willing to  give us a bulk rate?  Mattey says it really a situation where we are a retail customer with a meter - they are not willing to do it another way.  Each tenant will pay their own water - and they will pay a special "beach" rate.  Agrees that infrastructure needs to be done now and it has to be coordinated..  Carr says that the short period of time for the internal borrowing was minimal for the city - if it were a longer term, it would have been inadvisable and would be a risk that the city couldn't take - like for 20 years.  Mulvehill reminds everyone that the city is reimbursing the cost of the lost interest and that it is part of the business operating plan for the beach.  Maxwell points out that the infrastructure cost is taking away from other projects that could be done in the city.  Carr says we are entering a new era where staff will be much more forthcoming with information.   They are talking about what is and what was not included in the capital improvements

FYI - I left the meeting around 8:45 p.m.

Oren Arnold

"Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect."

Cultural council moves into former Lake Worth art museum

Yea! Click title for link to PBP article. Thank you CRA for having the foresight and where-with-all to secure this fine institution and promotional agency in our downtown and in one of our historic buildings. BRAVO!!

The late Václav Havel on preservation...

As many are likely aware, this past weekend Václav Havel died at the age of 75. He led ‘the Velvet Revolution’ that in 1989 defeated authoritarian communism in Czechoslovakia.  A recipient of the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom, he was the tenth and lastpresident of Czechoslovakia and the first President of the Czech Republic.

In 2010 Václav Havel spoke at a forum on architecture and commented on community, growth, and preservation.  Some of his comments offer a perspective on many of the issues that presently face Palm Beach.

They follow below:

“What was until recently clearly recognizable as the community is now losing its boundaries and with them its identity. It has become a huge overgrown ring of something I can’t find a word for. It is not a community as I understand the term, nor suburbs, let alone a village. Apart from anything else it lacks streets or squares. There is just a random scattering of enormous single-storey warehouses, supermarkets, hypermarkets, car and furniture marts, petrol stations, eateries, gigantic car parks, isolated high-rise blocks to be let as offices, depots of every kind, and collections of family homes that are admittedly close together but are otherwise desperately remote.

Why should a developer worry about whether his building suits the locality in which it is built, so long as it be reached by the shortest route and it is possible to build a gigantic car park alongside it? What is to him that between his site and his neighbor’s there is a wasteland? And what is to him, after all, that from an airplane the city more and more resembles a tumor metastasizing in all directions and that he is contributing to it? Why should he get worked up over a few dozen hectares that he carves out of the soil that many still regard as the natural framework of their homeland?

The designers’ civilization in which we live is one of the many secondary consequences of that modern-era pride whereby people believe they have understood everything and they can therefore completely plan the world.

Wonder and an awareness that things are not self-evident are, I believe, the only way out of the dangerous world of a civilization of pride.

It is necessary to wonder. And it is necessary to worry about the non-self-evidence of things.” 

Alexander C. Ives
Executive Director
Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach
311 Peruvian Avenue
Palm Beach, Florida 33480

Monday, December 19, 2011

Do you think they got an e-mail from Annabeth Karson?

Or did they read Lynn's blog?

Be on the look-out! From a neighbor...

We just got robbed. Two young males grabbed two lava rock foo dogs from our front porch and a small Buddha statue from the front yard. They sped away in an old, white Dodge passenger van, plate number 937 MVE (FL) with a whole bunch of other guys inside. Everybody was dressed in black from head to toe. PBSO is on the case. Other than that, it's been a nice day!

Florida House redistricting ideas for Palm Beach County lean Democratic

Click title for link to PBP article. Nothing is final yet regarding the ultimate redistricting. This is from the article:

"State Rep. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, would see his District 89 carved beyond recognition in all the House proposals. Nearly all of Lake Worth, where Clemens was once mayor, is in District 89 now. But city residents would be thrown into three or four House districts under each of the initial plans. Despite the possibility that much of his political base will be splintered, Clemens says he plans to run somewhere in 2012."

Dear Leader Dead

Sunday, December 18, 2011

We can add a City Manager to the list...

Lake Worth won't use recruitment firm to find new city manager

Click title for link to PBP article about the meeting yesterday. If you read Ms. Anderson's account of the meeting, you would be right to worry about her continued peace-of-mind. Please keep her in your prayers.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Click here for live audio from Special City Commission meeting on City Manager recruitment

Mr. Bressner is there.  Click here for meeting back-up material.

I did not listen intently to the entire meeting - it started at 10 and was going on at least until 1 p.m.  The voted down a national search - both McVoy and Mulvehill wanted one.  They voted down Kathleen Margoles becoming an interim - McVoy and Mulvehill wanted that.  The voted to go with the "range rider" assistance through the ICMA in recruiting a City Manager and are looking for an interim City Manager until a permanent one is found who will not be eligible for the final position.

Correct me if I am mistaken, please.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Let the people pee!

Click title for link to Shiny Sheet article. Palm Beach is ponying up for bathrooms at Midtown Beach.

"Sounds of the Season"

Tomorrow night in the Cultural Plaza, yours truly will be hosting the "Sounds of the Season" holiday event starting at 6 p.m. dressed sort of like this (pic from last year.)  I'll be reading "When the Grinch Stole Christmas" and sing "You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch" during the evening.  Hope to see you there!

Pics from my bike ride to the beach today...

I went on a bike ride today from my house to Southern Boulevard, down South Ocean to our beach and then back to my house - about 12 miles.  I stuffed my camera in my pocket in order to get some pictures of our beach, the casino building construction and miscellaneous other things.

I think these two pictures, above and below point out something that I think is a missed opportunity. In our rush to save the building with Suzanne Meulvehill's "Circle of Light" - which we ended up not doing in practice but only remains in the minds of a few people - we forfeited the chance to open up a view of the ocean as you come over the bridge.  We have essentially walled off the ocean from public view which is what developers have been doing since the early 20th Century in South Florida.  Where can you get an unobstructed view of the ocean as you head east?  If you know, please share.  I am having trouble thinking of one nearby.  We had what could have been a "blank slate" and placed the building anywhere on the 19 acre property and still have the required parking according to the County grant.  And, Commissioner McVoy, the almost 700 parking spaces make this more of a public parking lot for the beach, rather than 19 acres of park property.
Coincidentally, I am reading Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmstead by Justin Martin.  Mr. Olmstead, rather serendipitously, was one of the main designers and integral in the development of Central Park in New York City.  He also established the notion of landscape architecture as a profession.  I encourage you to read it if you are interested.  I just read a part last night how in 1859 he had to figure out how to plan for space for the horse carriages that would traverse the park when they weren't being used.  He assigned a paved area that he referred to as "carriage rests" which was the precursor to the ubiquitous "parking space" of the future.
I have always liked these coconut palms in the median leading to the beach.  A city crew was there today trimming them back.
This storage container lays in "Ye Olde Bridge Parking Lot" and is apparently part of the GreenMarket that operates there on Saturdays.  With this sort of signage, it would make the general public ask what is exactly open this Saturday.  The storage container?
I would like an explanation from the project architect on how the building will meet the city's current height restrictions.  The height definition is to the highest point of the building, including any ornamentation.

Interesting pieces of history within staff report on Casino-related expenses...

In a December 13, 2011 memo from Steven Carr and Kathleen Margoles that is part of the item related to casino expenses which will appear on the 12/20 City Commission agenda, some puzzle pieces are put in place about the progression of development on our beach property - as well as this particular section of the barrier island.  It also details the the situation regarding West Palm Beach water utilities and the previous arrangement with our former tenants.  From the memo:


While no drawings exist from the installation of the water lines at the Beach Casino, a review of
events at this site give a fairly good picture of when the lines were installed. The Lake Worth
Beach was originally developed in 1912, with no potable water facilities. When the Beach
Casino was constructed in 1922 (opened 1923) the pool was salt water (filled from Atlantic and
drained to Intracoastal). There are no records to indicate from where, or if, drinking water was
available at this time. However, since at that time the Casino was the only structure from what
is now Sloan’s curve to Manalapan, it was likely supplied by an onsite well.

In 1937 the old wooden bridge that connected the mainland to the beach was replaced by a
concrete bridge. At the same time this bridge was being constructed, Lake Worth was moving
the water facilities (one well and a tower) from the Shuffleboard Court site to the Utility
Campus off A Street. The new site had pumping facilities and an assumption can be made that
the construction of a bridge attached 6-inch cast iron water main was installed at with the bridge
construction. This also correlates to the Casino rebuild of 1938. This 6-inch main ran up the old
route of Lake Avenue into the Casino property and then down the west side along what I now
the western part of the loop road.

In 1971 The City started the replacement of the old saltwater pool with the current pool. At the
same time FDOT was replacing the old concrete bridge with the current Bastille Bridge (done in
1973). Because of the latter the water line that crossed the old bridge needed to be abandoned.
By this time there was another source of water along the barrier island that was operated by
West Palm Beach and supplied water down to South Palm Beach. With the abandonment of the
City of Lake Worth water source, a connection to the property from West Palm Beach was

In 1979 the concession stand / bait shop on the pier were expanded to what now houses Benny’s
When this was done, a 2-inch line was run to the pier to supply water to the restaurant and to the
showers along the sea wall. These lines were installed by Public Services staff.

Based on these dates, the 6-inch cast iron lines on the beach property date from 1938-1940 and
the 2-inch PVC and galvanized steel are lines from 1979. West Palm Beach’s main from A1A
and the meter were installed in 1971. At around 70 years of age the cast iron lines are due for
replacement especially in the corrosive salt water ground that they sit in at the beach.
To ensure adequate service and proper fire protection, both of which are goals of long range
water supply planning, the water lines at the beach / casino are candidates for replacement. The
estimated cost of replacement, in conjunction with the ongoing project is $400,000. Since the
water is supplied by a third party (West Palm Beach), the rate structure developed for Citysupplied
service is not a viable alternative for costing water service for the beach. Previous
tenants received water and sewer service as part of the rental agreements and the West Palm
Beach water cost were paid by the General Fund. In order to adequately collect in the future, all
facilities will be individually metered and billed by the utility. Consequently, the Utility will
assume payment of the WPB water costs. The rate consultant has been asked to develop a
special overlay district for the beach / casino water. This cost will cover the cost of service
incurred by the utility for O&M and billing, the cost of the WPB water service, and the capital
improvement necessary to ensure a high standard of service. The rate development kick off
meeting is scheduled for January 2012 and the Beach overlay district will be the first task to

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Lake Worth Municipal Golf Course

Here, here! I am not a golfer, but it's nice to read a positive write-up on the Golf Course. Click title for link.

Peter Elwell reappointed town manager

Click title for link to Shiny Sheet article. Believe me, there are GOOD city managers out there and Mr. Elwell is one of them. I had positive interactions with him during my tenure at Mar-a-Lago - many of them sensitive situations. I could always count on his unflinching professional and polite demeanor - apparently his bosses recognize this too.

"Mad Dash Food Collection"

Dear Friends of Lake Worth and our Charitable Partners,
The Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martine Counties collected this box of food for a neighbor in need and has graciously allowed us to distribute. We currently have two families that could use a basket of Non-Perishalbe foods to ease the financial burden and keep their cupboards full, hopefully making their holiday a more Joyous Occasion. 
So we would like to ask our Local friends to help us Double this box so we can give a great gift to both families! If you would like to participate please send email to for the Lake Worth area or call 909-8708 and I can pick up. if you want to help with pick up and bring to Lake Worth that is greatly appreciated! This is the "mad dash food collection" as we want to distribute this This Sunday December 18th. Thank you to all our friends at Community Foundation for your generous donation!
Thank all of our wonderful volunteers and partners for the many blessings that you have given us through your charitable hearts and giving all year long!
Please note that we have one family that does not even have a stove in thier home.  If you have a used gas stove that can be is the message back from our family.
"the space can take an apartment sized stove up to a regular sized - 36" I believe.  The gas hook up is about 5 inches out from the wall by the kickboard.  I hope that helps you in determining the stove. "

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Look no further for shiny objects...

Portion of City Commission Work Session 12/13

This is regarding the elimination of the fire assessment and other possible adjustments to the current fiscal year's budget.

South Palm Park Neighborhood


The Miami Bike Scene: Broward B-cycle launches in three cities December 14

Click title for link. Information on Broward County's new bike rental service.

Signed Stanton, McVoy, Mulvehill, Jennings, Karson, etc.

What "we" thought about last night...

There really was no protest last night.  Someone did work the phones to get the media there so they thought there was a story here.  I am sure that transgender peppered every other sentence in their delivery.  I had a talk with one of the protesters who thought that Ms. Stanton should have had a review and been written up if there were things that the Commission didn't like.  I pointed out that would have been to fire her "for cause" and that the Commission's action was just to change course - and according to her contract, she could be let go for no reason.  This protester thought it was good how Ms. Stanton kept the developers at bay to which I responded there were no developers during her tenure.  Then we got in to the beach and this protester thought that the beach was the greatest thing.  I pointed out the Greater Bay lawsuit that the city has spent, at least, $600,000 in an attempt to defend its position and still could be required to pay millions in the form of a judgement.  I also pointed out the the City Manager did her best to hide the real cost of the beach project.  She thought that this was all spawned from Maxwell's aversion to the City Manager and that somehow this represented a bigoted act.  At this point in the conversation, I said that I was gay and am offended by the insinuation that this was somehow about the former City Manager's gender.  It had nothing to do with it.

The "protesters" didn't make it to the actual meeting, that I could see.  Once the meeting got started, we were treated to the grim history of the Park of Commerce.  We were told about all the potential there (see my blog from the meeting) and how the whole notion has been plagued by fits and starts over the past 15 or so years.  The CDM group, who prepared the latest study on infrastructure needs for the Park of Commerce, was there for free last night.  The study was paid for by an Economic Development Administration matching grant of $250,000, with $250,000 from the City.  This grant was issued with great fanfare two years ago but our most recent and former City Manager did all that she could to not put up the matching money, until she finally caved.  It appeared that it wasn't exactly the current City Commission's priority and that she had other things that could be done with $250,000.  She eventually saw the light, but the city was in jeopardy of losing the grant.  Now the study "sits on the shelf" and the property owners in the Park of Commerce are getting tired of empty promises from the city.  It is clear that whatever happens next has to mean something tangible or the whole notion could be abandoned.

What I found striking about the budget discussion is this point was danced around, but missed.  That is the former City Manager and the previous City Commission had made their mind up that they would have an assessment for fire pension BEFORE any examination of the budget realities.  That is what Commissioner Maxwell was getting at.  And it points to the weakness of the former City Manager's it-is-my-way-or-else attitude.  That, in the end, was the source of her demise - nothing else.

I will have a video later of some of the feistier discussion during the budget cut portion of the agenda.  It became clear that the former City Manager had not integrated information requested by the new members of the City Commission in these budget cut recommendations and I am sure that contributed to the last week's outcome as well.  The Mayor made a point about looking at Commission and senior staff salaries to see what money would be generated by a 10% cut in each area.  McVoy ridiculed the notion saying that a 10% cut in Commission salaries would amount to $7,000 and that we had $1.4 million to go.  Commissioner McVoy -  have you heard of the concept of a symbolic gesture?  You are asking the public to make a sacrifice so you, in turn, make a sacrifice.  While not materially important, it is symbolically important.  And many times when the Mayor would mention items that she had asked the City Manager to prepare - for informational purposes - both McVoy and Mulvehill made it seem like her mind was made up to go through with those suggestions when she maintained she needed to see that information BEFORE she made any decision.

One of the most telling parts of the meeting last night was when Mr. Bressner with the ICMA mentioned that being fired on a 3-2 vote, something that he experienced, is a difficult thing.  But he said that it is also difficult for the community and for staff.  He implored this Commission that "it was time to come together."  I didn't see much evidence of that last night.  I thought that lip service might be paid to the notion, but I didn't hear that either.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Commissioner McVoy chatting it up with the media while the meeting goes on...

Live at 12 13 City Commission Work Session

Park of Commerce

Commissioner McVoy not here.  Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council presentation on the Park of Commerce economic development potential.  There is a PowerPoint.  Showing aerial, good sized 390 acres.  He says the area can be a focus of redevelopment for the city.  Centrally located in the County and region.  He thnks there are some regional interests here too.  Can help diversify the regional economy.  Access to existing transportation is in place and can be an incentive for redevelopment and the establishment of light industry, warehousing and manufacturing.  Fifteen year planning history for this park,  Many interested in the Park of Commerce's potential.  Reviewing TCRPC plan from ten years ago - largest assemblage of land in Palm Beach County.  Quote from slide "Lake Worth: Best City to do business in South Florida" - McVoy arrived.

Park needs a center, to be self-sufficient, walkable streets, entrance features and infrastructure.  Infrastructure needs assessment.  Three phases spread over 15 years 1-3 years, 4-7 years and 8-15 years.  Transportation systems, stormwater, water, sewer, power and telecommunications improvements. 650,000 additional square feet of industrial and office possible,.  The infrastructure report is very technical.  Good access to major roads. Tri-rail station, intricate network of roads throughout the park.  Rights of way are there and becomes the structure to route the infrastructure.  Boutwell Road became the priority for transportation improvements for Phase 1.  Turning movements need improvement at intersections, underground utilities, telecommunications duct bank, gateway identification, streetlights, pedestrian and bicycle friendly, Palm Tran and street trees.  Review existing conditions.  Looking at typical future street cross section.  Looked at entry feature locations.

Stormwater was a big issue to allow future redevelopment of the park.  Had to look at SFWMD and Lake Worth Drainage district requirements. Water treatment was examined.  Not feasible to rely on a regional system, need to go to the parcel to parcel approach where each property owner provides for their own system.  Green stormwater management systems were employed.  Treatment and storage were addressed.

Water, sewer, electric and telecommunications next.  Looked at future use of land and generation rates according to demand and future tenants.  Looked at potable water and fire flows - phased improvements.  Looked at eight new sanitary sewer pump stations phased over time.  Electrical - underground a priority, along with the transportation improvements.  Telecommunications and high-speed Internet - what is there and what you can do with what is existing.  FPL could bring in their fibernet in which is 50 mps.  Fiber optics can go up to 10 gbps.  Review of alternatives.  Comcast only covers a quarter of the park.  Must have return on investment.  City may have to put a "dark grid" in and then access by local ports.  $250,000 initial investment for would make park more attractive.  Cost - first phase under $6 million.  Second phase - $2 million.  Phase 3 $3.3 million.  Total $11.05 million infrastructure investment.

Funding options:  Grants, local state and federal.  Grants are moving towards a systematic approach - getting at all the things that are necessary not just one item.  Economic Development Administration funding would require a clear and concise vision from the city.  One of them is the Public Words and Economic Assistance programs.  Land owners need to be tapped to help articulate that vision.  Donna Brosemer is giving some history of how we got where we are.  She had a lot of interaction with individual property owners to encourage them to be annexed - most of park was in unincorporated PBC.  Supported by every Commission she has worked for, but not by every staff.  Much turnover and credibility suffered.  70 property owners.  She arrived at an industrial taxing district - a dependent district can be created by the city.  Owners wanted some assurance that is was not just another tax.  Lake Worth Park of Commerce Industrial Development Authority - name chosen.  Board of Directors can be City Commission, property owners or a hybrid of the two.  They recommended that the property owners would have the majority - most workable option.  Retrofitting structure over an established conglomeration.  Largest industrial area along the east coast of south Florida - transportation right there.  Can be a regional economic engine. This would be created as a tax increment financing district and would only be within Lake Worth's boundaries.  Would capture future increases in property values.  Must re-establish and maintain trust with property owners overtime.

McVoy sees the potential, know what we need, we have innovative ideas and grants available, especially if we have an environmental edge to it - but the property owners are skeptical.  Where is the money gong to come from - implementation?  Any movement?  Put on shelf and there has been no movement - all here as a favor tonight, none are currently under contract.  NOTHING HAS HAPPENED.  There was an application made to EDA but it was rejected.  Chicken or egg scenario.  Everything has to be in place institutionally first, if you don't have it, you "can ask for the moon and not get it."  McVoy asks if one of the things a granting agency looks at if we have anyone on staff to put this together?  The internal capacity of the city is critical.  Must partner with other entities.

Maxwell asked for everyone to come tonight to establish what were the first steps that we can take as a city.  Where are we going to get the money?  He'd like to give a presentation on how to come up with the initial money.  15 year timeline - to date - how much we have spent on studies to date.  Brosemer went to the legislature and everyone asked for a plan.  The EDA grant was a way to get a plan, but we were turned down for it.  Cost of CDM study - $250,000.  Physical improvements need to be made or things and occupants will be less quality.  Mulvehill pushes for an economic development staff person and that is part of this fiscal year's budget.  There is some kind of association with the county regarding telecommunications.  She thinks that position is critical and so is the marketing manager position.  She says that the models have changed - sustainability efforts.  She is campaigning already.

Maxwell asks if there is any cost efficiency if we attack all three phases - if we had the money?  The answer is yes.  How much of a timeline would there be if we could just write a check for all of it - land acquisition will take time for right of way acquisition.  Have to be happening with construction and design.  Need to do better with the property owners - hard to go back to them at one time.Can't piecemeal this anymore - what do we have to do to make it a reality and not a fantasy.  Can TIF be sunsetted?  Yes, after a number of years.  Even if we were to right that check, we would have to get our internal structure together but must also promote this land.  He will be hosting a meeting later this week - with the BDB, economic development organizations, etc, - what are the options to make this plan a reality.  He will report back to the Commission.  Marketing efforts need actions, not words.  Need to be taken seriously this time.

Amoroso thanks everyone for taking their own time to come.  Are you able to work with staff?  Did you get a response from our past city manager?  Didn't want it like the other city manager's we had.  She didn't want to advance it.  She had other priorities.  Where are we now with the 70 owners?  15 or 20 engage at any one time.  It has been a while.  Need vision to move it forward - 12 to 15 years is enough, wants to look for other funding.

McVoy what is the step that the property owners would need to see the city take - do more annexations, get the structure in place, details can be worked on that don't entail spending a lot of money.  Need to commit to spend some money on this.

Recruitment of City Manager

Kurt Bressner - range rider for International City Manager's Association - he is one of eight range riders - 73 nationwide.  His territory is southeast Florida.  He is here to present options regarding the replacement of the city manager.  There was additional information sent this morning.  Interim from city staff - advantages for continuity, might be most cost effective.  Dual function manager/department head might be a problem and both jobs could suffer.  May not have the broad based experience that is needed.  Can be done for a short period of time.  Go forward and hire a manager while recruiting for a permanent one is another option - retired military could be a possible with staffing and command experience.  He cited Bill Horn in Clearwater.  Operational changes can be made during the interim period.  Outside the organization - no vested interest.. More cost with this option.  There is the interim period - holiday period, things are flat until after the first of the year.  Can utilize the services of the range riders and he has alerted them to the possibility. Search firm has access to candidates that we don't have access to locally.   They have some in-house knowledge and connections that can help - range riders too - a savvy bunch.  Cost of search firm would be in addition to severance payments - he was fired on a 3-2 vote in Illinois.  He says that it is very important to come together and to move forward now.  Very difficult decision to make and a 3-2 vote is tough on a decision like this.  They need to put it behind you now.  Care has to be taken now related to the Commission's interaction with staff - cannot direct staff to do things - particularly during this interim time - has to be by the book.  They need one direction and it has to come from the City Manager - not five commissioners.

Charter contains a good job description for a city manager.  He can help write one or create one that matches the Charter. He thinks that the position would be attractive on a national basis - can consider an assistant or deputy manager as well.  Need someone with seasoned decision-making ability - Commission should act soon on this decision for community stability.  Just travel cost and copy costs - their service is free.  

McVoy thanks him for stepping up and helping us out.  Concerned about losing professional staff.  Mulvehill's glasses are all the way down her nose during this presentation.  Carr asks if the Commission wants an item put on the next agenda.  Maxwell says this could be a stand alone topic for discussion - might need to be a separate meeting.  McVoy says he would like to be there - someone thought that he was outside protesting at the beginning.  Mulvehill is talking about the 3-2 vote and that we have lost one person already - she inferred that the others might have not been surprised by the decision.  What timeframe is it going to take in filling this position.  He says at least 4 months for a nationwide recruitment.  Can the interim do the dual function for a four month period or does it make sense to bring someone new in - can't just be a placeholder.  Salary for the interim, could be for the current pay and that is negotiable.

They might meet this Saturday to make decisions on this topic.He would like to review the file on the previous search firm.  Saturday would be a special meeting.  Sounds like it is at 10 a.m. - Mulvehill wants the Mayor to elaborate what the new direction that we are taking with a new city manager at the meeting on Saturday.

Budget Reduction Plan

Carr introduces the topic.  Fry is doing the presentation.  He announced that he was leaving today and is taking a job at the City of Port St. Lucie and will be here another month.  It would be good to get these changes done before he leaves.  Mayor says some of the items were discussed in one on one meetings with the former City Manager - these are just suggestions from city manager Stanton.  Mulvehill says that these suggestions were made since they wanted to repeal the fire assessment.  Those options were not necessarily at the current Mayor's direction.  Carr says they result from discussions with department heads - so it is more of a collaborative staff proposal.  "The City organization is waiting for the decision in order to know if there is enough money, etc."  Maxwell, when he looked at this, saw the same 200 pages but it is devoid of the fluff from the previous back-up material.  There were items that the Mayor wanted that didn't appear in the report.  Amoroso had some suggestions that he didn't see included.  Mulvehill says that we are setting ourselves up for moving backward - look at this with a lot of caution.  The Mayor says they made need to take time to meet with the interim to make sure their suggestions are taken into account.  The Mayor wants to eliminate the fire assessment as a goal, that is not Mulvehill's goal.  She thinks this is extreme and dangerous.  Staff is waiting for an answer.  Amoroso says staff is held up, but he has some issues with things - he is seeing someone being demoted but is getting  $9,000 raise and a secretary that seems high.

I promised myself that I would be leaving at 8:30 p.m. - check out the stream 

Pics of "Protest" up until 5:45 p.m.

Lake Worth Residents To Protest Firing Of Transsexual City Manager - Politics News Story - WPBF West Palm Beach

Opportunists looking to make an "issue" where there isn't one. Have you no shame? Click title for link.

And then there is this odd e-mail from Ms. Stanton to Loretta Sharpe.  Did anyone else get one of these?
The attachment is this document.
Brought to us by the same people who were against the "politics of division" and for "One City, One Future." - Right.