Saturday, May 21, 2011

Just sayin'...

A thought...can we contract with Publix to handle the city's utlity customer service department.? Another "out of the box" idea.

Fourth Annual Planning Challenges of the 21st Century - "Putting Florida to Work - the Planner's Role"

I am a long time member of the Palm Beach County Planning Congress.  We are predominantly a group of professional urban planners practicing in the private and public sectors within Palm Beach County.  Anyone can join, however, if they share an interest in planning and zoning issues that affect our region.  The annual membership fee in only $40 and I would highly recommend joining if you have the desire.  Regular readers might remember the post regarding the trip to the FPL hybrid solar plant and Barley Barber Swamp tout last month - this was one of the Planning Congress' monthly events.

Yesterday, in the City of Boca Raton's state-of-art training facility at 6500 Congress Avenue auditorium, the Planning Congress held their fourth annual seminar on planning challenges of the 21st Century.  This year the focus was on Economic Development and ways the planning profession can promote job creation and investment in the south Florida region.

Our first speaker was Dr. Ned Murray who is the Associate Director of the Metropolitan Center at Florida International University.  Dr. Murray addressed the second annual seminar of the series and we were glad to welcome him back.  He spoke on "Creative Economic Development in Florida."  He noted that planners do not often hold positions as economic directors in municipal and county governments.   He found that odd since planners are in many ways trained to be economic development professionals given our "generalist" tradition and our usual immersion in statistics and the monitoring of broader societal and economic trends.  Planners understand the relationship between function and form on a larger scale.

He centered his discussion around the Miami-Dade FEC corridor study and its role in what become known as mid-town Miami.  At the beginning of the study, it consisted of a 54 acre railroad yard for the FEC railway.  He looked at economic growth during the period of time between the study (2002) and the current year.  It showed the trajectory of our economy and evidence of the bottoming out of the regional economy which started in 2006 and is only just now showing signs of improvement.  He then compared this with the poverty rate over the same period and found that it was relatively unchanged.  This showed that the underlying causes of poverty are really independent of economic growth cycles and that the downturn itself did not contribute greatly to increased poverty.

He noted that 90 percent of businesses in Palm Beach County have less than 25 employees and 65 percent have less than 5 employees.  He said that the focus for economic development activities should be targeted to these firms and not as much in landing the one big employer that everyone is going after.  Economic development is not high-rise condominiums or a new Starbucks - in south Florida it needs to be about industrial development to help diversify our predominant lower wage, service economy.

We need to ask the following questions when making decisions about what sort of industries and firms communities wish to attract.  What is the occupational mix?  Who are the direct beneficiaries?  What resources does your community already have that would be attractive to who you are targeting?  How are your efforts going to legislated, promoted and sustained?

In order to do this, you need information that planners already have at the ready.  You need a knowledge of the region's economic history.  You also must have a sense of where your particular jurisdiction stands in relationship to your "competition" and who exactly that competition is.  You really need to thoroughly examine existing geographic concentrations of major employers.

There are certain industrial policy considerations that you need to look at.  He said that 75% of the remaining industrially zoned land in Palm Beach County is within 1 mile east and west of I-95. If we are going to be attracting new industry, this is it's likely location (Park of Commerce).  Much of this will be redevelopment so that the emphasis has to be in improving the area's access and infrastructure to accommodate this new investment and employment base.  Much of the effort needs to be targeted towards municipal service delivery and the adequateness of public infrastructure.  He emphasized the importance of workforce development programs and the need to bring in local community colleges to assist in the effort.

He continued to emphasize throughout his talk that retention is more important for economic development than expansion and attraction of new industries.  Small Business Development centers need to be staffed with trained business professionals.  While Miami-Dade targeted the film making industry and has had some success building on an existing industry, he said that county and city film commissions are largely irrelevant.  He said that many communities have had success in establishing a Business Development Office where people can go and access an Ombudsman to help them through the regulatory process (something that I have repeatedly suggested here.)  Communities can also help in establishing guilds for training of workers that need skills for a particular trade needed for your targeted industries.  He recommended creating a "Mayor's Invention Award" to celebrate and draw attention to unique entrepreneurial accomplishments in your jurisdiction.

If the session had a keynote speaker, it had to be Lois Frankel, former Mayor of West Palm Beach.  She built her talk around the Knight Foundation Soul of the Community study.  She said that the top attributes for community attractiveness, based upon the results of the study, were social offerings, openness and acceptance of a diverse community, aesthetics, green space and access to higher education.  She pointed to the new West Palm Beach library and how it has become a real community draw.  She said in its first year of operation, the library checked out over 1 million individual items.  She said that it really has become a social center. (By the way, for the first time, I visited the West Palm Beach City Hall this week delivering an application that I put together.  I used to work for West Palm Beach in their planning department and I could have only dreamed to work in a facility like that.  To me, it had more in common with a Saks Fifth Avenue than your typical government building.)

She reviewed the major accomplishments of her Mayoral predecessors starting with the late Pat Pepper who led the charge to make sure the Kravis Center ended up where it did, Nancy Graham's role in the development of City Place and Joel Daves focus on the city's park system.  She said that each Mayor addressed the pressing issues of their time.

Her pressing issue was addressing the waterfront and the Clematis Street area as it was quickly becoming the poor step-child to City Place when she first came to office.  She said that nightclubs back then had overpowered the environment there and it really became an issue of public safety.  She remembers then West Palm Beach Chief of Police Ric Bradshaw called her up at midnight on a weekend and asked her to meet him on Clematis Street.  She got there and all she saw was a sea of people milling about on the sidewalk, in the streets, everywhere.  As she walked through the crowd, she was accompanied by two officers in front and two in back as protection.  She knew that the city had to get a handle on this situation not only for public safety but in order to return Clematis Street to a space for retail outlets and restaurants that would serve mostly food.

The City Commission then initiated policies that banned anyone in a bar that was under 21.  She said that before, young women under 21 would be let in and be given a wristband which identified them as someone that couldn't drink - "wink, wink."  It turns out that young men of the same age would be waiting and milling about outside and meet up with the young women that had been inside the establishments.  The city then implemented a nighttime curfew - after 11 - for anyone under 18.  She said that those two actions did a lot to change the character of the street.

She talked about moving the library and opening up the waterfront from Clematis and how that condition - a downtown shopping street with access to water - is an unusual and unique condition not found many other places.  She said that these was done to create a place that people would want to be and help meet some of the community strengths identified in the Knight Foundation study.  She reminded everyone that we live in a competitive world and you always have to have that in mind when directing which way a community will grow and develop.  She also stressed the importance to be an attractive place for the 20-40 year old age group.  She bragged about the Digital Domain facility on the drawing board for what used to be the "tent site.  I guess they helped in the film Titanic - Frankel got a couple of laughs when she asked, "What was that movie where the boat sank?"

She was asked if she felt that it was necessary to be a strong Mayor in a Strong Mayor form of government in order to do what she did.  Surprisingly, she said, "No, you don't need to be a strong Mayor in order to move a city forward."  She also reminded us that she had to work with the City Commission in order to really accomplish anything.

I got the opportunity to ask her a question about how she was able to overcome opposition to get things done.  She recited a short history of the City Center project, which I won't go into here, but her summary response was most revealing.  She said, "In order to lead, you can't spend all of your time putting out fires.  Fires are always going to be there and many times they go out on their own accord."

I'll continue with a second installment later.

Scenes from last Tuesday's City Commission Work Session on the Willdan Study...

My comments given about 9 p.m.:

"You know, it's a shame that this meeting was going on three hours and fifteen minutes before public comment began.  There were many people here expecting to talk, in fact the media said that the public would have a chance to speak starting at 5:30 today. Well, now there is a just a fraction of people that were here at 5:30.

I was one of the moderators at last Saturday's "Voice of the Choice" meeting, along with Bob Lepa and Karri Casper.  The major weakness of the Willdan report was the complete lack of public input in its creation.  The meeting we organized Saturday to fill that void.

We designed the meeting to be informational and friendly to all points of view.  We included ways to contact all of you and talked about future meeting dates.  There was overwhelming support for the sheriff by the over two hundred people in attendance.

We are putting together a report from all the groups that were assigned topics at the meeting.  We really need to know what future meeting dates will be when this PBSO issue will be discussed.

Another major weakness of the report is that all of the budget projections assumed there would be no fiscal impact from a change in the police force.  We all know that a change like that would affect public's perception of safety and would further decrease property values.

Like I said, we will have a written report to present to you and we would like to do that at your June 7th meeting, perhaps under Presentations.  I can't tell you everything in two minutes (The timer went off here), but in two hours we were able to come up with three days worth of suggestions.  Thank you."

Friday, May 20, 2011

Good song for a Friday night...

Dalai Lama

Love, compassion and concern for others are real sources of happiness. If you have these in abundance, you will not be disturbed even by the most uncomfortable circumstances. If you nurse hatred, however, you will not be happy even in the lap of luxury. Thus, if we really want happiness, we must widen the sphere of love. This is both religious thinking and basic common sense.

Signs of the times...

Classy "For Rent" signs just west of City Hall along H Street.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

What's going on in the City Hall parking lot?

The real modus operandi here...

Panagioti Tsolkas passed these out last night among the crowd waiting to speak.  Click here to go to the blog referenced in the flyer.

Their mission statement from the website:

Lake Worth Area COPWATCH Mission Statement

LWAC’s mission is to monitor police activity, on both a street and a policy level, with a focus on: police brutality and killings; racial and political profiling; suppression of constitutional rights; and violation of grassroots community activists.
The group was formed in response to the conflict that arose in the City of Lake Worth over a loss of accountability and local control of law enforcement. In summer 2008, residents of the the City acted in the public interest to keep their our local Police Department. These residents, and the elected officials who supported them, lost the vote. Due to the personal interests of the police unions and the political maneuvering of the local elite, LWPD would be absorbed by the Palm Beach County Sheriff.

In the same week, the fatal shooting of 16-year-old Ruben Debrosse occurred in Royal Palm Beach. Only two years prior, Royal Palm's Police Department had also been absorbed by the Sheriff. The town will have little-to-no say in the ongoing investigation...

After decades of working on the constant process of police accountability, race relations and civil liberties in Lake Worth (which involved the removal of a one police chief), we have lost much of the ground we gained, due to the Sheriff merger.

WE REFUSE TO WAIT FOR THE SHERIFF TO KILL A CHILD IN OUR COMMUNITY! Now more than ever in Lake Worth we feel we must stay vigilant.

-We demand an independent Community Review Board for acts of misconduct or aggression.

-We demand full justice for all who have been mistreated, denied rights, beaten or lost loved ones at the hands of law enforcement.

While our efforts are focused on the Lake Worth and the surrounding areas. We feel that, as Dr. M.L. King said: "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere"
We will extend our activities across the great Palm Beach and Treasure Coast region, and even participate in activities relevant to our mission across the Country, and beyond.
[A more elaborate Position Paper on the impacts of policing on low-income communities and social movements will be forthcoming, along with a list of resources for community justice activists.]

And we wonder why the real focus of the Willdan report was to re-create Lake Worth's own Police Department?

Lake Worth debates benefits of ending PBSO contract for city-run police force

Click title for the PBP's interpretation of what happened last night.

Certain Truths Revealed...

This video has additional questions and answers from the Press Conference.  Mark Parrilla and Mary Lindsey add their questions.  We find out that the last year of the Lake Worth Police Department budget amount was more than any year under the Sheriff and that the Sheriff has never exercised their 7% and 7.5% annual increase provisions of their contract.  We hear different myths from people that want a reduced police presence in Lake Worth.


This question and answer session is worth listening to again.  If you go to 6:17 in the video, I ask two questions - one twice since it went unanswered the first time.  The question that I had to repeat was "Where would the money for the transition to a new police department come from?"  The City Manager responded that it would come from savings, but that the transition costs were really not part of the scope of the study.

Oh really?  I don't know of too many consultants that volunteer to do work outside the scope of the study if they weren't told to do it.  The point is, it was in the scope of the study - see above.

Judge Judy, when she catches someone in one lie, often interrupts litigants during later testimony saying that she can't believe them because they already proved they were a liar with the first false truth.  What does that say about our City Manager?

Putting myself in the role of the uninitiated resident citizen last night,

I wonder what impression they had about our City Government.  For the past week, since the release of the report, they had been hearing that the City Commission ordered a study about getting rid of the Sheriff's office in Lake Worth.  All media sources reported that the Willdan study recommended getting rid of the Sheriff and re-establishing Lake Worth's own police department.

Immediately, FaceBook groups popped up on the topic and you couldn't go anywhere in Lake Worth, or Palm Beach County really, where this was not the major topic of conversation.  The Commission and City Administration specifically excluded public input in the $46,000 plan.  To make up for this, residents planned a "Voice in the Choice" meeting last Saturday that over 200 people attended where support for PBSO was overwhelming.  All were told that the City Commission would be discussing, not  making a decision, the report on May 18th.

I think this was the turning point.  The City Commission and Administration suddenly realized they were on the wrong side of history.  Here was a topic that they couldn't use to divide the community and villainize the opposition.  Suddenly they were in the position of being the villain.  Can't happen with this REGIME.  At this point, the retreat was on - "Everyone wants to keep the Sheriff, we're just trying to negotiate with them for a better deal" was the mantra from the dais.  However, it was still unclear if the public would have a chance to be heard at the meeting scheduled Wednesday night on the report.

This peaked yesterday afternoon with a hastily prepared press release and press conference - prior to the well-publicized meeting where, according to the media message - "The City of Lake Worth will be considering termination of the contract with the Sheriff at a public meeting tonight."  Channel 5 even reported that "Public comment will begin at 5:30 p.m."  The prepared piece read by Vice Mayor Muleville for the Press Conference assured that the public will be heard, that the public attending the meeting should address the report and how to create more revenue only.  We were reassured that no one is really talking about getting rid of the Sheriff, we are just trying to negotiate with PBSO.

So imagine someone getting to City Hall last night around 5:15 p.m.  They would have been greeted by a throng of people outside the building yelling "Save PBSO", waving signs and getting fired up - having not heard the panicked retreat put on by members of the City Commission and the City Manager - they would think "Wow, here I am at City Hall and I am finally going to get the opportunity to tell the City Commission what I think about them getting rid of the Sheriff's contract."

So, they walk up the steps to City Hall and are immediately greeted by someone pointing them to go into the City Commission conference room.  You were told that, when time for public comment comes, you would be ushered into the Commission Chambers with a group of 10 people - when that group was done, another 10 would be directed in to the room and the first 10 would be led out.  Sitting in this "holding room", you were treated to listening to some man referring to a PowerPoint presentation that you couldn't see.  This would drone on and on.  They guy's voice over the speaker was talking about dismantling the Sheriff's contract and starting a new Lake Worth Police force.  You talk to people sitting around you and get riled up even more.

Then you hear Vice Mayor Mulvehill say that we think that the Sheriff is great and he's not going anywhere, but you continue to hear the discussion about benefit packages and staffing levels for a new Lake Worth Police Department.  Questions from Commissioners all center around this report which tries to detail what would happen in such a transition. But again you hear people on the dais say, "Don't worry, we're not getting rid of the Sheriff."  But the conversations still drone on about a new police department.  Now you're getting hungry and you've been sitting almost two hours waiting to speak about how great PBSO is.  Others around you check the time and some start walking out the door, shaking their heads, wondering what is really going on.  They feel confused and frustrated that they didn't have a chance to challenge these people that ordered this study saying that it's o.k. to exit the Sheriff's contract.  You did learn that the City Manager hasn't really talked to PBSO too much about this (because, in reality, she wanted her own Police Department).  After three hours and no progress in getting to public comment, most of the public that came to speak were gone.

After having stayed through 95% of the meeting, I left wondering what was actually accomplished.  The report is full of holes - none of the negotiating points with the Sheriff that are included at the end of the report were really discussed.  The main discussion was centered around details of creating a new Lake Worth Police Department.  You have a confused public that doesn't know what to think at this point and I dare say that media doesn't know what to say what went on at this meeting.

If you were there, share your impressions under comments.  I am still scratching my head.

What happened tonight? Look here....

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Q & A Portion of Press Conference 5/18 Vice Mayor Suzanne Mulvehill, re PBSO Contract

The video is still being processed at time of posting.  Off to the meeting!

The wall across from the Commission Chambers at City Hall

Symbolic of open government...

Security door to City Manager's office - note keypad to left of door.
Just thinking in a building designed for public assembly, wouldn't it be against code to have a security door that is a designated EXIT door?

First part of press conference held this afternoon

This is the prepared statement part - the question and answer part is still uploading to YouTube.

Press Conference Today at 2:30 p.m. at City Hall

I attended the Press Conference and took video which is being uploaded to YouTube now.  Stanton at first refused to answer my question about where the money for the transition to the new police department would come from - when she did answer after repeating the question, her response was vague at best.

City on the verge of state takeover

This time it's the City of Mascotte in Lake County. Don't think it couldn't happen here, click title for link to article.

This just in..."From the Desk of Vice Mayor Suzanne Mulvehill - May 18, 2011"

"The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office is doing an outstanding job serving our city.  We all want the same thing - to keep the Sheriff in our City.  We simply need the Sheriff's help in negotiating a contract that we can afford.

Tonight we will be discussing the results of the Willdan Police Study.  It will be requested that public comment be directed to questions or comments regarding the study or ideas for increasing revenue and cutting services as they relate to the Sheriff's contract.

When the Sheriff's contract was approved in 2008, it was publicly known and discussed that the PBSO contract was not financially sustainable.  We could not afford it then and that was before the economic downturn and the city's declaration of financial urgency.

Providing law enforcement and public safety is the first responsibility of your government.  This commission takes that responsibility very seriously and it is our #1 priority.  I welcome your input and suggestions on this issue.

Please contact the Sheriff to let him know how much you want to keep his service and to help us negotiate a contract we can afford."


Vice Mayor Suzanne Mulvehill

Yeah! The "Bad Account" Message is Gone!!

Google got around to addressing the issue.  It began during last weeks shut down of Blogger.  All is well now :)

A reminder that the Voice in the Choice meeting offered two minutes for City Commissioner, Administration comments...

Anyone up for doing Lake Worth in toothpicks?

Hello Suzanne? Hello Susan?

E-mail correspondence between me, Commissioner of District #4 / Vice-Mayor Mulevhill and Susan Stanton with a follow-up to all of our elected officials regarding public comment at Wednesday's (5/18) meeting.

I will let you know if anyone eeks out a response.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Laudations in Lansing

I was born and grew up in the Lansing, Michigan area. I remember this power plant on the Grand River, just northeast of the downtown. Nice to see an award-winning adaptive re-use of this building. There is another building south of this, the water plant, that is equally impressive. I'll see what I can find out about it. Click title for link to PreservationNation magazine.

Something to make clear about the Voice in the Choice meeting held Saturday...

Everyone was welcome to this meeting to share their opinion - regardless of which position they held on whether the Sheriff should stay or go.  One of the main weaknesses in the Willdan report was the lack of a community meeting on the topic.  The meeting was one way to address this oversight, which many think was purposefully avoided.

One person, Laurel Decker - who is a member of the Finance Advisory Board (FAB) - attended and was part of the group that was addressing the weaknesses of the report.  She stood up after that group's presentation and insisted that her comment wasn't included.  The moderators assured her that it would be included in the report that is given to the City Commission.  After the meeting, she came up front and wrote the following on the group's sheet of paper where their comments were listed.

So, beyond specifically including her comment in the report, I wanted to be sure to point out what her comment was here.

Laurel Decker

This week in history, May 20, 1913, Henry Morrison Flagler died.

Click title for link to original obituary article.  Flagler, the financial genius behind Standard Oil, used his retirement years to extend his Florida East Coast railroad southward, eventually reaching Key West - that was achieved a year after his death.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

From the Voice in the Choice Community Meeting - Topic: Impact of City Administration-controlled Police Force group

If Police Chief is hired by City Manager, who would hire the officers?

Chief could be swayed to do or not do things to keep his / her job.

Part Time Commissioners depend upon staff for information.


City will own liability and cost of all functions.. (workman’s comp, insurance, pension etc)

Code enforcement is needed to maintain values, but it is non existant.. How will we pay for the force?

Administration could allow marginalized people not wanted in other cities to gather here.. (drunks, addicts, pedophiles)

If commissioners allow halfway houses, what are odds they will encourage police to aggressively patrol.

Will politics win over public safety?

Resources are not able to match PBSO (Community outreach centers)

Sheriff is able to travel through several towns to chase criminals, municipal cannot.

Will entire force be rookies?

From the Voice in the Choice Community Meeting - Topic: Creative Ways to Finance the Sheriff’s Department Group

Special assessment on all structures to make up the shortfall

Surcharge on utility bill

Have City prioritize expenses with input from public (vote) to close the $2.5 Million shortfall

Increase title search fees to generate $400K

Actually collect fines from code enforcement, hold banks accountable and have them pay fines

Increase millage, better negotiations or a loan?

Click here for link to Willdan Report (recommending establishing new Lake Worth Police Department)

Some people have had trouble with accessing the report from the City's website.  This link is independent from the City's website and should always work.

Let your Opinion be Known to the City Administration, City Commission and General Public about whether PBSO should stay or go:

Note:  Hyper-links not active - right click, choose "Save image as..." for reference.

Note on the Ideas from the Voice in the Choice Community Meeting:

Think of these excerpts as a "sneak peak" at parts of the full report that will be presented to the City Commission.  I will provide a link to the report, and it will be available on the FaceBook group as well, when we have finished compiling the results.

From the Voice in the Choice Community Meeting - Topic: Weaknesses and Misinformation in the Willdan Report Group

  • The report makes the statement that most people live in owner-occupied homes in the City of Lake Worth. The opposite is true.
  • Page 47 – The report states that the decision has been made to move forward with a new Lake Worth Police Department.
  • Page 51 – The report lists key decision points as reasons to see alternatives to PBSO – without any public input either.
  • Willdan, the group that prepared the report, will charge the city an additional $250,000 to implement the transition – vested interest in going through with their recommendation.
  • There is an over-reliance in volunteers being part of an active police force.
  • The time frame for transition seems unrealistic.
  • Many of the numbers are “stale” due to new State law pertaining to pensions.
  • No contingency is offered in case there are cost over-runs during the transition.
  • No source of funding for the transition is identified.
  • The report reveals confidential narcotics information.
  • The level of employee benefits appears to be excessively low.
  • Assuming that cars that we transferred to the Sheriff three years ago are available and have reasonable service life left is suspect.
  • Page 9 – PBSO would not provide a line item or “rolled up” cost of service to consultants.

From the Voice in the Choice Community Meeting - Topic: Financial, Real Estate and Local Business Impact Group:

  • The City needs to do all that it can to maintain or improve property values – public safety is the most important factor to do that, not something to take a risk with.
  • Possible revenue sources to support robust police service (PBSO). In the short term, raise millage rate. Long term would be to pass a special assessment of all property for fire and police services.
  • There is no confidence that the City administration is up to doing the job.
  • Promoting business is the key to future investment. Value equals safety for residents, businesses, guests (consumers and tourists)
  • Perception of being a safe place to live is a key psychological factor in whether someone wants to live or do business in Lake Worth.
  • Power of the vote for future City Commission/Mayoral candidates that acknowledge the importance of public safety. The City Commission hires the City Manager who runs the rest of the city. With one goes the other.
  • The report did not identify what else could be cut from the budget. There was no public input. It did not look at the effects of the switch, only monetary benefits. PBSO and a Lake Worth Police Department would not be the same quality, resources, numbers and equipment.
  • We need stability in our business environment to attract new investment. Current businesses may leave – need a retention effort, through the Chamber? An exodus of businesses or residents, caused by the perception that Lake Worth is an unsafe place, brings in blight and crime. This makes things worse, not better.
  • Tourism should be important to the City. There are already tourist based businesses here, but there could be more. Being seen as an “unsafe location” hurts existing tourism-based businesses and prevents new ones from coming in. Tourists need to know that it is safe to walk around the streets.
  • The City needs to access Tourist Development Council dollars, market the City as a tourist destination nationally and internationally. Get the Convention and Visitors Bureau involved. Amenities like a water taxi would help.
  • PBSO is essential to the revitalization of the beach and the downtown walking area – people need to feel safe!
  • Timing of this issue is suspicious – it is a diversion and the timing before the elections, the mayor leaving is telling. Does not help promote the image of stability or help with attracting grant monies.
  • Neighborhood associations should be hubs where residents can go and learn what is real information and what is misinformation. City Hall has to do a better job with communications.

Letter from Chafin Musicenter, inc. to City Commission regarding possible change in police services:

From the Voice in the Choice Community Meeting - Topic: Stories of former Lake Worth Police Dept.

Please Note: The stories here are not meant to be a criticism of the former LWPD. 

*From a resident on South Lakeside:
When my daughter was 4 years old,  (she is 16 now),  someone tried to take her, pulling her over our fence in the backyard. After calling the police it took over 45 minutes for the police to even show up. They never caught the person.
I live near the area where the child was kidnapped, raped and stuffed in a dumpster. She had been taken near Federal Hwy. The LWPD did not have the manpower or the resources to mount a search, they had to call in Officers from Boca Raton to help. That is how they found her, otherwise they may not have found her in time. 
I was not originally for going with the PBSO. But now seeing how they have made such an impact and a difference I would never, ever even think of going back.
*A resident since 1994 from the south end on Pine Street:
It would take me 2 hours to tell all of my LW police stories.
Waking up in the morning to find dead bodies lying in the alleyway and found on the cemetery grounds, this happened numerous times.
An execution style murder in the cemetery.
14 different gangs hanging out in front of my home night after night.  One of which were members of the Top 6.
18 rounds of gun fire popped off in front of my home.
Mad car races and gang activity on my street.
My 12 year old son found a gun near our back yard. 
My ten year old son has grown up hearing gun shots every night and started calling the police on his own.
My neighbors and I feared retaliation.
Since the PBSO came people actually jog and walk in my neighborhood and walk their dogs. My car was broken into regularly, but since the PBSO came it has not happended once.
To me the difference since the PBSO came to Lake Worth is like night and day!
* Three residents all from North R Street:
A neighbor of theirs was selling prescription drugs out of her home. People coming and going at all hours. This went on for years. The police would be called and by the time they arrived everyone would be gone. The police told us to call them if we saw anything. We did over and over again and again.
Since the Sheriff came to Lake Worth that neighbor has gone.
There were numerous "drug houses" in our area, but since the PBSO, that activity has stopped in our neighborhood.
My son also lives in the neighborhood and he had been broken into many times. Since PBSO came he has not.
* From a resident on Dartmouth Drive:
I wanted to be in this group so that I could say that a very close friend of mine was in the LWPD. He has told me that while on duty with the LWPD his life was threatened every single night and that he was always in fear of his life. But since becoming a part of the PBSO he feels safer and feels more confident. The moral of the officers serving Lake Worth now that they are with the PBSO is higher and better than it ever was before.  
I just wanted to get this message across.
*A Resident:
He had been burglarized and had been an eye witness to the crime. The officers on duty did not take fingerprints even though he asked them to. The officer on duty did not have the right equipment nor the knowledge of how to do so. No one else was called in. Because of lack of evidence the guy got off.
* Resident in the downtown area.
When we had our own police dept. many of them were in the reserve  in the military and called to serve in Iraq. The remaining officers had to pick up double shifts etc and were paid overtime. has anyone taken that cost into consideration? Also at that time two of the officers had been injured and were off duty so there were only 2-3 officers on duty on any given night for the entire city.
* Resident from Tropical Ridge Neighborhood.
The training period for LW police is only about 2 weeks before they are sent out to duty. Before the PBSO the officers did not get the appropriate training.
*Resident from Detroit Street area.
The boundary issue has always affected my home. We live on the boundary of Lake Worth and the county. If we called LWPD they would tell us they can't come out as its not our area. 
Since the PBSO we don't have that problem. It is their area!
* A Resident since 1973:
Our son was held up at gunpoint in his apartment in the downtown area (on Lucerne Ave) .
The LWPD had been called while the hold up was still going on. The armed man actually walked our son down to the ATM machine and had him withdraw cash from the ATM. But by the time they arrived the armed man had fled. He was not caught.
Points that were unanimous from the group:
*Response time from the days of the LWPD to now with the PBSO is beyond incredible. The PBSO's response time is great!
*Less crime in my neighborhood.
*Better service than before.
*Moral of the deputies is better with the PBSO than it was with the LWPD
*Tendency to catch the criminal and keep them behind bars.
*Less vagrants, panhandlers and homeless.
*We cannot go back to what we had before.