Friday, October 12, 2012

Palm Beach County Partners with 11 Cities on Business Development Website - Where is Lake Worth?

For release: October 12, 2012
Contact: Sherry Howard, Deputy Director Dept. of Economic Sustainability 561-233-3653
PBC Interactive, Palm Beach County’s first and only business development research website offering real-time, parcel-based data, now features zoning and future land-use designations for 11 municipalities in addition to unincorporated Palm Beach County.
Working in cooperation with Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Jupiter, Boynton Beach, Riviera Beach, Juno Beach, Lake Park, Palm Beach Gardens, Gulf Stream, Royal Palm Beach and Wellington, the county has added property information from these municipalities to provide an even more comprehensive research tool.
Palm Beach County InteractiveEfforts will continue to include zoning and land-use designations from each of the 38 municipalities in the county to further assist businesses in their search for potential sites for location and expansion, as well as help members of the public and private sectors interested in land development issues.

PBC Interactive was launched last year through an effective collaboration between the Department of Economic Sustainability (DES), Planning, Zoning and Building, Information Systems Services, and the Property Appraiser’s Office.  Built within the design of myGeoNav, the application integrates several layers including industry codes (NAICS), land uses, enterprise zones, economic development organizations, property ownership information, and more.
To access the site, visit or go to the DES website and click on the PBC Interactive icon.

Kim Ciklin
Special Projects Assistant
Department of Economic Sustainability
100 Australian Avenue, Suite 500
West Palm Beach, FL 33406

Found: Pic of some Happy Campers!

Follow-up on Respectful Planning PAC Q3 Report:

This came as a comment on  the previous post - from Laurel Decker, I presume:
In turn, this is my e-mail to Pam Lopez, City Clerk:
As of today, you can now see their Q2 report for the PAC on the city's website.  There are itemized contributions reported by both cash and checks - and an "in-kind" donation of t-shirts.  I guess, according to Ms. Decker, there will be amendments to the Q3 report.  At a minimum to reflect that total monetary contributions to date are not ZERO.

And, it would be nice to see a value placed on the preparation of the petition itself, who performed the work and whether it was in-kind or not.

Bob Moore, former Town of Palm Beach Building Official 10/12 by High Noon in Lake Worth | Blog Talk Radio

Join me Friday as I welcome Bob Moore former building official and Director of Planning, Zoning and Building for the Town of Palm Beach.  Mr. Moore has been part of many state committees involved with refining and the creation of the Florida Building Code.  He happened to work for the Town while I worked at Mar-a-Lago during our various additions involving construction and conversion of the estate to a private club.

Click title for link to the live show on Friday at 12 p.m. - the link will also take you to the archived show after it airs.  Leave questions here so that Mr. Moore can answer them on the air or use the call-in number to ask them during the live show.

Respectful Planning PAC Q3 Treasurer's Report

The Q3 Treasurer's Report for the Respectful Planning PAC report was due on 10/10/12.  It was submitted to the City Clerk's office on October 4th.  This is the first page of the report:
Note that the contributions section of the report shows no "monetary" contributions - only in-kind contributions.  A good example of an "in-kind" contribution would be picking up supplies from Office Depot or food from Publix and submitting a receipt.  However, the group shows "monetary" expenditures as well - three times for items from the Supervisor of Elections office and one $75 expense from the Chair of the PAC, Laurel Decker.  These items would have been paid for by either writing a check or forking over real cash for whatever was purchased - voter lists, maps, whatever.  That money/cash would have had to come from somewhere and should show up on this report.  Here are the second and third pages of the report:
 The money that was used (above) would have had to come from somewhere.  Get it?

These items (above) are the only contributions to the PAC identified in the report.  All were in-kind purchases of paper, ink and pens - logical and expected purchases for a petition drive.  But, where did the money come from for what was bought on the previous page?   Hmmm.

Now, here is the petition.  Now I know Laurel Decker is a smart cookie, but looking at the petition, doesn't it seem as though that this was somehow professionally prepared?  Like by an attorney or some other sort of professional?  Should their time be indicated as an "in-kind" contribution, at least.  Or, for all we know, someone could have handed over a bag of cash for the time put into the creation of the petition.
Note too that it was also filed before the reporting period of July 1st.  Was the PAC formed before?  Where is the previous report?  It isn't on the city's website.
Then, on the group's FaceBook page, we have someone proudly displaying what the group's t-shirts will look like.
Where are the t-shirts on the treasurer's report?  Here are some of the members wearing the t-shirts - so someone bought them with money or they were contributed "in-kind."  But where are they recorded on the report?

Color me surprised that this group would be so flagrant in hiding where their resources came from - why we know this group plays by the rules all of the time.  Or, maybe this kind of behavior has become second nature and they think that no one is watching?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Harvey Fierstein

"Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life; define yourself."

Commissioner McVoid?

Ah, memories...

Debate at the Lake Worth Playhouse 10/22

Click here for debate rules and procedures.

More on "Reconstruction" as it applies to the Secretary of Interior Standards for Historic Preservation

Click title for link.  Note the following:

"Because of the potential for historical error in the absence of sound physical evidence, this treatment can be justified only rarely and, thus, is the least frequently undertaken. Documentation requirements prior to and following work are very stringent. Measures should be taken to preserve extant historic surface and subsurface material. Finally, the reconstructed building must be clearly identified as a contemporary re-creation."

More from Tuesday night's (10/9) City Commission work session on the Casino building...

Other revelations from that meeting:

  • "The building was unsafe and falling down" - according to Rick Gonzalez.  He said that they left 25% of the building.  The Office of the Inspector General said that 4% was left.  The OIG's opinion was not mentioned during the meeting or their recommendation that a code analysis needed to be performed to see if the designation of the project being a "substantial improvement" - above 50% of the total value of the project - triggered other code requirements.  This is where the need for an "armoring device" comes in.
  • "The seawall is not in our scope." REG.  Bornstein: "That is a Mr. Biggs (Mock/Roos) question." 
  • The pool and pool building are "condemned."
  • The casino building only had one electrical meter - meaning John G's or the former tenants weren't charged for electricity.
  • Pregnant pause after the question was asked, "Does the city have control of the building now?"
  • Willie Howard was there all during this meeting and the Palm Beach Post has not published anything about this meeting.  If a tree falls in a forest and no one reports it, did it make a noise?
  • The architect represented, in response to whether or not the project was "historic" - he said that the building was "close" to what was there at one time, that he was an expert and could make that claim.  Last night, at the Historic Resource Preservation Board meeting, I reminded those present that the building that WAS there WAS "historic."  In fact, a designation report done on the 1949 version of the building was worth designation on the National Register of Historic Places.  It never was designated.  What is there now is a new building and meets none of the Secretary of Interior standards for historic preservation.
  • The condition of the seawall and whether it qualifies as an "armoring device" required by the Florida Building Code remains an unasked and unanswered question.
  • The pool structure was included as part of the total project appraisal of value - but no work was done on that building.  It was thought that it was attached to the casino building, but discovered that it wasn't during construction/demolition.
  • More square footage and retail space was considered, but eliminated to allow the project to be built for $6 million per the GMP.

AIArchitect, January 27, 2006 - Best Practices | Substantial Completion, Where Art Thou?

Enlightening article on what the American Institute of Architects says about "substantial completion" - a phrase that we heard a lot about at last Tuesday's City Commission work session.  Click title for link.  From the article:

"Substantial completion also triggers payments to the contractors. When a project reaches this milestone, it is customary to release all retainage except for an amount that can safely cover the cost of work remaining for correction or completion. In many cases, this remaining money equates to the contractors’ profit. This occasion also allows the contractor to reassign team members to other projects, leaving only a skeleton crew to complete the work and administer closeout, thus reducing overhead and general conditions costs."

Reading the entire article (highly recommended), it would seem as though the architect would have a role in preparing a "punch list" that accompanies the letter announcing the project's "substantial completion."  It seems that the city - owner - prepared the punch list for the project in late July - two months after this letter.  A question that really wasn't answered is whether the city is retaining any money still - or did this letter of substantial completion release any money that was held?  Has Morganti been paid in full?  Did the warranty period begin in May of this year?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The first 23 or so minutes of the City Commission work session last night...

This is the first part of the meeting.  For most of us present, we experienced many RPMs.  What are RPMs?  Revelations per minute.  Here we find out that there was no management team in place during most of the project, that "oil finished bronze hardware" should stand up to oceanfront conditions but hasn't, that a "substantially complete" letter was issued by the architect in May indicating that the project - at least according to the contractor and architect - was then handed over to the city.  At that point, it was the city's job to maintain the building?  Given the city's record on building maintenance, I question whether or not we are up to the task even if we had assigned staff (there was none in this last budget) to do whatever maintenance is required for this building that is less than six months old.  Whether or not we are getting a new wood floor in the ballroom seems to be based upon how much water content is "normal" in a wood floor versus how much they can dry out the one that is there.  They are putting in replacement hardware and adding astragals to the doors - on the inside in addition to the ones outside - to prevent wind driven rain from entering the building.

I will put up the second video - somewhat shorter than this one.  The card in my camera allows about 40 or so minutes of video and longer ones take a while to upload to YouTube.  Check out the 19 minute mark for some particularly revealing information in this first video.  The second one begins during the discussion of what "substantially complete" means.

I still believe that it is unconscionable that our two representatives that a) were the most ardent advocates for this project, b) told people during the process that if they asked questions about the process or the project that they were somehow "against the project", c) were elected on the premise on "saving the building" d) used this project to campaign for office and e) reassured us all along that everything was o.k. and it will be a "shining achievement" when all is said and done weren't there to participate in the discussion.  They weren't there to stand up for the constituent's interest when the heat got hot.  That is why we elect people - to be responsible for successes and failures - to take ownership when things go wrong.  Then to have the two of them both - serendipitously - not show up was just too much to take.

Now, as for excuses why they couldn't attend, I say this.  Let's say that an elected official gets word minutes before a meeting that something terrible has happened to someone they know or are related to.  That person should immediately inform the City Manager, in this case, of the situation and ask that it be announced at the beginning of the meeting.  If it was that serious, we should have all had a moment of silence before or after the Pledge of Allegiance.  There might be some grumbling in the audience, but at least then we would have an excuse for their absence that had been made in a public way.  Not through some back-channel, rumor mill the day after the meeting.  As for Commissioner Mulvehill, maybe this officially sealed her lame-duck status and she couldn't bear witness to the bitter fruits of her labor.  I just know that those in attendance felt like their elected representatives shirked their duty last night by not being there - having no idea what could be more important than bringing a major issue the city has dealt with for 30 + years to a successful conclusion.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

EMPTY CHAIRS - NO McVOY or MULVEHILL hear about the condition of the casino building, the contractor and architect's responses to the conditions present and how or when the city began, or was supposed to begin, maintenance of the building. 

This is complete ducking of responsibility on the part our representatives that were the strongest proponents of the project.  Where are they now that the chickens are coming home to roost?  Shameful...

Citing a Pisa-Style Tilt, Rome Unveils Plans for Three-Year Colosseum Restoration | Artinfo

Will Morganti bid on the project?  Click title for link.  Here they aren't tearing the Colosseum down to "restore" it.

This just in from an astute reader...

Regarding the audio hum from the dais, Selection Committee Meeting last night.

"What seemed to be a low frequency hum was present last night as the Selection Committee met at City Hall.      Some of us use wide range speakers for computer playback, which amplify low frequencies.

It was particularly noticeable when residents were speaking, since the automatic  gain in the system was being suppressed by the hum, causing a slightly lower volume than we are accustomed to at home.    This hum can not be heard in the chamber.

Upon closer examination, it appeared that  Commissioner Mulvehill’s laptop was leaning directly against the microphone.

The end result was difficulty hearing the residents comments at the podium, since the auto gain lowered the usually crisp and clear statements by citizens of Lake Worth.

Five minutes before the meeting ended, the laptop was closed up, and the hum disappeared.    Simply, the cause was the fan running in the laptop.

This can be verified by viewing playback of the meeting.

It is recommended that Commissioners and guests pull their laptops away from direct contact with the microphones, in order to avoid this problem at future meetings."

This from a person who is a Life Member, Society of Broadcast Engineers “SBE”

Trailer for ‘Parker,’ filmed in Palm Beach, now on YouTube

This was filmed in the area during September of 2011 - the film will be released in January of next year.  Click title for link to the Palm Beach Daily News article for more details.

Next Step for Seven50: Work Group Road Show -

Click title for link.  This looks like a worthy effort in what is called a southeast Florida Prosperity Plan - covering seven counties over the next 50 years.  These are a series of interactive work groups - the one in Palm Beach County will be taking place on November 16th from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Vista Center - near Okeechobee Boulevard and Jog Road.  Let me know if you are interested in going.  Perhaps we can share a ride?

Palm Beach County, FL Supervisor of Elections


Florida League of Cities Webinar on Amendment 4

Click title for link to a webinar that will take place tomorrow (10/10) from 2 to 3 p.m. It will deal with potential impacts to cities if Amendment 4 passes.  Amendment 4 seeks to change significant parts of the property tax assessment system in the state and would give an additional exemption for first time home buyers.  But that isn't the only change.  You can learn more tomorrow - reserve your space by following the instructions found on the linked page.

Jane Howard

"Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family: Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one."

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Mars Rover - Found!

One of the 1400 plus vacant, blighted structures in the city...

We came across this "house" along Cochran Drive this past weekend.  The neighbor across the street, with a nicely manicured yard, said that it has been in this condition since 2004.  She said that every year or so someone (?) comes by and puts a blue tarp where there used to be a roof.  She also said that she has talked to many people in the city about this property and has had zero response, so she just doesn't call any more.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Anaïs Nin

“When you make a world tolerable for yourself, you make a world tolerable for others.”

A blast from the past...look at the quote while it lasts...

Click title for link to a PBP article that appeared the day after the 2010 Lake Worth City Commission election, which brought us the representation of Commissioners Mulvehill and McVoy to the dais.  The following comes from the article.  We are now aware of the tragic flaw present in this line of thinking:

Vice Mayor Jo-Ann Golden said the election of McVoy and Mulvehill should allow the commission to continue projects such as the casino renovation instead of stopping to question the plans or change directions.

"We're looking toward the future, and we're not going backward again," Golden said.

As we review the materials for Tuesday's City Commission meeting, we are reminded that it would have been a good idea to have someone with a critical eye on the Commission that was willing to question the project as it proceeded.  Apparently, any sort of inquiry was squelched at the highest levels, including our former city manager who stood in front of the information gate.  We will be living the result for many years.

Now how about that seawall?

I really, really like Sally Field...

Lake Worth to discuss problems with casino building

Click title for link to PBP article announcing a special City Commission meeting to discuss what appear to be "problems" with the casino building and pool.  Problems, what problems?  The meeting is scheduled for this Tuesday at 6 p.m.  Make sure to check out the back-up material - especially the revised seven page long punch list of items on pages 11 through 17.  The initial punch list is dated July 27, 2012.

Below is the list of deficient items in just the ballroom space:

Ballroom 2.03
100. Air Conditioning not working at the time of this inspection. It was 87 degrees in the
101. Install missing panic hardware at door #203
should therefore have panic
102. Install missing astragal at door #203
103. Several doors have mismatched door sweep fasteners. Please match as required.
104. Seven (7) Ceiling access panels on the west side of the room appear to be warped
Address the door/framing system of the panel doors.
105. Adjust the smaller ceiling access panels. The doors do not appear to close properly.
106. There appears to be numerous (at least nine (9)) small holes drilled in the wood floor
along the eastern portion of the space. These appear to be air holes drilled in the floor to
allow moisture to escape from under the wood flooring. These floor boards ne
107. Pair of doors #203-13 has two (2) holes drilled into the top of the door stiles.
Repair/replace doors as required.
108. Replace corroded exterior door pulls at pair of doors #203.13.
109. Address the numerous gaps at the perimeter of the floor/wo
in paint finish.
110. Wainscoting butt joints are inconsistent throughout the space. The appearance of the
inconsistencies needs to be addressed.
111. Retouch wainscot stain finish at the N/W corner of space.
112. Replace header door trim above door #203
the trim piece.

Listenership Statistics for "High Noon in Lake Worth" Shows: