Saturday, April 6, 2013

More on the Everglades...

E-mail from Terry Rice, PhD, PE

As regular readers of this blog know, I have a radio show called, "High Noon in Lake Worth." The show airs each Friday at noon and the show is archived so anyone can hear any of the shows at their leisure. I have informational shows, such as like my last show on the Lake Worth Lagoon Initiative and upcoming symposium. Now and then I book guests that are controversial, like Fane Lozman, for instance, or fun, like comedian Robert Dubac.

A loyal reader of this blog has been sending me information about the recently completed one-mile bridge in the Everglades, along the eastern length of the Tamiami Trail. In 2009, US District Judge Ursula Ungaro referred to the project as the "environmental bridge to nowhere." Now that the bridge has been completed at a cost of $81 million, some are proposing even more bridges be built over four years at a cost of approximately $324 million.

From the Tampa Bay Times, October 25, 2011: " 'Now we need to find funding sources,' said Salazar [Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior], speculating the cost may rise to $400 million."

$400 Million.

This reader I referenced directed me to Dr. Terry Rice. He is a critic of the bridge(s), citing the network of culverts along the Tamiami Trail that already exist. And he also fears that the bridge will increase the flooding potential for Miami Dade County.

I thought why not try to get Dr. Rice as a guest on my radio show.

I contacted Dr. Rice and this is his reply which he gave me permission to publish on my blog. This is one of Dr. Rice's presentations that he refers to in his e-mail.. This will be a continuing story for me, since our Lake Worth Commissioner Christopher McVoy is heavily involved in Everglades restoration. I would invite anyone involved with the Everglades restoration effort to be on a future radio show, including our own Commissioner McVoy.

Imagine what kind of impact just 1% of $400 million would do to help Lake Worth, Florida?

Here is the email I received from Dr. Terry Rice:

Impeachment Proceedings Break a Small Town’s Quiet - NY Times 4/6/13

We are not alone when talking about a topsy-turvey political scene here in Lake Worth.  Click title for link to article.  The following is from the article:
The skirmish makes Washington’s partisan bickering almost seem like a lovers’ quarrel, and it highlights the explosive nature of small-town politics, where the local government’s decisions can have a more immediate, and tangible, impact on residents than those made by state and federal officials.

Friday, April 5, 2013

SFRTA: Moving Our Region Forward

It seems that Tri-Rail, operated by SFRTA - South Florida Regional Transit Authority, is also taking a survey.  Click title for link and do yourself a favor and try it out, if you haven't.  Weekends are a great time for that - it's $5 all day and you can ride as much as you want from Lake Worth to Ft. Lauderdale to Miami.  Take your bike and make it a real adventure.  With some advance planning, you'd have a good time exploring parts of south Florida in a different way.

Hailing Ponce de León’s arrival: Tuesday marks 500th... |

More on Viva Florida 500, this time from the Shiny Sheet.  Click title for link.

Also from last Tuesday's City Commission Meeting 4/2/13...

This is discussion about the height referendum, what was told at the doors and some alternatives going forward.  One of the ideas, to eliminate placing fear in the hearts of minds of Lake Worth residents who live in single family neighborhoods, would be to eliminate the height limit provision in the City Charter regarding the up to 65 and 100 feet depending if you are east or west of Dixie Hwy.  There might be an alternative presented in the future to clear that up and also allow a hotel district that might allow additional height within a small, prescribed area of the downtown.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

55-unit apartment complex approved in Lake Worth |

Despite the naysayers, progress.  Click title for link.

Neighborhood Walk

Greetings to all of you interested in the 'goings on' in Tropical Ridge Neighborhood, NAPC has designated TRNA  for  their monthly  'Neighborhood Walk' and we will be delighted to show you all around.

There is [sic] a lot of exciting things happening in our TRNA area and we plan to give you a tour of a representative cross section of our neighborhood.

This Saturday, April 6th, we will be meeting at the Shuffleboard Courts (Lake/Lucerne Ave and N. 'F' street)  at 11:00am (hopefully this will give the members of the NAPC time to join us after their monthly meeting). We look forward to seeing as many of you as can make it.

From last Tuesday's City Commission Meeting re La Joya Villages:

This is the 55 unit affordable housing project at the corner of F Street and 6th Avenue South.  It will cater to low income families - which actually will have incomes almost twice as high as the average Lake Worth income levels since it is based on the average median income on a Palm Beach County-wide basis.  Commissioner McVoy's unenthusiastic time-delayed vote on the three motions is telling.

Viva FL 500 » Lake Worth

Click title for link to Lake Worth's mention in the VivaFlorida500 program - controversial to some since it is honoring the founding of Florida by Ponce de Leon.  In fact, they (some of our local LW activists in particular) want him posthumously tried and punished for killing native populations.  The linked page lists all of the official historic districts and buildings that we have in the city.  This is the homepage of the site.  I'm not a fan of Governor Scott, but make sure to listen to his video on the homepage.

Great PBSO Program

Useful links and background information re Lake Worth Lagoon Initiative

This is some companion information to go along with the "High Noon in Lake Worth" radio show tomorrow (4/5) at noon.

Lake Worth Lagoon Initiative
Lake Worth Lagoon Initiative (LWLI) – General Info:
LWLI Symposium – May 15:
LWL – A little history:

Snook Islands Natural Area
Snook Islands Part 2 and Bryant Park Wetlands Project

Interesting articles re: "filtering" vs. "gentrification" - "Halting Construction is a Terrible Way to Fight Gentrification"

Click here for one; here for another and here for another.

From the first one:
If a ton of new luxury apartments get constructed in a city, then at least some of their residents will be abandoning homes in other structures elsewhere in the area. Those homes are now free to be occupied by some less-rich people. And over time newer even more luxurious buildings will come on the market and yesterday's new luxury construction will age and filter down the socioeconomic ladder. When you see the gentrification trend outpacing the filtering trend, with higher-income families replacing lower-income families and lower-income families moving to worse-and-worse locations, that's a consequence of excessive restriction on new construction.
 And from the second:
Santiago's real problem isn't so much that his home is being replaced by a denser development as that not enough homes in the region are being replaced. When you have enough construction, you get filtering rather than gentrification. Lower-income people move into dwellings that used to house rich people but that aren't shiny and new any more and don't have the most up-to-date fashions. When you don't have enough construction, you get rich people moving into poor people's houses and installing granite countertops. 
And from the last:
 But unfortunately for longtime residents who would like to stay in their neighborhoods, politicians prefer to channel growth towards poor neighborhoods rather than risk upsetting rich people’s views and property values. And unless poor people recognize that permitting more growth in the core is the only way to save their neighborhoods, this isn’t likely to change any time soon.
So our Einsteins here behind the no-growth-at-all-costs, change nothing mantra should adjust their strategy.  We have essentially had a moratorium on new development for the past eight years.

TONIGHT April 4th at 6 p.m. Shuffleboard Court building...

Another "win" by the Lake Worth CRA - one of a spattering of communities around the nation to receive this sort of assistance from the federal level.  Anyone involved in our ever-continuing Master Plan process and writing of our land development regulations should attend.

Great American Clean-up In Lake Worth, Thursday, April 11th, 8 a.m., Bryant Park

Click title for link to clean-up poster.

And, surprisingly, the City of Lake Worth is taking a survey too!

This appears on the city's home page of its website.  BE AS HONEST IN YOUR RESPONSES AS POSSIBLE.  Other than appearing here, has there been any notice that this was underway?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

College Park Survey - Closing Date April 29th

Click here for survey of College Park residents - courtesy of the College Park Neighborhood Association.

Lake Worth Lagoon Initiative 04/05 by High Noon in Lake Worth | Blog Talk Radio

This should be a show well worth listening to - staff will be joining me from Palm Beach County's Department of Environmental Resource Management on the Lake Worth Lagoon Initiative. They are planning a symposium May 15th - the last one was five years ago. This is a progress report on efforts since then to improve the condition of the Lake Worth Lagoon aka the Intracoastal Waterway. Click title for link to live show at noon on 4/5 and after the show airs for the archived version.

The show will begin at noon with Ginny Powell, Environmental Program Supervisor for the Public Outreach Section.  Ms.Powell, also a Lake Worth resident, will discuss the Lake Worth Lagoon Initiative and the upcoming Symposium on May 15th. Around 12:20 pm: Carman Vare, Environmental Program Supervisor for the Marine and Estuarine Resources Section will talk about the Snook Islands ll and Bryant Park Wetlands Project (also will cover the original Snook Islands Natural Area Project and Public Use Facilities.) And at 12:40 pm:  Julie Bishop, Environmental Program Supervisor for the Lake Worth Lagoon/Freshwater Lakes Section will discuss C-51 Muck Dredging Project.

START SEEING UGLY! A social app to reveal and transform blighted parts of Los Angeles

Check out this submission to the myLA2050 project.  This submission is called "Start Seeing Ugly" - a way to identify and address blight in the community, while achieving other goals and using social media to help accomplish them.  This is a good corollary to the Build a Better Block concept introduced here a few weeks ago.

Proof positive of the late Ping Zu's uncanny abilities...

List of Sopot, Poland's official sister cities, from Wikipedia:
Read more about Sopot here.

Join the Watchdog Crew! From the Office of the Inspector General:

Inspector General Sheryl Steckler's next Citizens’ Initiative class, (where activists who are willing to attend council meetings and monitor their city and town governments can be trained as watchdogs) is Thursday April 11th from 5:30-7:30pm at her office location – Hilton Airport Center, 100 Australian Avenue, 4thfloor, WPB. You can sign up here

Gray Mockingbird Community Garden

Here are a few pictures taken yesterday while on our bike ride at the Gray Mockingbird Community Garden.  The garden is at 2000 North D Street, which happens to house the Scottish Rite Temple and is currently a voting location on election days.  They have a large property there and they allow a good portion of it to be used as a community garden.  Brian Kirsch is the garden's director.  He was there yesterday along with Dominque, a volunteer that works about 20 hours per week on maintaining the rows of tomatoes, eggplant, squash, corn, etc.  Produce from the garden is used by two local eating establishments.  One is South Shores at 502 Lucerne and the other is Mother Earth Cafe at 410 2nd Avenue North.  For more information or if you would like to volunteer, contact Brian at 561 246 0148.

Pablo Picasso

"Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist."

Detroit Leads the Way on Place-Centered Revitalization | Sustainable Cities Collective

Progress being made in Detroit, even though the city still has a long way to go.  This formula probably wouldn't work for a city the size of Lake Worth's, but maybe by looking at the Power of Four or Five would be a good exercise.  Here is something from the article.  Click title for link.
The Power of 10 framework suggests that a great city needs at least ten great districts, each with at least ten great places, which in turn each have at least ten things to do. Great public spaces produce an energy and enthusiasm that spills over into surrounding areas. By being conscious of this and planning for it from the start, Placemakers can speed up the process of revitalization by making sure that the key places within their district complement each other and great a major regional destination. That is the promise of the Placemaking vision for downtown Detroit. It is a grand experiment made up of many small, human-scaled parts: the largest full-scale Power of 10 exercise undertaken yet.

Delray Beach Library transforms space into coworking space - South Florida

This article is interesting for a couple of reasons. Click title for link.  Last night at the City Commission meeting, the Commission recognized National Library Week and many lauded our own library for the services it provides, and deservedly so.  Delray Beach seems to be taking it to a whole different level - it is structured as a non-profit and is not owned and run by the city.  This seems to give it a little more freedom to experiment as described in the article.

I know that as a small business person whose office is many times a comfortable chair, a laptop, headphones and a wi-fi connection, the sort of space described in the article appeals to me.  There are times when I need to focus on getting something done - like writing a report or studying some code language - I pack up my portable office and head to a corner of our Lake Worth library and isolate myself for a couple of hours.  It's amazing how productive you can be if you remove the distractions from your surroundings.  Sometimes the home office environment can offer too many obstacles to focusing on what needs to be done.

It sounds like they are on to something there.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Now China is involved...will they use their veto at the U.N?

Click here for more of Suzanne's adventures.

Methods to Amend Foreclosures in Florida By Sarah Parr

Editor's note: Sarah Parr is a Central Florida-based writer who blogs about foreclosure issues.  She can be reached by e-mail at

Lawmakers, real estate professionals and consumer advocates in Florida are currently drafting plans to change Florida’s status as one of the only states in the country that still sees increases in foreclosure activity. The Florida legislature is currently discussing a few ideas to amend the foreclosure process, creating debate among many people with different solutions. The ideas are varied and have multiple angles.

Expedite the process
The “Fair Foreclosure Act,” also known as House Bill 87, aims to accelerate Florida’s lengthy judicial-foreclosure process. Proponents argue that the bill protects borrowers by requiring banks and lenders to comprehensively prove they own a mortgage before they can file any foreclosure action. If enacted, the bill would also allow third-party lien holders, such as condo or homeowner associations, to push foreclosures through a faster process rather than through the standard court arrangement. The legislation allows borrowers 20 days to provide defense against the foreclosure action. After a final judgment in foreclosure is reached, the bill would give banks and lenders one year instead of the present five years to go after borrowers for losses from a foreclosure.

House Bill 87 has produced the most discussion of the proposed measures, as Winter Park foreclosure attorneys might tell you. Opponents claim the legislature seems more preoccupied with processing foreclosures quickly and less concerned about protecting homeowner rights. They also claim that 20 days is not enough time for homeowners to seek out attorneys for protection from foreclosure and provide sturdy defenses. Conversely, supporters assert the Florida foreclosure process is too prolonged, causing misery for everyone involved. Supporters say speeding up the process would also be favorable for Florida real estate’s future success, as homes in foreclosure limbo can be eyesores that bring surrounding property values down.

Senate Bill 1666 proposes allowing retired justices or judges to consent to temporary duty to help hear some of the backlogged foreclosure cases in Florida. The legislation would also allow second publication of the notice of sale of a home to be published online in lieu of publication in any other form of media. This changes the requirement that a second notice of pending foreclosure must occur in a print media advertisement, a move some say is unfair to low-income homeowners and seniors who could only find out about an impending foreclosure sale through a newspaper notice.

Provide more protection for consumers
House Bill 1777 proposes creating a homeowner bill of rights, like a similar measure recently enacted in California, in the event of late mortgage payments. California’s law is meant to protect homeowners from predatory lenders and further regulate the mortgage industry. California has already seen a large decrease in the amount of foreclosure filings in January since it went into effect on January 1, according to CNN.

Aid current homeowners in distress
Four bills, proposed and sponsored by Senator Darren Soto (D-Orlando), seek to aid homeowners struggling with foreclosure or mortgage issues. Senate Bills 1226 and 371 would require that lenders can only file a deficiency judgment one year after a final foreclosure judgment, and would only have two years to collect any outstanding debt. Presently, debt collectors can chase after borrowers for up to two decades. Senate Bill 1236, also known as the “Mortgage Principal Reduction Act,” would require the Florida Housing Finance Corporation to gain access to $100 million of the federal government’s Hardest-Hit Program in order to begin a mortgage principal reduction program for Floridians with properties in foreclosure. Soto’s final proposed bill, the “Short Sale Debt Relief Act,” would make deficiency judgments unenforceable on a short sale if the original debt was 20 percent or greater than fair market value.

Based on all of the proposals presented, Florida will probably see changes in its foreclosure handlings soon. Advocates will still fight for more recovery in the housing market.

Flashback to 2011 when then City Manager Stanton and Vice-Mayor Suzanne Mulvehill were in full retreat mode regarding getting rid of PBSO:

From the 2013 Lake Worth Street Painting Festival...a time-lapse video by Lake Worth resident Jon Faust

Boynton officials hope new complex a sign of things to come - South Florida

This is the trend people...just pointing that out.  Since 2007, the city of Lake Worth lost 2/3 of its taxable property value.  Click title for link.  From the article:
The neighboring residential units in Renaissance Commons are all condos, but with the addition of Compson Place, city officials believe that it could increase property values in a city that has seen them drop 40 percent from 2007 to 2011.
"The higher the value of the project, the higher the tax," said Michael Rumpf, director of planning and zoning for Boynton Beach. "Moreover, the developments bring people who spend part of their incomes on goods and services in the city, contributing to the demand for new shops and restaurants, this in turn may create new jobs."
In Boynton, there are currently seven rental projects in the pipeline with a total of 1,203 units and Realtors say that the city is on the right track encouraging these type of developments.
Other than the CRA sourced La Joya Villages project on the Commission's agenda tonight, Lake Worth has nothing like this project "in the pipeline."  Our pipeline is empty to the joy of a few.

Lozman wins again; says he will seek millions from Riviera... |

Another step forward for Fane Lozman.  Mr. Lozman was a guest on my radio show High Noon in Lake Worth a few weeks ago.  Click title for link.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Greenfield and Soledad cite 'irreconcilable concerns' between cities | Salinas News - KSBW Home

Click title for link for more on Susan Stanton wanting "her own" police chief and "strained relations" with another community.  Note that Ms. Stanton did not return phone calls and it seems as though she is trying her best to distance the public from the decision-making process.  Something like leopards not changing their spots?

Susan Stanton appointed as Greenfield city manager | Monterey News - KSBW Home

This is not recent news and many Lake Worth people already know about her new appointment.  Click title for link to news video and Lake Worth is mentioned.

But, let's see what is happening now in Greenfield.  These clippings are from the KRKC FaceBook page:

And check out these articles about their policing situation.  The following is from one published just last week:

Soledad seeks to end police deal with Greenfield  This is the key quote from the article:
But Tuesday, Soledad City Manager Adela Gonzales sent a letter to recently hired Greenfield City Manager Susan Stanton seeking to end the agreement, saying the cities' relationship has become too strained — and blaming Stanton for it.
"Prior to your arrival as city manager, the city of Soledad worked cooperatively with the city of Greenfield's city administration for the mutual benefit of providing police chief services with hopes of studying and, one day, forming a new legal entity for law enforcement in our two cities," Gonzales wrote in the letter.
"However, since you assumed your position as city manager for the city of Greenfield, you have expressed your ongoing opposition to the proposed JPA model and stated your preference to hire your own chief of police."
Does any of this sound familiar?  Just Google "Soledad Greenfield Police" for additional articles.  Here is another.

For those of you not following Lynn Anderson on Twitter...

This is her most recent tweet:
This is the article referenced within the tweet.  If you'd like, you can follow me on Twitter by clicking here or the Twitter badge found down the right side of the blog.  I am currently re-engaging my account.

This is a partial screen-grab from her blog this morning.  Notice her enouraging people to visit the blog.  I most definitely DO NOT encourage going there.  Someone else has already shared some of the headlines that you will find there in the first comment below.  It is WAY -out-of-bounds, but apparently not according to Ms. Anderson's standards.

Special City Commission Meeting: Swearing-in of Newly Elected Officials | City of West Palm Beach

This is when West Palm Beach City Commission Shanon Materio, newly elected, will be sworn in.  The time is 2:45 at West Palm Beach City Hall.  Click title for link to the city's website.

Michael Kinsley

"A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth - some obvious truth he isn't supposed to say."

As in this article about state legislation being revised which regulates outdoor advertising - billboards to be exact.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

We had our own Easter parade this morning...

Bill and I decided to take an early morning ride to the beach and, having brought my wallet along, I suggested that we go to Mulligan's.  Here are some pictures of our time there:

 The beach was sparsely inhabited today.  In the picture above, you can see an area designated showing the location of a sea turtle nest.

Here is the breakfast menu at Mulligan's - the other side has drinks and extras.  There is very little on the menu under $9.95.

 I had the Casino sandwich - scrambled eggs, ham and your choice of cheese on what the menu said was toasted ciabatta bread.  It wasn't toasted.  It came with home fries which were not the usual greasy diner kind.  Nice.  It was a big portion that really could have fed two people easily.  I didn't finish the second half of the sandwich.  It listed for $9.95.
 It was pretty busy there while we were there - at about 9:30 to 10 a.m.  This Happy Easter flyer appeared with the bill.  Our server didn't tell us about any Easter specials before we ordered.
 Here is our bill.  Bill chose just to have coffee and water.  A party of four could easily spend over $60 plus tip for breakfast.
These signs appear along the bikeway/drop-off lane.  Part of the unintended consequences of poor site planning.

 This is me along with my trusty steed.  It's a vintage 1985 Miyata 110 with the largest frame they had at the time.  I also have a Marin Sausalito, circa 2005, that is more of a hybrid/commuter bike.  The bike I rode to the beach today experienced a bit of a resurrection this year - good term to use on Easter (all about SEO.)  It had been hanging unused in my garage for sometime, collecting oddles of dust and such.  Well, I decided to take it down and take it to Relentless Bicycles on Lucerne and they fixed it up for about $100.  Now I use it more than the other one.  It's faster and fits "just right."  Here is a page from the 1985 Miyata catalogue that I discovered on the Internet showing this particular model.
 And speaking of bikes, our lovely Lake Worth resident and friend AnnaMaria Windisch-Hunt had her bike stolen last night.  It was stored in her van and someone broke in.  It is a pretty distinctive bike (below) and she describes it as a " Schwinn Jaguar Silver and Blue 10 spd. still has xmas lights on front tires, silver foil on back and rotating LED lights attached on back for safety."  She has notified PBSO so please be on the look-out too.  Many people know that AnnaMaria is the chief organizer of our Thursday night twilight bike rides.

"...on the Avenue, Lake Avenue..."

A Florida transportation groups says it's time for the state to consider charging for the miles people drive. - South Florida

And create a credit for bike miles per title for link to article.