Saturday, June 1, 2013

Kick-off of the Beach Land Use and Zoning Repeal Petition - June 2007

June 2007
This led to the creation of the cloud on the title of the beach, blocking Greater Bay from proceeding and eventually winning a $1.6 million award from the city.


Lynn A's Depiction of the Best City Manager Ever! 


Just looking through my hard drive today and found these gems. 

Public Atheist Monument Going Up Near Courthouse In Starke, Florida, Is Country's First

Another First Amendment issue and controversy worth noting.  Click title for link.  Recent guest on "High Noon in Lake Worth" Chaz Stevens built a "Festivus" display on public property in Deerfield Beach in response to other religious displays on public property during the winter holidays.

What’s in the Palm Beach County name? For tourists, the answer... |

The Convention and Visitors Bureau is looking for a new tagline to replace 'Palm Beach County - the Best of Everything."  We'll know what the new one will be by June 11.  Check out some of the other destination and tourist locations and what they use.

What would Lake Worth's tagline be?  We are currently using "Where the tropics begin..."  Can you think of others?  Click title for link to article.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Johnny Cash

“You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don't try to forget the mistakes, but you don't dwell on it. You don't let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.”

Open City Hall | City of Delray Beach, Florida

By using Open Town Hall thought its website, Delray Beach is able to send upcoming agendas out to its residents and they are able to comment on agenda items without coming to a public meeting.  Names and addresses are taken so that one knows whether or not the person leaving the comment is a constituent or not. That information can be left public or concealed from other readers.  It's an attempt to engage the public in an electronic manner that I had not seen before.  It seems that many communities across the United States are using this system.  Check out the links above.

Question posed to William Waters this morning: "Any word on SB HB 537 Elections and the other is SB HB 537 Growth Management?"

These are the bills that would make the height referendum void, not to mention any referenda in the state that would effect a Comprehensive Plan amendment or a development order.  This was Mr. Waters' response.
Bill has been sent to Governor.  I believe he has 15 days to either sign or veto.  If no action, I understand it becomes law.  Comp Plan Amendment item comes up again following legal opinion on the issue on July 2, 2013 City Commission.  Thanks.
There are some that refuse to understand that it is not the Charter that regulates the development of land in the city or in the state of Florida for that matter.  Regulation of the development of land is done by the Comprehensive Plan and implemented by the Land Development Regulations or Zoning Code. The referendum we had here in March, in order to be effective and applied in a real-world situation, has caused the need for amending the city's Comprehensive Plan so that height is limited within the core downtown area as described by the referendum.

If this becomes law, it logically would block the city from amending its Comprehensive Plan based upon the results of a referendum - retroactively to June 2011.  What is so difficult to understand about that?  And, in case anyone cares, this legislation appears to result from the backlash caused by Hometown Democracy advocates (eh hem) over-playing their hand in an attempt to modify the state's constitution so that ALL changes to a local government's comprehensive plan would require a local referendum.  Seems this is a "smack down" by the state legislature and the Governor.  Just sayin'.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Rachel Ivey and Sam Krop - Deep Green Resistance 05/31 by High Noon in Lake Worth | Blog Talk Radio

Join your host Wes Blackman as he welcomes Rachel Ivey and Sam Krop of the Deep Green Resistance movement to the High Noon in Lake Worth studios.  Check out the movement's website.  We will talk about the group's goals in their mission to save the planet and find out what if any relationship there is to the Lake Worth activist community.

Here is a video that highlights what the movement is about.
Click title for link to live show or the archived version after the show airs.  You may leave questions below as comments.

Bathers at Lake Worth Casino and Baths c. 1920s

State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory

The Florida Memory website is fun to poke around on now and then.  I found this one today which I hadn't seen before.  Check out the chicken wire between the columns.  What purpose do you think that served?

Manhattanhenge 2013! The Rain Stays Away And A Full Sun Aligns With NYC's Street Grid (PHOTOS)

Yesterday was when the sun lines up with the grid pattern, east/west streets in Manhattan.  If you suffer from extreme horizontalism, it is best you pass up the opportunity to look at the pictures as there are many buildings over four stories.  Click title for link if you are so inclined.

Lake Worth artists gather for work sessions twice a week |

This is a worthwhile use of the Shuffleboard Court building.  Click title for link.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

New Project Restores and Beautifies Grassy Waters Watershed | City of West Palm Beach

Click title for link to the City of West Palm Beach's website "Newsroom" page. The YouTube video below appears on the page with a brief description of the project. You can also see that West Palm Beach has a YouTube channel called West Palm TV.  The city gets most of its potable water from surface water sources and questions about the supply and quality of the water raise their head from time to time.
It's not an elaborate production, but it is informative and allows residents to learn about the infrastructure they count on everyday.  They can do this on their own time, without having to go through a public meeting.  That public meeting might include other issues and distractions that would dilute the message or confuse it.  This is an example of the city getting ahead of an issue.  Even if the video is only seen by 50 or 100 people, that is more than if this was never made. 

It's not going to save the world, necessarily, but it is more than Lake Worth does which is pretty much next to nothing.  They are doing a newsletter regularly in electric bills now, which is better than not doing anything, but not enough in relation to the electronic age that we are living in.  I would also point out that the webcam in the Commission Chambers is a good idea, but it is difficult to search through entire meetings for a single item you may be interested in. There is also no ability to provide feedback, other than the usual e-mail or telephone calls to your representatives or staff.

Since the City Commission was asking how to get the word out about items related to the beach, this might be a way to reach people that aren't the ones that always attend meetings.  

Murray Bookchin

"To speak of 'limits to growth' under a capitalistic market economy is as meaningless as to speak of limits of warfare under a warrior society. The moral pieties, that are voiced today by many well-meaning environmentalists, are as naive as the moral pieties of multinationals are manipulative. Capitalism can no more be 'persuaded' to limit growth than a human being can be 'persuaded' to stop breathing. Attempts to 'green' capitalism, to make it 'ecological', are doomed by the very nature of the system as a system of endless growth."

Click title for link to more information on Murray Bookchin.

PBC tax base grew by 3.7 percent in 2012 |

The free fall in property values that Lake Worth experienced over the past five years seems to be over, but it is simply a situation where it just couldn't get any lower.  The city lost nearly two thirds of its property tax valuation over that period.  The city of Lake Worth has had no new commercial development over the past two years, so the struggle continues. Click title for link to article.

Lake Worth seeks volunteers to aid city |

Mr. Howard talks about Lake Worth's volunteer program.  This is from the article.  Click title for link.
New jobs the city hopes to staff with volunteers include beach ambassadors — they will help drivers pay for parking at Lake Worth Beach — and those who will be asked to walk the grounds of Pinecrest Cemetery to search for flat tombstones that have settled and been covered by grass.
The Lake Worth Historical Museum, open on Wednesday and Friday afternoons, is looking for volunteers to help show photographs and artifacts from the city’s first 100 years.

Detroit - awash in a sea of desperation...

Detroit Firehouse (Posted on FaceBook)

As everyone knows the city of Detroit is and has been in some hard times. The Fire Department has once again had someone steal equipment off of a rig while they were battling a fire. These issues just never end and it’s frustrating as a firefighter not having the proper equipment to do the job that we all signed up to do. I am asking every one of my fire service friends to see if you could help us out with something. The Jaws of Life power unit for our Hurst tools was stolen off the rig while at a fire.  This eastside squad along I-94 is one of the only 6 rigs in the city that has jaws on it to protect the citizens of Detroit and the metro Detroit people that travel thru the city to work or out for a good night on the town. Also on the westside we have another squad that does not have any power unit for their set of jaws, so right now in the city of Detroit there is only 4 sets of Jaws of Life for the entire city. God forbid anyone get hurt and need our assistance and we cannot help due to the under equipped rigs that we currently are faced with. If for some reason anyone has a small generator that also would solve this problem, the squad has a hydraulic set up on the rig with cord reels but has no way to power it because the PTO does not work on the rig but we could make it work with a generator. If you could send this out to your friends also and see if they too may have something in their reserve that could help please do.

Thank You Very Much!

Stephen Florian
Detroit FF
Ladder 19

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

More on the pool and the beach from last Tuesday's City Commission meeting (5/21/13)

City Manager Michael Bornstein from last Tuesday night's City Commission meeting:
I just want everybody, please, we're not "anti-pool." We're not trying to do anything to the pool, we're trying to figure out solutions, honestly. We hear that people want to use it. The ducks use it for God's sake...Don't think for a minute, magically overnight going to start paying for itself or making money. Don't think that the beach is now magically curing our ills as a city.
     I use the example, you get one of those new Cadillac STS cars, that you lease, you park it out in front of your house, the curb, where you got code violations, you're in foreclosure, you're in a divorce, your mother-in-law is moving in. That Cadillac STS is our beach. We haven't fixed what's behind the car or at the curb. And it has the appearance of success. It is a very successful project. We don't have a problem with it. We need to not, by default, all of a sudden assume that everything else is healthy and normal in this city because we got that [the beach] or that is somehow magically curing everything for us.
     So, I am not "anti-beach", I love the beach.
There are a series of three videos that you really have to watch. This is the last one.  I've transcribed what Bornstein has said for the most part in each of them, but it is also important to listen to what the Commissioners and the Mayor say.  There is much talk about the need to get the word out, but how?

What word needs to get out you ask?  On how the beach is successful, but it hasn't proven to be a financial success, yet. We are not paying back what we borrowed from ourselves to the tune of $500,000 this coming budget year since we can't afford it.  The assumptions that went into the hallowed business plan crafted by a previous administration (eh hem) which  did not include enough staff to maintain the beach that is being used more than it has been in recent history. There was no provision for adequate staff to run a potential money-making operation  in the ballroom space.  After MUCH discussion by the City Commission during the summer of 2011, the city made the decision to have a separate second floor restaurant, instead of combining it with the anchor restaurant on the first floor.  "Build it and they will come!  It is such a beautiful space everyone will want to be there."

Well, where are "they" Commissioner McVoy?  The space remains empty and is not paying any rent in its current condition.  Personally, it would have made sense to connect the two spaces - the ballroom and the restaurant space so it could be rented as one large space.  You could use the extra space as staging area during smaller events for the next event, or just have the option of a large ballroom.  As it is now, the ballroom seems a little small, but that is not going to change any time soon.
The point is that, as nice as it is, we were all sold a bill-of-goods on how financially successful this project was going to be and that the city would have no trouble maintaining the beach when it was re-done.  We see now that wasn't the case, as we have seen that the building wasn't "preserved", that it was actually torn down, many of the much touted "green" items of the building went un-built (cistern, wind turbines, etc.)  and there were many problems with the build "quality" of some of the materials used in the building.  Has anyone heard anymore about the status of the punch list?

So, there you have it.  Lake Worth has re-done its beach.  Good. Fine.  Let's find a way to make it pay for itself and move on to addressing the real, intrinsic problems that the city has like high electric rates, depressed economic conditions relative to our prime location in Palm Beach County, Florida and a City Commission and administration that struggles with getting the most simple of concepts out to the public.

West Palm Beach uses social media to the fullest extent: FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube and its own state-of-the-art website.  Lake Worth has nothing that compares with that and therefore can't consistently communicate a message.  This blog is an attempt by one resident to do that.

Monday, May 27, 2013

First bike stolen from NYC share scheme before the official launch as program gets off to a wobbly start | Mail Online

New York City starts a bike sharing program with a few hiccups before the official start of the program.  Click title for link.

What City Manager Bornstein said at last Tuesday's City Commission Meeting (5/21/13)

City Manager Michael Bornstein continues a discussion about the operation of the beach, the possible opening of the pool, the stresses on staff created by opening the beach and more: This isn't an abnormal situation to work through a business when you first open it. It takes maybe three years, or something, to get it on it's footing. Are we going to abandon the beach project? No. It is part of our DNA. It's the jewel of our park system. Its a reason people move here. But let's be realistic, it's not helping us out any right now. It's a burden to carry. And, oh, by the way, "let's add more cost to it." Because I can tell you, the staffing levels at one time were pre, no, I'll say post-apocalyptic cut to staff that occurred three to four years ago and pre-opening the beach now. And I can tell you, I don't have enough lifeguards. We're barely keeping the place, I can tell you, we're not keeping the place as clean as we should because there is so much traffic and now people are going, "but when we come there in the morning and there is garbage overflowing." People are going in there at night, there is lots of stuff happening in a public facility and again it's not unusual. 
     Everybody had been yelling at poor Terri Neil. "I called up there, I can't get anybody, they never answer the phone." There's one woman up there, originally, that was scheduling events, setting the events, she's up there setting tables up, and doing all these things by herself, and occasionally we were able to throw some staff over. And there was a hundred calls waiting for calls back. All this stuff was unanticipated in the business model. And it got dumped on us. So I'm telling you, I'm saying this, you already know this, you can't just assume, that magically, poof, and everything is going to be wonderful. You need to be realistic. I think we can open the pool. We've already run some numbers. I understand there is a citizen committee and god bless them for stepping up. There are some people who have talked to me. And they are going to look at some options. Maybe we can partnership, we've been talking about some creative ideas. 
     But understand, from what a city owns when it comes to an amenity, parks are your cheapest thing, pick up the garbage, people come and go. Boom. Done. But a facility like an aquatics facility is intensive. And it is an amenity that you will not be able to spend enough, you don't have the money to staff it, to operate it 24/7 to generate all the revenue to pay for itself. And you charge residents a membership fee, whatever they are willing to pay? I can tell you, previously they were making maybe, what $30, $40 thousand return. It's never going to catch up. 
     It's an amenity. We need to recognize it is that. And come up with a plan that works. So that's what we're doing right now. And that's why I have been biting my tongue. I have suffered a lot of insults about about why we are so stupid we can't open a pool. Fact is, it's delusional to not recognize we're in a real bind in the city and we need to be realistic so we don't get in a mess again and work through this. I'm going to be quiet now.
Well said City Manager - and there is more!

Harry S Truman: May 23, 1952

"MEMORIAL DAY has been traditionally a day of prayer for those Americans who have died in the defense of their country. On May 23, 1950, pursuant to a joint resolution of the Congress, I proclaimed each succeeding Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and suggested 11 o'clock in the morning, eastern standard time, as an appropriate time for each American, according to his own religious faith, to beg Divine aid in bringing enduring peace to a troubled world.

I believe that this year enduring peace is more nearly attainable than a year ago. This is so because our strength and the strength of other free Nations has steadily grown. Our strength and determination to remain free are leading to peace.

On this Memorial Day we should again pay tribute to the men who, by their supreme sacrifice, have helped maintain our freedom in the rugged hills of Korea and, before that, in the great wars when all mankind was threatened with enslavement. We should pay tribute to them especially because they have shown that aggression cannot pay off. They have thereby given the world a vision and a promise of lasting peace. We must not let these men down now that the goal is so nearly attainable.

I have asked before, and I ask again, that the press, radio, television, and other media of public information help unite the Nation on the morning of Memorial Day in a universal prayer for permanent peace."

In observance of Memorial Day...

The Kayak Lake Worth Blog

Click title for a link to another local blog that encourages you to explore one of our greatest natural resources, the Lake Worth Lagoon.  Click here for a link to Anne DuPont's website where she has two galleries of pictures showing the underwater life of the lagoon.  She gave a presentation at the recent Lake Worth Lagoon Initiative Symposium.  She has identified many species that technically shouldn't be in the lagoon, especially some deep water species, and others that scientists have yet to classify.  Most of her pictures are taken in the vicinity of the Blue Heron bridge, north of Peanut Island.

Thoughts are things...

Click here for China's problems with rice and food supply, sort of and kind of related.

Those responding to survey say Lake Worth making progress |

Click title for link to the PBP account.  These are some of the results highlighted.


— 68 percent said the city is heading in the right direction and has made progress in the past 12 months.

— 37 percent ranked the city’s overall condition as “average,” while 46 percent ranked its condition as below average or poor.

— Job creation and crime reduction ranked high as ways to reduce the city’s high poverty rate.

— Potholes ranked high as the biggest problem with streets and sidewalks. Other street problems that ranked high: cracked pavement, bad drainage, broken sidewalks and a lack of sidewalks.

— Most of the survey respondents — 63 percent — said they have lived in Lake Worth for more than 10 years. In all, 84 percent said they own homes in the city.

As about 50 percent of the residents citywide are renters, it seems like it is not a representative sample of all the residents.  We would look a lot different if Lake Worth had 84 percent of its houses occupied by homeowners.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, JR

"Until lately the best thing that I was able to think of in favor of civilization, apart from blind acceptance of the order of the universe, was that it made possible the artist, the poet, the philosopher, and the man of science. But I think that is not the greatest thing. Now I believe that the greatest thing is a matter that comes directly home to us all. When it is said that we are too much occupied with the means of living to live, I answer that the chief worth of civilization is just that it makes the means of living more complex; that is calls for great and combined intellectual efforts, instead of simple, uncoordinated ones, in order that the crowd may be fed and clothed and housed and moved from place to place. Because more complex and intense intellectual efforts means a fuller and richer life. They mean more life. Life is an end in itself, and the only question as to whether it is worth living is whether you have enough of it."

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Today at the boat ramp...

 On our bike ride today, we passed by 1st Avenue South, Golfview and the boat ramp area.  There we found a PBSO officer doing his job and writing up tickets for trucks and boat trailers parked along the street in a no parking zone.  The one above was doubly unlucky in that the boat trailer did not have a license plate.  The officer pointed out that all he could do is write a ticket.  The city hasn't designated this a tow-away zone, so the truck and trailer will stay there all day.
 This was a little after 3 in the afternoon and there were spaces available in the truck and trailer parking area so parking elsewhere was probably an attempt to avoid the $10 parking fee.
 Having a trailer without a license plate is pretty common based on the representation of the trucks and trailers that were parked in the lot.  A big day on the water for a lot of people, it was.

Editorial: Don’t let ambitions of Snook Islands project just... |

There is a long list of former mayors and commissioners that claimed this project as an accomplishment of the city of Lake Worth with many including it in their political handbills and mailers.  Where are these "cheerleaders" now when the current project, clearly outside of the city's control turns out to be less than what it was planned to be?  Click title for link to editorial.

South End faces 5 months of sewer-line construction |

This is probably the result of fallout from the kerfuffle about billing and Lake Worth's fiduciary responsibilities in administering the Sub-Regional sewage treatment plant.  Palm Beach was one of the city's customers that continued to pay during the state audit and sorting out of who owed how much to whom.  Apparently they got tired of dealing with the vagaries of Lake Worth's administrations - previous ones which did not value good relationships with our neighboring municipalities.  Catch this quote from the article - where are we going to get the money to make up for this loss?  Click title for link.
By completing this portion of the force-main replacement, the town anticipates saving about $300,000 per year, said Public Works Director Paul Brazil. That is the approximate amount the town expected to spend annually transporting waste water through the city of Lake Worth to the regional sewage-treatment plant in West Palm Beach.
In another vein, what if we lose Palm Springs as an electric customer?

TALLAHASSEE: Concerns raised about spring training free-for-all - Florida -

This is what can happen when communities within the same state or region compete for various economic development "prizes", like a corporate headquarters relocation or lucrative stadium deals without regard to retaining their existing community presences.  Click title for link.

Boynton Beach Police Department to Reopen for Public Records Access | Florida Open Government Watch

Recent "High Noon in Lake Worth" guest Joel Chandler has been busy in Boynton Beach.  Click title for link the FOGWatch website.