Friday, July 12, 2013

Parking lot owned by Lucerne Holdings, LLC

The city's lease on this parking lot was not renewed by the owner. Thus, the parking meter kiosk was taken away and moved to Old Bridge Park. For now, it is free parking but may become a lot used by residents and guest of the Lucerne. Those people that are not currently parking in the building are parking on the street, taking away on-street parking spaces for other downtown visitors and customers. It is my understanding that this was a unilateral act by the owner.

Served on a velvet pillow...

Will be presented via multiple media. Stay tuned!

Community Bike Ride 3-Mile Celebration of Lake Worth Life 3pm, Sunday, July 14th

Calvary United Methodist Church
301 First Avenue South, Lake Worth, FL 33460
561-585-1786 @CalvaryUMC_LWFL
Facebook: Friends of Calvary U.M.C., Lake Worth, FL
Celebrating God’s Love for ALL!
The Rev. Dr. Christopher M. Dillon, Pastor

3-Mile Celebration of Lake Worth Life
Start & Finish:
3pm, Sunday, July 14
th Parking Lot of
Contact: Calvary United Methodist Church
- Downtown Lake Worth
- Federal Highway & 2nd Avenue South
561-585-1786 (2 Blocks South of Lake Avenue)

Every-other month, Lake Worth community members and friends roll any way they
for 3 miles along lovely neighborhood streets near the Intracoastal Waterway.
Gather your neighbors on
Sunday, July 14th, at 3 o’clock in the parking lot at Federal
Highway & 2
nd Avenue South in downtown Lake Worth (2 blocks south of Lake Avenue).
Community Bike Ride is hosted by the friendly people of Calvary United Methodist Church
in honor of the City of Lake Worth Centennial.
Palm Beach Woman magazine founder, Jill Duggan, discovered this mode of civic recreation
in Europe
. She decided that Lake Worth is the ideal setting – the colorful, diverse Calvary
folks would make perfect hosts – and Lake Worth’s Centennial Year is the perfect occasion.

Whether it’s a stroller, scooter, wheelchair, segway, skateboard, roller-blades, trike, or
your imagination – come celebrate the healthy living, unity, and diversity of Lake Worth,
Florida. Now it’s part of our tradition!

For more information contact Alex Melkonian ( or Facebook: Friends of
Calvary U.M.C., Lake Worth, FL;
Twitter: @CalvaryUMC_LWFL, or and Home of: Sala Evangelica
Freedom Station! Recovery Groups
Inspiration of Jesus Christ Church of God Classical Concerts at Calvary
L'Eglise de Dieu Celebration de L'amitié Chrétienne Community Bike Ride / Zumba Fitness
C.R.O.S. Ministries (Christians Reaching Out to Society) The Way Gift & Thrift Shop
7th Day Adventist International Missionary Society, Reformed The Way Café / Club Sandwich

Sheriff’s Department asks us to ride on the right, no more 
than two-abreast, and to watch carefully at each intersection.)

Glades Tackling Blighted Structures With County’s Help

This funding is coming from the federal NSP3 program. Not sure why we couldn't avail ourselves of this money for the same purpose, other than we already received the $23 million NSP2 grant. Click title for link.

Introduction to the Greater Bay Papers 07/12 by High Noon in Lake Worth | Blog Talk Radio

Join your host Wes Blackman for a special show featuring readings from the closed door Lake Worth City Commission Meetings and various depositions of elected officials and other players in the Greater Bay vs. City of Lake Worth legal fight. Last November, the City decided to settle the lawsuit, which was filed by Greater Bay for breech of contract over the right to redevelop the beach. The settlement amount was for $1.6 million and the city had already spent $800,000 defending itself in the action. This was after a series of mock trials where the city, had the case gone to a jury trial, lost anywhere from $5 to $20 million. 

Yesterday, I retrieved 43 disks of data which includes all depositions and closed door attorney/client meetings spanning a period of 6 years. Over the summer, I will be uploading these documents to the cloud and, as an introduction, I thought a special half hour show would be a good way to introduce some of the contents of the documents.

Look for a link on where you will eventually be able to find the documents and read them yourself. As we know, it is important to know history so that it is less likely to repeat itself.

Click title for link to live show from 12 to 12:30 p.m. on 7/12 or after that time for the archived version of the show.
What I retrieved yesterday from the City Clerk's office for $43.20.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Overview: Internal Auditor Report to City Commission - July 16th

This, I assume, is the PowerPoint that will be given at next Tuesday's meeting to the City Commission by the Internal Auditor. Remember, this position is one of three that reports directly to the City Commission. The other two are the City Manager and the City Attorney. More on the report later.

Fines climbing for Omphoy |

In Palm Beach, code enforcement is taken to a rarified level. The brouhaha seems to be over some un-permitted work at the Omphoy and the noise created by a vent or two that disturb the neighbors. Imagine, sometimes they can hear it over the crashing surf! Fines are being accumulated at $250 a day and there are other issues. An attorney is representing the Omphoy in the matter.

In complete and total contrast, read what our internal auditor is saying after his six or so months on the job in the upcoming City Commission agenda back-up material for the regular meeting on July 16th. It goes on for about 200 pages of packet. I'm about half way through but have read enough to conclude that we are definitely getting our money's worth with this person. If you have had a feeling that things are bad behind-the-scenes in our fair city, well, you were right. Things are bad or worse than can be imagined. The good thing is that they are being addressed now but we have to get through a whole lot of ugly before we get to the Promised Land.

We should be thankful for the sage that put in the Internal Auditor requirement in our Charter and for the Commissioners and Mayor who finally determined that it was not an optional position.

If you want to read about the offending "vent" at the Omphoy, click title for link.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

PolitiFact | Allen West says more Americans receive food aid than work in the private sector

More from the "Best Congressman Ever." At least someone is listening and testing his claims and pronouncements. Click title for link.

Latest on Chantal

BREAKING NEWS - RE: Mulligan's Lease

I have it on very good authority that the City Attorney has sent a letter to Mulligan's about being $18,560.20 in arrears on its lease for the outside patio space. The city has given five days notice for them to pay the past due amount or remove chairs and tables from the outside area. I understand that they are current with their payments for the indoor space.

At a recent City Commission meeting, Vice-Mayor Maxwell asked if all the tenants at the Casino building were current on their payments, even a day late, and staff responded that everyone was current. I remember some mumbling about outdoor space being disputed.

I will let you know if and when I find out more.

Town Council authorizes Reach 8 environmental study |

Town of Palm Beach is authorizing study for beach re-nourishment south of the Lake Worth Pier, and a smaller project north of the pier. Click title for link.

E-mail from Mary Lindsey

Dear Wes, 
One of your readers left the following comment on your blog:
Anonymous said...
Been sitting on this idea for a while. Outside LW Utility service area get five, ten, hell twenty sample families/businesses that use FPL and just post their bill, the actual bill on your blog. For example: one-story single family dwelling with family of four using an efficient ac unit. Post a similar bill from Lake Worth Utilities. No text. Just the bills.    Tue Jul 09, 08:37:00 PM EDT
Attached are three LWU bills showing usage of 1000 kWhrs. 
The first is for a LWU residential customer inside the City of Lake Worth (LWURI). 
The second is a LWU residential customer outside the City Limits in the unincorporated service area (LWURO).
The third is a LWU residential customer in Palm Springs (LWUPSR).

Your reader asked for bills only and no text, but I do have to add that these sample bills were calculated and provided by LWU last year (see dates at the top of the bills) at the request of the Juice Board and include the Conservation Surcharge which has since been eliminated.

Hope this is helpful and I remain,

At your service,

(Editor's note: Thanks Mary. Order of bills slightly different below due to how Blogger loaded them up, but they are labeled correctly)
Palm Springs Resident Bill

Lake Worth Resident Inside City Bill 
Unincorporated Resident Bill

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

WPEC-TV CBS12 News :: News - Top Stories - City workers accused of lying

Oh my.

Click title for link.

This from Glenn Heran, Vero Beach Utility Customer

Glenn was a guest on a High Noon in Lake Worth show recently. He sent this information via e-mail regarding the status of municipal utilities in the state and FMPA.

Municipal Electric Landscape
·         33 City owned Electric utilities in Florida
·         32 are FMPA members
·         But only 20 own “entitlement” generation assets with the FMPA (Lake Worth and Vero beach are 2 of these)
·         3 million Floridians are customers of government run electric utilities
·         The Rates comparing the combined effect of both residential and commercial consumption
·         Municipal rates are price unregulated
·         None can compete with FPL
·         Less than 5 have rates within 10% of TECO
·         Only one third have rates within 10% of Duke Energy
·         11 cities charge an additional municipal surcharge to Outside customers (typically 10%) on top of the Inside City electric rate.  That effect on outside customer is not included in the above rate comparison. (Editor's note: Glenn is an "outside customer" - living outside the city limits of Vero Beach)
Outside Customers
·         600,000 Floridians are outside customers.
·         Of the 33 City owned Electric utilities, at least 24 have outside customers.
·         11 of the 24 charge an extra municipal surcharge (an additional 10%) on top of the Inside City electric rate
·         City electric rates are PRICE UNREGULATED
·         Cities claim “permanent control” of Outside customers, even after the end of a 30 year franchise agreement.
·         Outside customers, through electric rates and municipal surcharges, fund City General Fund transfers, including direct transfers and indirect transfers.
·         The combination of unlimited territory periods, unlimited price via unregulated rates and transfers to the cities general funds, is Taxation Without Representation.

Take a look at the website for the FMPA.  Their culture is interesting.

They mention “All for one and one for all”.  The question is, who do they mean when they say “All”?  The FMPA  claims it serves the ratepayers as their primary stakeholder (ie the public, the same public who owns the FMPA).  Yet any honest look at the rates of these city government utilities compared to the private sector indicates that most city ratepayers are worse off.  So who is “All” if not the ratepayers? It is important to note that most of the voting members of the FMPA are city utility directors or other government employees.

Take a looks at these comments:
Barry Moline is the FMEA director.  The FMEA is the legislative lobbying arm for the FMPA.  Lake Worth is, most likely, still a dues paying member of the FMEA.  Vero canceled its FMEA membership.

Moline writes, “Thus, even after transferring these (FMPA entitlement) assets, Vero Beach must remain a viable electric utility to cover these significant (contingent)liabilities. Not even FPL can take them. In my opinion, this important detail will likely prevent Vero Beach from ever selling its electric utility.”
It appears that the municipal bureaucracies believe that there is never any exit from the “family of munis”.  Such an idea seems alien to American ideology that we are a free people deserving of the fruits of our labors.

Oct 2007 GREEN COVE SPRINGS , Don Bowles City Manager

"...they got us held hostage"says city manager Don Bowles concerning FMPA. Green Cove Springs has announced they are exiting from FMPA but got slapped with a $53,000,000 penalty. Green Cove Springs has also discovered that lower cost power supply exists right in their county -- the CLAY COUNTY ELECTRIC COOP that offered them power at a rate 30% below FMPA rates. "But they don't want anyone leaving them," said Mr Bowles, and they have set it up so its too expensive to consider for most municipalities."

I have suggested that there is an equitable solution to exit the FMPA, WITHOUT HARM to any other member city or any bondholder of the FMPA.  There may be communities who really like having government run electric utilities and wish to stay with the FMPA despite paying significantly more in city electric rates compared to the private sector alternative (odd as that may be).  I have suggested that the Cities (the public) ought to have the right to enjoy the benefits of the FMPA assets for which they have paid.  These include Generation, Cash and Investments.  Member Cities should be entitled to any equity in these assets without being told that such assets have no value, that these assets can only be transferred to other member cities (who likely have no need for the power) or that such a transfer will include millions in penalties.  Again, that solution shall not harm any other member city or bondholder. 

Join the Downtown Business Community: Apply Now to the Pop-up Project | Activated Spaces

Dayton, Ohio, of all places, is doing this. Click title for link. From the article:
Activated Spaces, an initiative to fill downtown storefronts, is accepting applications for temporary retail and service businesses to open downtown this fall as part of the fifth phase of its Pop-up Project. The project matches business owners and entrepreneurs with downtown property owners who have first-floor storefront space available for occupancy.
I'm sending this to the CRA. They might be able to pull something off here like this. There would be an application process, a below market lease of three to six months and would require the cooperation of the property owner and city of course. It could work here - perhaps plan the start-up for the period from November to May?

Listenership Stats for recent "High Noon in Lake Worth" shows...

Currently looking for a guest for this Friday's show. Contact me at or leave a suggestion as a comment below. Click title for link to archived shows.

Backyard chickens dumped at shelters when hipsters can't cope, critics say - NBC

An article well worth reading. There is a group, many of which also voted "yes" for the height restrictions, that would like to see the city allow and regulate the keeping of chickens in our single family residential areas. This article talks about the unintended consequences and how those "charming" chickens need care and attention throughout their lives - long after their egg producing years. This issue has died down somewhat now, but is important to remember that the city has trouble keeping up with mundane code enforcement issues - including chickens, hens and roosters, that are already being raised and kept in the city.

And then there are the 2,000 vacant, abandoned or foreclosed properties that are in need of code enforcement attention as well.

Click title for link to article.

New Report: WPB Planning Revenues On Pace for 16 Year High | City of West Palm Beach

Our neighbor to the north has this press release posted on its website. A quote from the release below. Click title for link. I got word of this through their Facebook page.
“The numbers clearly are showing that West Palm Beach is topping the list of cities where developers are returning in large numbers,” said Development Services Director Rick Greene. “Based on discussions we’re having with builders, we are anticipating that several of the projects that had been approved in the past will now be coming in for construction permits.”
The new numbers are not due to any single project (such as the new outlet mall). They represent an across-the-board increase in activity. They also are a good predictor for future property tax revenue growth. Once projects are completed, they contribute to the overall property tax revenues for the city, which help fund essential services provided to residents.
To be fair, I have heard that revenue is up in Lake Worth as it relates to building permit fees and the like. Will we ever see that trumpeted from City Hall in a press release? Probably not. Everyone is too busy here.

Editorial: Lake Worth’s code enforcement department condemned |

Mr. Marra at the keyboard again. This time he includes these factoids:
Most fines for code violations are never paid, and the city makes no effort to collect them. To date, more than $40 million in fines are outstanding. Notorious properties in dangerous disrepair are left untouched, without any attempt to follow up with owners or foreclose on them. Instead, code enforcement officers simply continue tacking on fines they know will never be paid. The report cites the case of one house that for years racked up more than $1 million in fines. Apparently unbeknownst to the department, the building was demolished eight years ago, leaving only an empty lot.
The city’s code enforcement department prohibits anonymous complaints. To express concerns about dangerous conditions in your neighborhood, you have to leave your name. The audit correctly excoriated this policy as “directly counter to the basic precepts of a self-policing community.” It chided the rule as a danger to the city’s own residents, since “significant code violations may go unreported if residents fear for their safety should they be on record as the complainants.”
Click title for link to editorial. 

West Palm Beach to vote on zoning for redeveloping golf course |

There are people out there, investing and planning projects. Lake Worth doesn't seem to be on their map, however. Click title for link.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Pics from the Pool - taken 7/7/13

Materio named retailer of the year for McMow Art Glass |

Nice acknowledgement by the Palm Beach Post of Shanon Materio's award. Click title for link.

Editorial: The height of hypocrisy |

Comes this now from Andrew Marra. Click title for link.
We opposed the vote on new height limits in Lake Worth’s downtown, which we think needlessly discouraged investment in the city without doing much to preserve the city’s character. Lake Worth already had height limits downtown, and the area affected by the vote – the portion east of Federal Highway – had several buildings higher than the new 45-foot limit being proposed.
But while we didn’t like the vote’s outcome, we really don’t like Tallahassee’s decree that such votes are no longer permitted. Stifling citizens’ voices on these issues leaves only the voice of elected officials susceptible to special interests. Kind of like state legislators.
Andrew Marra
And the printed version of the paper has a bold caption within the op-ed that says in bold "Tallahassee thwarts voter cap on tall buildings" - so, just what is a "tall" building. A 45 foot building isn't tall, but a 65 foot one is? I guess we need to ask Jo-Ann and Laurel, they would know.

Unwanted Publicity - This from Channel 12 on Facebook this morning:

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Public Record: Owner of 728 Lake Avenue

From the City website's "Welcome to Lake Worth" page:

Part of the slideshow greeting visitors to the city's website includes this picture of our "vibrant" downtown - the former Island Watersports location, complete with vacant storefronts and no pedestrians.

Another of Brogue's Downunder with nothing but empty chairs:

Existing regulations already in Chapter 23 of the City's Code of Ordinances - Article XX re: Vacant Storefronts

C. The design guidelines for major thoroughfares shall include the following storefront window treatment guidelines:

Storefront window treatment guidelines:

The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this division shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning;

Vacant or under construction means properties not open to the public, or to clientele of any sort, and buildings not being used for the display or merchandising of any product and/or otherwise furnished.
Operational means having active business hours and holding an active occupational license for that building.

In the CAC zoning district: All windows or openings of buildings located within the central area commercial zoning districts of the town, whereby the interiors of such buildings can be observed form the public streets or sidewalks of the town shall be treated or screened in the manner set forth below.

Specifications: All windows or openings of vacant buildings or buildings under construction located within the commercial zoning district of the town, which windows or openings can be viewed from the public streets and sidewalks of the town and which expose the interiors of such buildings, shall screen the vacant interior of the building in which they are located. This may be achieved by either constructing within the window or opening a pocket, equivalent in dimension to the dimension of the window or opening itself, and forty (40) inches or more in depth, or hanging curtains or utilizing interior shutters. The pocket shall be used for purposes of screening the interior of the building, and to provide an attractive display for those who can observe the window or opening from the streets or public sidewalks of the town. This pocket shall be decorated by featuring displays of the incoming tenant, or vignettes representing designs and merchandise of existing city merchants. The window glass shall be clean both inside and outside. It is advisable that the window shall be lighted at night.

All windows or openings of businesses that are operational, vacant or under construction may not have storage materials, such as kitchen equipment, alcoholic beverage containers, stacked furniture, debris or packing materials visible from a public street or right-of-way. A window or opening of an operational business will be decorated with merchandise or screened from view with curtains or interior shutters.

Any storefront both vacant or operational that has more than twenty-five (25) feet of frontage on a public sidewalk must provide a vignette display in at least one-half (½) of its available window space.

Newspaper, printed paper or unpainted plywood will not be allowed in a window.

An owner must comply with these specifications within seven (7) days of vacancy of a storefront and effective immediately for operational businesses.

No windows or openings of storefronts will utilize a mirrored reflective film. Films allowing light to pass through, but blocking ultraviolet light will be permitted. The intent is that interior displays will be visible from the right-of-way.

Penalties: Any owner of any building found to be in violation of this division shall be subject to general penalties as provided by law or to the provisions of the code enforcement board.

(Ord. No. 2001-27, § 1, 10-16-01; Ord. No. 2002-2, § 1, 1-15-02; Ord. No. 2002-13, § 1, 5-7-02)

Payment decisions loom for big projects |

Someone is taking seawall replacement seriously in the area. Palm Beach is planning an "Accelerated Capital Improvement Program" which will include work on seawall construction and fortification. You might recall that that since the new Casino building is built seaward of the Coastal Construction Control Line and the value of the improvements to the building reached 96% of the value of what was there and since the foundation was not fortified to withstand a washout by a major hurricane, the city is relying on the integrity of the existing seawall to protect the public investment in that project. 

There have been cosmetic improvements to the seawall and a superficial study about the condition of the seawall, but nothing done, to my knowledge, about how the seawall performs as it relates to current standards. One was required by the Florida Building Code prior to the occupation of the building, technically, but we have been given assurances by the city administration that the actual integrity of the seawall is being looked at. Commissioner McVoy dissed the notion of the seawall condition as a "red herring" during a City Commission meeting last year. I wonder what the status of this is now?

Click title for link to the article in the Palm Beach Daily News.

Nice video promoting and highlighting the Gray Mockingbird Community Garden Mural Art Wall

Jill Karlin, the narrator of the video and organizer of the project, participates in many of the Thursday night bike rides we take through the neighborhoods.