Saturday, August 24, 2013

Slowest Start To A Hurricane Season On Record | Real Science

Interesting breakdown of the number of hurricanes per presidential term. Not too sure about the other items on the blog, but it is food for thought. Click title for link.

From yesterday: Ever wonder how traffic signals are controlled?

This was a tour sponsored by the Palm Beach County Planning Congress through the County's Intelligent Transportation System. It's part of the County's Engineering Department. It's a little on the geeky side, but it is fascinating what technology has allowed us to do remotely and quickly as it relates to traffic control. Did you know that there is over 520 miles of fiber optic cable that is used for cameras and signalization? And, we learned that the red-light cameras at some intersections are completely independent of this system.

There are three videos as part of this playlist - which lasts a little less than an hour and a half.

Here is a link to the applicable County webpage.
This is the control room below:

Flying over the Lake Worth beach...

Developer plans provides details for convention center hotel... |

Click title for link. This is a long awaited addition to the Convention Center. Here are some details.
Height: 143 feet (13 stories).
Area: 332,561 square feet.
Rooms: 403 (one presidential suite, two luxury suites, 28 other suites, 372 regular rooms with king bed or double queens).
Room area: minimum 353 square feet; average 414 square feet.
Ballrooms: one with 13,400 square feet and one with 6,270 square feet; plus 13 meeting rooms.
Height: 16 feet (two stories).
Area: 132,260 square feet.
Spaces: 423 (90 valet, 324 self, eight disabled, one reserved for hotel van).

Friday, August 23, 2013

Press Release: Delray Community Redevelopment Agency - New iPic Theater Slated for Downtown Delray

DELRAY BEACH, Fla.—The Delray Beach Community Redevelopment Agency has selected a proposal for a new office and entertainment complex, including an iPic Theater, for a highly sought after redevelopment site in the downtown core. The CRA Board awarded the Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Downtown Core Business District Fourth & Fifth Avenues Site to the theater project over three other proposals at its August 22, 2013 meeting.

The winning proposal, submitted by Delray Beach Holdings, LLC, calls for the creation of a 529-seat iPic Theater with 8 screens, 42,869 square-feet of Class A office space, 7,290 square-feet of retail space, and a 279-space parking garage. The project will create nearly 300 jobs, many of which will be professional positions. As many as 65 jobs will be created by iPic Entertainment, which plans to relocate its corporate headquarters from Boca Raton to occupy a portion of the new Delray Beach office space.

The Fourth & Fifth Avenues Site includes the Old Library Building on SE 4th Avenue, the Chamber of Commerce office building on SE 5th Avenue, and the adjacent public parking lot. Delray Beach Holdings, LLC offered a purchase price of $3.6 million for the 1.57-acre site, located about a half-block south of Atlantic Avenue in the downtown core.

The CRA is beginning contract negotiations with the developer to set the terms and conditions of the Purchase and Sale Agreement.  After finalizing the Agreement and obtaining city approvals, the developer estimates a 20-month construction period, with anticipated completion by 2016.

A copy of the Delray Beach Holdings, LLC proposal is available for download at For more information about the Delray Beach CRA, call the CRA office at (561) 276-8640. To learn more about other CRA projects and initiatives, visit the CRA website at

Video coming...

NW ball fields, looking from the west taken by camera drone by James Stafford Photography - image exclusive to this blog.

Seems like someone else thinks they're a "charming, walkable, little beach village"

The ultimate home cinema: Convertible house unfolds in 90 minutes to turn into a 100-seater venue | Mail Online

Cool concept that is not out of the realm of possible in Lake Worth, don't you think? Click title for link to article and watch this video which shows how the "house" folds open to become a theater.


Nice perspective on the highlights of driving down A1A from north to south in Palm Beach County. Click title for link. Bill and I have incorporated the link between Southern Boulevard and the Lake Worth bridge as one of our regular biking routes. The article mentions our Lake Worth Casino building and that it is "doubly" worth seeing after its renovation. There are other sights further south that you might want with which you might want to reacquaint yourself.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

With all this about the Greater Bay papers...

It's important to pause and review what we were promised as part of the city's beach project. Remember, the resulting project was to be everything that the Greater Bay plan wasn't. Click here for an article by Willie Howard which was published in September of 2010.

In it, we are assured that the new project - the one that was eventually built - would have "nearly 20 green features" including solar water heaters, use of natural lighting (besides windows?), a system that would recycle water from the air conditioning condensate and that the pool area could be used as a cistern. We were also assured that the building would only be $6 million, which would include $1 million in contingency monies if "unforeseen" conditions were met - like having to tear down the entire building? This is when the city was still talking about "restoration" or "re-building" and we all know that it was torn down.

Oh, and how we would pay back funds that the city borrowed from itself - with a bank loan. Anyway, in hindsight, we know that it turned out to be a very different project. And I hear there are still water issues with the building.

Gulf Stream millionaire challenging state attorney’s office... |

For a grand total of $1.89 for copying and personnel costs. Unbelievable! It will be interesting to hear what Joel Chandler, tomorrow's High Noon in Lake Worth guest thinks of this. Click title for link.

Joel Chandler - Florida Open Government Watch 08/23 by High Noon in Lake Worth | Politics Podcasts

Join your host Wes Blackman as he welcomes Joel Chandler of Florida Open Government Watch to the High Noon in Lake Worth studios. This is an encore appearance for Mr. Chandler. The previous show has the distinction of being one of the most listened to episodes (over 3,000 listens) of all High Noon in Lake Worth shows! Mr. Chandler will share his recent experiences in testing Florida's open records law, review changes in applicability of those laws and react to the Greater Bay documents recently posted on Note that the time for the live show will be 1 p.m. instead of the usual 12 p.m. time slot.

Click title for link to live show or for archived version after the show airs. Leave questions as comments below. Thanks!

Dizzying Pics of Hong Kong's Massive High-Rise Neighborhoods | Wired Design |

Oh, the humanity! Shield your eyes those who think that tall buildings are the things of nightmares. These images are taken by a Hong Kong photographer who lives in one of the buildings himself. Click title for link and here is something from the article.
It’s important to note that while Hong Kong’s buildings look unwelcoming and claustrophobic, Wolf notes that many people prefer to live in them (if they can afford it) than commuting in from the countryside every day. It’s estimated that nearly 90 percent of people take public transit in the city.
In the United States, we’re spoiled with space. Even in New York City, where it can sometimes feel as though you’re walking on top of the person in front of you, we have the luxury of expansive parks and comparatively well-sized apartments. To live in Hong Kong is truly to live in a mega-city, where your apartment building can have a population greater than entire towns in Nebraska. It’s not for everyone, says Wolf, but it does lend itself nicely to the photographer lifestyle.
Now, this is what people think of when they hear "hi-rise" buildings. They don't think of it as being the difference between 4 and 6 stories. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A loyal reader submits this observation from the August 6th City Commission meeting...

Carolyn Deli at the podium with testimony regarding how she is affected by not incorporating the height vote into the land development regulations. She lives in the Tropical Ridge neighborhood. This person transcribed this from the video.

The part about the dogs is just hilarious. She wants to stop buildings from being built so she can enjoy having breakfast with her dogs?

Anyhow, here it is:

"Forty-five foot buildings would bring a much higher density of people to that area that is currently mostly one and two story buildings. Most residents in this area park on the street and the added traffic could cause much friction and many problems. For me high buildings will also change the quality of life for the worst. Every morning I feed my dogs breakfast and sit on the porch and watch the sun come up behind the trees while they eat. A four story building behind my garden will mean I will have to go out onto the porch between 10 and 11 to watch the sun rise from behind the building. I understand we need more tax money in the city to function. I am not totally anti-development but there are plenty of empty properties which, if developed to voter accepted heights and encouraged by permits and codes that are more developer friendly as we seem to be doing will bring needed money in."

From last night's (8/20) City Commission meeting - City Attorney Evaluation

There is near universal agreement that the change to this law firm, from formerly using an in-house City Attorney, has been a resounding success. Things are getting done and not languishing for months or years - while the money went flying out the window. Mr. Torcivia recognized this and stated that he would prefer that money not go to legal fees, but actual staff and material that help the city do its basic municipal functions. Here, here!

9 Things About Pants Every Guy Needs To Know

Serendipity strikes again. Here's all sorts of considerations regarding men's pants, since we will soon have men's pants stores beating down our doors trying to get into our downtown. Click title for link.

All Aboard Florida seeks downtown Miami property for train hub - Miami-Dade -

Plans for All Aboard Florida's hub in Miami are taking the shape of a mixed-use project. Click title for link to a Miami Herald article.

Last night's (8/20) City Commission Meeting - Public Comment on Unagendaed Items - Commission Responses

A lot of discussion about hotels and heights, especially after the 14 minute mark, as part of the response to public comment from the City Commission. Particularly note Vice Mayor Maxwell's observations towards the end of the video above. The discussion continues in the video below - there is quite an exchange between Maxwell and McVoy. By the way, Maxwell referred to the height issue as "political theater" - not the election or vote as political theater.

At 1:45 Commissioner McVoy starts a riveting discussion about the unlikely prospect of a men's pants store or a hotel in downtown Lake Worth - and misstates Commissioner Maxwell's assertion about the height issue.

Men's pant store?

From last night's City Commission meeting (8/20) - Commissioner Comments and Liaison Reports

Commissioner Amoroso talked about his attendance at the League of Cities conference in Orlando, meeting with Senator Bill Nelson and the State of the Cities luncheon. Mayor Triolo mentioned the League of Cities meeting along with a reminder of the impact of the "All Aboard Florida" fast train project and the cost of crossing upgrades. Commissioner McVoy mentioned the gathering Sunday evening in front of City Hall related to support for immigration reform. Vice Mayor Maxwell talked about the League of Cities conference and other impacts related to the "All Aboard Florida" project, a Comcast initiative to bridge the digital divide present in our community and his visit with Governor Scott in Lake Worth.

Marina Lofts Wins Approval; Rain Tree Will Be Moved - Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach - News - The Daily Pulp

This project consists of 960 apartment units and will have three TOWERS. One will be 33 stories and two will be 28 stories high. It will also require the removal of a 100+ year old rain tree. Click title for link to the New Times article which summarizes last night's Ft. Lauderdale City Commission meeting. Click here for an earlier article from New Times citing reasons that the project shouldn't be approved. Be sure to check out the architecture of the buildings.

Now, we had to listen again, at last night's City Commission meeting, how Lake Worth decided to be a "lo-rise" city in the election held in March. I'll have more comment about that when I post the video of that portion of the meeting. But since when was it decided, and by whom, that a four story building is a "lo-rise" building and that having a portion of a building with six stories is considered "high rise?" To use a favorite term of Commissioner McVoy, it is "disingenuous" to suggest that a six story building is somehow a "high rise" when the frame of reference for "high rise" buildings here are found in the downtowns of West Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale and Miami. This is the image residents have when they hear the words "high-rise" - they don't think of a six story building. This is why the vote and the "yes" campaign for the height limitation was misleading and confusing to voters. 

And there is no good place to address this, so I will do it here. There is also a blogger who insists that there was agreement at a meeting January 26, 2012 about 45 feet in height east of Federal, along Lake and Lucerne between the Planning and Zoning, Historic Resource Preservation Board and the City Commission. The meeting being referred to is known as the "Tri-Meeting." The meeting was a work session and no vote was taken. There was talk of consensus on many items during what turned out to be a long meeting. And, guess what? As reported in a previous post, there was no audio record of the meeting so no one can verify what actually happened. I do not remember coming to consensus on this issue and I know that the Historic Resource Preservation Board always recommended that the maximum height be 65 feet east of Federal as it was consistent with the historical pattern of development in that area.

And lets not let the matter of our Champion Tree go wanting for comment given the 100+ year old rain tree that is being moved as part of this Ft. Lauderdale project. As late as this Monday, I confirmed that the issue with the property owner and the city over the disposition of the Champion Tree has yet to be resolved and that the city's "legal eagles" are trying to find a way out of the morass. I'll let you know more as I find additional information.

Cities expect ‘steady recovery’ in ’14

This is from yesterday's State of the Cities luncheon put on by the Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce. I attended the event, along with some other Lake Worth people. Both Vice Mayor Maxwell and Commissioner Amoroso was there. City Manager Bornstein gave the official presentation of what is going on in Lake Worth, along with the city managers from about 9 Palm Beach County municipalities. Click title for link to the article.
Eric Silagy, Florida Power & Light Co.’s president, was the keynote speaker.

City Manager Bornstein at the end of the row of City Managers. His presentation came at the end of the program and I was unable to stay due to another meeting beginning at 2 p.m. Sorry to have missed it.

Lake Worth commissioners amend ordinances to address blight |

This is Lona O'Connor's piece on last night's meeting. I will have video from it going up throughout the day. Click title for link.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

59% of the 'Tuna' Americans Eat Is Not Tuna - Christopher Mims - The Atlantic

What is your real tuna? Click title for link.

Part VI of the August 28 Closed-Door meeting


August 28, 2012

5:00 p.m. - 6:47 p.m.

7 North Dixie Highway
Lake Work, Florida


Pam Triolo, Mayor
Scott Maxwell, Vice Mayor
Michael Bornstein, City Manager
Suzanne Mulvehill, Commissioner
Chris McVoy, Commissioner
Andy Amoroso, Commissioner
Glen Torcivia, Esq., Interim City Attorney
Brian Joslyn, Outside Counsel


MR. TORCIVIA:  Everything we are talking about today, if there is this conversation, slash, mediation, and they come back with a number, whether that number is 750, 600 or 2 million, my intention would be to bring it back to you in another one of these sessions and say, This is their bottom line at this point.  I mean, their bottom line a year and a half ago was X.  Now, today, three months before trial, their bottom line is Y.  Do you want to accept whatever Y
happens to be.  Hopefully it's less than 750, and I don't -- and Brian is pretty sure it's not going to be 750.
MR. JOSLYN:  It's not.  I'll buy everybody at this table dinner if he to comes in at a million, okay?

MR. BORNSTEIN:  Restaurant of our choosing?
MS. TRIOLO:  Vice Mayor?
MR. MAXWELL:  I got to ask, if we are going to talk about the 30 percent chance, does the court determine what the award is?  Is there a formula based on certain aspects of law or --
MR. JOSLYN:  No, a jury would decide.
MR. MAXWELL:  So the jury could come back -- they could come back and say, Hey, we had a bad hair day and it's 30 million bucks?
MR. JOSLYN:  Could very well, but the judge then -- we have a right to ask the judge to reduce that, and I would think under the facts of the case that we present, that would happen.
MR. MAXWELL:  I don't think any reasonable person thinks they are going to --
MR. MAXWELL:  -- but my point is:  I'm looking to find out if there's a formula that is used to calculate an award.
MR. TORCIVIA:  It is an art, not a science, the way jurors come up with anything.
MR. JOSLYN:  Absolutely.
MR. TORCIVIA:  You know, I'm on the jury, I don't like him, I'm not going to give him a nickel, but I like him, I'm going to give him a million dollars.
MR. JOSLYN:  One other problem that we found was that the verdict form that we were using was unnecessarily complex, and probably led to some confusion and their willingness to just put a number together.  So that was one thing that we have completely changed, is the way we want to have the verdict form.
     It will be a straight up or down.  One side is going to win, or they are going to win a couple million bucks, tops.  I can't see -- I have not lived to regret saying these things so far, so I just have to assume probably my luck is going to hold, but I really think you guys have a tremendously strong case.  I really do.
     If I didn't, you would be hearing something different from me, okay.  I would be saying, For God's sake, please, you need to figure out a way to put more money on the table or get bankruptcy counsel.  I'm not saying that.
MS. TRIOLO:  Commissioner Mulvehill?
MS. MULVEHILL:  Two things.  One, I know a year ago, when we met before with the depositions, before all this information came in, you mentioned we had a 50/50 chance, so your probability has improved --
MS. MULVEHILL:  -- in the sense of our chances  of winning have actually improved?
MS. MULVEHILL:  This is a whole separate issue, but declaring -- we had declared a state of financial urgency, the City had declared a state of financial urgency and won that against the unions, so I don't know if that would have any --
MR. JOSLYN:  You would like to let that slip, wouldn't you?
MS. MULVEHILL:  That's why I am telling you.

MR. JOSLYN:  Look, everybody in that jury room knows that local governments are under extraordinary pressure, every one of them.
     They are all going to know their tax bills, they are all going to know -- I mean, you have to -- I will tell you this:  I have tried 20 jury trials, probably 25 cases like this in my career.  The juries are smart.  You think all you are going to get are migrant workers or something like that.  Every jury I have had has had accountants and stockbrokers and business people on it, and they are -- my firm belief is that a jury is way smarter collectively than they are
     When you have a consistent, easy to tell story, I just -- I think they get it.  I really do.  I have a lot of faith in jurors.
MS. TRIOLO:  Commissioner Mulvehill?
MS. MULVEHILL:  I have one follow-up, and this is just in the event that it does end up going to trial.  One thing that kind of -- when you said -- it just didn't feel right to me when you mentioned that you would go into the interview with the jury and say, Well, you know, Lake Worth's screwed up to kind of get their perception.  I would suggest that we didn't do it that way, that -- my suggestion would be we would ask them, What do you think about Lake Worth?
MR. JOSLYN:  No, no, no.
MS. MULVEHILL:  That's just my personal opinion.
MR. JOSLYN:  If you want a show of hands, you do it this way, I'm telling you.  What you want is people to hold their hands up.  Okay?
     And the way you do that -- the way you do that is:  How many here think that Lake Worth is -- because you read all the time that they are screwed up, did something wrong here, before you've heard any evidence, how many?
MS. MULVEHILL:  Before you heard any evidence.
MR. JOSLYN:  How many?
MS. MULVEHILL:  I just think you put it in their mind.

MR. JOSLYN:  I will tell you what, I had an immigration lawyer I defended one time that had been investigated by the federal government where they wired up his clients -- threatened them with deportation, wired up his clients to go into his office to try to get something on him.
     That case was dismissed shortly before a trial that he had been involved in the scheme to get immigrants over here to invest in businesses that weren't worth what they were worth.
     This guy was very slick, okay?  Handmade shirts, handmade shoes, but he was honest.  So what I did was I said -- the very first question I asked was:  I represent a Jewish lawyer from Palm Beach.  How many of you think he has done something wrong?  I got six people to hold up their hands, okay?  And it didn't hurt him a bit,  but those people didn't sit on the jury.
     And once they hold up their hands, you go, okay, now, you understand this doesn't have to do with the power plant, it doesn't have to do with this or that, does that affect your ability to try this case fairly, or you could do it the other way.  So as a result of your strong opinions, are you sitting here telling me you can't try this
case fairly, you are so prejudged against them that you can't sit fairly?
     I don't like to do it that way, because no one wants to admit that they're prejudiced, okay. You got to do it a different way, and there's a bunch of ways to do it.
     So that's why I have these guys, because as a commercial trial lawyer, I don't do jury trials but more than once a year or, so I'm not as good at picking juries as I am at trying the case, so I get the assistance I can.
MR. JOSLYN:  But we will have all of that ready to go by the time this is --
MS. TRIOLO:  When do you think we could reconvene for a meeting after?
MR. JOSLYN:  Let me call or I will e-mail Glen.
MR. TORCIVIA:  What I will do, at your next public meeting, I will announce and request another one, and we will coordinate a date. We can always cancel it, but at least we will have it scheduled.
MR. JOSLYN:  Okay.
MR. TORCIVIA:  Maybe a month out from now might be a reasonable time, because you have to coordinate --
MR. JOSLYN:  One more suggestion I would just make overall, and this has nothing to do with this case.  The attorney has used -- on the other side has used the phrase shade session to refer to the
attorney/client session in December that we had. That is incredibly prejudicial, okay?

     I would just suggest to you overall, in attorney/client sessions now, just don't ever refer to them as a shade session, okay?
MS. TRIOLO:  I kind of agree with that myself.
MR. JOSLYN:  It's an attorney/client session, all right?  That was one of the things that they really picked up on, the psychologist that were doing the jury simulation, just -- and, you know,
     I hadn't thought about it one way or the other, but it's right.  It sounds shady.  It's the noun version of the adverb.
MS. TRIOLO:  Thank you, I appreciate that. Any other questions Commissioner McVoy?
Mr. McVOY:  You obviously know more about how to approach these things, but you mentioned that the Greer trial may play a role in this.  Could we come in later in the game, quite close to December 17th, and ask him, Do you want to settle?
MR. JOSLYN:  Oh, we could -- you could do it up till the day the jury comes back.
MR. TORCIVIA:  But at that point, you probably spent probably 100,000 of that 200,000.
MR. JOSLYN:  Yeah.
MR. TORCIVIA:  Every day we are getting closer, he is preparing.  He did a great job preparing the case.
MR. JOSLYN:  It's -- I think we do it now and forever hold our peace.
     The one thing I will tell you is that since I haven't seen this guy in trial, I'm going to go up and sit in the Greer courtroom for a while and watch him for a couple of days, just to see, because I just want to know what we're really facing.
MS. TRIOLO:  I think you should.
MR. JOSLYN:  It's important.  He could be, you know, a real super star, and, you know, we will have to see.
MS. TRIOLO:  I know you all know this, but obviously it's called a shade meeting -- it's no longer called a shade meeting.  It's called an attorney/client session for a reason, but none of this information can be shared outside of this meeting, just a reminder to everyone.
MR. JOSLYN:  If any of you want to see any of this stuff, I can certainly one on one meet with you and show you anything you would like to see.
     If you want further additional information or something you want to discuss, you have a question, feel free to talk with the Manager and get the message to me if you ever have a question or anything like that.
     I mean, it hasn't happened so far, but if you have a question or something along the line, please -- or you hear something, you know -- I mean, I get e-mails from -- I'm sorry, I get e-mails occasionally from Mr. and/or Mrs. McNamara and a couple of other people, Hey, we just want you to know this, we want you to know that.  So if you have anything you've heard or you wanted me to
know, just let me know.  Just as long as we don't do it with more than one of you at a time, it's no problem.
MR. BORNSTEIN:  This is the second time I have heard your recounting of the long epic odyssey. Is that memorialized in any factual form that we can --
MR. BORNSTEIN:  Not yet?
MR. BORNSTEIN:  It's quite a lot.
MR. JOSLYN:  It is.  I can put a timeline --
MR. BORNSTEIN:  No, don't, don't spend any time on that.  At some point, we'll get this transcript.
MR. TORCIVIA:  When the case is finally finished, because the case could be appealed, too, either sides wins or loses, so when it's finally finished, that's when this becomes a public record.
MR. JOSLYN:  But the transcript can be prepared now, correct?
MR. TORCIVIA:  She can prepare it, but it's not a public record until after --

MR. JOSLYN:  I understand, but I mean the Manager --
MR. BORNSTEIN:  Well, the question was, would any of you find that kind of handy for referring this in any way --
MR. JOSLYN:  You know what?  I'm sorry, I have an outline of the case.  It isn't as in depth with all of the facts, but that I do for an audit or inquiry response.  Let me find it, and I will e-mail it to you.
MR. BORNSTEIN:  If you e-mail it, it's still attorney/client?
MR. JOSLYN:  I always -- when I communicated with Elaine, I always said, Greater Bay Lake Worth case, ongoing litigation attorney/client communication.
MR. TORCIVIA:  I would suggest not e-mailing, only because e-mail is so easily accessed.  Put it in an envelope and mail it.
MR. JOSLYN:  All right.
     And closer to trial when I -- I mean, after -- I'm not ready to do an opening statement outline yet.  I've sort of got it in my head, but until I know what the two prime rascals have to say, I mean, there is not really a way to do the -- it's just a mass of facts that we have been living with so for so long, so --
MS. MULVEHILL:  Do we want to get a summary, just to be clear -- maybe, Glen, you can --
MR. TORCIVIA:  My understanding is that Brian is going to give the other lawyer -- kind of go fishing and see if there is any interest
whatsoever in trying to get it resolved.
     If there is any interest, we will reconvene at meditation, and hopefully get it resolved or at least a number to bring back to the commission as a whole at one of these sessions, attorney/client sessions, within the next month.
MS. MULVEHILL:  Very good, thank you.
MS. TRIOLO:  The meeting formally known as shade is recessed.
THE COURT REPORTER:  Are we off the record?

(Thereupon the proceeding was concluded at 6:47 p.m.)

From two weeks ago...

Sidewalk band-aids to bring attention to sidewalk conditions - Brazil

Jeniffer Heemann Placemaking Leadership Council Detroit Presentation from Project for Public Spaces on Vimeo.

Tuppens Marine Mural Project- Call to Artists

If you are a talented mural artist, looking for new venues and new challenges, then you may be ready to enter LULA's Tuppens Marine Mural Project. LULA's Mural Project is a multifaceted project designed to create commission jobs for artists, revitalize blighted buildings to strengthen the community and create art-based educational sessions through live art demonstrations.

The Lake Worth CRA developed a strategic approach, LULA - Lake Worth Arts, to redeveloping the district using art and culture as a tool for redevelopment, The mission of LULA Lake Worth Arts is to unify the existing arts community around a shared vision, implement goals for strengthening property values, improve access to the arts through educational programs and invest in partnerships that support creative community in Lake Worth.

For more information please log onto:

Monday, August 19, 2013

It's all about the friends you keep...

Mango Groves N.A. - Pick of the Crop

There will be a house of the month for September! At Long Last, the "Pick of the Crop" will be a house or garden that exemplifies what it is to live in Mango Groves... It might be a house someone had put some good effort into fixing up, it might be classic architecture, it might be a beautiful garden or might be ALL of that... If YOU know anyone who might fit the bill, please let us know!

Bloggers without borders...

Anti-PBSO and not afraid to share the fact...with others.

Man who robbed PNC bank in Lake Worth sought by police |

This is the PNC bank branch on the north side of the Cultural Plaza. Click title for link to article. Please share any information you may have with PBSO.

An encouraging sign...

Tomorrow night's (8/20) City Commission agenda includes an item that calls for the review of the City Attorney. As you may already know, the city contracted with the Torcivia law firm for legal services instead of an in-house city attorney. The above chart is from the back-up material for the item. Interesting to see the figures and that the trend is down in terms of fees. Note too the amounts for the special services provided by outside counsel. It would be nice to have a breakdown of the previous years' expenditures on outside legal costs and which cases were involved.

Delray is working out problems with its noise ordinance...

Heavy fines for habitual offenders - up to $15,000. Click here to read more. You don't hear, eh hem, much about our noise issue in the downtown. It must be working to some degree. There was a big issue here two or so years ago.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A blast from the past...

Part of the reason for the high chlorine in the water...

The northern "high rise" water tank is getting sandblasted on the inside. These pictures were taken today at the northwest corner of the Scottish Rite property.

Advice to those in the north end. Pour water from the tap and put in a separate container. Leave in the fridge overnight and let the chlorine evaporate. Much better coffee in the a.m.

Fracking: Industry made Sussex, and I hope it will again - Telegraph

Worthy reading on many counts. It's about the expansion of the fracking industry in England. Click title for link. From the article:
Everyone can see that a drilling company has a bias on the subject. Fewer people are aware that organisations like FoE and Greenpeace are just as self-interested, and a lot more politically motivated. The BBC never subjects them to a grilling.

Part IV of the August 28 Closed-Door meeting- Joslyn is not without fault here


August 28, 20125:00 p.m. - 6:47 p.m.

7 North Dixie Highway
Lake Work, Florida


Pam Triolo, Mayor
Scott Maxwell, Vice Mayor
Michael Bornstein, City Manager
Suzanne Mulvehill, Commissioner
Chris McVoy, Commissioner
Andy Amoroso, Commissioner
Glen Torcivia, Esq., Interim City Attorney
Brian Joslyn, Outside Counsel


MR. JOSLYN [CONTINUES]: We have -- I also have Carry Killbay (phonetic) at Killbay & Associates, a very prominent land planner to opine, if necessary, on the comprehensive planning and zoning issues, plus Larry Corio Gorman, and so we are pretty ready to go.
     I have the 12 volumes, 12 big 3-inch volumes of -- 4-inch maybe -- of documents in order, chronological order that we put together from all of the e-mails and stuff. The attorney on the other side is a competent fellow from Lake Mary.
     We believe that he's hired on a contingency, and that he's looking to ring the gong.
     He has no title expert listed, he has no land planning expert listed as an expert, and his economist, or whoever his financial analyst he hired to put his damages up, just got convicted today of bankruptcy fraud and is facing five years of prison, so he is scrambling now on finding another financing expert.
MR. JOSLYN:  Oh, that.
     So we have -- in the next month, we have some -- some depositions of some of their peripheral witnesses that may be needed, the Kimberly Horn Traffic Engineers, to talk about their getting stiffed.
     One more thing:  The original architects they used was The Architectural Group, Mark Brodnick.  He's the one who did all of the drawings for their initial submittal in response to the RFP.
     When he didn't get paid and they ran up a bill of about $50,000 with him over the two years into 2008, he quit working for them. So when they were required to bring their site plan in, they had to hire a different land planner.
     Mr. Brodnick wrote letters to Greater Bay saying, Since you haven't paid me, you would be violating my copyrights if you use my drawings.
     So the land planner they hired really couldn't use anything other than the footprint of his building, but the layouts are very close. The lady who was hired to do the site plan -- I can't remember her name.  She's a land planner from up in Jupiter.  She didn't get paid, and she sued and got a default judgment against them.
     So these guys left debt all over town.  In fact, they owned Mr. Renaldi money for staying in his hotel as well.
     There was one more thing I was going to say in that regard.  Oh, they made a -- during depositions of the City Commissioners, counsel for the plaintiff made a big to do about the letter from the attorney for Greater Bay when we were running up against the deadline for the pool work and the grant money.  And in that letter, this guy said, We'll stand behind the $200,000.  If the delays are such that you don't get the FRDAP grant, we'll pay the money.
     Well, so much for the veracity of that kind of a claim, when you are not even paying for your bed and breakfast that you're staying at, so we will have some fun with that as well.
     In the middle of this project, they had their project site guy, a fellow named Joseph Kelner (phonetic).  He was their on-site -- going to be their on-site manager, went through some sort of self-destruction with them over being paid for his phone bills and TDY and room and board and all that stuff, and wrote some e-mails where they're just off the charts about these guys being crooks and stuff like that.
     Bill Meade, the realtor who brought them into Lake Worth thought he was going to be a partner in the deal.  He got shafted. This fellow Mr. Toner -- and he has written e-mails to this effect.
     Mr. Toner has not been deposed yet because he is -- we can't find him.  I think we have him -- we have him served over in St. Pete.  I don't know whether he's going to show up for the deposition.  We will just have to see.
     But during this -- during this case, he wrote me an e-mail that he was all ready to Tee off against these guys and tell me all sorts of stuff.  All I had to do was pay him a half million dollars to cover all his expenses.  And we said, Sorry, that's not how we are going to go.  So the deposition could provide some features of interest.
     And then the two principals, Mr. Tim Right and Mr. Willard, are going to be deposed at the end -- the last two guys deposed after we have everybody else wrapped up.
     So last year in mediation we were told by plaintiff's counsel that, you know, really they'd go away for $3 million.  My thought at the time, we could maybe make the case go away for a million, but there was no way the City had the dough to put a million dollars on the table.
     We offered $300,000, and I suggested to plaintiff's counsel that they sue us in some form or another for negligence, so we could bring the City's insurance carrier into the deal and maybe provide some extra money that way.
     And he looked into it.  I sent him the policy and all of that, and he said he just -- he said you guys have bad insurance.
 It's only a million bucks and the restrictions on what it's for gave him no ability to do that.  So the 300,000 is all we have made in terms of an offer.
MS. TRIOLO:  What is the City insurance policy, what would that -- how would that --
MR. JOSLYN:  A million bucks.
MS. TRIOLO:  No, I'm saying how would that kick in, what were they were looking for it to kick in?
MR. JOSLYN:  No, no.  I was suggesting to him that the way to put more money on the table, given the City's financial straits, was to allege some sort of negligence claim against the City, separate and apart from the breach of contract to sort of alter, re-alter the case in some way to allege some sort of negligence or intentional wrongdoing by a Commissioner, but he couldn't -- he said he couldn't make it work.
     So the City 's insurance, we made demand on them at the very beginning of this, and they said there is no claim under our policy and there isn't.  It's a breach of contract case.
     We jury simulated this case earlier this year.  Commissioner Maxwell came pretty close to having a heart attack that day, because I took the plaintiff's side and argued a bunch of things that aren't true.
     What I did I was I said -- because I don't know what's going to a trial, you don't know, you want to test a bunch of things.  So I wasn't so concerned about seeing that the City could win, because I'm pretty confident that if we are in trial, I'm going to argue the case, I think the City wins, especially given all the facts I have laid out to you.
     All we have that's bad is that you have a couple of Commissioners at meetings going, We got to get out of this deal. That's it.
     So anyway, what I did was I said, The City knew that they had title issues, and they didn't tell us until after it was over, until after we signed the agreement, and these title issues weren't solved.  All the City could provide was title insurance.  That confused the jurors, and they thought that wasn't a solution.
     I also argued that the City withheld from them zoning needed to be changed, and that there was a substantial likelihood of suits being filed over that.  To try to argue almost like an intentional breach of contract, kind of concealed fraud kind of a case.
     We had -- over the course of the day, we had four juries of 12 people hear this, and they were all videotaped, and the analysis provided then by the company that does this in bar chart form, and here's the kind of jurors you want to make sure you get, here are the jurors you want to try to avoid, here are things you need to stress during the trial, but we went overboard on Lake Worth -- I mean on behalf of Greater Bay, and made a better case than their attorneys are ever going to be able to do.
     And we got, what, I think it was 12 million the first time.  One jury -- by the afternoon, my associate had adjusted to my arguments, because she didn't have any idea what I was going to do, and we got them to down to a couple of million bucks, and that's making a case that they are not going to be able to make, okay.
     So my analysis of this is:  If you want them to go away without having to try it, the number's got to be a million bucks.  Now, that could be over time, if you're so inclined, but I don't know that a million is going to do it for these guys.  They're greedy, and we don't have the million to put on the table to even see.
     I would be worried about at this point coming to them with a million after being quiet for a year.  I mean it could be posed as, Hey, do you want to take one last stab to try to settle this before we go to war, and, you know, that's often what happens, Glen, you know that, that as you get closer to trial, everybody starts looking at ways to maximize their upside and minimize their down.
     But honestly, and I probably -- I hope I don't live to regret this, I don't know that you need to -- that you should put a million dollars on the table.
     I really think, looking at the law on this and the witnesses and what kind of case they are going to be able to make -- he wants it to be real simple, you know, Carry Jennings (phonetic), Joy Golding (phonetic) didn't like this project, they killed it.  They hired Stratacon to try to ease us out.  All of that is going to be easily demonstrated as being so what.
     You know, politicians -- for gosh sakes, I mean people have positions on issues.  That's why you elect them.  So I don't see that going very far.
     And we have -- depending on how much leeway the judge gives me, we have a lot of bad stuff that these guys -- they are just bad guys. For example, we can just flop the $200,000 letter in front of them, and then start picking at all the people they've stiffed to show that they got no veracity and had no veracity at the time.  That internal memo where they are talking about setting up for litigation with the City is pretty instructive.
     Now, there are notes that my partner and Larry Karnes took of our meetings after the City Manager met with Willard and blistered him about looking at backing out of the deal, because it became pretty apparent at that point that Willard really didn't have any intention of proceeding, and a lot of people had that feeling earlier on, but by the summer of '08, it was pretty apparent to everybody, even the people that supported them, that they really -- it didn't look like they were the real deal, so --
MS. TRIOLO:  What's status of the company now?
MR. JOSLYN:  The only asset it has is this lawsuit.  There is no attorneys fee provision.
MS. TRIOLO:  Commissioner McVoy?
Mr. McVOY:  You mentioned that -- I think your description was that these folks were not the real deal.  Certainly all indications, and the Mayor's question is in that same direction, is:  Does it not help our case that these folks look like a company that is not a company, they had not built anything, they have not --
MR. JOSLYN:  Sure.
Mr. McVOY:  They have had no experience building 20, $30 million buildings, much less $1 million buildings.
MR. JOSLYN:  Well, we have to watch out for that, because Greater Bay Construction Group LLC, the plaintiff in this lawsuit --
Mr. McVOY:  The quieter partner over on the West Coast --
MR. JOSLYN:  Correct.
Mr. McVOY:  -- is a legitimate --
MR. JOSLYN:  -- contractor who does big buildings.
Mr. McVOY:  Right.
MR. JOSLYN:  And they were going to be the GC on the job.  So Willard is a developer from New York.  He got introduced to Greater Bay through Bill Meade.  Three weeks or four weeks before they put the proposal on the table -- I mean, this is -- I think could be posed as a pretty fly-by-night kind of stab by these fellows.
     When I found out it was only -- within months, I mean two months tops that Willard met Mr. Steel (phonetic), the owner of Greater Bay, it became pretty clear, this was -- you know, these guys were taking a flyer.
     Had they gotten their financing and had they had construction plans and had they actually started, I have no doubt that Greater Bay Construction Company would have done a pretty good job. They have good reputation, but that isn't what happened and we are not here on that, so we don't to get to the issue of whether they could have put the building up.  They were never in a position to put the building up.
     Also, in mediation, it was very interesting, the plaintiff's lawyer said in our initial session that -- and it was Mr. Steel who showed up, the mellower fellow from Tampa that Mr. Willard made a bad witness, so he confessed to that.  He essentially said, Yeah, he isn't a very good witness, and I suspect that Willard will not be the person sitting by counsel's table, it will be the calm Mr. Steel, but we are going to videotape Mr. Willard's deposition and play as much of it as we think fits if he doesn't show up, and I'm hoping to push the buttons to see how excited he gets.  I have no idea. I have never met the man.
Mr. McVOY:  I have --
MS. TRIOLO:  Commissioner McVoy?
Mr. McVOY:  I have sat at length with Mr. Willard, purely by chance.  My wife and I happened to eating at Pollo Tropical up toward the Winn-Dixie one night, somewhere in this range, I couldn't tell you when, and I believe we were sitting, eating and he came in.  Somehow he knew who I was, presumably because of the We Love Lake Worth suit.  I never met him before.  I knew his name and that was it.  He sat down and asked to join us for dinner. I said sure.  You are welcome to do that.  He is a very smooth talker, very smooth.
MR. JOSLYN:  Sure.
Mr. McVOY:  He will tell you all sorts of wonderful things that he has done in his life.  I later on tried to check some of them out on the internet and hit dead ends on pretty much everything.
MR. JOSLYN:  That's the problem with the company.  See, he isn't listed --
Mr. McVOY:  There is no company.  He had stories about how he had rehabbed shipping containers for poor folks in wherever and a million things, but he's very -- he's entertaining, too.
MR. JOSLYN:  Of course, he's the frontman.
Mr. McVOY:  He was definitely the frontman, and he is not dumb by any means.  He is intelligent, but....
MR. JOSLYN:  I don't -- I assume that he is going to come on and look like George Clooney, okay.  I mean, that's how -- I can't prepare a case assuming the guy is going to act like a jerk or self-destruct, and that's not what's going to happen.
     We have a lot of documentary evidence to go through with this guy, and we'll just see what he has to say, but, you know, the thing about documents is they don't lie and they don't die, and they are all here.
     So I think that's where I am on this.  I don't know that I can in good faith recommend that you put more money on the table, because I don't think a million will do it, and I don't know how you would make that happen.
     And I don't know that I could recommend more than a million dollars under any set of circumstances at this point.
MR. JOSLYN:  Commissioner McVoy?
Mr. McVOY:  Help me understand why you would recommend any number greater than zero.  Why should -- for everything you have layed out suggests that these guys never really were going to do this.
MR. JOSLYN:  Right.
Mr. McVOY:  That it's a pretty plausible case that they got into the whole thing from the get go with the intent of getting some money out of the City and not much intent of actually building anything. You can make that case and the case gets stronger over time.
MR. JOSLYN:  Sure.
Mr. McVOY:  It might not be as strong initially, but it gets stronger over time.  Why on earth would we give them any money?
MR. JOSLYN:  I said last year that you ought to put $300,000 on the table, because you were going to spend at least that much money trying the case.
Mr. McVOY:  Okay.
MR. JOSLYN:  Pay me, pay him.  If I have a client who is going to pay me money and have no chance of getting it back, whether he wins or loses, and he can pay that to the other guy to settle, do it.
MR. McVOY:  Okay.
MR. JOSLYN:  That isn't go [sic] to do it, which is why I'm saying here now I don't know that I can really recommend putting more money on the table, but there is a risk.
     I mean, believe me, I really don't want to have my name on a Lexus search within a paragraph of a $30 million loss, but I don't see that as any kind of realistic outcome on this case.
Mr. McVOY:  And if they lose and we win, who covers the attorney fees?
MR. JOSLYN:  You pay them.
Mr. McVOY:  So we would not recover --
MR. JOSLYN:  You have no -- you have no down side for these guys.  Believe me, we discussed --
Mr. McVOY:  I think you told us before.
MR. JOSLYN:  There is no -- we have no ability to put pressure on these guys with any way with the claim.

MS. TRIOLO:  Vice Mayor?
MR. MAXWELL:  There are two parts of this that you have laid out today that by themselves I'm thinking, what's the big deal?  For example, you're talking about a memo that spoke to preparing for litigation.
MR. JOSLYN:  Right.
MR. MAXWELL:  Now, I'm not a lawyer, but I think we all might agree that as we get older and the more business interactions we have, work experiences in life we have, sometimes we think something is not going to go so well, so we start saying to our partners or our associates, Hey, let's make sure we start documenting things, so, you know, in case something -- that's what I'm suggesting here.  Is that what they were suggesting in this memo?
MR. JOSLYN:  I don't think there's any doubt about it, because you that have memo before the site plan.  There's a question, What are we going to provide them for a site plan, how are we going to set up for litigation, and within a month, they give you a bogus site plan prepared by a second land planner who couldn't use the first guy's, because of a copyright violation, because he wasn't paid, and then you have the lawyer's letter that does that -- essentially copies --
MS. TRIOLO:  Continue Vice Mayor.
MR. MAXWELL:  Maybe that clears up a little bit, because in my mind I'm thinking, Look -- and you just said it, you got two commissioners, maybe more who are publicly saying, Look, we don't like this deal, we don't like this project, we don't -- whatever, and they are thinking, Hey -- in their mind, from their perspective, maybe they think -- maybe they don't understand the processes, whatever, and they're thinking, Hey, wait a minute, we are going to get -- come up on the wrong end of the stick here.
MR. JOSLYN:  Oh, no --
MR. MAXWELL:  We better start covering ourselves, and make sure we got all our documentation together.
MR. JOSLYN:  They knew there was -- there are a lot of e-mails where they are discussing your politics.
MR. JOSLYN:  They followed your elections from the beginning, and they knew when Ms. Mulvehill -- Commissioner Mulvehill, got elected, that they were now instead of being three, two for them, it was going to be three, two against, they knew.
MR. MAXWELL:  All right.  So the timing of the coming out in litigation came before or after the shift in the majority?
MR. JOSLYN:  The letter came -- I don't remember when your election was.
MR. MAXWELL:  November of 2008.
MR. JOSLYN:  Right.  The letter was November 18th.
MR. MAXWELL:  Right after the election?
MR. JOSLYN:  Right after the election, yeah.

MR. MAXWELL:  I guess my next point is really relevant.  That is, people forms LLC all the time for specific projects.
MR. MAXWELL:  And you don't have an infusion of capital that you anticipated, however you may have experienced some expenses, well, it's wrong, I think it's morally wrong obviously, not to pay
people --
MR. JOSLYN:  Walk away.
MR. MAXWELL:  -- is that a material piece of this case, the fact that they stiffed --
MR. JOSLYN:  I think it is, because these guys are going to have to say we were ready, willing and able to perform, you know.
MS. TRIOLO:  When they performed in the pool --
MR. JOSLYN:  Yeah, but the pool -- you know, it's such a minimum amount of money in terms of -- you know, it was about -- 40,000 bucks more was needed after they finished the pool, so call it 10 percent.
MS. TRIOLO:  Okay.
MR. JOSLYN:  That's a significant amount of money in my mind.
     But just the lackadaisical all the way along, not having traffic engineers.  There is a number of e-mails Corio Gorman and these guys going, Hey, you need to hire a traffic engineer, you need to hire this person, and as a result of their not hiring a traffic engineer on the first go through with the comp plan, it was rejected, because they didn't have the traffic study they needed, so they hired Kimberly Horn.  They did the traffic study, and then Kimberly Horn got stiffed, so...
MS. TRIOLO:  City Manager?
MR. BORNSTEIN:  As far as -- just to follow up on what the Vice Mayor was asking.  The point that they couldn't pull the financing together, therefore, they couldn't make all these payments being the fault of the City, I mean, can't they --
MR. JOSLYN:  I don't think so.
MR. BORNSTEIN:  Because in some deals, you know, you pull together.  It's an isolated incident.
MR. JOSLYN:  Right.
MR. BORNSTEIN:  It's based on financing based on a contract to do certain work.  If for whatever reasons they can't start that train rolling, well, of course, they are not going to pay everything else.
MR. JOSLYN:  But, you normally -- if that's going to be your financing mechanism, you discuss it with your consultants first.
MR. BORNSTEIN:  I don't disagree.
MR. JOSLYN:  You don't miss telling them that until they start pressing you for payments.
     He refused to sign a contract with The Architectural Group.  Oh, yeah, we will get to it, we will get it.
MR. BORNSTEIN:  There was never any documentation to any of those suppliers of services that you're not getting money because the City is not paying us?
MR. JOSLYN:  Oh, that's what he says later, a couple of people have been told, If we win this lawsuit, you are going to get paid, but a number of them had had no contact.
     I mean, there are a lot curious things about this case on the other side.  No title expert when title was one of the issues raised in the default letter.  No comp plan or land use expert.  A fly-by-night kind of financial analysis without -- you know, in something like this, you would expect some sort of Ph.D., credentialed economist when you are trying to create stuff out of whole cloth, you know, or somebody with expertise in the field who could say what they did and how they were going to do this.  They don't have anybody like that listed.
     And like I say, this financial planner that they had used, it's kind of indicative of their whole approach here.  That he is doing it on the cheap.  One more thing I'll tell you -- I'm sorry, do you have a question?
MS. TRIOLO:  Commissioner Amoroso?
MR. AMOROSO:  Out of all the people that he owed money to, only one sued him?
MR. JOSLYN:  I think so.  Because everybody knew that they didn't have anything.  You know, there is no -- your contract is with the entity, or your arrangement is with the entity, not the individuals.  So you don't have anybody to go if the entity has nothing.
MS. TRIOLO:  City Attorney?
MR. TORCIVIA:  Just a couple of questions.
     From a litigation expense standpoint, what would you estimate the City will be spending through trial?
MR. JOSLYN:  I gave Elaine an analysis broken down by deposition and all of that stuff.  I said I thought on the high side, it's probably a couple of hundred thousand bucks.
MR. TORCIVIA:  That's what I thought, 2 to 250, in that range?
MR. JOSLYN:  I think so.  The heavy work, spending the months going through all these darn e-mails is done.  The organization of them is done.  I have got Willard's deposition file ready to go with all the documents copied.  We have done the jury simulation.
MR. TORCIVIA:  The jury simulation --
MR. JOSLYN:  I'm sorry, I felt so bad for you. I didn't have a chance to talk to you that day. I --
MR. TORCIVIA:  There is always a risk with a jury.
MR. JOSLYN:  There is.
MR. TORCIVIA:  There is no 100 percent winner.
     So what would be your estimate, what's the percentage chance that we could lose or range? You know, is it a 10 percent, a 50 percent, a 30 percent?