Saturday, September 7, 2013

The new gold rush that proves the anti-fracking fanatics have got it all wrong | Mail Online

A different point of view - the economic success of a North Dakota town in contrast to the debate in Great Britain. Click title for link. From the article:
Not surprisingly, it’s a side to the fracking phenomenon about which you won’t hear much from the eco-warriors, who are hogging the airwaves about the issue in Britain.
Surrounded by gently rolling hills of cornfields and grass land where cattle graze and hay bales wait to be taken in, Watford City reminds me of nowhere so much as the South Downs of England, close to the West Sussex village of Balcombe, where noisy green protesters including fashion designer Vivienne Westwood have declared war on Britain’s attempt to exploit the fracking boom.
Many of those who descended on Balcombe to take on the police trying to keep order have been exposed as knowing next to nothing about fracking.
If they want to learn more about the economic arguments in its favour, they would do well to study the lessons of North Dakota.

Retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, in Boise, laments 'alarming degree of public ignorance' | McClatchy

Sad commentary but interesting article about the first female Supreme Court justice. This is just alarming. Click title for link.
Two-thirds of Americans cannot name a single Supreme Court justice, former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor told the crowd that packed into a Boise State ballroom to hear her Thursday.
About one-third can name the three branches of government. Fewer than one-fifth of high school seniors can explain how citizen participation benefits democracy.
"Less than one-third of eighth-graders can identify the historical purpose of the Declaration of Independence, and it's right there in the name," she said.

EXCLUSIVE — HOA to Allen West: We’ll Take Your House, Unless You Pay up!

Oh my, there seems to be a few dings in Allen West's armor. I hope our local super fan can cope. Click title for link.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Rush Hour Traffic in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam (It's because they allow 6 story hotels)

Did you know that today is Local Works Day?

The Florida Local Government Coalition advocates for local governments by educating residents and sharing resources among its association partners. Recently, the Coalition launched a public awareness campaign called "Local Works" to help Floridians understand, appreciate and support local governments and the services and values these governments bring to millions of lives each day. September 6, 2013, is being recognized as Local Works Day. On this day, let's celebrate the public servants and services that knit our communities together, but that many take for granted. For more information go to

Fury over 'Ghetto Tracker' website that identifies poor neighborhoods so that rich people can avoid them | Mail Online

Timely given Margaret's comment from last night. Anyone else remember then Commissioner Golden responding to a resident's concern over the conditions present in his neighborhood like this, "Well, Manny, you're just going to have to get used to living in a ghetto." It was said at a Commission meeting in response to public comment.

Anyway, not sure what the people who created the site had in mind when they named it "Ghetto Tracker" and "Good Part of Town" isn't that much of an improvement. I have heard of horror stories about directions via Google maps. I wonder how Lake Worth would appear on such an app? Click title for link to article.

"They say he came on his bike with only a noodle on his back."

Such are the things of legends.

Come join us on your own legendary tale at 8:30 a.m. Thursday and Friday for Sally Welsh's water aerobics class. There is also a class at 10 a.m. on Sundays. It costs $4 to get in the pool area and a tip for Sally's gas money is a nice gesture. The class lasts an hour. She has equipment there so you don't need to get your own, especially for the first or second time. After that, you can see what works for you and acquire some "gear."

Here I am arriving this morning at 8:30 a.m. for class. Riding a bike there is optional, of course.
Hope to see you there!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Margaret says this: (via a comment on the previous ARSON post)

Until the new commission there's been a concerted effort to drive down the commercial and residential tax base. This was done by past commissions, their compliant city managers and the policies they enacted. Of this have no doubt. But the question is why? Virtually nothing was done in a substantive way to improve the lives of the most unfortunate. Nothing was done in a substantial way to attract business and industry. But the question I keep coming back to is WHY? I know Decker and also know Karson. I know almost all of them on that side of the "big divide". Without giving away my personal feelings and misgivings have tried to engage them in a thoughtful "well what then" conversation. What's the goal? How do you envision the city in ten, twenty years? And do you know what they tell me? Here's what they tell me: The city is just the way we want it to be. For Ms. Karson, to name one, the City should stay just the way it is right now. In perpetuity. Why tinker? My work takes me to the worst areas in the city's southwest areas and to some other equally dangerous areas not far from where Commissioner McVoy resides, and no, Lake Worth is not fine the way it is. Try not to get upset but it truly angers me that the vast majority of people defending the City "is just fine as it is" reside in some of the most privileged, well-manicured neighborhoods like Lakeside and Palmway, which, just by chance of course, happens to be overwhelmingly white. But that has nothing to do with anything, of course. 

Housing Study Warns Against the Development of German Detroits - SPIEGEL ONLINE

Depopulation is a real trend and not just on this continent. Click title for link. Does this sound familiar?
Empty buildings reduce the chances that surrounding apartments can be rented and leads to vandalism and dilapidation. The researchers involved in the study cite the US city of Detroit as an example, where large swaths of the inner city have been abandoned. Costs rise too, in such a scenario, because providing trash pickup or sewage service to the entire city is being paid for by fewer residents.
I have always maintained that our biggest threat is the one outlined in the article - not one of  "over-development" as some people think Lake Worth is a victim. We are still adjusting to the loss of US-1 as a major tax generator.

One of our residential structures that did not survive...

These pictures were taken today less than one week after a fire ravaged this residential structure at the NE corner of 1st Avenue South and South B Street. There is another hulk of a structure than burned the same night within three blocks of this one. See the picture of the tied shows across the power line. Many think that indicates a place where street drugs are available.

I don't know about the status of this house - whether it was vacant, foreclosed or what. But this is concerning for many reasons. What struck me most is this is right across the street from Our Savior Lutheran which is one of our city polling locations.

Baltimore's last houses standing: The beautiful row houses once part of sprawling tenements | Mail Online

There are those here in Lake Worth that like to think that the three-story townhouse is somehow an alien concept in urban areas. That couldn't be farther from the truth. They have part of the urban landscape for a very long time. This article features some of Baltimore's remaining row houses. These structures have endured many years of urban stress and change. These are the survivors. No one design of housing is more appropriate to an urban area and most cities offer many types of housing choices for a variety of needs. I would also point to our Lake Worth garden variety cat-walk apartments as an example of an enduring trend that has passed, but still exist to supply affordable housing for part of the residential marketplace.

Click title for link to article.

I don't know what's going on over there, but these must be trying times for Lynn...

This is her new comment policy:
Her experience must be completely different from mine. There are very few comments that I don't put through. I enjoy my readers and their comments and would never call them names. Oh, well, everyone is different.

This barber’s shop is ‘Nothin’ Fancy’

Nice piece by the Palm Beach Post about the barber shop that is at Worthmore and Dixe, northwest corner. It's the one with the Hulk Hogan in front of it. Got a kick out of reading this. He seems to be quite the character. Click title for link. I laughed at this:
I get some little kids in here still. The hardest part is the flailing of the arms. The screaming you can handle but not the flailing when you’re got scissors going.
Maybe it’s the word “cut” they don’t like.

College Park Neighborhood Association

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

On Monday, September 23rd, College Park will meet at the First Congregational Church, 1415 North K Street at 6:30 PM. City Manager Michael Bornstein and other officials from the City will be on hand to present the "Lake Worth 2020" Master Plan. This is a proposal to repair, replace, improve and upgrade the infrastructure all over the City. Included in this plan are specifics for roads, sidewalks, fire hydrants, water mains, utility lines and more. A bond to fund these improvements may be on the March ballot for voter approval, so it's important that we all understand what's involved.

The College Park Neighborhood Association does not take a position in favor of or in opposition to questions that come before the voters, but we are committed to sharing as much information as possible about the issue with our Neighbors.

On Saturday, September 21st, the South Palm Park Neighborhood Association is holding a Swim Relay Challenge at the Lake Worth Casino Pool and has invited all the Neighborhoods to join in the friendly competition. The fun starts at 10 AM. Four man, or woman, or mixed teams will swim relays across the width of the pool. Ringers are especially welcome!!! Think of this as a raft race only without the rafts! Should be lots of fun and a nice way to wind up a great Summer with our friends and neighbors from all over the City. Email if you'd like to be on the College Park Relay Team - we can have more than one!

Please feel free to share this information with friends and neighbors who may not be on Facebook. Thank You All!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Luckily, no lives were lost...

You remember the election that never happened, according to state law, back in March of this year? It was a silly matter over 20 feet in a limited part of our downtown. The area has some of the highest property values in Lake Worth and the fate of the historic Gulfstream Hotel hung in the balance.

During the campaign, the PAC formed to support rejection of the height limitation in the charter decided to erect a large sign on the Gulfstream Hotel which proclaimed that "NO" was the preferable choice for the long term future of the building and the city as a whole.

The sign had a seven foot long disclaimer, but that wasn't big enough for some people. The chair of the Respectful Planning Lake Worth PAC filed a complaint with the Florida Elections Commission where she urged the office's immediate attention to the complaint as the election was less than two weeks away.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, we have a decision as of August 26, 2013 when the chair of the Florida Elections Commission signed an approved "Consent Order" and the Election Commission now considers the "case closed." The person signing the letter to Loretta Sharpe, below, added the following, "I would also like to add my appreciation for the cooperative manner in which this case was resolved." It was considered a minor violation and the respondent, Ms. Sharpe, agreed to pay $200 and enter into the consent order where she neither admits or denies that it violated Section 106.143(1)(c). No investigation was undertaken by the department. So, you could say that this complaint too became "null and void."

Ms. Sharpe says this is the best $200 she has paid for the most amount of entertainment. Here is the official paperwork.

It should be noted that the Respectful Planning Lake Worth PAC was fined a similar amount for the submission of a late treasurer's report. So, let's call it even, shall we?

And where do those land use attorney fees show up on their report? In-kind or cash?

Mike Watkins - Founder of Hurricane Analytics 09/06 by High Noon in Lake Worth | Weather Podcasts

Join your host Wes Blackman as he welcomes Mike Watkins to the High Noon in Lake Worth studios. Keeping with the theme established last week, Mr. Watkins will show he has come to "unlock the secrets of Atlantic hurricanes by visualizing known data in new, unique and insightful ways." He does this through his website called "Hurricane Analytics." Please listen as we enter the peak of hurricane season in this part of the world.

Click title for link to live show between 12 and 1 p.m. on Friday 9/6/13 or for the archived show after it airs. Leave questions as comments below. 

From last night's City Commission meeting (9/3) - Public Hearings and part of New Business

Continued reaction from the City Commission on Public Comment (9/3)

More talk here about the Master Plan and the Lake Worth 2020 infrastructure program, especially the topic of street lighting.

Public Comment on Unagendaed Items from the 9/3 City Commission Meeting

There are a couple of "must watch" moments on this video. One, as mentioned before, is the ridiculous notion that downtown Lake Worth somehow, intrinsically, cannot support a hotel. Mr. Timm and Commissioner McVoy seem to be on the side of the pessimists that there is no market for a hotel in downtown Lake Worth. Even if they were made aware of record occupancy numbers reported earlier for Palm Beach County hotel rooms, I am sure it would not be enough proof. Somehow, to them, Lake Worth is undeserving of a hotel. Others, particularly Commissioner Szerdi, disagreed.

Check out Dustin Zacks' comments about scheduling public meetings on what to some are high holidays, that really isn't fair to staff, board members and applicants who might find it impossible to attend on such days. Throughout the evening he entertained us with a theme of ridding Lake Worth of the dreaded cat scratch fever. The shtick got a little old as the evening progressed.

Also not to missed is Lynn Anderson carrying the water for Annabeth Karson. It seems that members of the cabal were stirred by Ms. Sharpe's comments and questions about the work that Ms. Karson did for the 2010 Census and whether there were bills and other documentation that went with the work. Commissioner Amoroso in response indicated that he would be interested as well. So to counter these "charges", Ms. Anderson volunteered (?) her time to lay out the history and purpose for Ms. Karson's Census work. She says that there was interference from the dais and that she didn't have to show any bills since it wasn't that type of contract. She went on to say that Rachel Smithson had a PowerPoint on the topic, which never has seen the light of day since she left the city about that time, that reviewed all of this. Why she was the one to respond on her behalf sheds light on the "who carries whose water" situation in the cabal. Thanks Ms. Anderson for confirming what we already know.

Yolanda Vasquez also makes a compelling argument for more streetlights at 6th and D, with infant in arms at the podium. The streetlight situation is spotty to poor throughout the city and have long maintained that our residential streets are underlit compared to surrounding communities. This situation contributes to the perception that our neighborhoods are not safe, which may be a reality in some cases, due to inadequate street lighting.

It really is worthwhile watching and listening to the entire video.

Commissioner Reports from Last Night's City Commission Meeting (9/3)

Town, Rosow sue ‘Daily News’ |

Click title for link to a Shiny Sheet article regarding a public records request in the Town of Palm Beach. You likely know about Florida's broad open government records laws, especially if you have listened to recent "High Noon in Lake Worth" shows with Joel Chandler of Florida Open Government Watch. It seems that the Town and the Town Council President are making an argument that communication from a personal e-mail account is not subject to Florida open records laws - but if it is about Town business, it still would be. However, now they are claiming in relates to "mediation" between two parties so it is exempt. The fate of the Royal Poinciana Playhouse has long been a contentious issue in Palm Beach.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Video coming from tonight's (9/3) City Commission Meeting

Link to the agenda.

From the Lake Worth CRA: Volunteers Unite to Educate Lake Worth Residents About Fire Prevention

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (September 1, 2013) – The American Red Cross Palm Beaches-Treasure Coast Region, Compass and Palm Beach County Fire Rescue will partner on Saturday, September 7, 2013, from 10 a.m. until noon, to educate residents in Lake Worth about fire prevention and fire awareness. The event will mark the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks for the September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance. Volunteers will educate visitors at the Compass Community Center located at 201 N. Dixie Hwy. about fire prevention, and Palm Beach County Fire Rescue will be on hand to discuss fire awareness and tips to prevent house fires. In addition, Red Cross volunteers will go door-to-door in the community to discuss fire prevention tips to residents from N. 3rd St. to S. 3rd St. and N. Avenue A to S. Avenue H. September 11th was designated a national day of service by the 2009 Kennedy Serve America Act. The Corporation for National and Community Service leads the annual event, working with MyGoodDeed and hundreds of nonprofit groups, faith-based organizations, and schools and businesses nationwide.

This year’s projects will enlist volunteers in delivering meals, refurbishing schools and community centers, collecting food and clothing, signing up as mentors, reading to children, and more.

The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service each year through Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and other programs; improves communities through the Social Innovation Fund; and leads President Obama's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or visit us on Twitter at Redcross, Wicklow, Ireland

Tropical Ridge Neighborhood Association

Greetings everyone,

Time for our September meeting reminder.

Tropical Ridge Neighborhood Association will be meeting next Monday (Sept 9th) at the First Church of Nazarine (2nd Ave N. and N. D street) at 7:00 pm.

Hope to see as many of you as possible there as we will be discussing our upcoming event. We will be organizing our Octoberfest. Date is October 26th. So far we have signed up the Fire Dept., SWA, CRA, Lake Worth Library, NAPC, Ted Brownstein (signing his 'Pioneers of Jewell' book), Brian Kirsch of Grey Mockingbird Garden and the Scottish Rite Masionic Center is very kindly loaning us their barbeque grill. We still need a layout, times (so far we are saying 1:30-4:30 but that hasn't been finalized), food, and anything else you can think of. 

Also, please don't forget next Saturday's (Sept.7th)  Neighborhood Enhancement Team's neighborhood cleanup. The meeting place is 408 S. E street. Starting time is 8:30 - ending around 11:30.


Editorial: For civility code, be nice but be frugal |

It is a rare event when the Palm Beach Post editorial board cites Lake Worth as a good example...of anything. But today we are the beacons of "civility" of all things in Palm Beach County. Check this out - click title for link.
The city has turned the routine into the ridiculous. Instead of reinventing the wheel and paying attorney Gerald Richman $250 an hour to make sure it doesn’t squeak, the city could’ve just turned to Lake Worth, which adopted a civility code two years ago that “bans name-calling, obscenity and shouting” and requires speakers to refrain from using “fighting words which might incite violence.”

Real Time real-estate blog | The Palm Beach Post » Blog Archive » Palm Beach County home prices surge 14 percent in July

Generally good news about increasing real estate prices in Palm Beach County during this past July - 14%. However, this somber note is something else to keep in mind.
Florida did make one CoreLogic Top 10 list. It ranked second for the largest peak-to-current declines in pricing with a 37.4 percent decrease. Nevada came in first with a 43 percent decline, with Arizona ranking third with 32.5 percent.
Click title for link to article.

Monday, September 2, 2013

The REAL Wayback Machine...

From the Wayback Machine (2003 Election)

A good friend of mine dropped off some files from the ghost of Lake Worth elections past. This stood out from the rest for a couple of reasons. It is printed on green paper, a tri-fold flier with printing on both sides. Significantly, on the front page, readers are urged to visit I was surprised to find that it is still an "alive" web address with current material and copyright. You might say that whoever runs it is heavily into controversial topics and conspiracy theories. Your guess is as good as mine as to who actually runs it. The document had no other disclaimer as a political advertisement.

It had this handy legend before presenting the evaluation of the current crop of candidates:
The odd thing is that everyone but one candidate got a so-so or poor rating/evaluation. The exception was Laurence McNamara. Here is his glowing review. Pay particular attention to "KEEP ALL BUILDINGS TWO STORY":
Here are the others in no apparent order. The winners of this election were Romano, Burns (run-off) and Lowe.

So, what is the connection between and Laurence McNamara?

Sun Sentinel - Flood-control water dumping hurting Lake Worth Lagoon

It's not just the St. Lucie River. Check out this article - click title for link:
It's similar to the drainage problems in the Indian River Lagoon to the north, where much bigger discharges of Lake Okeechobee water combined with local runoff is killing fishing grounds, making water unsafe for swimming and prompting outrage from residents and businesses.
Everglades restoration that could get more Lake Okeechobee water flowing to the south offers a long-term alternative to damaging discharges to the coast, but it remains backlogged by costs and political hurdles.
Also, that restoration work takes billions of dollars and decades of construction — assuming federal and state leaders follow through — and in the meantime the damaging draining continues.
And then this:
The increased flood-control dumping from the canals throws off the delicate balance of salt and fresh water in the estuaries. It also brings pollutants and muck that make conditions worse by clouding the water and keeping much-needed sunlight from reaching the sea grass below the surface.
The Snook Islands Natural Area, just north of the Lake Worth Bridge, is one of the spots where water pollution from flood control discharges is killing habitat vital to fish, manatees and wading birds.
Taxpayers since 2005 have invested about $20 million in expanding seagrass beds and oyster reefs and planting mangroves — along with building a boardwalk, fishing pier, docks and other public access attractions — at the 100-acre marine habitat restoration project.
Snook Islands was a restoration success story, even becoming home to the largest concentration of Johnson's seagrass, a threatened species.
But a recent inspection in the wake of the polluting discharges revealed that all 42 acres of Johnson's seagrass is dead and oysters at the Snook Islands are "declining fast," Bates said.

Bradley’s Hole-in-One opens for final day of business |

The West Palm Beach Golf Course restaurant closes. It had been operated by the same people who run E.R. Bradley's. Click title for link to article. Check this out!
And he’s working on a deal with the Lake Worth municipal golf course to move the Hole-in-One there as soon as possible.
“Hopefully we’ll be ready to go in a month and not miss a beat,” Reale said.
Anyone know the status of the RFP on LW golf course concession? 

WPEC-TV CBS12 News :: News - Top Stories - Two abandoned house fires in Lake Worth keep fire crews busy

Abandoned properties here are becoming an attractive nuisance. Click title for link. These are within two or three blocks of each other on South B Street.

Bodega 2.0: A Business for Healthy, Walkable Cities? | LinkedIn

In light of the discussion about the economic and physical condition of Dixie Hwy. in Lake Worth, we really need to think about what sorts of businesses could utilize these spaces given the difficulties as well as the opportunities present in the marketplace. Add to that a look at the electronic market place. I encourage you to click the title for a link to an article that makes a case for the corner store - one that is not a convenience store as we currently know, but one that would specialize in certain items that are both needed by and good for the community it serves. The author sounds wistful in some of her ideas about family run business opportunities, with children being raised under the retail roof. Norman Rockwell comes to mind. However, it is an interesting examination of the opportunities present, at least in her geographic area of the world which happens to be the San Francisco Bay.

Happy Labor Day!

Real estate and Realtors on the rebound in Palm Beach County... |

O.K., we have been through what has been called the Great Recession. Much of the blame for which can be laid at the foot of the real estate industry and irresponsible lending and borrowing that supported a tremendous bubble. But that doesn't mean that we are immune to future ups and downs in the national, regional and local real estate markets. The real estate market seems to be making a come back but locally it has always been a "boom or bust" cycle more so than other areas of the country. And one sector, like the market for office space, can be down while the residential market is up. It is truly an example of a dynamic marketplace where the only certainty is change. Click title for link to article.

In Defense of Marina Lofts in Fort Lauderdale

From New Times, this is an alternative, supporting view point on the Marina Lofts project recently approved in downtown Ft. Lauderdale. Click title for link. Does this part of the article sound at all familiar?
No one wants to deny Fort Lauderdale it's own unique identity. We like our relaxed, low-key strain of waterfront living; the small-town feel and quaint, Old Florida-style architecture, but there's always room for growth. Opponents have said we should just let Miami have the Marina Lofts. That is sad! While most growing cities would kill for an innovative and internationally recognized project like this, ours is acting like a grumpy old man too stubborn to realize what's good for him. Why not dream big? Why must we have an identity crisis anytime someone proposes a little change?
I guess it is all just a matter of perspective. To some, Ft. Lauderdale is their Eden. To others, Lake Worth is and to others still so is New York City. We pause for a musical interlude.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Internal auditor ruffles some feathers

Lona O'Connor interviewing our Lake Worth Internal Auditor. Click title for link. Here is one interaction:
Q. What happened as a result of your report on code enforcement, which was critical of how things were being done? 
A. It caused quite a bit of a stir over there. People left and there was quite a bit of unrest over things I pointed out. That’s fine. One of the things I do is stir the pot.

Risk & Insurance Online - The Day the Dike Breaks

Regarding Lake Okeechobee and the Herbert Hoover dike MUST READ - click title for link. From the article:
To the question, "Who saw this one coming?" the answer is, nearly everyone who was paying any attention.
The above situation has already been envisioned by the Florida Division of Emergency Management, which published just such a scenario for emergency planning purposes in May of 2008.
Other agencies in Florida are also on the case.
A study commissioned in 2006 by the South Florida Water Management District concluded that the Herbert Hoover Dike, which holds back the lake water, poses a "grave and imminent" danger of collapse.
The problem, according to an analysis of the situation by Lloyd's of London, is that the dike is performing a task for which it was never intended. The dike is composed of earth next to Lake Okeechobee that was merely shoveled up into walls as high as 30 feet.
The decision was made in the 1970s to use the lake as a drinking water reservoir. This called for the maintenance of much higher water levels than the dike was ever intended to hold.
According to Lloyd's, the Herbert Hoover Dike is being asked to function as a reservoir dam, when from a technical perspective, it isn't a dam.