Saturday, May 10, 2014

Carl Sagan

2014 Earth First! Rendezvous Call For Workshops and Donations | Earth First! Newswire

If you haven't made your summer plans yet, here's a fun trip where you can meet up with your EF! friends at the beginning of July. Click title for link. Below is a snip from the article. The highlighted phrase caught my eye.

The One thousand and One Cottages of Lake Worth | Lake Worth every minute

Great post on the Cottages of Lake Worth by AnnaMaria Windisch-Hunt. Click title for link.

I really miss Soul Train...

Why are so many white men trying to save the planet without the rest of us? | Suzanne Goldenberg |

The environmental's pale and male (and so are our local enviros). Click title for link. From the article:
Public opinion research in the US suggests women, Latinos, African-Americans, Asians and Native Americans are more concerned – and more directly affected – by climate change than other populations. Doesn't it make sense to include those who are most at risk in decisions about how we fight the defining challenge of our time?
Now take a look at the top executives at eight of the top 10 groups devoted to fighting that fight:
Sierra Club? White male.
Nature Conservancy? White male.
League of Conservation Voters? White male.
World Wildlife Fund? White male.
Environmental Defense Fund? White male.
Friends of the Earth? White male.
National Audubon Society? White male.
Nature Conservancy? White male.
The very top of "Big Green" is as white and male as a Tea Party meet-up. It doesn't look like change. It doesn't even look like America. So is it any wonder environmental groups are having trouble connecting with the public on climate change?

More crime in Greenfield CA

Assault with Deadly Weapon
1000 Block CHALONE DR & 12TH ST

From the National Weather Service




Shirdi Sai Baba

"Life is a song - sing it. Life is a game - play it. Life is a challenge - meet it. Life is a dream - realize it. Life is a sacrifice - offer it. Life is love - enjoy it."

Census says...

Everyone should get their calculators out and following along this weekend. I think it is important to flesh out what "world class" diversity looks like. That was one of the strengths made by the Residences of Lake Osborne in their presentation last Tuesday.

According to the 2010 Census, the entire City of Lake Worth had a population of 34,910, of which 19.8% were Black/African American and 39.6% were of Hispanic/Latino origin, white and non-white.

In the area bounded by Lake Osborne on the west, I-95 to the east, 6th Avenue South and the southern city limits, there are a total of 1,299 people, of which 1,116 (85.9%) are white and 121 (9.3%) are Black/African American. Other groups make up the balance.

We will have more information later as we research the numbers from the census tract and block data.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Saint Augustine

“It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.”

Presentation by the Residences of Lake Osborne at Tuesday's City Commission meeting (5/6)

Here we learn that, for some unknown reason, this neighborhood association has changed its name from the "Residents" to the "Residences" of Lake Osborne. We can assume that this reflects a change in focus of the association to represent inanimate objects instead of the people that live in the neighborhood. We learn that the neighborhood has been stable over the past 50 years, which parallels this public comment by a resident of this neighborhood. This comment was made at the meeting when the City Commission passed a resolution of support for a Spring training facility in John Prince Park. Which the same neighborhood representative at the podium signed off on. You can see examples of the neighborhood's "stability" interspersed through the video.

So, this rosier than reality presentation before the Commission led me to do some fact-checking. Here is what I found from a local real estate agent with access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
The Residences of Lake Osborne Heights area, shown in gray-green on this neighborhood association map, makes up almost all of the area west of I-95, north of the City limit, to Lake Osborne and an area north of Sixth Avenue South.
Portion of Utility Service Area Map
This map shows multiple jurisdictional lines including water, sewer, electric and the Lake Worth city limits. Note that the electric service area is in yellow. The north/south road, south of the "r" in Lake Osborne on the map,  is High Ridge Road and is also the city limit.
  • In the area delineated by the MLS which takes in much of the same area as this neighborhood association, 136 properties were on the market during the last 24 months. Condominium/apartments made up the vast majority of sales with a total of 87. Traditional single family residences tallied 49 listings. Note that per the MLS map, this area also includes all the properties between the southern Lake Worth city limits to Lantana Road. This is outside the city of Lake Worth and is served by FPL. See a portion of the city utility service area map from the city's website showing the service area.
  • Thus, about half of this area enjoys electric service provided by FPL which carries lower rates and the market would reflect this in higher property values. If anything, this skews the sales value data upward for this area since it does not solely reflect sales in the city of Lake Worth.
  • One particular address, 2204 Lake Osborne Drive, which shows up as Building 6 on the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser's website, had three units sell at a median price of $26,500 and an average price of $28,000. If you look on the map above, the area where this particular building is located is outside of the boundaries of the neighborhood. This is odd as this building houses a person that is "glued to the hip" of any representative from ROLO at city meetings. This building's real estate performance is the lowest performing "outlier" of the set of data. Which makes one wonder if there is something unusual or unique about this building. Hmmmm.
  • Of the 87 condominium/apartment sales (how they are listed in the MLS), 52 of them were from the high density Murry Hills development. This waterfront property tallied a median sales price for individual units over the past two years of $40,950 and the average price was $35,074. With the average price being lower than the median, there were more lower value sales than were at the higher end of the range.
  • It's important to note how other sectors of the city have performed with sales volume in the wake of the Great Recession during this two year period. Sales in the northeast part of the city (traditionally referred to as District 3) totaled 174. A smaller geographic area southeast of Lake Avenue and Dixie Hwy. (District 4) rang up 78 sales. The northwest area of the city (District 2) had 105 sales. And the part of District 1 west of Dixie and east of I-95 had 64 real estate transactions. As stated above, the area that includes ROLO includes areas outside of Lake Worth, all the way south to Lantana Road. Not all of the 136 sales were in the city of Lake Worth or the ROLO neighborhood.
  • Single family home median values in the MLS area that includes the ROLO neighborhood had a median price of $127,500 and an average price of $116,100. This is not exactly setting the residential real estate world of south Florida on fire. It actually represents an area under-performing to what its potential actually could be.
  • Quite to the contrary of these facts, Mr. Waples states in his presentation that "the housing inventory keeps shrinking." I'm not sure what he means by this. Does he mean there are less houses available on the market due to their dilapidated condition? Or does he mean that there are less homes on the market currently? Or, does it mean that they are actively deterring new redevelopment opportunities? If the Commission wanted to ask questions like this, the neighborhood association provided no opportunity as the three made a quick exit, stage right out the door immediately after their presentation. Most all other neighborhood presentations at the podium wait and ask if there are any questions from the Commission. This presentation was different.
  • And, just for the record, there are 13 properties in this MLS area that are under contract and 22 active listings as of the date of this post.
  • Mr. Waples talks about the neighborhood's "location, location, location" as being a key to its attractiveness and 50 year stability. These strengths include "world class diversity with cultures from around the globe", "very little if no absentee landlords", "close to I-95 and the Tri-Rail station", that is waterfront property "surrounded by beautiful Lake Osborne", "proximity to Palm Beach State College and of course the park for the people, John Prince Memorial Park", etc. With all these strengths and inherent assets, it should be performing better in terms of property value. For some reason it is not and that means that something is holding it back. Could it be the residents themselves or at least their leadership?
  • Again from the presentation, Mr. Waples says "our values are increasing which makes us a very desirable place to live." This statement is contrary to Mr. Waples' experience with his own property! Check out the assessed value history of his property. This is public information from the property appraiser's office. Contrary to his presentation, his own property decreased in assessed value between 2012 and 2013 by $8,758 or a little over ten percent. How does the property appraiser determine a property's assessed value? He does so by looking over sales values over the previous year. According to this, property values must be falling for similarly situated properties. Why? 
These are the facts as I could assemble them since Tuesday night. All I know is that the city promoted itself as a city with two waterfronts for a very long time. Here is a sign from back in the 1960s along U.S. 1 in front of the current City Hall building:
The ROLO neighborhood is on the waterfront, in the middle of Palm Beach County, Florida. It is not currently the shining neighborhood on the hill as the presentation suggested. What we heard on Tuesday night was contrary to the facts and reflected a denial of the real conditions present in the neighborhood by its leadership. The presentation left more questions than answers and this neighborhood continues to be a drain on city resources. When presented with opportunities to improve the situation in their neighborhood, this small group of people does everything in their power to resist change. Maybe they are the biggest part of the problem.

We're curious...

We're curious about many things, as you know. What about all the name changes for one of our city's neighborhood associations? First, we learn that they drop "Heights" off the end of their name. Then we learned at last Tuesday's City Commission meeting that they are also changing "Residents" to "Residences" at the beginning of their name, now supposedly officially known as the Residences of Lake Osborne. Which changes their acronym from ROLOH to ROLO. It kind of makes we wonder when the meds are distributed over there and if it may be a problem with Medicare Part B. Or is it more like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic?

Anyway, they need to change a lot of logos, insignias, e-mails and websites. Here are just a few that I found.

Neighborhood Fav Commissioner Shelley Vana enjoys a link on their website.


Downtown West Palm Beach Historical Walking Tour - Tonight (5/9)

When: May 09, 04:00 PM

Where: PBC History Museum - 300 N. Dixie Hwy

The Historical Society of Palm Beach County will host Downtown West Palm Beach History Strolls led by architect and historian Rick Gonzalez of REG Architects. The one-hour guided tour showcases the evolution of downtown West Palm Beach buildings and landmarks and includes an historical urban design overview through recent area development. The tours have been organized each season since the development of CityPlace, West Palm Beach.

Tour groups should meet at the Dixie Highway entrance to the historic 1916 courthouse in West Palm Beach. Advance reservations are required.

Richard and Pat Johnson Palm Beach County History Museum
Historic 1916 Courthouse
300 N. Dixie Highway
West Palm Beach

ADMISSION: Advance Reservations Required.  A Minimum of 10 people are required for the tour to take place.

Free and Open to the Public
Donations may be made to the Historical Society of Palm Beach County
For reservations, underwriting opportunities, or
general information, please call (561) 832-4164 ext 103

More crime in Greenfield, CA


Breaking & Entering
100 Block 10TH ST & MAPLE AV

100 Block 9TH ST & OAK AV

Assault with Deadly Weapon

1 Block 11TH ST & ELM AV

Greenacres approves another single-family home development |

Greenacres approves two smaller residential developments and annexes some unincorporated Palm Beach County land. Click title for link.
In another sign the economy is starting to rebound locally, the Greenacres City Council this week gave approvals on first reading to another new single-family home development — this one on the north side of Bowman Street, just east of Haverhill Road.
The development, Bowman Pines, is a 24-home community that is scheduled to be built on two parcels at 4924 Second St. totaling 5.114 acres in unincorporated Palm Beach County. The development will feature 12 lots on the left, 12 on the right and a turn-around feature at the end of the street.

From WPTV Channel 5 a few days ago - The city's problem with abandoned properities

As the video shows, a notoriously vacant structure finally succumbed to fire earlier this week. This prompted the station to do a piece on all the abandoned property in the city. City Manager Bornstein is interviewed and the city looks like its on top of the situation. These are pictures of the property where the fire took place. Make sure to watch the video.

More on the Good News from Tuesday's (5/6) Commission Consent Agenda

The City is making an application to the Florida Inland Navigation District for grant funds to improve the Old Bridge Park Natural Area. The total amount of the grant is $251,875 and the project cost is $503,750. The match is coming from Palm Beach County. It will cover the cost of improvements to the City of Lake Worth land north of the bridge and land south of the bridge leased by the county.

I find it interesting that this activity has gone under the radar since both properties share long individual histories. Of course, Old Bridge Park, formerly Causeway Park, had been promoted by a former mayor for sale and turning the park over to a private developer who would build a condominium there. This then led to the Save Our Parks initiative which made it on the ballot. Voters approved the measure that would require a referendum on the sale of park land in the city and restricting leases on that land to 20 years without a referendum. The mayor that pushed that project lost his bid for re-election. That was the area north of the bridge, but would also have tied in the area south of the bridge. Old Bridge Park became jokingly referred to as "Hot Dog Park" since it was used by the forces of darkness each Fourth of July to celebrate their victory giving away hot dogs in what amounted to a waterfront parking lot.

The area south of the bridge is the former Steinhardt property where the city was in a long term lease going back to the late 1960s. Multiple proposals were "floated" for a marina, condominiums on fill, on stilts, etc. It was a contentious relationship between the city and the leasee for years. It was only recently resolved by the current administration and the land is now leased by Palm Beach County.

These are some pictures of how the area looks today. The area really does need some improvement.

These are the site plans of the area that are part of the application.

I just find it interesting that properties which generated so much public attention and outcry for so many years can go under the radar when a "good news" story happens. It would have been nice to see a "hip, hip, hooray", at least, from someone that thought the sun rose and set on these properties. Maybe they'll be there for the ribbon cutting. Oh, remember that the city is not contributing any cash to this project, but will be the primary beneficiary.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Public Comment from the Commission's 5/6/14 meeting...

Commissioner McVoy's comments regarding what he is hearing about the Spring training baseball stadium...

This came as an afterthought at the end of Commissioner Liaison Reports and Comments on Tuesday (5/6). Commissioner McVoy says that he has heard from people opposing the notion of the Spring training stadium.

Mayor and Commissioner Comments from Tuesday night's (5/6) meeting...

Concern was expressed by Vice Mayor Maxwell about getting out the word on the coming district meetings concerning the potential referendum to fund various infrastructure projects. They are coming up quickly. If you have any questions and/or want to learn more about the specifics of the program, you should attend one of these four meetings:
  • May 14th - 6 p.m. - District #2 meeting - Scottish Rite Temple
  • May 17th - 7 p.m. - District #4 meeting - The Glass House (part of Bryant Park Neighborhood Association meeting)
  • May 21st - 6 p.m. - District #3 meeting - First Congregational Church on N. K. Street
  • May 22nd - 6 p.m. - District #1 meeting - Lake Osborne Community Center
Contact your Commissioner or the Mayor for more information.

It’s Thursday | Lake Worth every minute

From AnnaMaria Windisch-Hunt comes here preview of weekend activities. Click title for link.

The Sun-Sentinel’s Boner -

This is one increase circulation. Click title for link.

Delray officials preliminarily pass panhandling rule - Sun Sentinel

The headline to this article is a little misleading. Yes, the Delray City Commission passed a series of rules to control "aggressive" panhandling and there will be a public hearing soon. The real news seems to come later in the article when it's revealed that the City Manager ordered $60,000 in garbage carts in October 2013 and asked for permission from the Commission in January of 2014. Commissioners were not pleased and there may be repercussions coming for the City Manager. Click title for link. Here is more on the panhandling issue:
The result: a rule that will address "aggressive" panhandling without violating people's First Amendment right to beg.
The law targets "aggressive" panhandling by defining it as anyone who keeps asking for money after being told no, raises their voice or touches someone else.
The new rule also dictates where in the city people can beg. It prohibits panhandling on private property without permission and in public places such as bus stops, city parks and sidewalk cafes. The rules don't apply to beggars standing quietly with signs or street performers who collect cash for their acts.

Celebrating the 1,000th view mark on one of our favorite videos...

Some comments left on YouTube appear below. Note the view count above in the lower right corner. You'll be able to access it for a while in the right hand column of this blog.

More enlightenment from ROLO leadership...

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Internal Auditor, Mr. Oakes, accepts proclamation for International Internal Audit Awareness Month

This is after the proclamation below was read by the Mayor:
New Business Item 12 B was to be his report to the City Commission on some of his recent findings and investigations. The item was taken off the agenda and postponed to a time uncertain.

James A. Michener

"The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he's always doing both."

Juno Beach luxury house development nearing completion

Meanwhile, development of high priced homes steams ahead in norther parts of Palm Beach County. Click title for link.
Houses are being finished at The Preserve, a 29-home  development on the west side of U.S. 1 just north of Juno Isles.
Prices for the single-family homes by Toll Brothers start around $1 million.
The 12-acre property, across from Palm Beach County Fire Station 15, was formerly owned by Seminole Golf Club. The private golf course used the marshy property as a water collection area to irrigate the 18-hole oceanfront course located nearby on the east side of State Road A1A.
Another luxury housing development in Juno Beach could break ground later this year.

Deeper study needed of All Aboard’s Palm Beach County impact |

From the front page of the Palm Beach Post comes this article which shows the proximity of the FEC railroad right-of-way to lower income and minority neighbors. Check out the map which accompanies the article. All Aboard Florida says that they are studying these conditions. Click title for link.
But the Federal Railroad Administration said All Aboard Florida must do a higher-level analysis to meet federal environmental justice requirements that seek to limit damage to neighborhoods that are disproportionately minority, poor or elderly.
All Aboard Florida has committed to paying for wayside horns, but some elected officials say noise isn’t the only concern. Traffic congestion and speeding trains could also cause problems in communities near the tracks, especially in Palm Beach County, which has 64 percent of the crossings in the tri-county area and more large neighborhoods in “severe impact” zones.
Looking at the map, you can see the poverty level of the neighborhoods in Lake Worth that hug the eastern tracks.

Florida – DEP Issues Permit for Herbert Hoover Dike Repair | Coastal Engineering News

One of the more important issues to the future of our region is the condition of the 143 mile long Herbert Hoover Dike along the edge of Lake Okeechobee. It was never designed to be a dam, but that is essentially what its function has become. Repair projects like these help balance the need for water control and the structural integrity of the dike. Click title for link to an official press release.
“The residents of South Florida are dependant upon a stable dike around Lake Okeechobee,” said DEP Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. “DEP was able to streamline its permitting process for critical dike rehabilitation projects to alleviate flooding and environmental concerns for residents in the communities impacted by Lake Okeechobee.”
The HHD R&R Project is intended to reduce the risk of flooding, piping and seepage as a result of higher lake levels. The dike, which was constructed in the early to mid-1900s, is comprised of gravel, rock, limestone, sand and shell and does not currently meet the rigorous standards for dams and levees that exist today; limiting the flexibility of water managers with regard to lake operations. Enhancements to the HHD are critical to the restoration of the Everglades, and last year, the state urged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) to expedite work on this dike system.

All Aboard Florida agrees to longer public comment period after input from Gov. Scott

All Aboard Florida agrees to a 75 day comment period in preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement. According to Kim Delaney of Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council during her presentation last night (5/6) at the City Commission meeting, the company was being asked to agree to a 90 day comment period, rather than what would be a 45 day period. This is a compromise position. Click title for link to the Palm Beach Post blog that summarizes some of the latest developments in the project. Look for Ms. Delaney's presentation later today on video right here on this blog.

Here is some of what the Post talks about in the article:
All Aboard Florida will tell the Federal Railroad Association that it is amenable to extending the public comment period from 45 days to 75 days following the release of the environmental impact statement.
The statement, which is expected in the next several weeks, will discuss the effect the express passenger rail service will have on areas north of West Palm Beach, including bridges and water traffic.
A notice released last night by All Aboard Florida said it was contacted Tuesday by Gov. Rick Scott to discuss the timeframes surrounding the solicitation of public input for the project and that he emphasized the need to give ample time and opportunity to the public to express their views.

College Park Neighborhood: Please be advised...

A reminder to our College Park Neighbors that as the work to replace the natural gas lines in our neighborhood is wrapping up, the final step will be to connect the new gas lines to the individual homes. This step requires an in home inspection of existing gas appliances by one of the technicians from Mears Group, Inc., the contractor hired by FPU. A sample of the ID card issued to all technicians has been kindly provided by Mears so that residents may check to verify before allowing anyone in their home. Questions, comments or concerns may be directed or by calling Supervisor Mike Pence at his office number (561) 623-7087 or his cell number (407) 495-7756.

Sample ID:

State Representative Lori Berman, District 90 reports to the City Commission (5/6)

Sobering news on sober homes. There is now more leeway in regulating short term rentals. City Attorney Torcivia complimented Rep. Berman on her work in the legislature regarding financing for Spring Training facilities. Her district includes John Prince Park.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Major League Spring Baseball

To help the struggling communities in central Palm Beach County, revive/reinvent a county park, and increase potential and opportunities for our citizens and business's that simple. Please call the PB County Commissioners and tell them YES on John Price Park as a site for national baseball teams.

Steve Abrams - - (561) 355-2204

Priscilla Taylor - - (561) 355-2207

Shelley Vana - - (561) 355-2203

Paulette Burdick - - (561) 355-2202

Jess Santamaria - - (561) 355-6300

Mary Lou Berger - - (561) 355-2205

Hal Valeche - - (561) 355-2201

Town of Palm Beach - Traffic Advisory - North Bridge

Potential Extended Bridge Openings

Please be advised that crews will be surveying the Flagler Memorial (North)Bridge tomorrow, May 7th, during the 10:15 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. bridge openings. Surveyors will be underneath the bridge surveying while the spans are in the “open” position. This may result in extended bridge openings during these timeframes. Please feel free to contact Tish Burgher directly should you have any questions regarding this work. 

Tish Burgher 
Public Information Officer 
Flagler Memorial Bridge Replacement Project 
Quest Corporation of America, Inc. 
Office: 561-655-0655 

It's good to know these things...

From the City park and recreational facility regulations being heard tonight on First Reading. I think we are covered and then some. The following applies to our beach property and other parks:
Why does this come to mind?

The Internal Auditor is giving a report at tonight's (5/6) City Commission Meeting - Item 12 (b)

Starting at page 215 of the back-up material, there is a new series of reports from the Internal Auditor. One regarding operations and policies of the Human Resources Department. This starts on page 248. Here is a bit about background checks and other hiring procedures.
I think that we are getting our money's worth with this position. Remember, this position went unfilled under previous City Commissions. Our former City Manager fired the one that was here when she started saying that "We don't need anyone else pointing out problems."

Nestled in the City Commission's Consent Agenda (Item 9F)

Among other changes is this item:
It looks like we are able to pay back part of the loan for the new Casino building, with interest. Things are looking up?

Lake Worth Library presents “Navigating Social Security & Healthcare Before Retiring”

The Lake Worth Public Library will be presenting a FREE seminar entitled “Navigating Social Security & Healthcare Before Retiring” on Wednesday May 14th at 6:30 pm in the City Hall Annex Building located at 414 Lake Ave.

Mr. Kevin DeMayo, retirement financial advisor from Wealth Group, Inc. will talk about Social Security and out-of -pocket healthcare costs for pre-retirees who often don’t take healthcare future expenses into account. Upon retiring many face a large cash flow crunch in the later years of retirement. 

He will discuss out-of-pocket as well as part "B' expense, Social Security claiming strategies and survivor benefits, the collection requirement for divorced men and women and widows, the optimum retirement considerations , working while collecting social security and  explain original Medicare: A,B,D and Medigap as well as the different costs.

His presentation is designed to make the connection between Social Security optimum collection strategies and the out-of-pocket long term healthcare costs. Attendees will be well equipped to decide if they should retire at the earliest possible age or wait until the full retirement age based on facts from my presentation.

No registration is required for this free seminar, all are welcome. For more information please call the Lake Worth Public Library at 561-533-7354.

On tonight's City Commission agenda (5/6) Residents of Lake Osborne Heights (ROLOH) Neighborhood Association update

Teams seeking stadium ready to talk dollars with county officials |

Negotiations keep on going behind the scenes. The parties are more certain of the financing parameters now that state legislation has been altered to allow a faster payout of money for a two team stadium. Mark Foley, lobbyist for the Nationals, is quoted throughout the article. Click title for link. It seems like the conversation revolves around two Palm Beach County sites. The one in West Palm Beach at 4th Street and Haverhill (landfill) or John Prince Park are getting the most attention. From the article:
Until last week, the financing was a problem because of a requirement that the state money be paid out over 37 years. That restriction was eased Friday when lawmakers approved a measure that changed the payout period for a two-team stadium to 25 years.
“What it means is it solidifies and makes usable the state contribution to a cost-sharing plan to keep the teams here,’’ Weisman said.
“Now the terms actually allow that financing should be feasible at $50 million. It’s money that can actually be used as compared to previously when we didn’t think it was practical to actually use the state money.’’
Gov. Rick Scott is expected to sign the legislation.
Don't forget to show your support for Spring baseball in Lake Worth by clicking here and signing the "YES" petition.

Boynton Beach: Marina work starts despite legal challenge - The Coastal Star

The Boynton Beach CRA is being sued by Lake Worth-based West Construction over the award of a contract to construct a Harbor Master project, just north of the Two Georges restaurant. They were the low bidder on the project but are claiming that the award to the second lowest bidder was arbitrary, among other claims. Click title for link to the Coastal Star article:
The latest renovation project at Boynton Harbor Marina, the Harbor Master building, was under construction in mid April despite a lawsuit filed by West Construction that seeks to stop the work.
    Attorneys for Lake Worth-based West, the lowest bidder on the Harbor Master project, filed suit against the Boynton Beach Community Redevelopment Agency on March 13, less than a week after Lake Mary-based Collage Design and Construction Group broke ground on the building.
    Collage was the second-lowest bidder on the contract. The complaint against the CRA, which owns the marina and awarded the construction contract to Collage, asks a judge to stop the work and award the contract to West.
    The lawsuit claims that stipulations in the invitation to bid on the marina project — including a requirement that the bidders had not been a party to litigation or arbitration arising from a public project within the past two years — violate Florida law.

Everglades restoration plan a waste of money, green group says

From Florida Watchdog, click title for a link reviewing some of the missed opportunities and the details in getting water from Lake Okeechobee to go south, not east and west. The current conditions send polluted water to estuaries on both coasts, but not south to the water-starved Everglades. The price tag to do it right is a big one.

Monday, May 5, 2014

West Palm Beach's "C'est La Via" Weekend

A partnership between the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority and the Florida Atlantic University Urban and Regional Planning Department came together for this transformation of a utilitarian alley for a weekend. Raphael Clemente, previous guest on High Noon in Lake Worth is featured.


I received an e-mail from the WPTV Channel 5 News Department today. Not because I am special or anything, it was just series of questions like: "What do you think will be the main issues pressing on Palm Beach County in the future?" They are probably going to use it to focus and target stories based upon the responses from a wide number of people.

Here is the e-mail:
When you click on the survey they ask what gender you are and your age range. Then it goes on to location. Check this out:
See any missing set of numbers? How about 33460? For that matter, Palm Beach's 33480 doesn't show up either. Perhaps these were the numbers that people had already entered when taking the survey. I thought it was an odd exclusion. But maybe not? When you hit "Other", it did offer the opportunity to input your zip-code.

Can't be anyone here on a eco-terrorist watch list, can there?

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Editorial: City will benefit from massive waterfront village... |

The Palm Beach Post editorial board is finally seeing the light. If you do not want 6,000 plus new residential on the outside of the urbanized area in former orange groves, you need to direct growth east. They also note that doing so takes advantage of existing infrastructure and helps make mass transit more viable. I am not saying that we need 25 story towers in Lake Worth, but we do have to do a better job at promoting Lake Worth as an "in-fill" redevelopment area. Click title for link. Here are some of their conclusions:
But developers’ urge to put tall buildings along the city’s waterfront is not a bad one. The areas in and around coastal West Palm Beach are arguably the best places in Palm Beach County for intense development. They create the critical mass that allows for walkable neighborhoods and make mass transit more viable. They are vastly preferable to the sprawled bedroom communities endlessly being planned in the county’s undeveloped western reaches. In the case of this village, the draw of waterfront restaurants and shops should attract people and money from across the area while opening up a large stretch of waterfront currently off-limits to the public.
As the county continues growing, the demand for residences in West Palm Beach will increase. The city needs to keep up with demand by permitting well-planned projects to move forward. Otherwise, the limited supply of homes and condos will grow more expensive, making the city’s most attractive areas exclusively the domain of the wealthy. To do so in a way that doesn’t compromise its own growth rules, it may need to consider liberalizing those rules.

Lake Worth could ask voters to OK $60 million bond to fix... |

What we have been hearing as the Lake Worth 2020 plan is gathering momentum and a general obligation bond question may make it to the ballot as early as August of this year. Click title for link to Eliot Kleinberg's article. An additional $14 million of bond monies would be directed towards replacing the city's network of 2" water lines with 4" plastic pipes. From the article:
The money would pay to replace or improve miles of roadways as well as the city’s water, sewer and stormwater pipe networks. And it would pay for improvements in and around the Lake Worth Park of Commerce, an industrial park west of Interstate 95 which the city says never has reached its potential.
The work also includes $13.8 million during three years just for resurfacing roadways, eliminating most of the city’s infamous potholes. And $3.2 million during the next five years would be spent on traffic bumps, landscaped islands, neighborhood entryways, street lighting, and new signs, posts, art pieces, benches and trash cans.
The city would tack the bond costs onto residents’ property tax bills: an extra $1.80 per $1,000 of a home’s taxable value for each of the first two years, $2.51 in years three and four, and $3.33 in year five.
Here is Larry Johnson, the City's Director of Water Utilities at a recent College Park Neighborhood Association meeting telling residents about the condition of our water delivery infrastructure. Much of his talk concerns the pilot program underway to install radio-read water meters, which is outside the general infrastructure improvement project.

Creature from the Black Lagoon

From the State Archives of Florida, this picture is of the actor Ricou Browning who performed most of the underwater scenes of 1954's Creature from the Black Lagoon. It was filmed in Wakulla Springs in northern Florida. The head's resemblance to anyone, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

From the State of Florida Archives...

Sunday, May 4, 2014

A car cataclysm on Boutwell Road and Second Avenue North - Larry the Lenz is there!

All that I can say is to be careful when you go west of I-95. Pack a lunch and bring your emergency preparedness gear. Grab a CERT. Anything can and will happen. Something about Boutwell Road; it's almost like a karmic vortex.
PBSO is still investigating the particulars, but it's looks like the guy driving the car with the Spanishish Mexican hat was at fault. A little too much Cinco de Mayo? No one is saying.

Larry always squeezes in a selfie - he's got a real long reach.

This is the Pharrell Williams "Happy" WPB video put together by Aaron Wormus

Aaron Wormus is known on social media as AGuyonClematis. This was done over the weekend of April 11. Fun stuff! Tall buildings would seem not to prevent people from being happy, just sayin'.

New York City to turn phone booths into Wi-Fi hot spots | Al Jazeera America

Re-inventing part what used to be a standard part of any urban setting: the telephone booth. This sounds like an interesting program. I think that most of Lake Worth's pay telephones have been removed long ago. There are still some odd ones along Dixie Hwy, usually near convenience stores. But there is a need for wi-fi and charging stations in urban locations - maybe we can find an alternative. Click title for link to article.

These telephone booths caught my eye from the lower right corner of a picture of the Municipal Auditorium (current City Hall), probably from the early to mid 60s.
They were at the SW corner of Dixie Hwy. and Lucerne.

Editorial: Find right site to keep spring training stadium in... |

On again and off again. This editorial from the Palm Beach Post makes it seem like John Prince Park is not being considered as a feasible location for the two MLB teams. So we can all simmer down a little bit. However, the editorial does go on to affirm this important set of facts:
The fact that John Prince Park has been largely ruled out is unfortunate in many respects. Proposing a baseball stadium on parkland was politically perilous. But given the potential benefits for one of the county’s poorest regions, it was worth consideration. County Commissioner Shelley Vana, who represents the area, pushed for the site to be considered because “the Lake Worth corridor really needs a lot of help.”
But the main goal should be bringing the two teams to the most viable site in the county, wherever that may be. The economic benefit of using public money to build spring training stadiums is debatable, but the county has a substantial interest in preserving Southeast Florida’s spring training tradition, both for financial and quality-of-life reasons.
That really is what I have been saying all long. At least Lake Worth is at the table and being discussed in the same sentence as Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter and West Palm Beach. This how the piece begins. Click title for link.
Year after year, Lake Worth and its neighbors to the west — Greenacres, Palm Springs and large unincorporated neighborhoods — are passed over as progress lifts Palm Beach County’s other major regions. When corporations move into the county, they usually look north to Palm Beach Gardens or south to the Boca Raton area. High-status retailers looking to expand — Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, H&M — scarcely give the Lake Worth area a passing glance.

Rising rates, more visitors spurs hotel construction boom |

Palm Beach County has 2000 less hotel rooms than it had in the year 2000. Now, more than 1000 rooms are under-construction and another 800 rooms are in the development review process. This is to replace the supply that was lost during the hurricanes, conversions to condos on Singer Island and the loss of our own historic Gulfstream from being out of operation. The market is responding so you would think that Lake Worth would show up on someone's map as the perfect place for a new hotel, or two, or three...

Click title for link to a revealing article. This is where Lake Worth gets mentioned.
Places like Singer Island lost hundreds of rooms in the conversion and more after the hurricanes hit in 2004 and 2005. Only one hotel, the Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island, has opened since 1990, and the number of rooms is down from more than 2,000 to fewer than 700. Lake Worth’s small hotels also were devastated by hurricanes and the recession. The city has seen no new hotels built since 1990 and has lost nearly half of its rooms.
They must be referring to the mothballed Gulfstream and the Hummingbird. The later had community bathrooms. One former Commissioner, you know the one if you think about it real hard, referred to the Hummingbird as Lake Worth's European-style hostel. This probably to reflect the fact that it was served by community restrooms.

Here is some more from the article:
“I like to develop hotels in areas that I myself like to visit,” Finvarb Group Principal Ronny Finvarb, developer of the Abacoa Courtyard by Marriott that has been under construction for the past year, said in an email.
He’s not the only one visiting.
Palm Beach County has been steadily increasing in visitors — up to 5.5 million in 2012. Hoteliers set records last year for tourism tax collections, known as bed taxes, and Florida has brought in an ever higher number of visitors for the past three years with goals to reach 100 million in the next year or two.
Developers want to build more hotels because occupancy and rates are climbing. Part of that increase is the 2,000 fewer rooms that it had a decade ago.
The Marriot at Abacoa is being built near the Roger Dean Stadium, Spring baseball home of the Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals. Hmmmm...