Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Sour Heart, a poem by Prince John of B. of B.

In my own World
I blog, flustered, boorish,
Who, splayed upon the floor,
Grip my sour heart in my palms,
And ate of the sour.
I said to K.T., “Good? K.T., is it Good?”
“It is sour, Most Sour,” K.T. echoed, 

“Still I like it, K.T.";
“Because it is of sour,
And of that sour is my heart.”

Bucher: 60,000 bad absentee ballots have to be counted by hand...(re-posted from 10/11/12)

Another Supervisor of Elections fiasco - sometimes it seems little can go right as it relates to counting ballots.  Remember the Wellington reversal?  Click title for link to article.

Link still active as of 9/6/14

A dramatic part of last night's (9/5/14) Commission Meeting

A rare person who thought that voting was fine that day.

Suggested listening for the other blogger...

Click here to check your voting status of the State of Florida Division of Elections

There was discussion during last night's meeting about the importance of knowing where your precinct and its polling location are. A former Commissioner thought that one should just intuitively know where your polling location is and, short of that, it is your duty to know where you vote. That is even if your voter registration card says you are to vote in different location. We heard many stories last night of people having lived here five or so years and voting in about as many places.

I stumbled on a page of the State of Florida Division of Elections website. Click title for link. When you go there it will look something like this.
It will ask you for your first and last name, along with your date of birth. Then you have to agree that you have a right to view your own information and you are not trying to find someone else's which may contain information you don't have a right to see. Then you hit "Submit."

I did just that to see what happened. Here is how the page looked:
Along with your address, you will see your party affiliation, when you registered to vote for the first time in Florida and whether you are "Eligible to vote." In the box on the right side of the page, you can check your absentee ballot status, if you have one, and you can also get information on your precinct location. That link leads you directly to the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections website. That page will look like this. Here it is with my information:
Note that under my Florida Voter ID Number, it clearly says that I am eligible to vote. Further down it even has my current email address. Below that it has my precinct number and the name/location of my polling place.

My question to the Supervisor of Elections would be, if I can find this information, on-line, at home, with my own wifi and computer, why isn't this information as easy to confirm on election day at the polling location?

How many people whose status indicated "A - You are eligible to vote" had their provisional ballots thrown out due to errors by the polling clerks? Wouldn't the Canvassing Board have this information at their finger-tips when they met on the day after the election? Most people with smart phone could pull this information up themselves. According to Supervisor of Elections, this new Mini iPad system was "off the shelf" technology.

I'm left not understanding how this whole mess happened, unless it is due to gross, systemic incompetence.

The August 26th Election in Lake Worth - The Ugly Truth

This is a playlist of the entire City Commission meeting that took place last night, a Friday, starting at 5:30 p.m. Attendance was much greater than I expected, which is a testament to how seriously Lake Worth residents take their voting privilege and their shock at how the election was run that day. The Mayor did a good job of keeping the meeting on track, reminding people that this was to be an airing of the problems they experienced with the voting process that day. It was not about rehashing or challenging the results of the election. This rule was adhered to, with a few exceptions. The beginning of the meeting was a little rocky, but it smoothed out as it went along. There was a strong sense of purpose that I felt throughout.

You will be astonished at the multiple layers of failures in the voting process. Included are descriptions of ill-prepared and under-trained poll workers dealing with a new "off the shelf" technology for the first time, consistent instances of long-time voters being told they couldn't be found in the system, which resulted in many people having to place provisional ballots. The total number of those ballots used in Lake Worth is unclear and their safe-keeping suspect. The Canvassing Board's review of these ballots led many to be uncounted due to "clerk error," not the voter's error or based upon whether they were eligible to vote. In the video, you will hear of people being "called back" to cast a regular vote later in the day. How many were called? Some just heard that you could go back from word "on the street." Some couldn't go back due to work or family commitments. Polling locations are exposed as being ill-suited for being a polling location. One of those discussed was the Oasis Rehabilitation Center on 12th Avenue South. We also find out how cavalierly the Canvassing Board treats the requirements of the Sunshine Law. Much of their meeting was conducted in whispers. One comment made by a member of the Canvassing Board was that "it is not their job for you to be able to hear us." And on, and on, and on...

The meeting ran almost 3 hours. The Commission departed from it usual 2 minute limitation on public comment and let people fully describe their experiences on that Tuesday. Questions were asked of some who spoke and at times there was a dialog between the dais and the podium. It was apparent that the City Attorney and City Manager were keeping a list of some of the details of these incidences. That list will be presented at a future City Commission meeting, perhaps as early as next Tuesday night. The city is going to make an effort to communicate with other municipalities about their experiences on this past election day to see if a unified approach to address these problems is necessary and feasible.

During the day, I will attempt a pared-down and condensed version of some of the more poignant moments. Its shorter length will be more viewer-friendly, but I really do encourage you to watch the entire meeting from start to finish. So, grab the popcorn. Take breaks from time to time.

I left astonished how little things have changed from Palm Beach County being the epicenter of the 2000 Presidential election debacle, and how things have probably gotten worse. Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher needs to be held accountable for these operational lapses, much more so than her bureaucratic fortress needs to remain impenetrable, which seems to be her over-riding goal.

If you couldn't attend the meeting, and experienced similar problems on election day, you can email me at with your accounts and I will forward them to the Mayor, City Commission and Administration. Or, you can go ahead and do that yourself by finding their email addressees here.

West Palm Beach finance director out. City: she lied on resume | West Palm Beat

It turns out that our larger municipal neighbor to the north isn't perfect either. Click title for link to an Eliot Kleinberg article that reveals what led to West Palm Beach's Finance Director being asked to leave. From the article:
A search of federal records by the Palm Beach Post shows that, in 2002, the National Association of Securities Dealers had barred her from trading “in any capacity.” The agency’s report said it concluded she’d faked documents to suggest she’d canceled a trade when she hadn’t. It said Sias didn’t admit guilt but consented to the disciplinary action.
Sias’ position with the city didn’t require her to have the securities license. But, city spokesman Elliot Cohen said late Friday, “we were taken, plain and simple. She lied to us and we didn’t catch it. One of the things we are looking to now is why we didn’t catch it, to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Point of View: Lake Worth’s ‘no’ vote was the wrong choice |

Click title for link to an article which appeared in yesterday's print edition of the Palm Beach Post. It is by Daryl Glenny, who the city hied for public relations work associated with the bond issue. She seems to have an accurate perspective that infrastructure is not an easy sell, especially when you are asking people to pay for it through a general obligation bond. She makes many strong points, including the fact that conditions will get worse and repairs will get more expensive. From her article:
Sometimes, however, the ballot choices – and the arguments for and against them — are more difficult. A case in point is the City of Lake Worth’s “Lake Worth 2020” referendum on Aug. 26 asking voters to approve $63.5 million in general obligation bonds to fund infrastructure repairs.
I worked for the city in its effort to educate voters, and in my opinion, voters made the wrong choice. In the long run, they are likely to pay a higher price as the city’s infrastructure disintegrates further. But infrastructure is hard to sell. Eliminating yawning potholes, replacing crumbling sidewalks, and enhancing neighborhood safety with street lights and fire hydrants would seem to be desirable projects, but infrastructure repairs are not perceived as life-threatening and don’t lend themselves to provocative sound bites.
Marketing wasn’t the real challenge, however. The question that Lake Worth property owners ultimately had to ask themselves was this: “How much am I willing to pay to subsidize improvements that would help the whole city but would not necessarily benefit me personally?”
By a margin of 26 votes, Lake Worth residents said, “Not so much.”
This also points out that the notion of "community" and that "we are only as strong as our weakest link" did not get adequately communicated during the campaign.

Putting numbers together...August 26th Election in Lake Worth...Questions Remain

Up until now, these are the numbers we are seeing on the Supervisor of Elections website related to the Lake Worth 2020 bond issue.
The margin is 26 votes, with the "Against Bonds" ahead.
The numbers above are before "provisional" ballots. The Canvassing Board met on Wednesday, the day after the election. There were 231 provisional ballots cast Countywide. I understand that there were 31 cast in Lake Worth. Here is what the State of Florida Division of Elections website says about provisional ballots:
Notice that if you submit a provisional ballot, you are to receive a written notice of your rights as a provisional ballot voter. It goes on to say that you have 2 days after the election to bring in additional evidence that would prove that your ballot should be counted. That would have been by Thursday at 5 p.m. and this information would have (or should have) been given to you if you cast a provisional ballot. Here is more on provisional ballots from the same website:
Again, there is mention of the "Notice of Rights" that you were given if you voted through a provisional ballot. Please contact me at if you voted provisionally and let me know, so that others can know, if you received this "Notice of Rights."

The Canvassing Board, the body charged with determining which provisional ballots are counted and which are not, met on Wednesday, August 27, 2014 beginning at 1:30 p.m. This is 27 1/2 hours before the deadline by which people can submit additional information and evidence to support whether their provisional ballot will be counted. By 7:17 p.m. we were told through the news media that the provisional ballots had been reviewed and that there would be no recount in the Lake Worth race.
The Canvassing Board met two days too early. The earliest they should have met would have been Friday at 8 a.m.

There was a 26 vote difference and a 15 vote difference would have triggered an automatic recount.

Of the 231 provisional ballots submitted countywide, 91 were discarded. In Lake Worth, there were over 30 provisional ballots and only 5 were counted. That translates to 61% of the provisional ballots being approved countywide and 16% being approved in Lake Worth. Why such a drastic difference between the county and the city? Were people given their "Notice of Rights" about the possibility of additional information being provided prior to the deadline? Why did the Canvassing Board meet two days early and how could they make decisions regarding whether or not to count provisional ballots when additional information was still allowed to come in?

The Supervisor of Elections Office offers this page on their website that you can check to see whether your provisional ballot was counted. People were told on Thursday that they could call 656-6200 (SOE's office) to see if their ballot was counted on Wednesday, but not offered the opportunity to provide additional documentation as afforded by state law. This was only to check to see if it had been counted, by a decision made the day before. I heard reports that people were given the run around when they called the number.

For the record, the final count according to the SOE, after accepting those 5 provisional ballots, results in 1545 FOR BONDS and 1570 AGAINST BONDS.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Get Honest with Yourself

"Total honesty is how we connect with our passion and our truth. We can disconnect from who we really are, from what we really want in life, because we lack self-honesty. We stop listening to ourselves and begin to believe our own lies."

From Employee to Entrepreneur, 2003, page 61. Author: Suzanne Mulvehill, MBA.

Is someone obsessed with fire?

Posted 9/5/14

Posted 8/29/14

Feast of the Sea - West Palm Beach's Seafood Festival - September 13, 2014 09/05 by High Noon in Lake Worth | Food Podcasts

Join your host Wes Blackman as he welcomes Steve Todd, one of the creators of West Palm Beach's upcoming Feast of the Sea festival, to the High Noon in Lake Worth studios. The event will take place on the waterfront in the area of Clematis Street and Flagler Drive, with music provided at the Meyer Amphitheater and Fern Street stages. The festival will begin at 11 a.m. and run until 10:30 p.m. next Saturday, September 13th. Admission is free, and VIP and Family passes are available for a fee. Proceeds will benefit Future 6 Helping Hand which is a Florida based 501(c)3 providing alternative youth athletic programs and free sports camps in Palm Beach County. We will chat about the origins of the festival and what you can expect if you attend.

Click title for link to live show between 12 and 1 p.m. today (9/5) or for the archived version of the show after it airs. Leave questions as comments below.

Environmental hypocrisy? Greenpeace embarrassed by leaders’ jet-setting carbon footprint

Check out the Washington Times article about the jet-commuting executive of Greenpeace and the hypocrisy it represents. From the article:
Each of Mr. Husting’s round-trip flights generated 313 pounds of carbon dioxide. He flew between Luxembourg and Amsterdam as often as once a week — normal for a banker but too much for many of Greenpeace’s environmentalists. The total cost of his flights over two years was around $20,000.
Mr. Husting issued a public apology on Greenpeace’s website saying he “ignored the voice of my own conscience.”
He pledged to start making a 12-hour round trip by train, but the damage is done.
In the Netherlands alone, nearly 700 donors have canceled contributions to Greenpeace in response to the news of Mr. Husting’s flights.
As the public relations disaster became clear, more than 40 Greenpeace staff members signed a letter in July demanding Mr. Husting’s resignation and asking Greenpeace Executive Director Kumi Naidoo to “reflect” on his own job.

Proposed tower would triple downtown Boca's current height - Sun Sentinel

Boca Raton may see its current 100 foot height limit in its downtown overcome by buildings nearly three times as tall. Click title for link. Pay special attention to all the new residential projects Boca Raton has in the pipeline. These are ones that are approved but not built. Here is a portion of the article:
New Mizner would be built on 8.7 acres at 200 SE Mizner Blvd., where 244 townhouses would be knocked down to accommodate it. Going taller would give the public a park along Mizner Boulevard, a prime downtown location.
"It's going to have walkways throughout the project, seating areas and sculpture," Shewalter said.
Before the project embarks on what would be a 5-year building schedule, it faces a longer journey in front of city officials than most projects.
In addition to passing muster with the city's Community Appearance Board, Planning and Zoning Board and City Council, an ordinance loosening height restrictions needs to get the City Council's approval.
Traditionally, downtown building heights in Boca have been limited to 100 feet. New Mizner would be more than triple that height.

Go Erica!

Wellington official: Crack-sealing roads ‘not acceptable’ for... |

This is a MUST read for people in Lake Worth who had a difficult time connecting the relationship between property value and quality infrastructure. A council member in Wellington is concerned about the Village's method for repairing roads by filling cracks. There are sound financial reasons to use this to extend the life of roads, but she thinks it detracts from how she wants others to experience her community. Click title for link. From the article:
For instance, on Lake Worth Road, it cost about $12,000 to crack-seal the pavement from the city limits west to South Shore Boulevard, compared to the $570,000 it would have cost to resurface the same stretch of pavement.
Gerwig said during that workshop that she “understands the dollar value.”
“But if my home is on that portion of Paddock Drive that looks like spaghetti and I’m trying to sell it, I’m going to hate your guts,” she said. “You look at it and you feel like you’re in an incredibly poor community that can’t afford to pave its roads — and that’s not exactly where we are.
“I love saving money, and I love keeping roads that don’t have to be re-milled — but I don’t want to de-value the entire neighborhood,” she added.

Lake Worth meeting on bond vote problems scheduled for tonight

I hope to see some of the many people who experienced barriers to voting on August 26th at the Commission meeting tonight. We should be able to expect a professionally run election with knowledgeable poll workers, with technology they know how to operate and clear guidelines to determine who votes and who doesn't. Our residents deserve an efficient process that did not overly impede the progress of their own personal daily schedules and routines. Click title for link. Here is a bit from the small Post article:
On Election Day, poll workers identified voters by scanning their driver licenses with iPad minis. Voters who didn’t have driver licenses or whose licenses could not be read were allowed to vote under a provisional ballot, which would be considered by the county canvassing board later.
After the canvassing board accepted five of Lake Worth’s 33 provisional ballots, the bond issue was defeated by 25 votes, or 0.8 percent. If the margin had been 0.5 percent or less, there would have been an automatic recount.
Let's hope that the Friday, 5:30 pm. starting time of the meeting doesn't deter people from attending. Consider it as an opportunity to help fix a key process in our representative form of government. Afterwards, you can head downtown to one of our restaurants and check out the new and improved Evening on the Avenues, which starts tonight.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Please be on the lookout!

Dear Friends and Neighbors, Paul and Marta Edwards from College Park are the owners-operators of Amelia's SmartyPlants on Dixie Highway at 15th Avenue North. I'm sure you've noticed the "Neon Pipe People" they've had out front along Dixie almost since they opened this lovely garden center. Some low life has taken these. Please keep an eye out and contact Marta or Paul immediately if you see them anywhere or if you hear anything. The phone number at SmartyPlants is 540-6396. Thank You!

Second Avenue North and the FEC Railroad Tracks - Detour Information

New Lake Worth Fire Engine 91 In Service Ceremony

The Fire Department has been a rich part of the history in the City of Lake Worth for over 100 years. And the fire engine has been a symbol of safety to the visitors and citizens of the city since the first motor-powered fire truck purchased on May 26, 1917. From the fire bells of yesterday to the sirens of today, please come join us as we place into service a new fire engine for the City of Lake Worth.


WHEN: September 9, 2014 at 09:00 a.m.

WHERE: Fire Station 91, 1020 Lucerne Ave., Lake Worth, Florida

Welcome and Introductions:  Battalion Chief Billy Schmidt

Invocation:  Fire Department Chaplain Captain Jeremy Hurd

Comments from Chief Schmidt and Special Guests

Blessing of the Fire Engine - Captain Jeremy Hurd

First Bath for the Fire Engine - Captain Steve Appleby

Tones and Announcement - Dispatch

Push the new Engine 91 into Quarters - Everyone

Refreshments, Pictures, and Talk to the Firefighters 

Billy Schmidt, Battalion Chief
The 3rd Battalion
Palm Beach County Fire Rescue

Gulfstream Hotel rates in 1928

$6 in 1928 would be worth $80.82 today in 2014 dollars. Click here for a calculator that translates value of money over time given the effect of inflation.

Meet the Frenchman Who Pretended to Be a Licensed Architect for 30 Years

Click title for link to an interesting article about masquerading as a licensed architect - for 30 years! People say his buildings were actually pretty good and he did a lot of work in university settings. Even being a licensed architect doesn't guarantee that you are a good one, eh hem.

New Evening on the Avenues Kicks Off this Friday!

Robert Frost

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both 
And be one traveler, long I stood 
And looked down one as far as I could 
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair, 
And having perhaps the better claim, 
Because it was grassy and wanted wear; 
Though as for that the passing there 
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay 
In leaves no step had trodden black. 
Oh, I kept the first for another day! 
Yet knowing how way leads on to way, 
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh 
Somewhere ages and ages hence: 
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— 
I took the one less traveled by, 
And that has made all the difference.

Neighbors howl as trucks haul "chapel" debris down Flagler |

As reported earlier, demolition at the Chapel-by-the-Lake site is underway. According to this article, Flagler Drive residents (likely already opposed to the project that is still being challenged in court), are upset with large trucks leaving the site and travelling south on Flagler Drive. Click title for link.

Many times, projects of this scope and complexity are served best by having a construction management plan. Sometimes these are included as conditions of approval and address traffic patterns to and from the site during construction, hours of operation, staging of the project and what can be expected over time. It helps eliminate surprises like this if there is a formal recognition of the impacts during the construction period. From the article:
After Young complained at Tuesday night’s city commission meeting, Mayor Jeri Muoio promised to look into the issue.
Flagler Investors, the new company building the condo, sent a statement at midafternoon Wednesday, saying:
“Flagler Investors was not aware that dump trucks contracted to haul debris from the South Flagler Drive site were choosing the South Flagler route to Dixie Highway. The permit issued by the city for debris removal does not contain any restrictions against going south on Flagler. However, our company is known for its good neighbor mindset, therefore as soon as we learned of these concerns by local residents at noon on Wednesday, we immediately made sure all dump trucks leaving the site turn north on Flagler Drive from the site, and leave the area via Okeechobee Boulevard.”
City spokesman Elliot Cohen said later that the city had waived the ban on trucks because “there is no other way to reach the site except to use Flagler Drive at some point.” He also said restrictions are in place not because the road is fragile but out of sensitivity to residents.

Palm Beach State Almost Ready To Start New Campus

This is in the general area of the Minto West development. According to this Town Crier article, click title for link. If you want to see an example of a pervious parking area/material, check out our local Snook Islands turn-around area. That is the state-of-the-art in pervious vehicular parking surfaces. There are other products, like "turf crete", but none really fair that well in Florida due to the heat, rains and the type of grass. Just a little traffic quickly leaves just the material you thought was going to hold turf, and not the turf. From the article:
Parking will be developed only as the buildings are constructed, Wasukanis said, leaving vegetation on the site for as long as possible.
He said engineers have been researching paving material for the parking areas that will be semi-pervious, allowing stormwater to percolate into the ground rather than become runoff.
Ultimately, the campus will have 10 to 12 buildings for a total of about 650,000 square feet, but phase one will include three buildings over five to seven years, starting with one in the southwestern portion of the property, which is largely devoid of native trees. The first building, closest to Southern Blvd., is currently in the design phase.

Special City Commission Meeting - Friday at 5:30 p.m.

Message from Mayor Pam Triolo regarding this special meeting.

Number of provisional ballots cast and counted not adding up...

According to people who were aware of what went on at the Supervisor of Elections Service Center and the Canvassing Board meeting that took place on Wednesday, the day after the election, there were a total of 31 provisional ballots cast in the city of Lake Worth last Tuesday. There were 231 cast in all of Palm Beach County. A total of 91, or 39%, were discarded and not counted countywide. A total of 26 ballots, equal to the number of votes the "For Bonds" vote was behind initially, were discarded and not counted. That is 84% of the provisional ballots cast in the city.

The precinct data show that there were a only a total of seven provisional ballots, and only five provisional ballots were counted. The ones that were counted were split; three "For Bonds" and two "Against Bonds." The seven came from just three precincts. These are indicated on the map above. In precinct 3058, only one regular precinct vote was tallied and the two provisional ballots were not counted.

Where did the other 24 plus provisional ballots end up? How did they split on the question? Why did the Canvassing Board meet before the two day period when people who cast provisional ballots could submit additional information showing that they indeed were eligible to vote? What were those people who cast provisional ballots told of their rights to submit additional information? What happened to the ballots cast during the period when there was a power outage at one of the polling locations? These are material questions in a race that was decided by 25 votes. They should not be swept under the rug.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

FDOT - US1 Detour Begins Mid September 2014

"In the Pink"? Is your neighborhood's infrastructure healthy and fit?

Before last Tuesday's LW2020 bond vote I posted a graphic about the CAUT PAC and Dennis Dorsey's contributions and where those contributions came from. Using the idiom "In The Pink" I urged people in this large area of Lake Worth to go to the polls. This area, In The Pink, has many areas in need of infrastructure: crumbling roads, missing fire hydrants, no sidewalks. In an editorial the Palm Beach Post referred to many areas of Lake Worth looking like the "Third World."

Here is the graphic I posted before the election last Tuesday:
The vote is over and now the City is doing what they need to do. News to come? We will see. Although we don't have all the voter data available there is much to be gleaned from the information available. The majority of precincts In The Pink, 8 of 10, had more Yes votes. There were 138 more Yes votes In The Pink. But it wasn't enough to overcome the votes East of Federal and West of I-95. Note the graphic below:
As you can see in the graphic above, had only a few more voters living between Federal Highway and I-95 come out to vote the result would have been very different.

Unfortunately, the more fortunate in Lake Worth, the neighborhoods with the best streets and services said "no."

What in the world is Commissioner McVoy doing? Re-posted

Besides eating what looks like a good sandwich (remember, if you don't have enough to share with everyone, then you should eat elsewhere), check out what he is doing between the 1:05 mark and the 2:40 mark of this video.

Shouldn't he be "keeping his hands to home?" What is he looking through another Commissioner's papers for?

The video, not the audio, was left on during the break in last Tuesday's meeting. You can check out the following spots on the video posted to the city's website. I am not making this up.
  • 1:31:30 to 1:31:45
  • 1:38:48 to 1:39:25
  • 1:41:30 to 1:44:00
He also seems to be signaling or acknowledging someone in the audience, to his left or the right side of the room. He is also texting someone. Who could that be?

From EarthFirst! - Luutkudziiwus Close Territory to LNG Traffic

Camp Madii Lii, Gitxsan Nation - LNG PROHIBITED from Camp Madii Lii on Vimeo.
Click title for link for more information on this area in British Columbia. LNG is short for liquefied natural gas.

Possible new life for West Palm Beach’s Sunset Lounge

From Eliot Kleinberg of the Palm Beach Post comes this article on a musical performance venue that is part of the northwest neighborhood of West Palm Beach's past. There are people looking at resurrecting the building and returning it to its original use. The CRA there might play a critical role. Click title for link.
The Sunset Cocktail Lounge, at Eighth Street and Henrietta Avenue, was built in 1925. In its day, it anchored a strip of restaurants, clubs and shops along Rosemary Avenue in the center of West Palm Beach’s historically black neighborhood.
Neon lights atop the Sunset lured men in tuxedos and women in gowns. Palm Beach snowbirds and tourists asked their black maids and chauffeurs where to hear really great music.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A burned-out house comes down today...

Mayor Pam's Weekly Facebook Message

Note: Regular City Commission meeting cancelled for tonight, moved to next Tuesday. Special City Commission meeting on Friday.

Think globally, act locally...

Florida Utility Prematurely Yanked a Solar Rebate Program, Trade Group Claims - New Times

Sometimes all it takes is a phone call. "What we've got here is failure to communicate." Click title for link to article. Here is some of it.
"FPL [Florida Power & Light], however, says that FlaSEIA's [Florida Solar Energy Industries Association's] account is wrong. Says company spokesman Mark Bubriski: "I don't know how they wouldn't have known" the funding was set to expire. According to Bubriski, all the reservations for rebates made this year will be honored. The association knew the program was going to be done soon. "We haven't gotten any complaints from any contractors," Bubriski says. "Why didn't [FlaSIA] just give us a call?"
The radically different takes on what went down is pretty much indicative of the mood across the state right now, where the bitter feelings between utilities and solar contractors are growing.
"We want solar to advance in Florida," Barsell [Wendy Parker Barsell, executive director of FlaSEIA] says. "It just seems like at every corner, we're getting beat up."

Chief Justice Roberts talking about one of his favorite cases...Fane Lozman's of Riviera Beach

Massive Sugar Hill development proposed across Palm Beach...

I guess that this is inevitable. I remember during the Hometown Democracy/Amendment 4 time, a few years ago, maps were produced which showed the affect of sprawl development along State Road 80 in the middle of the state. This is consistent with those maps and is right over the Palm Beach County line into Hendry County. The thought was, had Amendment 4 passed, development would seek out areas with little or no entrenched opposition, and therefore would direct future investment to areas like these around the state. With Governor Scott in office, we have since seen the dismantling of the state's role in reviewing Comprehensive Plan changes and now projects are reviewed through the Department of Economic Opportunity when they are at this scale. Click title for link to article.

Editorial: Rejection of Lake Worth roads plan doesn’t mean defeat

Click title for link to the Palm Beach Post editorial about the defeated bond issue. We still have the same needs as a city, and the funding sources for these sorts of investments make up a pretty short list. I expect we will see this, or different varieties of a bond issue, on future ballots. I would hope, if so, those who voted "against bonds" would look past the rhetoric, know the facts and understand what impact it would have to them and the good that it would do the city as a whole. Here is an important part of the article:
Some, after learning the extent of the problems, were persuaded to support it. Many who still voted against it said they would have supported a slimmed-down plan that cost less.
City Manager Michael Bornstein says that offering a pared-down alternative could be politically tricky. The $63 million plan was balanced so that all sectors of the city received some improvements. A smaller plan might be more difficult to balance geographically, he said. That could make people in less-impacted neighborhoods less likely to support it, and “that’s where that keeps falling apart.”
And then you still have to deal with the unregulated speech that goes on at our neighbors' doors telling half-truths, wild scary predictions and those that have access to a keyboard doing the same. There are tales of an older woman, such as the one depicted below, going door to door telling everyone that she was on a fixed income and she would be paying $90 more a month if the bond passes. She would be on the street if that happened. Then she would tell everyone that it would be $3,000 for them to pay each year, for thirty years, if the bond passes. I imagine such a woman would look something like this, if she existed:
Don't you hate it when stores bring out their Halloween displays so early. It seems to get earlier with each passing year.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Meet Diane Freaney

She and I serve on the board of For The Children here in Lake Worth. Here she talks about what she refers to as "rooted investing" as she gets her hair cut in Portland, Oregon. Diane has property there in the city and a farm with goats out in the near countryside. She is in Lake Worth from time to time. Enjoy her video. Nice to see someone identifying a problem and doing something about it.
Rooted Investing: A Conversation with Diane Freaney from Michael Parisien on Vimeo.

An analysis of the proposed Palm Harbor Marina project...

This is from Walkable West Palm Beach, click title for link. It's a critique of a new waterfront development which would include a hotel and parking lot near Waterfront Towers in downtown West Palm Beach. It is not covered by other height restrictions in the downtown and can be built to 75 feet.

We are fortunate in Lake Worth to have so much public land on the water in the form of north and south Bryant Park, the golf course and, of course, our beach property. Other cities unfortunately tend to back-up to their waterfront and use the space for the predominant mode of transportation in this day and age, the automobile. Being from Michigan, its amazing to look at the Motor City and how it basically "concretized" its waterfront with parking garages, buildings and highways. On the other side of the St. Clair and Detroit rivers sits Windsor, Ontario. It is indeed a different country entirely and has kept its waterfront open with parks and public spaces. It offers a great view of downtown Detroit, showing off its riverfront parking garages.

West Palm Beach is not about to become a Detroit, but keeping an active pedestrian area to link the north and south waterfront in the downtown area is a good idea.

Congressman Patrick Murphy is looking strong heading into the November election...

Click title for link to a Palm Beach Post article about his race.
An internal poll for freshman Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, shows him with a 54-to-33 percent lead over Republican challengerCarl Domino.
“Our indications are that it is far closer,” says Domino adviser Larry Casey.
Murphy’s poll of 400 likely voters was taken last Wednesday and Thursday, immediately after Domino’s primary victory.  It had a heavily Republican sample in anticipation of a GOP turnout advantage in this year’s midterm elections.

Keepers of the Boca Raton look facing tall challenges

Click title for link to a Sun-Sentinel article on what keeps Boca Raton looking like Boca Raton. Standing guard is what is called the Community Appearance Board. It has a reputation for being exacting and acting in the role of "taste police" in terms of protecting the general ambiance of the city. It's challenged now by the large number of taller buildings that are in the development pipeline. The article outlines some of the board's history and it's current workload. From the article:
The Community Appearance Board, which includes residents who work as building and landscape architects, a general contractor and a real estate agent, reviews everything from sign sizes to color palates to architectural details to whether the trees should be canopy shade trees or East Palatka hollies.
A recent meeting offered a glimpse at how the board works, and how exacting they can be. Discussing some revisions to the Via Mizner project, the second building in Boca to bust through the 100-foot height limit, board members grilled the developer's representative.
"Some of these shadows you are showing here might not even happen," said Juan Caycedo, a Boca architect who sits on the board, as he examined a rendering of Via Mizner's facade.
Carlos Bravo, the architect representing the plan, explained that additional market studies had led to simplifying the building's architectural details.
Plus the proposed vegetation wasn't right.
"I don't think the East Palatka holly is appropriate for this site," Board member Joe Peterson said. "There should be canopy trees pulled out from along the highway."

Supreme Court win embolden Fane Lozman set to float his home

Fane Lozman is back in the news with an idea for submerged land he recently purchased in Riviera Beach. He sees it as a potential site for a group of "floating homes", which do not meet the definition of vessel. This was determined by his successful run to the Supreme Court challenging the city's taking of his former floating home at the city marina. The city treated it as a vessel, but according to the Court, they actually seized and destroyed his home. He has been a guest on High Noon in Lake Worth twice. You can check out those episodes here and here. From the article:
Ducking under mangroves to reach the Intracoastal Waterway, Fane Lozman spreads his arms wide as he contemplates living on a narrow strip of land on Singer Island that most believed would never be developed.
“How can you beat his view?” he asks with a grin, gesturing toward the open blue water.
His grin is more than a little bit impish.
More than a year after he clobbered Riviera Beach by persuading the U.S. Supreme Court that the city illegally seized and destroyed his so-called houseboat, the 53-year-old self-made millionaire is back rattling city cages, trying to put that landmark decision into action.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Stephen Crane, American poet/author, 1871-1900

A man went before a strange God -- 
The God of many men, sadly wise. 
And the deity thundered loudly, 
Fat with rage, and puffing. 
"Kneel, mortal, and cringe 
And grovel and do homage 
To My Particularly Sublime Majesty." 

The man fled. 

Then the man went to another God -- 
The God of his inner thoughts. 
And this one looked at him 
With soft eyes 
Lit with infinite comprehension, 
And said, "My poor child!" 

A reader sent me this...could it be something as simple as jealousy that fuels the hate in the other blogger?

"It’s challenging enough to be a woman in this world. Let’s stop making it harder for each other than it already is."
"Instead, why not try to be a source of positivity. Why not admire other women you find beautiful or accomplished? Why not be genuinely supportive of other women–or really, of other people in general? You don’t have to be best friends with every woman you meet–you don’t even have to like them–but you don’t have to actively try to tear them down, either."

Click here for more.

Click here to the post on this blog which shows the inflammatory post.

 Divided Architectural Commission approves modern home

In the Town of Palm Beach, properties and structures that have historical landmark designations are reviewed by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. They apply the Secretary of Interior Standards for historic preservation, but that can become a subjective process given the individual points of view of those on the board. Any other property in Palm Beach, not landmarked, faces review by the Architectural Review Commission, also known as ARCOM. They have their own criteria for reviewing what comes before them. One of the standards they look at is whether a new structure is excessively similar or dissimilar to other nearby properties and structures. This can lead to some pretty fine lines being drawn and some applicants left designing for the committee, or being denied outright.

Click title for link to a Shiny Sheet article where ARCOM approved a "modern" home, but in the shadow of denying another home with a modern aesthetic months before. That denial was appealed to the Town Council, which upheld the decision. It's good to see them approve a home that breaks from what you usually find on the island, however it came by a split-decision.

Post staff wins five journalism awards

Congratulations to the Palm Beach Post on its recent awards. There's life in the old girl yet. Click title for link. From the article:
The Palm Beach Post took three first place awards and two seconds in the 2014 Sunshine State Awards journalism contest.
The awards, recognizing journalistic excellence in Florida, were presented at a gathering in Miami Beach this month.
Photographer Bruce Bennett and Multimedia Editor Mark Edelson won first place in the photography story category for “Casey’s Journey,” about a man’s struggle to recover from brain injury.
Reporter Charles Elmore won first place for beat reporting on consumer issues, including gotcha denials by the state’s largest private insurer and Medicaid fraud by health executives.
Reporter John Kennedy, based in The Post’s Tallahassee bureau, took first prize for a collection of stories in his beat reporting on government and politics. Topics ranged from campaign contributions by charter school and voucher advocates to a farmworker’s bid for compensation after wrongful imprisonment.