Saturday, December 13, 2014

Traffic Alert from the Town of Palm Beach - re travel on the Lake Worth bridge

As a reminder, the annual Lake Worth parade is tonight and will affect traffic in the downtown Lake Worth area. The Lake Worth bridge will be open for vehicular traffic however motorists should expect delays from approximately 5 PM until 9 PM.

In the Cultural Plaza today before the parade!

About the Chapel-by-the-Lake site in West Palm Beach

This is an interesting story about a "rare, 3-judge panel" that was convened to settle the dispute over the Chapel-by-the-Lake site in West Palm Beach. Here is an excerpt from Eliot Kleinberg's piece in the Post:
Did West Palm Beach commissioners break their own rules in January when they green-lighted the controversial luxury condominium at the waterfront Chapel-by-the-Lake site? A rare 3-judge panel convened Friday to hear those arguments.

In one of two legal actions filed in February, the group Citizens for Thoughtful Growth asked that such a panel decide whether the approval was legal. The judges made no ruling Friday; one in favor of Citizens would send the project back to the planning board or the city commission, stopping construction, which already is underway. The chapel was bulldozed about Labor Day.
The issues stem from the question of whether the Planning Commission is advisory. After its review of the project, changes were made and the project never went back to the Planning Commission. Something similar happened here in Lake Worth way-back-when as the Lucerne condominium went through the Planning and Zoning/Historic Resource Preservation Board. The board approved a building with a public parking component and more interesting architectural features around the parapet at the top of the building. After those changes were made the project never made it back to the Planning Board. That's the basis for the argument here.

About the Artists Alley in Delray

Back on November 12th I posted a story about the Artists Alley in Delray Beach. As part of the post you'll find a YouTube video where I ask readers to focus intently on the 6:55 to 7:05 minute mark. From the Coastal Star there is an update on the Artists Alley. Many, including city leaders, are working to save the venue however the appraisal value of the property is very high: $4.2 million. Here is an excerpt from the Coastal Star:
Delray Beach might lose Artists Alley, the unique arts district that the mayor says “has been so important for the renaissance of this city.”
    Artists work in warehouse studios along the railroad tracks near Pineapple Grove. But the warehouses will be sold at a Feb. 23 foreclosure auction.
    The artists, fearing that a new owner will bulldoze their studios, have pleaded with the city for help.
    Mayor Cary Glickstein accepted the challenge at a Nov. 13 workshop, but the city can’t stop the auction.
    “We may get lucky with someone at the foreclosure who likes the property as it is,” Glickstein told commissioners. “But it is incumbent on us not to leave it to chance.”

New National Historic District in the works, from the Shiny Sheet

From Aleese Kopf at the Shiny Sheet we this story about a new historic district perhaps coming to Palm Beach:
The Town Council gave landmarks consultant Murphy Stillings permission Wednesday to continue work toward designating the area — bounded by Royal Poinciana Way, Bradley Place, Sunset Avenue and North County Road — as a historic district in the National Register of Historic Places.

In March, the council directed the consultant to initiate the process and study its feasibility. In the past eight months, Murphy Stillings completed a preliminary site investigation, which was approved by the state Division of Historical Resources, and a nomination application.

“The research is complete,” Planning, Zoning and Building Director John Page said Wednesday. “It essentially represents confirmation of the fact that a majority of the structures in the area are contributing and that the town can proceed forward with the likelihood that the national designation will occur.”

As of 8:45 a.m., this video has been seen 280,000 times

Friday, December 12, 2014

Archived edition of today's High Noon in Lake Worth episode with Commissioner Amoroso

Check Out Politics Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with High Noon in Lake Worth on BlogTalkRadio

This past Wednesday at the Lake Worth Beach...

Art Event on 12/20 - change of address from previous anouncement

Detroit - The Comeback City

 From the press packet: "With an energy and vitality that are hard to resist, Detroit is America’s great comeback city. In recent years, billions have been invested into revitalizing downtown Detroit. A transformed riverfront, bustling nightlife, diverse dining, championship sports teams and a packed lineup of festivals and events make metro Detroit an exciting destination. The newly remodeled and renovated Cobo Center has been transformed into a world-class convention and meeting center. Throughout the $279 million renovation, Cobo has been operating at 100 percent capacity and is ready to host your convention. Be a part America's great comeback city."

Exhibit opening next week in downtown

From the Rickie Report we have this:
“It’s A Dog’s Life” opens Friday, December 19, from 6-10 PM at the Clay Glass Metal Stone Gallery, 15 South J Street in Downtown Lake Worth. 40 artists from all over Palm Beach County have contributed works ranging from sculpture, fused and stained glass, photography, painting, jewelry, pottery. Ornaments and artist made accessories. The event is free to the public. The reception will include treats for both humans and their pets.

More on the planned EF! protest today...

On Wednesday, 12/10, I posted some remarks on the Everglades EarthFirst! (EF) protest in Palm Beach Gardens later today (Friday). You can read that post here. Here is an image from EF promoting the event:
EF themselves promoted today's protest as a fun affair and encouraged entertainers and revelers to attend. Now things have taken a turn. The protest today by EF will likely be a contentious event and probably include some civil disobedience. If you were considering attending the protest, you might want to reconsider.

On Wednesday EF posted this story. In the first photograph you see EF leader Panagioti Tsolkas in the baseball cap. In another photograph they allegedly show an EF member trespassing on the Briger Tract. 

This is where "Fire Ant" at the Broward New Times becomes a significant character in the protest today by Panagioti Tsolkas and EF. On June 26, 2014 Fire Ant wrote the following article, Anarchists Claim Sabotage of Scripps Development: "We Spiked the Trees in the Briger Forest".

From the article:
In an effort to sabotage development of Briger Forest, the last major tract of undeveloped land along I-95 in Palm Beach County, an anonymous band of self-described anarchists claims to have booby-trapped "countless trees" in the area and to have vandalized the work of surveyors.
[and later...]
The tactic purportedly used in Briger, "tree spiking," involves hammering nails or metal rods into trees, either at the base, to damage chainsaws, or higher up, where they will destroy saw-mill equipment.

Tree spiking has been controversial even within anarchist circles and has been specifically targeted by federal law.
EF just happens to be an organization that promotes the Anarchist political philosophy. Now imagine for a moment you are the police chief for Palm Beach Gardens, charged with protecting citizens and property within your city. You know EF members are Anarchists, Fire Ant wrote about Anarchists spiking trees which is an act of ecoterrorism, and EF is engaged in stopping 'destruction' of the Briger 'forest'. If you were in charge of the safety of a community would you be concerned about EF? Now add this information from Activist Facts

Let us revisit the post by EF I referenced above. In the very first sentence they write, "On Friday, December 5, over 50 activists gathered for a rally outside of the Briger Forest in Florida’s Palm Beach Gardens." The Palm Beach Post reported there were, "about 35". EF wrote, "Palm Beach Gardens police—many undercover—surrounded the protest, blocked traffic, followed vehicles, covertly filmed protesters, prohibited participants from accessing public roads, and used loudspeakers to shout their opinions and drown out the chants of the crowd." Here is the video from Channel 12 (WPEC). Do you see any evidence of such police activity? If there was, wouldn't Ch12 Chuck Weber mention something about that?

EF then refers to a 'preface' (which is not readily available that I could find) where they state, “this tactic [tree spiking] is not one that Everglades Earth First! would engage in.”

Just by coincidence I ran across this flyer in downtown Lake Worth in mid-October. Would this be a training session for EF and what we might expect later on today?

The Channel 5 segment from last night regarding the invocation issue...

Note: If the video doesn't show on the blog, click here for link to the Channel 5 website.
There is a little unfortunate editing that was done to this piece. Before saying that it was an unintended consequence of open government and living in a digital age, I said that the Commission did their job. They let this person, from whatever non-religious background he was coming from, access to the podium. Regardless whether they walked out or not, his message is being heard by a lot of people. The video is at about 225,000 views as of today.

We need to re-think the invocation part of our agendas and, at a minimum, switch to a moment of silence, if not drop the practice entirely. Check out this post where I quickly researched other Palm Beach County municipalities regarding their practices.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Doctor heal thyself...

New High Noon in Lake Worth program, 12/12/14 Commissioner Andy Amoroso

Join your host Wes Blackman as he welcomes District #3 Commissioner Andy Amoroso to the High Noon in Lake Worth studios. Commissioner Amoroso is back from his trip to Austin, Texas where he attended the 2014 National League of Cities conference. He will share what he learned during the various sessions he attended. He will also talk of other efforts he is undertaking to secure funding for infrastructure improvements and the like for Lake Worth.

Click title for link to live show between noon and 1 p.m. on Friday 12/12 or afterwards for an archived version of the show. Leave questions as comments below.

Interview today with Channel 5 reporter Charlie Keegan re Invocation issue

A reminder to be aware of crime this holiday season.

Robberies tend to increase around the holiday season and it is important for everyone to keep their eyes open to any unusual activity. The College Park neighborhood of Lake Worth recently started their own crime watch and has installed signs throughout the neighborhood. They have reported some very good results from the program. Calls to PBSO are up in the neighborhood and people are more aware of what is happening. This is from the College Park Facebook page:

The City of Lake Worth agreed to partner with our effort and has donated the labor to install the signs in the City’s rights of way. Volunteers from the neighborhood agreed to visit each home in College Park and distribute the information personally, neighbor to neighbor. The custom made College Park Crime Watch signs have been created and will be installed in September and October 2014 and information is on its way to each home in College Park.

Unfortunately, in another neighborhood in Lake Worth, the Residences of Lake Osborne (ROLO) neighborhood, we get reminded once again how important it is to keep your eyes open and report any suspicious activity. Check out the account of the incident in the ROLO blog. Crime is not limited to any corner of the city. It can happen anywhere.

Good advice from one of our active neighborhood associations.

Remember everyone, if you see something suspicious, call PBSO at 561-688-3400.

Holiday Parade this Saturday!

"Escape to the sun: Florida’s Delray Beach a tropical paradise day and night"

From the Boston Herald Travel section comes this feature on Delray Beach. From the rather effusive article:
But you don’t need all that to enjoy Delray Beach, because every day — and night — offers fun. The abundance of restaurants give the city an Upper East Side feel. Outdoor cafe areas are what you first see at most restaurants, but inside you find an equally happening scene, with DJs, live music and more. There’s upscale yet affordable, as well as eateries families, singles or romantics can savor. You can start your evening with a cocktail, then dinner, and then shift seamlessly into a nightlife scene, all in the same area. And there’s not a single chain restaurant or store on the strip. It’s all Delray homegrown.

Helen Keller

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”

Mayor Triolo on Channel 25 about last week's invocation...

Click here for story and video.

Here is a link to a Sun-Sentinel editorial article calling for the elimination of "divisive city invocations." It's behind a paywall, so you might not be able to see it. And it was the subject of Glenn Beck's radio show yesterday.

As of December 11 at 9 a.m., the total view count of the video is around 167,000.

I understand that the Palm Beach Post is working on a story.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Memories, misty watercolored memories

Bike thief strikes twice in Lake Worth, police say

Click title for link to story. This was the guy they were looking for who stole bikes from the Lucerne. PBSO at work.

Worth the read considering the focus on last week's Commission meeting invocation.

Click here for link to a Detroit Free Press article which tells of a situation surrounding the selection of George Will as a commencement speaker. There are those in the campus community that are concerned about the conservative columnist's appearance and his apparent cavalier attitude toward sexual abuse on college campuses. There is even an alternative commencement being planned for people "not comfortable" with sitting through his talk. Excerpts from the article:
So far, more than 700 people have R.S.V.P.'d to protest MSU commencement Saturday morning at the Breslin Center. Other events are also planned throughout the week, including a rally Wednesday in front of the Hannah Administration Building in which protestors say they will deliver petitions seeking his removal from the list of speakers.
One faculty member, Assistant Sociology Professor Stephanie Nawyn, said his appearance sends a bad message in light of an ongoing federal investigation into MSU's handling of sexual assault cases. The Department of Education has two open Title IX compliance cases against MSU for assault reports made in July 2011 and February this year.
"I am concerned, as are other faculty, that bringing an individual to our campus that has publicly invalidated and dismissed the traumatic experiences that some of our graduates have had sends an inaccurate message to our students," Nawyn said in an email. "Will is not just giving a speech; he is part of one of the biggest days of our graduates' lives, and I want that day to include messages that the Spartan community respects and treasures all of our students."
Nawyn is among a group of faculty who are organizing a second or alternate alternative graduation ceremony for students who are not comfortable sitting through Will's appearance. Details of the ceremony were not yet finalized as of Tuesday afternoon.
Would Commissioner McVoy think that this form of protest is an "un-American" act?

Earth First is having a protest on Friday!

Are you ready for a protest? Not a regular protest but one with entertainment and frivolity. Do you know how to walk in stilts, juggle, enjoy elf suits, are you into the "furry" subculture, and trained in the use of noisemakers? And lastly, do you like Christmas songs? How's this Christmas song from our friends at Earth First:
Tis’ the Season to Save the Tortoise (Fa La La La)
O’ Briger Trees (How Lovely Are Thou Needles)
Have Yourself a Merry Little Blockade
Kolter Got Ran Over By ______
Rocking Around the Briger Trees
The Twelve Days of Protest
Earth First! is Coming to Town
Silent Night, Scripps Ain’t Right
On December 5th, Earth First (EF) staged a protest in Palm Beach Gardens to 'save' the Briger Forest. This Friday, December 12th, they are having their second protest. As you'll discover in the following information, EF's effort is way too little way too late. Our Lake Worth friends and EF leaders/organizers Cara Jennings and Panagioti Tsolkas are actually FOUR YEARS TOO LATE to the debate about the Briger Tract. (The Broward New Times, one of the pro-media outlets for EF, didn't even bother to report on the protest on 12/5.) This is what Palm Beach Post reporter Tony Doris wrote about the Briger Tract on 12/6:
And on Thursday [12/4/14], several years after Scripps launched in earnest, the Palm Beach Gardens City Council gave Briger a key go-ahead, approving the plat map that draws lines through the property designating the project’s boundaries, roadways on its east side, drainage, buffers and other essentials for development.

The approval was “ministerial,” in the words of [Palm Beach Gardens] city Planning Director Natalie Crowley, in that the council approved the overall development in 2010. But it represented a milestone for the undertaking, as The Kolter Group’s heavy equipment begins to fell trees to create construction access roads that will turn into boulevards and byways for a massive mix of residential and commercial activity.
Not only is the Briger Tract being developed, just South of the Briger Tract is a new major interchange proposed off of I-95 as reported by Joe Capozzi at the Post. This interchange would link Central Boulevard with Donald Ross Road to the north.

The EF protest may in fact resemble an Irish Wake more than a traditional radical protest, don't you think? If you've never been to an Irish Wake you have no idea what you're missing.

But it's not my place to be the downer here. The EF protest should be fun and entertaining for most of those involved. That is if you don't mind being on the FDLE, FBI, and PBSO watchlist.


Parking is complicated so PAY ATTENTION:
  • From I-95 take the Donald Ross Road Exit and go east. Make a left (North) onto Central Blvd.
  • At the roundabout follow signs to Main Street. Public parking is plentiful.
  • Have your car parked by 4:00 and a shuttle will take you to the protest location. 
  • Be respectful. Do not obstruct private and pubic access. Thank you!
Unsure or confused? Text “BRIGER” TO 84576. Note, service charges may apply. Contact your cell phone company for further information.

Note: the protest starts at 4:30 and ends at 6:30. You can protest and then spend the rest of the night telling all your friends about how radical you are! How cool is that! Get out your costume and practice. Not much time is left. Don't forget to say hello to Cara and Peter.

Atheist Requests to Do Satanic Invocation at Lake Worth Commission Meeting

This article from the Broward New Times is not as fair as the one featured in the following post. It gives an update on what has happened since last Tuesday. We are not out of the woods yet. Click title for link.

Fair and balanced reporting from the New Times on the invocation story...

lt took a week before the New Times' Chris Joseph chimed in on the video I took of the atheist invocation by Preston Smith on December 2nd. It's odd that we haven't heard from Fire Ant, aka Steve Ellman in a while, and this is a Lake Worth story. Is he off the beat or off the paper? The last post by him at the New Times was on November 7th. That's over a month ago. I hope that, whatever the reason for the absence, he is o.k.

Here are some interesting takeaway's from the story by Chris Joseph...
[Lake Worth] Mayor Tirolo [sic, the mayors last name is "Triolo"], hadn't addressed the walkout until Monday, when she spoke to WPTV.

"I didn't leave because Mr. Smith is an atheist; I left because of his alleged tweet," she said.

The tweet Tirolo [sic] referenced was from July, when Smith tweeted out an offensive interpretation of a biblical Scripture from Deuteronomy. Smith sent the tweet to a Chicago Tea Party activist named C. Steven Tucker after he wrote a blog post calling for Obama's impeachment.

You can see a screen grab of the tweet below, which has since been deleted from Smith's account:
Now, here comes some news. In a random act of journalism by Chris Joseph at the New Times, we get some information I haven't heard anywhere else. Here it is in the third paragraph of the excerpt below:
"Free speech works both ways," Triolo said about her walking out. "You can say what you want, and I can choose to leave."

Commissioner Christopher McVoy stayed for Smith's invocation and called his fellow commissioners' walking out "un-American."

Smith was granted permission to do the invocation back in July. He chose a date in December because it was during the Christmas holidays.
So, now we actually see the "tweet" by Preston Smith and we learn that Preston Smith specifically wanted a date in December closer to the Christmas holiday season. And for some reason the city accommodated his request and this is going to be a bigger issue now due to the holiday season. Clearly, Mr. Smith pursued this opportunity with a zeal and a clear strategy in mind. It would be interesting to know how Mr. Smith was initially introduced to Lake Worth. Could fingers be pointed at some usual suspects?

The bell has been rung. So, now we have to deal with its aftermath. As of this morning, the video from the meeting has gotten over 43,000 hits and is being picked up by national news sites.

Last night's (12/10) Annual Report on the City's Water System

Click here for accompanying agenda item and back-up material starting on page 20 of the PDF.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Art Event - This Saturday night...

Uh-oh. Amendment 1 blunder? The trouble with amendments...

John Kennedy, the Palm Beach Post journalist covering the beat in Tallahassee, authored a disturbing story concerning Amendment 1 that the voters approved last November. Mr. Kennedy's story appeared in last Sunday's edition. First let's review the ballot title for Amendment 1:
Water and Land Conservation - Dedicates funds to acquire and restore Florida conservation and recreation lands
As you know, ballot language is limited to a certain number of words. Were that not the case the ballot could look more like an old school phone book. Here was the official ballot language for Amendment 1:
Funds the Land Acquisition Trust Fund to acquire, restore, improve, and manage conservation lands including wetlands and forests; fish and wildlife habitat; lands protecting water resources and drinking water sources, including the Everglades, and the water quality of rivers, lakes, and streams; beaches and shores; outdoor recreational lands; working farms and ranches; and historic or geologic sites, by dedicating 33 percent of net revenues from the existing excise tax on documents for 20 years.
If you remember back to Amendment 4 in 2010, the ballot language was vague and the amendment failed terribly. Nearly 75% of Florida voters rejected it. The language for the recent Amendment 1 appears to be clear, doesn't it? Not so fast. The Post's John Kennedy reported House Speaker Steve Crisafulli (R) saying, “Now it’s up to us to interpret the intent.” By "intent" he refers to the intent of the voters last November. And remember how our own ballot issue regarding the $63 million bond for infrastructure was seen as "vague" for some.

Now to an excerpt from John Kennedy's article that appeared in last Sunday's paper:
The measure would set aside one-third of the state’s existing real estate transaction tax, raising millions of dollars for such conservation programs as Everglades restoration, Florida Forever land purchases and freshwater springs protection.

But lawmakers also seem to be eyeing to make a broader menu of projects eligible for the amendment’s more than $600 million in first-year cash.

House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, said city water and sewer projects – basic repair, maintenance and expansion work that lawmakers spent $88.5 million on this year – could be among those aided by the Water and Land Legacy campaign dollars.

“It fits into the purview of the intent of the amendment, it certainly does,” Crisafulli said.

No wholesale changes in Democratic party after mid-term elections

On 12/6 in George Bennett's Post On Politics blog he reports this:
“Voters agree with us,” Wasserman Schultz [Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz] reassured the state Democratic leaders. But she said the party must “take a hard look at the mechanics” to figure out why it has performed so poorly in the last two non-presidential elections.

Rip tide and hazardous swimming advisory

245 PM EST MON DEC 8 2014.









Channel 5's coverage of last week's invocation at the City Commission meeting.

Click here for the story about the tweet by Preston Smith made last summer, referred to in the video. The reason McVoy's fellow commissioners left the room, I am guessing, is that they feared what this person was capable of saying at the podium. It was their choice not to hear what he had to say.

Another article about the tweet can be found here.

Choosing not to listen to someone is not "un-American" as Commissioner McVoy claims in the video report. For example, no one is compelled to visit this blog and read its contents. Some simply choose not to. Is that un-American?

As of 8:15 a.m. this morning (12/9), there have been 13,413 views of the original video.

Monday, December 8, 2014

BREAKING NEWS - Protest over sloppy reporting at WPBF, Channel 25

Here is the link to Ari Hait's news story. Note the title where he reports the crime scene as "Lake Worth".

From yesterday's bike ride...

Parrot Cove Wins 'Best Cheer Zone' for Wacky Water Station Contest for Palm Beaches Marathon

Due to the wonderful efforts of our volunteers yesterday (Sunday), Parrot Cove NA has been awarded a $250 prize for the Best Cheer Zone of the 15 water stations in the Palm Beach Marathon, as well as an additional $150 for participating for a total of $400 that will go to neighborhood events and projects.
A huge thank you to the volunteers that donated their to help (and also have fun) this morning:
Ozzie Ono
Terry Ralston - An extra big thank you to Terry for donning the Parrot Suit for the duration of the race, which was a huge hit with runners and kids passing by.
Steve Carr
Crystal Felch
Bob Lepa
Ken Badaracco
Janice Snearer - Our decorator
Janet Kanai
Patricia Hazelton
Richard Stowe
Susan Storms​

​Anthony Marotta​

​Thank you all as we are unable to showcase such positive things about Lake Worth without your help!​
Here are some pics from the day:

Bizarre accident in the Everglades last night

A chain reaction vehicle accident after a SUV hit a black bear, 3 dead and 13 injured. The New Times' Chris Joseph compiled this report from the Associated Press, the Sun Sentinel, and the Broward County Sheriffs Office. Here is an excerpt:
Bitner [Seminole Police Department spokesman Gary Bitner] says the accident happened around 6:58 p.m. Sunday night on Snake Road, not far from mike marker 49 on Alligator Alley. When the SUV struck the bear, three good Samaritans tried to help out the three people in the Cadillac. But, a third car -- a Mercedes -- struck the three people trying to help out. The two occupants of the Mercedes, which included a 14-year-old boy, were injured. The three that were struck reportedly died in the accident.

Bitner also confirmed that several others had been injured in the three-vehicle accident.

"We've never had an accident involving a black bear," Bitner told the AP. He also said four people were severely injured and were flown by helicopter to a hospital. Four others were taken by ambulances. According to Bitner, the woman driving the SUV who hit the bear was uninjured.

"There are bears all through the Everglades, but this is the first time we've had an accident involving a bear," Bitner said via the Sun-Sentinel.

Another lesson in what is and what is not Lake Worth

On December 4th, last Thursday, there was a horrific crime in John Prince Park, which is located in suburban Lake Worth, or unincorporated Palm Beach County. The crime didn't happen in the city of "Lake Worth". Recently, I wrote a post explaining the geography of central Palm Beach County, specifically what is Lake Worth and what is not Lake Worth. You can read my explanation here. The day after the crime in John Prince Park, Friday, the news media reported on the terrible incident.

Joshua Repp at WPEC (Channel 12) got it partially correct. In the text on the Ch12 website he correctly states the location is "Suburban Lake Worth" however in the video he gets it wrong. The screen grab is below. One was generally accurate by saying "near Lake Worth."

Here is a list of all the 'reporters' who got the location wrong:

David Gould at WPTV (Channel 5), who should know better.
Ari Hait at WPBF (Channel 25)
Adam Sacasa at the Sun Sentinel

This was indeed a heinous crime and we have our share of these type of crimes within our city borders from time to time. However, repeated misinformation of this type distorts the notion of what is really Lake Worth and the people that are responsible for what goes on here, in this case, District 14 of PBSO and our city of Lake Worth elected officials. 

Consider this, if any of the above 'reporters' got the suspects name wrong they would feel compelled, being the professionals they purport to be, to set the record straight, correct? If they misreported the age or sex of the victim they would also set the record straight, correct?

I am asking my readers for some creative ideas to solve this problem. Renaming of the city is not off the table, but let's see if we can come up with our Lake Worth version of the Razzie Award. This award would be bestowed on future 'reporters' who, either through laziness or time constraints (which is not an excuse according to long-standing journalism standards), cannot distinguish between the City of Lake Worth and suburban Lake Worth. As always, you can email me at

Great Holiday Idea!

Sunday, December 7, 2014


This video has now been viewed over 7,000 times...

This was the first part of the agenda for the City Commission's December 2, 2014 meeting:
Preston Smith of American Atheists showed up at the podium to give the invocation. Here is what I found when using Google to define "invocation." It also shows the use of the word in print over time which I found interesting.
Typically, these invocations are given by a variety of local clergy and have not exclusively been from mainstream Christian faiths. Sometimes the people scheduled for the invocation do not show up and someone from the dais offers an invocation, or prayer.

When I first saw the agenda and who was to give the invocation last week, I thought how is an atheist going to "invoke" a higher power, but it turns out he did a pretty good job listing many deities and gods of all types. Of course, in our society, if you allow one faith in, you must allow all faiths in. And that includes those with no faith in particular, or those of any faith, belief or tradition. And if a local government prevents someone from "invoking", then it could create grounds for a lawsuit by preventing someone from expressing their rights to freedom of speech and expression. These issues tend to come up around the holidays related to the use of public land and property for religious displays of any kind. Thus, we have the current situation related to such displays in Florida's capitol building.

As long as we are examining this issue, I thought that it would be helpful to check out what other local municipalities' practices are as it relates to invocations. I went to various municipal websites and generally looked for the most recent regular meeting agenda of the governing body. This is what I found. Lake Worth is not a unique example, but some do it differently than others. I found that most have an invocation as part of their regular agenda.

West Palm Beach:
Includes an invocation as part of its regular meeting.
No invocation as part of the regular agenda.
Palm Springs:
Includes an invocation as part of its regular agenda.
Town of Palm Beach:
Includes an invocation.
Palm Beach Gardens:
No invocation as part of regular agenda.
Includes an invocation.

Boynton Beach:
Includes an invocation.
Delray Beach:
Includes an invocation.
Boca Raton:
Includes an invocation.
The Boca Raton example is interesting. They have a cool widget on their website that allows you to view video of past meetings and then you can embed that video in another website. This is a very useful tool. It also allows you to share just that portion of the meeting with your audience, which is another nice feature. Here it is as it relates to a recent invocation from the November 25, 2014 meeting.

As you can see, they do it differently than Lake Worth in that the invocation is given by one of the elected officials. This duty is probably rotated to different members over various meetings. The Palm Beach County Commission also does it this way. Other communities cited above may also use this method in their meetings. It is one way to control the message, however it seems to me that this is ripe for a challenge and there are some that are making efforts to do that now.

I think it is important to realize that the other part of the freedom of speech equation is the right not to listen to something as well. If you read the comments on the YouTube video from Tuesday night, some take issue with members of the Commission leaving the room during Mr. Smith's time at the podium. Some are saying there is an issue there since doing so eliminated the quorum established for the meeting. It seems to me that once the meeting is called to order, a quorum is only necessary when a vote needs to be taken. There was no action required during or after the invocation, so I don't really think that applies. However, others seem to think so.

I encourage you to read the comments left under the video on YouTube. The discussion drifted into an argument between atheists and agnostics, and all the shades of gray in between.

I don't think that we have seen the last of this issue and it may come down to rethinking the composition of our regular City Commission agenda. Other local governments may want to do the same.

Here's a Kickstarter Campaign for you: The Vertical City

Click here to go to the Vertical City webpage.

A salute to the colorful addition in our downtown

And it's not even finished yet!

Congratulations Shanon Materio!!

Shanon Materio is the Florida Retail Federation's RETAILER OF THE YEAR! A spectacular honor for our Lake Worth businesswoman and owner of the McMow Art Glass gallery. The article also details the efforts of the entire Materio family, husband Phil and the children, in the success of their outstanding glass gallery and workshop. From the article:
McMow Art Glass’ family atmosphere and durability are how the 37-year-old North Dixie Highway business netted Materio, a West Palm Beach city commissioner, the Florida Retail Federation’s retailer of the year award.

Materio beat out 47 nominees from across the state, impressing a panel with her community service and adaptability to industry changes, said the federation’s communications director John E. Fleming. The federation awarded her a trophy on June 20, admitted her as a member and gave her a scholarship to its $4,000, six-month program touring various retailers throughout Florida.

Her political title didn’t help her win and wasn’t on her application, Fleming said.

“Shanon stood head and shoulders above the other entries this year,” he said. “It exemplifies why we think retail is the best industry.”
Melissa Howell at WPEC recently did a story that featured Shanon Materio. You can watch that story here

The next time you see Shanon, Phil or any of the Materio family make sure you give them a big hearty congratulations!

Traditional, print media problems...

A little off the typical topics, but do you remember the Rolling Stone article about the gang rape at the University of Virginia last month? You can read the article here. The story received national attention. In yet another black eye for the news media, the managing editor for Rolling Stone, Will Dana, issued an apology on December 5th. The story is unraveling and appears to be bogus and unsubstantiated. You can read the entire apology here. This is a short excerpt from Will Dana at the Rolling Stone:
In the face of new information, there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie's account, and we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced. We were trying to be sensitive to the unfair shame and humiliation many women feel after a sexual assault and now regret the decision to not contact the alleged assaulters to get their account. We are taking this seriously and apologize to anyone who was affected by the story.
You would think after the Jason Blair fiasco at the venerable New York Times the media would understand the basics of research and fact-checking. Apparently, this is a lesson that needs to be learned over and over again. 

Some of our local media are fast and loose with the facts also. The Broward/Palm Beach New Times comes to mind. Be careful where you get your information from. The line between fact and opinion should be a clear one, not just a smokescreen. 

If you are interested in learning more about this Rolling Stone disaster The Washington Post did an investigation you can read here.

Ed Abbey (January 29, 1927 – March 14, 1989)

"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land, and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, 'thus far and no further.' If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of [Henry David] Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, 'If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour.' "