Saturday, April 4, 2015

Albert Einstein: Thoughts on race relations in the United States . . .

. . . of America. Words that still ring true all these years later:
     Many a sincere person will answer: "Our attitude towards Negroes is the result of unfavorable experiences which we have had by living side by side with Negroes in this country. They are not our equals in intelligence, sense of responsibility, reliability."
     I am firmly convinced that whoever believes this suffers from a fatal misconception. Your ancestors dragged these black people from their homes by force; and in the white man's quest for wealth and an easy life they have been ruthlessly suppressed and exploited, degraded into slavery. The modern prejudice against Negroes is the result of the desire to maintain this unworthy condition.
     The ancient Greeks also had slaves. They were not Negroes but white men who had been taken captive in war. There could be no talk of racial differences. And yet Aristotle, one of the great Greek philosophers, declared slaves inferior beings who were justly subdued and deprived of their liberty. It is clear that he was enmeshed in a traditional prejudice from which, despite his extraordinary intellect, he could not free himself.
Who wrote this? These words were written by Albert Einstein in 1946. Tomorrow, word for word, will post the entire observations by Albert Einstein on "The Negro Question".

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has some very good company. . .

This image is from Facebook. Please contact me to claim ownership of this image. I will gladly give credit where credit is due.

Peaceful protest today in the little City of Lake Worth in response to bigotry and racism

This protest was organized in response to Mrs. McNamara's use of the 'N-word' (twice) at Lake Worth City Hall on March 16th. The Lake Worth Herald first reported this on March 19th and you can read that article here
One of Mrs. McNamara's staunchest supporters attended the protest.

Mrs. McNamara in preparation for the protest.
Warm water and wilting flowers on the front yard.
The supporters of Mrs. McNamara have settled on a firm strategy, it would seem, in defense of her racist rant: what she said is Free Speech. That is true. Those who are offended with her offensive language are exercising their Free Speech also. Don't forget that.

The City of Lake Worth and the ITN Process: recorded meetings for the public

When you visit this city website you will see links to five meetings:
March 31, 2015, Febuary 10, 2015, December 9, 2014, December 2, 2014, and November 4, 2014.

These meetings concern the Invitation to Negotiate, ITN # 14-211, Lake Worth Beach Casino.

Please share this information with anyone who claims a "lack of transparency" with this process. There is also this city press release:
For those of you who experience an uncontrollable urge to hyperventilate when hearing the words "Invitation to Negotiate" or "ITN" here is 3 hours of relaxing piano music to help you calm down. 
And, as always, thank you for visiting my blog.

[UPDATE] Being a protester can be a cool gig—"It's off to Tallahassee!"

Christine Stapleton at The Palm Beach Post with another story about protesters, titled: "Enviro group paying for students to urge lawmakers to “buy the land”

The big difference about the story today (4/4) is it appears in the "B" section on page 2 as opposed to the story yesterday on the Broward actors who got paid $75 to protest: that was in the "A" section, front page.

Here is how the "enviro" protesters are being treated, from the article by Christine Stapleton:
     Besides sending a “Buy The Land!” message to lawmakers,the college students and other advocates on the bus probably will have good seats to a free concert by Jimmy Buffett and commentary from best-selling author Carl Hiaasen on the state Capitol steps Tuesday.
     The charter buses will leave from Miami, West Palm Beach Stuart and Fort Myers on Monday. After a group dinner, the travelers will meet other advocates. Tuesday begins with lobby training before meeting with lawmakers, followed by the concert and rally at the Capitol and the drive home.
The irony wasn't lost on U.S. Sugar spokeswoman Judy Sanchez. Christine Stapleton includes this quote from Judy Sanchez:
     “Just wondering why the Everglades folks have never been called out for doing the same thing,” Sanchez wrote in email to The Post on Friday after reading about Thursday’s protest. “Providing free bus fare to Tally ($100?) and free hotel room ($150) to a bunch of college students and putting them through “lobby training” to have them learn your message – oh and then you throw in a free Jimmy Buffett concert ($100+)—that’s not buying people to show up at your rally?”
     “What’s the difference here and what happened yesterday?” Sanchez wrote.
Good question, Judy Sanchez.

If you go to the Post On Politics blog you'll see the image below which Christine Stapleton was able to locate and publish:

The Florida Squeeze: the problem with Broward and Palm Beach counties

Tough words from The Florida Squeeze sure to raise hackles from some self-described "liberal Democrats":
     The reality is social justice is not mutually exclusive from economic justice- you cannot be a good social liberal without being an economic one. In today’s society being progressive on social issues is easier than ever given the changing attitudes of millennials towards issues like LGBT rights, race and reproductive rights (though data indicates this particular view may not endure). But what is far more difficult is resisting the temptation for elected officials and candidates to raise money from vested economic/corporate interests who seeks to exploit and profit of influence in government. It is also a temptation which those who claim to be political activists on the left find hard to resist.
     Hired guns and those who hope to be hired or part of an “in” crowd advocate moderate / establishment candidates, neutral views on economic issues and ultimately a Democratic Party that checks ideological purity at the door in the interest of “winning.” The problem is this formula has done little to actually bring success in elections, as the Florida Democrats record of losing 17 of the last 18 races for state office and 19 of the last 20 statewide elections without Bill Nelson can attest.
     Broward and Palm Beach counties, ostensibly the most liberal counties in the state are worse for this sort of thinking than any other place in Florida. Since both are places where being a Democrat is politically useful, the Democrats are less ideological and more transactional. (EDITED 11:30 AM 4/2) Many locally, even some activists want to monetize working on candidate campaigns. Thus the true activism of some locally becomes muted and eventually non-existent as inter-party conflicts mostly revolving around personalities and not any sort of issue position become what motivates so many. Some “activists” In Broward and Palm Beach are tied directly to lobbyists/political consultants and simply work for candidates that hire the “correct” consultant.

The dwindling supply of potable water and humanitarian concerns

From America's Finest News Source is this alarming story :
     Fueling humanitarian concerns over the vital resource’s scarcity in many parts of the world, a report published Wednesday by researchers at Oregon State University has found that 68 percent of the earth’s supply of potable water is trapped in Coca-Cola products.
     According to top experts, the new report marks the first comprehensive attempt to measure the planet’s freshwater reserves and determine exactly how much of it is currently locked inside sources such as Coke, Diet Coke, Caffeine-Free Coke, Dr. Pepper, Barq’s root beer, and other Coca-Cola beverages, making it impossible to use as drinking water, or for bathing or cooking.
     “Less than 3 percent of the earth’s water is fresh, and of that, more than two-thirds exists in the form of Coke products incapable of serving any human need,” said the report’s lead author, Samer Ghosh, adding that the amount of freshwater that’s not trapped in the brand’s line of colas has been steadily declining for years. [emphasis added]
You can read the entire story at The Onion.

From The Coastal Star—Delray Beach: Bike valet makes GreenMarket shopping wheel convenient

From the story by Rich Pollack:
     Seasonal resident Bill Bannon had just ridden his bike to Delray Beach’s GreenMarket when he discovered not only an abundance of bike rack space available but also free valet parking — for his bicycle.
     “I never heard of valet parking for a bicycle,” he said. “I thought it was a joke.”
     But valet parking for bicycles is serious business to the folks at Human Powered Delray — the nonprofit organization providing the service at the Saturday morning market since the season began in October.
     “People weren’t riding their bikes to the GreenMarket because there were only limited bike racks,” says Jim Chard, chairman of Human Powered Delray and strong advocate of seeing more pedestrians and bicycle riders in the city’s downtown area. “Many people didn’t even know there were bike racks.”
     Now, thanks to Human Powered Delray’s free bike valet service, riders don’t have to worry about finding a bike rack. They don’t even have to worry about locking their bikes.
The folks at Human Powered Delray have this quote from H. G. Wells on their website: "Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race."

Protest in Lake Worth today (Saturday) at 2:00 p.m.: "Peaceful Protest against Racism & Bigotry"

The protest location is: 422 North Lakeside Drive, Lake Worth, FL:
Here is a description of the event by organizer Mark Parilla:
We want to save our city from these racist radical people. 
Dee McNamara, the wife of a former candidate for Mayor by the name of Lawrence McNamara, who lost, in the City of Lake Worth; saw fit to use the word "ni@@er" when asked to sit in the back of the city commission chambers before the swearing in of the newly elected and re-elected commissioners. Her response to a city staff member who had reserved the front row for candidates and their friends and family was that she was not a "N..." and would not sit in the back. She then pointed at the skin on her forearm and said "Do I look like a "N.." to you?" We want to send a message that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated in our city, much less in our city hall commission chambers! 
Bring your homemade signs with messages of Love not Hate, No Room For Racism In Lake Worth, We are not Niggers, etc. Get creative. No Profanity or foul words please let us not stoop to Mrs. McNamara's level. 
If you have a strong stomach then click on these links and take a gander at her vile comments.
You can read the original story in The Lake Worth Herald here about Mrs. McNamara's racist rant at Lake Worth City Hall on Monday, March 16th.

Remember: This is a peaceful protest.

[UPDATE] The Red Cross Designer's Show House exhibit ENDS TODAY (Saturday, April 4th)

[UPDATE: This exhibit ends TODAY. You procrastinators have run out of time. Read original post about Mary Lindsey's Special Assignment in The Lake Worth Herald:]

The Lake Worth Herald this week has Part 3 of 3 of Mary Lindsey's Special Assignment on the Lake Worth "Birthday Cake Castle". This last part deals with much of the history surrounding this treasured historical structure. Here is one short excerpt:
     The property changed hands several times but remained intact when G. Sherman Childs, himself a son of Lake Worth Pioneers who trained under Addison Mizner, designed and built the Castle in 1925. It became the “Birthday Cake Castle” in 1954 when then owner Upton Close presented the house to his wife Margaret Fretter Nye. That moniker was indelibly etched into the home and our hearts in the early 1980’s when McMow Art Glass designed and created the famous birthday cake stained glass window. 
There are wonderful pictures and much more information on this exhibit. Mr. Ted Brownstein and his book, Pioneers of Jewell: A Documentary History of Lake Worth’s Forgotten First Settlement (1885-1910), also gets cited in the article.

If you don't get The Lake Worth Herald you can subscribe here for online access, have the paper delivered to your mailbox, or a combination of the two.

Great job, Mary!

News from the City of Lake Worth (and a video for those of you who begin hyperventilating)

Friday, April 3, 2015

About those Florida East Coast (FEC) train horns: the FEC responds

The FEC responds with a Q&A on their website. The FEC also provides this brief summary:
Florida East Coast Railway (FECR) took delivery of 24 new GE locomotives in December 2014. These new, state of the art locomotives are more fuel efficient and cleaner environmentally than previous locomotives. The locomotives are used exclusively for FECR trains that operate between Jacksonville and South Florida. When initial noise complaints were received, FECR had GE test the new locomotive horns to ensure they were within the compliance range required by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). The test confirmed the horns were compliant and actually were found to be at a slightly lower decibel (db) level than the previous locomotive horns. While the new locomotives are compliant, FECR contacted the manufacturer to determine what differences there were between the new horns versus the horns on the old locomotives. Further, the FRA has decided to test the horns and their testing will take place in April.
Here is the entire document in pdf format.

Panagioti Tsolkas explains links between EarthFirst! and Earth Liberation Front

Panagioti Tsolkas has been very busy. He has this very long piece published in the Anarchist News titled, "No System but the Ecosystem: Earth First! and Anarchism by Panagioti Tsolkas". In this excerpt he explains the ties between EarthFirst! (EF!) and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF):
     While most environmental groups have generally shied away from militant actions, dismissed them—or worse, falsely accusing them of being done by state provocateurs—EF! has consistently stood up for militant underground groups’ actions, celebrating their attacks and publishing their communiqués. [emphasis added]
     Since the inception of the Earth Liberation Front, which appeared in the early ’90s, first in the UK, then in the US, it has always had ties to EF!. Essentially, EF! operated as an aboveground support network and mouthpiece for ELF actions. The same can be said to an extent for the ALF, though it was initiated in the late ’70s, prior to the existence of EF!, and has always maintained a larger base of support among the mainstream animal rights movement.
     In the wake of the Green Scare—a phrase used to describe a series of events in which both underground and aboveground Earth and animal liberation activists were arrested and accused of terrorism—the stories of individuals from active cells of the ELF have become public knowledge. The relationship between the ELF and EF! was exposed by these cases to be very strong, with direct connections between people who were involved simultaneously in major EF! blockades, the EF! Journal and some of the most notorious instances of ELF sabotage.
     One take on this situation is that this relationship was too close, and that people involved in underground actions should have avoided the aboveground movement entirely. But a more realistic assessment of the Green Scare is that while many major ELF actions seemed to be undertaken by superheroes of fictional proportions, they were actually carried out by small groups of normal people, just like anyone else. In many cases, they may have once stood next to us at a campfire or protest.
     We now know that many of those indicted for ELF crimes knew each other from their participation in aboveground direct action campaigns or participation on the Earth First! Journal collective, where they built enough trust and respect for each other to undertake attacks that caused over a hundred million dollars in damages to corporate and government targets in over 1,000 reported actions in the US alone.
Panagioti Tsolkas includes this at the end of the article:
     Panagioti has been an EF! organizer and on the EF! Journal’s Editorial Collective since 2010, though he is currently taking a hiatus. He has been a part of both Earth First! and anarchist movements in the US since the mid ’90s. He grew up in a Greek-American immigrant family and currently lives in the Everglades bioregion of sub-tropical south Florida. He’s never attended university and believes credibility in presenting an analysis of a movement should come primarily from lived experience rather than deskbound study.
Mr. Tsolkas' information about affinity groups and their role in EF! is also very interesting. 

[REPOST] Karen Donohue and that Facebook posting on March 31 at 7:55 pm

As of today (4/2) at 2:45 pm you can still see Karen Donohue's now famous Facebook post:
You can read more about all this from Christine Stapleton at The Palm Beach Post. Below are some of the comments left on Karen Donohue's Facebook page:
You have to love the comment, "To stay in character, why don't you take a swim in the St. Lucie River?"

Easter Sunday and misleading advertising by the Common Ground (no 's') Church

Have you seen this misleading ad for an Easter Sunday Service at the Cultural Plaza in downtown Lake Worth, FL?
If you're a Christian and seeing the line, "Special Guest: John James of the Newsboys"were you reminded of the recent movie God's Not Dead with the soundtrack by the Newsboys?

If you were YOU ARE WRONG. John James "of the Newsboys" left the band 18 years ago. John James has nothing whatsoever to do with the movie God's Not Dead or the current band called the Newsboys.

Remember this as you search for a church service to attend on Easter Sunday morning. Don't let yourself be manipulated by shameless self-promoters such as Mike Olive who use religion as an emotional hook. Be skeptical!
Truth > Ignorance

Remember it's Evening on the Avenue TONIGHT at 6:00 pm

And while you're down there at the Cultural Plaza tonight don't forget to stop by the Lake Worth Neighborhood Association Presidents Council (NAPC) Front Porch
The Grey Mockingbird Garden is hosting the Front Porch tonight. See you there!

Actors hired to protest . . . and where have I heard the name Everett "Dirksen" Wilkinson?

Christine Stapleton at The Palm Beach Post is all over the story about the actors brought in to protest the SFWMD meeting yesterday. There is one name that stands out, Everett Wilkinson:
     Also at the protest Thursday was Everett Wilkinson, chairman of the South Florida Tea Party, [emphasis added] who said he did not know who had hired the protesters.
     But he did speak about the issue that the Tea Party of Miami cited as the reason for the protest in an email sent Monday — the purchase of 46,800 acres of land south of Lake Okeechobee that environmentalists want the district to make from U.S. Sugar for an estimated $500 million.
     “This has basically turned into a billion dollar boondoggle,” Wilkinson said of the land deal. “We’re here to stop wasteful spending.”
Everett "Dirksen" Wilkinson is known for an email he sent on July 12, 2013. Mr. Wilkinson felt it necessary to get his thoughts on the Trayvon Martin case out to the entire world in an email sent to "Patriot". Here are the three first paragraphs:
     I firmly believe that Obama and his thugs want to destroy America. [emphasis added] Yesterday we learned that the DOJ organized “Anti-George Zimmerman Protests” with tax payers’ money and the Black Panthers are busing thousands to Florida. In addition, we have been told that the media is being told by the government not to report on “violent flash mobs.”
     These mobs are pure evil and are like a pack of “rabid dogs” that have lost any semblance of humanity. This is not going to be just a Florida issue, but rather a countrywide explosion. Recent examples would “Black mob attacks pregnant White woman” and “Black mob beats man for Trayvon.”
     You need to be aware and protect yourself against these “flash mobs” and stock up on supplies now. The obvious things you need are firearms, ammunition, maps, food, water, full tank of gas and/or “Bug Out Bag Survival Bag” and/or “Urban Survival Kit.” I would also highly recommend a CB radio or ham radio because the cell phone towers may be overloaded or shut off.
Mr. Everett "Dirksen" Wilkinson isn't exactly the fella you want on your side of the issue, or any issue for that matter.

Great quote from Robert Van Winkle, aka "Vanilla Ice"

“I’m going to do what I do anyway,” Van Winkle said of the community service. “This is an easy thing. It’s like asking the Pope to pray.”

This is in response to his plea agreement yesterday (4/2). You can read the entire story by Daphne Duret at The Palm Beach Post here. Mr. Van Winkle is well known in Palm Beach County, especially in and around Wellington, for his community and volunteer efforts. I'm happy and am sure many others are happy as well that this minor, distracting drama is finally over. 

Easter activities tomorrow (Saturday) in Bryant Park

From The Lake Worth Herald:
     The City of Lake Worth’s 7th Annual Easter Egg Hunt will be held this Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Bryant Park.
     Tickets for the Easter Egg Hunt are $1 per child for each trip into the Egg Patch. Search for the Golden Egg which can be redeemed for an Easter basket full of goodies.
     An Easter Bonnet Parade will take place 11 a.m., led by Mr. and Mrs. Bunny.
[and . . .]
     This is one Easter celebration you won’t want to miss! Bryant Park is located at the bottom of the Lake Worth Bridge on the southwest side.
     For more information contact the Lake Worth Recreation Department at 561-533-7363.

From Peter Schorsch: "Death Mermaid, paid actors, melodrama cheapen Everglades policy debate"

Well, that didn't take long. The story by Christine Stapleton in The Palm Beach Post is getting attention statewide. Peter Schorsch at the SaintPetersBlog has his take on this serious issue concerning water policy in Florida:
     Amid a lot of silly frivolity in the Legislature and in Congress these days, grassroots organizations and activists ought to be a bottom-up example of how to really engage in the issues without all the drama and tomfoolery.
     Instead we get a troupe of actors posing as Florida’s ultimate stakeholders, the engaged citizenry, on one hand and a warmed-over cover version of the infamous Death Mermaid on the other.
     I’m all about using communication persuasively, that’s how I make a living. And I’ve participated in some electoral theater here and there myself. But we can do better than cheap sideshows when it comes to the debate over how Florida will manage its most precious natural resources.

Patrick Murphy: “The Senate is full of Allen Wests, including Marco Rubio.”

Very interesting story from George Bennett at the Post On Politics blog. The title says it all: Patrick Murphy rips Marco Rubio, cheers Hillary Clinton, says Senate ‘is full of Allen Wests’

Here's an excerpt from the article:
     “People have said to me [Patrick Murphy] ‘Why are you running against Marco Rubio or whomever his tea party replacement might be?’ They say he might be hard to beat and we have to take on the whole national tea party movement,” Murphy said.
     “But I have two words for them: Allen West. We’ve done this before.”
     Murphy added: “The Senate is full of Allen Wests, including Marco Rubio.”
Patrick Murphy made these remarks at the Palm Beach County Democratic Party. You might call this a friendly crowd, however is the reference to "Allen West" a sign of a campaign strategy? Stay tuned as they say.

[RE-POST, GETTING A LOT OF ATTENTION] Explained: How lies such as "they're privatizing our Lake Worth beach" spread so quickly

As Mark Twain famously said, “A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

There's no better example of this than a process called the "Invitation To Negotiate" (ITN) you may have heard mentioned a time or two in the City of Lake Worth recently. The truth eventually came out but not before the propaganda, misinformation, and disinformation had firmly taken hold in the City:

Thursday, April 2, 2015

[UPDATE] Let's see how good you are . . . read letter below: April Fool's Joke or The Real Thing?

ANSWER: The letter below is indeed a REAL LETTER sent by Dee McNamara to a former commissioner in the City of Lake Worth.
And, as always, thank you for visiting my blog.

April 7th: City of Delray Beach and Town Hall Gathering (how many of you remember Joe Minicozzi?)

From the press release: The City, in collaboration with the Florida Atlantic University Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions, will host "The Wealth of Cities: Creating Vibrant & Economically Healthy Cities" on April 7.
This informative discussion will be held at 6pm on Tuesday, April 7, 2015 at Northern Trust Bank, 770 East Atlantic Avenue. While Town Hall Gatherings are free and open to the public, please note that seating is limited and available on a first come, first served basis.

Some of you might be thinking to yourself, "Hmmm, that name Joe Minicozzi sounds familiar?" It should, here is Mr. Minicozzi's bio for the event:
     Joseph Minicozzi, AICP, is the principal of Urban3, LLC, a consulting company of downtown Asheville real estate developer Public Interest Projects. Prior to creating Urban3, he served as the Executive Director for the Asheville Downtown Association. He is also a founding member of the Asheville Design Center, a non-profit dedicated to creating livable communities across all of western North Carolina.
    Before moving to Asheville, Minicozzi was the primary administrator of the Form Based Code for downtown West Palm Beach, Florida.

Think that train horn is too loud? What you can do about it

Here is the Federal Railroad Administration Alleged Violation Reporting Form. Note this instruction:
"Your submission is voluntary and anonymous unless you choose to provide us with your contact information. Choosing not to provide your contact information may affect our ability to follow up with you on the status of the investigation and may prevent us from adequately investigating the alleged violation."
FYI: Sending an anonymous complaint is probably not the best course of action.

George Bennett: U.S. Congressman Patrick Murphy raised $750,000 in one week

 From George Bennett at the Post On Politics blog:
     Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy‘s 2016 Senate bid got off to a solid start, collecting $750,000 in the week after he announced his candidacy March 23, his campaign says.
     Murphy, who already had a House re-election fundraising structure in place, raised more than $1.25 million during the first quarter of 2015 and began this month with $1.6 million in cash on hand, according to a campaign press release.

PRESENTATION: Renovation Plans for the Royal Poinciana Plaza

Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Presentation: Renovation Plans for the Royal Poinciana Plaza
311 Peruvian Avenue
Open to the Public – Free to All

Seating is limited.  To make reservations, or for more information, please call 561.832.0731.

Architects Daniel Kahan and Peter Papadopoulos of Smith and Moore Architects, landscape designer Keith Williams of Nievera Williams Landscape Architecture and Royal Poinciana Plaza manager Samantha David will present their new plans for the renovation of the landmarked Royal Poinciana Plaza to the general public.

Their plan will go before the Landmarks Preservation Commission later in April.

Their plan seeks to restore all existing stucco trim, decorative transom grilles and metal work; replace all windows with aluminum impact-resistant ones; add new patios and gathering areas in the central courtyards; add new driveways; and enhance the landscaping by adding seasonal flower trees and citrus trees to the parking lots and courtyards, among other changes.

Palm Beach master architect John L. Volk designed the property in 1957. It was landmarked fifty years later in 2007.

Alexander C. Ives

Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach

Delray Beach and recognition from Arbor Day Foundation: Tree City USA

From a story in this month's Coastal Star:
     For the 15th consecutive year, Delray Beach has been designated as a Tree City USA community by the National Arbor Day Foundation. The honor recognizes the city for its commitment to urban forestry management and environmental improvements.
     Four standards were met by the city to achieve the status, including having a tree board, a tree care ordinance, a community forestry program with an annual budget of $2 per resident, and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.
     The designation, city officials say, promotes civic pride, educates the public on current urban forestry practices and helps to secure financial assistance for related projects.
Congratulations Delray Beach! There is another city in Palm Beach County that is also a Tree City USA: Lake Worth. Is it time for our Lake Worth Tree Board to ratchet up that public relations machine and get the word out: "Hey, Lake Worth is a Tree City USA too!"

Eliot Kleinberg: more on the secessionist Florida Governor John Milton

Photo from the Florida Department of State.
John Kennedy at the Post On Politics blog had this odd but true story yesterday (4/1) about the 5th Governor of Florida, John Milton. One hundred and fifty years ago, on April 1st (April Fool's Day), John Milton took his own life rather than surrender to the Union forces fighting the Civil War. Eliot Kleinberg at the Post has more information on the secessionist Governor John Milton:
     Florida is now the most “northern” of the southern states. But at the start of the Civil War it was fiercely southern, and its big business power brokers were owners of large plantations who couldn’t afford to start paying their workers. Florida, shockingly, was the third state to leave the union, behind South Carolina and Mississippi. It seceded on Jan. 10, 1861. That fall, the new Confederate state elected Milton governor.
     But wartime Florida was the Rodney Dangerfield of the Rebels. Described by one northern newspaper as the “smallest tadpole in the dirty pool of secession,” it was too remote and sparsely populated to be worth seriously defending. About 15,000 Floridians fought, the largest percentage of any southern state, and a third died, but most of them had been sent to the fronts in Virginia and other states.
     When the Union seized Vicksburg, Miss., cutting off Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas from the rest of the Confederacy, Milton stressed Florida’s ability to serve as an important source for the war effort. But the crumbling would-be nation soon sucked Florida dry.
     On April 1, 1865, his cause was in tatters and the state he led was broke. Milton gave one last message to the state Legislature. “Death,” he declared, “would be preferable to reunion.”
Wonder if Governor John Milton understood the significance of April 1st when he chose to take his life?

The Washington Post: How hard it is to get across U.S. cities using only bike lanes

Before I get to the article by Emily Badger and Christopher Ingraham take a look at this map of bike lanes in Miami, FL:
Despite all the talk about bikeable cities you can see how far away the reality is. The motor vehicle still reigns supreme. Here is an excerpt from The Washington Post story and the reporters' experience in our nations capitol:
     There is a maddening bike lane in downtown D.C., on one of our nightly commutes, that disappears abruptly with no obvious logic. [emphasis added] And it's at least entertaining to envision possible scenarios for why this may have happened. The city ran out of bike-lane paint. Or maybe the crew that striped the lane became suddenly incapacitated or distracted. Maybe they took a lunch break — Busboys and Poets entices nearby — during which it started to pour and so no one could finish the job.
     Bike commuting throughout the city is often like this: cobbled together out of a bit of bike lane here, an unprotected shoulder there, a scrap of sharrow and some silent pleas that cars won't run you over. Bike lanes occasionally appear and vanish multiple times on the same street. Sometimes they last just a few hundred feet. It feels as if someone striped the city with dozens of quarter-mile commutes in mind.
Does this sound familiar?

The story makes mention of a "sharrow". You've probably seen a 'sharrow' (there's one on Ocean Breeze in downtown Lake Worth) and have no idea what it means. This video explains what a 'sharrow' is:

Another charter school bites the dust (how many tax dollars were lost?)

Sonja Isger at The Palm Beach Post has this about the Leadership West Academy, another failed charter school here in Palm Beach County:
     More than 100 students will be seeking a new school next year, after the Palm Beach County School Board voted to close the Leadership West Academy charter at school year’s end.
     The vote Wednesday pulled the plug on the small high school in the Westgate neighborhood that had struggled on the brink of closure for years. The school suffered from shrinking enrollment, financial woes and poor student achievement on standardized tests.
     About 130 students attend the school and 30 are expected to graduate by June.
     Officials with Leadership West, the county’s only F-rated high school when grades were released in December, said after the vote that they will consider appealing the decision to the state.
Recently, Andrew Marra at the Post wrote about the sad state of charter schools here in Palm Beach County. You can find a link to that story here. Also included in the previous link is the story about a charter school proposed in the City of Lake Worth by Ms. Margaret Menge that, thankfully, never made it past the planning stage. She went to Tallahassee to appeal that decision; the appeal was denied.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Do you hear the sound of "war drums" in the City of Lake Worth?

Maybe you don't hear the sound of "war drums" in downtown Lake Worth but some others apparently do hear loud war drums, or at least believe they do. Check out these two screen grabs from the Facebook page belonging to the Common Ground (no 's') Church which is led by a pastor named Mike Olive:
This is very strong language, "the sounds of war drums begin to beat louder." This seems like a perfect news story for CBS12/WPEC reporter Kathleen Walter, doesn't it? 
While every other church in the City of Lake Worth will have an Easter Sunday message of redemption and hope there will be one church in the City with an entirely different message. 

Jesse Bailey with breaking news from FDOT: "Skydrive proposed for Okeechobee Boulevard"

Jesse Bailey at the Walkable West Palm blog has this breaking news from FDOT on solution for pedestrian safety and crossing Okeechobee Blvd. in downtown West Palm Beach: A Skydrive:
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has unveiled a solution to the problems plaguing Okeechobee Boulevard: A ‘Skydrive’ that will serve to elevate drivers above the throngs of pedestrians who have overtaken the streets below.
Here is an example of a Skydrive:
Image from the Walkable West Palm blog.

From The Florida Squeeze: abandoning progressive principles for pragmatism

Surprising news from The Florida Squeeze! They're changing their name to "Democrats for Jeb!" Their reasoning seems a bit suspect and it is April 1st. However, here is an excerpt from Kartik Krishnaiyer at The Florida Squeeze (soon to be Democrats for Jeb!):
After years of resentment about Democrats who did not behave the way I felt Democrats should, I have decided I really want to be part of this cozy club, where ideology does not matter except for one aspect – making money. Supporting Jeb Bush as a Florida Democrat will be a financial windfall and after years of playing progressive, why continue to fight it? I also realize since so many prominent Democrats in the past have openly supported Governor Bush, that if I wanted to obtain leadership in such a group, I better jump now.

April Fool's Day in Florida: 5th Governor of Florida ended his life on this day (April 1st) 150 years ago

Photo from the Florida Department of State.
John Kennedy at the Post On Politics blog has this about the 5th Governor of Florida, John Milton:
     The 2015 Florida Legislature reaches its midpoint today — the 30th day of a scheduled 60-day session.
     As usual, much is left to be done.
     But today also marks the 150th anniversary of one of the strangest and most poignant moments in state history — the suicide of Gov. John Milton as the Civil War drew closer to its end.
     Milton was at his plantation, Sylvania, near what is now the Panhandle community of Two Egg, when he put a pistol to his head. An avid secessionist, he had earlier said that “death would be preferable” to surrender to Union troops.

If you're making plans for Easter weekend make sure to visit AnnaMaria's blog

For things to do over the Easter weekend you need to visit AnnaMaria's blog for ideas. Here are just a few of the things happening this weekend:
And many more things to do in our little City of Lake Worth!

Announcing the engagement of Dennis Dorsey and JoAnn Golden!

Arrangements still have to be finalized, and it may not be a traditional marriage, but the couple is said to be thrilled! They're both looking forward to honeymoon in Pahokee where the two will enjoy catfishing and moonlight romps.

Dr. María Vallejo, provost of Palm Beach State College in the national spotlight

NBC5/WPTV's Laura Santos has this story on a Palm Beach County educator on the national stage:

     A national publication that specializes in diversity and excellence in higher education has named Dr. María Vallejo, provost of Palm Beach State College, Lake Worth campus, as one of the 25 leading women in education in the country.
     Diverse: Issues In Higher Education, a trade publication based in Fairfax, Virginia, announced the winners in its March 12th edition.
     “Dr. Vallejo has a national lens, always looking at best practices around the country and implementing them at the local level,” said David Pluviose, editor of the publication. The magazine publishes every other week.
     The magazine publishes its list of the top 25 leading women in education every year in March to coincide with Women History Month, said Pluviose.

Are suburbs and urban sprawl roaring back to life and the great migration to cities only temporary?

Josh Stevens at Planetizen has this article titled, "Suburbs Come Roaring Back". Here is the banner line for the article:
For nearly a decade, the narrative of the move back to the city has held sway in American life. But newly analyzed Census data indicate that the presumed death of the suburbs may have been premature.
If the census data and Josh Stevens' analysis is correct this could have a tremendous effect on policy making and planning for future population growth. Especially in places such as southeast Florida and Palm Beach County where western sprawl is such an issue. The "trend" of people moving back to the cities may have been a temporary solution to the Great Recession, a temporary solution for many people who would prefer the suburban life. More from the article by Josh Stevens:
     After a century of suburbanization, it seemed that urban trends in the United States had reversed themselves. Center cities were getting denser, nicer, and more vibrant. No one in their right mind would live in a suburb any more. Millenials cared more about urban amenities and living close to one another than they did about yards and personal space. Center cities, for the first time in decades, grew faster than did suburbs. Entire subdivisions, their residents ravaged by mortgage debt, turned into ghost towns.
     Newly analyzed Census data says, not so fast. The outer suburban and exurban areas that suffered mightily during the Great Recession are showing signs of life. Growth on the urban edges is now occurring at higher rates than it is in center cities, according to the Brookings Institution. [emphasis added] Center cities aren't shrinking—far from it—but the suburban dream appears healthy. The economy may have inspired the suburban exodus more so than cultural shifts did.
     "The fledgling trend, captured in data through 2014, raises questions about whether American preferences for where and how to live truly changed much during the housing bust, or if we simply put our exurban aspirations on hold. At the same time, the shift calls into question a parallel and popular narrative: that Americans who once preferred the suburbs would now rather move into the city."

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Ugly Truth: The City of Lake Worth has a very big problem

Very charming, isn't it? This image is from a Facebook page that is still up as of 5:30 on 3/24/2015.

This image and the two that follow are from another blogger in the City of Lake Worth.

ANOTHER email from Mrs. McNamara to Lake Worth City Manager Michael Bornstein (and Bornstein's response)

You can read Mrs. McNamara's first letter to City Manager Bornstein concerning her racist rant (her use of the 'N-word') at the swearing in ceremony at Lake Worth City Hall here. Whoever is tasked with keeping Mrs. McNamara away from the keyboard has failed. Here is her latest email to Lake Worth City Manager Bornstein [emphasis in red]:

From: Dee McNamara []
Sent: Tuesday, March 24, 2015 3:27 PM
To: Michael Bornstein;; Christopher McVoy; Lynn Anderson; Dennis Dorsey; Jesse Santamaria; Steven L. Abrams; Joseph Abruzzo; Katie Kkss21; Debra Smith Kimo; June Evans;; Jennifer Marchal;; ''; '';; Retha Lowe; Andy Amoroso; John Szerdi; Pam Triolo; Scott Maxwell; Margaret Menge
Cc: Christy L. Goddeau; Clayton Lindstrom; Dolores Key; Germaine English; Jamie Brown; Joan Oliva; Juan Ruiz; Larry A. Johnson; Pamela Lopez; William Waters
Subject: Re: Lake Worth's 20 Acre Palm Beach Island Beach front land;Deeded to Lake Worth exclusively, not to Hudson Holdings or its'employee.

M [City Manager Michael Bornstein],

You are misinformed.

Your anonymous city employee entered the Commission chambers where I had been seated in my usual place during the ten years I regularly attended Commission meetings, front row left aisle, on the side of the winning candidate I had supported.

Although Laurence and I were the only ones in the room, this light haired, white woman immediately took it upon herself to tell me, and not Laurence, to move to the back of this totally empty public forum room.

As a non-white or brown person myself I have been referred to by racial slurs regularly from early childhood through adulthood in both Europe and America and I asked her if she was viewing me through the eyes of prejudice, which I believe she was.

If an apology is required from anyone, it is from this nameless City employee, who overstepped her authority and insulted a taxpayer who regularly pays her salary.

Mrs. Dee McNamara

Here is City Manager Michael Bornstein's response:

From: Michael Bornstein
Sent: Tuesday, March 24, 2015 5:32 PM
To: 'Dee McNamara';; Christopher McVoy; Lynn Anderson; Dennis Dorsey; Jesse Santamaria; Steven L. Abrams; Joseph Abruzzo; Katie Kkss21; Debra Smith Kimo; June Evans;; Jennifer Marchal;; ''; '';; Retha Lowe; Andy Amoroso; John Szerdi; Pam Triolo; Scott Maxwell; Margaret Menge; 'Kleinberg, Eliot (CMG-WestPalm)'
Cc: Christy L. Goddeau; Clayton Lindstrom; Dolores Key; Germaine English; Jamie Brown; Joan Oliva; Juan Ruiz; Larry A. Johnson; Pamela Lopez; William Waters
Subject: RE: Lake Worth's 20 Acre Palm Beach Island Beach front land;Deeded to Lake Worth exclusively, not to Hudson Holdings or its'employee.

Dee [Mrs. Dee McNamara],

There is no form of twisted logic you can muster to justify using this word, twice, in the Chambers. I can attest to the character and experience of the employee however, you have demonstrated a flagrant pattern of behavior in your written communications to the City that suggest a deeper set of issues than you can explain away. As just one example, the previous City Manager Susan Stanton wrote to you regarding a cartoon you copied to her and several others comparing dogs to people who receive government assistance. It states that are “mixed breed, unemployed, lazy, can’t speak English and have no frigging clue who their Daddies are.” Susan wrote back, “Please don’t send me this stuff. I find it offensive…” I am proud Susan for taking this position and I am proud of my employee for demanding an apology from you during this incident. I am taking the same position in stating that the word that you are now apparently admitting you uttered is offensive and will not be used in City Hall. Period.

The rows were clearly marked RESERVED and was intended for the families of the elected officials.

M [City Manager Michael Bornstein]

Stay tuned. I understand that there are over 800 emails from Mrs. McNamara to public officials over a 90 day period. Should be some interesting content. Also note that Mrs. McNamara has removed two Facebook pages that contained the offensive material reported on this blog. 

From the Lake Worth Herald: FDOT To Begin Stormwater Improvement Project In LW

For the entire story go to

     The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has started construction on the stormwater improvement project at the western base of the Lake Worth Bridge.
     City staff identified a severe flooding issue and has been working together with the FDOT for the last year to design and install stormwater improvement measures that will reduce flooding along the waterfront near Golfview Drive and the bridge.
     The expected benefit of this project is reduced flooding to Lake Avenue, Golfview Drive, and the entrance to the Lake Worth Bridge. Heavy rainfall events coupled with high tide cycles causes severe flooding due to the existing drainage systems being overfilled with tidal water and rainwater simultaneously.

[and. . .]

     For further information on the project or expected closures contact the Lake Worth Public Services Department at 561-586-1720.

Florida's sugarcane harvest a huge success this year

Susan Salisbury at The Palm Beach Post with this story titled, "Sugar cane season blessed by near-perfect weather":
     Florida’s sugar cane harvest is winding down, with two of the state’s three companies completing their harvests and reporting a bumper crop. Most of the cane is grown in western Palm Beach County. [emphasis added]
     The Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida, headquartered in Belle Glade, had the third-largest crop in its 53-year history due to nearly ideal growing conditions, spokeswoman Barbara Miedema said Monday.
     “We did not have a significant freeze or too much rain.We didn’t have a drought. We had perfect sunshine during peak growing season,” Miedema said.
The history of sugarcane in Palm Beach County is a very interesting and rich one. However, no one single event in history had more impact on the industry than Fidel Castro's takeover of Cuba in 1959. Here is an article from 1987 about one Cuban family that Fidel Castro forced into exile, you might have heard the name before: Fanjul.

As this brief history article concisely explains when Fidel Castro nationalized the Cuban sugarcane fields the United States had no option but to increase domestic production. You can draw your own conclusions vis-à-vis the current discussion on Everglades restoration, water quality, and property rights; however the events in 1959, 56 years ago, are vital in understanding how we've gotten to this point in time in south Florida. 

West Palm Beach News Release: West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio Bans Travel to Indiana

Click here for link to the city's website.
     In an email to all department directors Tuesday morning, Mayor Muoio informed staff “I am suspending all city funded travel to Indiana because of the recent passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act which allows discrimination against LGBT people.” “Until the Act is repealed, travel to Indiana will not be approved for reimbursement,” wrote Mayor Muoio.

Meet the Man on a Mission to Make Florida Walkable and Bikeable

Great article about the sea change happening at the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). This new approach will eventually lead to a different, more pedestrian friendly, lower-speed Dixie Hwy. through Lake Worth. I understand that the initial planning stages are underway. The person being interviewed is Billy Hattaway with FDOT. Click title for link to article. Here is part of it:
What are you trying to do to turn the ship?
     In my experience doing this work, on the transportation side we have to equip our engineers with a different set of tools to do design. We had sort of a one-size-fits-all approach to street design, whether it was rural or urban. For example, we used 12-foot lanes everywhere.
In Florida DOT, we are changing our standards. If you’re a state route going through an urban area, the standard lane width will be 10 feet. We’re in the process of changing the standard. We’ve already adopted the 11-foot lane standard and we’ll be putting in the 10-foot lane here shortly.
     We’re using what I call context, volume, and speed. All three things need to be looked at, and context will have a much bigger role than it’s had in the past. We’ve treated context now as if it were landscaping — making the area pretty.
     But we need communities to work with us. We’re not going to do 10-foot lanes where the buildings are set back 500 feet from the road and there are huge surface parking lots.


Click title for article in the Associated Press. The article leads off with the startling growth in Orlando and The Villages, a retirement community nearby. The article is based on the recently released data from the U.S. Census Bureau; you'll be hearing much more analysis in the coming weeks and months.

Also in the article by Mike Schneider and Jesse J. Holland is news about Palm Beach County:
     While some of Florida's smaller metro areas were the nation's fastest-growing communities, in pure numbers, Florida's population growth was driven by new people moving to the state's largest cities along the Interstate 4 corridor and in South Florida.
     More than half of Florida's growth last year came from three metropolitan areas: South Florida, Orlando and Tampa. [emphasis added]
     South Florida, an area stretching from Palm Beach County to Miami-Dade County with 5.9 million residents, had the eighth-highest population increase in the nation with a jump of 66,000 new residents from July 2013 to July 2014. International migration - people moving in from other countries - accounted for three-quarters of the growth, while natural population growth made up the rest.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Tomorrow: ANOTHER email from Dee McNamara to Lake Worth City Manager Michael Bornstein

You thought Dee McNamara'a racist rant in City Hall was fading away? Think again. Stay tuned for more news later in the week. For your viewing pleasure, here is former Lake Worth Commissioner Retha Lowe's take on Mrs. McNamara's use of the 'N-word' in our City of Lake Worth City Hall:

Is a self-described reporter/editor troubled in our City of Lake Worth?

Why the fascination with the subject of suicide?
Note these facts about Margaret Menge's newspaper:
  • Her first paper, Vol. 1/Issue 1 was delivered to the unsuspecting public on Friday, January 16, 2015
  • Issues 4 (February 6th), 9 (March 13th), and 11 (March 27th) prominently featured stories on the front page about a suicide and a recent purported suicide
  • Issue 10 (March 20th) featured an editorial mostly referring to a recent purported suicide
One of the reasons responsible news outlets don't sensationalize suicide is due to the very real phenomena of "suicide contagion". Here is a reference site for journalists who report on incidents of, or suspected incidents, of suicide; there are many others. Any story published about a suicide (or if a suicide is suspected) should have information such as this for the public:

Note that Margaret Menge, self-described reporter/editor, included no such valuable information for the public in any issue of her 'newspaper'. She claims her newspaper is a 'community newspaper'; I've already bebunked that ridiculous notion, you can read about that here

City Press Release: Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Melrose Irrigation Supply & Sales

The Mayor and City Commissioners of the City of Lake Worth cordially invite you to a ribbon cutting ceremony for Melrose Irrigation Supply & Sales.

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Tuesday, April 7 at 4pm
3540 Boutwell Road
Lake Worth Park of Commerce
Lake Worth, Florida

Melrose Irrigation Supply & Sales is the oldest family-owned irrigation supply house in the State of Florida, established in 1957, with headquarters located on Oakland Park Boulevard in Ft. Lauderdale. The company’s expansion plans include opening six new locations over the next three years. The Lake Worth site was a perfect fit given the convenient proximity to I-95. Melrose’s 5,000 square foot building on 1.25 acres was completed from start of construction to certificate of occupancy in 119 days – a testament to the city’s aggressive approach to helping the business locate within the Park.            

All are invited to join and welcome Melrose Irrigation Supply & Sales to Lake Worth and celebrate as they continue to build on 61 years of business success.

Kim Miller at Real Time blog: big news about All Aboard Florida

Below is an excerpt from Kim Miller's story at the Real Time blog (read the entire article here):
     The Florida Development Finance corporation, which will decide whether All Aboard Florida gets $1.75 billion in tax exempt bonds, had three members appointed today [3/30] by Gov. Rick Scott.
     The Miami to Orlando express passenger rail hopes to use the bonds to supplement or replace a Federal Railroad Administration loan, which is still pending.
     All Aboard Florida must issue the bonds by July 1.
Not much time. As of today, 3/30, that is only 93 days away.

Video from PrideFest Parade 2015 in downtown Lake Worth, Florida

WARNING: If you find one or more of the following topics offensive, DO NOT WATCH the video below:
  • Overly exuberant, happy people
  • People wearing garish bright colors
  • Togetherness/equality
  • The term 'PrideFest'
  • Rainbows
  • People who look "straight" but aren't
  • Gay men on really big motorcycles
  • Confetti guns
  • Many ethnic groups together
  • Everyone from the young to older folks together for a purpose
If you're OK with the above items please proceed to watch the video below:

And, as always, thank you for visiting my blog.