Saturday, May 23, 2015

Small business owner in Lake Worth? Check out CRA Loan Program

Here is the website for the CRA Small Business Loan Program.

Why all the pulling of hair? Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell's comments from Lake Worth ITN Beach Workshop Meeting (5/19/15)

There is simply too much to point out in these three videos (the 1st one is 2:36 minutes, the 2nd is 9:22 and the 3rd is 2:46). What Vice Mayor Maxwell said in these three videos is causing much hand-wringing, hysterical reaction, and a quite a bit of anger from those who would prefer "THE BEACH!" history start from last year; the history of all those terrible mistakes went back much further than a year. Over the next week or so will feature one video at a time and pull out the major relevant facts and observations.

And Maxwell should know, he was there at the time watching it all happen, and warning of the train wreck to come.

When Maxwell was speaking you could see how uncomfortable Commissioner McVoy was, with good reason:
Why? McVoy was one of the people who made all those terrible decisions which has caused all the public angst of late. This boondoggle, the Casino complex (along with many others), is draining the City coffers dry. Who else was involved in this fiasco? Here they are:
Don't they all look so happy? If they only knew then what we all know now.

And more good news about the little City of Lake Worth!

The good news train just keeps on running for Lake Worth.

Wayne Washington at The Palm Beach Post with our local beat reporter Kevin Thompson and others contributing have this story about the rise in property values in the county (here is the story in the Sun Sentinel ). Property values are way up in the City. Out of all the municipalities Lake Worth had one of the highest raise in percentage. Consider this about Lake Worth's rise in property values (percentage):
  • Higher than in unincorporated Palm Beach County
  • Higher than all of Palm Beach County in total (cities and unincorporated combined)
  • Higher than 26 other cities in the county (out of 38)
  • Higher than the average of all cities combined
  • Higher than Greenacres, Atlantis, and Palm Beach (33480)
Lake Worth City Manager Michael Bornstein gets quoted:
     Other city officials saw the increased property values as validation of their growth and development strategies.
     “Lake Worth’s growth is more about people rediscovering and investing in our cottages, walkable neighborhoods and cool, funky downtown,” said Michael Bornstein, city manager of Lake Worth, which showed a 9.5 percent increase. “Unlike some of our sister cities that are adding new, large urban development communities, we are re-filling with residents who appreciate our lifestyle and assets such as the beach, golf course and arts scene.”
Congratulations Mayor Pam Triolo, Mr. Bornstein, to the rest of the City Commission, City staff, employees and volunteers that have worked so hard to make this happen. Viva Lake Worth!

Save the Date: June 13th at the Lake Worth Grey Mockingbird Garden

Note the sponsors of this special event. Remember to thank those who organized this event and all those, mostly volunteers, who help to make it happen. It's a community effort.

Jonathan Beaton (CBS12/WPEC) steps up & hits one out of the park: positive, upbeat segment on Lake Worth

Any of you who follow this blog know my near-disdain for TV news. The lack of time devoted to frame a story adequately the primary reason and also the high focus on the negative. Just the other day WPBF did a story on a shooting in Lake Worth and the man fortunately is going to be OK. The story ran in the morning and then later that night they promoted the story AGAIN as breaking news in Lake Worth.

I sent them a note asking if the man had gotten shot a second time. They took the story down. 

There is a lot of very positive stuff going on in the City of Lake Worth and CBS12/WPEC's Jonathan Beaton reports on one of them. You can see that story here
The reporter interviews a local school principal, city staff and one of our commissioners for this story. This area Mr. Beaton reports on is in the southwestern part of the City we know as District One. For many years it's been neglected by previous City administrations going way back. It's in this area of the City where Tammy Pansa and PBSO had their latest Crime Walk. 
Thank you, Mr. Beaton, for a job well done.

Here is an excerpt from the story on CBS12/WPEC:
     A Palm Beach County community is making big changes to the face of some of its most densely populated neighborhoods.
     CBS 12 learned the city of Lake Worth is determined to clean up unpaved streets and alleyways, which are often used by area children coming and going from school.
     “There was gravel, trash all over the place. There were abandoned cars along with all kinds of other things,” said Brian Killeen.
     Brian Killeen, the principal of Highland Elementary in Lake Worth, has seen the changes for himself.
     For years he watched his students walk through A and Fifth Avenue North, gravel roads deemed unsafe by locals.
     But now through Community Development Block Grants Jamie Brown, Lake Worth’s Brown Public Services Director, says the area’s been transformed into a gorgeous greenway.
     “These are grants you can apply for based on economic situations, basically areas of need if you don’t have the funds to do roadway projects,” said Jamie Brown.
     It’s a push Commissioner Andy Amoroso has been behind for years.

Mike Uhren with a Commentary: All Aboard Florida, ‘quiet zones’ help Palm Beach, Broward

Nick Uhren is the Executive Director of the Palm Beach Metropolitan Planning Organization. He writes about 'quiet zones' and the work that's being done along the FEC corridor in Palm Beach and our neighbor to the south, Broward County. Here's an excerpt:
     The Broward County and Palm Beach County Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) have been working together to ensure the residents, businesses and visitors along the Florida East Coast (FEC) railroad corridor can get some well-deserved quiet. Today, for safety reasons and per federal law, the trains operating in the FEC corridor must blow their horns at virtually every grade crossing. By law, a train horn must be between 96 and 110 decibels, which is as loud as a rock concert.
     But, there is another way to ensure safety without having to sound the horns. Quiet is coming as the MPOs are working with our municipal and county partners to move forward with a Quiet Zone designation. To help us establish this Quiet Zone the MPOs have set aside a small portion of our federal funding to build additional infrastructure (new medians and crossing gates). The additional infrastructure is needed to replace the safety of the train horns and to qualify for the Federal Rail Administration Quiet Zone designation.

[Worth Another Look] Michael Grunwald on President Obama's visit to the Everglades (last month)

[This post is from a month ago immediately after President Obama's visit to the Everglades. It was this visit some believe that fractured the political will on both sides of the aisle over spending so much money on Everglades "sheet flow" and the "Land Buy" that some thought was necessary: $700 million to start and at least $2.1 billion later. As President Obama teaches the nation about sea level rise and the risks to come, and hard choices to be made, many wondered the wisdom in saving the Everglades (especially south of Alligator Alley) when it's likely to be one of the first victims to rising seas. You can't build a wall around the area. It's a legitimate question since so much of the Everglades is below sea level and these are taxpayer dollars on the line.

So when the Post editorial board asks today, "Florida needs real plan to fight real sea-level rise" aren't they taking the easy way out by pointing fingers at the usual suspects in making this a political game of "gotcha"? And also note in the Post's editorial about sea level rise they don't mention one single time the man that has brought this topic to the forefront: President Obama. 

The original post from last April 23rd follows:]

First off, Michael Grunwald at Politico has a lot of credibility.

In the lead-up to President Obama's visit yesterday to the Everglades there was a muted and measured response from those people I thought would be the most excited, mostly in the environmental and activist community concerned about Everglades restoration. And today, in many of those circles it's as though the visit by President Obama never happened at all. Michael Grunwald in his article here titled, "Could Obama’s Everglades Stop Hurt the Everglades?" explains why; here is an excerpt:
     The fear for some activists is that by hitching the Everglades to the polarizing climate issue, he could end up making Republicans less Everglades-friendly rather than more climate-friendly. It was notable that Florida Governor Rick Scott, a Tea Party Republican who has found common ground with Obama on Everglades issues and virtually nothing else, took to Twitter this week to question the president’s commitment to restoration. Obama proposed a $70 million funding increase for the Everglades this year and has repeatedly requested more money than Congress has been willing to provide, but Scott still dinged him for failing to “find a way” to avoid cutbacks. And Earnest quickly fired back, attacking Scott for reportedly barring state officials from using the words “climate change,” suggesting that demonstrated a dubious commitment to the imperiled Everglades—even though Scott has proposed a 20-year, $5 billion funding commitment to restoration.
     Climate change was not the problem that the Everglades plan was designed to fix back in 2000. It was supposed to help restore gentle water flows that had been discombobulated by levees, highways and canals, as well as pristine water quality that had been polluted by runoff from sugar fields and suburbs. The progress over the last 15 years has been slow, but at least some dirt has begun to fly in the Obama years. For example, his administration has elevated a mile of a highway to let water flow into the parched national park. And after aides to the two Bush brothers fought bitterly over water quality, the Obama and Scott administrations have forged a groundbreaking deal to get runoff from sugar farms even cleaner than Evian.
The politics of the "River of Grass" is a lot more complicated now after President Obama's visit. The proponents of "sheet flow" as it's called are not thrilled with the President. Sheet flow, the cliff note version, is water from Lake Okeechobee flowing south into the Everglades. The problem was and still is that the water is polluted and must be cleaned somehow, some way.

Cleaning water of phosphates and other pollutants is relatively easy. The problem with "sheet flow" is the scale. There is no current technology to clean that much water, millions and millions of gallons. Then there's the canals and the pumps . . .

The President's message of climate change, rising sea levels, and the Everglades will have many questioning the wisdom of saving many low-lying areas of the Everglades if they're ultimately going to be under sea water anyway. A tough argument just got a whole lot tougher.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Folks at All Aboard Florida with a question: "Can you spare a minute?"

Why is this getting so much attention on my blog? I posted this in February of this year and it's still getting a lot of attention. Another 100+ hits today and it's only 4:30 p.m. This is not a new video by any means; All Aboard Florida (AAF) released this last year.

Would it be because AAF is beginning construction of the West Palm Beach station very soon and closing streets to install new track?

Anyway, this video demonstrates the reality of projected wait times for an AAF train. A very interesting and very short video. Focus because things happen very quickly. Enjoy.

Palm Beach County Public Affairs: First-Ever Golden Post Award for Government Social Media

This is from the Palm Beach County website:
     Palm Beach County Public Affairs was recently recognized at the inaugural Government Social Media Conference Golden Post Awards ceremony in Reno, Nevada.
     In the category of Comprehensive Government Social Media Policy, Public Affairs placed first out of nine entries from around the nation. Heather Shirm, manager of Digital Marketing and Communications, accepted the award on the department's behalf.
     Public Affairs is charged with monitoring and overseeing countywide social media activity and assuring that the current policy is compliant with the latest legal standards. The original version of the countywide social media policy was drafted in 2010 and has transformed into a living standards and design document that changes almost as fast as social media itself.
     A special thank you goes out to the County Attorney's Office for partnering with Public Affairs to produce a model policy for other local government agencies to follow.
     The Golden Post Award is the first major awards program created exclusively to recognize the outstanding use of social media by U.S. local and state government agencies.
Would be interested to know if there's a plan to train local municipalities on the benefits of Social Media? Can municipalities request training? Will try to get some answers.

Would any former Lake Worth Commissioners care to comment?

In yet another story about waste in government and the media's reluctance to report on former commissions in City of Lake Worth. . . Are former commissions in this City a protected class? 

Our current Mayor Pam Triolo, City Manager Michael Bornstein, city commission and staff with yet another mess to clean up:
Should I include map coordinates to the site so they can see for themselves? Or how about a big sign with an arrow pointing to the $64,000 unused natural gas pipe? Hire a bikini model with balloons to dance on top of the pipe? A Chippendale throwing confetti? 

What does it take?

Post: "Lake Worth residents sound off on troubled casino expansion plans"

Well, the new beat reporter for Lake Worth's first notable effort follows in the tradition of the former reporter Chris Persaud. Somehow, not understanding the proposed relationship that there would be between the Gulfstream Hotel and the failing Casino complex, he says this:
     So, when the 69-year-old [former Commissioner Retha Lowe] speaks at a city commission workshop, as she did Tuesday night on expansion plans for the troubled beachside and casino pool complex, her words carry extra weight.
     The city, as everyone knows, has been debating for decades (centuries some snide residents might hiss) what should be done with the historic Gulfstream Hotel on Lake Avenue.
Kevin D. Thompson seems to think that the meeting was about the Gulfstream Hotel, at first. And I don't think we have debated would should be done with the historic hotel, other than to have it open. I also didn't hear any hissing at the meeting, but that might have depended on where you were sitting. And the decades-long debate has not been about the Gulfstream Hotel, but it HAS been about "THE BEACH!". He rights himself later in the article. Unfortunately, Retha Lowe's quote about what the city did at the beach with the new Casino building turned out to be a "field goal", and "not a touchdown", didn't make it into the article.

Mr. Thompson suggests more is coming later. The Casino complex debate is difficult enough for most people to understand. There are many moving parts, however the good news is people are engaged in the process and asking a lot of good questions. While not about the Gulfstream hotel, it would help if Mr. Thompson elaborated on the relationship between it and what is being proposed at the beach. Unfortunately, we didn't hear anything specific about that proposal at the meeting. That is promised in the future.

The problems with protests... [UPDATE: adjunct professor Evan Rowe suing college]

[Below is a post from last December about protests and "the bizarre tale from Evan Rowe". He got fired from Broward College and he is not happy about that. You can read about the latest on Evan Rowe from Deirdra Funcheon at the Broward New Times; he is suing Broward College. Our local malcontents, EarthFirst!, are mentioned first on their problems with staging a protest. I would strongly encourage you to open the link in the third paragraph, "exceptionally long hand-wringing diatribe". It is very enlightening to say the least. Without further ado, here is the original post from December:]

Protests are not easy undertakings. They take coordination, many people, and it is always helpful to have a clear and concise message. There are even groups that hold workshops on how to put on successful "actions", as they are called in the trade. Eh hem.

For instance, even here in Lake Worth, our Lake Worth-based EarthFirst has exhibited a Keystone Cop approach to protests. Just in case you missed the "battery in the lake" you can read about it here. Even more curious is the EarthFirst protest scheduled for December 12th that was apparently cancelled with no public notification. It is true that if a tree falls in a forest and there is no one there to hear it, it doesn't make a noise. That is, as far as the media is concerned.

Now we enter the bizarre tale from Evan Rowe who is a professor of history at Broward College writing for the New Times. Professor Rowe writes an exceptionally long hand-wringing diatribe on why activists in Ft. Lauderdale can't get organized and shut down the annual Winterfest Boat Parade. Without further ado here are some excerpts from Professor Rowe:
The target selection of bridges was an improvement on previous actions, as was the highway shut down in miami [sic] but the ability to put up enough points to overwhelm police forces long enough to take, hold, and control private spaces for long enough time periods of time is the one of the next major tactical hurdles.
There has been some backlash to the protests as they have angered commuters. A Sun-Sentinel writer, Gary Stein, today dismissed the protestors [sic] for "being cute on social media" as he totally missed the bigger point of police aggression and injustice. He also condescendingly advised "don't be total slobs."
Actions that might disrupt the boat parade are viable defensive moves that can POTENTIALLY [emphasis added] send a symbolic message but use improved tactical actions. And while they are not yet at the level of daily or weekly workplace occupations or strikes against key capital targets, they do show an improvement in the defensive ability.
I would bet the good people of Ft. Lauderdale are interested in knowing a professor at Broward College was so determined to shut down the city. It is also illustrative that Professor Rowe laments the lack of a message by the protesters. Curiously, I found it difficult to discover a coherent message in the article by the Professor in the New Times. And so it goes...

A few questions for Lake Worth Comm. McVoy: If rising sea levels are such a threat. . .

Richard Engelhardt: POINT OF VIEW: "Climate is ever-changing; focus on what we can control"

This contribution by Richard Engelhardt appeared in the Post's "Point of View" section in the editorial page a few days ago. Reading it couldn't help but think of our own Lake Worth Commissioner Christopher McVoy, PhD, and his recent history of bringing up Climate Change and 'rising sea levels' at our city commission meetings each time infrastructure improvements and drainage projects were on the agenda.

If you attended any of those meetings you are familiar with the groans in the chambers and the mumbles of "here we go again". McVoy's concern was we shouldn't do anything until all the data is in and then we can make a 'more educated' decision. Of course, no date or time frame was ever given for when that data would be available.

The good news is ever since the last election McVoy has pivoted onto other things such as community revitalization, attending crime walks in the City, and generally focusing on things the City can actually control. This is very good news since we have so many communities in the City that need attention.

Here are a few excerpts from Mr. Engerhardt's contribution to the Post which nails the point perfectly:
     A few years ago, I was listening to a news report that said hundreds of government scientists from around the world were meeting in Europe, where they had unanimously determined that climate change was real, and man-made.
     As a retired scientist, I do not believe that climate is static. Only 10,000 years ago, a continental glacier covered the northern portion of North America; an Arctic ice cap extended from the North Pole to the south, as far as New York City. Across Manhattan, the glacier was a wall of ice about twice the height of the Empire State Building.
     In the last 100 years, the sea level has risen about 1 foot. In the next 100 years, sea levels are predicted to rise between 0.6 and 1.5 feet. I’m going to wait and see. [emphasis added]
     When I was young, the common theme was the atomic bomb and its effects: radiation, mutation, etc. In the 1970s and ’80s, the common theme was hazardous waste and its effects: fires, cancer, mutations, etc.
     Today the common theme is climate change and its effects: e.g., global warming, loss of Arctic environment and glaciers, sea-level rise, ocean acidification.
     It is my hope that a new common theme develops that we can manage. Here are some examples: the improvement of the railroad and highway infrastructures, artificial recharge of the Ogallala Aquifer, and development of a national water-distribution system to the agricultural areas of California.
Looks as though we're coming together on a "common theme" here in Lake Worth; focusing on the things we can actually control and improve the lives of our citizens.

Alexandra Clough: "Vacant city block will become luxe apartments"

Calm down, no, it's not Lake Worth. Not yet anyway.

West Palm Beach is in full preparation for All Aboard Florida. The plans are set for the new station and new tracks are on the way. Directly across from the new train station a developer is proposing 322 "deluxe" apartments. Hearings are set for the project and Harvey Oyer is reported to have said what is proposed fits within the building codes of West Palm.

Here is a short excerpt from Alexandra Clough at The Palm Beach Post:
     West Palm Beach has hit the big time, attracting the attention of the nation’s largest apartment developer, which plans to build a luxury, 322-unit rental complex in the heart of downtown.
     Alliance Residential Company of Phoenix, Ariz., is seeking the city’s OK for the project, tentatively known as Broadstone at Clematis. The property takes up a city block, a rare building opportunity. “West Palm Beach is an untapped market. It’s time to bring new luxury rentals to that market,” said Michael J. Ging, Alliance managing director.
     The 326,000-square-foot apartment building would rise eight stories, except along Dixie Highway on the east side, where it would rise seven. The land is in the heart of the downtown, between Datura Street to the north and Evernia Street to the south, amid the city’s entertainment, dining and soon, transportation destination. [emphasis added]
How many city blocks are available, or could be available with a few demolitions, in the little City of Lake Worth?

Another Gift from the Visionaries of Previous Lake Worth City Commissions

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Community Crime Walk with PBSO in Lake Worth (Sunday, 5/17); mainstream media absent

The video below was taken by PBSO. The only news media to report on this event was The Lake Worth Herald. Although the mainstream media in Palm Beach County was alerted to this event not one of them sent a news crew.

Lake Worth Casino/Beach issues explained: City Manager Michael Bornstein lays it out

The video below is a must watch for everyone either undecided or searching for more information about our City Casino/beach complex:

From The Lake Worth Herald: Commssion Updated on Legislative Action by Representative Lori Berman

Here is two excerpts in The Lake Worth Herald on the two commission meetings held on Tuesday, 5/19:
     State Representative Lori Berman appeared before the Lake Worth City Commission Tuesday evening to update the City on Legislative action affecting the City.
     Berman began by informing everyone there is no state budget. The legislature did not get the job done for the people.
     Berman said there was money in the budget for Lake Worth infrastructure needs but for the time being the budget hasn’t passed.
Berman said, on the positive side, there was a bill passed about Sober Homes. This bill includes voluntary certification and she said “Maybe the good actors will stay and the bad actors will leave,” referring to those who will be voluntarily certified and those who won’t.
Berman alluded to pressure from Insurance companies to push for certification.
[and later. . .]
     After the regularly scheduled meeting, the Commission held a workshop to listen to public input on the Invitation to Negotiate on the Casino and Beach Complex.
     Citizens were given three minutes, instead of the usual two, to voice their opinion of what they would like to see done on the property.
     The suggestions ranged from doing nothing to entertaining the Hudson Holding’s proposal for more buildings and commercial activity.
     Lee Lipton sat patiently through many suggestions and used his turn to explain when he bought Benny’s on the Beach, they had 26 employees, now they have 76.
    He said more commercial could bring as many as 300 jobs to Lake Worth.
Proceed to the 3:00 minute mark on the video below to hear Mr. Lee Lipton. (The first 3 minutes is a City gadfly that babbles incoherently at every city meeting.)

The little City of Lake Worth makes it on the front page ABOVE THE FOLD! And good news on crime!

Our little city got mentioned in The Palm Beach Post in a good way. It's hard to understand how this could have happened and it's all a bit overwhelming. Here is the front page of the Post today (Thursday, 5/21):
Here is the story by Mike Stucka and Joe Capozzi on the welcome growth in population in the City. This information will help the City get more funding for projects. Lake Worth had one the highest increases in population at 2.7%. And there's very good news on crime too (not so much for Greenacres though; they had an astounding 14% increase in the crime rate). 

And if that weren't enough, our new beat reporter, Kevin D. Thompson, has good news about a water line project on 11th Ave South that will increase water pressure and fire protection in that area of the City. From the article:
    The 11th Avenue South corridor from South A Street to South H Street is being served by 2-inch steel water mains that run north-south in the alleys. There are no fire hydrants in the area. [emphasis added] There also isn’t a water main on 11th Avenue South.
     In addition to improving water pressure, the city said the project will also boost fire protection in the area.
     The project involves installing a new 2,200-foot, 12-inch water main along 11th Avenue South starting in the alley between South A Street and South B Street and extending to South H Street.
     About five hydrants also will be installed, said Water Utilities Director Larry Johnson.
Of course, all this good news will be very unwelcome news for some in the City. We all know who they are. Isn't that sad?

Emily Badger: "How cities are starting to turn back decades of creeping urban blight"

Emily Badger has a blog called Wonkblog. It's a blog that's part of The Washington Post. This post here at Wonkblog is a must read if revitalization (or "gentrification" if you're opposed to community revitalization) of cities is an interest of yours:
A VACANT LOT is a contagious place. [emphasis added] Signs of its disorder — graffiti, car parts, trash ditched in the overgrown weeds — have a way of spreading. This is how it happens: First, the one lot drags down neighboring property values, discouraging people who live there from investing in their own homes, deterring banks that could lend them money, and unnerving buyers who might move in. Then the behavior that blight provokes multiplies, too: People who see litter, for instance, are more likely to litter themselves. Finally, blighted lots become good places to stash weapons and sell drugs, and the crime that follows depresses the block even more until what’s the point of picking up the trash when you can just move out, too?
     And so these places multiply — “there’s one, and then there’s another, and then there are two more, and then there’s another," says Glenda D. Price, the president of the Detroit Public Schools Foundation and a co-chair of the city’s blight removal task force. "It just seems to creep.”
Many of the vacant lots around the City of Lake Worth have new homes constructed by the CRA and there also many homes by Habitat for Humanity. It's those new homes that will help revitalize many parts of our most neglected neighborhoods.

If you're addicted to the daily news cycle of shootings, traffic snarls, and general dissatisfaction that the media is convinced increases viewership then it's easy to miss the big picture, especially in our City, Lake Worth. However things are turning around here, too fast for some and too slow for others. Today we find out the population of Lake Worth is one of the fastest growing in Palm Beach County, crime is down county-wide, and infrastructure work is moving forward in some of our most neglected neighborhoods. A new townhome community is being constructed downtown, our City leaders are getting positive feedback from the county and state legislators, we may be getting new street lights throughout the City, new water pipes are being talked about, and there's talk of slowing down traffic in our main arterial roads, and on and on it goes.

We're not talking any more about when dilapidated structures will be demolished; now the conversation is, "which one is next".

From VisitFlorida: "Sunrise-Sunset: A One-Day Coast-to-Coast Excursion"

Watch the sun rise on one coast and then see the sun set on the other coast, a tour from the folks at VisitFlorida. Starting at the Fort Pierce jetty and ending on Anna Maria Island:
There are few states in America where you can rise before dawn, witness sunrise, and then drive to the opposite side of the state to watch the sun disappear below the watery horizon. In Florida, roughly 400 miles of Atlantic coastline plus 670 miles along the Gulf of Mexico offer numerous paths to choose when planning your own sunrise-sunset tour.

West Palm Beach offering residents $100 stand up paddle-board storage at downtown waterfront...

Entire City Commission Workshop Meeting vis-à-vis Beach/Casino Invitation to Negotiate (ITN): May 19, 2015

No recommendations made. No proposals heard. Mostly it was a description of what led up to the current situation and public comment. The workshop took place immediately after the regular City Commission meeting.

Highlights include the recitation of how the process began and was conceived by City Manager Bornstein, as seen in this excerpt:

And this portion of public comment by Barbara Aubel:

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Other Blogger (TOB): Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery

TOB shared my video with her readers. Thank You! Here is the full story on Cara Jennings' search for the the Big Bad Boogeyman.

Isn't it ironic that TOB demands "accountability" and "transparency" from our current elected officials but the bar for those very same standards is non-existent for JoAnn Golden, Cara Jennings, and Commissioner McVoy? It's almost like JoAnn Golden et al never won an election or was/were responsible for anything.

Adopt on the Avenue: Sunday, May 24th at 12:00pm–5:00pm at Paws on the Avenue

Join us for our 3rd annual Memorial Day Weekend adoption event in Downtown Lake Worth. There will be many adoption groups here with dogs and cats available for adoption including: Peggy Adams, Big Dog Ranch Rescue, Destiny For Dogs, TriCounty Humane, Palm Beach County Animal Care & Control, Lady Luck, and Greyhound Pets of America.

It will be a fun-filled afternoon with Pawsin Paradise hosting a Dog Wash with nail trims, a RAFFLE for the Rescues, and more. Please share with all your friends on Facebook so we can raise much-needed funds for all these rescue groups. ALL proceeds will benefit the participating rescue groups!

Commissioner Comments and Reports from last night's meeting (5/19/15)

From Facebook: Sally Welsh, Instructor at the LW Pool answers a question from AnnaMaria Windisch-Hunt

[Note: In a video to be uploaded later in the week, you'll hear from Lake Worth City Manager Michael Bornstein about the extreme budgetary constraints at the Casino/beach complex. Much of the maintenance and upkeep is being deferred to keep the daily operations funded and this situation is not sustainable or safe. Bornstein points out that the Director of Leisure Services, Juan Ruiz and his staff, are doing a commendable job with funding available.]

I have a question. Why and how did the activities stop at our Olympic swimming pool some 8 years ago. - AnnaMaria Windisch-Hunt

Hello Annemarie, I can answer that question. As one of the guards last on deck, before remodeling of Casino, They have no intentions of the pool "making it". The current hours of operation, the set-up of constant 50 meter landlines taking all fun out of a family swim time, the empty baby pool area,lack of use of diving board during open hours, no city man programs, is just to name a few things that contribute to the failure of the re-opening of our dear Casino pool.

Two full time "pool" guards, with, two part time summer pool guards, 1 full time Cashier,1 part time cashier, kept the pool open for business, 365 days, for years!!!!.Hurricanes and damage from them is the only reason pool was ever closed! 9 to 5 were the hours of operation. Summer I had the option of opening early to offer a water exercise class at 8:15am. Friday nights pool was open with summer guards till 8pm.

In one week 4 guards (two full time, two summer part time,and cashier) managed, over 3,000 public swimmers walking thru the door. 180 public learn to swim students, 1, 800 camp children, swimming twice a week, 300 water exercise adults, various rentals, scuba diving, parties, PBC Fire training, Life guarding classes, CPR training classes, even pool deck sit and be fit classes.

It takes one dynamic, self driven employee that will not take "no we can't" as an answer. It takes communication,public awareness,free local advertising, public school education, and a department that wants the pool succeed!

That's why I wasn't called back, interviewed, and they hired a water park manager that had never taught swim lesson let alone,manage operated design anything to draw the public. She quit months later, position has not been refilled????? Where is that budgeted money??

Anne Marie, as the pool is a residents, home owner, tourist, SERVICE, the attitude has been IT WONT MAKE IT from the beginning.

Very sad.

No one is held accountable, the reminder that this is your job to "make it" successful with what the city budjets, doesn't seem to be the direction the pool has been lead towards.

I have kept quiet for two years since the pool has reopened. I have been working all along without a contract or any secured space in pool.

Life goes on..... I currently have over 100 water exercise students meeting three days a week. Myself "1 teacher learn to swim" program has reach 50 students and parents and its not even summer!
Can one person make a difference????? I'm still trying.

Than you for asking!

Sally Welsh-Chapela


[This is a video I put together of one of Sally's classes. She is a great asset and her classes are FUN! Come join us - 10 a.m., Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Just $5 and you pay Sally, who in turn pays for lane rental.]

Liz Balmaseda in the Post today: what you need to know about "those dates" on food

A lot of good food gets thrown away for no reason. Liz Balmaseda at The Palm Beach Post has this important information about dates on food and what they actually mean. For those of you without digital access this story appears in today's print edition (section D, page 2). 

Renowned Violinist Gareth Johnson performs tonight in City of Lake Worth

Gareth Johnson will be performing at the Art Lofts at 7:30 tonight. The address is 2012 Lucerne Ave, Unit C, Lake Worth, FL. Tickets are $35. I cannot attend but would appreciate if someone can send me a video or pictures of the event tonight.

David Lazarus at Los Angeles Times: "Is organic food worth the higher price? Many experts say no"

When you go to Publix or Winn-Dixie, two local supermarkets in Lake Worth, and see two heads of lettuce that look exactly the same but one is twice the price because it's 'organic' it makes you go "hmmmm". Apparently the "Gen X and millennial crowds" have exactly the same concerns. Here's an excerpt from the article by David Lazarus:
     Kristin DiMarco was heading into a Trader Joe's in West Los Angeles the other day and knew for sure what she wouldn't be buying: anything organic.
     "I just feel like I've already built up an immunity to anything that might be in my food," the 26-year-old told me.
     Besides, she said, why would she want to pay a markup that can run double or triple the cost of conventional food? [emphasis added]
     "I don't think there's a big-enough difference in quality to justify those prices," DiMarco said.
     Only about 40% of Gen Xers believe that organic is organic, Mintel found. And about half of all consumers think labeling something organic is just an excuse to charge more. She's not alone. The market research firm Mintel released a study last week showing that younger consumers — the fickle Gen X and millennial crowds — are decidedly cynical about the high prices charged for organic goods.
On sort of the same topic there is recent news about Trader Joe's and them tweaking their business model to accommodate the more price conscious consumer; some are angry about this and began referring to Trader Joe's as "Traitor Joe's".

Alexandra Seltzer: "Business owner on anti-Semitic graffiti: Area is getting worse, not better"

There's a problem in Boynton Beach and Alexandra Seltzer at The Palm Beach Post writes about it, here's an excerpt:
     The owner of the Boynton Beach business that was vandalized this week is looking into installing cameras in case something like this happens again.
     Kelly Feldman, owner of Clear Copy at 1304 N. Federal Hwy, said a customer told her Monday morning that there was spray-painted graffiti on the outside of the business. The outside and the hurricane shutters had a Swastika and anarchy symbols [emphasis added], among other things in black paint, according to Boynton Police.
Here is a picture from the article:
This picture is from the article by the reporter. There are others to see in the link above.
The capital letter "A" inside a circle is the symbol for 'Anarchy'. (Most of you in the City of Lake Worth who follow politics closely are well aware of this symbol and its meaning.)

If you see graffiti anywhere here in Lake Worth (gang symbols, swatikas, or anarchy symbols, etc.), call the PBSO non-emergency number and report it immediately:
The article ends with this information: "Boynton Police do not have any suspects. Anyone with information is asked to call police at 561-732-8116 or Palm Beach County Crime Stoppers at 800-458-TIPS. Tips can also be submitted through the MyPD app. You can be anonymous."

Some pics of the crowd and TOB from last night's City Commission meeting (5/19/15)

TOB (The Other Blogger) taking pictures
Videos Soon!

[UPDATE] Some Interesting Facts About Our Lovely Lake Worth Casino Building at "THE BEACH!"

[It wasn't a good night (last night, 5/19) for JoAnn Golden, Cara Jennings and Commissioner McVoy. They conceded that their Casino building is a complete mess. But they're blaming the builder now; there's just one problem with that: by doing that they admit they dropped the ball not having a City representative oversee what the architect and construction company was doing. Stay tuned on this one. All week I'll have videos, facts, and commentary on what happened last night. What Cara Jennings said last night is a bombshell, to put it mildly (she apparently has this "thing" for audited numbers, which wasn't very important during her time on the dais. The City didn't have an internal auditor on her watch. She also championed the "save the building" mantra which led to the 'smaller building' not due to it being what the "people" wanted). Video shortly.]

Now proceed to read how truly a mess our precious Casino building at "THE BEACH!" really is:

Share this with your friends and neighbors!
  • The original Request for Proposal (RFP) was a "remodel" of a 2nd floor ballroom covering one-half (50%) of the ground floor (shops and John G's restaurant [now in Manalapan])
  • There was no commission approval to expand the RFP scope to include a 2nd floor covering 100% of the ground floor (shops and restaurant)
  • Adding 33% to the project size within the $6 million budget was unrealistic and created major deficiencies: quality and functionality
  • The whole project was premised on "saving the building." The building was 94% demolished
  • Virtually all "Green Environmental" amenities were eliminated, including pilings to protect the building against storm surge (and sea level rise which is a concern for many), against an untested seawall
  • The original rainwater collection system was eliminated; and designs changes were not done to allow for that function in the future. Remember the continual mention of a "cistern system"?
  • Acoustic treatments, event office space, and additional storage were eliminated from the final plans
  • The Ballroom built-in wiring for video and sound access/convenience were eliminated. (In fact, the ballroom, kitchen and bathrooms on the second floor are all on one circuit. People are advised not to bring blenders to events since using them has been known to blackout the entire second floor during an event)
  • The exterior balconies have poor/reversed drainage causing water to flow towards the second floor rooms resulting in flooding during heavy rain events (like a hurricane, tropical storm or thunderstorm)
  • Inferior doors and windows allow water intrusion along with rusting and corroding hardware
  • Rainwater from the roof and balconies drains directly onto the sidewalk over any pedestrians that happen to be nearby (such as when waiting for a pickup or making a delivery [for which there is no designated space])
  • Rainwater draining off the roof and balconies damages the awnings, produces mold (particularly on the decorative cast stone), and creates more building maintenance issues
  • Removal of a water booster pump to get pressure to 2nd floor fire sprinklers was eliminated. The City then had to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to increase the main water line loop around entire beach site. Then larger water meters were installed incurring additional monthly charges. Cost was passed onto site work budget. Water comes from the Palm Beach water system which is West Palm Beach water
  • Air conditioning of exterior covered walkways, elevators, and stairs was eliminated. This would have protected the interior of the structure from corrosive salt water (and protected visitors from hot temperatures and inclement weather)
  • The eliminated amenities, or "value engineering" if you like, reduced the cost but resulted in lower lease rates, event rates, and contributed greatly to un-leased second floor space
Who was responsible for this? See image below:
Note that the Lake Worth Casino building is not "failing". As we learned from the recent Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) process, the Casino business plan is a CONFIRMED FAILURE.

PBSO (Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office)—‎Shooting‬ in Lake Worth

Deputies responded to a shooting in the 1500 block of Railroad Ave in the City of Lake Worth, When they arrived they found a black male shot. Palm Beach County Fire Rescue responded, treated and transported the male to a local hospital where he is expected to survive.

Detectives and crime scene investigators responded to the scene to investigate further.

No known motive to this shooting, at this time. Witnesses advised deputies that a black male, wearing a white hoody, was seen running from the area.

If anyone has information about this shooting they are urged to contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-458-TIPS.

Time: 1:15 am

Location: 1500 block of Railroad Ave, Lake Worth

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

This is splendid—Wedded couple have pictures taken with art in Lake Worth as the backdrop

Meet newlyweds Anthony & McKenzie Perkins married on the Lake Worth beach, April 30, 2015.

According to McKenzie, "We specifically chose the shuffleboard courts for our '1st look' because of how graphically beautiful it is! We would love to share on your blog! We both own a home in Lake Worth & I own MJ Makeup Artistry on Dixie Hwy."

So, here is the beautiful new couple celebrating in front of our creative murals, along with a bit of the ceremony on the beach and on the pier. It is nice to see the murals on the shuffleboard court building achieving equal status with our iconic beach amenities.
In front of 1000 Lake Avenue
Congratulations to the new couple and we wish you the best as you start your lives together. Thank you for celebrating Lake Worth with us!

Photography by Chris Kruger Photography

[REDUX] Marge Mange's Tabloid is FOR SALE! Mange Failed to Find Common Ground (no 's') in City?

So much going on and Mange's latest went unnoticed in the City of Lake Worth. She's FOR SALE!

Remember reason City of Lake Worth is having this work session tonight: cleaning up a mess by JoAnn Golden et al

JoAnn Golden, her fellow elected officials, City Manager Susan Stanton, and their staff IN A PREVIOUS CITY COMMISSION are the ones that saddled our City with this mess.

Don't forget that. They'll try desperately to place the blame on others tonight. However, it was their terrible decisions and miscalculations that put us in this terrible mess.

Now it's up to City Manager Michael Bornstein, Mayor Pam Triolo and her fellow elected officials and staff to find a way to fix the failed Casino complex.

It's as simple as that. The silly red signs are just a distraction from the real issue. Don't fall for it.

Random thoughts: the media and PBSO

Last November there was a protest in Lake Worth against PBSO and many from the media were there. The protest details were kept from the public until only a few hours prior; a reader of my blog stumbled on news of the protest and sent me the details. I posted the information on my blog at about 10:00 a.m., 7 hours prior to the event.

From memory, here are the media I recall that day at the protest:
  • Palm Beach Post reporter John Lantigua
  • NBC5/WPTV's Katie LaGrone
  • CBS12/WPEC (don't recall reporter)
  • A Spanish TV station reporter
  • A reporter from the Broward New Times
  • Various photographers and independent reporters
Now contrast that with last Sunday's Crime Walk with PBSO, an event by the community in support of PBSO, what media showed up?
  • The Lake Worth Herald
The media was given notice of the Crime Walk at least 5 days prior to the event. How do I know that? Because I let them know and so did others. And none of them showed up.

If former Lake Worth Commissioner Cara Jennings calls the media on any given day at 10:00 in the morning and tells them of a protest at 5:00 p.m. in Lake Worth AGAINST PBSO you know a WPTV news van will be there and so will a Palm Beach Post reporter. It's a given.

What are we to conclude from this? Draw your own conclusions. What I do know is this: Tammy Pansa and others worked so incredibly hard to make this Crime Walk happen and the "mainstream media" in Palm Beach County couldn't give a damn. But get a handful of malcontents with a grudge against PBSO and the media can't get to the scene fast enough. They'll leave vapor trails.

Is it different in other areas in Palm Beach County or is this just a 'Lake Worth thing'? Don't know. Thankfully our City has The Lake Worth Herald; were it not for them in the media's eyes it's like the Crime Walk with PBSO never happened.

Reminder for the workshop tonight: The City can't just sell "THE BEACH"!

Click on image for larger version.

Mango Meeting Thursday

Hello Mangos,

There will be a Mango Meeting Thursday, 7p at Southshores May 21. Mainly social, but we will have a PBSO update, talk about our raft, and discuss a pick for our next featured home. Please email us if you have any suggestions... It could be a garden, the yard, some special work on the house, or anything special that would make that house a "Pick of the Crop"!

Also this Thursday one of our Mangos, Aidana is dancing the Tango at Don Ramon's up on Dixie, just north of town, in WPB. It will be a great night I hope a few can make it!

Finally, for all those interested in what may happen up at the beach, please join the city commission for a workshop, to be held this evening, Tues, May 19th, after the regular mtg, which starts at 6p. An agenda and information can be found online at  or posted at City Hall.

Post's Lake Worth Beat Reporter Kevin D. Thompson: "What’s going down at tonight’s Lake Worth City Commission meeting"

Click title for link to an article released today about tonight's City Commission meeting. It is oddly accompanied by a picture of the Gulfstream Hotel, which isn't on the agenda and it isn't part of the workshop that follows on the beach proposals/ITN committee recommendations. Here is part of what he reports:
     Immediately following the regular meeting, there will be a City Commission work session where the fortunes of the city’s beachside casino and pool complex will be discussed.
     Since the casino reopened in 2012, the city has been trying to figure out how to fill the vacant space. While some residents embrace the idea of a $15 million expansion by a local developer, others in this artsy town don’t want to see a big developer coming in and messing with the city’s hipster vibe.
     Stay tuned….
So, ride your "fixie" to the meeting tonight to hear more. Here is what some of the more hip of us will be wearing:
And my crack research team has concluded that there is no relation between the Palm Beach Post reporter Kevin D. Thompson and Margaret Menge's World-renowned food critic Joseph Thompson III.

Hudson Holdings maintained at the Bryant Park neighborhood meeting that the hotel could go forward without the beach portion of their development plan. However, the potential synergy between the two should not be ignored.

From the SFWMD: Everglades restoration work (interactive map)

Screen grab of Interactive Map showing Everglades restoration projects.
You would think that the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) destroyed the Everglades last week and you would be very mistaken. Full page ads by the Everglades Foundation, a "death mermaid", and eco-theater like dropping quarters in a bucket (trivializing $700 million in taxpayer dollars) can do that to people. The truth is that much work has been done, is being done and more work is planned in the future for the Everglades. 

SFWMD just released an interactive map showing what's being done for the Everglades, you can see that map here and scroll over the projects for additional information. Here is a short statement from SFWMD:
     America's Everglades was once a vibrant, free-flowing River of Grass, extending from the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes near Orlando to the southern tip of the peninsula at Florida Bay. Over time, significant development allowed for population and economic growth. The construction of canals and water control structures, along with increased water needs due to urban and agricultural expansion, also contributed to unintended environmental consequences.
     Recognizing that a healthy ecosystem is vital to a healthy economy, a number of initiatives are underway to improve water quality, increase water storage and re-establish more historic flows.
Remember, in addition to the current work being done for Everglades restoration, the supporters of the "land buy" wanted to spend an additional $700 million to start and then another $2 billion+ to build a reservoir. 

Wise words about "shared respect" and its role in the democratic process. . .

Remember Amnesty Week—Prepare for Hurricane Season

Monday, May 18, 2015

Lake Worth: Be on your best behavior today, we have a guest visiting

State Representative Lori Berman will be giving our City a legislative update today and we don't want to have a repeat of what happened in Greenacres. Here is what The Palm Beach Post reporter Kevin D. Thompson wrote about Representative Berman's visit to a Greenacres city commission meeting last week:
After the meeting, several members said they were embarrassed that Rep. Lori Berman, D-Delray Beach, was in the audience to witness the display.
So if you feel like you're going to lose control and act like an idiot, do what Peter Timm did:
Put a piece of tape over your mouth. Or act normal for a few minutes. If you think embarrassing our City is going to aid your cause in some way, think again. It's not. 

Here is State Representative Lori Berman's picture and biography from Wikipedia:
I look forward to your visit tomorrow Representative Berman and hope my City treats you well, respectfully and with grace and charm. 

Video: Lake Worth Commissioner McVoy on City's Electric Utility: the Hummer vs. the Prius

This has to do with the City's work session on 5/12 vis-à-vis the discussion on the Siemen's proposed performance contract to fix the City's street lights, reduce energy consumption, maintenance, inventory, etc.
McVoy (in the video below) is looking at a graph supplied by Siemens and applies an analogy that he believes sums up the data: he uses the "Hummer" (the current City status) versus the "Prius" (what Siemens is proposing to do for the City). On the face of it sounds ridiculous but it's actually not. City Manager Michael Bornstein, in the video below, emphasizes (at the 1:50 mark) that the analogy has to specify, "It's not a new Hummer."

The video is only 2:30 long and is a decent analogy going forward. Even McVoy acknowledges in a joking way how terrible the situation is concerning the street lights in the City and Bornstein jokingly responds, "You and I need to talk."

Despite the analogy of an 'old beat up Hummer' and a 'Prius' the reality is a lot of work needs to be done to make our neighborhoods safer and street lighting is an integral part of that. There are way too many dark streets in our City; it's a safety and quality-of-life issue for many City residents. You don't want to miss Bornstein's reference to "Fred Flintstone" at the end of the video.

The entire meeting on 5/12 lasted a little over an hour and there was not one single reference to "Dark Skies", rising sea levels, or Climate Change. Simply an observation.