Saturday, August 1, 2015

Continuation of Hudson Holdings presentation from Thursday night's City Commission work session

Representatives from Hudson Holdings went first and then Anderson and Carr made their presentation. That is in a separate video coming soon.

West Palm officials picked for Denmark livable cities program

Click title for link to an article by Tony Doris of the Palm Beach Post about a significant honor given to the city of West Palm Beach. Mayor Jeri Muoio and Downtown Development Authority Director Raphael Clemente have been invited to the 8 80 Cities program in Copenhagen, Denmark. The conference will take place in September. The group is paying their airfare and expenses for those invited to attend. This is recognition that West Palm Beach is doing things right in making a walkable and bikeable community.

Here is a snippet from the article:
     West Palm Beach and the other cities were chosen based on what they’ve already been doing to encourage walking and biking and to improve parks and other public spaces, said de la Pena, who was among five people on the selection committee.
     Clemente, who did the city’s five-minute presentation, had to convince the panel that the city and its officials could build on what they’d done. The city has been implementing a series of road changes to encourage walking and biking, recently started a bike-sharing program and redesigned its waterfront several years ago.
     Other cities chosen for the trip are: Miami; Tallahassee; Macon and Columbus, Ga.; Gulfport, Miss.; Charlotte, N.C.; Detroit; Akron, Ohio; Lexington, Ky.; Grand Forks, N.D.; and San Jose and Long Beach, Calif.
Check out this video from the 8 80 Cities group:
8-80 Cities is a non-profit organization based in Toronto, Canada. They are dedicated to contributing to the transformation of cities into places where people can walk, bike, access public transit and visit vibrant parks and public places. Their approach is to engage people and communities across multiple sectors to inspire the creation of cities that are easily accessible, safe and enjoyable for all.

Introductory portion of City Commission work session on Casino Complex Invitation to Negotiate—Presentations by respondents

This is when the format of the meeting was discussed. As a work session, public comment is usually not allowed. However, the Commission allowed comment due to the number of people present. There was an initial question about whether comments would be limited to questions to the respondents only. This was the first public meeting where the presenters could actually present their proposal in a public way. No action would be taken at this meeting since it was advertised as a "work session."

The focus of the meeting was to get information from the respondents. The City Commission themselves never had such a presentation. Unfortunately, this part of the meeting permitted the opportunity for some rancorous discussion among the members of the Commission. Most of this part of the meeting consisted of that discussion, an introduction and review of the process by the City Manager Bornstein and a review of the ITN selection committee recommendations by the City Attorney. Commissioner McVoy, and to a degree Commissioner Maier, took this opportunity to grandstand about how the process was wrong to begin with. Remember, McVoy voted for the ITN process. He was reminded that this was a unanimous decision to go forward with the ITN process to address financial and operational flaws at the beach property and with the Casino building.

Hudson Holdings begins their presentation at the 22 minute mark. Their PowerPoint presentation is to be made available on the City's website soon.

Having your own PD doesn't stop crime (and it doesn't save money either): from the office of Susan Stanton

From the office of Greenfield CA City Manager Susan Stanton.
Image from KRKC's Facebook page; a local news outlet that covers Greenfield, CA.
The Other Blogger (TOB) in Lake Worth likes posting these long lists of crime in the City of Lake Worth. The lists go on and on and on. (Next time you see one of these lists notice the number of non-crimes like "beverage violation" and "child issue".) But what most people don't know, or don't care to know, is that crime dropped in Lake Worth last year

The underlying message from some who express faux outrage about crime, like TOB and her former cohort Margaret Menge for instance, isn't so much actual crime but PBSO's "inability" to stop it. It's interesting to note that TOB's long lists and Margaret Menge's former 'Crime Blotters' rarely if ever listed arrests. They are/were only interested in the crime itself and not the entire story. 

You see folks, if TOB made reference to "arrests" then that would show PBSO is doing their job. Can't let that happen.

One of TOB's heroes is former Lake Worth City Manager Susan Stanton. One of Stanton's missions was to get PBSO out of the City and reinstate the Lake Worth PD. One of the reasons PBSO was brought into the City was because the gangs had taken over many areas. Here's a Sun Sentinel article that references what was happening before PBSO took over and here is another recent one

So, Susan Stanton is now the City Manager for Greenfield, CA. She has her own police chief and her own police department. There's crime in Greenfield and lot of really terrible things are happening out there in Monterey County.

Just like Lake Worth did back in the day when the City got rid of its police department and sought help from PBSO. How easy it is to forget.

West Palm Beach tops entire nation in vacation rental growth

Jennifer Sorentrue has this news about West Palm Beach:
     An analysis conducted by the travel website [Hipmunk] found vacation rental bookings in West Palm Beach skyrocketed by 852 percent from summer 2014 to summer 2015.
     Rounding out the top five cities for the biggest vacation rental growth are:
New York, NY — 488 percent
Greenville, NC — 410 percent
Pittsburgh, PA — 356 percent
Dallas, TX — 279 percent
From the Hipmunk website: "Hipmunk is the best travel site on the web. Period." —Forbes

Friday, July 31, 2015

Message sent out to residents from Commissioner Maier prior to last night's meeting

Were you in Palm Springs on Tuesday night and see an accident on Lake Worth Road?

In the video you can watch here you see a car hit a scooter and keep on driving down the road. Lulu Ramadan at the Palm Beach Post has an article about this but she got the location wrong; it's in Palm Springs near the Lake Worth Drive In, nowhere near Lake Worth. CBS12/WPEC also got the location wrong.

Ask your neighbors and friends if they saw anything to contact FHP at 954-837-4012 or Crime Stoppers.

The little City of Lake Worth entering the social media age

Below is what you see when you visit the City of Lake Worth website:
The City is using Twitter and you can sign up for 'City Updates' now

Message to the Mayor and Commissioners from an attendee of last night's meeting:

Thank you to the mayor, the commission and city staff for allowing the parties who submitted proposals to present them to the public at last night's meeting. I have a much greater appreciation for your dedication and service. After sitting through hours of public comment I have to question why any business would want to come to Lake Worth.

I went into the meeting with much skepticism regarding the Hudson Holding's proposal but now believe it may be the only proposal that addresses several of the problem issues at the beach complex.

  1. Higher revenue income is needed to cover the beach complex's growing expenses. Fudging the $500,000 of yearly debt service to improve the bottom line is wrong. 
  2. Lack of sufficient parking. This is a huge problem. Simply increasing the parking rates may result in driving customers away
    not something the present commercial tenants will appreciate.
  3. The new casino building has ongoing construction and maintenance issues which need to be addressed. 
  4. The pool area was not included in the beach complex's initial reconstruction plan and desperately needs to be upgraded. The facility is an eye sore. Stepping into the changing area is what I'd expect in the USSR or Cuba
    totally run down and depressing. The pool is nice but it is under utilized and there isn't any kiddy pool or other related amenities. 
Hudson Holding's proposal addresses the beach complex problems. Anderson Carr's proposal will fill the empty commercial space but does not address the parking issue, which will only become worse if the new commercial tenant attracts more customers to the area. I think more than HH proposed 108 spaces should be considered.

The reconstruction of the pool structure is a win-win for Lake Worth and Hudson Holdings. The City will get a new building and a new pool complex with more ground floor commercial space
HH gets prime commercial space to let out for events etc. and be able to provide a beach amenity for the hotel patrons.

As stated by many citizens at last nights meeting, the community has already agreed to the present use of commercial space and parking facilities at the beach. Since the proposed project reduces the foot print of the present structure perhaps with more community input regarding the final design of the pool complex, the parking complex and addressing environmental concerns many citizens' concerns will be eased.

The proposal presented is just the beginning
. . .as the saying goes "the devil is in the details", construction concessions, revenue sharing, code compliance, the leasing terms for the parking garage, pool structure and existing commercial space will be very critical in establishing the final product and actual revenue Lake Worth receives from this project.

I think Hudson Holdings proposed beach complex improvements and their interest in investing in our community are great! Let's not scare them away.

/s/ Judith Ann Just

Judith Ann Just, Attorney, P.A.

City Commission Work Session on ITN responses to fix failed business plan at the Casino complex

A full to overflowing crowd packed the Commission Chambers, the adjacent conference and the hallway last night to hear presentations by two respondents from the City's Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) process last night. I got there just past 4:30 p.m. to secure a spot and other people were already there who had the same idea. It may be a good idea to check the lunar calendar when scheduling meetings like this one. Having it on the eve of a full moon may not have been the best idea. Emotions ran high throughout and there was little indication of the Commission's willingness to go forward with either of the options proposed.

Here's a note on the status of the video I took. I was able to capture most of the meeting until the battery ran out at around 9 p.m. When I get back from meetings where I take video am usually able to start uploading them right to YouTube and they're ready to publish in the morning. Things are working now but there were a few bugs that prevented most of the upload from happening last night, so those will come later in the day. Here is a short one that did upload:
You can see the short video I took above prior to the meeting and the crowd that was assembled. You can see bosom buddies JoAnn Golden and Dennis Dorsey cutting it up against the wall. Those two have such a good time when they get together. 
Things started out a little rocky with a discussion regarding how public comment was to be accommodated during the meeting. First of all, this was a work session and the City Commission usually doesn't allow public comment in that sort of format. So, it was a gift that public comment was going to be allowed at all. The Mayor suggested that comments from the public be limited to questions that would be answered in real time, right after asking the question, by the respondents.

Limiting comment in this way generated some "push back" from some commissioners, so the normal two minute limit would apply and people were able to pretty much say whatever they wanted about the proposals without being limited to questions only. However, most people did take the Mayor's suggestion and were able to ask questions and the respondents to the ITN were able to answer. There were some instances when the questions became rhetorical and some had a sarcastic tone, which is never really helpful.
More later as the videos are ready. There were some high points of the meeting along with some cringe-worthy ones. While it was a good thing to engage the residents in this way, the venue needed to be larger. Some day, I would like to see the current city hall building revert back to its original use as an auditorium that could provide seating for a larger crowd. Hopefully, we'll be able to see that in our lifetimes.

More from the Post's beat reporter Kevin D. Thompson about the Bamboo Room in Lake Worth

Here's the latest news about the Bamboo Room:
     The Bamboo Room’s coming out party continues on Friday [today] as the club will now be open on Fridays and Saturdays for live music.
     The line-up for Friday is the jazz/blues group Lena & The Blue Collective (7-9 p.m.) and High Tolerance Top 40(9:30 p.m. – 12:30 a.m.).
     On Saturday, Maurice Franks & The Palm Beach Quartet hit the stage for a two-hour set starting at 7 p.m., to be followed by Dawn Patrol from 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
Mr. Thompson is the beat reporter for Lake Worth and Greenacres. Noticeably absent of late is any news from Greenacres. True, on the entertainment scale Lake Worth ranks much higher than Greenacres but it's not fair for El Dub to take all the attention away from their fine community out west.

So, if you're a resident of Greenacres and you have good news for Mr. Thompson here is his contact information:
Twitter: @kevindthompson1


A frequent reader pointed out two comments that referred to him under a post on this blog. At his request, I have removed them from the comments. They appear below as a screen grab he sent me. I do not want to further identify the person here since his first name and only the first initial of his last name are used in the actual comment. But it is clear if you read the comments associated with the post, they refer back to earlier comments where both his first and last name are mentioned.
These comments got by me and I do err on the side of posting most comments regardless of content, and sometimes I make mistakes. This was one of them and I apologize to the person referenced here and wish him the best going forward.

Another result of urban sprawl: increased traffic fatalities

Here are some statistics from the article in CityLab demonstrating the safety of compact cities versus sprawling ones:
  • Tokyo, a city of more than 13 million, has 1.3 such deaths [traffic fatalities] per 100,000 residents. London, home to more than 8.6 million people, reports just 1.6 traffic deaths per 100,000. In Hong Kong, population 7.2 million, the figure is just 1.8 per 100,000.
  • Sprawl does the opposite, with deadly effects. Consider Atlanta, a notoriously sprawling city. At 9.7 deaths per 100,000 people, its traffic-fatality rate is three times that of far denser New York City (3.2 per 100,000).
Here is a sobering paragraph from the article:
     Traffic deaths—especially in and around cities—are emerging as one of the critical public health problems of the 21st century. Already, 1.24 million people around the world die in motor vehicle crashes every year. Among people age 15 to 29, who should have many years of health and productivity ahead of them, traffic crashes are the leading cause of death. [emphasis added] For children age 5 to 14, crashes are the second-leading cause. Pedestrians and cyclists account for more than a quarter of those killed on roads. And as urban populations boom and motor vehicles proliferate, researchers project that by 2030, crashes will be the fifth-leading cause of death for the general population.

GMO mosquitoes coming to Florida soon? Welcome news for many

EnviroNews has this news which will be welcome for many in south Florida. The title of the article is "Meet The New GMO Mosquito — Millions Carrying the ‘Kill Switch Gene’ Already Released". Here is an excerpt:
     Mosquitos can be one helluva a nuisance — and with those pesky little critters comes myriad illnesses, but two in particular have been present in South Florida in recent years — Chikungunya and Dengue Fever.
     Both are vector-borne diseases, and both are transmitted by Aedes aegypti — the scientific name for a bothersome little bug, also known as the “yellow fever mosquito,” that 99.99% of the population despises.
     There was an outbreak of dengue in Florida in 2009, but since then it’s been pretty quite [sic]. So, does the problem really warrant releasing millions of man-altered, genetically modified mosquitos into the wild, with a cunning war-like plot of wiping the little bugger out (or at least beating the population back to sheer vestiges of what it is now)?
     That’s exactly what Oxitec, a British biotech company, and the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District (FKMCD), want to do with the OX513A Aedes aegypti mosquito — let the GMO genie out of the bottle.

2015 National Night Out Against Crime

The Palm Beach Police Department announces the 2015 National Night Out Against Crime event, sponsored by Palm Beach Crime Watch, Inc. The event takes place on Tuesday, August 4th, from 5:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. at St. Edward’s Catholic Church Parish Hall. Stop by to meet your Public Safety Police Officers, Fire-Rescue and civilian teams.

Outside displays will include the police boat, police car, motorcycle, bicycle, and all-terrain vehicle, as well as a rescue truck from Palm Beach Fire Rescue. Inside the hall, popular features returning this year include digital fingerprinting, blood pressure screening, Special Operations Unit’s equipment and confiscated weapons. Police and Fire-Rescue staff will have demonstrations of specialized equipment, and there will be the opportunity to meet and speak with representatives from the Code & Parking Enforcement Unit, Juvenile Officers, members of the Crisis Intervention Team, and the 9-1-1 Communications staff. Chief Assistant State Attorney Brian L. Fernandes will be at the event and can answer questions you may have regarding identity theft and tax fraud scams in Palm Beach County.

Face painting artists and a fun Photo Booth will be on hand to entertain the children. We will have complimentary servings of PDQ chicken, Amici’s Pizza and Italian ice. Come on by and take a picture with McGruff the Crime Dog.

For more information, please call the Community Relations Unit at 561-838-5467, or visit us at Sponsored by Palm Beach Crime Watch, Inc.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Let's get this straight: about the City Commission meeting tonight

There is a City Commission work session meeting tonight that was brought about by the recommendation of an Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) process. It starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall. It is the product of a process started almost a year ago now. It was designed to bring new ideas on how to handle an untenable situation at the Casino complex, or as some call THE BEACH!. The Casino property, parking, pool and buildings there are not paying for themselves, contrary to the forecasts and predictions of the previous administration and Commission that went forward with the improvements there.

An invitation went out to the entire world from the City on ways to make the beach property pay for itself which began in September of last year. Three entities responded to the request. Meetings were held between respondents to the ITN throughout the late part of 2014 and the early part of 2015. This, of course, happening during the last election cycle. There were claims of secret meetings (untrue) and deals being cut to give away the city's beach (which can't happen). Finally, at the end of April, the ITN selection committee made its recommendations.

You can view that meeting here:

We still have a vacant second floor 'restaurant' space. Thought too valuable with such a commanding view, certainly high-end restaurateurs would be lining up for this irreproducible space along the Florida's east coast. Or, at least that's how the hyperbole went at the time. Guess what folks! That space is still empty. Design and construction issues related to the building have prevented consideration of that space for a serious tenant. The "breathtaking" view is being used for staff space to run the ballroom functions and for the storage of tables/chairs for the ballroom. It seems that no one thought of that during the planning process.

The site is also plagued with functional problems due to the insistence by the City Commission at the time. The mantra was that the city must save the building. In the end, the city didn't save the building, it just rebuilt a 96% new building in its place. This didn't take into account the location of the new parking lots to serve the building. And, no one really thought how the pool was going to fit into the whole equation and even closed it beginning in 2010, only to be opened again by the new Commission which was elected in 2011. The pool is a "drain" (get it?) on the financial operation of the beach but it serves some in our community who take the time to use it. The City is also bound by an agreement with the County that it must provide the same number of spaces to the general public, not just Lake Worth residents, as it did before the project. This leaves just 50 spaces, now split between the north and south of the beach property, for the more that 1,700 city resident permit holders. General accessibility to the Casino building and the loading/unloading requirements are another flaw of the current design.

So, you would think that there would be universal agreement that there are problems at the beach that require addressing. But how to do it if the city has no money to do it?

Finally, after almost a year of buzz about what is going to happen residents and the City Commission as a whole, will get a chance to hear what some think are solutions to the city's problem. Now I am hearing that people are saying that this isn't the right time to do it, during the summer, since no one is here. Well, I am here and the people that are complaining are here and there are many people here that want to hear, finally, what some of the options are. These are just options: the City has made no commitment to anyone, other than letting them present in a public way what they are proposing.

I am getting reports that a flier has gone out, issued by one of the respondents, inviting people to the meeting tonight so they can hear what is being proposed. A friend took a picture of what she received:
Now, I am getting reports that these are being snapped up by people around town, trying to prevent word from getting out before the meeting. These were the same people screaming about lack of "transparency" in the process to begin with. Why are we to close our ears and shut our eyes to what is actually being proposed? What is it that we aren't supposed to hear? Could it be that the myths that went before could be shattered in the process? Could people be caught in the "big lie?"

Anyway, the meeting is tonight at 6 p.m. at City Hall. Get there early to secure a seat.

There was no shooting by a PBSO deputy in Lake Worth

Angela Rozier at Channel 25/WPBF and Thomas Forrester at CBS12/WPEC both got it wrong. The shooting occurred outside the City in suburban Palm Beach County. The Palm Beach Post's Mike Denison reported the incident location correctly

Realistic expectations tonight in Lake Worth for presentations of the Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) respondents

First, no one will be putting their hands on THE BEACH! Second, no vote is being taken. And third, this is a meeting about IDEAS to fix the failed business model at the Casino complex. Why are some so frightened of ideas?
"Keep our Lake Worth BEACH PUBLIC!"
"They're stealing our Public BEACH!"
"Greedy Developers!"

Some have cleverly manipulated the public into believing something false. Like this SHOCKING! page in a now-defunct tabloid published days before the last election:
Here is an excerpt about the up-coming meeting from a Kevin Thompson article in The Palm Beach Post that doesn't do much to help the situation:
     Since the site was restored three years ago and had its Roaring Twenties opening in March 2013, the city has said it’s having a hard time paying back the $6 million it borrowed to fix the building, mainly because the site doesn’t have enough tenants.
     This past year, the city officially began soliciting inquiries from companies interested in developing the space, but many residents have said they’re concerned because the city is having discussions with developers before determining if the ideas being posed make sense.
The building wasn't restored or "fixed"; it was over 90% demolished. As a result of the lack of oversight on the city's part it really does need fixing now. Nowhere in the article is the second floor of the Casino mentioned (the biggest mistake in the original business plan), just that the building "doesn't have enough tenants". The city borrowed from its utility fund and is not paying the money back as promised due to a flawed business plan. 

The city issued an Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) in order to evaluate "fixes" to that plan (by a previous city commission) which include renting what was planned to be a second floor up-scale restaurant tenant. The ITN was also an open-ended, frank 'invitation' to look at improving other facilities at the Casino complex such as the operation of the pool (in the red for $100,000+ last year).

It was at the urging of Annabeth Karson and Laurence McNamara, echoed by Commissioners McVoy and Mulvehill, that we need not go with a two story restaurant (Johnny Longboats wanted the space for a two-story restaurant) as the space was so "unique" and the views "fantastic." Nearly three years later that restaurant has yet to materialize and that 'wonderful' space remains empty. 

So, please, go into this meeting with an open mind with the expectation that new information may be provided that helps fix the financial and operational issues at the Casino complex. The past emotional appeals to pity and bandwagon mentality do nothing but contribute to the problem. Educate yourself.

Charlie Keegan: Some bicyclists using cameras to record rides and just in case something happens

Charlie Keegan at NBC5/WPTV has this news segment about bike riders using cameras. Here is an excerpt from the text of the story:
     Streets across the United States are filling up. Studies from the League of American Bicyclists show more of us than ever are riding bikes.
     And in 2013, 743 bicyclists died in crashes. The largest number since 2006, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
     Now, some cyclists are strapping cameras to their bikes, just in case something happens.
     Jeff Vivo can't go long without riding his bike. "It's just a beautiful sport," he says.
     But it has an ugly side. Vivo says he's been hit by a car twice while riding. And his parents have both been hit once.
     "On a daily basis, cyclists experience close calls," Vivo explains.

CBS12/WPEC, Lauren Hills, Greg Angel and more reasons for changing name of City of Lake Worth

Once again changing the name of Lake Worth is being talked about. You can read about that here.

Last night a 'Lake Worth' accident appeared on Twitter near the Lake Worth Drive In which is located in Palm Springs. Lauren Hills did the news segment and the police are looking for witnesses in 'Lake Worth' according to her. If her report accurately stated Palm Springs that would narrow down the target audience and get more people talking in that city, possibly. Below are a few Tweets from myself and Greg Angel who Tweeted out the news:

At one point I suggested that CBS12 just make it official policy that anything on or near Lake Worth Rd just be reported as 'Lake Worth'. That would make it easier and save the 30 seconds or so needed to verify the actual location.

Below, once again, is a map of the City of Lake Worth. Let's make it easy for the folks at CBS12: if you're west of Lake Osborne you're most definitely not in Lake Worth. How's that?
The City of Lake Worth.

Letter to the Editor from Lake Worth's Donald Cavanaugh

Donald Cavanaugh had a Letter to the Editor published in the Post titled, "Remove protection for religion, instead":
      Re: “Don’t demonize gay marriage’s opponents,” by Gregory T. Angelo, executive director of the Log Cabin (gay) Republicans (July 12). The opponents of marriage equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people have managed to demonize themselves without our help.
     There is no “new culture war.” It’s the same old collection of shibboleths and interpretations of ancient texts that the faith communities have used against gays (and one another) for eons.
     I think it would be interesting to amend the U.S. Constitution to remove protection for religion and see how that works. Why should the religious be protected at all — let alone selectively — when they wish to invoke so-called “deeply held beliefs” to deny services to gay people?
     People aren’t born religious; they are persuaded into beliefs by families and communities.

     Perhaps a mile in my shoes would generate compassion from the majority. Perhaps not. But it’s interesting to contemplate. 
A certain 'pastor' that's set up shop in the little City of Lake Worth should give Mr. Cavanaugh's words some thought.

The Reason for the City of Lake Worth Commission Meeting today at 6:00 vis-à-vis the Casino complex

Were it not for the terrible decisions by the former and one current elected official in Lake Worth there would be no need for the meeting. As a community we're dealing with the aftermath of poor decision-making and a remarkable lack of oversight. The taxpayers in Lake Worth have been left 'holding the bag' ever since.

Below you'll read a list of defects and design flaws that all need to be fixed. This is just the Casino building; the municipal pool has all its own set of problems that also need to be fixed. Who is responsible for this mess? The main characters are in the photograph 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.

The false assumptions, bad decisions, design flaws, and defects at the 'new' Lake Worth Casino complex (a partial list):
  • 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 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 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

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

From the Historic Florida VII! page on Facebook

The caption on the back of this unposted handcolored postcard is at the top of the message box: "The Patio / BRAZILIAN COURT HOTEL / Palm Beach / Florida." The card was published by the Albertype Co. Brooklyn. The center line on the back of the card consists of these words: "The Finest American Made View Post Cards--The Albertype Co., Brooklyn, N. Y." This postcard was probably produced in the early 1930s. According to Jacqueline Mitchell of The Palm Beach Daily News (August 27, 1978), the Brazilian Court opened as an apartment house in 1926 and then was converted into a hotel in 1931.

City of Boca Raton keeping residents informed by social media

Here we have a follow-up to the pre-Council meeting announcement regarding the appeal of the Chabad project. The Council acted to uphold the Planning and Zoning Board's site plan approval. A continuous stream of quality information coming from local governments is one way to battle rumors and untruths being circulated within a community. Just this week, there was an article by Kevin D. Thompson from The Palm Beach Post on how Lake Worth is considering hiring a Public Information Officer. To this we sing:

From AFNS: California Officials Assure Residents There Still Plenty Of Other Natural Resources To Waste

From America's Finest News Source is a comforting story from California. Despite their lamentable shortage of water there are still plentiful natural resources left to waste in the state, which is encouraging. From the story:
With residents struggling to adjust to newly imposed restrictions on water usage amid the state’s continuing drought, California officials assured citizens Monday there are still plenty of other resources available for them to waste. “Although we as a state must take serious and difficult steps to conserve water, we want to make it clear that residents are still welcome to keep squandering every other resource as usual by leaving TVs on in empty rooms or throwing out perfectly good food,” said Department of Water Resources spokesman Mark Aronow, adding that, while it is crucial that Californians observe constraints on decorative water features and other nonessential uses of water, individual residents and businesses should feel free to continue their regular practices of putting recyclable containers into the trash, paving over soil to expand parking areas, and leaving storefront doors open with the building’s air conditioning turned up.

[UPDATE] Suzanne Mulvehill and her about face: She's now pro-development!

[UPDATE] Wayne Washington at The Palm Beach Post has an article on development in the Ag Reserve today and he has this about former Lake Worth Commissioner Suzanne Mulvehill:
     She [Mulvehill] has said the Ag Reserve is more myth than reality, adding that it should be open to all types of development.
     “They should be looking at all the sites that are remaining — whether they had commercial zoning now or not – rather than just granting more commercial zoning to those that have some,” Suzanne Mulvehill said. 
Lake Worth Commissioner McVoy (left) and Suzanne Mulvehill at campaign event (circa 2010).
[Original post from 7/25 follows:] Trust me when I tell you I was fortunate to be sitting down when I got to the editorial page in The Palm Beach Post today. Already reported on this earlier but seeing Suzanne Mulvehill's picture and reading her Point of View about developing the Ag Reserve was eerily disturbing. How many times did we in Lake Worth hear her cohorts and supporters call for low-rise buildings and community gardens, of saving the Casino building from destruction in the name of historic preservation, etc. And we all know the Casino building was demolished.

But such standards are different when it comes to her family's property. Here is an excerpt from Mulvehill's piece:
     Whether you are for or against development, the Palm Beach County Agricultural Reserve doesn’t exist anymore. Long gone are most vegetable crops, farmland and all the flower farms. In the 1950s, Delray Beach was the “Gladiolus Capital of the World” and a major center for growing vegetables and flowers.
     Do you realize that, today, no gladiolus or flowers are grown here, and only 1 percent of the vegetables grown in Palm Beach County are grown in the Agricultural Reserve? [emphasis added]
While campaigning for and as an elected city commissioner in the little City of Lake Worth Suzanne Mulvehill's schtick was all about being GREENsustainable, resilient, and saving the Mother Ship Earth; she even went to a conference in Bonn, Germany to study more on the subject. How much things have changed. Below is a photoshop by Tom McGow of Mulvehill in May, 2010:
Also note that Mulvehill was instrumental in the now-failed Lake Worth Casino complex.

"El Bodegon" now open in the Town and Country Plaza in Lake Worth

This past Monday was the "soft" open for the new El Bogedon grocery store in the former space where the Lake Worth Road Publix, and then the Publix--operated "Sabor" store, operated for years. I was impressed with the cleanliness of the store and how they were able to use the space. The aisles seemed wider and the whole space seemed brighter too. This may relieve some of the pressure from the downtown Publix, as people who used to shop at this location had little choice but to go to the downtown location. A formal grand opening is planned down the line, but look for one soon.

Here are some pictures they allowed me to take inside the store. There is also a cafe within.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

[FINAL UPDATE] EarthFirst! and PBCEC: Failed petition drive against Kolter Group/Scripps in Palm Beach Gardens (Alton Tract)

[FINAL UPDATE: Effort stalled at 443 signatures.]

[Update 3, March 22: EarthFirst! is a tenacious bunch. Now they've set their eyes on 500 SIGNATURES. Stay tuned, the sky's the limit.]

[Update 2: EarthFirst! is 30 signatures short of 200! Remember, you can live anywhere on the planet Earth and sign this petition. Been through the list and don't see any current or former Lake Worth elected officials. Why?]

[Update 1: EarthFirst! has reached 100 signatures and NOW THEY'RE GOING FOR 200! They have signatures from Austin, TX and Portland OR. You don't have to live in Palm Beach Gardens to get involved. No signature from Lake Worth Commissioner Chris McVoy yet but it's early.]

[UPDATE: How is this even possible? EarthFirst! is STILL short of 100 signatures on their petition as of 7:30 a.m. today (5/9). My prediction was they'd reach their goal by "dinner bell" last night. Surely the lack of enthusiasm must be disturbing to some.]

[ORIGINAL POST PRIOR TO FIRST UPDATE:] Here is a petition on that's trying to stop the building of houses at the Briger Tract (now Alton Tract) in Palm Beach Gardens. The petition organizer is the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition (PBCEC) which is the legitimate news outlet for EarthFirst!, in case you didn't know.

They're seeking 100 signatures for their petition and they should have those by the dinner bell tonight; they have almost 70 now. My question is why set the bar so low? Wouldn't 1,000 or 10,000 signatures be more impressive?

They're petitioning the Mayor of Palm Beach Gardens Eric Jablin [correction: Bert Premuroso misidentified as Mayor in previous post], Councilman Bert Premuroso, Councilman Joseph Russo, and Palm Beach County Commissioner Hal Valeche. I don't think any one of them will be impressed with a 100-signature petition. All of them have a kid or know a kid that can have 100 hundred signatures banning broccoli by noon tomorrow.
"Say No to 331 unnecessary Homes", they write. Meanwhile how many homes are proposed for Minto and Avenir? How many are proposed in the Ag Reserve? West of the Turnpike?

"Wes, you're beating a dead horse!" I know. So is EarthFirst!.

Isn't the Internet wonderful! Look what I found

For more information visit this website. To sign up for updates and get new information as it becomes available use this link.

Water Utility Director, Larry Johnson, responds to Lake Worth College Park resident vis-à-vis flushing of hydrants:

I spoke with Ms. XXX at XXX this morning and explained the reasons for the high levels of hydrant flushing required recently. The extra flushing is needed during the summer, due to high temperatures and the corroded 2 inch steel water pipe in the College Park area. These conditions cause the chlorine in the pipe to be reduced quickly and flushing water is needed to assure adequate chlorine levels are maintained. Unfortunately, this requires large amounts of water to be discharged from the hydrants. We cannot direct this water to plants, etc. because the volume of water would damage landscaping, and it would require much more labor.

The department is taking both short term and long term actions to reduce the amount of water flushing:  
  • The department will perform another chlorine flush from August 14th to September 6th. This will reduce the amount of flushing after September 6th. 
  • The department is planning capital projects to replace the 2 inch steel water piping in the longer term. A pilot project will start this fall, and the piping in College Park is planned for replacement by the end of 2017.
Let me know if you have further questions.
Larry Johnson

Video from the April 28, 2015 Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) Selection Committee Meeting

[Note the icon 'PLAYLIST' at the top left corner. There are a total of five videos and you can see the list and choose which video to watch or skip to another video.]

I thought it would be a good idea to re-post the video from the ITN selection committee regarding recommendations on the proposals for the Lake Worth Casino complex.

There is a meeting this coming Thursday night (6 p.m., City Commission Chambers) when the Commission and the public will hear two presentations for the first time. One will be for Hudson Holdings and the other from Anderson & Car. You can see the agenda and back-up for the meeting by clicking here. The agenda appears below:

The big issue of the day: Why babies in medieval paintings look like ugly old men

Lake Worth Community Redevelopment Agency Launches NEW & Improved CRA Website!

Lake Worth, FL, July 28, 2015 - The Lake Worth Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) has launched a re-vamped version of their CRA website ( The new site includes faster navigation, easier accessibility, smarter interface and sharp new features. Features include:

 Comprehensive listings of galleries, restaurants, shops and services
 Interactive Map
 CRA News Blog
 Event and LULA information
 Social media integration

This cutting edge site will provide a significant change to the CRA’s internet presence and will serve as a platform to deliver more information to residents and visitors through electronic communications. By registering your details on the Contact Us page, you will be added to our database and receive regular updates on CRA programs and events.

Please visit us at:

Town of Palm Beach (33480) to hold elections in February; no help from the county

David Rogers at The Palm Beach Daily News (aka, the Shiny Sheet) has the latest on the town's election preparations:
     Details are being nailed down to allow the town to conduct Town Council elections in February with little or no help from the county.
     “I think things are going very well right now. We’re definitely keeping busy,” Town Clerk Susan Owens said. “There are new things to learn, but we have everything under control for now.”
     After the Florida Legislature scheduled both municipal and presidential primary elections for March 15, Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher told Owens that her office could not conduct more than one election at a time because of the significant preparation time necessary for the primary.

Staci Sturrock: Railroad pioneer Henry Flager is now on Twitter

This is the news from Staci Sturrock about Henry Flagler's new Twitter account. Remember, it wasn't long ago I had a link to God's Twitter feed. If you wish to "Follow" Henry Flagler click the 'Follow' button below. Welcome back Henry Flagler!

All Aboard Florida: street closings in West Palm Beach

The Post's Jennifer Sorentrue has this news about the street closings:
     Sections of Clematis and Banyan streets in downtown West Palm Beach will be closed in the coming days as All Aboard Florida works to upgrade train tracks near Quadrille Boulevard as part of its planned express passenger rail service between Miami and Orlando.
     Construction crews will close the intersection of Banyan Street at Quadrille Boulevard beginning Sunday in order to work on sections of the Florida East Coast Railroad tracks as part of its plan to build a 60,000-square foot station near CityPlace.

Monday, July 27, 2015

A letter from West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio on recent city shootings

Note from aGuyonClematis: This was sent out on the City of West Palm Beach insider mailing list:

You have no doubt heard about the recent rash of shootings taking place in our city’s north end. To say this violence is unacceptable and will not be tolerated is the usual comment we public officials make at times like this. They are easy positions to take and make good material for sound bites. But it is not enough.

What they don’t do is cut to the heart of why these shootings are happening, or why our police department is facing significant challenges in arresting the shooters

Tragically our city does not have an exclusive on gun violence. It is a horrible reflection of our society that if you Google “movie theater shooting,” you now must specify which one you are seeking. I have long been focused on getting illegal weapons off our streets.

Last year we held a gun buy back program during which we collected over three hundred weapons. I am a member of Mayor’s Against Illegal Guns whose only focus is reducing the number of illegal weapons in our cities. But while getting the guns off our streets will help, the guns themselves are not the most significant obstacle facing our police department.

Our police have significantly increased patrols in the area. In many cases they know the young people involved. But our officers cannot arrest suspects and our prosecutors cannot convict criminals if no one is willing to come forward and help.

I understand the reluctance to come forward. It is based in fear. Fearful victims refuse to talk to officers about what happened and choose instead to seek revenge on their own terms. We have one case where a young teenage victim told his mother he knows who shot him but refuses to tell even her who it is.

And the refusal to cooperate extends beyond victims. Fear creates a situation where our detectives cannot find witnesses to these shootings. One shooting took place in front of a neighborhood party of over three dozen people, yet not a single witness has come forward.

This puts our police officers in the impossible position of trying to stop this wave of violence on their own.

Unfortunately our young people find it easier to reach for a gun than to reach for help.

On Wednesday of this past week we held a meeting with approximately two dozen clergy and community leaders. It is my hope that these men and women will do everything in their power to encourage our residents to join us in publicly standing up against violence.

In addition we decided to walk the community and reach out to those who live there. Together we must assure them we are there for them.

But there must be more. We need your help. If you see something or know something reach out to me or to your Pastor or to a community leader you trust.

Help us help you. Help us help our community.

It is easy for me to shout from the mountain top that this violence will not be tolerated. What we need is for all of us to stand together and work together to take back our city.

How another local government distributes information on controversial items

The City of Boca Raton recently approved a development application for a house of worship that generated a lot of concern among its residents. One of the concerns was the possibility for additional height, from 30 to 50 feet. Their Planning and Zoning Board recommended approval of the site plan and the height increase. The City Council approved the requested height increase. Now, the opponents of the project filed an appeal of the Planning and Zoning Board's approval of the site plan. That issue goes before the City Council at their July 28, 2015 meeting.

Here is the city using its Facebook page to communicate where people can find additional information on the process and status of this item:
Going to their webpage, items in the "News & Information" section are listed prominently in the left side of their homepage:
The item in question appears at the top of the list. Click here for the quick, two-page summary. This is what the top part of the pdf looks like:
This is the sort of information our City of Lake Worth should be providing as way to control rumors and quelling mis- and disinformation. Here is how another community handles rumors and gets its information out to the public.

Grant money left on the table that can help children in Lake Worth

Jennifer Sorentrue at The Palm Beach Post has the most unbelievable article today. For a host of reasons the Palm Beach County Cultural Council has grant money available to help teach children and they're having a hard time giving it away. Not kidding.
     With budget cuts limiting art and music instruction in schools, field trips to and programs at cultural centers could help fill some of the void — if teachers and students can access them. So, a local nonprofit group wants to help provide free field trips to Palm Beach County school students who might not otherwise have a chance to visit an art museum, theater or other cultural venue. [emphasis added]
     As students and teachers prepare to return to school this fall, the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County is trying to raise awareness about a grant program it uses to help cover the cost of field trips and buses needed to transport students to area cultural attractions.
    Two private donors have pledged a total of roughly $10,000 a year to help send students on “cultural expeditions” that allow them to experience the arts outside of the classroom.
Get with it folks. Go there today and pick up the paperwork: the PBC Cultural Council is located at the Robert M. Montgomery, Jr. Building, 601 Lake Avenue, in downtown Lake Worth.

[UPDATE] Staci Sturrock, the movie 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre', a map, and making the case for changing the name of our City

[See end of post for name suggestions thus far. Email me if you wish.]

Staci Sturrock has an item in the Post about a movie showing in 'Lake Worth'. Lake Worth only has one movie theater, the Stonzek, and it's not showing there. The theater Sturrock is referring to is out west past Jog Rd. in unincorporated Palm Beach County:
Notice the 'Lake Worth Surgical Center' and the 'Movies of Lake Worth', neither of which is in the City. These locations have a Lake Worth zip code and a close proximity to Lake Worth Rd. and that is it; this area out west is very different than the City both in character and sprawling design. But you can see how anyone would conclude they were in 'Lake Worth' and it's hard to fault them. Below is a map of the (barely) 7 square miles that IS the City of Lake Worth:
The north-south white line above the label "The City of Lake Worth" is I-95. A small part of the City is west of that highway.
Many in the public out west and even some City residents who should know better don't understand the City's municipal borders. There's even a blogger in Lake Worth that's lived here for 80 years who still doesn't understand the difference between the City and unincorporated Palm Beach County. 

So. . .the question: Is it time to talk seriously about changing the name of our City? Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell brought this up last year and he was ridiculed by some and laughed at by others. He floated the idea and after a few weeks scrubbed it. I think it was and is a good idea and we need to talk about it. I didn't say DO anything; just float some ideas. 

How about 'Lake Worth Beach'? (And, in an odd twist of fate there is also a Lake Worth, Texas. It's named after the same general as our fair city, William Jenkins Worth.)

Here are the ideas submitted thus far:
  • Lake Worth Beach
  • South West Palm Beach
  • Jewell
  • Worth Beach
Keep 'em coming!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The "New" Lupitas in Lake Worth: Dinner Last Night

I decided to try something new last night for dinner. Of course, Lupita's isn't exactly new, it just moved exactly one block south on the same side of the road. It's new address is 301 N. Dixie Hwy. They've been open about a week or so.
Many long-timers in Lake Worth will know the building as home to the Holiday House buffet for many years, perhaps from the building's inception. The restaurant that had the longest stint there was Pegasus, and then some short-lived attempts by others to make a go of it there. The former location is closed and dark, leaving another opening on Dixie Hwy. for another business to fill.

The biggest change for Lupita's is the scale of the place and the fact that you can dine indoors now. There is a large walk up counter with the menu overhead against the south wall, in front of the kitchen. Here are some shots of the menu.
According to signs in the restaurant outside patio service is coming. Work is still underway and it will be a while before that option is available.
Another new addition is the availability of beer and wine. The interior is bright and colorful. I got there around 8 p.m. and business was very brisk. Some people were coming in for take-out but most were in larger groups and families it seemed. There were so many people that my only complaint about the visit was the noise. Some fabric panels here and there around the building, especially the high ceiling might do the trick.

The manager and staff were exceptionally pleasant and courteous. I ordered the tamale plate which was excellent. The food took a while to come out, which could be partly due to adjusting to the new location and the increased business. The wait wasn't boring at all with all the people coming and going and they have large-screen TV's (3) with soccer games and other sports. This is how my plate came out, accompanied by full squeeze bottles of hot sauce, green and red. The green was more of a tomatillo sauce and the red was definitely the hot variety.
Combination tamale plate
The food was enjoyable and spiced perfectly. The sauces were an excellent accompaniment to the refried beans and rice. When you visit make sure to grab a menu to make your ordering quicker next time: it's a big menu. I think the next time I go I'll try one of the standard taco plates: they are offered with twelve different protein preparations and they also vegan and gluten-free items on the menu.

They also have extended hours now. It's nice to know a place that is open to 11 p.m. during the week and 12 a.m. on weekend nights. If you want to try their breakfast, doors open at 7 a.m. I have heard good things about their Huevos Rancheros.

There is little doubt that they will be a great success in this location. If you visited the former location or not, make sure to check out Lupita's now. In a few weeks I am sure they will work out some of the "kinks" I experienced.