Saturday, August 8, 2015

JoAnn Golden, former Lake Worth elected, complaining about gates and fences while she lives behind them

Classic photoshop by the inimitable Tom McGow.
"Manny has to get used to living in a ghetto until things pick up around here.”
—Then Vice-Mayor JoAnn Golden as quoted by Tom McGow on September 2, 2009.

Study by AFNS: Employees Happiest When Pretending To Work From Home

America's Finest News Service (AFNS) has this news on America's latest trend in approach to work:

Music for a Saturday - Enjoy any of your Lake Worth parks today!

Congratulations to the Chabad of East Boca Raton

Sallie James at The Coastal Star has this article about the new synagogue to be built in East Boca Raton; here are the opening paragraphs from the article:
     They say three times is a charm. But in the case of Chabad of East Boca Raton, it was actually more.
     After four hours of lengthy discussion, City Council members late July 28 voted 5-0 in favor of the ambitious beachside orthodox synagogue. [emphasis added] The project was up for reconsideration because two appeals challenging the Planning and Zoning Board’s site plan approval had been filed by unhappy neighborhood groups.
     “We are very appreciative and very elated that the Council affirmed its previous approval. We look forward to moving forward from here,” said a smiling Rabbi Ruvi New, as he clasped hands with joyous congregants.
     Council members voted to affirm the previously approved site plan with a modification to ensure the project has adequate handicap parking. The synagogue is planned for 770 E. Palmetto Park Road.
     “In Jewish law, when something occurs three times it sets a precedent,” New said. “We were confident that the precedent would stand.”
Curiously, Rabbi New and his proposed synagogue had to deal with his version of the "red and white" sign brigade. What is it about red/white signs and THE BEACH! in Palm Beach County?

New Wynwood Zoning Regulations in the city of Miami

Wynwood has been discovered as an arts district and is emerging from its gloomy, industrial past. This enclave area within the city of Miami has gone through a code re-write. Below are some of the new features of their zoning code. Lake Worth is occasionally mentioned in the same breath as the Wynwood area when it comes to having a concentration of artists and artistic destinations.

This information would be good for the Lake Worth Artists and Cottage Entrepreneurs (ACE) to review. Instead of focusing on changing residential zoning in the City for 'home occupations', which has raised much ire from homeowners and residents in the community, they should focus on the neglected areas along what was once was an industrial corridor in Lake Worth.

Here is a list of Wynwood's code re-writes with links at the end for reference:

1) Almost all of Wynwood is converted from 'Light Industrial' and 'Industrial' to 'General Commercial' with a lining of 'Light Industrial' in the blocks along I-95 and a chunk of 'Medium Density Residential' in the SW corner where Mana Wynwood is located.
2) Financial incentives, including Transfer of Development Rights, are in place to preserve warehouses and incentivize development.
3) Zoning along North Miami Avenue and 29th Street will allow development up to eight stories as-of-right, with an additional four stories in exchange for public benefits. The majority of the rest of the area allows building heights up to five stories with an additional three in exchange for public benefits.
4) The new zoning does allow for development of new one-story buildings.
5) The Wynwood Development Review Board gives local control to approve all large projects.
6) The new zoning promotes affordable small studio apartments (less than 650 square feet) instead of large live-work spaces, with option to pay for a release from parking requirements at $12,000 a pop. This money would then go into the Wynwood Public Benefit Trust Fund and be used to pay for centralized parking.
7) Requires ten foot minimum width sidewalks.
8) Requires pedestrian paseos (cross-block walkways) for larger projects.
9) Woonerfs!
10) Solid, roll-up doors are banned.
11) Centralized parking facilities, paid for by developers looking for reductions in parking requirements, will encourage pedestrian walkability.
12) Increased housing density from 36 and 65 to a uniform 150 dwelling units per acre.
13) Allows both pure residential or live/work uses, while today only live/work is allowed as-of-right.
14) Incentivizes activated rooftop green spaces, and ground floors
15) Developers can pay into the Wynwood Public Benefit Trust Fund, which pays for open space, for an additional 3 to 4 stories of height or increased lot coverage from 80% to 90%. The trust fund will be used only in Wynwood, for open spaces, public parks, civic spaces, and woonerfs.
16) Facades on new developments will be required to either be wall art or glass.
17) Wynwood-only use categories like art galleries and manufacturing-enabled retail will preserve the character of Wynwood.

Click here for the entire article. Click here for information from the city of Miami website on this unique enclave within the city.

[In case you missed this. . .] The Lake Worth Herald: "What Is Wrong With Lake Worth?"

Below are two excerpts from The Lake Worth Herald that sum up most peoples frustrations with city government and 2 commissioners in particular: commissioners Chris McVoy and Ryan Maier. The tactic of late is monkeywrenching the development process at the end, bringing up 'community' concerns that should and could have been dealt with at the staff level and the Planning & Zoning Board and/or the Historic Resource Preservation Board.

The latest issue about 'gates' is a perfect example you can read about here. This is an issue that could have been addressed months ago but suddenly the theory of 'Defensible Spaces' rears its head out of nowhere as a newly discovered 'community' concern. Thankfully the developer, in this case Troy White, did his homework and schooled McVoy on theory developed by Oscar Newman.

Here are two excerpts from the Herald:

     The new Land Development Regulations have been put in place and it is said it has never been better in the permitting department.
     In the past, developers and contractors wouldn’t even knock on the city’s door because it was impossible to deal with the red tape and jump through all of the hoops. This has apparently been addressed and now there are developers and contractors, at least, exploring opportunities.
     These developers do everything the city asks to gain approval only to have a couple city commissioners attempt to run their business for them. [emphasis added]
      If a developer meets all of the regulations set forth in ordinances, they should not have to listen to a city commissioner give them a dissertation on how and what to build. If a commissioner has issues with the regulations, they should address the regulations and not try to be something they are not.
     It is embarrassing to the City of Lake Worth when a commissioner wants a developer to build something other than what they plan. These plans have been approved by the planning and zoning board and any other board required to review them.

[and. . .]

     Developers build the tax base and are required to build by the rules, the rules put in place by, hopefully, intelligent, sensible elected officials who have concern for the entire community and not just a select group.

From Carlos Frias: "Raised in a Lake Worth cult: Award-winning film screens Saturday [Today]"

I'm not sure how to handle this so I'll just throw it out there, here is a movie trailer for a 11-minute movie showing tomorrow at the Stonzek in downtown Lake Worth:
Destiny Thomas, the movie director, has this information on her GoFundMe account:
     “Ritual Abuse, Mind Control, and the Apocalypse; for the first 14 years of my life, I thought this was normal.”
      Destiny Thomas the daughter of Evangelical Fundamentalists escaped child abuse, neglect and the rise of a Religious Cult. In this kind of belief system, women are treated like second-class citizens. Bound by an unhealthy allegiance and controlled by the exclusion of education, “I was powerless”.
     During my 25 years of life, I’ve had the privilege to attend 5 years of school; 4 years of High School and 10 months of training at a boutique film school. With this limited education, dozens of odd-jobs, hours of self study and the burning need for redemption, I went on to Write and Direct the International Award Winning Short: MY CENTER WILL NOT HOLD.
If anyone has more information they would like to share please comment on this post or email me.

The screening is tomorrow at 8:00 and admission is $15. The Stonzek Theater is located at 713 Lake Ave in downtown Lake Worth. Call 561-296-9382.

PRESS RELEASE: About Destiny Thomas' movie playing at the Stonzek Theater tonight

[Here is the original blog post from yesterday with the movie time at the Stonzek Theater in downtown Lake Worth tonight.]


Unlikely Candidate Fights To Continue Education at The American Film Institute By Raising Tuition on

Destiny Thomas, A childhood cult survivor, beats all odds and is accepted into the country’s prestigious American Film Institute Conservatory. She seeks to raise $30,000 to continue her education and pursue a career in filmmaking on

LOS ANGELES, Calif., July 15, 2015 /PRNewswire-iReach/ --

Destiny Thomas, a Florida born native, grew up in an evangelical fundamentalist group led by her family. As a young teenager she escaped abuse, neglect, and the mental influence of a religious cult. Overcoming every obstacle Destiny faced, she is achieving her dream and becoming an award winning director and has now been accepted into the AFI Conservatory for the fall term.

Destiny, who is now 25, first stepped into the halls of the public school system when she was 14 to begin her traditional education. She has had 5 years of total education; starting at a public high school, graduating from G-Star School of the Arts and completing a diploma program in Filmmaking at the International Academy of Film and Television in LA. With this limited education, dozens of odd-jobs, hours of self study and the burning need for redemption, she went on to Write and Direct the International Award Winning Short: MY CENTER WILL NOT HOLD.

Destiny applied and was accepted into the Directing Program at the AFI Conservatory in March. She was awarded the AFI Scholarship and now turns to the public for help to raise the remaining $30,000 of her tuition using Every dollar raised will go towards tuition and fees. Destiny will continue to work tirelessly to cover her personal costs.

Education has the power to transform societies. Destiny Thomas has started this journey with nothing but hope and fought everyday to survive and better herself. Overcoming emotionally impossible odds, with the help of readers and donors, she can continue her education and strive to empower women, becoming one of Hollywood’s leading female directors.

“Your donation can't change my past, but it will protect my future. A future that promises to fight for survivors of all sorts, to never quit, to never give up, because anything less would be a waste of your time.” ~ Destiny Thomas ~

For more information, contact Destiny Thomas ( or visit

Media Contact:
Jennifer Abraham
Phone: (513) 477-5950

Friday, August 7, 2015

Brian Kirsch from the Gray Mockingbird Community Garden (GMCC) sent me a letter. . .

First off, Brian Kirsch makes a significant error at the outset of his letter: in the blog post he refers to on 8/5, the GMCC was never mentioned specifically. The post included A PICTURE of a community garden and someone identified it as being of the GMCC. The reason for including the picture, and I've received many over the past few months, was to demonstrate a position taken by a city commissioner that was, well. . .let's just leave it at that.

Here is an excerpt from the letter by Brian Kirsch:
     A friend of mine brought to my attention your blog post about the Gray Mockingbird Community Garden being a community “eyesore”. I thank you for the feedback of the garden…and I am NOT being sarcastic when I say that. I accept REAL feedback and work so that we may be a light for the city of Lake Worth. Part of my vision is that more people are able to work with each other and accept feedback. Accept feedback and give feedback to hold each other at higher standards. We will find even our best can get better.
     Since the picture was taken, half of the back garden area has been weeded by volunteers from the YMCA. The cardboard was placed by 4 children and one of the children’s mother. Then the Mission Life group, working through Palm Beach Atlantic University covered the cardboard (which is the walkways) with mulch and placed black plastic in the growing areas. Students from FAU came out last week to learn about sustainability while at the same time the Mission Life group dug a trench for new irrigation.
[and. . .]
     If you would like to post all or part of this letter in response to your blogpost, be my guest. I would at the same time like to post it on some of the social media pages so that people can learn by example that FEEDBACK is NOT a bad thing. Feedback allows us all to make our best even better!
     I would like to follow up this letter with a telephone call. My number is 561.246.0148 Thank You 
Brian Kirsch
The GMCC is located on the grounds of the Scottish Rite Masonic Center at 2000 North 'D' St in Lake Worth; you'll see a very large, white structure surrounded by a high fence and gates. Enter through the west gate (the gate on 'D' St). Here is the GMCC Facebook page. If you can spare the time give Brian a call to see how you can help out.

[RE-POST] Create a problem to split the community: anonymous emails targeting Bamboo Room in Lake Worth

[This post has generated a tremendous amount of interest. Read on how an anonymous group has targeted a downtown business owner:]

Anonymous emails are being sent to Lake Worth elected officials and city staff. Here is an excerpt from one:
     We [unidentified] all worked VERY HARD and spent a lot of time and money to meet all of the requirements required by zoning and code to open our establishments. I can only say that it is this level of apathy by our government officials that has caused businesses. . .to go out of business while the total kissing butt to Hudson Holdings and bullying of owners of empty buildings on Lake and Lucerne to reduce the value of their rents just to get any tenants in them has made us think long and hard to come to the conclusion that the only cure for this apathetic approach to government is to give a new group a chance in this upcoming election. We also feel the need to get the Lake Worth Tribune and Margaret Menge back to push for accountability. and fairness.
     I don't think you can imagine the level of frustration that we have.... and letting this new group operate at The Bamboo Room without boundaries or following the rules is inexcusable and a huge sign of disrespect to us.
The number of lies, half-truths, and distortions is something to behold. This is demonstrated no better when the writer mentions Margaret Menge, "accountability", and "fairness" in the same sentence. Menge's history in Lake Worth is anything but fair and accountable.

This email is evidence of the continued attempts to demonize Hudson Holdings, trying to damage new businesses such as the Bamboo Room, and thwart the renaissance Lake Worth is experiencing.

Take the Bamboo Room for example. They re-opened the venue to great fanfare and are experimenting to design a successful business model. They've thought of new music options, becoming a restaurant, doing catering, and are considering other ideas as well. However, until they go through the City and get permission they can't, as of now, do any of those things.

But that doesn't stop the 'hysteria machine' from ramping up. This group even has their own icon that explains exactly who they are and what they wish to achieve:
"Keep Out" of Lake Worth. Very charming, isn't it?
Here is the official City of Lake Worth icon.

More symptoms of a poorly designed site plan at the Lake Worth Casino complex. . .

These pictures were taken yesterday (8/6) during about a 20 minute span of time, beginning around 11:45 a.m. Occasionally, I take a few minutes after my pool routine and have lunch at Mama Mia's. The bus shown above was from the VA Hospital, I think. It sat idling for all the time that I was there in the outdoor seating area. I did not see anyone get on or off this bus while it was there, but it was a bus full of people. I hadn't seen anyone looking like that demographic in the pool area so I am not sure what the destination had been. Maybe Benny's?

Anyway, it was stopped in the "No Parking Any Time" area. Which was put there since one of the goals of redeveloping the beach was to rid it of idling Palm Tran buses that sat in front of the former Casino building, belching diesel fumes and generally blocking the view of the Atlantic Ocean.
At the tail end of my lunch the bus left but only to be replaced by a semi-trailer, seen in these three pictures. It was the Mulligan's Thursday beer delivery.
Notice the NO PARKING ANY TIME sign immediately next to the truck's tailgate.
From this vantage point about half of one's view of the Atlantic Ocean is blocked by this semi-trailer. People eating outside at Mulligan's where not just being treated to having their view blocked, but also introduced to some vulgar words coming out of the mouths of the truck driver and his assistant. Many of these words rhymed with "truck." The truck was there for at least 30 minutes as they used a dolly to move kegs from the back of the truck all the way around to the west (back) side of the building. This is not the appropriate parking for a truck of this size but there is nowhere to park on the west side. If they did park on the west side it would block traffic on the north side of the building more than it does in this location. It made me wonder how many other delivery trucks use the same method for deliveries to Mulligan's or any of the retail shops in the Casino building? How often?

And when there is an event in the ballroom all sorts of vehicles use this space to drop off catering items, flowers, sound equipment for bands, etc. They are usually there for a while too. So, the prospect is that you could be in a situation where after having to park your vehicle and walk quite a distance to your destination, planning to sit outside to eat and enjoy the view only to have your view blocked by vehicles loading and unloading.

Further south, you have the same situation with Benny's deliveries, only there larger vehicles end up blocking beach patrons cars from backing out. Some of these are handicapped spaces. The delivery vehicle also ends up blocking the traffic lane so cars going north or south have to go around them using the other lane, counter to traffic flow. Throw in some bikes and a couple pedestrians with beach chairs and coolers, and you have a mess on your hands.

It could all have been done better by the previous commission who approved this plan, but it would have taken huge design changes to fix and that money doesn't come easily. That is, unless we want to steal more money from the water utility fund and not pay it back. Or just pay it back in 2035 or 2050, whichever is more convenient.

Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches Expands Further Into Lake Worth

Pam Calzadilla, executive director of Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches, is pleased to announce the expansion of services provided to residents of the Lake Worth area. 

“We’ve been happy with the success of our growth in the central Lake Worth area and now we’re able to expand to provide freshly prepared nutritious meals to homebound seniors as far west as Congress Avenue,” Calzadilla said. “We know there’s a huge need in that area.”

Thanks largely to a grant from the Quantum Foundation and collaboration with St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Lake Worth, which serves as a distribution site, Meals on Wheels was able to expand into Lake Worth in March of last year. Now, with the latest expansion, Meals on Wheels can reach more homebound seniors, including many living in the Lake Osborne area. 

Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches volunteers deliver noontime meals to homebound seniors five days a week, enabling them to maintain their independence. Volunteers also provide companionship to clients as well as peace of mind to their family members who know that someone will be visiting their loved ones on a regular basis. 

“Meals on Wheels is so much more than just a meal,” says Debbie Emerick, director of volunteer services. “It’s also about quality of life.”

To learn more about how you or someone you love can receive Meals on Wheels, visit or call 561-802-6979. 
Volunteers MaryAnn Hadman and Teri Abrams, Shannon Hawkins of Quantum Foundation, Meals on Wheels client Bill Slagle, and Nate Cousineau and Kerry Jamieson, both of the Quantum Foundation.
About Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches

Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches is a non-profit organization dedicated to nourishing and enriching the lives of the homebound in the local community. An affiliate of Meals on Wheels America, the organization provides nutritious mid-day meals to those unable to prepare their own and living alone.  A community-based organization, Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches relies on volunteers and the financial support of local residents, corporate partners and foundations, operating without government funding.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Inside the men's locker room/bathroom, pool building at the charming Lake Worth Casino complex

Discussion at the last City Commission meeting (8/4): Comm. McVoy gets schooled on theory of 'Defensible Spaces'

This was the second reading for changes to the residential project north of Publix, now referred to as "Bella Terra." It will allow for the completion of the project north of 3rd Avenue North which fixes and adjusts some site related flaws. One of those is the additions of gates to control access to the property. At about the 30 second mark, Commissioner McVoy starts in on the gate topic that he raised at the first reading. Listening to him begin his remarks, it is interesting that it seems difficult for him to say the word "developer." He called the gentleman in charge of the project, Troy White, the "developer" up to the podium to ask him if he had rethought his position on having gates added to the project. He didn't.

Mr. White immediately referred to Oscar Newman and his urban planning work regarding "defensible spaces." He proceeds to "school" Commissioner McVoy on the concept and how he feels that Oscar Newman would be on the same page in terms of gates being used in this instance. He said that the project would encourage the interaction between the residents of the project and those in the neighborhood surrounding the development. Then McVoy tries to speak for Mr. Newman beyond the grave. McVoy says that with gates being there it would be a "false sense of security" and that the gates wouldn't really matter. Mayor Triolo provides a real world example of when she acquired her house: she had people hanging out in her backyard prior to installing a fence.

The motion passed 4-1 with McVoy dissenting. Parts of the video I suggest watching:
  • Peggy Fisher at 10:30 mark
  • Greg Rice at 12:10 mark
  • Anthony Marrotta at 14:20 mark
  • Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell ends the discussion at 18:30 with some very strong comments

Message from Palm Beach County Commissioner Steven Abrams:

"Ride the Bolt for free! No, this is not an amusement ride, but it will let you take public transit up Federal Highway [Dixie Hwy in Lake Worth] in a more convenient way. Palm Tran's new limited-stop service on Federal will be offering 10 free days of service on August 19-23 and August 26-30. The Bolt provides express service between Boca Raton and West Palm Beach during weekday morning and afternoon peak times with only 14 set stops northbound and 12 stops southbound. Federal Highway has the highest overall ridership, serving over 9,000 passengers on an average weekday. I'm going to check it out to get up to my West Palm Beach office!"

This applies to Bus Route #1 on Dixie Hwy. through the City of Lake Worth.

Road Closure in Lake Worth: Lucerne Ave. RR Tracks To Close for Repairs

From The Lake Worth Herald have this news about Lucerne Ave closure:
     Beginning at 6 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 8 until 11 p.m. Monday, Aug. 10, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the Florida East Coast Railway (FEC) will close the railroad crossing located on SR802/Lucerne Avenue, (between F and G streets), weather permitting.
     During this time, all traffic will be detoured away from the Lucerne Avenue crossing and directed to follow signs to alternate local streets. 
     This detour is being established to allow workers to perform necessary repairs to the FEC Railway crossing surface. Workers will remove and replace concrete crossing panels and track panel, and repave the crossing surface to improve ride quality.
For questions contact Maurice Borrows at 954-777-4379, or Marco Incer at 954-677-7899.

Jeff Ostrowski reviews an iconic, splendid restaurant in Lake Worth

Here are some excerpts from the review by Jeff Ostrowski of Paradiso on Lucerne Ave. in downtown Lake Worth:
     High-end Italian food. Paradiso serves salads, pasta, risotto, fish, steak and duck. We visited for lunch, when the highest-priced entrée on the menu is $21. Tasty, high-quality food, including homemade pasta, is served at Lake Worth’s Paradiso Restaurant.
[and. . .]
     Our entrees were quite good, but the appetizers were off the chart. The insalata de beitola ($10), with golden beets, strips of apple, blue cheese and macadamia nuts, was amazing. The gazpacho ($6) was salsa-like in its thickness. The organic chicken ($15) and mushroom risotto ($18) were tasty and expertly prepared, but the opening act was the highlight of this meal.
And here is a special at Paradiso's reported by Laura Lordi!

Senator Marco Rubio when he was a Commissioner for the City of West Miami (pop 6,000)

From Gawker: "Reddit (Finally) Bans CoonTown"

Sam Biddle at Gawker has welcome news about Reddit. From the article:
After months of bending over backwards to explain why a subreddit dedicated to violent hate speech against black people was OK, Reddit’s new CEO [Steve Huffman] announced today that /r/CoonTown is no more.
From the press release by Reddit CEO Huffman:
Today we [Reddit] removed communities dedicated to animated [child pornography] and a handful of other communities that violate the spirit of the policy by making Reddit worse for everyone else: /r/CoonTown, /r/WatchNiggersDie, /r/bestofcoontown, /r/koontown, /r/CoonTownMods, /r/CoonTownMeta.
Only time will tell if this will affect the blog content by The Other Blogger (TOB).

Evening on the Avenue TODAY in Lake Worth—music by the Andrew Morris Band and Screen on the Green ('Box Trollst')

The movie this week is Box Trolls.

Lake Worth in Line to Receive Grant from US Economic Development Administration

The City of Lake Worth has received a “further consideration” letter from the US Economic Development Administration (EDA) indicating the city’s grant funding application for the Lake Worth Park of Commerce Infrastructure Improvements was selected through EDA’s competitive application review process for further consideration for funding. Subject to the US Congress appropriation and availability of funds for FY 2016, Lake Worth is slated to receive $1,389,100 in EDA funding under the Public Works program, as authorized under section 201 of the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965. Moreover, there is additional documentation that the City must provide by September 4, 2015 in order to receive the funds.

“This has truly been a team effort,” according to Michael Bornstein, City Manager. “It is a project that involved all departments of the City – from the planning to water/sewer, from electric to roads, engineering to landscape – every department has been impacted in some way.”

The collaboration extended outside of Lake Worth, too. Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council included the Lake Worth Park of Commerce in the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for the region – a necessary component for the project. The Business Development Board of Palm Beach County & the Economic Council of Palm Beach County authored support letters detailing the importance of the Park.

But the biggest is the strategic alliance is with Palm Beach County – specifically the Department of Economic Sustainability. Without their expertise and guidance in grant writing along with the approval by the County Commissioners making Palm Beach County a co-applicant for the EDA grant, the Park of Commerce would not have been as competitive.
“It is all about fostering and building relationships in order to improve the City of Lake Worth,” says Mayor Pam Triolo. “That notwithstanding, the biggest winners are the citizens – adding over 300 jobs with an economic impact of $183.7million – that is great news for us all. I am grateful to the entire team that has brought us to this point.”

Located in central Palm Beach County, Lake Worth is a dynamic, multi-cultural city with an individualistic style. People are drawn to the city by its acceptance of different cultures and lifestyles, historic districts, hip downtown and colorful arts district.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Critical Mass bike ride in Lake Worth TODAY (8/7); video of ride in July

This is a video of the last ride on July 3rd:

This Go Pro movie was made by the proprietor of Papa Wheelies, a bike shop in Royal Palm Beach. People from all over Palm Beach County come to Lake Worth for this event; it always takes place on the first Friday of the month.
The next ride is tomorrow:
Remember, this ride is at your own risk!

Here are other things you need to know:
  • The ride departs from Bryant Park at 7:30 SHARP
  • Bike lights are required: white light (front) and red light (rear); if you have lights check the batteries
  • Bike helmets are recommended
  • 'Corkers' will control intersections for safety; wave to the motoring public and say "Thank You" for being patient
  • The ride is open to EVERYONE: you don't have to be an athlete to participate
See you tomorrow!

Consistently inconsistent: JoAnn Golden's Gates and Fabulous Fences in Lake Worth

While we anxiously wait for the video to be processed, I thought it would be good to add some perspective on the discussion regarding gates and fences in residential projects. We heard complaints from Commissioner McVoy and former Commissioner JoAnn Golden about the installation of gates and fences at the Bella Terra project, just north of the downtown Publix. This issue came up during first reading and rose to a level where Kevin D. Thompson wrote an article about "gated communities" in Lake Worth.

I think we established that the project in question was not a gated community, in the traditional sense like those out in Wellington, Royal Palm Beach or western Delray. This is compact urban development that shares its western boundary with the sidewalk along Dixie Hwy. The developer of the project gave an eloquent overview of the concept of defensible space and how his project is consistent with this theory of urban planning.

Former Commissioner Golden spoke, following Commissioner McVoy's lead, about how gates are not appropriate for this location and it is about the "uplifting" of neighborhoods. This is a slightly altered version of her famous "get used to living in a ghetto" comment while she was commissioner.

The picture above is from Google Maps, Street View of Ms. Golden's property nestled between North Palmway and North Lakeside Drive. It seems to be that she is a big fan of fences and gates when it comes to her home property, blocks away from the unseemly influences present on Dixie Hwy. She just thinks differently when it comes to others. An example of being consistently inconsistent.

Also, the notion of a "community garden" was briefly mentioned. Commissioner McVoy has one of the more publicized and well-known community gardens (most everyone knows where it is) in his very own district and this is how it looks now:
The "community garden" has become a community "eyesore".
Question: How fair is it for Commissioner McVoy to hold a developer to a standard he can't demonstrate in his very own district?

EarthFirst! meeting in Palm Beach Gardens tonight vis-à-vis the Alton (former Briger) Tract

I'm getting more 'FlockNotes' from EarthFirst! and here is the latest one:
Note the meeting is tonight at the library in Palm Beach Gardens.
The "Briger Forest" is now called the Alton Tract.
Why they keep me on their FlockNote list is a mystery. Ever since their fiasco with the 'battery in the lake' think I would be the last person in the world they would want promoting their efforts. 

Here is what EarthFirst! is trying to stop:

All Aboard Florida clears big hurdle

Kimberly Miller at the Post has this news about All Aboard Florida:
     The Federal Railroad Administration has concluded All Aboard Florida’s express passenger rail project will have no adverse impacts on communities from Miami to Orlando if increased safety efforts and noise reduction plans are completed.
     The highly anticipated final environmental impact statement was quietly posted to the FRA website at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday in stark contrast to the September draft report that was publicly announced in a news release.
     At more than 600 pages long, it comes on the eve of the crucial vote by the Florida Development Finance Corp. on whether to approve $1.75 billion in tax exempt bonds to pay for All Aboard Florida’s ambitious plan to run 32 trains per day on the Florida East Coast Railway tracks.
When is the Post going to get stock photos of passenger trains from All Aboard Florida? For months they've been using pictures of freight trains in articles about passenger rail:

The Independent—"Australia's war on cats: Government plans to cull 2 million by 2020"

This article from The Independent was mentioned at last night's Lake Worth City Commission meeting (8/4). When I heard that Australia was planning to "cull" (kill) 2 million cats I found it hard to believe—but it's absolutely true. Feral cats are decimating the environment in Australia and forcing many species into extinction.

The Palm Beach Post editorial board recently attempted a 'call to action' about cats and the destruction of the native bird population but they came up against the powerful cat lobby and backed off. Here in south Florida the cats have powerful benefactors and lobbies; the native birds and small mammals don't. 

Here is a video of one species facing extinction in Australia due to cats:
Here are two excerpts from the article in The Independent:
     The Australian government has announced plans to cull up to 2 million feral cats by 2020 in a bid to preserve dozens of native species that authorities claim face extinction because of the cats' predatory behavior.
     Speaking to a national radio station, Gregory Andrews, the country's first threatened-species Commissioner, said Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt "is declaring war on feral cats, and he's asked me to take charge of that programme."
     Hunt unveiled the five-year plan at a Melbourne zoo on Thursday, vowing to protect Australia's native mammal and bird populations.
"We are drawing a line in the sand today which says, 'On our watch, in our time, no more species extinction,' " [emphasis added] Hunt said.
[and. . .]
     This is hardly the first time the scourge of feral cats has made national headlines in this part of the world. In 2013, a prominent economist turned environmental activist in New Zealand called for the wholesale eradication of the country's cats, deeming them "natural born killers."

Public comments from last night's Lake Worth City Commission meeting (8/4/15)

Please proceed to the 2:25 mark to bypass Lake Worth gadfly Peter Timm's tired act. Joanne Kelly makes reasonable points and I strongly encourage everyone to listen to her 2-minute comment:

Peter Timm's best recent performance was when he showed up with tape over his mouth:

Lake Worth City Commission comments from last night's meeting (8/4/15)

Honoring Lake Worth PBSO District 14 Cpt. Rolando Silva for his service to the Lake Worth community

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Lake Worth Commissioner Ryan Maier and the Urban Chicken: A Blast From the Past. . .

[Appropriate considering what happened at the end of the City Commission meeting tonight (8/4); stay tuned as they say. The Urban Chicken rearing its head in the urban city of Lake Worth? AGAIN!]

This appeared in the news in early April. With all the issues that need addressing in our City of Lake Worth, Commissioner Ryan Maier needs to state definitively that this will not be added to any City agenda going forward. Maier is the founder of the Lake Worth Chickens Facebook page, by the way. And the additional city employees needed to monitor those "Urban Chickens"! Do you remember a previous city commissioner (Cara Jennings) and her big issue of the day?

"Chicken Tacos or Omelets will be served depending on the outcome of the match" --Tom McGow
Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell fought valiantly against the Urban Chicken and won.
The image above is from the talented and gifted Tom McGow. Mr. McGow published this on his blog in July, 2011. You would think Lake Worth has gotten past this silliness—but have we? 
Maier (pictured above) founded the Lake Worth Chickens Facebook page.
Commissioner Maier should state once and for all for the record: Backyard chickens will not be on the agenda, EVER, in the City of Lake Worth. 

With infrastructure and roads such an important topic for our City do we want to spend one second debating whether to allow chicken coops in the City? Of course not. We don't need the distractions, or the health hazards, in our City.

Marc Tancer at Brogues in downtown Lake Worth tonight

Marc Tancer will be at Brogues tonight at 7:00. 
From Facebook: Marc Tancer was recently elected to the Palm Beach Soil & Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors. As a local elected official he allocates funding to different departments and is here to answer your questions about the Soil & Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors. Marc graduated from Lafayette College with a Bachelors in Mathematics & Economics and is the former Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Palm Beach County. Bring a friend!

About the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) of the Palm Beaches

You can read about the MCC here. Here is a letter from MCC to the community explaining their mission:

     Welcome to the website for MCC of the Palm Beaches (MCCPB). 
    MCCPB is an exciting place where we believe that “the glory of God is a human being fully alive.” (St. Iraneaus.) 
     We are happy you have discovered MCCPB! 
     We are committed to being a welcoming and caring spiritual community. While we primarily serve the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community and their friends and families, everyone is welcome. 
     At MCCPB you will find a progressive, Christ-centered ministry, where our primary focus is on giving away God’s love as much as we can, in all the ways that we can. We take great joy in celebration through worship, in service to others, in study and spiritual growth, and in our relationships with one another and our community. 
     We seek to be a place where everyone is supported in being fully alive and reaching their greatest potential. We are co-creators with God in making the world a place where all may live with dignity and respect. 
     All of us who are a part of this amazing congregation welcome you. We invite you to worship, pray, serve and grow with us in the joy of God’s unconditional love. If you are looking for a spiritual home, we hope you will seriously consider MCCPB. 

Many blessings, 

Rev. Dr. Lea Brown 
Senior Pastor

The location and contact info for MCC: 4857 Northlake Blvd. Palm Beach Gardens, FL (one mile west of I-95, from exit 77); 561-775-5900; email.

Here is a video from one of their services:

Found on Twitter from Stephanie Berzinski at ABC25/WPBF: the #lakeworth page (hashtag Lake Worth)

Note that the shooting by a PBSO deputy on July 30th did not occur in Lake Worth as reported by Stephanie Berzinski. Chris Stewart at Fox29/WFLX and NBC5/WPTV correctly reported the incident as "suburban Lake Worth". Note the Tweets below with the incorrect location:
There are other Tweets using the #LakeWorth hashtag that serve only to confuse the public should they happen on this page. My question is this: why isn't the City of Lake Worth correcting this misinformation? Why aren't they sending out press releases or calling news directors to get this kind of misreporting corrected?

Here are two resources (here and here) for the media on what is the City of Lake Worth and what that vast area out west is called suburban Lake Worth.

Interactive Neighborhood Association map of Lake Worth

Clicking on the designated neighborhoods will show their names, along with additional information.

[RE-POST, BY REQUEST] Ryan Maier, before he was a commissioner, on the crowded conditions in our neighborhoods

The video below is from the August 6, 2013 Lake Worth City Commission meeting. In light of the recent proposal by the Lake Worth Artist & Cottage Entrepreneurs (ACE) to change zoning to allow 'home occupations' in the City gives these comments by then-citizen Ryan Maier much more significance. Maier supporting an idea that will contribute to parking problems, increase traffic and require more demand for City services is at best hypocritical.

It was at this meeting when people approached the Commission with their concerns about the City not recognizing the referendum on height that was held in March of that year. In 2013, a state law was passed and called any such referenda "null and void", retroactive to June 2011. Therefore, the city charter wasn't amended and the height possible east of Federal, along Lake and Lucerne Avenues remains at 65 ft. in the land development regulations.

Here is Maier as a supporter of the height restriction talking about the conditions in his neighborhood related to property access and on-street parking. These are some of the same concerns people have about proposed changes to the home occupation ordinance that could allow the employment of others and customers visiting businesses within homes.

Below Annabeth Karson points out how her quality of life would be affected 15 blocks away from the downtown area where this additional two stories is allowed by our land development regulations.

I am seeing a disturbing disconnect between being against an incremental possibility of height in the downtown versus ignoring impacts from the intensification, increased traffic, infrastructure demands, etc. in single family neighborhoods if employees and customers were allowed as part of a home occupation code re-write.

Can someone please help me out with the logic here?

Monday, August 3, 2015

'Journalist/editor' Margaret Menge's "New York attitude" and unethical, unprofessional reporting of woman's death in Lake Worth, FL

[Below is another example in a long line of Margaret Menge's unprofessional and unethical 'news' stories; next up, her terrible treatment of Mr. Erilas' untimely death.]

From a story by Brian Montopoli at CBS News on November 30, 2005 titled, "The Community Meets The Cosmopolitan";
A story Monday [Link no longer works] in the Boston Phoenix by Mark Jurkowitz shined some light on the issue. It's the tale of a reporter named Margaret Menge, who had contributed to U.S. News & World Report, the New York Press, and the New York Observer, and who took a job a few months ago at the Union Leader, in Manchester, New Hampshire. Eight weeks later, she was asked to resign. She told Jurkowitz that the managing editor for news told her that she came to the paper "with a New York attitude. We do community journalism here."
[later in the article. . .]
     Spending some time at a small town media outlet might, if nothing else, temper in an ambitious reporter some of the condescension that Rosen [New York University Associate Professor of Journalism Jay Rosensays infects the cosmopolitan media. "Elite journalists want to believe that their counterparts in Des Moines or Oxford, Ohio are under pressure to print good news," he says. But Rosen says it's more complicated than that. He dismisses such an attitude as the "sentimental, self-flattering view of the elite."
     "In somewhere like Birmingham or whatever it's hard to think of yourself as not a part of the community," he says. "When you are in that situation the journalism you do and can do and want to do is just different. And to describe that as good news versus bad news or boosterism versus truthtelling is just a load of crap."
Consider this synopsis of Margaret Menge's career in "community journalism":
  • 2005: asked to resign from community newspaper in New Hampshire
  • 2007: forced out of job at community newspaper in New York State
  • 2010: details unclear but she left community newspaper in Key West, FL, on not the best of terms
  • 2012: starts short-lived "community blog" in Lake Worth, FL
  • 2015: starts her own "community newspaper" in Lake Worth, FL
This is how Community Journalism is defined in Wikipedia:

At the Emerging Mind of Community Journalism conference, participants created a list characterizing community journalism: community journalism is intimate, caring, and personal; it reflects the community and tells its stories; and it embraces a leadership role.
     “If you want more of a definition, I’m afraid it’s like when someone asked Louie Armstrong for a definition of jazz. The great Satchmo is reputed to have replied something like this: ‘Man, if you have to ask, it won’t do me any good to try to explain.’ You know community journalism when you see it; it is the heartbeat of American journalism, journalism in its natural state.” –Jock Lauterer
Now come to the line I don't want to cross but will, reluctantly. There's no better way to prove Margaret Menge is NOT a 'community journalist', nor a caring journalist and nor a caring resident in our City of Lake Worth: I'm referring to the terribly sad incident that happened to a young lady on Tuesday, March 10th.

There were many things happening that day in the City (it was Election Day) including a rumor that something terrible had happened at the Lucerne building early that morning. I received several calls and the details began to emerge: a young lady had fallen from the building and passed away. It was truly shocking to many people, myself included.

What no one expected was a story to appear in Margaret Menge's 'community newspaper' above-the-fold, on the front page, which included a picture of the family's condo highlighted with a white circle. It takes a truly thoughtless, uncaring mind to do such a thing to a grieving family. My heart truly grieves for their loss and for the terrible treatment they received from Ms. Menge. She published this story on Friday, March 13 in Vol. 1, Issue 9 of her newspaper.

I did research on the subject of journalism and how suicide (or if it's believed a suicide occurred) should be reported by a professional journalist: There is no ambiguity: when an incident such as this occurs and the person is not a public figure then the grieving family trumps the public's right to know. Period.
Menge published this picture of the deceased woman holding her child on the front page of here tabloid. I obscured the names and faces.
In other words, what Ms. Menge did was absolutely wrong by any standard of professional journalism. And it's absolutely not subject matter that should appear in any responsible Community Newspaper.

And it gets worse.

One week later, on March 20th, in Ms. Menge's Vol. 1, Issue 10, she continues this maltreatment of the grieving family in her editorial page. She published this correspondence with Teri Barbera, PBSO media relations:
     "I [Margaret Menge] need something that says what happened, to whom, where, when. . . This cannot be withheld under Chapter 119 F.S. Not in any other state, either."
While the family was still grieving their loss, Ms. Menge was trolling for a story. Is this what you call "community journalism" or a fascination with the macabre?

Here are FIVE HEADLINES in a true community newspaper here in Lake Worth, The Lake Worth Herald (its One Hundred & third Year, Issue 12):
  • LW Lifeguards...LW Heroes
  • Hudson Holding’s Principal Steven Michael Addresses Bryant Park Neighborhood Assn.
  • Pride Fest Celebration This Weekend In LW
  • FDOT To Begin Stormwater Improvement Project In LW
  • Part 3 Birthday Cake Castle - Red Cross Designers’ Show House 
In conclusion I offer this quote:
         "SPJ’s Code of Ethics tells journalists that they have an obligation to report the truth. They also have an obligation in minimizing the harm that’s done in the pursuit of that truth. When it comes to suicides, a careful and deliberate moral reasoning needs to take place aside from the First Amendment right to report.
         Families don’t care about your rights when they are grieving. That’s why compassionate and responsible journalism is necessary and why cautious deliberation is needed."

    —Kevin Z. Smith, Deputy Director, The Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism

    From the Real Time blog: "New coalition forms to support All Aboard Florida"

    [UPDATE: Link below is now active and you can sign up to show your support.]
    At 5 p.m. today a group is launching a new website in support of All Aboard Florida. Here is an excerpt from Jennifer Sorentrue's article:
        The group said its membership includes residents from across South Florida, including several business owners and community leaders from Palm Beach County.
         Palm Beach County members include: Glenn Gromann, business owner and real estate professional in Boca Raton; Sandie Foland, owner of Barron Sign & Manufacturing located in Riviera Beach; Brock Rosayn; President of Metro Taxi of Palm Beach County in Delray Beach; and Bruce Alger Bastian, father of two and activist for Walkable Communities Delray Beach.
         “A majority of residents have long supported this project, and this coalition is an opportunity to publicly demonstrate to elected leaders that we want All Aboard Florida,” Rosayn said. “I’m looking forward to All Aboard Florida as it will bring in more tourists to our area, which will benefit my business.”

    Critical Mass bike ride in Lake Worth THIS FRIDAY (8/7): always first Friday of month

    Join us this Friday and let's BREAK 100 bike riders!
    Meet in front of the City of Lake Worth Gulfstream Hotel at Bryant Park. Socialize from 6:00 to 7:00. Ride leaves at 7:00 SHARP. Important: this event is at your own risk. Check back to this blog later in the week for more details.

    Two articles in print today demonstrate challenges in construction, renovation process (Gulfstream Hotel is also an example)

    Two articles appear today on the difficulties in renovating two problem properties in two different Palm Beach County municipalities. One is by Kevin D. Thompson about a problem property that happens to be in a Lake Worth historic district. The other is by Darrell Hofheinz of the Shiny Sheet about long-delayed renovations to the Palm House (formerly the Heart of Palm Beach hotel) on Royal Palm Way. Both illustrate the sometimes complicated situations involved in construction and building issues, and the time that they can consume.

    The subject of the Lake Worth-related article is a property in the Southeast Lucerne Local Historic District. During my last stint on the Historic Resource Preservation Board, I believe this property came before the board at least twice under a previous owner. It is a complicated situation in that a previous board approved the raising of the structure which precipitated a cascade of other building and code issues. The wisdom of that original decision can be questioned but the fact remains that it was made and caused the property owner and city some insurmountable problems. The good news here is that there is a new owner, someone who is an architect and who, along with others, have bought properties along J Street. She has the expertise to address this issue, but as she says in the article, it takes time. And she has to take care of other people's mistakes in order to turn this property around.

    I am optimistic about this one right now. It does take time and that is not unique to Lake Worth. Fortunately, problem properties are being addressed and one by one they are either being renovated or, if they are too far gone with no other solution, they may be demolished. If it goes as far as a demolition that opens up the chance for someone to build a structure that is compatible with our revised land development regulations and also be subject to review by the historic board as new construction.

    Then there is the Palm Beach-related article about the Palm House property that is on the south side of Royal Palm Way, between South County Road and South Ocean Boulevard. You don't need to be in a historic district to have problems renovating an existing building. Here are just some of the issues related to this project, as called out in the article:
         Palm Beach County Judge Donald W. Hafele appointed Glickstein as part of an agreement among several parties to resolve an internal ownership dispute that had raged since last fall. The appointment slammed the brakes on multiple legal actions filed at the county courthouse involving key Palm House players.
         Glickstein will work to “secure, improve, repair, manage and oversee completion of construction” and improvements at the property, which has been under renovation for nearly a decade, according to Hafele’s order.
         In addition to generating lawsuits and construction liens, the Palm House project at 160 Royal Palm Way is the target of a foreclosure action brought by its primary mortgage lender. The Palm House also has racked up more than $1.7 million in fines issued by the town for construction delays and non-approved projects at the site.
    The stalling of this project pleased no one in Palm Beach and it has taken action by the courts to resolve it. At least now there is a way forward, but this is still going to be a challenging project to sort out and complete to everyone's satisfaction.

    At the Commission work session last week on the ITN for the failing Casino complex, Commissioner Maier in his concluding remarks said that he doesn't care that the Gulfstream Hotel was closed for 10 years before the current property owner took control. He cares only that they have "sat on it" for the period of a little over a year since they have taken ownership of the structure.

    I hope that Lake Worth Mayor Pam Triolo and all the commissioners have toured the Gulfstream Hotel recently. If not, they really need to so they can have an appreciation for its current condition. I was in the building two years ago and, speaking as one with some experience, it is not a case where one can just turn on the power and start running a hotel once again. Those ten years were not kind to the inside of the hotel. Electric, plumbing, A/C and the elevator all need major work or replacement. The new owners also quickly got a permit to demolish the pool on the south side of the property, behind the hotel building, which was left to be an attractive nuisance by previous city commissions and administrations. Problem solved.

    There are other functionally obsolete aspects of the hotel that must be addressed. These include a modern kitchen sized for the operation, the size of guest rooms and the provision of a larger space for meetings/conferences. Owners of the Gulfstream represented on Thursday night that they are underway with an architect, who was introduced at a recent City Commission meeting that is putting plans together for the west side of the hotel property. That side of the property will contain the parking to support the existing hotel along with additional hotel rooms. A decision on the demolition or relocation of the apartment building on the west side of the property needs to be made; that decision cannot be made until plans are in place and can be approved for what is to replace it. The uncertainty and the length of the ITN process must have been a distraction as well.

    So, it is true that someone who 'sat idle' with problem hair for many years can walk into a hair salon, a salon professional can make an assessment of which process and cut would be best, and have a solution for the client within the same day or even in an hour's time. It is much different for someone who owns a large, historic property, especially one that has been idle for a decade in our subtropical climate.