Saturday, August 29, 2015

Message from Hudson Holdings: Thank you for attending the meeting on Monday, August 24th

Just to be clear: Hudson Holdings IS NOT proposing or suggesting doing anything ON THE BEACH! The public discussion/debate focuses on the Casino complex and other problematic issues west of the public beach.

Flood Watch Issued August 29 At 4:48pm EDT Until Further Notice By NWS Miami

...Flood Watch In Effect From Late Tonight Through Late Sunday Night...

The National Weather Service In Miami Has Issued A:

* Flood Watch For A Portion Of South Florida...Including The Following Coastal Broward...Coastal ...Collier...Coastal Miami Dade...Coastal Palm Beach...Far South Miami Dade...Glades...Hendry...Inland Broward...Inland Collier...Inland Miami Dade...
Inland Palm Beach...Mainland Monroe...Metro Broward...Metro Miami Dade And Metro Palm Beach.

* From Late Tonight Through Late Sunday Night

* Deep Tropical Moisture Associated With The Remnants Of Erika Currently Extending From The Central Bahamas To Central Cuba Will Be Moving Into South Florida Late Tonight Through Sunday Night. This Will Create A Threat For Very Heavy Rainfall Across South Florida With Rainfall Amounts Of 2 To 4 Inches Along With The Possibility Of Much Higher Amounts Where Showers And Thunderstorms Move Over The Same Area.

* Heavy Rain May Create Significant Flooding Of Streets...Urban Areas...And Low Lying Flood Prone Areas.

Timothy Hullihan uses 'D' word: caution encouraged before reading further—you've been warned

Florida is in a boom cycle and other than a few bumps in the road (which always happens) there is no end in sight. Westward Ho! remains the trend west of I-95 and creeping past the Turnpike. Many in this state are enchanted with the motor vehicle and their modern, detached home with a 2-car garage, expansive lawns and many with backyard pools and amenities like golf courses. But there is a very big cultural shift happening in Florida and coastal cities, such as those in Palm Beach County, need to take heed: the Millennials are here and they want more options.

Many Millennials don't want a car to be their primary source of transportation and they want more public transportation choices. And there's another thing that many Millennials support. . .and here is the dreaded 'D' word Mr. Hullihan uses: density.

Here are two excerpts from his blog post on 8/25 titled, Eastward Ho, Palm Beach Gardens!:
     I like seeing developments east of I-95 far more than proposals for developments out west. According to the Palm Beach Post, Gardens Corporate Center, LLC, submitted an application to the City of Palm Beach Gardens on July 1 to change the site plan approval at 3874 Kyoto Gardens Drive. The change would increase the height of the 2 office towers approved there in 2001 from 6-stories to 11. Along with updating the project’s density, it would also be wise to recognize changes to our culture that have transpired since 2001, and make the project more receptive to the Millenial Generation that has emerged as a large and transformational demographic since this site first gained approval. [emphasis added]
     This site is located within a district of Palm Beach Gardens that already blends hotels, retail, entertainment, residential, and office space within walking distance of it. Kyoto Gardens Drive is also a well-established bus route. Thus, it is a site that is unique within the sprawling, car-centered infrastructure of Palm Beach Gardens: It has the potential to be more like what Millenials are looking for than anything else in that city.
[and. . .]
     Palm Beach Gardens, and all of eastern Palm Beach County, needs more developments like these and less of the sprawl that will be created if Avenir and GL Homes are approved. Urban in-fill developments that begin to create walkable communities east of I-95 are an important part of our sustainable future.
The last stats I recall, and if anyone has current numbers please send them to me, is that 800 people are moving to Florida on average each day. For perspective, that's a Lake Worth city population every 45 days. All these people want a nice place to call home. The question for those of us in Palm Beach County is do we want these people adding to western sprawl or living a more sustainable/resilient lifestyle east of I-95?

PBSO Mounted Patrol at the Lake Worth Beach this Morning

Lost in all the news yesterday about TS Erika: the anniversary of a historic American speech

Do you remember all the tumult over that hotel planned in Boynton Beach near Leisureville?

If you go through the paper too fast you might miss some interesting stuff in the "IN YOUR COMMUNITY" section. That's the short, 1-paragraph items on the left side of the page (B3) written by beat reporters.

What's up with the hotel near Leisureville? Alexandra Seltzer has this update that appeared in The Palm Beach Post yesterday:
If you have news from Boynton Beach you want to share with the reporter here is how you contact her:

Friday, August 28, 2015

Had some fun with pastor (lower case intended) Mike Olive yesterday, but. . .

. . .there are things to remember. It was pastor Olive and his Common Ground (no 's') church (again, lower case intended) that gave the City of Lake Worth an undeserved black eye on the national stage. He has never apologized to the City for what he has done.
And he trashed the City on other national networks too:
But we're all to believe now he's just an ordinary Christian pastor trying to serve his flock. Note what he says at the 1:40 mark in the video below:

So who exactly are the "enemies" in Lake Worth pastor Olive is referring to? If you see him tomorrow (Saturday 8/29) at his Free-4-All giveaway maybe he'll enlighten the residents of our little City here in Palm Beach County:
Even other blogs in Lake Worth are dubious of pastor Olive's true motivations.
Join pastor Olive's "Free-4-All" tomorrow (Saturday 8/29) in the little City of Lake Worth?

From the Town of Palm Beach, FL (33480): social media at its best

Below is a video of Tom Bradford, the Town Manager for the Town of Palm Beach on the plans for Tropical Storm Erika's arrival. An excellent use of social media to educate the public about what to expect. Here is the Tweet the town sent out just a few minutes ago (5:00 pm on 8/28):

Public Service’s Notice to Close the Lake Worth Pier

The City of Lake Worth’s Public Services Department announces they will be closing the Lake Worth Pier to remove the wooden decking TODAY (August 28th), until further notice due to storm preparation lead times and the forecasted significant wind gusts/wave heights from Tropical Storm Erika. At this time the Lake Worth Beach, Benny’s on the Beach, and the Casino Building will remain open until further notice. For more information regarding Benny’s hours of operation please contact them directly at 561-582-9001. For the public’s safety and safety of our employees, please heed all warnings and advisories from the National Weather Service (NOAA) or visit their website at

For more information on this press release, please feel free to call the Public Services Administration Office at 561-586-1720.

Brian Entin at the Spillway in Lake Worth

Brian Entin at NBC5/WPTV did a news segment from Federal Hwy. in Lake Worth yesterday. In the intro to the segment Brian Williams errs when he refers to the C-51 canal spillway as a "pump station". It's not a pump station. The structure isn't technically a "spillway" either. What happens is when SFWMD wants to release water the barriers rise up and water flows underneath the structure, not over. SFWMD refers to the spillway structure as the S-155; fishermen sometimes call it the "canal dam".

If you want to see the spillway at work go to Spillway Park prior to tropical storm Erika's arrival and you'll see an amazing sight when the water is being released at a high rate. The park is located off Maryland Ave, the last street that goes west in Lake Worth before you enter the city of West Palm Beach. 

From 2011, testimony regarding electronically "rigged" elections...

Get updates from the City of Lake Worth

Did you know the City of Lake Worth is on Twitter? Here is one of their 'Favorite' Tweets:
Below is a City Tweet; click on the blue "Follow" box to get updates:
Not using Twitter? It's very easy to sign up and get started.

Town of Palm Beach TS Erika Update

Alert Level 3 (out of 5): MODERATE: Awareness & Action (Potential implementation of Disaster Preparedness Plans)

7:00 am EST, Friday, August 28th, 2015
Tropical Storm Erika continued west yesterday in defiance of most models. Began west/northwesterly path earlier this morning. Models now predicting significant interaction with island of Hispaniola before passing northwest on path to Florida. Models now backing off their projections of Erika becoming a hurricane before interaction with southeast U.S., but still show potential Tropical Storm affecting FL late Sunday/early Monday.

The next 48 hours are still critical to both the path and intensity of the storm. Erika may be severely degraded after passing Hispaniola tonight/tomorrow. It may survive the island and still have strength as it moves toward FL. NOAA reminds us that the average NHC track forecast errors over the past 5 years are 180 miles at day 4 and 240 miles at day 5, so the room for error is still large and bears close watching as we move forward and the prediction data becomes more clear.


Storm Name: Erika

Status: Tropical Storm

Location: (17.7 N, 67.7 W) Southwest of Puerto Rico

Maximum Sustained Winds ("MSW"): 45-50 mph

Movement: West/Northwest @ 17 mph

Pressure: 1006 MB 

Tropical Storm Erika: Potential Interaction with FL ("PIF"):

PIF1 - Next 1-2 Days: 0% 

PIF3 - Next 3-4 Days: 20% 

PIF5 - Next 5-7 Days: 50% (Potential Tropical Wave/Tropical Storm/Hurricane)

*Potential Interaction with FL ("PIF") estimates are designed to help the FMIT Alert reader determine the potential for the storm’s interaction with Florida based upon data available to FMIT at the time of the alert. "Interaction with Florida" means that a significant portion of the storm may impact Florida and does not indicate the intensity of the impact. This information is to be used for informational purposes only.


The story for this morning is more of the same with Erika as she continues to move outside most of the model predictions and kept moving west yesterday rather than turning to the northwest. This is very likely good news for Florida as the current models predict significant interaction with the island of Hispaniola before continuing on to the Bahamas and eventually Florida. It cannot be stated enough that, due to Erika's disorganized state, these models are obviously on the extreme low level of accuracy. The past 24 hours has proven that even the best models cannot accurately predict path with a disorganized system.

Here's a summary of today's information. Much of it is similar to yesterday's information, with a couple major caveats:

· Current intensity Models Project Tropical Storm will not become a Hurricane. While these models for path have not been very accurate, the models for intensity have been relatively consistent. This gives us hope as the latest models indicate that Erika will not have enough time or favorable conditions after crossing Hispaniola to develop into a Hurricane before any potential interaction with Florida.

· Erika is maintaining 40-50 mph sustained winds and is passing south of Puerto Rico. Erika is still surrounded by dry air and an area of medium-high wind shear (15-20 mph) that is keeping any significant intensification from occurring. The storm is "East-Loaded," meaning that the storm activity is located to the east of the center and do not wrap around the center, which indicates a very unhealthy storm at this time. 

· Erika following a more westerly path increases the chance that it will have more interaction with the island of Hispaniola (Dominican Republic/Haiti) as it moves northwest through the Caribbean. Erika is already struggling to exist due to dry air and relatively strong shearing winds (Thank you, El Nino!). If it has significant interaction with the high mountains of Hispaniola, it will be very difficult for it to survive as a Tropical Storm and may diminish into a Tropical Wave/Remnant. It would have to move significantly north in the next 12-24 hours to pass between Puerto Rico and Hispaniola and limit interaction with the mountains of the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

· The next 24-48 hours are critical to Erika's existence and path. If Erika can hold together through its path over Hispaniola, it could still become a stronger storm. This is unlikely, but still possible. Alerts will come throughout the weekend as necessary to keep you informed.

Alert Rating: Due to the uncertainty of the path predictions, the movement of the storm to the west, and the current struggling of Erika to maintain Tropical Storm status, we are keeping our Alert Level to Level 3: MODERATE for all portions of Florida. Citizens should ensure that they are in contact with their Emergency/Disaster Response Teams and are aware of the storm's projected path and intensification predictions.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Lake Worth Diagnosis: Chronic Constipation

Confirmed by the white-robed scribes in their Ivory Tower this morning, The Palm Beach Post editorial board does successfully diagnose our plight vis-à-vis the Casino complex. The broken clock analogy comes to mind when referring to the editors there. There's been a whole lot of dithering going on by the city staff and the city commission as it relates to the solutions to our problems at the BEACH! It was about this time last year when the concept of an Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) was being discussed within the walls of City Hall. This process was designed for the City to proceed in an even-handed way. It would now be able, or was thought so at the time, to evaluate varying proposals on how to handle flaws with the Casino complex in the wake of its "renovation" which left out some loose ends to yet address.

Before heaping too much praise upon the "wise ones" in their cozy paneled offices of the Post and their editorial today, they mistakenly retell revisionist history by stating that the Casino building was "saved from the wrecking ball and restored in 2013 to a Mediterranean magnificence." Just so there isn't a misunderstanding, all but 6% of the building was demolished during the rehabilitation process. What we have there 'on the beach' is a new building. It is not a restoration of anything, except for the north half of the building resembling the original 1922 structure. Just for proof, yet again, below is a picture of the property at the peak of the Casino building's demolition in the summer of 2011. Let's not start any rumors here.

The Post, to hammer the point home, says the Casino building was spared the wrecking ball. In actuality, they used a back hoe and a claw.
An inconvenient truth for the Post editorial board.
Back to what the ITN process was supposed to try and fix: Chief among the flaws was the lack of securing a tenant for the most lovely restaurant space ever known to humankind. This according to those on the dais at the time who made the decision not to have a two-story "anchor" restaurant, which Johnny Longboats was getting ready to do. But, alas, the decision was made to reserve this space for a restaurateur, something like Cafe L'Europe. The thought was that such high level gastronomes would be falling all over themselves in some sort of bidding war for the space. That never happened so the City was left with a gaping hole in its business plan. So much so that the City is unable to meet its obligation to pay itself (the taxpaying citizens) back the $6 million it borrowed from the water utility to construct the new Casino building. There were other problems the City wanted to address in the process such as making the site work better, integrate/upgrade the pool building and the pool itself in the whole plan for the property, etc.

The ITN finally went out in October last year and there were three respondents. One of them were the new owners of the Gulfstream Hotel, Hudson Holdings. Now, I am not going to get into the nitty-gritty of what has happened since then, but if the owners of the Gulfstream Hotel were told back in November of last year by City staff that their proposal was "not responsive" and they were proposing too much it would have been better for Hudson Holdings and the City to let them know that then—not at the end of May of this year when the ITN committee had its first public meeting to announce its recommendations. At that meeting, William Waters (the Director of Community Sustainability) told us about all the concerns the City had about that level of development and suggested that a capacity study be performed about the beach property to determine if it actually could accommodate that scale of activity. He also pointed out many of the flaws present on the property in terms of accessibility issues, parking and vehicular circulation to cite a few. The thing is these were not new concerns. Those concerns existed in November 2014.

Instead, the respondents were led down a "secret" path where meetings took place "outside of the sunshine" to keep the sanctity of the ITN process. This process continued through the last election cycle giving those predisposed to the creation of rumors ample supplies of misinformation and the prospect of boogeymen that would be taking over OUR BEACH! A "no" in November 2014 from City staff and the selection committee would have been better than having this process simmering in the background in limbo until after the elections in March of this year.

On July 30th the respondents to the ITN were finally given an audience before the public and the City Commission to present what their proposals actually were. Many hadn't heard, including those on the City Commission, what was actually being proposed and how what was being proposed had changed over time. The general message from that meeting was that somehow the cart was before the horse and the respondents to the ITN, or the City, should have held charettes (planning sessions with the public) in order to solicit their vision as to what would be some of the solutions to fix the failed Casino business plan.

This past Monday, Hudson Holdings invited people to a public meeting for just that purpose. It was a meeting designed to solicit ideas from the public on how to fix the problems with the Casino complex, pool, parking, etc. Those that attended were greeted by this welcoming sign on the doors to the Casino ballroom:
After showing your ID and your RSVP ticket you were invited to enter and be part of the meeting. The meeting happened and the Post is correct, it ended up being a cordial exchange of information for the most part. And Hudson Holdings did this on their own accord to solicit the public's input: something that had been missing from the process from the beginning.

Now, after this last meeting, what do we do? I don't see the City Commission clamoring to get on with it and come to a resolution of the ITN process which is still ongoing. Like Dustin Zacks' cats, this process has nine lives. Can we have SOME MOVEMENT from the City Commission now? Please DO SOMETHING. Rather than being a political sitting duck the Commission needs to act. Say "yes" or "no" and move on. We are not going to reach our 'potential' if the city is afraid of its own shadow.

The truth of the matter is this: the Casino complex has failed expectations and is a drain on the City's finances. This problem has to be fixed because it's only going to get worse over time. As City Manager Bornstein explained many maintenance issues are being deferred to fund the daily operations of the Casino complex and beach property. The Post editorial board fundamentally misunderstands many issues about the Casino complex but on this point they are absolutely correct: the City staff and City Commission are dithering.

The opinions expressed above are my own. Some will take great umbrage with what I think and that's understandable. Please feel free to contact me with your thoughts. 

From the Town of Palm Beach: TS Erika-Alert Level 3

Alert Level 3 (out of 5): MODERATE: Awareness & Action (Potential implementation of Disaster Preparedness Plans) 

12:00 pm EST, Thursday, August 27th, 2015 

Tropical Storm Erika's severe thunderstorm activity almost completely deteriorated late yesterday afternoon as it faced dried air and increased wind shear.  Overnight, as the upper level winds decreased, it began to re-intensify.  It is still a storm battling strong winds and dry air and does not have a defined center, which is making model predictions extremely inaccurate at this time.  Current recon data and reports are that the center of the storm is continuing west and south outside of even the recent model predictions of a more northwesterly path.  This means a greater chance for interaction with the islands of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola, which would likely assist in degrading the storm.  The next 48 hours are critical to the path and intensity of the storm.  NOAA reminds us that the average NHC track forecast errors over the past 5 years are 180 miles at day 4 and 240 miles at day 5, so the room for error is still large and bears close watching as we move forward and the prediction data becomes clearer. 


Storm Name: Erika 
Status: Tropical Storm 
Location: (16.4 N, 63.3 W) Approximately 85 miles West of the island of Guadeloupe 
Maximum Sustained Winds (“MSW”): 50 mph 
Movement: West @ 16 mph 
Pressure: 1004 MB 
Tropical Storm Erika: Potential Interaction with FL (“PIF”): 
PIF1 - Next 1-2 Days: 0% 
PIF3 - Next 3-4 Days: 20% 
PIF5 - Next 5-7 Days: 50% (Potential Tropical Wave/Tropical Storm/Hurricane) 

*Potential Interaction with FL (“PIF”) estimates are designed to help the reader determine the potential for the storm’s interaction with Florida based upon data available at the time of the alert. “Interaction with Florida” means that a significant portion of the storm may impact Florida and does not indicate the intensity of the impact. This information is to be used for informational purposes only. 

A lot has happened since yesterday with regard to Tropical Storm Erika: 
· Erika is maintaining 40-50 mph sustained winds and is drenching Dominica with up to 8 inches of rain.  
· Erika is not following model predictions for current path and has already reorganized more to the west and south than most models predicted.  
· Erika following a more westerly path increases the chance that it will have more interaction with the island of Puerto Rico and the island of Hispaniola (Dominican Republic/Haiti) as it moves west through the Caribbean.  
· The next 48 hours are critical to Erika's existence and path.  Should Erika follow the more southerly path and interact with the islands, it may dissipate and not pose a threat to Florida.  Should Erika move more to the northwest, it will likely miss those islands and may be able to fight off the wind shear and dry air until it reaches an area of less shear and more moisture on Saturday and Sunday.  If this happens, the storm can intensify into a Hurricane and potentially begin affecting Florida on Monday.

From Eliot Kleinberg today in the Post: a terrible legacy in south Florida

Click on the "Follow" icon to see the reporter's Twitter feed and click link to read the story about Palm Beach County history some would rather forget.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Sardonicism: No better way to describe Cara Jennings at the meeting held by Hudson Holdings

Here is a quote from Cara Jennings from the recent article in The Palm Beach Post about the Hudson Holdings meeting on Monday 8/24:
     Speaking for some in the audience, former Commissioner Cara Jennings said she doesn’t want Hudson Holdings to have anything to do with the casino.
     “What’s it going to take for Hudson Holdings to stop pursuing this project?” she asked. “We don’t want expanded development on the beach.”
Sardonicism with a healthy dose of irony would be a more apt description. If it weren't for the inept and bungled efforts by a previous commission there would have been no reason for the meeting by Hudson Holdings in the first place. Or put it another way: the reason why we're having a debate about the failed Casino complex is because of those such as former commissioner Cara Jennings. But there she was in attendance in her shrine to incompetence.

Here is the reason the future of the Casino complex and pool is being discussed:
Once again, here is a partial list of the problems with the Casino complex that the current city commission is tasked with fixing (note that these issues don't address the municipal pool—a totally separate issue):
  • 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
This Casino complex was constructed using borrowed money that the City is having difficulty paying back. Sobering isn't it?

The Benzaiten Center: Happy Hour Every Last Friday of the Month

Here is the link to the Benzaiten Center to learn more about this Lake Worth treasure.

From the Sun Sentinel: About 'sober' homes in south Florida

This is a long and very in-depth article from Kate Jacobson about sober homes. Here is a short excerpt and encourage my readers to read the entire article:
     Officers walked into the house thinking it was just another overdose call.
     This particular May morning didn't seem any different — in recent weeks, police said they had gotten a lot of those calls — and the apartment complex in front of them seemed just like all the others on the block: somewhat weathered, otherwise unremarkable.
     But inside, a woman was dead. Those who lived there told police the complex was a sober home for recovering addicts. They explained the woman had started using again. A lot of them were using again, they said, in the house meant to encourage sobriety. [emphasis added]
     The home was a drug users' den hiding in plain sight, police said, and officers were shocked.
Below is a video of State Representative Lori Berman at a recent Lake Worth city commission meeting. At the 1:00 minute mark she talks about the sober home legislation. She refers to it as a "good first start" and thanks Senators Hager and Clemens for all their hard work getting the legislation passed:

From Office of City Manager: City Council Increases Spending to Add Cops Following Spike in Crime

This is news from Susan Stanton, the City Manager of Greenfield, CA (former city manager for City of Lake Worth):
After a long month of continued violence and homicide in Greenfield, the City Council has approved the Administration's proposed reductions in general government spending of $311,000 to increase law enforcement funding in the FY 2015-16 Proposed Budget. These budget savings were obtained by not funding the positions of Public Works Director, Code Enforcement Officer and Management Analyst in the coming budget. The additional funds will allow the Police Department to hire an additional three police officers in July and begin to aggressively combat the needless violence that seems we have all witnessed here in Greenfield.
Susan Stanton is the former city manager of Lake Worth who tried to end the contract with PBSO and form her own Lake Worth PD. She now has her own PD in Greenfield, CA. Proof once again that having your own PD isn't what it's cracked up to be.

Here is Stanton and former Commissioner Suzanne Mulvehill and their mea culpa after abandoning the effort to end the contract with PBSO in 2011:

Note that at the 6:35 mark I (Wes Blackman) ask Stanton a question and notice how she evades answering it.

The Florida Everglades habitat being decimated by pythons (NOTE: Documentary on WPBT tonight; details below)

Burmese Python (image from Wikipedia)
Barbara Marshall has terrible news about the future of the Everglades. While most of the debate about the environment focuses on sheet flow, building reservoirs, Florida's estuaries, and sea level rise, the entire Everglades ecosystem is being destroyed by pythons. Maybe this news will be the clarion call to solve this terrible problem once and for all.

Here is an excerpt from the article:
       Inspired by Florida’s 2013 python hunt, Corral [former Miami Herald reporter Oscar Corral] spent more than a year tramping the levees and swamps of the southern Everglades following hunters in search of the giant, secretive snakes that have become the ‘Glades’ apex predators.
      His conclusion? There is no practical solution to getting rid of them.
     “Pythons are most likely going to alter the Everglades ecosystem forever,” he said.
     Since 2013, scientists have been warning about the almost complete elimination of mammals in the southern Everglades due to the explosion in the python population.
The reporter refers to a new documentary called Exotic Invaders: Pythons in the Everglades which airs tonight (Wednesday, 8/26 on WPBT at 8 p.m.). Here is a preview:

Can you find Andy Amoroso in the picture below?

Lake Worth Commissioner Andy Amoroso attended the Florida League of Cities conference earlier this month and he's briefly seen on the official video released about the event. Here is a link to the presentations given this year. There are very interesting items presented and will post some on this blog throughout the year. 

Here is the video about the conference:

Dr. Shoup's Lessons on Parking Policy, particularly pricing

Here is the source for the bullet points below (the 'all caps' is how it appears from the blog):
If you're interested in learning more about Donald Shoup and The High Cost of Free Parking he has a book available.

"Hey douchebag at 9:07am"—A sensible person using common sense comments to The Other Blogger (TOB)

Every now and then TOB lets some sense slip through. An "anonymous" fan of her blog has a problem with raft races, downtown Jewell's Flolfie, people having fun, attracting business to the City of Lake Worth, and other "stupid stuff". Someone with a healthy level of common sense sets the "douchebag" straight:

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A Blast From the Past: Anarchists Stylin' in the L-Dub. . .

A history lesson: L-Dub is slang for 'Lake Worth' in the ever-dwindling Anarchist community here in south Florida. The L is short for "Lake" and the Dub is short for "double-'u' " as in the letter 'W', hence the term L-Dub. I've got to keep reminding myself there are a lot of new residents in the City who don't know this stuff. Welcome to L-Dub dude!
Anarchists in L-Dub stylin'.
Note sign in black letters:


Below is a video of the L-Dub Anarchists when they weren't so risk-averse and dependent on the conveniences of modern society (aka the glory days):

From FDOT: Open house TODAY (8/26) regarding road improvements (City Hall, 4:00–6:00)

Click this link for more information at the City's website.

Lake Worth gets featured on NBC5/WPTV! (for 16 seconds, but hey, it's better than nothing!)

Here is a link to the WPTV news segment. CBS12/WPEC didn't show up. It would have been interesting to see their take on what happened.

Benny's on the Beach and Red Cross team up for drowning prevention in Palm Beach County

This news is from the City of Lake Worth beat reporter for the Post:
     Benny’s on the Beach has teamed up with the American Red Cross to support the Aquatics Centennial program, which offers water safety and drowning prevention tips in Palm Beach County.
     From now through October, 10 percent of all dinner proceeds will benefit the program. The Red Cross created the first national water safety program in the United States in 1914.
Don't forget about the new Paella Weekends at Benny's!

Here is the entire article by Kevin Thompson. If you have good news about the little City of Lake Worth or Greenacres and wish to share it with the Post reporter here is his contact information:
Twitter: @kevindthompson1

[RE-POST] Anyone surprised? Maybe TOB will hoist one from her condo roof

The Other Blogger (TOB) is at it again: Poor taste, trying to drive wedges between our neighborhoods, and living in her own revisionist world of realities that never were. Here she recalls fondly the 'good ole days':
The "Southern cross" flag was used by the Dixiecrats in opposition to federal Civil Rights legislation in the 1950's. Claims of the flags "heritage" are a myth.
Hey, wait, wasn't this on Stormfront?

Video from last night's meeting held at the Lake Worth Casino building by Hudson Holdings

NOTE! If you are a City of Lake Worth commissioner or are a member of the ITN committee YOU CANNOT WATCH THESE VIDEOS.

Just a few words about last night and this collection of videos. First, there were audio issues at the beginning of the meeting so be patient as you begin watching the meeting. Those issues improve as the meeting progresses.

Noteworthy are these signs which were posted on most of the doors to the ballroom:
You will hear discussion of that at the beginning of the meeting. The City attorney weighed-in and determined that commissioners, city staff or members of the Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) Committee are still operating in a "cone of silence."
What caused the long line to enter the Casino building was the checking of IDs. You can see that in the picture below. People were also issued wristbands once their ticket and ID were verified.
I knew of this issue (about the ITN process) beforehand so I called the City Attorney and told her that I planned on taking video of the meeting. She said that it was OK to do that but that she would advise any of the parties from the City involved in the ITN process that they shouldn't watch any of the video(s). So it's important to re-state that here.

I'll be pulling out segments of the video later that I consider highlights of the meeting, but if you have time, I encourage you to watch the entire playlist.

The City of Lake Worth IS NOT a 'sanctuary city' (but why so many people believe it is)

Stay with me here, first some background. In today's Palm Beach Post is an article by Lawrence Mower that refers to a protest in Lake Worth last year. EarthFirst!er Cara Jennings was there along with her crew of Anarchists including the TWAC's. No doubt you're familiar with this photograph taken that day:
Many in the media were there that day to document the goings-on which was curious because the protest wasn't made public until earlier in the day. You can draw your own conclusions. A crowd of people from the Guatemalan-Maya Center (GMC) were brought to the protest to join Father O'Loughlin (the GMC executive director), who was already at the location. 

I haven't heard anything from Father O'Loughlin in a while so checked out the GMC website and discovered he is no longer on the board of directors. The GMC has a new website now, much better than the previous one they had. Took a little tour and much to my surprise came upon this dated July 9th of this year:
In the absence of an effective federal government response, local governments throughout the United States have been supplying their own movements, such as offering sanctuary.
     A sanctuary city is a response of the heart and it is a city that will not act as an instrument of federal enforcement. In Palm Beach County, which has always lived in a state of dependence on the work of undocumented immigrant laborers, it’s about time we acknowledged our indebtedness to immigrant laborers and made provisions for their safety while we’re waiting for a response by the federal government.
     For full story and statement from Frank O’Loughlin, Executive Director, on “Sanctuary Cities” please click here.
On July 14th, just 5 days later, Frank Cerabino penned this in The Palm Beach Post titled "Jupiter, Lake Worth surprised to be on ‘sanctuary city’ list".

Jupiter has their own center for the Guatemalan/Maya community called El Sol.

Note that Lake Worth IS NOT a 'sanctuary city'. Anybody can come up with a list. However, when you read what Father O'Loughlin wrote you can see how someone could get the impression that the City is. It might be a good idea for the City of Lake Worth to boldly state the truth of the matter to eliminate any confusion among the public. And it would also be a good idea for the GMC to also state the truth of the matter so immigrants don't come to Lake Worth seeking 'sanctuary'.

Here is an excerpt from Cerabino's column which explains the situation quite nicely:
     Lake Worth probably made the list of sanctuary cities because the non-profit Guatemalan-Maya Center is there.
     “We help a lot of undocumented people,” said center employee Jill Cole. “But there’s no guarantee of safety here. We see families being deported all the time.
     “One of our teens was getting off the bus to come to class the other day, and ICE was there checking papers at the bus stop.”

     Lake Worth City Manager Michael Bornstein was mystified to learn this month that his city has been labeled a sanctuary city.
     “It caught us all by surprise,” he said. “I asked if there was any ordinance or proclamation in the past, and there was nothing. I think we just got roped up with a bunch of other cities.”

Monday, August 24, 2015

Stay tuned for Hudson Holdings' Casino Building meeting video

Beware of 'loaded language' in Lake Worth, especially concerning the BEACH!

This particular story (see image below) by CBS12/WPEC appeared as a news segment only a few days prior to our municipal elections on March 10th in Lake Worth. Reporter Lauren Hills referred to a "Backroom" meeting which was anything but (more on that later in this post).
The link to the news segment has since been taken down. The use of the word "Backroom" is an example of Loaded Language. Why couldn't the title have been "Lake Worth Residents Concerned Over Beach Development Proposals"? 

Here is the definition of "backroom" in
a place where powerful or influential persons, especially politicians, meet to plan secretly or from which they exercise control in an indirect manner
Margaret Menge, a self-described reporter/editor of a now-defunct (always-FREE, delivered free, advertising-challenged) tabloid began this "backroom" nonsense with her false reporting of what actually occurred. The "backroom" meeting was simply a group of condominium owners who reside next to the Gulfstream Hotel who wanted to meet with Steven Michaels (the owner of the hotel) and discuss their common concerns.

Click on the letter by Mr. Tebbe. He sets the record straight regarding his groups meeting with Mr. Michaels:
This meeting between the Gulfstream of Lake Worth Condominium Assoc. and Mr. Michaels was no different than the hundreds (if not thousands) of meetings that occur each and every day in this country. That's one of the ways people learn stuff—they meet and talk.

The reason there is even a meeting tonight at all is because the our charming Casino/Beach complex is hemorrhaging money. The business plan put in place by a previous city commission has failed and it's up to our current city commission to fix it. Hudson Holdings has ideas they would like to share with the community:
Had a previous city commission done their job and used due diligence our City would not be in the position it is in right now vis-à-vis the Casino complex and pool. Don't forget that important fact. All the loaded language you'll hear is just a distraction from the ugly truth:

Equal time: Terry Aperavich on the historic Boynton Beach High School

If you've been following this debate in the Post you know there was an article by Alexandra Seltzer. Also a Point of View and two letters were published supporting the preservation of the structure. In today's paper a Letter to the Editor by Terry Aperavich of Boynton Beach was published with a decidedly different opinion. Here is an excerpt:
     I found the Wednesday letter “Old Boynton High is part of our heritage” — opposing tearing down the dilapidated Boynton Beach High School — disingenuous. The writer states that Lake Worth refurbished its oceanfront Lake Worth Casino, but then omits that the city hasn’t been able to create enough interest in the finished project to repay the $6 million it invested in the rebuild. [emphasis added]
     Boynton Beach officials have commissioned study after study to try to save this ugly building and have only wound up throwing more good money after the previous bad.
How about you? Do you agree or disagree with Mr. Aperavich? Ever wanted to write a Letter to the Editor? Here's how:

Send a Letter to the Editor of The Palm Beach Post: Letters are subject to editing and must include the writer’s name, address, e-mail address and daytime phone number. Preferred length is a maximum of 200 words.)

Pics from Sally Welsh's water exercise class yesterday

These were taken by AnnaMaria Windisch-Hunt. She was content to walk around the pool and take pictures of the class in session. That's something that is hard to do when you are part of the class. You can see how the larger-than-usual class was moved to the shallow north end of the pool. That's yours truly in the bright red shirt in about the center of the above picture.
That's the basic information about the class. Times are 10 a.m. Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

How quickly things can change

Official White House photograph of President Barack Obama.
This article comes from the Associated Press. Whatever your political persuasion happens to be you have to marvel at the change in President Obama's presidency from just a short while ago. Here is an excerpt from the AP story:
     After a string of sunny seasons gripped by controversy, crises and plummeting popularity, the summer of 2015 has been among the most productive stretches of Obama's presidency. [emphasis added] Late June victories in the Supreme Court on health care and gay marriage, along with a win for his trade agenda on Capitol Hill, were followed by the landmark Iran nuclear deal in July and the raising of the U.S. flag over a new embassy in Cuba in August.
     Instead of being overshadowed by the 2016 presidential campaign, Obama's agenda has often been driving the debate among the candidates running to replace him.
     And yet to the president, one of his summer's biggest successes may simply be making it through his annual vacation on the tony Massachusetts island of Martha's Vineyard largely uninterrupted.

Gabrielle Sarann at NBC5/WPTV corrects initial report of "Lake Worth" fatal crash

Yesterday there was another tragic vehicle crash and my condolences go out to the family. This terrible event occurred near the intersection of Kirk Road and Melaleuca Lane.

The first report of this crash was in The Palm Beach Post by Lulu Ramadan and she correctly reported it happened outside the City of Lake Worth. Gabrielle Sarann at WPTV initially reported it as "Lake Worth" and this morning the news segment was changed to "suburban Lake Worth". Thank you to the staff and reporter.

However, ABC25/WPBF still can't grasp the concept of the difference between unincorporated Palm Beach County and our City's boundaries.

Another thing I noticed is the use of the word "crash" in all the news reports. This may be a new thing or maybe not. How many still use the phrase "car accident"? Many readers will find this from Vox interesting.

Here is a map of Lake Worth:
Notice Lake Osborne to the left of the big "W". If you're west of the lake you're probably out of the City limits. Just trying to help.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

A big pool is actually too small by trying to do all things for all people at the same time

Sometimes a big pool can be too small if it is trying to do too many things. I arrived at 9:30 a.m. for the 10 a.m. water aerobics class and was greeted by three Palm Beach County Fire Rescue trucks parked right in front of the pool building. While I was there Sally Welsh was unloading her stuff for the class and you can see traffic backed up behind herand a sheriff car in front of the trucks. It looked like there was a drowning or some other medical emergency at first, but no flashing lights.
I go in to the pool area and both east and west sides of the entire middle section are taken up with fire rescue personnel doing some sort of dive training. Maybe a total of twenty people doing that activity.

Knowing that I wonder why Palm Beach County Fire Rescue couldn't use the turn around area to park and enter through the gate at the south end of the pool. I have a bugaboo about any vehicle parking on the shoulder/bike lane that is clearly marked "No Parking." For an emergency, yes, but for this sort of activity I think that they could have parked elsewhere on the 19 acre property, especially at 9:30 a.m. on a Sunday. It's not like these fellas have any mobility issues.

The swimming lanes, north and south of the middle section were all full with lap swimmers, sometimes two to a lane. The extreme shallow ends were cordoned off. One-fifth of the northern section was for a beginning swimmers class. The lanes are currently in the east/west configuration. It wouldn't have worked at all if they were in the north/south position.

The remainder of the 4.5 ft depth area was for Sally's water aerobics class. She "buys" two lanes as part of her deal with the city; I think her cost is $35 plus parking. There were at least 35 in the class today and it was way too crowded and too shallow to enjoy. Many people were not happy with the situation. Finally, Scott Mies, the new pool manager, opened up another lane to everyone's relief by asking people to move in swim lanes that were already being used by others. Some had to double up. All the while the fire rescue people were still doing their thing in the middle of the pool. The south side of the pool was crowded too.

This comes after the pool was closed for the morning on Saturday, for an ECAC Swim-a-thon. It opened up later on for the public. I was there to exercise and 20 people were around the pool and about 10 people in it. On a Saturday afternoon.

Why fire rescue had to do what they did today and not during the hours the pool is closed to the public? I do not know.

The bottom line is that the pool needs to be open more hours that are friendlier to people's schedule for the 95 workaday world; hours after 6 p.m. if the money is available to make it happen. Additional equipment for strength training may make it more appealing and offer some a workout destination. Do we really need a kiddie pool?

And here again: it is either a situation where there are very few in the pool (3 or 4 people) or a situation where the pool isn't big enough like today. I think the idea of two pools serving two different purposes is a good one. People are concerned about losing an Olympic size lap pool though. That solution might be a larger pool in another location: like another park (Bryant Park?) elsewhere in the city. Some have mentioned the golf course as a suitable location for a pool.