Saturday, November 28, 2015

Visit Lake Worth, Florida, a quirky City with the World's only 'recovery' church in a bar!

If you haven't heard, pastor Olive and his "Common Ground (no 's')" recovery church hold their prayer service in a bar, the Bamboo Room in downtown Lake Worth. This is NOT A JOKE. It's the absolute truth. They put up a sheet so the flock can't see the bar stocked with liquors, spirits, mixers, and cold beer. A sheet.
Remember church service attendees: Stay behind the curtain and don't forget to tip your server.
Here is the broad and eclectic adult beverage selection at the Bamboo Room. If you would like to rent the venue for weddings, anniversaries, or any other special event use this link to get more information. The Bamboo Room is an iconic Lake Worth establishment and we're all excited to have them back up and featuring live music once again.

You can follow the Bamboo Room on Twitter (@TheBambooRoomLW):
This might be a good topic for a Sunday Sermon by the 'Common Ground' (no 's') church:

Remember to Shop Local TODAY! For example, at Chafin Music here in Lake Worth. . .

Click here for a link to Chafin Music's website. You can find them at:

Esteemed German soccer clubs coming to Florida in January

From PR Newswire is this news that will delight all the soccer fans here in south Florida:

     Two of the most esteemed clubs in the German Bundesliga are heading to the United States this winter to face off against teams from around the world in the 2016 Florida Cup. The tournament, which has expanded from four clubs in 2015 to nine in 2016, will take place in the Orlando and Fort Lauderdale area between Jan. 10 and 20.
     Bayer 04 Leverkusen is competing in its second Florida Cup, while FC Schalke 04 is a newcomer to the tournament. Additional clubs participating include Brazil's Corinthians, Fluminense, Atlético Mineiro and Internacional; Ukraine's Shakhtar Donetsk; Colombia's Independiente Santa Fe; and the Fort Launderdale Strikers of the United States.
     The clubs representing the Bundesliga in the tournament are two of the most storied in German soccer. Since their stunning UEFA Cup championship in 1997, Schalke has risen to one of the league's premier teams.

Time for Giving in Lake Worth: Employee Food Drive, Bike Give-Away, and Other Ways Too

This information is from the latest City Newsletter, Worth Noting. To sign up for the newsletter use this link. Here is the news on the employee food drive:
Total Collected by Lake Worth employees: 503 pounds. Recipients of the collected food were the food pantries of 1st Congregational Church in District 2 and New Hope Missionary Baptist Church and New Life Zion Temple in District 1.
And about the bike give-away:
     As part of the Holiday Parade and Santa’s Workshop held each year, the City of Lake Worth “raffles off” new bicycles. The first 300 kids that attend the event receive a FREE raffle ticket. Last year, fifty (50) bicycles were raffled thanks to local businesses, sponsors, and donations. The Leisure Services Department would like to exceed last year’s number by raffling even more bikes this year. The target goal – 100 BRAND NEW BIKES!
     Time is short – the 50th Annual Parade & Santa’s Workshop is on Saturday, December 12th. If you would like to contribute a new bike or money towards the purchase of a bike, please contact the Leisure Services Department at 561.533.7363. Checks should be made payable to City of Lake Worth.
See you at the parade!

"Point of View" in the Post today: Benefits from investment in biomedical research

It's just a coincidence this Point of View appeared in The Palm Beach Post today (11/28), being that the "Week of Resistance" by EEF! just began yesterday in Palm Beach Gardens protesting biomedical research. No one wants to get them any more excited than they are already. Your last chance to register for the Week of Resistance ended yesterday (11/27), but you can still check out the protest activities and stop by the mall for some Christmas shopping in PBG:
     Everglades Earth First! [EEF!] is excited to host a Week of Resistance starting Friday, November 27th ending with a mass demonstration organized by the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition on Saturday, December 5th.
Here is the Point of View by Laura Niedernhofer, an associate professor in the Department of Metabolism and Aging at The Scripps Florida Research Institute; an excerpt:
     Adjusted for inflation, the NIH budget has declined by more than 25 percent in the past decade. The huge decrease has slowed the pace of discoveries that will allow people to enjoy healthier lives.
     The United States was once the world leader in funding biomedical research. But today, other nations are investing far more. In fact, many of our top scientists are being recruited by nations that are making biomedical research a priority. We are allowing other countries to surpass us within the next 10 years.
     This decline in funding comes at a time when the U.S. faces its largest-ever population of individuals over 65 years. More than 75 percent of Americans will have at least two chronic diseases, such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s and cancer, as they age.
In case you missed the article in the Shiny Sheet (aka, the Palm Beach Daily News), there is other recent news about Scripps here in Palm Beach County.

When I choose dish soap I choose Dawn and so should you

About the video below: "Dawn Dish Soap is teaming up with wildlife rescue workers to create a safer environment for ducks, birds and other wildlife affected by disasters like oil spills. By using Dawn to help clean and rehabilitate them, rescue workers open up a second chance on life for these little guys."

Learn more about Dawn Saves Wildlife. Remember, it's tough on grease but gentle too.

Go to any other local grocer and buy Dawn. Shop Local and help to save the environment at the same time!

Podcast: Big Potential For Tiny Houses

This is a recent program on the tiny house movement, and it seems to be a thing. And you can't help but think that our collection of historic cottages in our City of Lake Worth that are readily available to meet the demand. That is one of the reasons behind the Cottages of Lake Worth, the group that is promoting the existence of our small beach cottages, most on 25' wide lots. The program is about tiny houses and the housing market changing. Tastes are changing and technology is helping downsize our lives. The program talks about the environmental impetus behind the movement, along with lifestyle and economic changes.

Zoning implications related the new "mobile" nature of the current design for these super-tiny home on wheels are discussed. If you have the time, check out the podcast.

If you're interested in learning more about the Cottages of Lake Worth, below is my radio interview with Allan Mason at WBZT last year:

News from LULA and the Lake Worth CRA: Small Business Saturday is TODAY

Learn more about LULA here. For more about the book "A Photographic Odyssey: Around the World with Alexander W. Dreyfoos", read this article in the Shiny Sheet. Make sure to remember to shop local TODAY:

Friday, November 27, 2015

The "pitch" from the Post about the Gulf Stream Hotel and about a land use/zoning attorney "making her best pitch"

Below is an excerpt from Kevin Thompson's article that will likely appear in tomorrow's print edition of the Post:
     Recently at the city’s Historic Resources Preservation Board meeting, Bonnie Miskel, a land-use and zoning attorney [emphasis added] working with developer Hudson Holdings, was making her best pitch as to why the board should approve a key zoning change to allow the $60 million Gulfstream Hotel site restoration project to inch forward.
     Miskel spoke in a language all board members — and city officials — understand: dollars and cents.
     Eight percent of Florida’s economy, Miskel cited from a state website, is based on tourism, a $67 billion industry.
     “And not one of those dollars,” Miskel told the seven-member board at its Nov. 18 meeting, “is coming to this city. This hotel will tap into that and Lake Worth will get a piece of that pie.”
When Drew Martin promotes something about the Everglades or the environment has The Palm Beach Post ever referred to it as a "pitch"? I don't know but it might be an interesting research assignment. Or when Lake Worth Commissioner McVoy tries to sell his idea about whether a developer should install fencing or a hedge, did he make a "pitch"? Is the daily editorial in the Post pushing their opinions a pitch?

The word pitch is an interesting word and conjures up thoughts of that Kirby vacuum salesman you might remember from years back. The best I can tell is the word pitch used in the context of a presentation such as the one by Bonnie Miskel at the Lake Worth Historic Resource Preservation Board (HRPB) on November 18th is actually slang. Here is what you find at
Slang definitions & phrases for pitch
A hawker's or street vendor's place of business; High Pitch, Low Pitch (1849+)
The sales talk or spiel of a hawker : He recited a part of his pitch/other gifts to prospective brides, along with a pitch to honeymoon at Holiday Inns (1876+)
And who can ever forget this pitch:
Here is the link to the City's agendas and minutes. If you scroll down you'll find the HRPB's agenda and video of the meeting. Starting at the 36 minute mark Bonnie Miskel, a land use and zoning attorney begins her presentation which I'm sure, if the Gulfstream Hotel and property are of interest to you, will find very interesting and informative.

It was a good pitch by Bonnie Miskel: the vote was unanimous to approve the changes sought by the property owner.

News from the City of Lake Worth's CRA: Open House on December 14th

Click on or hover over image below to enlarge.
For more information call the CRA at 561-493-2550 or visit the website. Chris Dabros, the CRA's deputy director, can also be reached via email.

News from the Post's Julius Whigham II on the bicyclist killed in Lake Worth

It's always sad to hear news such as this. Lake Worth is a very bikeable City but there are areas you have to be particularly careful and 10th Ave North is one of them, any time of day or night. Others are 6th Ave South and the entire length of Dixie Hwy. through the City, for example.

Someone driving on Dixie Hwy. or, in this case, 10th Ave. North isn't expecting a bike to cross their path. They're more focused on the car's lights in front of them, the next traffic signal, or checking the mirror. The driver of the vehicle that killed the bicyclist earlier this month likely never had a chance to avoid this crash and the reporter correctly didn't use the word "accident" to describe this terrible event as you'll read below in these two short excerpts:
     According to a sheriff’s crash report, [Howard] Baez was riding his bicycle late the night of Nov. 13 when he attempted to cross 10th Avenue North from south to north. He was struck by a westbound Mazda and died at the scene.
[and. . .]
     Baez’s black bicycle had no lights, and he was wearing dark, non-reflective clothing, the sheriff’s office said. He was not wearing a helmet.

The Little City of Lake Worth's Utilities Electronic Payment App

One thing many of us have in common in Lake Worth is the experience of paying the utility bill. You may not realize it but you can pay your bill on-line by registering at the city's website. You will need to create a password and have your utility account number handy. That number can be found on the upper right portion of your monthly bill. You can also get a Lake Worth utilities app from iTunes or Google Play stores for your smartphone or tablet.

If you look closely at the webpage accessed by the above link you are directed to re-register.
We have long had the ability to pay the bill on line. It was the only item I used on the web with the Microsoft Explorer browser because any other browser wouldn't work. The good news is that was fixed some time ago and now all browsers (Chrome, Firefox, etc.) are welcome.

Within the past year the city introduced the ability to pay through an App. Here is a post from December of last year that talks about my discovery. For a while, all was well and I regularly used my Nexus 7 (Android) device to pay my bill. The app was a little clunky, but it worked and you didn't have to pay the $2 service fee if you used the cashier's window in the City Hall Annex.  However, during this past summer, there was a time when the entire system was down and you had to pay in person or drop your bill in the mail. This lasted about three or four months.

During the time the app was down I received a barrage of messages through the app that they "were diligently working on the issues" and to "be patient", etc. I would try to use it to check on the progress and, no surprise, it didn't work.

Well, I am now pleased to tell you that it is generally working again, both on the City's website and with the app. However, you may still have some pitfalls. Just last week I downloaded the app on to my Android phone. Once installed it wouldn't accept payment through that app. I then visited the City's website and was able to pay that way. I reported the problem through the app and these are the number of responses I got. Note they are all the same:
My payment did go through. I will continue to be brave and try to use the app first and the default will be to go to the website. Isn't there a saying about "If it's not broke, don't fix it"? When the app is completely functional will inform all of you. Stay tuned, as they say.

Unconscious biases against gays and lesbians decreasing at a rapid rate in the U.S.

Despite the attention-grabbing anti-gay crusaders clutching shibboleths and spouting self-serving interpretations of the Bible, the country's view towards gays and lesbians is rapidly changing in a positive direction. This article in PsyPost not only shows how much people's views have changed but also suggests the trend in increasing at a rapid rate. Here is an excerpt from the article:
     Westgate’s [Erin Westgate, a doctoral psychology student at the University of Virginia] team found that implicit or “unconscious” bias against lesbian and gay people was 13 percent lower in 2013 than in 2006 [emphasis added], suggesting that implicit bias has decreased substantially in recent years. They also found that explicit, or self-reported, bias decreased twice as much (26 percent) as implicit bias over the same seven-year period. This suggests that while many peoples’ attitudes are changing at the deeper, unconscious level, some people may be less willing or able to acknowledge anti-gay bias than they were in years past.
     “Implicit biases can occur outside of conscious awareness or conscious control,” Nosek said. “People may know that they have them and not be able to control them. This is the first evidence for long-term change in people’s implicit attitudes on a cultural level.”
     The authors also found that some people’s attitudes were changing more quickly than others. Age, race and political orientation were the biggest predictors of attitude change. Unconscious bias decreased the most among women, as well as among white, Hispanic, liberal and younger people. Men – as well as black, Asian, conservative and older people – showed the smallest changes in bias.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Tease is Over! It's 320 North Lakeside Drive in the little City of Lake Worth

The anticipation has been building for weeks from Steven Miller Real Estate here in Lake Worth. Rumors are many workplaces were paralyzed by the speculation and the buzz was reaching as far as Tallahassee. There was a rumor that the HUD undersecretary to the secretary's liaison of the urban secretariat would hold a press conference tomorrow and now that will be unnecessary. Here is what started it all:
Here it is! Meet 320 North Lakeside Drive.

This property is located next to the City of Lake Worth's municipal golf course where Babe Ruth once played:

The Lake Worth BEACH and the Post's Kimberly Miller: Perfect Together

What a great promotional idea for vacation professionals to sell a surfing vacation at the Lake Worth BEACH!
The Lake Worth BEACH! is on the front page, above the fold, in a feature story by the inimitable weather reporter extraordinaire Kimberly Miller. And in the recto column President Obama says it's OK to go outside today. Maybe go to the BEACH? 
The official photograph by the White House of U.S. President Barack Obama.
So Happy Thanksgiving and when you call your friends and family up North ask them to consider a Lake Worth vacation later this year! Unfortunately, the City's municipal pool is closed today. See the following blog post about that.

[UPDATE] Lake Worth Municipal Pool Closed for Thanksgiving (awaiting update about Friday)

[UPDATE: The pool will be open tomorrow, Friday, 11/27.]
Went to the pool yesterday (11/23) and there was no one else there. Not one other person swimming or exercising. Why? The public isn't much interested in a pool facility any more that just has a pool. They want more things to do and see and ways to keep children occupied.

The Church of England and the Lord's Prayer video that "carries the risk of upsetting, or offending, audiences”

This is a fascinating news story from England. It's not my intention to stir things up in the United Kingdom from the little City of Lake Worth, Florida, USA, located in the warm climes of southeast Palm Beach County. We've got our own issues to deal with: the 'Common Ground' church's "War on Religion" and the insulting atheist Preston "I'm an Atheist!" Smith are just two.

Here is the article in The Guardian by Haroon Siddique and Harriet Sherwood titled, "Cinemas refuse to show Church of England advert featuring Lord's Prayer" and this is an excerpt:
     The UK’s three leading cinema chains have refused to show an advert by the Church of England that features the Lord’s Prayer, citing fears that it could offend people.
     The 60-second advert was due to be shown before Star Wars: the Force Awakens, released on 18 December and which has smashed records for advance ticket sales at UK cinemas.
     It was cleared by the Cinema Advertising Authority and the British Board of Film Classification
, but the Odeon, Cineworld and Vue chains – which control 80% of screens around the country – have refused to show the advert because they believe it “carries the risk of upsetting, or offending, audiences”. [emphasis added]
Below is the video of the Lord's Prayer advert from the Church of England. Do you think this video would "carry the risk of upsetting, or offending, audiences”?

The Upper Crust bakery in Lake Worth: Did they miss this news? Blue Front BBQ certainly didn't

Both the Blue Front BBQ and the Upper Crust bakery in Lake Worth won Best Of in Palm Beach County. I made a big deal of that on this blog and so did Blue Front. Is it possible a lot of pie lovers took notice of that? Very likely. Here is an excerpt from the article by Kevin Thompson at the Post about the manager of the bakery, the long line outside the door, and she is quoted saying, "We’ve never had this happen before.”
     Since The Upper Crust opened at 10 a.m., a line started snaking outside the shoebox-sized bakery and along Dixie Highway [emphasis added] as customers patiently waited to buy their Turkey Day sweets.
     “This is a little overwhelming,” said Jodie Quintero, the store manager who has worked at The Upper Crust for 30 years. “We’re trying to keep up, but it’s a task. We’ve never had this happen before.”
     Quintero said two years ago, the bakery started accepting online orders, a move that most likely led to longer lines.
     “We did it two years ago, but everybody seemed to have figured it out this year,” Quintero said, adding that the store usually sells 6,000 pies during Thanksgiving week.
The Upper Crust bakery is located at 2015 North Dixie Hwy. in Lake Worth.

If you have more positive, community news in the City of Lake Worth, suburban Lake Worth (including Palm Beach State College) and Greenacres here is how you contact the Post reporter:
Twitter: @kevindthompson1

Today is the last day to register for the Week of Resistance with EEF in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida!

Three from Everglades Earth First! were recently on trial in West Palm Beach and all were found guilty. If you decide to participate learn the rules on how far you can push law enforcement and the importance of not blocking access to schools. Here are the details about the Week of Resistance:
     Everglades Earth First! is excited to host a Week of Resistance starting Friday, November 27th ending with a mass demonstration organized by the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition on Saturday, December 5th.
[and. . .]
     Details such as accommodations and schedule will be made available to those who register and are accepted to participate in the week with us. We will be accepting applications now until November 26th. Please register here!
Hurry up and register. You might not qualify so you want to find that out as soon as possible. Some of the other participants are SMASH HLS and Food Not Bombs.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Economist Donald Shoup on the tremendously high cost of free parking in America's cities

Free parking is not free. There's a cost but it's spread out in multiple ways like taxes and the cost of products and services. On average the passenger car in the U.S. spends 95% of its time parked. While most everyone in America is focused on the 5%, UCLA economist Donald Shoup has researched and written a book on the cars 95% time parked.

One of his ideas is 'demand pricing' where the cost of parking changes throughout the day, for example, more expensive during the high demand part of the day in a city's downtown. Another of his critical points is setting the cost of parking so that each block will always have one or two vacant spaces. The video is 7:00 long:

Two most asked questions on Thanksgiving Day: Who are the Detroit Lions playing and what's a yam?

The Detroit Lions are the early game; they're playing the Eagles at home. What is a yam? Is it a sweet potato? The people at Vox explain the difference in this short video below and the answer may surprise you (the connection to slavery in the American south):

"Hmmm, the Christmas holiday season will be soon upon us. . .what about a Florida vacation?"

Good idea. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and then it will be on to the Christmas holiday season and New Years. Many folks up North start thinking seriously about a Winter vacation after Thanksgivingmaking some broad plans such as where to go and for how long. The earlier you choose is when you lock in the best price for lodging and airfare.

Send this blog post to your friends and family up North. What Lake Worth lacks in hotel rooms we make up in other ways like many vacation homes for rent and plenty of Bed & Breakfasts. West Palm Beach has plenty of hotel rooms available and it's only a short bike ride or car ride from West Palm to Lake Worth.
This is an aerial view of the Lake Worth BEACH! on the Atlantic Ocean. This incredible photograph is by Skyline Aerials and here is their Facebook page.
Plus Palm Beach (33480) and Delray Beach are only minutes away too.

VisitFlorida is the most visited website for visitors and tourists considering or planning a stay here in Florida. The little City of Lake Worth has their very own site on VisitFlorida. Here is part of what people see when they check out Lake Worth:
Notice the description of Lake Worth. Whoever wrote this did a very good job.
Here is a picture yours truly sent to VisitFlorida last year.
Others who have uploaded pictures to the Lake Worth VisitFlorida page are:
Thank you everyone and look forward to all the tourists and visitors to our little City of Lake Worth!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thanksgiving Day church service by the Lake Worth Interfaith Network and what does "Interfaith" mean?

"The Lake Worth Interfaith Network (LWIN) invites people of all faiths to its eleventh annual Thanksgiving Day Service of Gratitude. United in the spirit of the holiday, join area representatives from 14 local faith communities including Christian, Jewish, Bahá’í, Muslim, and Buddhist traditions for an uplifting hour of music and shared inspiration."
Here is the definition of Interfaith in Wikipedia:
The term interfaith dialogue refers to cooperative, constructive and positive interaction between people of different religious traditions (i.e., "faiths") and/or spiritual or humanistic beliefs, at both the individual and institutional levels.
No doubt many of you are aware of Ted Brownstein's The Interfaith Prayer Book which is available in paperback. You can learn more about the Lake Worth Interfaith Network by using this link and their mission statement is:
Lake Worth Interfaith Network is a group of individuals and faith-based communities dedicated to promoting acceptance and understanding among our diverse spiritual traditions through devotions, education and compassionate action.
This years Thanksgiving service will be held at the First Congregational United Church of Christ located at 1415 North 'K' Street. Pastor Jason has a message for the community about the church and what they're striving for in Lake Worth:
What you can expect when you visit is a group of people that actually seem like they enjoy being at church and who will warmly welcome you (without being too pushy). Come as you are. Our folks wear jeans, skirts, sports jackets, dresses, shorts and even the occasional tie. Our worship service is a blend of traditions you may remember from childhood along with some fresh, inspirational music. I try to provide teaching that is down to earth and practical.

Press release about new Brightline locomotives & coaches: "helping bring Brightline to life for Florida riders"

You're going to be hearing the term "Brightline" a lot starting soon if you haven't already. All Aboard Florida's passenger rail line will be called Brightline and you'll understand why when you see the locomotives and coaches. Here is an excerpt from a Siemens press release, the company manufacturing the trains:

     The new trainsets will not only feature the five bright, distinct colors unveiled on Monday [11/16], but will bring an unprecedented level of efficiency, comfort and connectivity for operators and riders. Brightline will be powered by high-tech diesel-electric locomotives featuring a 4,400 horsepower, 16 cylinder engine built by Cummins out of Indiana. [emphasis added] The locomotives have been designed and are being manufacturing to result in lower emissions and reduced noise, with energy-efficient LED lighting and a lighter frame which will enable Brightline to operate at speeds up to 125 mph as efficiently as possible. The high-tech locomotives also feature an intelligent state-of-the-art microprocessor control system that will allow operators to monitor the locomotive’s performance, self-diagnose issues, and take self-corrective action.
     Siemens is also manufacturing passenger coaches for Brightline that will carry riders along the system. These stainless-steel train coaches have been designed with today’s rider in mind, featuring level boarding for easy access for bikes, walkers, strollers and wheelchairs. The coaches also feature the most modern, high-quality welded bogies that offer superb 125 mph ride quality.

PBSO merge in Greenacres, homicides NOT in Lake Worth, and why you should ignore the Post editorial board about PBSO and Sheriff Bradshaw

Below are two new articles in The Palm Beach Post digital edition and the second one is in print today (11/24), front page Local section, above the fold. Here are two excerpts from Kevin Thompson's article about the PBSO merge with the Greenacres police department:
     “We’re on track for a Feb. 1 takeoff,” Murray [Capt. Sean Murray] said at this past week’s city council meeting.
     Training will start after Thanksgiving as officers begin riding with PBSO deputies for two weeks. Training will be extended for those officers who need it, Murray said.
     The sheriff’s office is almost finished conducting career counseling sessions, a practice Murray said PBSO will recommend for future mergers.
[emphasis added]
[and. . .]
     The sheriff’s office will also concentrate on curbing crime at Walmart and Target and on such quality of life issues as people walking in the city with open alcohol cans and bottles.
     “We’ll make it clear our presence is known,” Murray said.
Following is this article titled, "Homicide toll jumps with 8 in 8 days" by Julius Whigham II and Lulu Ramadan. Here is the first paragraph:
     Monday’s disclosure of a murder-suicide in Wellington on Saturday brought the recent rash of homicides in Palm Beach County to eight in eight days, the county’s deadliest such stretch since at least 2009.
Here is where the 8 homicides occurred:
  • Wellington (1)
  • Belle Glade (1)
  • Palm Beach Gardens (1)
  • Boynton Beach (1)
  • West Palm Beach (2)
  • Greenacres (2)
The PBSO haters in Lake Worth will be disappointed to learn that Lake Worth did not make the list. Two of the eight homicides listed above occurred in municipalities patrolled by PBSO. Two. Despite the fact PBSO covers most of Palm Beach County.

It's late November and it won't be long now before The Palm Beach Post editorial board and their useful allies go into attack mode (again) against PBSO and Sheriff Bradshaw. (If you didn't know, Sheriff Bradshaw is up for re-election next year.) A recent tragedy in Palm Beach Gardens put that on hold. Remember though, it's not personal, it's just politics.
A sign at a protest against PBSO in Lake Worth. Charming, isn't it? Read here why the Lake Worth PD merged with PBSO in 2009.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Humorous: The far-right loved Commissioner Amoroso. . .until they found out he was gay and not particularly religious

The video below is one of the humorous parts from the invocation/prayer debate at the Lake Worth City Commission meeting on Nov. 10th. In previous blog posts examined City Attorney Glen Torcivia's explanation of a SCOTUS case on this issue of prayers prior to meetings and City Manager Michael Bornstein getting everyone prepared for the firestorm "that will happen again":
Read about Preston "I'm an Atheist!" Smith and the other opportunistic clowns that come out of woodwork during the holiday season in Lake Worth.
Commissioner Andy Amoroso wasn't interested in watching or listening to the insulting atheist Preston "I'm an Atheist!" Smith and he walked out of the city commission chambers last December. You might have heard a thing or two about that.

Anyhow, the far-right loved Commissioner Amoroso and sent him hundreds of emails lauding him for doing what he did. Then a funny thing happened: they found out he was gay and not very religious also. Then the folks on the far-right hated him. And then there was the matter of the 'Common Ground' church and their silly "War on Religion". Trust me when I tell you it was all very entertaining. Someone should seriously consider pitching this to HBO or Larry David; it would make for a hilarious comedy. 

Back to the video:
  • From the 30 second mark to the 1:30 mark is Commissioner Amoroso's remarks.
  • From 1:30 to the 6:30 mark you can skip over—more unsophisticated nonsense from Commissioner Maier—he tried repeatedly to plant the seed someone was denied the chance to give an invocation.
  • At the 6:30 mark Maier asks a question and Amoroso answers him: "social media". 
Enjoy the video:

So is it true Florida wants only the right kind of foreigner?

Sam Fields, writing at the blog BrowardBeat, has an interesting take on the Syrian refugees that may or may not be heading to Florida in the future. Here is an excerpt:
     Isn’t Florida spending $10-20 million-a-year to encourage foreigners to visit the Sunshine State?
     It’s a campaign that’s so successful that, along with the 4 million from Canada, another 12 million are coming from around the world.
Surely there must be a difference so that the Syrians offer a threat not to be found in the other 12,000,000?
     Could it be the vetting?
     For the Syrians, it’s a two-year process waiting while you are subject to an investigation that complete enough to almost include a colonoscopy.
     For the 12,000,000 foreign tourists, in most cases, it’s go into an American Counsel office and get your passport stamped with a visa. In some cases, the travel agent takes care of it for you.
     Top that with 38 countries whose citizens do not even require a visa!
      Among them is Belgium, the home of Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the architect of the Paris massacre.
 [emphasis added]
There's a big difference between tourists and people brought here to permanently settle. But it's also true that some people visit and never go home. So it cuts both ways. Really now, if you had to get out of your car like this would you want to go back to Toronto?

Everything you need to know about Brightline (formerly All Aboard Florida) so far

Chris Joseph at the Broward/Palm Beach New Times has a real good summary of what's known so far about the Brightline service starting in 2017. However, before you get to that there's always the obligatory complaints that have to get addressed which don't matter any more. You've all heard them before ad nauseam.

When you see an article about All Aboard Florida or Brightline you can spare yourself and skip the first three paragraphs. Here is an excerpt on what to expect from the new passenger rail service:
How long will it take to get from Miami to Fort Lauderdale?
All Aboard Florida says it will take less than 30 minutes to get to Fort Lauderdale from Miami. It takes about 45 minutes in a car, give or take traffic.
How long will it take to get from Miami to West Palm Beach?
Under 60 minutes, according to All Aboard Florida.
How long will it take to get to Orlando?
The trains travel at 125 mph. A trip from Miami to Orlando would take about three hours.
How much will this cost me?
Travelers will have the option to book Smart or Select seating, All Aboard Florida says. The company has yet to announce an official price tier, but back in May, the South Florida Business Journal reported that prices will range between $11 for a one-way ride between Miami and Fort Lauderdale to $143 for a business-class seat.
Brightline has a new and very cool website you should check out.  

Controlling the message: The family of Corey Jones, his tragic death, and a legacy of change

It didn't take long for some in Palm Beach County to try and steal the message from the family of Corey Jones. There have been news articles about the concern some have that the family's wishes aren't being respected. Below is one such person that pulled this stunt at a rally to bring attention to his death:
The family has been very clear: they want the legacy of Corey Jones to be about his life and the flaws that brought about his deathat that they are doing a spectacular job. For instance, many people who were unconvinced about body cameras for police are taking a new look at this issue and much of that is because of what happened in Palm Beach Gardens. 

It's a message that's getting through and Corey Jones' family deserves a lot of credit.

From Scott Sutton at NBC5/WPTV: Dead man found in Bryant Park identified

I don't have any further details than what is reported at WPTV but the rumors are this was a suicide. However, if you have any further information this is who you contact:
If you can help in the case, Contact Detective John Halloran at 688-4716 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-458-TIPS.
Of course, for anything suspicious in the little City of Lake Worth, here is information from the good folks at the Neighborhood Association Presidents' Council (NAPC):

"Show Up!" Maier and who is bringing homeless people into Bryant Park? Public comment at Lake Worth City Commission meeting

[This is a re-post and a timely, very relevant one at that. . .]

Below is a video from a City Commission meeting on October 20th, the public comment portion. Two comments stand out: Commissioner Ryan Maier is not attending important neighborhood meetings and a disturbing revelation about the homeless situation at our Bryant Park.

First about Maier at the 1:40–3:30 mark: A resident and others of the South Palm Park Neighborhood Association are upset about Maier's absence from important neighborhood meetings. There are critical issues in that community and Maier never attends. Many residents there don't even know who represents them on the dais. Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell attended their last meeting to address the concerns of the residents. At the end the speaker at the podium says to Maier, "Show Up!"

Now about disturbing information from a resident who lives near Bryant Park at the 10:40–11:50 mark: A resident comments about a "certain person" who has been bringing homeless people to the park and dropping them off. (Are they being picked up at John Prince Park?) Our PBSO is complimented on "working very hard" to protect the neighbors and property but they can't be everywhere. A package was stolen along with some items such as grills. Note that Bryant Park is also in Ryan Maier's district. 

Some are convinced at least one or more former city commissioners are trying to force the city into a high-dollar lawsuit involving the homeless. Time will tell. There is information though that might give that theory some credibility:

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Prospect Place in West Palm Beach and why the future land uses along south Dixie Hwy will likely change in the near future

The article by Alexandra Clough in The Palm Beach Post is a must read. The article also appears today (11/22) in the print edition, 'D' section (Business). What you'll read below will surprise a lot of people, especially any of those who live along, or in the vicinity of the stretch of south Dixie Hwy in question who don't know how the area is zoned. Please spare me the slings and arrows (I live in Lake Worth so I'm immune). This isn't political; what I am examining is the zoning.

The reporter writes about a 15-story, mixed-use residential condominium and retail project. The site is the 9.4 acres on the west side of Dixie Hwy., south of Belvedere and has been home to a re-used office complex known as Prospect Place. It's one of the few larger properties along south Dixie Hwy. and it currently has a zoning designation of Office Commercial (OC). In its former life it was a Sears department store, then a Winn-Dixie grocery store and, finally, what it has been since I have lived here: an office building complex. Its notable for its sea of parking.

This project would break the mold of the low-rise, retail development along this stretch of Dixie Hwy. and is considerably south of the downtown area where high rises have become commonplace. A look at the zoning and the land use of the area make it seem that the rules are already in place for this sort of project. There is no height limit in the OC zoning district. This is from

Time to play the role of geeky urban planner. The article confirms that the restrictions on height are due to the proximity to Palm Beach International Airport and not due to zoning or future land use regulations. Here is a map which shows how the property is zoned OC (lighter red) and is surrounded by General Commercial (GC) which is the predominant zoning along Dixie Hwy.
The medium color red (or dark pink if you prefer) is a zoning district called Neighborhood Commercial (NC). What is interesting is what the Future Land Use map has to say about this area. It's part of local government's Comprehensive Plan and is more of a broader brush than the Zoning Map. The zoning designations implement the Future Land Use designations identified in the Comprehensive Plan.
See the shaded area along the property's eastern edge along Dixie Hwy? That is a Commercial East designation. If you go back to reading the OC zoning regulations that opens up the possibility for mixed-use projects, including residential components and allows for a higher FARor "floor area ratio." That ratio controls the size of the structure in relation to the size of the lot. This does not apply to residential density which can be up to 14 units to an acre.

The same is true further south along Dixie Hwy. There is no height limit per sethe only limit is 30 feet, but it can be higher each foot a structure is set back from a residential zoning district. The CE Future Land Use designation ends a little north of Forest Hill Boulevard. Here is the area which talks about height limits in GC zoning.
Let's look at West Palm Beach's zoning map to its southern border just to the north of Lake Worth. This is the area along Dixie Hwy:
The area in white (at the bottom of the image above) is the City of Lake Worth corporate limits (which is the C-51 canal). The large light green area on the left half of the map is West Palm's municipal golf course and Mary Brandon Park. The medium red color is the NC zoning that runs along the shallow lots on the east side of Dixie Hwy. The large red area is zoned GC. It's made up of Palm Coast Plaza (Winn Dixie) and the commercial property just north of it. This is an area that has the possibility of big redevelopment plans in the near future. So, do not rule out a large multi-story redevelopment project for the current Palm Coast Plaza site. There is nothing in the zoning that prohibits it. 

And that, folks, will have a tremendous impact on north Dixie Hwy. in Lake Worth which in many ways still looks like the Great Recession never ended.

Does Commissioner McVoy take cues from a 1944 CIA handbook?

From Slate comes this article entitled: "The CIA’s WWII Guide to Creating Organizational Dysfunction Perfectly Describes Your Toxic Workplace." It was designed to be a guide about how to act or perform when your country is under occupation. Essentially, how to make it look like you were busy, but you were actually doing your best to make sure productivity was nil. It was a strategy on how to make sure things get done or, better yet, never get done. "Horizontal decision-making" comes to mind does it not?

There is one page of the manual I will share here. It is difficult not to see the resemblance of some of Commissioner McVoy's "methods" to control outcomes. Those old enough to remember will recall former Commissioner Jennings using similar tactics. The guide dates from 1944 and is called "Simple Sabotage Field Manual." Click here for the entire document.
Obviously well practiced is he. You can substitute the word "patriotic" to the word "green", "sustainability", "sea level rise" or "global warming." Meanwhile his constituents continue to live on streets that don't have enough lighting and not enough fire hydrants. Sad.

The Palm Beach Post's Holiday Gift Guide*: Did you know there is a gift shop at the Cultural Council? There certainly is!

The Post's Jennifer Sorentrue has the small business Holiday Gift Guide you can read here. Three local ones mentioned are the Delray Beach Historical Society, Hoffman's Chocolates (one location is 705 Lake Ave. in Lake Worth), and this one: The Roe Green Uniquely Palm Beach Store located in the Cultural Council building at 601 Lake Ave in the little City of Lake Worth.

Here is some information about the Uniquely Palm Beach store:
     The Roe Green Uniquely Palm Beach Store, located in the Cultural Council’s lobby, features beautiful artist-made jewelry, handbags, accessories and books. All items are made in The Palm Beaches, either by professional artists who live and work in this county or by cultural organizations in Palm Beach County.
     Proceeds support the Cultural Council’s artist programs. There are over 1,000 items ranging in price from $3.00 to hundreds of dollars offering a special gift for every occasion. This is THE store to purchase items made in Palm Beach – a great place to find that special gift.
The Roe Green Uniquely Palm Beach Store is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm (closed Sundays, Mondays and holidays). The phone number is 561-471-2901.
*Editor's Note [from the Post article]: The list was created independently from any associated advertising.

Joachim Ronneberg: The WWII hero who stopped Hitler's dream of developing a nuclear bomb

This is a fascinating article in The New York Times titled, "WWII Hero Credits Luck and Chance in Foiling Hitler’s Nuclear Ambitions". The reporter, Andrew Higgins, writes about Joachim Ronneberg's purchase of bolt cutters "entirely by chance" that ended the Nazi effort to build a nuclear bomb in 1943. Here is an excerpt from the article on the sabotage mission that likely altered the course of WWII and modern history:

     Still mentally sharp at his advanced age [96 years old] and still possessed of the unflappable calm that so impressed British military commanders more than 70 years ago, he [Joachim Ronneberg] recalled how, during a day off from training in Cambridge, England, in early 1943, he went to a movie theater and then happened “entirely by chance” to walk by a hardware store selling heavy-duty metal cutters. He decided to buy a pair on the off chance they might come in handy, and he took them on his sabotage mission.
     Without this happenstance purchase, Mr. Ronneberg said, he and his men would never have been able to gain entry to and destroy the heavily guarded heavy water production plant at Vemork, in southern Norway. The handsaw that British planners had intended for use on a heavy padlock on the plant’s side gate, he said, would have taken too much time, made too much noise and alerted Nazi guards.

In the article it's pointed out the movie, The Heroes Of Telemark (1965), is based on this British mission by their sabotage and intelligence service, the Special Operations Executive:

Two neighborhood meetings in Lake Worth TOMORROW (11/23)

Tomorrow (Monday, 11/23) are two neighborhood meetings in the little City of Lake Worth. The Bryant Park meeting at 7:00 at the Beach Club located at the Lake Worth Municipal Golf Course and the Pineapple Beach neighborhood meets at 6:30 at South Grade Elementary School (700 block of South K St.). 

Join and support the association that serves your neighborhood. Also important to note you do not have to live in the neighborhood to attend these meetings. To find out more about the greater Neighborhood Association Presidents' Council (NAPC) in Lake Worth visit the website or follow their Facebook page.

Information to pass on to the homeless in Lake Worth* (cannot vouch for its accuracy)

[*NOTE: This is a re-post as a public service. If you see a homeless person and they look like they're going to take a nap in one of our parks or in the doorway of a local business/restaurant, pass on this important information below. It would be preferable if the people who claim to care so much would take the homeless to their home or apartment but apparently that's an inconvenience they'd rather burden the public with. They're too busy trying to get their friends elected and tactically force the City into a big, juicy lawsuit. And the same people like to tease the public here in the City with news like this. Take note of the information below and as always Thank You for visiting my blog, Wes.]

Dear Wes, when I see a homeless person that needs help I tell them to ask a PBSO deputy where to go, go to a church, or look for a house with a red and white sign that says "Hands off our beach". It's a secret symbol that really means the homeowner will offer them sanctuary. Spread the word.
Note: There are two versions of the 'sanctuary' sign for the homeless. Both have a solid red background with boldface white (sans serif) lettering such as the ones shown above. And on an entirely different topic:

Time Out for some comedy—Atticus Lexis: A bold new idea to save planet Earth (WARNING: Foul language and offensive images—you've been warned)

About the politically incorrect but hilariously funny video: "Three dazzling yet clumsy and delusional super heroines join forces to save Mommy Earth. Their leader, Atticus Lexis, is deemed by Corporate America as an 'Environmental Terrorist'. His M.O. is simple: rid the planet of pollution by any means necessary. With these bad-ass beauties at his behest, he battles Corporate bigwigs and oil conglomerates to create a better planet.
     Atticus' Activists is an Action Comedy series staring: Gerry Bednob, Scout Durwood, Krista Kalmus, Korrina Rico, Tian Wang, Miles Grose, Ray Grady, and Katie the Monkey."