Saturday, December 19, 2015

From Wayne Washington at the Post: "Florida's Old Dixie Hwy becomes President Barack Obama Hwy"

Here is the article by Wayne Washington about the road name change from Old Dixie Highway to the now President Barack Obama Hwy in Riviera Beach. Interestingly, there is now a location where President Barack Obama Hwy and Martin Luther King Jr Blvd intersect which seems altogether timely and historically appropriate.
Official White House photograph of President Barack Obama.
Here is an excerpt from the article: 
     Goodbye, Old Dixie. Hello, President Barack Obama.
     The city of Riviera Beach in Florida has begun replacing Old Dixie Highway signs with ones honoring the nation’s first black president.
Many black Americans have little love for the term “Dixie,” a reference to the slave-holding South. Obama, on the other hand, is revered by most black Americans.
     Riviera Beach Mayor Thomas Masters pushed for the street sign change from Old Dixie to Obama, and his colleagues on the City Council agreed.
Here is a news segment from NBC5/WPTV's Tory Dunnan on this topic:

News from the Boston Herald: "Palm Beach County, Fla., offers something grand for everyone"

This article appears in the Boston Herald today. The little City of Lake Worth isn't mentioned in the article but our neighbors to the north and south, West Palm Beach and Delray Beach, are both cited. Here is an excerpt:
     This part of southern Florida was once thought of as the place your grandfather would cruise in his Cadillac for the duration of his retirement. The place has evolved, and it’s now one of Florida’s most diverse and energetic locales. [emphasis added]
     Bostonians are into it — we are the fifth largest segment of visitors to the region during the winter months. And all that warm weather is easy to reach: Palm Beach International Airport is consistently ranked one of the smoothest operating airports nationally.
     Palm Beach County comprises 47 waterside miles stretching from Boca Raton in the south to Jupiter in the north. Within that space sits 2,000 square miles of diversity, making it the largest county east of the Mississippi River, yet a region easy to access (well-maintained roads make it about an hour’s drive end to end; most towns are 15-30 minutes apart). Sophisticated and unrushed, it’s all the warmth, beaches and fun of South Florida, without the hassle of crowds.
[and . . .]
     And the beaches and ocean, of course, can’t be beat. Yahoo Travel recently named the region a top snorkeling destination.
     Yup, Palm Beach County is not your grandfather’s retirement spot. It’s a vibrant mix of excitement and fun one can savor not only in the winter but year-round.
     For more details, go to

[UPDATE] Reporter from Palm Beach Post falls for pitch about child's skin color on mural in City of Lake Worth

[UPDATE: Lauren Hills at CBS12/WPEC did a news segment on the pitch by Tuesday Gilliam and "the mural" yesterday (12/18). The story by Hills officially opens the campaign season in Lake Worth and I'll have more on that later. Note that I first reported on this mural on September 16th, 94 days ago from today (12/19). The child's skin color was not an issue then. Kevin Thompson's 'news' article on the little boy's skin color in the mural is only 87 days prior to election day in the City. He could have done this 'news' story 3 months ago. The timing of this 'news' is curious to say the least—the media being employed to manipulate elections in Lake Worth is nothing new by any means. It will be very interesting to watch this strategy unfold to re-take the majority on the City Commission. Stay tuned as they say. The original post from 12/18 follows:]

Below is the mural the Post's Kevin Thompson writes about in this article (to appear in Sunday's print edition?). The reporter fell for the pitch by Tuesday Gilliam who is quoted saying this about the Cuban-American child depicted in the mural:
“It would’ve really been symbolic and wonderful if it had been a child of color because that’s who predominantly lives there,” said [Tuesday] Gilliam, who is white. [emphasis added]“I hang out with the kids there all the time and I know that a mural with a kid of color would mean more to them than what it means to them now.”
A Cuban-American child is depicted in this mural.
Note this is at least the second time the Post reporter has featured Gilliam in one of his articles. She was featured in an article in June that you can read here. What the reporter doesn't mention is Gilliam is a member of Everglades EarthFirst! (EEF) and one of her duties is sending out press releases notifying the public of their latest actions, like this FlockNote, for example:
The leaders of EEF are a former city commissioner (Cara Jennings) and Peter "Panagioti" Tsolkas.
The mural in question is at the CRA's new La Joya Villages not far from where EEF has some members in residence. 

It's impossible to take the politics out of this. Is this is a signal of what to expect in this election season in Lake Worth? Quite possibly. The pitch by Tuesday Gilliam is the CRA is "out of touch" or something like that and she's using wedge politics to achieve that goal—pitting one racial group against another to create disruption and disharmony in the community. This is what Anarchists do. While others, like the CRA, are building consensus and creating a better environment to live others like EEF are trying to thwart that work. 

What I'm hearing is many people are very disappointed in the Post reporter trolling for 'news' such as this. Here is the first line from his article about the 'big mural story':
A colorful mural symbolizing hope and promise has one Lake Worth woman seeing red.
The woman he's referring to is none other than Tuesday Gilliam. Here is another excerpt from the article:
     “The theme is bringing the community together,” said [Eduardo] Mendieta, whose works have appeared in Lake Worth, Delray Beach and Fort Lauderdale. “A child is looking to the horizon and his face morphing into a tree is showing growth. The puzzle piece represent the La Joya community — an emerald, a ruby, a sapphire.”
     As for the white face, Mendieta, who is from Ecuador, said the boy in the mural is actually Cuban-American.
Anarchists are not about "bringing the community together". Their job is to tear communities apart. And by the looks of it they're off to an early start this election season thanks to our paper of record, The Palm Beach Post.

Friday, December 18, 2015

The hue and cry of "Upzoning" in Lake Worth over an additional 20 FEET? From 45' to 65'?

Here is an example of REAL upzoning:
As of this morning (12/18) this article isn't available online. Suffice to say this concerns 2 10-story hotel towers, plus another office tower next to a park in Miami. 

When you hear the unhinged, like The Obtuse Blogger (TOB) and others mention upzoning send this information to them. This is REAL upzoning as opposed to hysterical rants about the Gulfstream hotel project here in Lake Worth.

The Post's Kristina Webb reviews Dave’s Last Resort & Raw Bar in downtown Lake Worth

Below is a short excerpt from the outstanding restaurant review of one of our iconic restaurants in the downtown:
Dave’s Last Resort & Raw Bar serves an array of seafood, steak, sandwiches, burgers, salads, chicken wings and wraps.
Sports bar, with a Florida twist. There are wacky signs on the walls and lots of Pittsburgh Steelers memorabilia next to about a dozen TVs, where the biggest games of the day are shown.
On point. Our server was polite and very helpful, and came by several times during our meal to make sure everything was in order and our drinks stayed full.
Loud. Especially during football season.
Yes. Despite the noise, Dave’s is a great place to bring kids, with lots of snacky food for little fingers.
Dave’s Last Resort & Raw Bar
632 Lake Ave., Lake Worth, 561-588-5208
Hours: Sun.Thurs., 11 a.m. to midnight; FSat., 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Thank you for stopping by Lake Worth, Kristina!

"Hmmm, I heard about a re-zoning issue in Lake Worth. Where is that property? Is it the entire downtown or a small area?"

[Am very happy to report this post below is getting a tremendous amount of attention. In conjunction with this, the since-debunked claim of "overwhelming" support against this zoning request by Commissioner Ryan Maier is also worth a read. Enjoy!]

Good question. And the answer is it's a very small area. The re-zoning that was a topic of discussion and an eventual 3-2 vote in favor (Yes: Mayor Pam Triolo, Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell, and Commissioner Andy Amoroso; No: commissioners Ryan Maier and Chris McVoy) refers to a part of one (1) city block (the block our City's historic Gulf Stream hotel occupies).

Here is the block in question:
Note the white box with the "X". Above the white box (north) is a vacant lot and east of that vacant lot is the Gulf Stream hotel.
Above is a city-wide Lake Worth zoning map. The white arrow points to a tiny white dot. That is the area being considered for re-zoning for an additional 20' of building height.
Note that commissioners Maier and McVoy claim that an extra 20' of building height next to the Gulf Stream hotel will have a negative impact on the citizens of Lake Worth.

Mayor Triolo, Vice Mayor Maxwell, and Commissioner Amoroso disagree.

What do you think?

Another month, another $64,000 in taxpayer dollars down the drain in the little City of Lake Worth. . .

[Note that a mural with the depiction of a "too-white" Cuban-American child is 'news' in Lake Worth, but $64,000 a month for a capped, unused natural gas line isn't? Makes you wonder about the priorities of the reporters, their editors, and assignment editors doesn't it?]

Nobody in the press, not even a reporter from The Palm Beach Post, wants to touch this Lake Worth story. How many code enforcement officers could our City get for $64,000 a month?
The location of this capped gas pipe is on Lake Osborne Drive; not exactly what you'd call hidden from sight.

Little City of Lake Worth Featured in Palm Beach Post! Come See South Florida's Next Landmark Downtown!

Our "Key West Inspired Townhome Community of Lucenté"!
Lake Worth is "South Florida's next landmark downtown"!
Here is an excerpt from the article on the front page of the New Homes section*:
It's becoming increasingly common to hear and read in the press that "Kennedy Homes, LLC, has done it again." But the talk of the town these days seems to be that Kennedy Homes, LLC—the 53-year-old builder of more than 40 communities throughout South Florida—has done it again, and again, and again, with no apparent end in sight.
The little City of Lake Worth, Florida is all-the-buzz in the world of real estate. This news coupled with this remarkable information about the City's booming real estate market is getting a lot of attention nationwide.

Come visit Lake Worth and stroll down south Florida's Next Landmark Downtown!

*August 28th edition.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Lake Worth Municipal Pool Update

During my visit to the Lake Worth pool today, I bought my second $60 pool pass good for 20 visits ($1 off resident rate). Below is what they look like. The number on mine today said "51", so they are selling at a pretty good rate.
Just hand the cashier cash or a check made out to the City of Lake Worth for $60 and ask for a pass.
While in the water I spotted two guys taking down the old light on the locker room building. Turns out the city is replacing them with better lights, mounted higher. Right now the swim teams use the pool some evenings and it is dark for them. That addresses that issue but it also opens up the possibility of groups renting out the pool, like neighborhood associations etc, for events in the evening! I asked Juan Ruiz if this meant the pool would be open to the public during evening hours and he said that when they hire a new pool manager, it would depend (deep end, get it?) on what they wanted to do with the hours. So there IS a possibility. He also said that he was ordering a new clock for the pool to replace the one that broke. Soon we won't have to ask the lifeguards what time it is.

He also said that there is a commitment to maintain the pool building and the pool now as a going concern. That's some good news all the way around.

The Harris Poll: "Florida, California, Hawaii Top States Where Americans Want to Live"

The graph below is from The Harris Poll and Florida comes in at #1 overall, topping California and Hawaii!
Florida is #2 for Millennials and the GenXers and #1 choice for women.
Here is an excerpt from the article by the polling group Harris:
     For the first time since 2001, Florida, our nation’s 27th state, is back on top as Americans’ most desired habitation destination. [emphasis added] When asked where – excluding their current state – they would most like to live, The Sunshine State is at the top of the list. Sunshine and waterfront acreage are consistent themes at the top of this list, with California (2) and Hawaii (3) rounding out the top three. Turning away from beachfront territories, Colorado (4) and New York (5) close out the top five states Americans would like to live in.
     These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,232 U.S. adults surveyed online between November 11 and 16, 2015.
     Despite some re-ordering, this year’s top five were, for the most part, also top-five honorees in 2013 (the last time this question was asked); the sole exception is New York, which edged into the top-five after a sixth place showing last time around. Texas, meanwhile, drops out of the top five and into 6th place this year.
And it doesn't hurt Florida's image to have funky, quirky cities like Lake Worth on the Atlantic Coast either.
Lake Worth is located next to the Town of Palm Beach (33480), south of West Palm Beach, and with Delray Beach only a few minutes south it's the perfect getaway for tourists, visitors, and Snowbirds alike. Come Visit Lake Worth and tell all your friends and family about us:

Latest pitch from the Post: "Planned bike trail meets little resistance from residents" in Lake Worth

This stretch of 5th Ave South is an "unimproved" road within Lake Worth, a city in Palm Beach County right across the bridge from one of the wealthiest towns on the Planet Earth: the Town of Palm Beach. Think about that for a moment. But there were still some residents near this proposed bike trail that had "concerns", such as this quote from the article:
“When I bought my property in 1994, the city was going through a low-funding period and they stopped mowing the alleys and side streets. This could happen again. [emphasis added]
Another asteroid could hit the planet again, too. Or another Anarchist could get elected to the City Commission and then forget about any more infrastructure improvements to any City streets—period. Thankfully, one of the NAPC presidents was at the meeting and below is an excerpt from the opening of the article by the Post's Kevin Thompson:
     While there were some concerns about a planned 1,500-foot bicycle and pedestrian trail along an unpaved section of 5th Avenue South, the project met little resistance from the dozen residents who attended Monday’s open house to discuss the plan.
     “Right now our kids don’t have a safe place to walk and it’s a real problem [emphasis added],” Sarah Parr, president of the Royal Poinciana Neighborhood Association, said during the 45-minute meeting at City Hall. “Ninety percent of the people in our community walk, bike or run.
Also in the article, and completely off the topic of 5th Ave South, was a resident who brought up bike lanes for Lake and Lucerne avenues in the City. Those roadways are owned and maintained by FDOT just like Dixie Hwy and Federal Hwy are not controlled by the City of Lake Worth.

The City's Director of Public Services, Jamie Brown, was in attendance at the meeting and so was City Commissioner Andy Amoroso and both are quoted.

Sarah Parr has a real good, positive attitude about this project and is quoted saying in the article, “This project is 90 percent positive and 10 percent of some glitches that need to be worked out.” I'm very happy for the people in this neighborhood and so should the entire City. They need this project, they deserve the help, and it's about time the "woulda, coulda, shoulda" game is put to rest. It's this response, always looking at failures in the past to City initiatives, that's caused the state of blight in so many City neighborhoodsthe paralysis by analysis—the never-ending back-and-forth that stalls things from happening at all.

Get excited for Sarah Parr and her neighborhood!

If you have more 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

Sober Home Reform Bill sponsored by State Senator Jeff Clemens

Click title for link to article.
What does the proposed bill do?
Outlaws patient brokering: Outlaws kickbacks, bonuses, commissions and bribes between sober home operators and treatment programs to secure patients. Criminal penalties apply.
Blocks free and reduced rent: Prohibits treatment centers and other substance abuse providers from offering free or reduced rent to persuade patients to move into a specific sober home.
Bans junkie hunters: Bans soliciting addicts at support-group meetings or treatment centers.
Stops predatory marketing: Call-centers hired by treatment businesses and sober homes must tell addicts calling for a referral who their clients are, and offer information on other programs.

From County Commissioner Steven L. Abrams

He posted this announcement on FaceBook this morning about maintenance of the Palm Beach County vehicle fleet and it caught my eye:
An outsourcing success story:
In 2012 the County outsourced the auto parts function of fleet maintenance to NAPA. Well, at the BCC meeting yesterday, the Board renewed the contract through 2019. Taxpayers are saving upwards of $400,000/year. And because in-stock parts availability has gone up from 66 to 80%, fleet downtime has decreased, meaning better productivity. See, outsourcing isn't always such a bad word!

Honoring the veterans who passed away who deserve their proper respect: The Veteran's Urn Project

The latest news on this is from Stephanie Berzinski at ABC25/WPBF. Once again she has the location wrong, this news is not from Lake Worth as you'll discover below. In the latest development, the Missing in America Project is teaming up with the South Florida Woodworking Guild to construct urns for the remains of veterans who haven't been claimed.

The South Florida Woodworking Guild builds wooden boxes for the remains of American veterans. Many of these remains are in cardboard boxes or kept in other ways. Read more about this on their website.
You may have caught this story by Katie Johnson at NBC5/WPTV or Stephanie Berzinski at ABC25/WPBF and, if you weren't paying close attention might think the "Lake Worth" cemetery referred to was our Pinecrest Cemetery here in the City of Lake Worth. It's not.

The cemetery where this work is being done is the South Florida National Cemetery out past the Florida Turnpike and south of Wellington. I hope that clears up any confusion. For more information you can call the cemetery at 561-649-6489.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

CONGRATULATIONS West Palm Beach Commissioner Shanon Materio! (and the Post's correction is incorrect)

Here is the statement released via email by Shanon who was re-elected without opposition:
"I am deeply humbled to have the opportunity to serve the voters of West Palm Beach for another two years. I am passionate about our city and I am committed more than ever to confront the challenges ahead with common sense solutions that keep our city moving forward. I want to ensure that we have strong neighborhoods throughout West Palm Beach, which means having accessible parks, updated infrastructure and safe streets. When we have strong neighborhoods, we have a strong city. I am committed as your city commissioner to ensuring we take West Palm Beach to new levels of success.”
As many of you know, Shanon and Phil are very involved in Lake Worth and we're proud to have them in our community. Stop by the McMow Art Glass Gallery at 701 N. Dixie Hwy and congratulate them. Phil Materio is the president of the NAPC Tropical Ridge neighborhood assoc. here in Lake Worth. You may recall this recent presentation by Phil at the Lake Worth City Commission meeting talking about his neighborhood where his business is located:
You might have seen these "Corrections" in The Palm Beach Post today which also happen to be incorrect:
The Post's corrections are incorrect. The article on Commissioner Materio's re-election appeared on Page B3 (re-elected to another 2-year term); the article about Christopher's Kitchen appeared on the front page of the Local section.

[UPDATE] It's now mid-December—How long before rumored "new" tabloid hits the streets in the little City of Lake Worth

[UPDATE: The days are ticking away and no sign of the new tabloid yet. Have you taken part in the contest guessing the name, price, splash date, and other details about the new rag? Read about that here!]

Downtown businesses are reporting that there's a "new" tabloid about to appear in Lake Worth. It's all hush-hush and the person trying to sell advertising isn't giving up too many details. Pretty strange, isn't it, a tabloid trying to launch behind a thin veil of clandestineness?

Will this be Margaret Menge back again with another tabloid like last year and the blogs before that? Remember when the whole City was in a state of SHOCK! earlier this year? The real shock is how a tabloid can publish a paper for free, with hardly any advertising, and delivered for free to homes in targeted neighborhoods with a high numbers of voters.
Ms. Menge is a serial journalist/editor and only appears about 3 months prior to an election in Lake Worth and then shuts down shop not long after. But did you know she was (or is?) a reporter for The Palm Beach Post?
Would she be referring to this commentary about Dr. Laura Schlessinger? Or something more recent?

[UPDATE] Stay Tuned: Hudson Holdings in running for popular historic tax-credit award in Ohio TBA later today (12/16)

[UPDATE: Hudson Holdings won the $25 million 'catalytic' tax credit for mixed-use overhaul of structure in Cleveland, Ohio.]

Hudson Holdings, in case you haven't been paying attention, has plans to restore the Gulf Stream hotel in Lake Worth, Florida. They're presently involved in a re-zoning request to move that project forward.
In breaking news, reporter Michelle Jarboe at The Plain Dealer has this news about another Hudson Holdings project, the 925 Building in downtown Cleveland, Ohio.
     The Ohio Development Services Agency has scheduled a pair of news conferences for Wednesday [today], including an afternoon gathering that indicates that the winner of a big-ticket tax credit could be a downtown Cleveland project. [emphasis added]
     The agency, which oversees the state's popular historic tax-credit program, plans to announce its 15th round of awards at the Drexel Theatre in Bexley, east of Columbus. That event is scheduled for 9 a.m.
     A second event is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. in downtown Cleveland, where two huge buildings - the former May Co. department store and the former Huntington Building at Euclid Avenue and East Ninth Street - are competing for a rare, $25 million credit. That credit, aimed at "catalytic" projects deemed to have broad economic ripple effects, is available only once in each two-year state budget cycle. Without a change in state law, the next such award won't be offered until late 2017.
[and. . .]
     Hudson Holdings, a Florida investment group, bought the 925 Building in June and announced plans for a $280 million redevelopment that would include apartments, offices, a hotel, retailers and event space. The building contains 1.3 million square feet of near-empty offices over an ornate bank lobby and hushed retail arcades.
As soon as I get the update will share the results with you. Check back to the blog later this afternoon.

Best of Luck, Hudson Holdings!

From, a history of Singer Island and the Blue Heron Hotel

"Singer Island was named for Paris Eugene Singer, the famous developer of Palm Beach and 23rd child of Isaac Singer, the sewing machine magnate (Paris also fathered a son with legendary dancer Isadora Duncan in 1910*). In 1920, he visited Palm Beach and met Addison Mizner. He agreed to pay the architect a $6,000 a year retainer for life if his work was confined exclusively to the Palm Beach area. With Mizner, he created the Palm Beach we know today with its Spanish architecture, picturesque streets and exclusive shops. Singer often took his friends on picnics to the beautiful island directly north of Palm Beach. In anticipation of the Florida real estate boom, he and Mizner planned to develop a luxurious resort (the Paris Singer Hotel) on the south end of the island and a modest hotel (the Blue Heron) on the north end with a 36 hole golf course between the two structures.

The estimated price was four million dollars - a fantastic amount in those years. Mizner was to design the hotels, but it is said Singer was so eager to start, construction of the Blue Heron was begun before the drawings were started. The opening date was set for 1926. The hotel's service wing was the first and the last to be completed. Singer's original plan was to finance the building from the sale of lots throughout the island. The Florida land boom was already slowing down in 1925, and the combination of 1928 hurricane and 1929 stock market crash dealt a mortal blow to Singer's finances. The shell of the Blue Heron remained for 14 years, until Paris Singer's dream finally came to an end when the the abandoned, incomplete hotel was razed in 1940 (the Hilton Hotel stands there now)."

Click here for the link to the website for the history of the area prior and after the section above. With the publication of the historical information on the Gulf Stream Hotel by the Coastal Observer, it is interesting to know what was going on just north of Palm Beach island during the same period. Below is how the Blue Heron Hotel looked before its demolition in 1940. As indicated above the hotel was never completed. It really underlines the rarity of the Gulf Stream as one of the few surviving hotel buildings from the Florida boom period of the 1920s, at least the ones that catered to the middle class.
Photo courtesy of the Palm Beach County Historical Society.

Get natural gas service for your home in Lake Worth—Protect yourself from the "Cash Cow" that self-serving politicians want access to

[This is a reminder: Protect your family and your biggest investment, your home, and Call Florida Public Utilities at 800-427-7712 today.]

For several years now the City has been weaning itself off the "Cash Cow": the Electric Utility. In past city commissions electric rates were increased to fund City operations and to this day two sitting Lake Worth city commissioners still want at that Cash Cow, in effect reaching into your family's budget for more of your money:
Commissioners Maier and McVoy tried to raise electric rates to fix all the problems at the Casino complex. Their pitch failed this time but they're not done trying.
This latest pitch by McVoy and Maier to raise your electric rates failed but all that can change after any city election. So, what can you do to protect yourself from that political football, the City's Electric Utility. . .the Cash Cow some politicians enjoy access to for their wish list? Get clean, affordable, stable and reliable natural gas. With natural gas your family's budget and finances aren't as subject to the political whims paid for with a spike in your electric utility bill. 

Here is how you do it: Contact Florida Public Utilities to get more information on how to hook up your home to natural gas (more helpful information and a phone number is below). Other than the politics, what other benefits are there to switching to natural gas for many of your household necessities like cooking, hot water, and drying clothes? Here are some examples:
  • Natural Gas is Green: Natural gas is cleaner than petroleum-based fuels and emits far less chemicals associated with acid rain, smog and greenhouse emissions
  • Natural Gas is EfficientNatural gas reaches your home directly at more than three times the efficiency of non-gas energy
  • Natural Gas is EconomicalNatural gas appliances cost up to half as much to operate than their non-gas counterparts
  • Natural Gas is ReliableNatural gas is delivered to your home via an underground pipeline and provides nearly 100% reliable service
  • Natural Gas is DomesticOver 97% of the natural gas used in the United States is produced in North America (approximately 84% is domestically produced while the remaining 13% comes from Canada)
Call Florida Public Utilities at 800-427-7712 or send them an email. If you wish, you can also follow them on Twitter:
Get cooking with gas in ElDub!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Post's Kevin Thompson on "Downtown Lake Worth—then and now"

Here is the link to the on-line article. As yet, it hasn't made it into the print edition. The reporter does a decent job of illustrating the great strides that have been made to revitalize the downtown in Lake Worth. He has some interesting quotes and observations like the ones from the NAPC's Mary Lindsey I'll provide an excerpt from below.

Something bothered me for a few days after reading the article and couldn't nail it down until someone brought up this point: this would have made a real good collaboration between Kevin Thompson and Eliot Kleinberg. Mr. Kleinberg, as many of you know, is the resident historian at the Post and he has that element of gravitas when it comes to the history of Palm Beach County.

None of Mr. Kleinberg's work is cited in the article about the history of Lake Worth, which is voluminous, and there isn't any reference to The Lake Worth Herald either. The Herald is the oldest business in Lake Worth and has chronicled the City's history since 1912.
Other than those observations it's a good article and paints the City in a good way. Here is an excerpt from the article where Mary Lindsey is quoted:
     Mary Lindsey moved to Lake Worth in 2003 from Palm Beach. Back then, she remembers downtown being quite dangerous with gang-related drive-by shootings.
     “Now there’s such a feeling of security and downtown has become the friendly neighborhood it was intended to be,” Lindsey said, crediting The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, which took over patrolling the city in 2008.
     As for Lucerne Avenue, Lindsey said there’s still room for improvement. Two popular restaurants — The Cottage and South Shores Tavern and Patio Bar — remain shuttered.
     “There are still some challenges,” she said.
Also referenced in the article is the upcoming 2016 Street Painting Festival and there remain some vendor opportunities at this spectacular City event. Here is the link for more information or call 561-358-8501.

See you at the Festival!
If you have 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

Comment left under the post titled: "Video: Commissioner Ryan Maier's note reading at quasi-judicial hearing for re-zoning of Gulf Stream hotel project"

Click title for link to the post referred to. Here is the comment:
"Ryan needs to attend Charm school. I asked him a question and he told me "all questions need to be brought up with his manager." Then walked away. Ok?! Who is his manager? Really? He's the commissioner for my district. I'm sorry I voted for him."
Has anyone else received a similar response? I remember when former District #4 Commissioner Suzanne Mulvehill attended a neighborhood meeting. In response to a problem property with code issues in her district, she responded that she represented the whole city, not just her district, as an excuse why she couldn't address the problem. His response falls roughly in the same categorynot my problem.

We have always suspected that Commissioner Maier follows "Orders from Headquarters." This seems to be confirmation. So who is this manager? Are we watching a puppet show when he speaks?

On Minimum Parking Requirements: Yes, very true, Ottawa, Canada is a lot different than Lake Worth, Florida but. . .

Minimum parking requirements for many people sounds like a mundane subject but it affects cities, in particular, in a very profound way. Nobody has made this more clear than Donald Shoup and his book, The High Cost of Free Parking. I've cited Dr. Shoup and his book many times on this blog. What made him and his work stand out is this: while everyone else was doing research on how motor vehicles move from one location to another (the 5% of a car's existence), he researched what cars were doing the other 95% of the time—parked.

Interestingly, the City of Ottawa is having that debate right now and the public comment period ends this Friday (12/18). Many in that city are demanding big changes. Here is an excerpt from the document cited above:

"The resulting recommendations are also guided by directions and policies from the City of Ottawa Transportation Master Plan (TMP) including:
  • acknowledging the different transportation needs of urban, suburban and rural areas;
  • maximizing transportation options [emphasis added] for residents of all ages and abilities;
  • reducing public and private costs by promoting efficient modes of transportation;
  • reducing automobile dependence, encouraging shorter trips and by making walking and cycling more attractive than driving for short trips;
  • integrating transportation and land use by focusing transit-oriented development in transit nodes and corridors, and supporting intensification where transit, walking and cycling can be made most attractive;
  • ensuring that walking, cycling and transit are residents' first choices for transportation and using transportation demand management and supply management to make travel by walking, cycling and transit more attractive."
The City of Ottawa put together this spectacular YouTube video explaining what the city is attempting to do:

Here in Lake Worth, Florida, we have our Casino building at the beach and this is how it looks most of the time:
On this blog I've written about this subject quite a lot and here are just two recent examples, here and here. There are creative ways to solve parking issues but when the code is written in such a way that minimum parking is required this can be a burden for any business, especially small businesses, like a new restaurant that wants to open. 

Parking and traffic patterns go hand in hand. Like the wide road widths and one-way streets here in Lake Worth many things once thought to be axiomatic, like parking requirements, are beginning to be re-examined. You can see the evolution of development patterns here in the City. Compare the wide expanses of street widths in Vernon Heights, more a child of the 70s or 80s, and then compare that to some of our downtown neighborhood streets. They are much narrower and are supplemented by an alley network behind structures. 

As the automobile grew in its predominance some of the streets were made one-way downtown to get cars from point A to point B more quickly. But that came at the expense of pedestrian safety as cars picked up speed, many barreling down the road well over the speed limit. Lake and Lucerne avenues each were two-way up until the 50s or 60s. Many residents complain about high speed traffic on our north/south streets, especially north of the downtown. Making those streets two-way once again would solve that problem. 

There's a name for it: traffic calmingwithout the need for speed bumps. And did you know converting one-way streets to two-way increases real estate values, reduces crime, and is better for the environment? Read about that here.

Homeless 'advocates' threaten the little City of Lake Worth and why it has nothing to do with the homeless

[A look back: The 3rd most viewed post on my blog this year. Enjoy. And a special treat! JoAnn Golden, a former Lake Worth commissioner praises West Palm Beach for their outstanding efforts to aid the homeless (see end of this blog post). And, as always, Thank You for visiting my blog, Wes.]

At a Lake Worth city commission meeting on 8/18 the City was given a warning, or some might take as a threat, to make our Bryant Park ground zero in the continuing debate about homelessness in south Florida. A reference was made to what happened in Ft. Lauderdale as you can see for yourself at the 50 second mark to 1:15 in this video:
The target of the protests in Ft. Lauderdale was Mayor Jack Seiler who was up for re-election. So how did he do up against the wave of protests and 'bad press'?
Here is an excerpt from the Broward New Times on Mayor Seiler's re-election:
     [Mayor] Seiler had appeared vulnerable entering Tuesday night's election, following a public relations beating over his handling of the city's homeless feeding ordinance.
     The ordinance passed by the city last October put restrictions, such as requiring hand-washing stations and port-o-potties, on groups that serve the homeless food. But the restrictions severely limited groups from feeding the homeless, and breaking the ordinance came with a citation and possible jail time.
     Since the ordinance was passed late last year, Seiler had become the face of homeless discrimination across the U.S. when news broke that 90-year-old homeless advocate Arnold Abbott had been cited several times for feeding homeless people on Fort Lauderdale Beach.
It would appear that when politicians stand up for city residents and families being able to use their parks in peace they get beat up by the press but end up doing quite well at the polls. Interesting.

There are many resources throughout the county but the 'advocates' would prefer to drain the already limited coffers of the City instead. If money were the issue why not take their efforts across the bridge to the Town of Palm Beach (33480) where they would get more attention? Because this had nothing to do with homelessness; this is all about politics and the homeless are just being used as pawns.

If the 'advocates' really cared for the homeless they should organize their own community efforts in their own neighborhoods instead of saving all their energy to complain at city commission meetings. What former-Commissioner JoAnn Golden says about the citizens of the City at the 1:20 mark in the video below says it all: they're the ones with the skewed view of the homeless, not the vast majority of residents in the City.

At the 40 second mark in the video note that JoAnn Golden praises the efforts of officials in West Palm Beach to aid the homeless. Unfortunately, only 40 seconds later she goes off the rails. However, the officials in West Palm Beach must be beaming with pride for the recognition of their efforts.

How to become a sponsor at the Lake Worth 2016 Street Painting Festival in February

This is the link to next year's Lake Worth Street Painting Festival. Last year's festival was the best attended ever. The organizers planned for this and added a shuttle service from Tri-Rail and the parking lot at Palm Beach State College. A tremendous number of people visited from as far west as Wellington and all over Palm Beach County. There were others who visited from as far away as the Florida Keys, Miami, and Georgia. How do I know that? I was one of the volunteers on the shuttle buses promoting the City.
Here is a video I produced of last year's festival:
Discover the Palm Beaches, the official marketing/tourism organization in Palm Beach County has this information on their website. The festival is a huge opportunity to promote your business or organization, not just locally either.

For more information on how to become a sponsor here is the link or call 561-358-8501. See you next year!

Monday, December 14, 2015

The suspect shot by PBSO deputies on Sunday: ABC25/WPBF gets it wrong again but CBS12/WPEC gets it right!

The Palm Beach Post also got it right and so did NBC5/WPTV. This shooting didn't happen "in Lake Worth" as Jimmie Johnson of ABC25 incorrectly reported. The location of this incident was west of Lantana and south of the Great Walled City of Atlantis. Here is an excerpt from the text of the ABC25 false news:
LAKE WORTH, Fla. —A man wanted in connection with a bank robbery on Thursday in Lake Worth was shot early Sunday morning by Palm Beach County deputies.
     Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said James Goad went on a crime spree in the days leading up to Sunday's shooting.
     Goad is suspected of robbing a bank in Lake Worth on Thursday. He is also accused of robbing a convenience store, a pizza parlor and just prior to Sunday's shooting, he was allegedly involved in an armed carjacking.
     Officials said Goad was involved in a chase Sunday morning with deputies that ended in the Atlantis Shopping Plaza.
You would think an incident at "the Atlantis Shopping Plaza" would be the giveaway that you're not in Lake Worth but not for ABC25. They remain clueless as to municipal boundaries vs. unincorporated Palm Beach County (or suburban Lake Worth).

Email from Lake Worth's PBSO Cpt. Baer (forwarded to me from Commsssioner Andy Amoroso)

"On 12/12/2015 at approximately 12:57 hours, District 14 Deputies responded to the 1800 block of Aragon Avenue in reference a Graffiti call in-progress. Upon arrival deputies set up on the area, observing three males dressed in black, on the railroad tracks beneath under the 10th Avenue over-path, with spray paint cans. In conjunction with Graffiti Unit Detective; deputies encountered and apprehended the suspects without incident. Post Investigation revealed the suspects are notorious Graffiti Suspects responsible for numerous Criminal Mischief acts throughout Palm Beach County; resulting in thousands of dollars in damages. The scene was processed with over 30 paint cans and other Graffiti equipment on scene. Suspects were charged with several counts of Felony Vandalism, turned over to Graffiti Detective and taken the PBC Main Detention Center for processing.

Great job by all involved."

And don't forget this message from Lake Worth's Neighborhood Assoc. Presidents Council (NAPC):

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Video: Commissioner Ryan Maier's note reading at quasi-judicial hearing for re-zoning of Gulf Stream hotel project

If you've been following Lake Worth's then-candidate and now-Commissioner Ryan Maier you've seen him both unscripted and scripted. They are two very different people. But even when he's scripted, when he isn't reading from his notes, he can say some startling things like what he said at the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council about the Ag Reserve.

Below is a 22:47 long video (a portion) of the quasi-judicial hearing on 12/8 about the re-zoning for the Gulf Stream hotel project. I would encourage everyone to watch the entire video but pay special attention to what Maier says starting at the 12:15 mark. You can see him reading from his scripted notes (prepared by whom?). At the 12:55 mark, in an unscripted moment, he references Court TV which got a chuckle from those in attendance. The lawsuit he refers to was withdrawn by Laurel Decker and he conveniently leaves that fact unmentioned.

Following Maier talking about the "respect for the process" he says this about the "heights vote" in March 2013 (that the state legislature deemed "null and void") at the 13:40 mark:
"[N]early 60% of the people who voted on this matter voted to limit heights, also important to point out that more voters in Lake Worth turned out to vote on height limits than they did the following year to vote for the [Florida] governor."
The image Maier is trying to put in "the peoples" mind is that of lines at the polls stretching around the block and the community rallying to levels never seen before in opposition to a building of 65' in height. That couldn't be further from the truth:
The now-"null and void" vote to limit building heights near the Gulf Stream hotel won by 271 votes out of only 2,311 votes cast. For some perspective, 271 people is what you might see on Wednesday's at World Thrift for Senior Citizen's Day

Maier concludes at the 14:55 mark referring to the "overwhelming majority" which didn't exist except in the fantasy, revisionist world of Commissioner Maier. Check back later to this blog for an examination of Commissioner McVoy's remarks that follow Maier's—more fantasy and revisionism.

Enjoy the video!

Why didn't The Palm Beach Post identify who Laurel "Skippy" Decker is? A material fact the public should have been told

Fanning the flames of hysteria, fanciful speculation, and unfounded fear of "the real developers".
Check out the letters to the editor that are published today (Sunday, 12/13) in The Palm Beach Post. The second one down the page is from none other than Laurel Decker, the former chair of the Respectful Planning PAC that was behind the referendum on allowable height in our City Charter. Perhaps the turnover is such at the Post that they miss such important details. They could have also said she was the one that sued the City to recognize the results of the election held in March 2013 on the height issue. The tragedy (pun intended) is that the vote was made "null and void" by the state legislature which outlawed all such referenda that ultimately would result in a change to our Comprehensive Plan or our future land use map.

She could also be described as one who still does not respect state law when it comes to land use regulation. And, another accurate description would be that she was responsible for the request to withdraw the lawsuit when looking at the sort of resources it would take to continue a challenge. No doubt also a strategic decision due to its small chance of success.

But the Post didn't let its readers know any of that. One could say that she would tend to see the glass as half empty, than half full, as it relates to the Gulfstream Hotel. Well, guess what! The hotel is empty. It's not even half full. The "flipping" that the always-bubbly and vivacious Laurel suggests would actually be more likely if the re-zoning didn't go through but some people can't see that far ahead—they're fixated on other things.

The cheerful Laurel, a CPA of some renown, is quick to point out that, yes, the hotel which is on the National Register of Historic Places can indeed be torn down. And left to Laurel and her friends that is what would most likely happen. What was striking in the testimony and public comment given at last Tuesday's (12/8) City Commission meeting on the matter, was how little the plight of the Gulf Stream Hotel was discussed. It is one of an endangered species of historic structures. If actuaries, kin to CPAs, developed predictions for the expected life spans of historic hotels from this era they would be tragically short. The Pennsylvania Hotel in downtown West Palm Beach is just one local example. And check out this Eliot Kleinberg article on the same hotel.

In some ways I blazed the trail in writing letters to the editor regarding the preservation of historic preservation locally. The letter below is from 1994 by Yours Truly while the Pennsylvania Hotel was still standing:
And while you are at it you might want to check out the fate of this historic Florida hotel which came down just this year.

The threat is real to the Gulf Stream hotel. That's why we should not take lightly the fact that we have this historic hotel in Lake Worth's downtown. Time is long past and the silly nonsense has gone on for far too long from people like Laurel Decker. The least we should do is support the redevelopment of the property so that the hotel can be preserved, open once again, and contribute to the City's historic narrative.

Laurel, and others like her, lack that passion.

Save the Date: Candidate Forum coming up at the Lake Worth Playhouse

In a week or so will introduce all the challengers in the three races set for the elections in Lake Worth next March. To say it's an interesting bunch is an understatement. One of the challengers ran to the defense of another City resident who used racist language in the City Commission chambers and another challenger has undergone a remarkable transformation in appearance.

No doubt The Palm Beach Post editorial board has already made their choices. They threw away any pretext of objectivity out the window in the elections last March. The incumbents might want to consider the unthinkable: why even bother sitting down with that editorial board at all? 

It will be interesting to see how their man "on the ground" in the City frames the narrative and what meme will be finally chosen, like "save our charm". Stay tuned, as they say.

[RE-POST] OMG! pastor Olive and his Common Ground (no 's') Recovery church found Jesus in a bar in Lake Worth!

Don't forget church at 10:00 am on Sunday's at the 'Common Ground' (no 's') church!
So many questions. I'm having trouble wrapping my head around this. Will the new church slogan be:

"Praise! Where else can you fall off the wagon and get back on without leaving the building!" 

After a prayer do you say, "Amen" or "Cheers!"? Can people attending pastor Olive's church run a tab? What is pastor Olive's drink of choice?  
Here is more information:
Check back later for beer and drink prices.
Everyone is happy that the Bamboo Room will be the recipient of a lot of free publicity. And the downtown should see more foot traffic too. How could anyone resist coming to Lake Worth and checking out that crazy pastor with the 'recovery' church at the bar! It's like watching a train wreck. You can hear wonderful music, enjoy great food, have a few drinks and also GET SAVED if you feel the spirits (no pun intended). The owners of the Bamboo Room are so smart they even got pastor Olive to PAY THEM for the free publicity. How cool is that.

Stay tuned, I'll have more on this later and some awesome excerpts from the article by Kevin Thompson at the Post on this. The only concern I have is this: is this the new standard at the Post for what churches and faith-based organizations get featured in the paper? The more foolish and outlandish the church is the more likely they'll have a reporter from the paper show up? Let's hope not.
Most importantly, is the "War on Jesus" over?