Saturday, January 30, 2016

2016 Safe Streets Summit—Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)

Click here for more information on the summit held yesterday in Deerfield Beach. I attended and will be sharing video that I took at the conference soon. But in the meantime, I wanted to give you some idea of the information presented at the conference.
These reflective vests were given to participants as part of the hospitality package.
The summit dealt with the intricacies of planning public roads for ALL users, not just automobiles. Many of these concepts are being discussed right now as it relates to improvements now being considered by the Palm Beach County MPO.

Below are a few of the graphics that I tweeted out during the conference.
The chart above shows how quickly the seriousness of pedestrian/vehicle accidents increase with the speed of a vehicle. Once vehicles go over 20 miles per hour, injuries become more severe. With even higher speeds a pedestrian who is struck will more likely receive fatal injuries.
This something to show people who may be reluctant to use their bike regularly in south Florida due to our subtropical climate. A bike ride of three miles, going between 5 and 10 miles per hour, will not make the rider break out in a sweat, except for perhaps August. The diagram shows how you can combine a series of shorter trips for different purposes and still remain presentable at your destination. There are many opportunities for this sort of ride in Lake Worth to mention one city in south Florida. For example, from College Park to Lake Avenue is about three miles and most of the route can be through neighborhood streets.
The graphic above was part of a presentation on the effect of place, where one lives, on the incidence of diabetes deaths. This data looked at areas that are within CRA districts and the striking difference in the statistics inside and outside of their borders. There are many complex causes for this phenomenon, but the presentation focused on barriers to safe pedestrian and bicycle opportunities in those areas.

Look for more information in the form of videos from the conference with short explanations of what you will be watching. Along with these videos there are many others you can choose to watch on my YouTube channel.

As always, Thank You for visiting this blog and a shoutout to the good folks at the Safe Streets Summit for being so kind and welcoming me there to record what happened there with my video camera.

The latest from the little City of Lake Worth's Newsletter: "Worth Noting"

The City of Lake Worth's newsletter is free and it will only take a few seconds to sign up. You'll receive these updates/news by email. The news this week is about the Core Ensemble. Margot Emery of The Core Ensemble is quoted several times and below is a quote and an excerpt from the article in Worth Noting on the ensemble and the awards they'll be receiving in Ft. Lauderdale:
     “We want our programs to bring about a new appreciation and understanding of culture and difference. How we shape a positive pluralism is one of the most important questions American society faces in the years ahead. So we hope to give residents of our city, and our audiences around the U.S., insight into the new cultural landscape that surrounds us. We also hope that the work we do in the community will strengthen a sense of place and community pride in Lake Worth. Our wonderful city is on the way to becoming a broadly creative and inclusive enclave!” [emphasis added]
     The Diversity Awards will be presented at a state-wide Convening Culture Conference in Fort Lauderdale in February. The Ensemble receives support from the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and from the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County. The Core Ensemble are artists in Residence at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, one of the organization’s community partners.
Take a few seconds and go to the link in the first sentence above and sign up for the City's Worth Noting newsletter. You can also learn about the new effort to fix street lighting in Lake Worth and all that's been done to beef up the Code Enforcement department.

The Post's report on Mayor Triolo's State of the City Address (and another article about our "two main streets" that hasn't made the print edition yet)

The Palm Beach Post's Kevin Thompson (the paper's beat reporter for Greenacres, Lake Worth, and suburban Lake Worth) has the article in the print edition today (page B3, above the fold) and it's also online. Mayor Pam Triolo talked about a lot of issues and if you scroll down on this blog you'll find videos of the mayor's speech. I'll have pull quotes on this blog too from that speech; so check back every now and then to read one. Here is an excerpt from the article:
     The mayor [Pam Triolo] said blight is another major concern and a problem that was often accepted as a normal neighborhood condition, with code enforcement being “non-existent.”
     “Not on my watch,” Triolo said to thunderous applause.
     The department was overhauled two years ago. More than 50 new code ordinances were adopted to update the laws and clear up inconsistencies, Triolo said. Last year, the Code Compliance Division worked with residents to resolve more than 1,000 cases. The city completed 51 lot clearings, 43 board-ups and six demolitions. [emphasis added]
One of the issues mentioned briefly in the mayor's State of the City Address was the homeless. Here is an excerpt from the mayor's speech:
     I have been working closely with County Commissisoner Shelly Vana on future Homeless projects aimed at putting a roof over their heads for good, and in our city alone, we recently were the host for Project Homeless Connect, have a new Goodwill and the Lords Place Shelters.
The mayor also referenced our City's unique  'two main streets', Lake and Lucerne avenues that go east/west through Lake Worth. There was a recent article about that in the Post's online edition but never made it to the print edition. When that does happen I'll let you know. 

If you have more community news or want the Post reporter aware of an event in your neighborhood in the City of Lake Worth, suburban Lake Worth (such as Palm Beach State College) and Greenacres here is how you contact the Post reporter:
Twitter: @kevindthompson1

Friday, January 29, 2016

Lake Worth Mayor Pam Triolo: "State of the City Address"—First video (not in order; more scheduled. Check back later this afternoon for more.)

In this video Mayor Triolo talks about the Dixie Hwy. Corridor, neighborhood improvements, Green energy, traffic, parking, notes street lights in parts of City haven't been replaced since hurricanes many years ago, the unfortunate veto by Governor Scott, and many other topics. Enjoy!

Lake Worth Mayor Pam Triolo: "State of the City Address"—Second video

In this video are Mayor Triolo's opening remarks, the introductions, the Pledge of Allegiance led by Mayor Dave Stewart from our neighboring Town of Lantana, and near the end there's a humorous introduction of the City Manager Michael Bornstein. At that point (the 5:00 mark) she says, "Tonight I want to share with you. . .", and a lot of very good information follows. You can see the mayor is pleased with the large turnout.

Check back to this blog over the next several weeks for excerpts from the "State of the City". You'll be surprised with all the things that are happening.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

"Hmmm. I've heard things on the news about the homeless in Lake Worth and protests. Where can I learn more? Is there a radio show I can listen to and learn more?"

The answer is Yes! 

You may have seen or heard about the homeless issue in Lake Worth, Florida from what was reported on this blog. Possibly you read a few paragraphs or just the headline in a newspaper; there was a news segment on a local TV news station you might have watched. Maybe from what you've heard about the "homeless issue" you've drawn conclusions and then formed an opinion.

But what if I told you there was a way to change your opinion if you have one? That's possible if you continue reading..

First know that one of the volunteer phone bank locations for the Nan Rich for Governor campaign in Palm Beach County was in my home. So that broadly gives you an idea where I stand politically.

There was a radio show a few years ago where Ft. Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler was going through very much the same situation that is happening right now in Lake Worth. Mayor Seiler is a Democrat. He was interviewed by Rick Sanchez. I don't know his politics but he was fired from CNN and hired by Fox News. So that might give you a clue. These two guys likely don't agree on a whole lot of things.

So listen to the radio show and don't let any of the other distractions on the website take away from what they both talk about. Pay particular attention to Food Not Bombs which is mentioned and the part where the 20 or 30 protesters went to Mayor Seiler's house. It took a while but eventually they discovered they were protesting at the wrong house. It's funny what Seiler says about that. And if you want to learn more you can read about 'Mr. Snarky'. Someone like him may come knocking on your door. If you didn't know, it's also election season in Lake Worth.

Curiously, it was also election season in Ft. Lauderdale when the protesters were targeting Jack Seiler. So how did that election turn out?

In this week's Lake Worth Herald: Loretta Sharpe, November 4th, 1938–January 26th, 2016

'Pelican Pete' at The Lake Worth Herald has this to say: "The perch is a little lonelier these days as we say goodbye to our good friend Loretta" and then this:
She brightened the way with her sunny ways
She sought to keep Lake Worth on track.
Her guidance drove many Commissioners to make the right decisions.
So long my friend, flight will be a little lonelier without you
Two excerpts from the front page of the Herald:

"We Friends and Neighbors across the City of Lake Worth were saddened to learn that Loretta Sharpe passed peacefully from our midst at 5:30 AM, Wednesday, January 26, 2016. Loretta was born on November 4, 1938 and hailed from South Portland, Maine. No one knows how much of her legendary feistiness, uninhibited temperament and fierce loyalty were imbued in her character by the geography and culture of her New England childhood home. But what everyone who ever met and admired this woman knew without doubt, Loretta elevated those qualities to an art form and brought them all to Lake Worth when she settled here almost three decades ago."

[and. . .]

"Few knew the back stories and the histories of our Lake Worth as she did. Fewer still so completely embodied the spirit of Winston Churchill’s famous quote, “The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you will see.” Loretta knew well the roads we traveled and the sometimes chaotic routes we took to get where we are, but her transmission had no reverse gears."

The arrangements will be posted when available on this blog.

TOMORROW! "The Fiscally Conservative Case for Multimodal Street Design": Walkable, bikeable, and making communities safer

Here is a message from our friends at Strong Towns:
     We are funding an unproductive transportation system – constructing more and more highways to solve the problem of ongoing congestion. How have we managed to get to this point? More importantly, how do we shift our investments to promote economic development and provide greater access to other modes of transportation? Travel down the road with Chuck Marohn of Strong Towns to learn how we can reclaim our roadways for all users and inject value back into our urban street framework.
Charles Marohn, the founder and president of Strong Towns, will be speaking at the 2016 Safe Streets Summit on the topic of the economic benefits to building walkable communities. His session is titled:
The Fiscally Conservative Case for Multimodal Street Design.

To register for the 2016 Safe Streets Summit use this link:
     The 2016 Safe Streets Summit will be held on January 29, 2016 at the Doubletree Hotel in Deerfield Beach. The focus of this year's Safe Streets Summit is pedestrian safety and accessibility. The Summit has been approved for 5.5 AICP CM credits!
     Attendees are encouraged to take Tri-Rail to the Summit, the DoubleTree is just a short walk away from the Deerfield Beach Tri-Rail station.
Please share this information with all your friends and neighbors interested in this very important topic. I will be there taking video of some of the sessions and will post them to my YouTube channel.

Lake Worth Mayor Pam Triolo and the State of the City Address: "2016—A Year of Opportunity" is TODAY at 6:00

The speech by Mayor Triolo will be about 30 minutes depending on the amount of applause.

Click this link for a short bio that the mayor is sharing with everyone. Mayor Triolo has scheduled her State of the City Address. That will begin at 6:00 today. And did you know you can "Follow" the City on Twitter?
Note that Free Parking is available starting at 5:30 and seating is available on a "first come first serve basis". Admission to the event is also Free. Mayor Triolo will discuss the present and the future for our City. There will be staff attending to answer any questions you may have afterwards.

If you require special accommodations please call Lauren Bennett at 561-533-7395 and other information can be found here.

If you heard anything about a "curfew" in Lake Worth that is completely false, a rumor being told "at the door" to try and manipulate people. As always in Lake Worth, you are free to leave your home and participate with other members of your community like Mayor Triolo's State of the City Address.

I know that the mayor would be very pleased to see a huge turnout.

Progress continues on bringing new life and re-uses to historic Sebring 1920s era hotels

Click here for link to an article about three historic hotels in Sebring, Florida that are about to be rehabilitated. All were built in the 1920s and one is owned by the city. Unfortunately, none of the three will be put in operation as hotels. The one that the city owns will be converted to an assisted living facility. Here is more on the status of that former hotel, from the article:
     City Administrator Scott Noethlich said everything appears to be “positive” regarding the city’s sale of Harder Hall. He said South Florida Senior Living either has to finalize the purchase of Harder Hall by around Jan. 25 or face losing a $50,000 deposit to the city of Sebring.
     Representatives of South Florida Senior Living have said the plans are to convert the hotel into an independent living facility for seniors. Ultimately, it also may have an assisted living component. A possible second phase could include some retail that would serve the residents.
     Harder Hall, which is named after its developers, was a hotel that attracted some well-known people over the years. But it’s been vacant and deteriorating since the 1980s.
Unfortunately, vacancy and deterioration are a common condition for many hotels built in the 1920s era that do survive. In the past having the Gulf Stream hotel converted into an assisted living facility has been talked about and considered. I think we can all agree that operating a first class hotel operation would be better for Lake Worth than an assisted living facility.

It appears that the other two historic hotels in Sebring are being converted to apartments. All three are smaller properties than the Gulf Stream hotel here in Lake Worth.

Here is one of my favorite post cards from the collection that were recovered or donated:

On the FRONT PAGE of The Palm Beach Post TODAY (1/28)! Big News for Meat Lovers Everywhere!

If you live in a certain city or anywhere in Palm Beach County for that matter, and you are angry that The Palm Beach Post used a 'C-word' in print that many people, including your children, became emotionally upset over?. . .You need to sit back and focus on more important things, like, "What kind of protein will my wonderful kids enjoy this weekend?". FYI, in a news segment by CBS12/WPEC they used the C-word too and hopefully your teenagers won't be subjected to that mis-/disinformation.

But life goes on and if you really like to eat chicken, pork, and beef then you need to stop whatever you're doing and go out and grab an issue of The Palm Beach Post. On the FRONT PAGE OF OUR PAPER OF RECORD IS BIG NEWS ABOUT FRESH MEAT!
A screen grab from today's (1/28) issue of The Palm Beach Post. Don't forget: Saying you support your local businesses isn't enough. You need to Walk the Walk and spend money at your favorite local restaurant, festival, etc.
There's also big news about a "Huge Home Show" on the front page starting on January 29th with FREE ADMISSION. So if you were wondering what there was to do this weekend this might be something you and your family might enjoy. Maybe you had plans but heard or read something and decided to do something different. If you want more details, again, you have to go and pick up your own issue of The Palm Beach Post. The paper costs $1.50. by the way.

A lot of good, decent people got really upset that The Palm Beach Post used the C-word when there are so many other words that could have been used, for example, the word "ordinance". But instead the editors at the paper used the C-word and so did CBS12/WPEC. If you Google search the C-word this is what you find:
A lot of elected and community leaders, not all though*, in a certain city whose jobs are already hard enough to begin with, well. . .those efforts became a whole lot harder because the press used the C-word. They didn't have to but they did anyway and you can draw your own conclusions. Don't get upset at The Palm Beach Post and CBS12 because there are people at the paper and also at that TV news station who aren't happy about the use of the C-word either—Trust me. I know.

Lastly, if you are upset about the press using the C-word? Don't be. Spend your time doing other things like learning where your polling location is, working with your city to fix potholes and replace missing street lights, do something to make your neighborhood school a little better, or contact a neighborhood organization that is doing everything they can to make life just a little tiny bit better for everyone. Not every city has neighborhood organizations but there are some cities that need them and they really need your help

And don't forget! Go out and grab The Palm Beach Post TODAY!!!
*Did you think I was going to be really clever with this footnote?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Thank you NBC5/WPTV Surfing Weatherman James Wieland: We're all happy you had a real good time in Lake Worth, Florida

James Wieland was in the little City of Lake Worth and he had a really good time. Here is an excerpt from his news segment:
     The winter storm that dropped more than 30 inches of snow in six different states over the weekend brought some unusually high waves along the Florida coast, with the best waves in our area seen in central and southern Palm Beach County.
     Local surfer and videographer Morgan Calenberg captured the amazing wave swells using a DJI Phantom 3 drone a little north of Lake Worth Pier on Sunday.
Here are two of Wieland's Tweets:

Want to learn more about Lake Worth? Then use this link. West Palm Beach is immediately north of Lake Worth and Palm Beach (33480) also borders the City on the spectacular Atlantic Ocean.

If you're considering a vacation then come and visit us. We're a little short on hotel rooms right now but we're working on that. West Palm Beach is loaded with hotel rooms though. Read a review about our beach here from the states largest travel and tourist site, VisitFlorida.
Here is more information on stuff to do and see in the City of Lake Worth.

The Palm Beach Post DID IT AGAIN! And who was that "particular candidate"? The Post isn't telling anyone

First, the paper finally, kind-of reported that Anarchist Hartman is an Anarchist but in an interesting way. They used a quote by Commissioner Andy Amoroso to get that information out there, sort of, and Hartman's not even running against Amoroso. Plus, Hartman already told everyone he's an Anarchist.

Check back later today or tomorrow for more on this and the 'musical' the Anarchists have planned to disrupt the elections in March. But I digress. About the word "curfew" in the title today in the Post: Here is a link to the original post when The Palm Beach Post first mentioned the word "curfew" and this link for a TV news segment that accurately reports what is happening in Lake Worth.

Two things to understand: In the article by the Post's Kevin Thompson that appears in the print edition today (1/27) he doesn't mention the word "curfew". Not one single time. But it's in the title of the article? And the article also has this this information:
Each candidate answered close to 20 written questions from the audience, although some questions were aimed at a particular candidate.
Are you curious who that particular candidate is? We'll never know because the Post doesn't say. But if you're really curious, if you click on the first link above and scroll down you'll find some phone numbers that may help. Below is an excerpt from an earlier blog post on the 'curfew':

The Palm Beach Post clearly got caught employing an unethical tactic called loaded language. In the article by the Post reporter Kevin Thompson the word "curfew" is not used one single time. The word "curfew" (the definition understood by nearly everyone) is a way for the authorities and governments to keep you inside your home and not free to go about your life. No one in Lake Worth is suggesting that or considering that as an option. The Post is clearly, and cleverly, trying to manipulate people to achieve a desired result. I could go on but won't—except for this: Remember this when it comes time for their editorial board to begin their election endorsement process. Not just in Lake Worth but everywhere in Palm Beach County.

In the article by reporter Kevin Thompson the word "curfew" is not used one single time.
Curfew? Here is one of the definitions of the word curfew that most people think of when they hear the word:
regulation requiring a person to be home at a certain prescribed time
To read more use this link.

The greatest condiment ever created in the history of mankind: Sriracha made by Huy Fong Foods. And it's Made In America!

About the video below explaining why Sriracha tastes so good:
There’s a reason Sriracha is more popular than its fiery competitors. Featuring a mix of red jalapeño chile peppers, flavor profiles that ignite all five senses, and vinegar for an extended shelf-life, we break down the ingredients that make up the rooster sauce.

The name of this spectacular sauce is SRIracha, not SIRacha.

BuzzFeed has this latest news: "The sauce you’d trade your firstborn for is now available in handy, on-the-go, single-serving packets." In probably one of the greatest marketing ideas ever, Huy Fong Foods, the maker or Sriracha, now has tiny little bottles you can keep on your key ring. How cool is that!

There are a lot of different kinds of Sriracha and they are most definitely NOT like the taste of the one with that interesting bottle shape. They all try to mimic the Great One but they all fall short, in my opinion. Another thing is some recommend not refrigerating the sauce because that changes the taste. There is enough vinegar in the sauce to keep it safe from contamination.

And the Sriracha that Huy Fong Foods offers is "Made in America". Don't believe it? Watch this anthem:

Could some festivals and other events in Lake Worth be at risk in the future of losing the ability to sell alcohol?

[UPDATE: Still don't have the definitive answer but did receive some interesting comments. When I learn more will let everyone know.]

I called someone who is very knowledgeable about the subject of alcohol sales, festivals, etc. and the answer I got was, "I'm not sure." But it's a question that needs to be answered since the bill changing alcohol sales in Florida is moving through the process in Tallahassee.

Festivals like the City's Street Painting Festival and others to some degree need alcohol sales to cover expenses. What those numbers/percentages are I have no idea. In today's Palm Beach Post is an article that deals primarily with Brightline (formerly All Aboard Florida) and a state bill that would restrict local governments like West Palm Beach from interfering in alcohol sales at the Brighline rail station now under construction. The report by Jennifer Sorentrue is very interesting and contains a lot of good information. The article also appears in today's print edition (page A6).

The second paragraph from the bottom in the article raises a lot of questions:
The legislation would also allow the state’s Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco to issue temporary alcoholic beverage permits to cities, towns and counties. Each government would be limited to three 3-day licenses a year. [emphasis added]
If anyone can clear this up and clarify exactly what this means to local governments and future festivals please email me. My email address is in the right-hand column of this blog. 

Thank you, Wes.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Loretta Sharpe

Where to begin? I've known Loretta and her family for most of the years I have lived in Lake Worth. We sat on boards and committees together and she was never shy about expressing her views. I also knew her as the Realtor who helped me with the purchase of the house that I've lived in the past 15 years. She regularly made sure to extend an invitation to me for holiday dinners. Always the gracious host, she made you feel like part of the family. There were some years that I would have been alone otherwise. I will miss her early morning phone calls, especially during election season. We will always think of her involvement in our community. She cared deeply about Lake Worth and worked hard to make it a better place for everyone. My heart goes out to her remaining family. She will surely be missed by many.
When I learn the details so you can pay your respects I will provide that information. I just want to add a few more thoughts. It was an open secret that Loretta was very ill for some time. She moved from a house on South Palmway not too long ago and found another house in Lake Worth. I think I was in that house on Palmway about a hundred times. She loved Lake Worth and she never gave it a second thought to sit back and not stay involved in the things she cared for.

Loretta called people a lot. When your phone rang and it was Loretta calling one of two things was going to happen: either you were going to get yelled at or she was going to thank you for something. No one took getting yelled at personally because you knew where her heart was. On December 16th, just a little over a month ago, as ill as she was, she got up and went to the Joint Workshop with the Planning & Zoning Board. Even at her age and ill health she was a member of the City's Historic Resource Preservation Board. She gave all the effort she was able to right up to the very end.

A few thoughts on the debate last night and become a subscriber to my YouTube Channel

Here is a link to my YouTube Channel. You can watch the videos from last night's (1/25) debate at the Beach Club at the City's Municipal Golf Course. It's a very nice facility. The one problem is, for some reason, the audio quality is not very good in the videos because of an echo effect. The videos I take at City Commission meetings are actually quite good. Here's one of a young woman who is very positive about the future of Lake Worth at a recent City Commission meeting for example: Now some observations and thoughts on the debate:
  • Diane Jacques who is challenging Mayor Pam Triolo was not in attendance.
  • Once again, it's all too clear how difficult a debate can be for elected officials. Whereas they have to be very accurate and be careful not to say anything which might affect a lawsuit the City is involved in, as one example, challengers like Frank McAlonan who is campaigning against Commissioner Amoroso have no such burden.
  • At the 7:20 mark in the video below Ryan Hartman, an Anarchist, is asked a question and he answered. He was completely correct. Giving you the voters probably the only reason you need to not vote for him. His answer was, "I don't know." And then he sat down. Anyone running for a seat on the City Commission challenging Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell and truly cares to serve Lake Worth would have at least said he'll learn more and get back to us. He didn't even bother to do that. 
  • Mr. Dorsey, who lives in the Great Walled City of Atlantis, was there. It was a lot of his money that defeated the "LW2020" bond. He had to avoid a lot of potholes in Lake Worth, coming and going from another city which has no such problems. It the bond passed a lot of City streets would look a lot like those in Atlantis.
  • My dinner at the Beach Club was exceptional once again. 
  • Everyone was polite to each other.
  • Once again the issue of homelessness was a topic again. The City and elected officials were criticized repeatedly despite all the work the City has done. I could be wrong but don't think the City or any elected official was given credit for any of this work. And lastly. . .
  • The debate was too long. Nobody is suggesting to not help the homeless but focusing so much time on any issue doesn't help the entire debate in Lake Worth. There are other issues too that people want to learn about. And that one issue took up a lot of time. Ergo the debate went on longer than it needed to be.
Check back later for more on the debate. Probably following The Palm Beach Post article. It will be interesting to read. The homeless issue will take up most of the article and maybe even a 6 letter word that begins with the letter 'C' and ends with 'W' will be used. I encourage you to watch the videos and learn more about what is happening in Lake Worth.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Question: What's going on with all those red/white signs? (and. . .about the debate tonight in Lake Worth)

Check back to this blog tomorrow (Tuesday 1/26 or Wednesday) for more about the debate at the Bryant Park Neighborhood Assoc. held at the City's Golf Course. I'll have videos you can watch. I take these videos and publish them because instead of relying and/or trusting anyone else to tell you what they think happened. . .you can watch the videos and be your own judge. . .sans the filter and spin.

Now the "Question": What's happening to all those red and white signs in Lake Worth? One by one they're vanishing and one of the latest disappeared from Federal Hwy. Reports are this is happening all over the City of Lake Worth. Are we to conclude now that the "BEACH!" is safe now? Were all those "HANDS OFF OUR BEACH"! signs that littered our community month after month last year really just nonsense OR actually a campaign to mislead the public? Either way that effort failed, the public (except for a few) wasn't convinced, and the people who used those signs are coming to understand that now.

Mark Twain, just like Saul Alinsky, understood the power of lies. Here is a quote attributed to Mark Twain:
"A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes."
Simply put: Lies spread faster than the truth. But, in time, the "Truth" finally catches up. Too often in Lake Worth, though, that's on Wednesday—the day after election day—when it doesn't matter any more.
One by one, these silly red/white signs are coming down in Lake Worth after littering our City for so many months.
One more "Question": The Anarchists are already up to the tricks/tactics they employ prior to every election or vote but much earlier than usual this time. Usually they wait until 1 or 2 weeks before election day but this time they are clearly flustered and acting out. Commissioner Andy Amoroso is being targeted already and Mayor Pam Triolo and Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell will have their turn later on. Note that Dianne Jacques who is challenging Mayor Triolo didn't attend the debate this evening but the Anarchist Ryan Hartman, Gary L. Antieau, and Frank McAlonan did attend the debate.

Hartman, Antineau, and McAlonan had an opportunity to distance themselves from these tactics being used against Amoroso but they didn't. You can draw your own conclusions as to why. My conclusion is the Anarchists love Free Speech but only when it's their Free Speech. Free Speech by others is disrespected. Once again. . .you can draw your own conclusions as to why they vandalize campaign signs of people they disagree with but you have your opportunity to give your opinion on March 15th: Election day.

[A TIMELY RE-POST] Meeting with leaders of the Lake Worth Artists and Cottage Entrepreneurs (ACE) on July 23rd, 2015

[I received an interesting observation and decided to re-post this blog entry from late July 2015. The re-zoning of a tiny parcel, a part of a City block, for the Gulf Stream hotel project is the big news of the day but there was another re-zoning story that created quite the fuss in July. This is, I think, a study in contrasts and how powerful an "impact" a zoning change can make. It comes down to whether that impact is, on balance, positive or negative for the community. What follows is a very long post and if you're short on time read the last four paragraphs that summarize my thoughts on re-zoning residential neighborhoods for "home occupations" in Lake Worth.]

I want to report on a very frank and cordial meeting that I had with Elise Crohn, Erica Skolte and Beth Shrantz. Michael Flack was also in attendance. They, and others, have put together a proposal to amend and update the City's regulations related to home occupations. I had a lot of questions that I put forward on this blog about their proposal. I also took time to carefully review what they were proposing and to look at other cities' ordinances that regulate home occupations. The one continual thread that runs through all of the ordinances that I have seen, including Lake Worth's current ordinance, is that any home occupation must be secondary, subordinate and incidental to the use of a residential property and that the residential viability of the neighborhood and the property be maintained.

I went into the meeting with a healthy amount of skepticism but open to what was being proposed and what they had to say. We met at Ms. Crohn's home. Her home (which she rents) is not the typical Lake Worth residential property. It was originally built as a doctor's office with a dwelling unit as a part of it. Its location is also unique in that it is bounded by Bryant Park on one side and has ample parking space for up to 6 cars on the property. At one time she held art classes twice a week there and had 6 to 8 people per class. That is until code enforcement found out about it a few months ago.

What she was doing was not allowed in the Low-Density Multi-Family Residential (MF-20) zoning district in which the property is situated. She planned to apply for a conditional use permit to become a vocational school (which is permitted as a conditional use in that district), got the approval of the property owner, was willing pay the $1,500 fee for that review by the City and meet ADA requirements. She was told that she could do that but that it would result in a negative recommendation from City staff to the Planning and Zoning Board. Thinking that would be insurmountable she elected not to go through that process.

That is unfortunate as I think there could have been a solution for her particular situation that had minimal impact on the surrounding area given the uniqueness of the layout, location and size of her property. I believe staff could have been more accommodating of this request. Who knows what the Planning and Zoning Board action would have been?

Not being able to teach her classes, Elise searched for answers to this dilemma. Through her own Facebook page and due to an article that appeared in a now-defunct tabloid led her to meet others in a similar situation and also sympathetic to her circumstance. There seem to be many residents in the City that are operating "under the radar" and without a business license since they don't meet the strict letter of the code. For example, the sorts of equipment you can use for your home occupation are very limited. According to the code as now written:
(N)o equipment shall be used on the building site except telephones, typewriters, personal computers and mailboxes.
The word 'typewriters' is one clue that this part of the code hasn't been examined in a while. Clearly, an apparatus used for printing t-shirts, musical instruments for teaching music lessons, or any number of pieces of equipment used in the creation of art is not permitted currently.

For reference, here are the City of Lake Worth's current regulations for home occupations.

It is my experience as an urban planner that the vast majority of local governments have a systematic way of creating and reviewing changes to their land development regulations. Through the daily course of business, the zoning officials become aware of certain items that either need to be brought up to date (to catch up with societal and economic changes) or address conflicts within the zoning code (land development regulations). When the local government does this regularly, in the course of maintaining the code, it is initiated by the City and there is no fee attached to it since it is part of the regular government process. If someone else wishes to change the text in the land development regulations there is a fee. In Lake Worth's case the city charges the applicant a $3,000 fee to review and analyze the request. If it also requires a text change to the Comprehensive Plan that is an additional $3,000.

In the case of Ms. Crohn it is my interpretation that a change to the Comprehensive Plan isn't needed but a change to the land development regulations are. In order to submit their requested changes for review would require the payment of this $3,000 fee for it to go through the proper review channels. That would be the review and analysis by staff, a staff recommendation to the Planning and Zoning or the Historic Preservation boards, and then sent to the City Commission for final action. It is my understanding that staff has not acted to take this issue up on its own, so it is up to members of this group to come up with this application fee.

Before talking about their specific proposal I reminded them that there are many forces at work that challenge the quality of life in our residential neighborhoods today. Two that immediately come to mind are the proliferation of sober homes and vacation rentals, both of which the city is powerless to control. A change in the rules which regulate home occupations could be perceived by many in the community as an additional threat to residential neighborhoods, especially if it opens the door too widely.

At the end of our conversation we acknowledged that this shouldn't be a political football (ideally), and it could be an opportunity to discuss solutions to legitimate obstacles, creating a possible innovative way to market the city, and how crucially important it is to protect residential neighborhoods and a homeowners investment at the same time.

The key to keeping that control seems to be by treating home occupations as two separate categories. This is how Portland, Oregon does it. I encourage you to review that ordinance. The difference between the two types (A and B) is that A is a business that only involves the owner of the property, using a computer, phone, modern office equipment etc., with minimal client visits. That is essentially what the current Lake Worth regulations allow. Then there is a Type B that would allow an employee (1) in Portland's case but Lake Worth doesn't allow. B would also allow a limited number of customers to the home per day (8) in addition to the one employee.

If you had that one employee you would have to provide a parking space on-site. That would be in addition to the two parking spaces that are required for a single family house (in Portland). So the property would have to be large enough to accommodate that extra required parking space to become this Type B home occupation. This parking requirement would immediately eliminate many properties in Lake Worth from becoming this type of home occupation. We also have a situation where on-street parking is at a premium in some areas of the City which raises the issue of where these customers would park. ACE's current proposal is for 10 customers per day which I thought was way too high. A typical single family home generates a total of 8 vehicle trips a day. That translates into 4 trips to and from the home.

The proposal by the ACE group is that up to three employees be allowed which I told them was too much. That's when I referred to Portland's example of just one employee for the Type B group. At that point you are way beyond having the business be subordinate to the single family residential useit is the principal use of the property. I suggested many changes to their ordinance during our meeting and this was the most important one. I offered constructive advice and believe it was well taken.

In conclusion, I believe that Lake Worth is not prepared to review this sort of change to our zoning code at this time and ill-equipped to regulate the aftermath given all that is placed upon code enforcement now. A fully functioning and well-staffed code department has to be in place prior to the roll-out of ACE's home occupation effort. Another burden is not what is needed on top of all the other contemporary headwinds faced by our neighborhoods. My main concern is and remains the sweeping applicability of this change.

I could see certain areas identified where an overlay zoning district (something like the Arts Overlay District, but designed to a specific neighborhood or two) that would allow for an expanded and relaxed standard for home occupations, perhaps targeting particularly blighted areas. Or, one suggestion by ACE, a pilot "roll out" where only a limited number of these licenses are issued and there is more of an opportunity for close monitoring of the results (both positive and negative) with the City's limited resources in mind.

I suggest further study at a very deliberate pace to allow a thorough vetting by everyone, including those that would be adversely impacted by these proposals. I believe the group plans a series of presentations before neighborhood groups. This is a good thing! Remember though, many of our Lake Worth homeowners bought a property in a residential neighborhood for that specific reason, it is residential, and they expect the City's zoning code to protect their investment. This is nothing to rush into.

As for Ms. Crohn, I support her initial attempt to request permission (at her expense) for a vocational school at her residence.

A really funny thing happened last night (1/24) vis-à-vis CBS12/WPEC and their weather crew

Last night (Sunday, 1/24) was kicking back and watching "60 Minutes". I'm not sure exactly what time that screen crawl (SC) began on CBS12/WPEC but when it first appeared I took notice. Here is the news that WPEC had for their viewers:
From the CBS12 Stormtrac Weather Center. . .a Frost Advisory effective until 8:00 AM Monday for Okeechobee County. . .Send your pics and videos to Stay with CBS12 News for continuing weather coverage on air and on
The above information in the SC is exactly as it appeared because I had a lot of time to proof it and make sure. A real lot of time. I'm doing other things like corresponding with people, giving my dogs treats, and listening to the stories on 60 Minutes but every time I looked at the screen there it was: That SC. Again. And again. And again.

Obviously somebody had made a mistake. It was an innocent mistake. They put the SC up and forgot to take it down. Maybe they got distracted playing "Angry Birds" or something. So I decided to help out and let them know by sending a Tweet to a few people at CBS12 who would be interested in taking care of this. No response.

And the SC continued and continued. Then I thought that maybe CBS12's competition might be interested and sent a Tweet to some people at NBC5/WPTV. It's probably a coincidence but right about then the SC went away only to come back up again around 9:00! About that time I started getting a whole lot of Tweets from some people at NBC5 who were having fun with this like I was. I wasn't planning on watching a comedy play out but there it was: That SC kept going and going like the Energizer Bunny.

I'm not sure what counties CBS12 covers but if it's Palm Beach, St. Lucie, Martin, and Okeechobee by my calculation that's about 2 million people and about 40,000 of that total (about 2%) is the population of Okeechobee County. With the football game and all the other options for TV viewers how many were watching 60 Minutes in Okeechobee County? Who knows. It could be a thousand people or just five. And I'm certain all those viewers in Okeechobee County were just as entertained by that SC as well.

Anyhow, at some point I lost interest or changed channels. I don't remember which but when I checked back around 10:00 or so the SC was finally gone for good.

The irony is that the weather reporter at NBC5/WPTV, James Wieland, said that the "Frost Advisory" reported by CBS12 was actually just a "patchy frost advisory" So now you know why when I want to know what the weather is going to be I turn to WPTV and so should you.

The Cottages of Lake Worth Book and yesterday's tour of our iconic Cottages

[Thank You! everyone for taking the tour yesterday. It was a huge turnout and all the volunteers performed spectacularly. Check back later for some pictures and more about the tour.]

EXCITING NEWS: Below is the cover design for The Cottages of Lake Worth book—Living Large in Small Spaces: The Cottages of Lake Worth. The book will be available in late Spring or early Summer. Michael Rohani with Design for Books did an amazing job. The book will be hard bound and around 8.5 x 8.5-inches with more than 200 color photographs. You can reserve your copy starting Sunday during the cottages tour. Look for us at the ticketing area and have your credit card ready for a discounted pre-launch price! We expect to go to print this Spring! Please share this post and get the word out for us. This book is happening people!

Even though the tour this Sunday was sold out many weeks ago you can take a self-guided walking tour, use a bike or a car. 
To learn more about The Cottages of Lake Worth use this link. More information like pictures, history, and "what exactly IS" a Cottage in Lake Worth can be found in this interview I had with Allan Mason at WBZT:

The City of Lake Worth's Wikipedia page: A way to learn more about this little City in Palm Beach County

The little City of Lake Worth's Wikipedia page contains quite a lot of information: demographics, geography, notable people, etc. The page didn't receive much traffic for quite some time but that all changed last year when someone or some group tried to hijack the page for their own purposes. Political mis- and disinformation was added to the page and even a fake pitch was inserted into a paragraph attempting to promote a 'church' that was damaging the City's image. All of that false data was deleted and since then much effort has gone into maintaining the City's Wiki page and these people deserve much credit.

Interestingly, if many in the press would take the five or ten minutes to read this Wiki page they would learn why so many of their news reports are inaccurate. For instance, here are two excerpts:
Although the incorporated city of Lake Worth is small geographically, as is common in Palm Beach County, a large unincorporated urbanized area with a Lake Worth postal address lies to the west of the city, and includes the census-designated place of Lake Worth Corridor.
[and. . .]
The main campus of Palm Beach State College is located in unincorporated Lake Worth.
Very near the bottom of the Wiki page you'll see a line like this: "This page was last modified on 25 December 2015, at 00:51." As of today, 1/25/16, the page was last edited on Christmas Day last year. If that information/date changes you'll know someone has made some edits to the page. Stay vigilant!

Why Jeff Clemens never lost an election, and the things Clemens and others have to do you'll never appreciate. . .but really should reconsider

FYI, if you're a new visitor to my blog national politics isn't dealt with very much because I know what my readers are interested in. If they want to learn about national politics there are many sources available to fit taste and preferences. Sometimes I'll mention state politics but really only in how it affects my City, Lake Worth, and more broadly Palm Beach County.

Lake Worth is a non-partisan City for elections and you don't indicate if you're "(R)" or "(D)" or even "(I)". The Independents are those people we all know and love who have conviction and strong beliefs. They're always right square in the middle of the road at the ready to make hard decisions. The last two sentences you might want to read again. And again.

State Senator Jeff Clemens has to do the unthinkable if you're a Progressive Liberal Democrat like me. (Damn! I just lost readers!) He isn't the only one but I'm just using him as an example. The 'unthinkable' that Clemens has to do is go to Tallahassee and work with Republicans, many of them Conservative, and play nice. He has to smile a lot too. Because if he doesn't then cities like Lake Worth won't get the stuff we need. It's a simple as that. Did you know Clemens has never lost an election? It's true.

I couldn't do what Clemens has to do and neither could most people ergo why he's a state senator and you're not. It's already been proven that Governor Scott was elected because the Liberals, Democrats, and Progressives in Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, and Broward counties didn't perform and the entire state of Florida has to pay the price. They talked a big game though. Big enough and convincing enough that even Charlie Crist believed it. And because of that lack of performance Crist lost. Now when Clemens goes to Tallahassee he's not clicking his heels and yelling, "Yippee".

As a side note, while everyone was making the easy choice for who to challenge Gov. Scott the Lake Worth headquarters for the Nan Rich campaign was my living room and part of my Florida room too. I believed then and still believe now Nan Rich could have beat Gov. Scott. But she wasn't given that chance.

So you've been reading this blog post and wondering, "Wes, what the hell is your point?" My point is simply this: If you love and care for Lake Worth sometimes you need to just trust people. And trust they love Lake Worth just as much as you do. And I know many people who go to Tallahassee to lobby for Lake Worth, and smile, and make nice, and play nice would much rather be anywhere else in the world but in Tallahassee, like Afghanistan for example.

But Tallahassee is where the money is and hard choices have to be made. So when somebody comes knocking on your door in Lake Worth and says that Pam Triolo, Scott Maxwell, and Andy Amoroso are spending too much time in Tallahassee say to yourself, "Thank God somebody is."

President Obama was faced with a similar dilemma. He wanted to accomplish things and he knew in order to accomplish those objectives he had to work with people he didn't want to. That's why he was re-elected. The sad reality is for Lake Worth to succeed we need Gov. Scott and the Republicans more than they need us. The Republicans in Tallahassee know they have nothing to fear from the Progressive Liberal Democrats in south Florida. Complaining about Republicans may make you feel better but it's not helping anyone and it's not helping Lake Worth either.

A reminder. . .Press Release from City of Lake Worth—The debate is TODAY! [and a question from Wes Blackman, if I may]:


Please be advised that Mayor Triolo, Vice Mayor Maxwell, and Commissioner Amoroso will be attending the Bryant Park Neighborhood Association Meeting at the time and location below. Additionally, other City Commission members may be in attendance, but not participating in the discussion:

Bryant Park Neighborhood Association
Monday, January 25, 2016 at 7:00 PM
Beach Club Restaurant [located at the City's golf course]

One 7th Avenue North
Lake Worth, FL

[I have a question: At the upcoming debate we'll hear a lot of new ideas on better ways to move the Gulf Stream hotel project forward. . . but why did you wait until now to tell us when the City has been asking for new ideas for many years now? Aren't these new ideas "null and void" now after so many opportunities to present these ideas has not been taken advantage of? Just asking the question.]

UPDATE: Kathleen McGiveron and Dennis Dorsey's Lake Worth CAUT PAC—What's the latest?

[Stay tuned for more on this later. If you recall, Citizens Against Unfair Taxation (CAUT) won the "2020 Bond Vote" by 25 votes in 2014. That's why that pothole in front of your house isn't getting fixed and your street is too dark at night. Money was contributed to their PAC so it would appear they're getting ready to unleash a wave of negative propaganda against Lake Worth and hurt any progress to move forward. They won the first time. How do you feel about that? Below is the original blog post from last November:]
Below is the latest CAUT treasurer report from November. No $1,000+ checks recorded from the Great Walled City of Atlantis for their next effort in Lake Worthas yet. But it shouldn't be long now. Stay tuned for the tail to try wagging the dog once again, possibly in the form of a 'new' newspaper
Use this link to see all the PAC's in Palm Beach County. My personal favorite is former Lake Worth Commissioner Suzanne Mulvehill's Forced to Farm PAC.
The image above is courtesy of Tom McGow depicting Mulvehill during her "Green" phase; of course, now she's in the Ag Reserve lobbying for wider roads and more buildings.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Yes, I saw it. Now you can stop asking me if I read it

Yes, I saw the 'humorists' column written about Lake Worth and the absurd notion there is a "curfew" in the City. After reading the first paragraph with the first talking point I put the paper down and went on to other things. Sometimes the best thing to do is just ignore it and not draw any attention to it. Just forget about it and enjoy your day or if you want to learn more read about 'Mr. Snarky' who recently attended a City Commission meeting in Lake Worth.

An idea for the quirky, charming little City of Lake Worth: The "Chamber Pot Salon"

Part of PR, selling your service(s), and attracting new clients/foot traffic is a clever name—one that sets you apart from the competition. If you didn't know Lake Worth Mayor Pam Triolo, Commissioner Andy Amoroso, and Commissioner Ryan Maier all have businesses in our downtown. All of you who have been paying attention know Maier's position on public urination: as long as no one sees it "It's not that big a deal".

Mayor Triolo and Commissioner Amoroso have a very different opinion. They think public urination is a very big deal and should be discouraged, especially in front of children, a topic Amoroso has talked about many times.

So. . .I have a suggestion that can solve this dilemma and find the 'common ground'. Why doesn't Maier promote his downtown business as a community urination center? Anyone who doesn't have access to a public toilet can be directed to Maier's business to relieve themselves.

He can promote it as a quick "in and out" service. Everyone is welcome no matter what their current situation. And he could rename his business "The Chamber Pot Salon" to draw attention to the services he offers.

Toilets, defecation, and urination should be an important topic but it's avoided for obvious reasons. The organization World Toilet is trying to change that notion and they've been featured on CNN, The Economist, and Forbes. Here is an excerpt from an article titled simply, "Why Toilets"?:
     We use them every day – at home, school, work, restaurants, shopping malls – yet we seldom talk about them. [emphasis added] The silence around the issue of toilets and sanitation has deadly consequences.
     At current rates of progress, the UN Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target for sanitation remains the most off-track of all, leaving one-third of the world’s population without access to improved sanitation. Sanitation is a basic human right yet slow and insufficient progress leaves billions around the world prone to illness, poverty and abuse.
     Despite compelling evidence that shows the benefits and great returns of investing in sanitation, it continues to be an ‘unglamorous’ subject for many policy-makers. The area of water (an equally important subject), on the other hand, receives more funding and attention on the global development agenda.
There are other people who also think urinating in public is "not that big a deal" like Maier does. These people can also chip in and help. They can hang signs on their front door that they are also a "Chamber Pot" facility and the public is free to come in and relieve themselves to spare the public from having to deal with this public insult. If one location gets too busy a PortoPotty can be placed out of sight in the back yard to handle the extra traffic. Porta Potty is a business in the area that would be happy to help. Please call them at 877-628-3258 to get your free estimate today.

If you have any more ideas please send them to me; my email address is in the right-hand column on this blog.

This idea could really end this debate about public urination and everyone can be free to focus on other issues that are also vitally important to our community.

It's not my intention to offend anyone but will conclude with this: My suggestion is going to really "piss" some people off. However, understand there are a lot of people who are also really "pissed off" by the suggestion that public urination is "not that big a deal".

From former Lake Worth Commissioner Cara Jennings' deposition on August 19, 2011

CASE NO.: 50-2009-CA-039320



Question. I've got to ask you this one too, and it seems like an appropriate time: Have you or are you or have you at any time been an avowed anarchist?
Answer [Cara Jennings]. I am an Anarchist. I identify with that political philosophy, yeah.

The "War on Religion" Show in Lake Worth, Florida: Part 1, Acts 1–3—The plot, actors, and props

[Just because. . .a blog post from November 20th, 2015. The anticipated "War on Religion" show hasn't began yet but it's still early. Fresh blog content below. Enjoy! As always, Thank You for visiting my Lake Worth blog!]

On Friday, January 30th, 2015 (Vol. 1/Issue 3) in Margaret Menge's now-defunct (always-FREE, delivered-FREE, advertising-challenged) tabloid, she wrote the words below in her "House Editorial". In her pitch she gave clues to the nonsense that was to come about her "larger truth" vis-à-vis pastor Olive and the curiously named 'Common Ground' church:
     Media bias is often more to do with what newspapers decline to cover than what they do cover. There is almost no coverage whatsoever of churches or of faith in most American newspapers, except in articles about the African-American community. Churches don't get written about. Looking back at old newspapers one time, I saw newspapers reprinting whole Sunday sermons from a local church as a regular thing.
     I'm not planning to do that in these pages. But I do want to write about our churches, and the faith of the people who attend them. And I want to write about many other things, as well, to tell the larger truth of our community, and to make a more complete record of what is happening here.
There are so many churches in our 6 square mile City of Lake Worth that do so much for the community; way too many to name here. And most of us in Lake Worth, including myself, are very appreciative.

On Friday, February 20, 2015 (Vol. 1, Issue 6) Ms. Menge made good on her promise to tell her "larger truth". Unfortunately a local TV news station and some that were duped in the national press picked up on the nonsense before the real story could be told. It was a black eye the City didn't deserve:
CBS12/WPEC's Kathleen Walter with her news segment on February 26th, 2015, about 'pastor' Olive and his Common Ground (no 's') nonsense. Interesting to note, and completely off topic, the segment aired 12 days prior to election day.
A "soviet-style crackdown"? So much for searching for the "common ground" (no 's').
Now you know the real story.

As far as churches and religion not mentioned in newspapers? Each week's Lake Worth Herald dispels that ridiculous notion. There is almost no news coverage about faith by the media? Did Ms. Menge ever hear of Pope Francis? And as far as sermons not printed in entirety in newspapers any longer. . .a thing called the internet made the effort unnecessary. And so did email. And Facebook. And YouTube. And Twitter. . .

[Stay tuned for Part 2 of the War on Religion Show. Just in time for the March 2016 elections in the City. Remember, Menge's first tabloid appeared out of nowhere on January 16th and went downhill from there.]