Saturday, March 5, 2016

The mayor of Winter Park attempts to weaken historic preservation rules

Click here for an article about how the mayor of Winter Park is advocating for a higher threshold of approval (2/3 instead of a simple majority of a neighborhood to form a historic district) and offering the possibility of an "opt out" clause if you are in a historic district. All this is being done in advance of the March elections. There are two incumbents who recently strengthened the rules, but are being challenged by two that want to relax the standards. The mayor apparently sides with the challengers and is doing his best to remind people of that. He incorrectly states that historic districts do not increase property values. However, as the article points out, the creation of historic districts tend to increase property values over time.
     More than one study supports the notion that preservation boosts neighborhoods.
University of Florida researchers looked at 28,000 mostly single-family homes in 18 historic districts throughout Florida. They evaluated those against 25 comparison neighborhoods in eight Florida cities.
     In 12 of the 18 cases property appreciated greater in the historic districts than in the non-historic neighborhoods even after the housing bubble burst, according to a 2010 report from the UF law school and Rutgers University.
While not a major issue in our election this year, the City Commission has indicated that they want to have a workshop meeting on Lake Worth's historic preservation program in the near future. If you recall, this was a big issue at a neighborhood association meeting recently and I addressed my concerns following that meeting and share the same concerns many of those residents do.

By the way, Lake Worth meets the standards and is a Certified Local Government. Being one helps the City apply for grants related to surveys and maintenance of historic districts. It also gives more autonomy to the local government to administer its own programs. Lake Worth has six historic districts. Three are on the National Register, along with a few individually designated properties like the City Hall Annex and the Gulfstream hotel.

Winter Park, located between Orlando and Daytona, has two historic districts in comparison. Many people point to Winter Park as a community with a vibrant downtown and one of the more charming city's in Florida, the very same way many refer to the City of Lake Worth.


"The daughter (Shirley Schneider) and grand-daughter (Ginger Pedersen) of the founder of Africa USA will make a special presentation to benefit the Friends of the Lake Worth Library on March 8th at 7pm in the City Hall Annex located at 214 Lake Avenue in Lake Worth.

The program features pictures and stories about a South Florida tourist attraction which once was the cover story on LIFE magazine: Africa USA. The park, which operated in Boca Raton from 1953 to 1961, was once listed as one of the top ten tourist attractions of the country.

John P. Pedersen was the man who in 1950 created and ran Africa USA’s 300 acres where African animals roamed free. After the park closed, he and his family moved to Lake Worth.

Pedersen's grandson, John Schneider, who recently produced a documentary about Lake Worth and the town's history museum, will also attend this informative presentation."

[UPDATE] Why isn't the PBSO takeover of Greenacres Police Dept. being reported? And. . .why all the focus on Lake Worth by our paper of record?

UPDATE: Stay tuned, folks! The PBSO takeover of the Greenacres PD might be a big splash some day in the print edition! Maybe even on the front page, above the fold? This developing news story has been online since March 4th. Continue reading the blog post below originally posted on February 25th that received a lot of attention vis-à-vis the inexplicable amount of press attention devoted to the City of Lake Worth:

The reason why the PBSO takeover of the Greenacres PD isn't being reported by The Palm Beach Post is anyone's guess. It's a continuing story and would venture to suggest the citizens of Greenacres would like to know more. If you recall it was a 4-1 vote to go with PBSO in Greenacres and it was a lively debate. Possibly many in Palm Beach County will view this development as positive news about PBSO and not bode well for the Post's expensive and extensive campaign to damage Sheriff Bradshaw's re-election later this year. If you didn't know, good news about PBSO doesn't make 'the news' in our paper of record very often.

Anyhow, this delves into another interesting development concerning news reporting and the spin concerning the little City of Lake Worth. Note these similarities between the cities of Greenacres and Lake Worth:
  • Lake Worth and Greenacres are almost the same size in land area (both about 6 square miles)
  • Almost the same population (Greenacres has a slightly higher population; both cities approximately have 36,000 people)
  • Both cities are in central Palm Beach County (PBC) separated by the Lake Worth Corridor (unincorporated PBC)
  • Both cities have elections on March 15th and both cities have 3 seats on the ballot
  • For reference, it takes 15 minutes to get from Lake Worth City Hall to the city hall in Greenacres
  • And. . . both cities have the same beat reporter from the Post
Now consider this:
  • Since January 11th the Post reporter has 34 feature articles on Lake Worth and Greenacres
  • About Lake Worth? 25
  • About Greenacres? 9
  • Approximately 75% of articles are about Lake Worth and 25% on Greenacres?
By the way, you would have to go back to very early in January to get news from the Post on the PBSO takeover of the Greenacres PD. Why would that be?

It will be interesting to see how this plays out heading into the elections on March 15th. Will the over-focusing continue on the City of Lake Worth or will there more balanced reporting for both cities? [NOTE: As of today, 3/5, there are only 10 days until election day.]

Remember what the Post's claim is: "THE REAL NEWS STARTS HERE". Unless you live in Greenacres it would seem.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Have you heard "The Trick" yet?: "I'm for the Gulfstream hotel reopening but against THIS development"—If you fall for this, folks, you'll fall for anything.

There's an age-old tactic to try and stop a development proposal, so old and ubiquitous there are many who take a humorous angle about it on blogs and other places. Anyone who's attended more that a few planning and/or zoning meetings knows exactly what I'm talking about:
You can read more of these "things people always say at zoning hearings, illustrated by cats" using this link. It's outrageously funny stuff because it's so true.

The facts of the matter are this: The three or so people who spoke during public comment at the last Historic Resource Preservation Board (HRPB) meeting on February 17th against the Gulfstream hotel redevelopment ARE DISINGENUOUS (being polite) and it's easy to prove (NOTE: The next HRPB meeting on the historic hotel redevelopment is Wednesday, 3/9). Here's what they are trying to claim: They, coincidentally the same who filed a lawsuit to stop the development project, say they want the Gulfstream hotel open once again but are just opposed to the rest of the project.

The facts as presented over many months are this: For the Gulftream hotel to be restored and functional once again it needs the amenities, additional hotel rooms, parking, and the retail component to make it happen. Period. So to say you are FOR the hotel reopening but AGAINST the tools to make it happen is a false choice (again, being polite).

Interestingly, those opposed to the development proposal are also opposed to the hotel being used as an assisted-living facility or any other use other than a hotel. In effect, they are affirming the outcome if they prevail: the hotel will be condemned and torn down. Which makes one wonder if that has been the true motivation all along, to have the hotel demolished.

The clues to what has been happening go back many years. The 'heights vote' in 2013 was a big part of that by limiting the possibilities so narrowly the hotel would have no chance to compete in the modern marketplace. Even The Palm Beach Post understood this back in 2013 when they opposed the height limitations (link to the editorial in this post):

Opponents of the height limit make the further point that restricting building heights unnecessarily in that area could frustrate efforts to revive the hotel, which is in foreclosure and has sat empty for years. The ability to build a parking garage and additional rooms on an empty lot next to the hotel is seen as important to attracting an investor to reopen the Gulf Stream, and further height limits could dissuade interest. Preserving the city’s small-town feel is important, but existing height limits already accomplish that. We recommend a NO vote on Question 2.

You can read how that 'heights vote' turned out here. In the March, 2013 Post editorial they refer to the "confusion" that voters had about that vote and here is a big reason why:
The public was shown images like this "at the door": Big white box 'buildings' where Lake Worth neighborhoods are located.
So the claim that some make, "I'm for the Gulfstream hotel reopening but against THIS development" is just another in a long line of clever tricks and deceptive tactics.

That's not to say everyone will be happy with each element of the proposed Gulfstream hotel redevelopment; anyone who examines the project will have his or her critique or criticism be it traffic or an architectural element but that's not a reason in itself to scuttle the project, is it?

Keep that in mind the next time you hear someone say they SUPPORT the Gulfstream hotel but DON'T SUPPORT the efforts and economic realities to make it happen. It's a false choice.

This false choice is a big part of Frank McAlonan's campaign platform. McAlonan is challenging Commissioner Andy Amoroso for the District 3 seat. Note that the last two endorsements made by The Palm Beach Post were for the two "No" votes against the Gulfstream hotel project moving forward:
Mayor Triolo, Vice Mayor Maxwell, and Commissioner Amoroso voted in favor of the Gulfstream hotel renovation/redevelopment. Note the two that voted "No".
A vote for McAlonan is another nail in the coffin of the Gulfstream hotel. I've stated that already on this blog. And it's also more than a little disingenuous for him to compare our Gulfstream hotel to hotels in Delray Beach that are no way near the historical and community significance the Gulfstream is. It will be very interesting to see how the Post editorial board falls on one of the most important topics in the City of Lake Worth, a City "that has so much potential".

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Good news for schools in Lake Worth from PBC School Superintendent Robert Avossa (and let's rally for Erica!)

[The blog post below is from  February 21st. The latest is Palm Beach County School Board member Erica Whitfield's video (below) is only NINE VIEWS AWAY from being the 4th most viewed ever on my YouTube channel (link below) and only 93 views from becoming #3! Continue reading and spread the word about this video to your friends, family, and neighbors. Rally for Erica!]

The Post's Andrew Marra has very good news titled, "Avossa to cut 58 jobs, direct $5 million more to poorest schools" from last Wednesday (2/17); you can read the entire article using this link. This is very good news for the City of Lake Worth and if you want to know why watch the video below of School Board member Erica Whitfield with a presentation given to the Lake Worth City Commission on December 8th. That video is now the 5th most viewed video ever on my YouTube channel and moving up fast.

Here are two excerpts from Marra's article:
     Palm Beach County Schools Superintendent Robert Avossa wants to steer an extra $4.5 million a year to the county’s poorest public schools by slashing nearly 60 jobs in the school district’s administrative bureaucracy.
     In a plan announced Wednesday, Avossa called for the elimination of 58 positions in the school district’s regional offices, reducing their staffs by more than half and eliminating what he called “redundancy built into the system.” [emphasis added]
     The resulting savings then will be shifted to the schools with the poorest student populations, where principals will have greater discretion to use the money to tackle their schools’ particular needs, Avossa said.
[and. . .]
     Board members endorsed the plan as a necessary reform. Board member Debra Robinson voted against the restructuring because of an unrelated objection to the location of the department that investigates employee complaints in the district’s chain of command.
     “It really does feel like all the things that we talked about are coming to fruition,” board member Erica Whitfield said.
Now about the video of Erica Whitfield. Many of my videos only get a few views since they're of a particular subject that only interest a few people but they're still important. The City of Lake Worth's meetings are available online but it's difficult to find where a discussion begins if you don't know the agenda. My videos are available, subject by subject, and that's either good or bad depending on your point of view.

Imagine my surprise when I noticed the video of Whitfield going from only a few views to hundreds over just a few days! Each day the views continued to climb and now the count is at 1,778. The one point that interested me is how confused the PBC School District is about the City of Lake Worth and all the schools that are outside the City in suburban Lake Worth, or unincorporated Palm Beach County. You'll hear that at about the 1:00 mark in the video.

The public schools in the City of Lake Worth have many challenges that other schools in western PBC do not. That is no secret and Whitfield addresses that. You'll also hear about members of the City Commission who are working closely with Whitfield to address problems in Lake Worth's schools. It's very good news more help will be coming to our public schools. Without further ado, the video:

Don't Get Angry! Just know the Anarchist candidate is still fanning the flames of dis- and misinformation in Lake Worth

Lake Worth Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell is being challenged by the Anarchist Ryan Hartman. Hartman erroneously reported a PBSO incident on January 28th and that a Black man was shot and killed: THIS DID NOT HAPPEN. No one was shot. No one was killed. PBSO showed up on the scene and after it was all over no one was hurt or injured in any way.

Even the perennially worst news source of all, CBS12/WPEC, got the news right.
The rumor by Hartman that a man was shot and killed IS NOT TRUE.
The upshot (pardon the pun) is be careful where you get your information from. If Hartman is going to fan the flames of hysteria and create false rumors about something as serious as a shooting and someone getting killed, what will he do as an elected City official representing you and your family?

The most important thing is: Do Not Get Angry!  Just chuckle and go about your day. And if you happen to see a 'musical' about to begin here is what you do:
To learn more about Lake Worth's PBSO District 14 use this link.

[UPDATE] More political dirty tricks at The Palm Beach Post. The 2015 Lake Worth election season redux?

UPDATE: The 'newspaper' finally got around to fixing the data on Lake Worth Commissioner Andy Amoroso's "Know Your Candidates" page. Use this link for the correct information. Read below how the paper tried to politicize a non-political nonprofit in the City of Lake Worth. With only 12 days until election day makes you wonder what monkeywrenching is in the pipeline.

Consider the recent developing news here in Lake Worth: there is major news about the Lake Worth Casino that the Post has yet to report but a non-story about a trailer park in the City is big news? And don't forget about the "too-white" boy on the CRA mural at La Joya Village and the 'curfew' that wasn't a curfew as reported by the newspaper. All very curious, is it not?

Continue reading about the Post's latest trickery:

Is 'redux' a word? Yes it is. Here is the definition.

When you go to the "Know Your Candidates" page at The Palm Beach Post, the county's 'Paper of Record', and then you go to Lake Worth Commissioner Andy Amoroso's profile? Guess what? Click Commissioner Amoroso's "social link", or his campaign site, it sends you to a non-political nonprofit in Lake Worth. A nonprofit that has to remain nonpolitical for a number of reasons. How did that happen? Here is the proof:
Things that make you go, "Hmmm".

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Discussion at last night's (3/1) Lake Worth City Commission meeting regarding the default declaration for the Casino construction problems

This issue will continue in Lake Worth but the good news is the parties are working to find a solution. This wouldn't have happened if the City didn't force the issue and threaten a default. To say it got the attention of a few people is an understatement. Now it comes down to getting the problems fixed at the Lake Worth Casino before the taxpayers are left to pick up the pieces along with the costs involved.

The video is not yet uploaded on the City's website but below is a video taken off a TV screen of this part of the agenda. The video quality is not the best, unlike the video I take when attending meetings, but the audio quality is very good:

This was a continuation of the City Commission agenda first addressed on 2/16 regarding the City declaring the Casino contractor, the architect and the contractor's insurance company in default. Representatives from REG and Morganti were present this time. At the last meeting only a representative from Morganti was present. The Commission ended up voting to give the "tolling agreement" more time, to March 22nd, in order to extend the time period the City could still file a lawsuit for damages, before the statute of limitations expired.

Rick Gonzalez from REG can be heard at the 3:40 mark. He talks about being chosen as the Casino building architect in 2010. The direction given to him was to "bring back the essence of the historical Casino." However, the initial direction given to all the architects who competed for the job was to "save the building." We all know that did not happen. He also says that the city got an $8 million dollar building for $6 million. Interesting.
Even the Palm Beach Post editorial board still believes the "Big Lie". The Casino wasn't "saved". It was 94% demolished. Or is that their house standard for historic preservation?
The City then hired Morganti as a general contractor with a guaranteed fixed-price contract to build the building for $6 million. It was represented by the city manager (Susan Stanton at the time) and certain others that Morganti was working in the City's interest. The truth is they were working for Morganti's interest for the cost not to exceed.the $6 million figure. There was no one looking over the shoulder of Morganti or REG about the integrity of the building and the 'value engineering' that took place to meet that price.

There should have been a professional owner's representative (in this case someone protecting the City taxpayers' and utility customers) to ensure the quality of the building for the end user. That was never done. The myth then and continues today is that Morganti was responsible for the oversight. That is part of the reason we are in the situation we are in now. It was stated last night said that the City got an $8 million building for $6 million. That $2 million had to come from somewhere. Are you beginning to understand? Now do all the problems at the Casino building make sense?

Note that Morganti does a lot of construction projects and recently completed a big project for Palm Beach County government. Do you think that officials for PBC would give a project to Morganti and then not have someone, anybody, overseeing the project paid for by county taxpayers? Of course not. But that is exactly what happened at the Casino project. Who made that decision? See image below:
The Casino business plan is a complete failure. The City now relies on parking revenue to keep the complex operational. The original plan was for the parking money to be surplus.
You should listen to the entire discussion. It sounds like there was a lot of meddling by unnamed commissioners at the time regarding accessibility requirements (go to the 10:30 mark in the video). Also discussed was its location near the ocean and the need for much more maintenance and quality of materials. This line of thought did not go over well with Commissioner Maxwell last night. There is mention of the missed opportunity for a two story restaurant (Johnny Longboats) at the 12:30 mark.

Even though Commissioner Ryan Maier was there for both commission meetings and has been a commissioner for a year now, he surprisingly thought the building opened in 2010. He was immediately corrected but for someone who was so protective of the beach and given his access to information, this sort of confusion is inexcusable. This is especially true since the flaws in the building have prevented the leasing of the second floor restaurant space which is still empty.
The second floor flooding got the attention of NBC5/WPTV last year.
This is something that ALL members of the City Commission should take seriously and be concerned about and have the correct information. Progress has been made since the last meeting and let's hope for some sort of resolution soon. And possibly we'll learn who the commissioner was back then who insisted on wood floors against the architects recommendation. Another in a long line of terrible decisions made.

One last thing: Will the lost revenue (due to the space on the second floor being unfit for occupation) be part of consideration given to Lake Worth taxpayers and City utility customers who have taken the losses thus far and going forward? Let's hope so.

Lake Worth politics, the District One race, and an Anarchists transformation to Hipster: Which political style and fashion is authentic?

[THIS IS A REPOST BY REQUEST: A candidate who is challenging Lake Worth Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell in the upcoming election on March 15th has undergone a remarkable transformation that's caused a lot of confusion and is a subject of debate. The style, from what can be gleaned so far from the experts, is he's chosen Boca Fierce Chic combined with Wellington PopSugar. Stay tuned as they say!]

The big question of the day up and down the avenues in Lake Worth, at City Hall, Publix, and of course, World Thrift is which fashion style will prevail in the upcoming March elections: Hipster cred or Anarchist cred? Style sends a huge message and how to get your followers to conform to that message is very important. For those of you fashion-challenged here are two examples of Anarchist cred:
Classic highbrow Anarchist cred. With any fashion ones posture is crucially important. One way to achieve this is to imagine the last few seconds prior to a tree-sit/protest. (Note the instructions on the bottom right in the image: When to empty the poop bucket.)
Classic example of lowbrow Anarchist cred (man on right). Again, posture is crucial in this fashion example by the Anarchist Ryan Hartman. There are many ways to achieve this: one is to act very intense and imagine you're going to hurl a battery at any second. 
Here is Hartman soon after his transformation to Hipster. The blow-dried hair complements the stylish wrinkled shirt.
Here is Hartman in full GQ style at a candidate forum sans the earring (note the large hole in his ear). The tie has a perfect half Windsor knot and the shirt has crisp starch lines. A big difference from Anarchist styling and fashion as Hartman displays above.
 Learn more about Hipsters and a short video below on Hipster cred:

How this issue is going to play out is anyone's guess: On one side of the spectrum are the Hipsters (about 4–6%) and on the other side are the Anarchists (estimates range from 0.25–0.75%). The battle of ideas will be for the middle in Lake Worth fashion, those 95% or so who haven't chosen yet.

Will all the Anarchists modify their fashion statement and take on a more Hipster appearance to look more like Hartman? How willing are Anarchists to sacrifice a belief system for votes? Much can happen to a person when they go from being an outsider in a bid to become an insider. It's an amazing process to watch unfold.

And other questions:
  • What role will barbers and hairstylists play?
  • Razors and shaving cream?
  • Cologne and deodorant? 
  • Long sleeves or short sleeves for those ill-advised tats?
  • Headwear: the classic Anarchist baseball cap or bandana?
Fashion and political messages are nothing new to Lake Worth politics. Here is a recent example:
Then-citizen Ryan Maier prior to launching his campaign for a Lake Worth City Commission seat.
A short time later, then-candidate (now Commissioner) Ryan Maier was rolled out to the community sporting an entirely new fashion statement. Note the highlights have disappeared.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Opportunity tonight at the City Commission meeting for candidate to provide proof of "secret meetings"

[Update: The Lake Worth Planning and Zoning Board has no cases to hear and will not be meeting on Wednesday. However, tonight's (3/1) City Commission meeting will happen. Will a certain candidate show up?]

Frank McAlonan is accusing the all-volunteer Lake Worth Planning and Zoning Board and City staff of conducting "secret meetings". You can read about that false claim here and here also.

McAlonan is doubling down on this lie and handing out letters in the community and one of those letters ended up at the wrong door. He is suggesting the City of Lake Worth has a bad "reputation" at the Palm Beach County Inspector General (not true at all) and another claim of "backroom meetings". McAlonan is hinting at "corruption" and abusing his right to Free Speech to the fullest. Undoubtedly, he'll be rewarded by The Palm Beach Post editorial board. Really now, does anyone really think the Post will endorse Commissioner Andy Amoroso?

Anyhow, tomorrow (3/1) is a meeting where McAlonan can present his evidence of "secret meetings" for everyone in Lake Worth to see for themselves. At the Lake Worth City Commission meeting will be a presentation by the Planning and Zoning Chair, Mr. Greg Rice; below is an excerpt from the agenda at tomorrow's meeting:

TITLE: Planning and Zoning Board update
SUMMARY: Greg Rice, Chair, will update the Commission on activities that have taken place over the past several months.
BACKGROUND AND JUSTIFICATION: The Board members review and approve site plans for three-units or more of residential development and all commercial development. The members also review community appearance and have the ability to grant variances from the Lake Worth Zoning Code. The members also serve as the Board of Sign Appeals and Nuisance Abatement Board. The members serve three-year terms.

Below is an image from Mr. Rice's presentation:
No "secret meetings" here.

One of the displays at the Mayor's 2016 State of the City Address

This City Commission has lowered electric rates four years in a row, with the ultimate goal of being on par with FPL. The opponents in this election would like to raise rates. The high cost of Lake Worth utilities has been a chief factor in the city's competitive position among Palm Beach County municipalities which are served by FPL.

And don't forget about the city's deal with Siemans will also bring us solar electric generating capacity in the city's former landfill (southern border).
And this is part of a package that will include replacing and upgrading all of the city's streetlights to energy-saving LED units, like the fixture pictured below. These are dark sky compliant and will be the recommended color spectrum range.

Press Release from the little City of Lake Worth: Road Building and a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony TODAY (March 1st at 1:30)

For more information call the Public Services Director, Jamie Brown, at 561-586-1720.
"The City of Lake Worth will be hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) project funded by Palm Beach County Department of Economic Sustainability on Tuesday, March 1st, 2016. The ribbon cutting ceremony will take place on 7th Avenue South and South E St. at 1:30 P.M.

7th Avenue South – South A Street to South F Street: this project is inclusive of all necessary improvements to construct a new roadway section, sidewalk, curb and gutter, watermain, stormwater improvements, green area, new striping and signage and all other associated work for a complete new roadway section. This is the second unimproved location to be implemented into the City’s new roadway and greenway concept."

Another protest, another dud by the media. With only 14 days until election day when's the next protest in Lake Worth?

The last 'protest', the Trailer Park Trash Pickup one has faded to black and is a non-story now.

Remember, you can't have a protest without the media. They go hand in hand. There has to be a manual somewhere that lays all this out. And somewhere in that manual they may note having a reason to protest is a requirement. So far by my count the media is 0 for 3 (a 0.00% success rate) at getting a protest to blossom to its full potential here in Lake Worth. With only 14 days until election day time is running short. Here is a list:
  • The "too-white Cuban-American boy" on a Lake Worth CRA mural didn't inspire any protest at all. A flop by the Post and CBS12/WPEC.
  • The "Curfew!" protest got some attention and then went down like a lead balloon. Does anyone even remember that one?
  • The latest "trash dumpster" protest is drawing more questions than answers as you'll learn in the news report by Alyssa Hyman at NBC5/WPTV below.
CBS12, once again, shows why they're 'the one to turn off' when it comes to accurate and balanced news reporting. Here's the headline from their story: "Seniors argue reduced city services all about forced relocation". A "forced relocation"? Huh?

Here's an excerpt from the text of the WPTV news segment:
     The [Lake Worth City] staff says it's losing about 2700 dollars a month on this park, and thousands of other city trash customers are picking up the tab.
     "It comes down to operations and money and fairness and that we treat everyone equally in the system," said City Manager Michael Bornstein.
     The City says it is willing to talk with park owners about keeping the curbside pick up, but the owners of the park would have to pay the right price per unit for the service.
     We [WPTV] have reached out to the owners of the park about these options and have not heard back yet. [emphasis added]
Hopefully we'll get an update on this from the WPTV reporter. The latest on this in the Post ended up on page B2 in the print edition and didn't even have a picture. Here is a Tweet sent out by the reporter:
Do these protesters look unable to walk their trash to a dumpster down the street or knock on their elderly neighbors door and ask, "Can I take your trash to the dumpster for you?" And remember there's always the Lake Worth Neighborhood Assoc. Presidents Council (NAPC) at the ready to help any neighborhood in need. Here is the email address for the NAPC:

Latest on the Lake Worth Casino Complex: Will the architect and construction company be found in default tonight (3/1)?

[UPDATE: Following the Lake Worth City Commission agenda item (below) are select minutes from the first meeting on this issue on February 16th which are very informative and provide more background and facts going forward.]

Below is the agenda item, word for word, from the City of Lake Worth's website. This issue may get resolved prior to the meeting; or not. This concerns the Casino building that has many problems that need to be addressed mostly concerning substandard construction and water intrusion. For more insight, Andrew Ruiz at NBC5/WPTV did a news segment at the Casino building. This isn't a new issue by any means; this all began many years ago and still remains unresolved. Without any further commentary from Yours Truly (with an informational link added) is the information from next Tuesday's agenda:


Forward to page 169:

TITLE: Declare REG Architects, Inc., The Morganti Group, Inc., and The Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania in default
SUMMARY: This item seeks to declare the design and construction firms and the construction firm’s surety in default of their respective contracts with the City regarding the Casino Building.
BACKGROUND AND JUSTIFICATION: In June 2010, the City entered a professional services agreement with REG Architects, Inc. (REG) to design the new Casino Building. In November 2010 (and as amended in June 2011), the City entered into a construction agreement with The Morganti Group, Inc. (Morganti) to construct the new Casino Building. Morganti secured a Public Construction Bond for its work with The Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania (Surety).

     During construction, the City notified REG and Morganti of various issues occurring at the Casino Building including, but not limited to, water intrusion through and/or around the doors on the second story (east elevation); water pooling on the second story deck; and, rusting surfaces. While some efforts were made to correct these issues, the City continued to experience the same and additional issues at the Casino.
     In 2013, after both REG and Morganti applied for final payment (which was withheld), the City retained construction attorney Michael Kennedy of Ciklin, Lubitz, Martens & O’Connell, P.A., to assist in resolving the issues. After further attempts to resolve some of the issues failed, in November 2013, Mr. Kennedy notified REG, Morganti and the Surety of the continued issues. 
     After a request by Morganti for more time, the City, REG and Morganti again attempted to amicably resolve the issues. The City met with representatives of REG and Morganti in August 2014 at the Casino to discuss solutions to the continued issues and some new issues. 
     In September 2014, the City put REG and Morganti on notice that their proposed solutions to-date were unacceptable. In another effort to amicably resolve the issues, the City attended pre-suit mediation with representatives of REG and Morganti in May 2015. The mediation resulted in a Tolling Agreement to stay any applicable statute of limitations and to allow the parties one more attempt to resolve the issues without litigation.
     In late 2015, the parties again discussed resolution of the issues. When the City (and two hired consultants) pushed back on the latest proposed solutions, the City received little response from representatives of REG and Morganti. At this time, the issues at the Casino Building include, but are not be limited to:
  • Water intrusion through the windows and operable doors along the east elevation;
  • Failure of the second floor deck to drain;
  • Water intrusion behind the stucco on the elevations of the building;
  • Improper drainage design or construction which allows water to cascade off of the roof causing hazardous conditions on the paver deck below or mold growth on canopies;
  • Rusting on arch supports; and
  • Premature degradation of external surfaces.
The City along with Mr. Kennedy have worked for an extended period of time with representatives of REG and Morganti in an effort to resolve the issues without litigation. Since the tolling agreement expired in January 2016; REG and Morganti appear non-responsive to the City; and, the uncorrected issues with the Casino are a breach of REG’s, Morganti’s and the Surety’s respective contracts/bonds, Mr. Kennedy recommends placing REG, Morganti and the Surety in default and proceeding with litigation without further delay.
     The City Attorney concurs with this recommendation.
     If REG, Morganti and the Surety are declared in default, Mr. Kennedy and the City Attorney will notify them of the same and immediately proceed with filing a lawsuit.

     On February 16, 2016, the City Commission took action to table this item for two weeks.
MOTION: I move to declare REG Architects, Inc., The Morganti Group, Inc., and The Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvan
ia in default.

Update—Select minutes from the City of Lake Worth City Commission meeting on February 16th, 2016; Item 12A. New Business: Declare REG Architects, Inc., The Morganti Group, Inc., and The Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania in default:

"Michael Olenick, The Morganti Group (TMG), said that as of 4 PM today he did not know that this item was on the agenda. To his knowledge, TMG had never been in this situation and understood the seriousness of this issue. He explained that TMG built the Casino Building based on REG Architects’ (REG) specifications. He said correspondence to find a solution was still going on. He requested the Commission not make a decision to default on their bonding company for a couple of weeks and pledged to push REG. He asked the Commission for forgiveness and time."

"Assistant City Attorney Goddeau advised that, until the City declared them in default, a closed door attorney-client session could not be scheduled. If the time was extended then the Tolling Agreement also needed to be extended because of the Statute of Limitation."

"Vice Mayor Maxwell commented that there was no legal requirement to notify the parties that this item was on the agenda and that a notice would be sent to them after the City declared them in default. Assistant City Attorney Goddeau responded that REG and TMG knew about the issues."

"Commissioner Maier commented that the Casino Building issues had gone on too long and the parties would have known what was going on. This was a public forum and anyone could listen to the meeting from their home. There were two attorneys present representing the City. He said action needed to be taken without taking on any more damage to itself while giving TMG time to have legal representation."

"Commissioner Amoroso commented that the City retained Attorney Kennedy two years ago, which was a financial burden to the taxpayers. He said this burden concerned him. If one party knew, then all of the parties knew."

"Mayor Triolo commented that she was comfortable giving them a two week extension. She said the City needed to be taken seriously. Mr. Olenick replied that the City hired REG, but TMG built the Casino Building based on their specifications. He said he was angry with REG for putting TMG in the position of default."

"Vice Mayor Maxwell said both REG and TMG were asked about their experience with coastal construction as part of the contract selection. If TMG had the experience then they should have advised the City. The City was losing money."

What if PBSO farmed out its law enforcement to the Broward County Sheriff when we needed them most?

Back in 2008 the City of Lake Worth disbanded its City police department and gave those duties to Sheriff Bradshaw and PBSO. Many people who live in the City now have no recollection of those terrible days when gangs ruled the City. PBSO was given a big assignment and they did their job. They were able to stabilize the City, restore order, and allow the residents to live their lives much more peacefully than was possible with the Lake Worth PD.
It was not a good time living in Lake Worth leading up to 2008/2009. After PBSO has done their work and regained control from the gangs an effort began to get them out of the City; the response by the citizens was an overwhelming rejection of that idea and the result was much back-pedaling by people like former Commissioner Mulvehill and the former city manager, Susan Stanton. To this day, many still recall how the people made their voice heard: "Keep PBSO!"

You can conclude that PBSO is a major institution in Palm Beach County (PBC) that did what it was supposed to do. But there was another 'institution' in PBC during that same time period in PBC that did the opposite: The Palm Beach Post. In a cost-saving move they closed down their printing presses and farmed that work out to the Sun Sentinel in Broward County. Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia:
Like many newspapers throughout the country, the Post downsized its newsroom by more than 30 percent in 2008 and 2009. At the same time it closed its printing press. The Post's print edition is now printed in Broward County by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and shipped north to Palm Beach County for daily distribution.
Imagine how much different south Dixie Hwy. in West Palm Beach would be today if the Post hunkered down and fought to keep all those jobs? But they didn't. Think about all those businesses that relied on the Post: the restaurants, the service jobs, and all the other small businesses that took a big hit. How many lives were disrupted by that decision? That is incalculable but it would be a big number. The little City of Lake Worth is only minutes from the Post's headquarters. This City was also affected to a great degree by the Post's decision to farm out all those jobs to Broward County.

PBSO didn't have the option of cutting and running in PBC. And if they even suggested farming out some of their law enforcement work to the Broward County Sheriff there would have been outrage, including from the editor's at the Post no doubt. Fast forward to 2015/2016: Who is the biggest critic of Sheriff Bradshaw and PBSO? The Palm Beach Post. Ironic isn't it?

A question: There was a huge spike in the homicide rate in PBC in 2015. Is it possible that some gangs and other criminal elements took advantage of the Post's almost-daily criticisms of Sheriff Bradshaw/PBSO and felt more freedom to go about their acts of revenge against other gangs and their enemies? It would be interesting to see if there is any correlation between when the Post began their "Line of Fire" series and if there was an increase in the crime rate in PBC. Maybe some enterprising reporter can take on that task.

Here in Lake Worth the critics of PBSO, the usual suspects, are ramping up their rhetoric once again to restore a City police department. They rely on short memories and/or a lack of knowledge about our City's recent history. Don't be fooled. They want PBSO and Sheriff Bradshaw out of this City because they are effective and PBSO isn't going to cut and run like some other county institution would to save a few dollars on printing costs.
Sign from a protest outside PBSO District 14 headquarters. Many Anarchists were present that day, including a former city commissioner. Can you guess which one?

Monday, February 29, 2016

With 15 days until election day and the Post FINALLY reports an "Anarchist" is on the ballot in Lake Worth

The article referencing the Anarchist by The Palm Beach Post's Kevin Thompson in the print edition today (2/29) has a significant factual error in the very first paragraph. Two of the challengers, Frank McAlonan (who is running up against Commissioner Andy Amoroso) and the Anarchist Ryan Hartman, are on record as against the restoration of the historic Gulfstream hotel but the reporter suggests otherwise. McAlonan and Hartman are employing a clever political tactic that you can read about here. This should be corrected but it won't be. This false information no doubt will be used as part of the reasoning for the editorial board endorsements that will appear soon.

If you're interested here are my predictions what the Post editorial board will do.

Now about the newspaper FINALLY reporting an Anarchist is on the ballot here in Lake Worth. Read what the Post reporter writes about this anti-government candidate:
     In the race for District 1 commissioner, four-term incumbent Scott Maxwell is facing Ryan Hartman, a self-described Anarchist [emphasis added] and contributing editor to Daily Planet Publishing.
[FYI: The "Daily Planet Publishing" is not a legitimate news gathering organization. Check back later to this blog for more on that false information.]

Well, about time the word "Anarchist" makes it into print. This is the very first time the Post reported this accurately. The paper always dances around the issue of the Anarchists and refers to them as "activists" or "advocates" of one theme or another. Maybe in the upcoming endorsements the paper will take on the thorny issue of an Anarchist, committed to dismantling government, taking part in the political process to become a cog in the "machine" of governing. A little hypocrisy is it not?

Several times a spokesperson for the Anarchist group in Lake Worth, Everglades EarthFirst! (EEF), has been featured in the Post without ever once informing the readership she is an Anarchist. One item that made the 'news' was the "too white" Cuban-American boy depicted in the mural at La Joya Village. Remember that nonsense created to cause racial disharmony here in the City? If you want a refresher here is a link to that non-story.
The Post's pitch about the "too-white" Cuban-American boy in the mural was a collaboration with CBS12/WPEC that failed to gain traction with the public.
The spin at the Post is about to go into overdrive with only two weeks until election day. And part of that spin isn't what they choose to report but also what they opt to ignore, such as the possible default declaration against the construction company and architect of the City's Casino complex.

And. . . where's the news about the PBSO takeover of the Greenacres police department? The newspaper's beat reporter for Lake Worth is also the reporter for Greenacres. That developing news story will probably appear after March 15th. If you didn't know, the city of Greenacres is also having elections and like Lake Worth there are three seats on the ballot. But you probably didn't know about that. You see, the Post doesn't much care what happens in Greenacres. And that's too bad for the public in that city who want to learn more about what is happening.

Pride Flag Raising Tomorrow (March 1st) at Lake Worth City Hall

"Join us tomorrow, March 1st, at 5:00 at Lake Worth City Hall for the annual raising of the Pride Flag with the Lake Worth City Commission!"

ABC25/WPBF 'TV News' does it again. Was a family of 6 forced from their home by a fire in Lake Worth? No.

Here's the latest false news report from ABC25:
LAKE WORTH, Fla. —A family of six is temporarily displaced after a house fire in Lake Worth. Albert Borroto, spokesman for Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue, said firefighters received a call just before 11 a.m. Thursday from the 7400 block of Ladson Terrace.
The good news is no one was injured. The 'bad news' is Ladson Terrace is all the way out past Jog Rd. in unincorporated Palm Beach County and just east of the Florida Turnpike. Ladson Terrace has a Lake Worth mailing address; a distinction that is lost on reporters from ABC25.
Where is Lake Worth? It's south of West Palm Beach, north of Lantana, and extends west to the general vicinity of John Prince Park in unincorporated Palm Beach County.
Two more recent examples of false news reports by ABC25 are here and here. WPBF reporters think the City of Lake Worth extends all the way out to the Everglades and they can't grasp the concept that Zip Codes don't correspond to municipal borders.

Even when WPBF does happen to find the City of Lake Worth their news reporting takes on a whole new level of absurdity like the 'news' below about the homeless in West Palm Beach and in Lake Worth:
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. —The same thing that draws tourists to South Florida also draws the homeless.
     It's the story no one want [sic] to talk about until you're harassed.
[and. . .]
      In Lake Worth, another place experiencing a similar problem, the city just passed a law making it illegal to be in Centennial Park, a popular gathering place, after a certain time of night.
The reporter was standing in Lake Worth's Cultural Plaza. There is no park in Lake Worth called "Centennial Park". And so it goes. . .

Sunday, February 28, 2016

The vice chairman of the PBC Criminal Justice Commission reprimands the Post editorial board

The reprimand by Gerald Richman, vice chairman of the Palm Beach County Criminal Justice Commission (CJC), of the Palm Beach Post editorial board is below.

First, a correction (see image below) appeared in the printed edition of the Post on Tuesday, 2/23. Note that the editor of the Post is reporting that Palm Beach County Commissioner Taylor and one of their own reporters supplied incorrect information that appeared in one of their own editorials. Ultimately though, what is the job of the editor? Aren't editors supposed to verify facts before they are published in Palm Beach County's paper of record?
Here is an excerpt from the editorial that was published:
     That also gets to the larger problem that if the CJC [Criminal Justice Commission] was delivering, Taylor [PBC County Commissioner Priscilla Taylor] and some local clergy would not need to step into the vacuum to ensure the independent community voice that very much needs to be heard on the CJC. The County Commission has provisionally approved having the Palm Beach County Clergy Alliance nominate an appointee. A final vote on the issue is scheduled for April 19.
The final vote referenced above is on March 1st, not on April 19th. Corrections by the Post appear on page A2, usually below the fold. FYI, there isn't a way to read corrections online unless there's an obscure link somewhere on the website.

It seems this issue of what is happening at the CJC, vis-à-vis what is incorrectly reported in the Post, is not going away any time soon. Below are two excerpts from a reprimand by CJC Vice Chaiman Gerald Richman that also appears in the printed edition today, Sunday 2/28:
     Respectfully, your editorial on Feb. 20, “Add diverse voices to CJC to help address justice issues,” contains erroneous conclusions, starting with the statement that there are only “three African-American CJC members.”
     The Palm Beach County Criminal Justice Commission has eight minority members, of whom seven are African-American. Percentage-wise, that is a larger percentage of blacks to the makeup of the entire CJC than is the ratio of blacks to non-blacks in Palm Beach County.
     Then you state, “for 30 years, taxpayers have financed the now nearly million-dollar CJC, which functions like a county department though the private Economic Council of Palm Beach County Inc. appoints most of its members.” That is also untrue.
More errors are cited by the CJC vice chairman and he concludes with this:
     In short, the Palm Beach County Criminal Justice Commission is diverse, should be diverse, and has been and is performing an important public service. This public service is enhanced by the involvement of leaders in the business community—who created the Criminal Justice Commission, which is unique and important to Palm Beach County—and who unselfishly volunteer their time to make the county a better and safer place for its residents.
And so it goes. . . Read about another recent error in the Post here. Is it about time for some big changes at that newspaper and is this another example of what happens when one paper has a monopoly?

There's a free BBQ TODAY (Sunday, 2/28) at Sunset Ridge Park in Lake Worth

Sunset Ridge Park is at 14th Avenue North between 'A' Street and 'D' Street. If you've never been to this park before here are the amenities: Two picnic pavilions, five lighted tennis courts, basketball court, multi-purpose field, BBQ grills, playground equipment, and there are restroom facilities.

Oh, and then there's this from Facebook: