Saturday, March 12, 2016

The numbers are dismal: Why are so few people in Lake Worth supporting Commissioner Andy Amoroso's opponent in District 3?

The numbers are terrible for Frank McAlonan. He's had more time to try and connect with Lake Worth residents and you would think his campaign contribution numbers would go up from the measly 30% he's raised within the City thus far. Wrong. They've actually gotten much worse. The supporters of McAlonan, for whatever reason, are keeping his campaign very scripted/managed trying to keep him from interacting with the voters. And his campaign contributions from Lake Worth residents reflect that.

By the way, at a staged rally for McAlonan at the Lake Worth Towers yesterday (Friday, 3/11) how many people showed up to meet him? 6 (six). And at least two of them just happened to be walking by on their way for breakfast. If that doesn't get you wondering. . .

Briefly, McAlonan has 5 campaign reports you can see on the City's website. In the first four (M12 [January 2015], M1, G1, and G2) his contributions from outside Lake Worth were a surprising 70%. Only 30% from people living within the City limits contributed money to him and you can read about that here.

The last report submitted prior to election day is the G3 which his campaign turned in to the City on Friday, March 11th and here is the breakdown:
  • Total raised on this latest campaign report: $7,077*
  • Total raised from people in Lake Worth without the name "Frank McAlonan"? $910 (13%) from 5 contributors
  • Three of his contributions came from people who are also supporting the Anarchist's campaign (see below)
  • Total contributions from people with the last name, "McAlonan"?† $2,193 (31%)
  • Total from all people who do not live in Lake Worth? 86% (that's right, eighty-six percent)
So. . . Why is he getting so little support from the community in Lake Worth? What are all those outside contributors expecting if McAlonan should win? And, lastly, why hasn't he distanced himself from the Anarchist's inflammatory position on violence against the police and law enforcement? Maybe that would explain his lack of support.
The Anarchist candidate Hartman said it's time to "start striking fear, shooting down all cops we see by their selves [sic]."
*The actual amount raised by the campaign is $7,051.95. For the purposes of analyzing the numbers the contributions were rounded off to the closest dollar, or $7,077. That would also explain the missing 1% (86% plus 13%).
More than half of these contributions ($1,164 or 53%) came from campaign donors in New York and New Jersey.

Refreshing message during the heated election season

How Mindfulness Empowers Us from Gobblynne on Vimeo.

The funeral mass for Loretta Sharpe is today at Sacred Heart Church

The funeral mass for Loretta Sharpe will be held today (Saturday, March 12th) at 1:00 at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church located at 425 North 'M' Street here in Lake Worth.

Loretta was a member of this church and participated in many of their activities. There have been a lot of changes to the church and other facilities at Sacred Heart. This Saturday, or any time during open hours, would be a good opportunity to see all the work they've done. For example, Kevin Thompson (the Post beat reporter), had this news about the church last year:
     Sacred Heart Church on North M Street spent the summer undergoing $250,000 worth of renovations [emphasis added], which included adding a new roof, updating the AC along with the marble and porcelain tile. The pews were also taken apart, shipped to North Carolina and restored to its original oak finish.
      “It was time to give the church a fresh look,” said Milka Santos, an advancement director at Scared Heart School.
      All the money was donated, Santos said.
      While Sacred Heart was closed, services were held in Madonna Hall.
      Now, Sacred Heart is ready for its coming out party, of sorts, as the renovations are complete. The Most Reverend Bishop Gerald Barbarito will rededicate the church. [NOTE: the dedication ceremony was held on 9/27/ last year.]
If you wish, you can also follow the church on Twitter:

Friday, March 11, 2016

[UPDATE!] Candidate on the ballot said it's time to "start striking fear, shooting down all cops we see by their selves [sic]."

[UPDATE: The Anarchist Ryan Hartman has finally responded after first denying he made those terribly inflammatory comments. Here is an excerpt:
Comments I made about the police in the heat of the moment were unnecessary.
A slight understatement, no? It's also interesting to note that Hartman apologized but Frank McAlonan, his partner on the slate, still has not apologized for his campaign. McAlonan is challenging Lake Worth Commissioner Andy Amoroso for the District 3 seat. Anyhow, back to Hartman, who do you think contributed to Hartman's (or tongue-in-cheek, "The Golden Boy's") campaign so far? You might be surprised. Or not. See the list at the bottom of this blog post. If you didn't know, his campaign has been anything but "Grassroots". Certainly not what you'd expect from a 'radical'. Here is what Hartman is apologizing for, a blog post from last Tuesday:]

Here are just two of many quotes about the police from the Anarchist candidate on the ballot in Lake Worth:
"It's time you guys know that we are no longer playing around with the police departments. Aurora and Denver we are about to start striking fear, shooting down all cops that we see by their selves [sic]."
[and. . .]
"Happy FXXX The Police Day! Remember children. All Cops Are Bastards! Have a great day!"
Here is a mailer recently sent to Lake Worth residents from the Palm Beach County Police Benevolent Association:
If the PBC Police Benevolent Assoc. is concerned then so should you. It's your family, home, and property that's at stake on election day.
In case you didn't know, the Anarchist that knocks on your door looks much different now. He covers up his tattoos, removed the bolt earring, looks clean and well-dressed, and smiles a whole lot.

Do you remember when the issue of the homeless was the only thing Hartman cared about, ignoring all the other important issues the City has to deal with? Since then he's moved on to other distractions and wedge issues to divide the community and neighborhoods.
With all the issues our City needs to address do we need more of the same dysfunction from the past?
Here is a list of the campaign contributors to "The Golden Boy's" campaign:
  • JoAnn Golden
  • Other people named "Golden" from New York and New Jersey
  • Kathleen McGiveron
  • Lynn Anderson (aka, The Obtuse Blogger [TOB])
  • Lawrence McNamara
  • Steven Ellman
  • And a few others I won't list. But, you can see all the contributors using this link to the City's website.

Announcement from the Town of Palm Beach regarding the Lake Worth Bridge:

The Lake Avenue (Lake Worth) Bridge will have the outside lane closed, 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., eastbound, Monday, March 14, and westbound, Tuesday, March 15, for work order repairs.

(The City of Lake Worth should be getting this information out as well.)

A story idea for those in the media trolling for 'news' in the little City of Lake Worth

Thus far believe only The Lake Worth Herald has reported on this. If there were other reports feel free to send them to me. My email address is in the right-hand column of this blog. Below are two excerpts from the Herald: 
     The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office completed “Operation Street Sweeper II" on February 19. The Narcotics Unit of PBSO and District 14 collaborated on the operation.
     According to an e-mail from District 14 Capt. Todd Baer, the operation netted 20 prostitutes, many on felony charges The operation snagged 42 people overall on 56 charges, most of which were for the sale of drugs.
     According to the email, many of those arrested are career criminals and Baer said PBSO will be working with the State Attorney to ensure prosecution to the fullest extent of the law.
[and. . .]
     Baer wrote, “This was a city-wide operation which should make a difference in the community."

Low-lights and Highlights from the HRPB Review and Approval of the Gulfstream Hotel Redevelopment Project

What follows (video below) is a series of video segments taken from last Wednesday night's meeting of the Historic Resource Preservation Board (HRPB) meeting. It included the Certificate of Appropriateness request for changes to the existing historic hotel building and the additions on the western half of the property (hotel annex, parking garage, connection to the historic hotel, in addition to the demolition of two existing structures on the site*).

You can watch the entire Gulfstream portion of the meeting by clicking here. The HRPB approved all the requests and each with a substantial list of conditions added.

I put this video together to demonstrate the absurdity by the opponents of the project. Those speaking against the project as a whole, or specific portions of it, included Lynda Mahoney, JoAnn Golden and Richard Stowe. After each of their comments, I provide (in the video) the correction of facts on what actually is being proposed to counter their public complaints. It should be noted that Lynda Mahoney and JoAnn Golden are parties in a lawsuit that are suing the City and the Gulfstream hotel over the height which you can read about here.

There is something very interesting about the dynamics of the meeting that you do not catch on the video. Both Ms. Mahoney and Ms. Golden did not stay long enough to hear the responses to their complaints or comments. The two of them left around 7:20 p.m. Shortly thereafter, in a sort of changing-of-the-shift pattern, Richard Stowe arrived a few minutes after they left. He did not have the opportunity to hear or see the presentation about the details of the project that preceded his comments. I am also not entirely sure if Stowe was there to hear Mr. Waters' (the director of Lake Worth's Dept. of Sustainability) response to his concerns raised and aspersions cast. Note that Mr. Stowe brought up the "canyon effect" again from 2013:
This image was distributed in Lake Worth prior to the 'heights vote' in 2013 to confuse the voters. That vote was later declared "null and void" by the state legislature.
Also, suffice to say that any rooftop changes that were alluded to for the historic hotel does not increase the building's non-conforming status as it relates to height. The project also meets a series of requirements in the land development regulations related to green building standards and is designed in anticipation of sea level rise. And it is also not a full-block, single-building development that would be counter to the development pattern that makes up Lake Worth's downtown. And the Gulfstream hotel will have solar panels on its roof.
*Note that these two buildings have already been approved for demolition but those approvals expired and had to be re-submitted.

[UPDATE] The Palm Beach Post located in West Palm Beach trashes city of West Palm Beach (and do you know who prints the Post?)

UPDATE: Zach Dennis is one of the social media content staff at The Palm Beach Post. Well, he's done it again like the doozy he came up with in January that you can read about below. This time he writes about crime in Lake Worth and this information has already been debunked! He's relying on flawed data from a real estate data site from Connecticut that doesn't understand Lake Worth Zip Codes. Believe it or not, if Dennis stumbled across this blog post he would have learned more about data collection and Garbage In Garbage Out (GIGO). 

Is this the new standard for the news as the Post stumbles head first into the new age of 'newspaper' reporting as beat reporters become a thing of the past? Anyhow, read on about Dennis' social media 'research' about the dating scene in West Palm Beach which was published in January:

Here is an article in Palm Beach County's paper of record, The Palm Beach Post:
      For those looking to travel and find love, West Palm Beach may not be the place to go. [emphasis added]
     The Palm Beach County city was named the fifth least sexy city in the United States, according to a survey by travel dating site that was published by college news site Coed.
Of course, this "news" is complete nonsense—note the credible sources in the excerpt above. This 'data' is called data aggregation which can be summed up this way: Garbage In Garbage Out (GIGO). The City of Lake Worth was subjected to this silliness earlier in the year (remember Neighborhood Scout?). Here is another excerpt from the 'news' at the Post:
[I]t [West Palm Beach] was not seen favorably on lists ranking best performing metro areas and places to raise a family, which listed it near the bottom. [emphasis added]
     Read more at Coed.
Oh, by the way, do you know who the Post uses to print their newspapers? The Sun Sentinel in Broward County. Don't you think West Palm Beach would be a better community today if all those jobs had stayed in PBC instead of being farmed out to Broward County?

Political signs being vandalized in Lake Worth—But whatever you do, don't get angry! Call 561-398-8340

Spread the Word! Lake Worth Commissioner Amoroso's political signs are being vandalized and part of the reason is to make you angry. Don't get angry. Call Commissioner Amoroso at 561-398-8340 and tell him you want another of his signs.

There are several tactics the Anarchists in Lake Worth employ. They steal signs or cut the metal supports and there are other methods they use as well. One of the ways you can look at this is the Anarchists see Commissioner Amoroso as a real threat and they are trying to damage his campaign for re-election. That means he is being truly effective.

Stealing and vandalizing political signs from private property is a CRIME.

If you had a political sign in your yard and it was stolen or vandalized you can also call the PBSO non-emergency number 561-688-3400 to report it. Whoever stole your political sign trespassed on your property and is disrespecting your right to Free Speech.

A candidate for Mayor in Lake Worth and the campaign reports get curiouser and curiouser

A look back to a campaign report in February. . .

Never has a legitimate candidate for Mayor submitted a Waiver of Report, meaning that there have been no donations or expenditures within 45 days before an election. You can always file an amended report but this seems to be a way to hide what is really going on with the campaign. Diane Jacques is the same candidate that has missed more candidate forums than she has made. This is from someone who has already submitted three amendments to her initial Treasurer's Report. This is the most coherent one. All that we can tell from this is that JoAnn Golden was her only contributor, other than herself.
This campaign report is from January 1st to the 31st. No activity at all?
Through February 12th Jacques' campaign has brought in a total of $555. She has signs, fliers, etc. How does that happen? Here is the first page of her latest campaign report:
Note the total contributions to date vs. the expenditures.
Lake Worth Mayor Pam Triolo has two challengers: Diane Jacques and Gary Antieau. Antieau's last campaign report shows zero (0) contributions. Is there just so little support for these candidates or is there an issue with transparency?

Check your mailbox! The endorsements keep rolling in for "The Three" incumbents in Lake Worth and stay excited!

Volunteers will be very much appreciated by Mayor Pam Triolo, Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell, and Commissioner Andy Amoroso prior to and on March 15th, election day. Sign wavers will be needed, door knockers, people to ride around dropping off water and food for volunteers, and many other activities. Here is a link to find all their contact information.

Remember, in the days leading up to election day a big effort will be made to depress voter turnout by trying to make you disgusted with politics. Don't fall for this! Stay excited and if you happen to come across another blog that trashes Lake Worth constantly just read it like you would any nonsense: just laugh or chuckle and then go about your day.

Below is just one of many endorsement for "The Three". Check back later to this blog for that long list over the weekend. And did you know they were all also endorsed by the Post? That is indeed true.
The image above is a Paid electioneering communication paid for by Firefighter FACT PAC, 2328 S. Congress Ave., Ste 2-C, West Palm Beach, FL 33406

This week's editorial in The Lake Worth Herald endorsing the re-election of Mayor Triolo, Vice Mayor Maxwell, and Commissioner Amoroso

"The City of Lake Worth has suffered financially from a low tax base for many years. Until four years ago, when a commission majority decided to take the bull by the horns and fix the problems keeping investment from coming to Lake Worth, there was virtually no investment in Lake Worth for many years.
     The Codes in Lake Worth were prohibitive to development. The commission majority has worked hard to make fair Code Ordinances and investment is coming in. This will increase the tax base and relieve the burden on the residential tax payer.
     Code violations ran rampant throughout the city. Now, violators are being held to the carpet to improve conditions. Empty buildings went unprotected from intrusion by squatters who used them for drugs and prostitution in the middle of family neighborhoods. Now, the city boards them up and puts the fine on the tax bill making it more difficult for slumlords to skip paying the fines.
     Electric Utility rates were among the highest in the state, now they sit around the fourth lowest in the State and are showing signs of going even lower due to the work of the sitting commission majority.
     This commission majority has worked extremely hard to put Lake Worth in a favorable position with the County and State to receive grant monies to assist with infrastructure and economic development, which is adding to the tax base, money that can be used to fix the roads in the city.
     It is not as easy as saying lets take the money from the Park of Commerce and fix the roads. The grant money earmarked for the Park of Commerce is matching grant money for jobs and economic development. The City must spend first and then the grant kicks in.
     The Community Development Block Grant money sat unused by the previous commission and was almost taken back by the County before this commission majority put it to work for its intended purposes. The money has been used for sidewalks, green ways and paving streets that had never been paved, to make the neighborhoods safer to walk and bike for children and adults.
     The majority of the progress Lake Worth is experiencing has come at the dissension of Commissioner Christopher McVoy for four years and now he has an ally on the commission who on most votes of dissension just agrees with McVoy, Commissioner Ryan Maier is a disciple of Joanne Golden, one of the leaders of the commission that produced zero investment in Lake Worth by producing disincentives to development.
     The challengers to the incumbents all find fault with the progress Lake Worth is experiencing and side with McVoy and Maier. Hence, not re-electing Mayor Pam Triolo, Commissioner Scott Maxwell and Commissioner Andy Amoroso will bring Lake Worth to a screeching halt."

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Besides the Post endorsements what other news of interest to Lake Worth residents was in the paper on Wednesday, March 9th?

There were three articles in the paper on Wednesday (3/9) that will be of great interest to residents of Lake Worth besides the endorsement for Mayor Triolo, Vice Mayor Maxwell, and Commissioner Amoroso. See that news below this image:
The Post published strong endorsements for "The Three" incumbents running for re-election in Lake Worth.
Here is the news that appeared in the Local section you may have missed. The Fun Depot on 10th Ave North has plans for a major expansion. From the article:
     “We’ve been really trying to update our facility and make it look really nice,” Nabhan [Eddie Nabhan, Fun Depot’s chief operating officer] said. “What we’re doing now is the next step in our renovation.”
The latest news on the PBSO takeover of the Greenacres PD and the City of Lake Worth is mentioned several times. Here is an except: 
     Many residents in Lake Worth, Greenacres’ neighbor, rave about PBSO, pointing to, for instance, the “Make The Call Y’all” community program that encourages residents to report suspicious activity.
     Lake Worth merged with the sheriff’s office in 2008. “It was the best move Lake Worth ever did,” resident Greg Rice said at the Aug. 10 meeting.
And Eliot Kleinberg has this news about John Prince Park that's located just outside the City of Lake Worth's municipal limits:
     Work is set to begin soon on a $2.1 million “mound circle” pavilion at Palm Beach County’s John Prince Park, west of Lake Worth.
     Palm Beach County Commissioners, at their meeting Tuesday, approved the contract for the 1-year project. New features include five gazebos, a five-bay dog park, and renovations of the existing cricket field, as well as new landscaping and parking.
If you have more good news about Lake Worth, Greenacres, or areas in between the two cities in the Lake Worth Corridor (or suburban Lake Worth) here is how you contact the Post's beat reporter:
Twitter: @kevindthompson1

Do you live in the little City of Lake Worth and remember getting this in the mail?

Do you remember getting something like this in the mail?
This mailer you received has information on where to vote on election day.
Many people who live between Dixie Hwy. and I-95 were directed to the wrong polling location. Many of them got frustrated and went home. This had a tremendous impact on the "LW2020" Bond Vote that failed in 2014.*
The mailer will look like this with the address of your polling location.
*If you're new to the City or just want that pothole in front of your home fixed you can read why the "LW2020" bond failed by just a few votes.

Important news if you're going to the Tree Board meeting tonight— Commissioner Shelly Vana has exciting information!

You need to pick up an issue of The Lake Worth Herald for this vital information. Not certain if the Lake Worth Tree Board knows about this or not. If the board doesn't they need to consider adding this to the agenda tonight and start the discussion on how to move forward. Here are excerpts from Commissioner Vana's Palm Beach County Commission Update in this week's Herald:
     Some great news from Palm Beach County’s Environmental Resources Management Dept.
     Through our Pollution Recovery Trust Fund there is an educational program called Native Canopy Education Program that started in March of 2014 for a two year program.  I am pleased to say this program as of our March 1, 2016 has been extended for another two years
     This program provides environmental education and native plant materials to our residential property owners. The materials provide an effective method in preserving Florida’s native vegetation which may be otherwise unknowingly removed. 
     Native Plant Canopies help combat air pollution, control storm water runoff and also helps the county in meeting goals in the Regional Climate Action Plan to earn points in the county’s effort to upgrade its Green Local Government certification. 
[and. . .]
     [F]or additional great offers this program supports that include native tree voucher/ tree giveaways at select events provided by the Native Canopy Education Program. Happy Gardening!
Today, Thursday (3/10) the Tree Board is meeting in the City Hall conference room (next to where the City Commission meets) at 5:30. The meetings are typically short and here is what they are tasked with doing:
[E]stablishes policy and provides standards within the City Landscape Ordinance for tree preservation. Policy includes educational materials (proper planting, pruning, and insect and disease control), permit guidelines, and City tree sale program.
Try to attend the Tree Board meeting tonight. This can be a way for someone who has an interest to "test the waters", so to speak, watch and maybe even participate in a City board meeting. Below is this week's agenda:
City Hall Conference Room, 7 North Dixie Highway
Thursday, March 10 at 5:30 PM
Pledge of Allegiance
January 5, 2016, January 14, 2016, February 11, 2016
Advisors report
11th Annual Festival of Trees - Sat. Feb. 13, 2016 - post event discussion & 2017 date selection
Tree Board Talk - Thurs. April 7, 2016
OLD BUSINESS: Landscape ordinance discussion
Note: One or more members of any board, authority or commission may attend and speak at any meeting of another city board, authority or commission.

Final Review of the Gulf Stream Hotel renovation plans by the Lake Worth Historic Resource Preservation Board (HRPB)

Below is a playlist of videos from last night's HRPB meeting. The board reviewed and approved the Certificate of Appropriateness applications related to changes to the existing historic hotel, the new addition on the west side of the property and a parking garage. They also approved the demolition of two structures on the property to make way for the redevelopment project. I will be pulling out selected sections of the meeting. Check back to this blog later and, as always, Thank You for visiting my blog.

At the top, left in the video is an icon with "1/5". That is how you switch to watch different videos and other portions of the meeting. If you wish, you can become a subscriber of my YouTube channel using this link. You'll get updates when new videos are added.

It needs to be said that the all-volunteer board, staff and applicant showed a high degree of cooperation and professionalism throughout this entire process.

Another message from Lake Worth Mayor Pam Triolo on hitting the streets on the re-election campaign

"I spent the weekend going door to door in Lake Worth joined by my secret weapon: my Dad.
We had a blast, and hopefully we changed a few minds along the way. Now it’s time for us to use our second secret weapon. . . getting out to vote early! Cast your vote early at these two locations just minutes away:
  • Supervisor of Elections Office at 240 Military Trail in West Palm Beach
  • Lantana Branch Library at 4020 Lantana Road in Lantana
These polling locations are open from now until Sunday, March 13th, from 10am–6pm. If you have any questions, reach out to me personally at (561) 247-3713.

Thank you for your continued support and together we’re going to keep Lake Worth moving forward!
—Mayor Pam
Political Advertisement paid for and approved by Pam Triolo for Mayor

More facts about Lake Worth's recent Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant for $1.4 million

If you haven't been following this recent news read more using this link. The City of Lake Worth has a newsletter called, "Worth Noting" you can sign up for using this link. It only takes a few seconds to have future news delivered to your email inbox.

Here are more facts from the most recent newsletter (2/23) about the EDA grant the City recently received for the Park of Commerce:
  • This money is specifically for economic development, meaning that it cannot be used for neighborhood streets or residential improvements.
  • Likewise, residents should know that their property taxes will not contribute to the project.
  • Businesses in the Park of Commerce will pay taxes to the City of Lake Worth, bringing additional revenue to the City.
And more information:

     "Winning an award from the EDA is extremely competitive. At the time of announcement, Lake Worth was one of only three winners nationwide. Although the City has applied for the grant before, the 'homework' had not been completed making it virtually impossible for the City to receive grant funding.
     In order to be eligible for an EDA grant, a project must be 'shovel-ready.' This means that all engineering design work, engineering and environmental reports, and cost analysis had to be completed. These documents must be forwarded to the State of Florida Clearinghouse for approval by the various affected agencies. Further, the City had to indicate that it had the ability to contribute to the project.
     An important part of the application process was inclusion in the regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, or CEDS. The federal government only provides grants to projects that are beneficial to the region. Lake Worth worked with the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council to demonstrate how the development and job creation in the Park of Commerce was not only good for the city and its residents, but also the region as a whole."

And the City of Lake Worth is also on Twitter:

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

On the Palm Beach Post endorsement of "The Three" incumbents: Mayor Triolo, Vice Mayor Maxwell and Commissioner Amoroso:

Stay excited about this news!. . . til about the middle of the afternoon today. Don't want to be a buzzkill, but there's still a lot of work to be done. So click your heels if you feel like it, whistle a show tune, go all out and treat yourself to an awesome lunch, or watch this video a few times and sing along, "Hallelujah"!
Check back later for my thoughts on this latest election development.

There's another important meeting tonight at City Hall concerning the Gulfstream hotel redevelopment. It would be real nice to see another big turnout from the community to support this important project. For more on this read the following blog post.

Once again, Thank You for visiting my blog, Wes.

A meeting tonight about the Gulfstream hotel—Something to stay excited about!

Take note: A very important meeting is tonight at City Hall (Wednesday, 3/9 at 6:00) at the Lake Worth Historic Resource Preservation Board (HRPB). We'll need another big turnout in support for our historic downtown hotel. Use this link and scroll down for the HRPB items and all the links to different items on the agenda.

An effort by some malcontents is being made to confuse the public in Lake Worth. They're trying to link the Lake Worth beach issues with the Gulfstream hotel. Don't let this tactic distract you from the focus and the goal—restoring the historic hotel and moving this crucial project forward is key. The issues at the beach (the latest being the Greenwashing of the project beginning in 2009), as unsettling and concerning as they are, are a totally separate issue.

Enjoy the video below with old pictures of the hotel and images from the new site plan:
Stay tuned for more information to come following this meeting and also updates on the redevelopment plan as it evolves and moves through the process. Once again, STAY EXCITED!

CBS12's Chuck Weber news segment on "Long-discussed commerce park gets big boost for city of Lake Worth"

Here is a link to the news segment and an excerpt from the text of the story:
     This week the effort to expand and improve the Lake Worth Park of Commerce cleared a major hurdle.
     "We need a shot in the arm here in our tax base, so that we can take care of ourselves and be financially sustainable," said Lake Worth City Manager Michael Bornstein. "This is a great way to do it."
[emphasis added]
For years, a variety of businesses and industries has inhabited the area immediately west of I-95, between 10th Avenue North and Lake Worth Road. But leaders in the city and county, have long looked at the district for its potential of creating more jobs and boosting the tax base.
     "This has been around probably 20 years, people have talked about this spot," Bornstein said.
     But only now are things moving forward.
To learn more about the Park of Commerce use this link.

Traffic news in Lake Worth: Construction continues on the FEC right of way for the future Brightline passenger train service

For more information (contact information, road closures, and detours) use this link. Here are the upcoming road closures in Lake Worth:
  • 17th Avenue North until Friday, March 11, 6:00 PM
  • 10th Avenue North until Friday, March 11, 6:00 PM
  • 7th Avenue North, Friday, March 11, 7:00 AM until Monday, March 14, 6:00 PM
  • 3rd Ave North, Tuesday, March 15, 7:00 AM until Friday, March 18, 6:00 PM
  • 6th Ave South, Sunday, March 20, 7:00 AM until Thursday, March 24, 6:00 PM
  • 10th Ave South, Friday, March 25, 7:00 AM until Monday, March 28, 6:00 PM

If you get your news from TV you need to watch NBC5/WPTV (and CBS12 shows again why they're the worst)

Here's the news from WPTV about the shootings in Palm Beach County last night (3/8). Even ABC25/WPBF got it right and that's a big improvement. But CBS12/WPEC shows why they're the worst, once again, when it comes to getting locations correct in central Palm Beach County:
PALM BEACH COUNTY (CBS12) — The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office is investigating three separate shootings that occurred late Tuesday evening.
     The shootings happened at 320 Kirk Road, 5639 Orange Road and Greenacres Bowling Inc. in Lake Worth.
My review of TV news is holding up the test of time. When it comes down to being accurate about location, hands down WPTV is the best and WPEC is the worst.

Where is the Greenacres Bowl bowling alley located? In Greenacres, of course. Unless you get your news from CBS12 who is "the one to turn off".

The Lake Worth District 3 race and the campaign contribution numbers that will surprise you, especially if you're concerned about "outsiders"

Lake Worth Commissioner Andy Amoroso has a challenger in the upcoming election on March 15th and that candidate, a recent resident to Lake Worth from Delray Beach, Frank McAlonan, has been doing some real dirty campaigning and getting lower the closer we get to election day. Like this recent 'information' approved by the candidate:
Commissioner Amoroso did not send money to the Park of Commerce. Read the truth here.
This is the type of campaign McAlonan is running to win a City Commission seat in Lake Worth? Does he know anything about the LW2020 bond vote that failed by just 25 votes and it's many of his very own campaign supporters who worked so hard to defeat that vote in 2014? He probably doesn't being a new City resident.

Well, guess what? How about this for some perspective: What percentage of McAlonan's political contributions thus far came from people outside of Lake Worth? 70%. That's right. 70%. How much from outside contributors to Commissioner Amoroso's campaign? Just about 50%.

To keep things fair am only going to analyze the last 4 campaign reports and not include any contributions to Amoroso's campaign prior to January 6th. This will be an analysis of just the reports submitted since McAlonan entered the race for a seat on the City Commission.

There are 4 campaign reports you can see for yourself on the City's website. Just scroll down and look for the candidate's name and the reports are listed underneath. The four campaign reports are the M12 (contributions from December, last year), the M1 (the first report in 2016), then the G1 and G2.

Let's look at McAlonan's M12 from January 11th kicking off his campaign*:
  • $350 from Lake Worth† (2 contributors)
  • $3,200 from outside Lake Worth (6 contributions from Jupiter, Pompano Beach, etc. Interesting isn't it?)
When you add up all the contributions from all the campaign reports the numbers look a little better but not by much. You can clearly see that outsiders are the major backers of McAlonan's campaign:
  • $2,839 from 33 contributors in Lake Worth (with some contributing twice)
  • $6,660 from outside Lake Worth by 34 contributors
The disparity is hard not to notice. About 70% of McAlonan's political contributions are from outsiders who probably have no idea what the issues are in Lake Worth.

The total money raised thus far on the M12, M1, G1, and G2 are thus:
  • $9,499 by McAlonan
  • $28,867 by Commissioner Amoroso
Here are the totals from Amoroso's campaign reports:
  • $14,717 from inside Lake Worth (114 contributors)
  • $14,150 from outside Lake Worth, 67 contributors (includes money that follows endorsements)
Do you need a calculator? You can clearly see the pattern here in comparison with McAlonan's campaign contributions.

Commissioner Amoroso clearly has more and broader support within the City of Lake Worth and that shows in the broad range of contributions from the residents throughout the City and from the business community as well. McAlonan is counting on the support from many outside the City of Lake Worth and that begs the question: What are these outsiders hoping to get in return for their support?

In another interesting twist the campaign reports for the Anarchist Ryan Hartman show nearly the same trend in numbers: Nearly 70% of his political contributions are from outside Lake Worth! So much for a grassroots campaign. If you didn't know, the Anarchist is challenging Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell for a seat on the City Commission.

Check back later and you might be interested in the people who are funding the Anarchists campaign and who are also funding McAlonan. Now that is very interesting. Stay tuned.
*If anyone decides to crunch the numbers and comes up with a different result, let me know. I'll review the numbers for accuracy. If your plan is to quibble over a percentage point going one way or another, don't bother. Contributions include monetary and in-kind. Note that the final campaign reports will be posted online March 11th.
†For this analysis am using the standard set by ABC25/WPBF and CBS12/WPEC. As long as the address is "Lake Worth" it doesn't matter if the contribution is inside the actual City of Lake Worth or just the postal address.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

It's Time for a Laugh! (But get ready for the buzzkill. Sorry. But there's still that bond vote that failed by just 25 votes in 2014.)

Please watch the video for a few laughs. But beware, there are sobering words that follow. The Other Blogger (TOB) is pretty funny isn't she! Oh. And about the "NO BEACH LEASE!"? on the T-shirt? There is no "Beach Lease" being talked about mostly because the structure is in such terrible shape. The second floor space is still empty because of water damage and intrusion. We recently learned the structure was greenwashed and has other significant problems.

TOB is part of that group that says "No" to just about everything. "No" to the Gulf Stream hotel coming back to life, "No" to the Park of Commerce that will add tax money to the City's coffers, and they also said "No" to the 'LW2020' bond that would have made your life more tolerable in Lake Worth with better streets and adequate street lighting. I and many others worked very hard to get people to vote "YES!" for the bond in 2014. But by just 25 votes that effort failed and, ergo, why our City of Lake Worth still has so many roads that need to be repaved.

There's a chance on March 15th to set all this right and send a strong message to the obstructionists here in the City. On March 15th vote for Mayor Pam Triolo, Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell, and Commissioner Andy Amoroso.

PBSO targets gangs in Greenacres: The word about the PBSO takeover of the Greenacres PD is finally getting out!

You can learn why Lake Worth switched to PBSO using this link. The City's police department lost control over the gangs and PBSO solved the problem.

Now comes a news segment from Michael Buczyner at WPEC/CBS12 that's finally getting the word out:
Here is text from the news segment:
GREENACRES (CBS12) — The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office is already cleaning up the streets in Greenacres, one month after taking over.
     CBS12 has learned deputies just wrapped up a 7-day gang enforcement initiative.
     "The more crime we can fight, the better off. If we can keep our kids from crime, that's the best goal," [emphasis added] Mayor Sam Ferreri said.
Now it's just a question of how long it's going to take for the Post article to hit the print edition. My guess it will be Wednesday, March 16th or later. 

"Hmmm, I want Mayor Triolo, Vice Mayor Maxwell, and Commissioner Amoroso to get re-elected. How can I help?" It's easy!

NOTE: It's too late to make a campaign contribution but you'll find the contact information you need below:

"The Three" that make up the majority on the City of Lake Worth's City Commission are all up for re-election. There are many ways you can help to keep the majority in place and keep the City moving forward. You can request a yard sign(s), sign up to knock on doors, volunteer on election day, or help out in many other ways. But if you're too busy and still want to help out you can simply write a check. Below is all the information you need—How to write the check out and where to send it to:
To make a monetary contribution: Make a check payable to "Andy Amoroso Campaign Account" and send to: 600 Lake Ave., Lake Worth, FL 33460. Commissioner Amoroso can also be reached at 561-398-8340. Or, if you wish, you can drop off a check at the address above which is his downtown business (just west of Starbuck's in downtown Lake Worth).
To make a monetary contribution: Make a check payable to "Scott Maxwell Campaign Account" and send to: PO Box 13, Lake Worth, FL 33460
Political advertisement paid for and approved by Scott Maxwell for Lake Worth City Commission, District 1
To make a monetary contribution: Make a check payable to "Pam Triolo Campaign Account" and send to: 120 N. Federal Hwy., Suite 201, Lake Worth, FL 33460.
Paid Political Advertisement. Paid For And Approved by Pam Triolo for Mayor

Friederike Mittner's letter to Lake Worth's Historic Resource Preservation Board on 2/17 vis-à-vis the Gulfstream hotel redevelopment

"I am unfortunately not able to attend this evenings proposal of the Gulfstream redevelopment project but wanted to submit my support via e-mail. I am writing solely as an almost 18 year homeowner in Lake Worth, however I am also a historic preservation professional with significant involvement at the local, state and national level.

I have reviewed the preliminary plans and believe the size, scale, mass and architectural elements are compatible with the Gulfstream, the surrounding properties and the historic district at large. I strongly encourage this board to unanimously approve this project and support its success.

Preservation is not about freezing buildings in time but providing guidance for a thoughtful balance of historic structures and related new construction that lead to viable and operational buildings.

Kindly, Friederike Mittner"

To read more about Friederike Mittner use this link.

Monday, March 7, 2016

In response to a candidate's bizarre claim about Lake Worth Commissioner Andy Amoroso

This was the message on one side of a mailer sent out by the candidate running for the District #3 seat, Frank McAlonan, who you may recall has gotten 70% of his campaign contributions from outside Lake Worth:
This mailer from McAlonan's backers is "throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks." And note there's no mention of where that "$5 million" came from other than someone's imagination.
I still can't figure out where this "$5 million" comes from, other than from desperation leading up to the election on March 15th. The City did receive grant money in the amount of $1.3 million from the Economic Development Administration and is waiting on additional money from the state legislature for the same purpose. The money will be used as a strategic economic development investment in the Park of Commerce so that the burden on residential taxpayers will be less. However, this money cannot be used on our residential streets and is tied to investment and job creation. Read more about that using this link.

This mailer (image above) is akin to throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks. It doesn't have to be true or even make sense.

Something dawned on me over the weekend. It happened during an exchange on the Lake Worth Voice Facebook page. It followed a comment made by a former commissioner about the money raised in the current election cycle. I won't repeat it here, but if you are on Facebook you can check it out yourself.

As the thread went on, I recalled when I made the motion as a member of the CRA board to apply for the $23 million in NSP2 monies that were available at the time. Both the City and the CRA were eligible to apply for the funds. Leading up to the grant application's deadline, it became apparent that the City administration (Susan Stanton was the city manager in September 2009) and the City Commission (which included Cara Jennings, JoAnn Golden, and Susan Mulvehill) had demonstrated no interest in assisting the CRA or applying for the grant money itself. Wanting to make sure Lake Worth didn't miss out on this opportunity to address slum and blight in a big way the CRA went ahead and made the application itself, without any help from the City Commission at the time.

As I was chatting on this Facebook thread a former commissioner, Cara Jennings, claimed that she "never opposed" the NSP monies. It should also be added that she never did anything to promote the City filing its own application either. She went on to say that she thought that boards that handle a lot of money should be filled with persons who had been elected and not appointed. And this is consistent with what we hear from JoAnn Golden who unsuccessfully attempted to have the Commission take over the CRA's responsibilities and disband its appointed members on three separate occasions.

The point here is that an application for the $23 million in NSP2 money would never have been made had we relied on our elected officials at the time.

In fact, as a "Thank You" to the CRA making the application for $23 million in federal monies for OUR NEIGHBORHOODS, the Commission convened again (led by then-Commissioner Golden) in the last attempt to wrestle control of the CRA. Fortunately that failed to happen and the CRA was awarded the NSP2 monies in January of 2010. Since then, every candidate from both sides has fallen all over themselves claiming responsibility for applying and receiving this federal grant that rehabilitated over 160 houses and gave us our Artist Lofts project.

Commissioner Amoroso was Vice-Chairman of the CRA when the agency received the award and had a significant hand in overseeing staff and the successful distribution of this $23 million grant targeted to improving the housing stock in some of our most blighted neighborhoods. Lake Worth was one of 63 local government and agencies that received this grant.

It is more than a little disingenuous for McAlonan's "backers" to suggest that money was diverted from being invested in our residential neighborhoods. You really can't blame the candidate as he just became a resident in July 2014 and is clearly being fed a string of stories that he doesn't have the time or the inclination to investigate. Remember, these are the same people he will be answering to if he is elected over our incumbent Commissioner Amoroso.

Neighborhood meeting in Lake Worth TODAY (Monday, 3/7) at 7:00: Everyone is welcome to attend

The details, location and time, are at the end of this blog post.
Want to learn more about this volunteer group that helps neighborhoods in Lake Worth? To read the history, purpose, and accomplishments of the Neighborhood Association Presidents Council (NAPC) visit this site. Also there is a calendar of meetings and contact information. Here is the NAPC Facebook page and an excerpt about this volunteer group:
     The City of Lake Worth is unique for many reasons. High on the list is the number of active and involved Neighborhood Associations that share common challenges as well as strategies and projects to address those challenges. Before the NAPC was formed in 2007, each neighborhood worked independently to organize, engage and represent their neighbors. That meant that the same wheel was often re-invented over and over again.
     The Neighborhood Association Presidents Council is made up of Presidents from each of our Member Associations or their delegated representative. We meet once a month to share information and strategies that have proven successful for some of us so that all of us have the benefit of our combined experience.
     From individual neighborhood clean-ups to city wide efforts like the Little Free Library project, neighborhood street banners, crime walks, neighborhood watch programs and more, Council Members work together to make every corner of Lake Worth a place we can all be proud to call our home.
As always, if you see anything suspicious going on here is what you do:
Here is the information about the meeting being held on Monday*:
     "Greetings Friends and Neighbors of Tropical Ridge Neighborhood Association (TRNA). There will be a meeting on Monday, March 7th at 7:00 pm in the Lake Worth Towers, 1500 Lucerne Ave.
     Hope to see you all, Carolyn."
*Note: You do not have to be a member of TRNA to attend. Everyone is welcome to attend from any neighborhood in Lake Worth and anyone else who is interested that lives outside the City.

The intentional comingling of two separate but very important topics to create public confusion in Lake Worth: The City's beach and Gulfstream hotel

The blog post that follows is somewhat lengthy and you may want to read it in parts, or segments, at a time. Also included are details of the proposed Gulfstream hotel redevelopment project; the Historic Resource Preservation Board (HRPB) has a meeting this Wednesday (3/9) to finish up the last of the issues not addressed on February 17th. The upshot of this blog post is thus: Frank McAlonan, who is challenging Commissioner Andy Amoroso, is exploiting public confusion over "the beach" to cast a veil of suspicion over the Gulfstream hotel project. Ryan Hartman, the Anarchist candidate, is also engaged in the same tactic. Read below as I make my case and hopefully you'll make the right decision on March 15th, election day in Lake Worth.

The video below is from the Bryant Park candidate forum held on January 25th. The question asked was as follows:
"Do any of you really believe that there is going to be a private beach club and convention center at the beach? If so, what documentation do you have to support that?
In response the incumbents and candidates went down the line and answered, one-by-one, including the Anarchist candidate Ryan Hartman. They all said "No." Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell went further and said, "Over my dead body."

Then Frank McAlonan said the following:

There are many things that we can draw from this. The first is he didn't answer the question, other than to say he didn't have any evidence "right now." Would there be some evidence from "secret meetings" that he's already irresponsibly claimed? If you weren't aware, the chair of the Planning/Zoning board has asked for an apology from McAlonan. Inexplicably, he didn't know the Gulfstream hotel is going through the HRPB, not the Planning/Zoning Board. He then went on to accuse the staff and all-volunteer board of not being transparent. Complete nonsense.

Will this Wednesday be another in a long line of missed opportunities to explain himself? He's avoided any public comment thus far at any City meeting on any issue. Something the Palm Beach Post editorial board may want to address in their upcoming candidate endorsements maybe?

Back to the question asked above, he continued to not answer the question, but goes on about he's worked with a couple of developers in the past—no specifics. He points out how 'they' were lobbying for six stories, and that you don't "lobby for six stories and build two to five, or whatever that may be." Finally, he concludes that he doesn't know what 'they' have in mind. Nothing in his response related to the beach which was the question: McAlonan only focused on the Gulfstream hotel. Why?

The question was about the beach, remember, it was not about the historic Gulfstream hotel. The only thing this "lobbying" that McAlonan refers to was the rezoning that the hotel property owner requested. This ended up being reviewed by the HRPB who unanimously recommended to the City Commission approval of that request. It passed on a 3-2 vote that changed the western side of the Gulfstream property to Downtown Mixed use from Multifamily 30. That rezoning allowed a hotel of up to 65 feet if it has 50 or more rooms since it is east of Federal Hwy. and its future land use designation is already Downtown. How is that "lobbying to six stories"?

This is the same rezoning that is the subject of a lawsuit against the City of Lake Worth. This lawsuit was filed by three people, one of whom is former commissioner, JoAnn Golden. Just so we know where Ms. Golden is coming from, let's remember that she contributed $200, for starters, to candidate McAlonan's campaign. The image below is from a treasurer report filing from his campaign.
Now let's look at what is actually being proposed made possible through the hotel rezoning, that McAlonan referred to as "lobbying." This comes from the site plan that will be reviewed by the HRPB once again this Wednesday. First, here are two views of the hotel and its addition (you can see more detail in the images by clicking on them):
Looking on the right side you can see the proposed addition made possible by the rezoning. Notice the addition is set back farther than the historic hotel so the Gulfstream remains the "star" of the property.
You can see the proposed five (5) story structure at South Lakeside Drive and Lake Ave. To the right you see a rather diminutive (in scale) parking structure that is all of two (2) stories.
Below you can see the streetscape of the existing historic hotel building and the addition of the new hotel on the western side of the property (to the right). The graphic is more for illustration of how the buildings will work together.
These three buildings will be operating together and the linkage is provided at the second floor. The second floor of the new hotel will be about the same elevation as the historic hotel. If you study the elevations and measurements of both buildings you discover some interesting facts. Here is the historic hotel's north elevation alone with measurements by floor:
The Gulfstream hotel's second floor sits at just below 16 feet. Of course, this reflects the first floors use as common space for a lobby, restaurant and bar areas. That is six feet taller than the other residential scale floors above which contain the guest rooms. A hotel lobby typically has more volume to create a welcoming and uncrowded feeling. It also makes for a more pleasant and gracious environment.

Just for fun let's say the Gulfstream hasn't been at this location since 1925. If it were to be designed according to the null-and-void Charter amendment height limitation of 45 feet, the hotel would be a total of three (3) stories tall, unless you wanted a fourth floor that was 7 feet tall to its highest point, which would give you an unworkable ceiling height of maybe 6 feet at the most. With the addition of A/C and elevator towers on the roof, at that point you eliminate the possibility of a fourth floor entirely. At the proposed room layout of approximately 19 guest rooms per floor, that would leave you with a hotel of 38 rooms on two floors.

Here is an elevation drawing of the new building on the western half of the property, along with accompanying measurements:
The yellow highlight shows where the new building exceeds 45 feet which the new zoning allows on this parcel.
First of all, the proposed hotel building next to the Gulfstream is about 3′ shy of the maximum height (65') allowed by the Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Regulations. The building will have a first floor with a larger volume than the upper floors to correspond to the historic hotel to the east. The second floor elevation is a little over 15′. That leaves 30′ to fall below the now-"null-and-void" height Charter limitation of 45′. Again, adhering to that "null and void" limitation would eliminate a 'human-sized' fourth floor ceiling height. We would be left with only two floors of guest rooms. For a new building built to 45′ that would leave about 20 rooms per floor, or a total of 40 rooms. Thus, the number of proposed rooms would be reduced by 47, which is 45% less than what is designed for the new building with the 65′ height restriction.

That explains the issue alluded to in candidate McAlonan's answer to the question about the beach that turned out to be mostly all about the hotel. This is intentional misdirection and disinformation by the opposition to link their RED "hands off the beach" signs with the Gulfstream hotel. 
The question that was posed: "Do any of you really believe that there is going to be a private beach club and convention center at the beach? If so, what documentation do you have to support that?" Everyone answered "No", ergo there is no documentation either.
I am sure the tall tales being told to Lake Worth residents/voters does as much to confuse and blur the two issues as much as possible. This is to make it seem that "they", the owners of the Gulfstream hotel still have notions of doing something at the beach. 

As Mayor Pam Triolo explained after McAlonan's vague, non-answer, she stated clearly the beach WILL ALWAYS BE PUBLIC AND IT WILL ALWAYS BE OURS. And she explained that the City gets approached regularly with proposals to do things at the beach that are not currently there now. The City has to react to those proposals in some way and the Mayor reminded everyone that we can talk about whatever is proposed and "decide together."

Let the record show that the City Commission discarded, unanimously, any further discussion about additions to the beach and extinguished what was known as the ITN (Invitation To Negotiate process). That was the source of the "secret meetings" referred to last year and to others, including McAlonan, who repeat the mantra like trained parrots to this day. One more thing about those "secret" meetings: If they were secret, why do so many people know about them and what was said during them? I hope this clears some things up.  

Be wary of what you are hearing at the doors!

McAlonan is campaigning on a platform of fear of what could happen at the beach and is being supported by the same people that are suing the City to stop the Gulfstream hotel project. Do not base your decisions in the upcoming March elections on fear mongering. The future of our historic Gulfstream hotel depends on it. 

And I hope to see a big turnout at the HRPB meeting this Wednesday (3/9) starting at 6:00.