Saturday, June 3, 2017

The little City of Lake Worth sees an 11.27% rise in total taxable value.

“Our improvements and choices mean more and more people are choosing Lake Worth than ever before. If you haven’t been to Lake Worth lately you dont know what you’re missing!” 
City of Lake Worth Mayor Pam Triolo.

“This week the City of Lake Worth received news that the estimated total taxable value of the City had risen by 11.27% to $1,635,279,360.00 ($1.6 Billion). This rise in taxable property value reflects the hard work that has been put into the city in recent years and shows that it is becoming a more desirable place for investment and development.
     This rise in value was significantly more than the County average of 7.1% and among the county’s 39 cities Lake Worth was ranked 6th. This is not the first year of double-digit increases for the City, last year was 11.7% and the year before was 10.47%.
     With a steady upward trajectory the City of Lake Worth will continue to improve and become a more desirable place to call home for all residents.”

Thanks to Gov. Scott, yesterday was not a good day for our City of Lake Worth.

But our elected leaders need to turn those frowns upside down at the City Commission meeting next Tuesday.

Gov. Scott’s veto pen gutted our City’s Park of Commerce (POC) from the state budget. Again. This is the third time. Learned of this yesterday from a City commissioner.

If you’ve been following the news, other items as well were vetoed that would have given our City a big economic boost. So next Tuesday at the City Commission meeting we’re all going to hear the same speech from the same one’s we’ve all heard too many times before.

But this time those remarks about what the governor did need to be very brief. There’s too much work to do.

If at any time our City needs leadership, it’s now.

No more mixed messages coming from City Hall. There are major items coming up that will give our City major help fixing our budget woes and money gaps. All of these have to be given serious consideration.

Everyone on the City Commission was elected to make decisions. And many of those decisions will be very hard. If you oppose it, tell us why. Don’t delay just for the sake of delay. Don’t try and create more boards and levels of decision-making that delay things for weeks or even months at a time.

Our City has major problems. But our City also has incredible opportunities as well. It’s in times like these when the leaders lead. The public will be watching very closely. 

Lest we all forget, addressing revisionist history. . . our former Casino was not “renovated” and. . . what about the pool?

See what was left to “overhaul” at the site of the FORMER Casino building at the Beach.

The following photos were taken on July 25th, 2011.
“Hmmm. What was done to save the pool?”, you may wonder.

The municipal pool at the Beach is now closed for safety reasons: the facility is falling apart and crumbling.

In 2011, the pool and pool building were not part of this “renovation”. In October, 2010, the pool was shut down by former commissioners JoAnn Golden, Chris McVoy, PhD, et al.

Now the question is: Does the public even want a pool at the Beach any more? Or a pool somewhere else?


Ran across this blog some time back during a kerfuffle over a zoning issue here in the little City of Lake Worth. If you regularly attend planning or zoning meetings you will be amused, or in some cases, maybe not. The blog is by Dan Keshet in Austin, Texas called Austin On Your Feet.

The graphics he uses of the cats to make his point will get you thinking. Everyone who knows Dustin here in Lake Worth knows he will get much amusement from this as well:

 “Those 1,000 times you sat on your couch to support developments far away from you. . .”
“If you’re opposed, just tell us why. . .”

Here are four of the “9 things people always say at zoning hearings, illustrated by cats”:


Those 1,000 times you sat on your couch to support developments far away from you surely counterbalance that one time you came out to oppose your neighbor’s development.
     If you’re opposed, just tell us why; don’t go on about how you’re not a person that opposes things. [emphasis added]


The city notifies neighbors and registered civic organizations about upcoming permits. Developers seek out people they think might be affected. But it’s hard to know who is going to care and notifications are often thrown out. Don’t feel left out! If you’re at the hearing, you’re being heard. Just say what’s on your mind.


If council members haven’t learned economics by now, they’re not going to learn it from your three minute testimony.


For all the mean things people sometimes say about developers, a lot of folks seem to fashion themselves amateur land developers, with a keen eye on exactly what types of businesses will succeed or fail. As it turns out, those things coincide perfectly with the things they personally enjoy.

The above are 4 things people say at zoning hearings and there are 5 more to read on Mr. Keshet’s blog, all illustrated by cats. Anyone who goes to planning, zoning, or any meetings concerning development in this little City of Lake Worth, one example, will get a chuckle from this because it’s so very true. The first reason given above for opposing development is a particularly popular one here.

Most of what’s heard at public comment is pretty much the same everywhere in the country I would presume, especially concerning development, both for and against. For those with the proclivity for theatrics what’s different is the spin or verve in which the 2- or 3-minute comment is given.

Most people who sat or sit now on a dais and listen to public comment would agree with what’s pointed out in #1 above:

“If you’re opposed, just tell us why”.

Excellent point and couldn’t have said it better myself. Thank you, Mr. Keshet, and pass along my thanks to the cats too.

The City of “New Lake Worth”? “Lake Worth Beach”? “Jewell”? What reporter quoted an elected official. . .

“. . . Lake Worth is distinctive, with its walkable downtown and beach, and that the new name would create an ‘instantly recognizable brand for the city.’

Where did the quote above come from? Find out below.

Do you know where the western border of our City is and why our City needs a “recognizable brand”? Don’t feel bad. Most local reporters in the press and media don’t understand our municipal border either.

Do you know what the “Lake Worth Corridor” is? This unincorporated area has a profound effect on our City in both positive ways and very negative ways as well, e.g., crime is a major one. Learn more about area which includes Palm Beach County College, the local airport, and John Prince Park using this link.

The issue of changing the name of Lake Worth is nothing new. Remember Post reporter Willy Howard? He sat down with Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell to talk about changing the name of our City and the reasons why back in 2012. More about that below.

We can be “New Lake Worth”, “Lake Worth Beach”, or even “Jewell” (a historic name for this area prior to incorporation).
Should we let the voters decide, maybe by referendum? Tourists and visitors saw this sign back in the day when driving south on Dixie Hwy (U.S. 1).

The idea of changing the name of Lake Worth comes up from time to time. Interest seems to spike after a sensational but false news story “in Lake Worth” that isn’t in the City of Lake Worth.

There is no such thing as ‘western Lake Worth’. Or ‘West Lake Worth’ either.

That’s another completely false geographic designation by some in the news media who don’t like having to type out the extra few letters for “suburban Lake Worth”.

Back in April of 2016 was part of a conversation/debate about changing the name of Lake Worth and learned there were other discussions, albeit quietly, about bringing this up again. However, that “branding” effort went nowhere. Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell was the last one to make this a priority; here is an excerpt from a Willy Howard article in 2012:

     Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell is suggesting changing the city’s name to Lake Worth Beach to help distinguish Lake Worth from parts of unincorporated Palm Beach County that have Lake Worth mailing addresses. According to postal officials, places as far west as Wellington can use Lake Worth mailing addresses. 
     In a memo to the commission about the name change, Maxwell notes that crimes committed west of the city in unincorporated parts of Palm Beach County are sometimes reported by the media as happening in Lake Worth. Residents with Lake Worth mailing addresses who live west of the city mistakenly come to city hall seeking solutions to their problems.
     Maxwell said Lake Worth is distinctive, with its walkable downtown and beach, and that the new name would create an
instantly recognizable brand for the city.
     With the 100-year anniversary of the city next year and the opening of the renovated beach site and casino scheduled for this fall, he said, this is a good time to change the city
’s name.

and. . .

“The timing is just about right, Maxwell said. It kind of gives us a renewed sense of pride for the next 100 years.”

So. What do you think? About time for a “renewed sense of pride” here in this unique City for the next 100 years and generations to follow?

Heard a rumor about the “Blueway Trail”? Contact an expert (see below) with your questions and concerns.

Who owns land on each side of the canal, also called an easement or a right-of-way? Find out below following the video.
Ever been to Spillway Park in Lake Worth? Take Maryland Drive off N. Federal Hwy, the park is at the end of the street. Have you ever seen the Spillway (S-155) on the C-51 Canal up close? Have you heard a rumor. . .

Learn myth vs. FACT: To verify whether what you heard was true or not about the Blueway Trail, send your questions to:

Kim DeLaney, PhD, Director of Strategic Development and Policy, Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council. Use this link and fill out the “Contact form” to have your question answered.

Here is a video which gives a broad overview of the project:

Please take note: Many, even some homeowners along the C-51 Canal, believe their property lines is the waterline along the canal. Not true. The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) has an easement on both sides of the canal. An easement is, “a right held by one property owner to make use of the land of another for a limited purpose. . .”.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Presentation at next Tuesday’s City of Lake Worth Commission meeting:

“Item 5B. Presentation by Richard Reade, Village Manager of Palm Springs, on behalf of the Florida City & County Management Association, commemorating 80 years of the City’s Council-Management form of Government.”

A message from the Village:

“The Village Manager’s Office is here to assist our citizens, businesses, and stakeholders in any way that we can. Please contact us regarding any suggestions, comments, questions, and/or concerns that you may have.
     Thank you for visiting the Village of Palm Springs’ website. If you like what you see on our website, just wait until you visit our community. We believe that you will find that the Village of Palm Springs is a great place to live, work, and play!

Richard J. Reade
Village Manager”

Drew Martin had another Letter to the Editor published in The Palm Beach Post today!

Can you believe it? By the way, are you wondering why Drew Martin gets published so much in the Post? He knows the trick.

There is an excerpt from Mr. Martin’s letter below. By far he’s the most-published individual in the history of that newspaper: letters, commentaries, “Point of View”, quoted in news articles, you name it. Whether you like Mr. Martin or not, respect him or not, the fact is he’s a legend in the environmental community.

So imagine my surprise last year when the Broward/Palm Beach New Times published their list of the “The 19 Best Environmentalists in South Florida”. At the time, two of the 19 were from the City of Lake Worth: former-Commissioner Chris McVoy, PhD, and Mr. Peter ‘Panagioti’ Tsolkas.

But McVoy and Tsolkas weren’t the news when the New Times’ news came out.

The news that day is who wasn’t on the list: Drew Martin. Here are some of the others that did make the list:
  • Beam Furr
  • Guy Harvey
  • David Shiffman
  • David Fleshler
  • Michael Madfis
  • Kristin Jacobs
  • Christine Stapleton
  • Rachel Silverstein
  • Chris Brennan
  • Susan Hargreaves
  • Jenny Staletovich
Since “The List” was published Mr. Martin ran for a seat on the Palm Beach County Commission (he didn’t win), the Loxahatchee Sierra Club of which he is a member endorsed candidates for the 2015/2016 Lake Worth elections (they all lost), and he continues to attend virtually any and every meeting held by the County on any and every issue when it comes to the environment. However, most vexing of all, continues to ignore the question on this blog, “Waiting for a response to Eastward Ho!”.

Anyhow, here is an excerpt from Drew Martin’s letter in the Post today:

Alligators are our defense against invasive species such as pythons, iguanas and monitor lizards. Alligators and crocodiles are the top predators in the Everglades ecosystem. If we remove them, we will open the door to these other invasive species. While alligators may seem threatening, they are far less threatening than pythons.

Interestingly, haven’t seen any news lately about any organization or efforts to remove alligators from the Everglades, but there’s a whole lot of news from SFWMD lately about snakes though:

The South Florida Water Management District Governing Board is taking aggressive action to protect the Everglades and eliminate invasive pythons from its public lands.
     The Governing Board approved a pilot monetary compensation program to incentivize a limited number of public-spirited individuals to kill pythons. The program gives participants unprecedented access to SFWMD lands in an effort to remove these destructive snakes, which have become an apex predator in the Everglades.

The Gulfstream Hotel. Two memorable quotes from January 5th, 2016, almost 1½ years ago.

But first. . .

Did you know back in 2012 the Gulfstream Hotel had a security guard, every day, patrolling the property to monitor problems, report any issues, and to police the grounds of litter.
Any update from the City Commission? “At this time the City is still considering whether or not to pursue court costs from the losing party.”

“I have to tell you, in 23 years I’ve never, ever seen so many people come out, leave their homes at dinner time to speak in favor of an application. It just doesnt happen. People come to speak against, but people don’t come to speak in favor. So I am overwhelmed by the volume of people that have been here this evening.
Land use attorney representing the owners of the historic Gulfstream hotel at second reading, Lake Worth City Commission, January 5th, 2016.

And. . .

“I believe the Gulfstream project is not only the right step but also a very crucial step in the right direction. I thank the board for their consideration of this project and I’m looking forward to the re-opening of this great landmark bringing people to Lake Worth who have always been hesitant and to finally showing off our town’s incredible Downtown and one of the best assets Lake Worth has to offer. Thank you.” [standing applause follows]
Lake Worth resident who spoke earlier at the meeting cited above; a quote from this video:

Remember. The lawsuit that was dismissed had nothing whatever to do with the Gulfstream Hotel. Work could have begun long ago in preparation for a restoration of that historic structure. The lawsuits were over the height limit of any hotels to be constructed nearby:

Lake Worth, FL* – Gulfstream Hotel, District Court of Appeals Ruling

On March 31st, 2017 the 4th District Court of Appeals upheld the ruling of the previous court and confirmed that the City had acted legally in approving the Gulfstream Hotel annex to be built to 65′.
     The original suit and recent appeals claimed that the City had violated the City Charter in permitting a building plan that was over 45′. The City was represented by Carolyn Ansay of the Torcivia Law Firm.
     Throughout the process, both Carolyn and the City were confident that the approval of the Gulfstream Hotel Annex was legal. At this time the City is still considering whether or not to pursue court costs from the losing party.

“From the beginning of the process the City was confident that the law would support the rezoning and the two rulings have clarified this position. As a Lake Worth resident I look forward to the reopening of the historic hotel.”
—Carolyn Ansay, City Attorney.

Two more photographs from New Year’s Day, 2012.
The big question now is. . .

. . . will any progress at all be made by New Year’s Day in 2018?

Or will the focus be on something else? “Better Beach”? “Better Lake Worth”? “Better Life”?
Following that meeting — held 22 months ago — Hudson Holdings then wrote they were, “hard at work refining a proposal that we believe will work for everyone . . .”, because their idea for a “Better Beach” was rejected by the public.

“SFWMD Governing Board, U.S. Army Corps Make Tremendous Progress on Kissimmee River Restoration Project”

“Decades-long partnership to restore miles of Kissimmee River to historic conditions enters its final phases of construction and monitoring”

To read the entire press release use this link.

Orlando, FL — A crucial undertaking generations in the making, the Kissimmee River Restoration Project is now within sight of the finish line.
     “The Kissimmee River is part of the heart of Florida and key to the restoration of America’s Everglades,” said South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Governing Board Chairman Dan O'Keefe. “Through our partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, we are restoring the river and protecting it for the enjoyment of generations of Floridians to come.”

And don’t forget:

Don’t forget all the hard work by SFWMD to save birds like our Cape Sabal Seaside Sparrow:
“Because of the Migratory Bird Act and the Endangered Species Act, we don’t have the ability just to say, ‘Oh, they’re [endangered birds] in the way, but we need to put water quality first. . .’ ”.

And don’t forget about a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee:, a former SFWMD governing board member said:

“To say that the reservoir will save the Everglades and prevent coastal discharges is wishful thinking that can’t be backed by science.” [emphasis added]

Communities south of Lake Okeechobee in Palm Beach County are on sewage systems. Why are there still communities using septic tanks along the Indian River Lagoon? That should be a national embarrassment.

What about the Herbert Hoover Dike and residents in Western Palm Beach County?
Don’t forget Chris McVoy, PhD, an expert on Everglades Restoration, said. . .

. . . from an article in the Tampa Bay Times:

McVoy also questioned how the new reservoir will release unpolluted water into the Everglades when the state’s current treatment areas for stormwater are already at capacity.
     He noted that Negron’s bill didn’t specify where the water will flow out of the reservoir, and pointed out that both the Everglades and the sugar companies may wind up fighting over who gets that flow in dry times.
     “That’s a barn-door size loophole,” McVoy said.
     The thing to remember about the reservoir in particular and Everglades restoration in general, he added, is that “this whole thing is part science and part what you can get politically.” [emphasis added]

You decide:

Is “part science” mixed with politics a good enough reason to spend ±$2B (that’s “B” as in billion) on a reservoir that may or may not even work? We’ll just have to wait and see. Is that sound science?

Thursday, June 1, 2017

UPDATE: Recently published Letters to the Editor in the Post.

Have you written your positive Letter to the Editor (LTE) about our City of Lake Worth yet? It only takes 5–10 minutes. The instructions are below with a special trick. Knowing that trick gives you a big advantage getting published.

There have been a flurry of Lake Worth LTE’s published in The Palm Beach Post recently, some very good and others very poor — such as this one which was of such poor quality it should never have been published — being there were factual errors and misinformation.

Yesterday another Lake Worth LTE was published with some very good information, here is an excerpt:

I am responding to the workforce housing shortage article, “Palm Beach County set to tackle big problem: Affordable housing” (Sunday).

and. . .

     I urge prospective buyers to look into the abandoned home market for their families. In the city of Lake Worth, a charming, diverse and culturally rich area, there are hundreds of abandoned homes looking for someone to love them. Ask your Realtor to show you some.

So get cracking! If you submit your LTE today you could make the Sunday edition. Here are the instructions and the trick follows:

Here is an example of a positive LTE that was published after Hurricane Matthew last year.
It only takes a few minutes to write a positive LTE about our little City.

If you have something thoughtful, positive, and well-reasoned to write instead of the typical negativity with open-ended and circular questions, then please follow the instructions below. Learning “The Trick” will greatly increase your chances of getting your letter published:
  • Keep your LTE to 150–200 words in length. The “shorter the better” is a good rule.
  • An LTE submitted by email (see below) is the best method and remember to include your phone number and complete address.
  • Engage like-minded “average citizens” to write LTE’s on the same subject.
  • Listing your credentials will help greatly.
Then always follow-up!

This is the mistake people make. That’s why you always see those LTE’s from the same people over and over again: They know the trick!
  • Follow up your LTE with an email or fax later that day or the next morning.
  • Then later, call the editorial department and explain why your letter is important.
  • Don’t be timid! Stay pleasant and respectful but make a strong pitch.
  • To seal the deal, just ask outright, “Are you planning to publish my letter?”.
So get cracking and have your positive LTE published in the Post, maybe even in next Sunday’s paper:
  • Email:
  • Fax: 561-820-4728
  • Phone: 561-820-4441

There is now a vacancy on our City’s Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Board.

The City of Lake Worth’s P&Z Board meets the first Wednesday of each month. Appointed volunteers serve 3-year terms. Members review site plans and make recommendations to the City Commission for the development of residential units (≥3) and all commercial properties.

There is a P&Z meeting next Wednesday if you would like to show up and learn more.

For more information contact Silvina Donaldson, the Volunteer Coordinator at 561-586-1730; email:

To learn more about the City’s Volunteer in Public Service program use this link.

FYI. Here is the City meeting schedule for next week:
  • Monday: Finance Advisory Board, use this link for the agenda.
  • Tuesday: City Commission.
  • Wednesday: P&Z Board and Electric Utility Advisory Board.
  • Thursday: Tree Board.
To look for the agendas as they become available use this link.

The City of Lake Worth is just part of the “Heart of Palm Beach County”. And explained: Why the press and news media are failing us.

From the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council (TCRPC):

“This 18-square-mile area contains a population of 62,790 people and includes all or a portion of seven cities, including Atlantis, Boynton Beach, Greenacres, Lake Worth, Lake Clarke Shores, Lantana, and Palm Springs. About 60 percent of the land area is unincorporated county, with the remaining 40 percent falling under the jurisdiction of these seven municipalities.”

Except for news reporters such as Julius Whigham at the Post and Charlie Keegan at NBC5/WPTV, very few understand much about “60 percent of the land area”:
How many of you in the media and press, elected officials, city staff et al., remember the TCRPC’s Economic Opportunities Workshop called the “Heart of Palm Beach County”?

Continue reading. If you don’t recall this workshop in June 2015 — organized by former County Mayor and Commissioner Shelley Vana just two years ago — many of you will be surprised to learn what ideas, comments, and solutions came from that workshop. If you want to just read it for yourself, use this link.

“Mayor Vana asked the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council to create a process, involving the municipalities and local business interests within the District, for developing a strategic plan that would outline a vision and specific actions for improving economic opportunities and conditions in the area.”

Why is the press and news media failing us? For example: “IN YOUR COMMUNITY”?
By focusing so much on the City of Lake Worth, The Palm Beach Post is missing the big picture: cities and towns like Lake Clarke Shores, Palm Springs, Greenacres and the “Lake Worth Corridor” are ALL dealing with the same problems.

But what city gets the most attention in the press and media? The little six-square-mile City of Lake Worth. What area in the “Heart of Palm Beach County” does the media and press misunderstand the most? It’s called the “Lake Worth Corridor” west of the City. How many news reports have you seen lately about incidents “in Lake Worth” that are not in our City?

There were many in attendance at this workshop, including Dolores Key, the Economic Development Manager for the City of Lake Worth and William Waters, the Director for Community Sustainability.

From Roundtable #1:

The City of Lake Worth needs to: “Have more community redevelopment; work with other cities to find grant initiatives; provide more housing availability; more business investment. Branding is important.

There is much more from this document produced by the TCRPC to study and absorb. But today I’ll leave you with a bullet list of items from that meeting two years ago, in no particular order, about seven cities in the “Heart of Palm Beach County” and that place called the “Lake Worth Corridor”:
  • Build a higher-end hotel and conference center.
  • Improve infrastructure within Lake Worth Park of Commerce.
  • Create a common theme for the area.
  • Build the C-51 lock project.
  • Redo John Prince Park based on the changing demographic of the area and potential opportunities for Intracoastal Waterway access.
  • Create an annexation incentive program.
  • Prepare a vacant lands inventory and market those areas.
  • Address drainage problem areas.
  • Create a new Strategic Plan for John Prince Park.
  • Address homeless camps at John Prince Park.
  • Initiate regularly scheduled meetings of the seven cities and PBC.
  • Make streets more walkable and transit-friendly.
  • Make the area feel like you are entering a special place or district. It is too fragmented now.
  • Create a land trust for purchasing and assembling land for economic development and housing.
  • Grow and cultivate local leadership within each of the neighborhoods.
  • Make sure all gaps in water and sewer service in the District are filled. No more septic tanks.
  • Create a greenways/blueways plan for the District.
  • Establish a unified, district-wide vision.
  • Improve and coordinate law enforcement and code enforcement activities.
  • Improve schools.
  • Striping and safety improvements for roads.
So. How have we done the last two years? What’s happened in the City of Greenacres the last two years? Lake Clarke Shores? Palm Springs? Or in the County’s John Prince Park?

Wouldn’t you like to see a feature story about this in the Post some day? And not just focus on what the City of Lake Worth has done. . . or not done.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Segment #6 and a video. “Comments and Questions” from Public Forum in West Palm Beach, “Getting from Point A to Point B”.

This forum held was hosted by Town of Palm Beach Mayor Gail Coniglio, West Palm Beach Commissioner Shanon Materio, and Palm Beach County Commissioner Mack Bernard.

Click on image to enlarge:
For the previous segment, #5, “Better Late Than Never”, the editorial in the Post on May 31st and more information from the presenting experts on May 22nd, use this link.

For Segment #4, “Presentation given by PBC Administrator Verdenia Baker” and to read segments 1–3 of the series use this link.

This segment is about the final portion of the event at the West Palm Beach Convention Center which centered on the traffic situation in downtown West Palm Beach. Keep checking back for more about this Public Forum and topics such as how this all ties in with the Palm Beach MPO and “impact fees”, how what’s happening in WPB affects my city, the City of Lake Worth, and why organizations like the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council are so vital.

The organizers of this forum placed particular focus on the Okeechobee Blvd. corridor between Australian Ave. up to and including the Town of Palm Beach. As a testament to the timeliness and importance of this forum, much of the crowd of around 200 people stayed for the entire morning. The video (see below) is evidence of that as many people stepped up to one of the two microphones placed at the front of the room to offer comments and ask questions.

You might find it interesting this particular video is the second-most watched of the series taken that day, it’s being shared a lot already. Organizers plan to address the comments and questions generated during this session in some manner. There were many worthy ideas floated during this part of the program and it was felt best to get them all out while people were there — not taking time to respond to them all for the sake of time — these topics will likely be addressed through the website created for the event. Stay tuned to this blog for more information. One person expressed there is a need to know:
WHERE, WHEN, WHY and WHO are ALL the people using this transportation corridor in order to come up with some definitive answers related to the issues raised.
Twice, the notion of a possible direct link serving the Town of Palm Beach via an overpass was discussed. Possible routes mentioned called for direct access from I-95 (although going over Clear Lake might be problematic), and for an elevated route west once on the mainland. This would serve as a reliever for traffic that would otherwise use Okeechobee Blvd. for the most direct route.

The impact of new technologies was mentioned in relation to autonomous vehicles. Also referenced were “driverless water taxis” (remember the Blueway Trail!) like they use in Paris to cross the Seine River. Signalization also could be augmented for pedestrians, a countdown clock to show the time remaining to cross a wide right-of-way. All these new systems could somehow be accessed by yet-to-be-developed smart phone apps that would help those navigating the area.

We were reminded again by former West Palm Beach Mayor Graham that a vision had been in place when she was in office — she thinks that has since been lost — the city she thought needs a vision so developers and city officials don’t make decisions “willy nilly”.

Jorge Pesquera, the President and CEO of Discover the Palm Beaches, reported that conventions and conventioneers encourage corporate relocations to the area: first impressions are important. A positive experience related to community walkability and mobility is a key factor in developing a favorable memory of the visit and sets the stage for others to be influenced in the same way.

A good portion of those speaking were residents of the area, most having lived here for a very long time, and recall how much the downtown has changed.

However, some perspective is in order. It’s hard to believe now for many people reading this, but Clematis Street and many other areas nearby in West Palm Beach, were once places to avoid. I know. I worked for the City of West Palm Beach back in 1989 a few years prior to Nancy Graham becoming the mayor.

Enjoy the video and please share with everyone you know that’s interested in this timely topic.

Finance Advisory Board meeting next Monday (see agenda below).

Have you ever thought of becoming a City volunteer board member? There are a few vacancies, e.g., there is one on the Planning and Zoning Board and Citizen’s Advisory Committee overseeing the Neighborhood Road Program needs more members. To look over all the City’s advisory boards use this link.

Please Note: The City Commission meets next Tuesday. Planning and Zoning Board and the City’s Electric Utility Advisory Board meet on Wednesday. The Tree Board meeting is Thursday.
To become a volunteer contact Silvina Donaldson, the Volunteer Coordinator at 561-586-1730; email:

Here is the agenda for the Finance Advisory Board:

Monday, June 5th.
Meet at the City Hall Conference Room.
  • Roll Call: 6:00.
  • Pledge of Allegiance.
  • Agenda additions/deletions/reordering.
  • Presentations by Sharee Haynes-Dyer, Financial Services Department: Major Funds Reviewed, “Big 3”: Beach Fund, Electric Fund, Water Fund. FY2018 Budget Calendar of Events.
  • Member reports.
  • Approval of minutes.
  • Unfinished business.
  • New business: Set next meeting date.
  • Public comment (3 min. limit).
  • Closing comments.
  • Adjournment.
Note: One or more members of the City Commission, or members of any board/authority may attend and speak.

Better Late Than Never. The editor at the Post on Okeechobee Blvd. and the Public Forum held in West Palm Beach, “Getting from Point A to Point B”.

The editorial in The Palm Beach Post today (5/31) is now available online, about the forum held in West Palm Beach on May 22nd, 9 days ago.
     To sum up the editorial today is very easy. At the Public Forum last week Michael Busha summed it up this way:

Get everyone in the same room and not leave until you have a solution.

“Hmmm. Who is Michael Busha?” Find that out below. Thank You for visiting today. Stay tuned for Segment #6 later on today. . .

Segment #5. “Getting from Point A to Point B”, Public Discussion, traffic on Okeechobee Blvd. in West Palm Beach.

For Segment #4, “Presentation given by PBC Administrator Verdenia Baker” and to read segments 1–3 of the series use this link.

Below is more information from Verdenia Baker, the Palm Beach County Administrator, on the performance of the Convention Center in West Palm Beach and the tremendous tourism draw it is turning out to be with the addition of the Hilton Hotel next to it. In a video (see below; at the end of this blog post) you can watch the this session which includes Juan Mallerat from the planning firm Plusurbia and Michael Busha, Executive Director of Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council.

The Public Forum held on May 22nd:
This forum was hosted by Town of Palm Beach Mayor Gail Coniglio, West Palm Beach Commissioner Shanon Materio, and Palm Beach County Commissioner Mack Bernard.

Juan Mullerat, who originally hails from Barcelona, Spain, shared international examples of successful urban transportation corridors with multiple users. He pointed out that one particular section of Okeechobee Boulevard — a very busy stretch near the Convention Center — seemed to provide an excellent place for grass to grow but not much benefit for bicyclists or those on foot. He broke down the percentage of space allocated in the corridor in the following way: pedestrian 7%, bikes 0%, vehicles 55%, and 38% for grass.

While “Green”, the grass is not acting in a beneficial way to improve the efficiency or safety of the corridor. He pointed to other examples, such as the Diagonal in Barcelona and the famous Champs Elysees in Paris that are wider, or nearly as wide, as this section of Okeechobee Boulevard that handle a number of modes of transit in a much more balanced way. His talk was lighthearted and informative.

Michael Busha from Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council told the tales of a warrior that had experienced all the battles from the beginning here in Palm Beach County. He paralleled former Mayor Nancy Graham’s talk relating stories about the earlier days on Clematis Street when his was the only car on the road and the target of kids throwing rocks. 

[Sounds far-fetched? An exaggeration? It’s not. I worked for the City of West Palm Beach in 1989 while Nancy Graham was mayor. Back then Clematis Street was one to avoid.]

Mr. Busha concluded that in order to make progress toward a workable solution for the traffic/pedestrian conflict on Okeechobee Boulevard — you have to get everyone in the same roomand not leave until you have a solution. He also talked about how that process worked concerning integration of the Brightline train service vis-à-vis other modes of rail transportation.

County Administrator Verdenia Baker’s talk, briefly discussed in segment #4 as well, highlighted the tourism attraction power and the synergy created by the addition of the new hotel to the existing convention center. Her overriding concern was for the safety of future conference attendees and visitors crossing Okeechobee Blvd. during their stay to enjoy the various offerings at City Place and other downtown venues.

Recently held Governor’s Hurricane Conferences where a large group of people made their way to City Place from the Convention Center area:
This picture from Verdinia Baker’s presentation makes the point. But doesn’t the grass look wonderful!

Ms. Baker made it very clear the number of groups will be increasing per event and this condition of waiting to cross the street, taking refuge in the median, will continue until a permanent solution is found. She grimly pointed out:
It would take just one accident to sway convention planners to steer away from West Palm Beach for future events.
Baker was the strongest proponent of an overhead passageway across the corridor, or possibly even a tunnel. She did admit though, the tunnel alternative, would be a very expensive option but something has to be done. It would take just one accident. . .

Enjoy the video and please share with everyone who has an interest in this very timely topic: 

News from reporter Skyler Swisher: “Palm Beach County property values on the rise for sixth year”

Please note: The City of Lake Worth is cited below. To read the entire article in the Sun Sentinel use this link; here are two excerpts:

“These numbers are healthy, and a sign Palm Beach County is still a good place to live,” she [County Property Appraiser Dorothy Jacks] said.

and note the highlighted text below. . .

     Boca Raton properties went up nearly 7.1 percent to $22.5 billion, and Boynton Beach rose 7.4 percent to $5.4 billion.
     Cities farther north also posted gains, including Lake Worth at 11.3 percent and West Palm Beach at 8.2 percent.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

“This past midterm election, which is used as an example. . .

. . . of what our elected officials think in what direction we should be going, is based on a 5 percent voter turnout. That leaves 95 percent of voters silent on the future of Lake Worth.”

—Another quote from that absurd Letter to the Editor published in The Palm Beach Post. Remember the line, “The Gulfstream Hotel should be taken back by the city. . .”?

Adding the numbers from all the precincts reporting last March 14th, my numbers show the voter turnout was closer to 15% than 5%. Regardless, the voter turnout was dismal all over Palm Beach County, not just in the City of Lake Worth.

But isn’t the bigger issue why a 3-term incumbent couldn’t even muster 1,000 votes? Click on image to enlarge:
Here’s another line from that letter: “No more empty promises from developers.Check out these pictures from yesterday:

“This focus on growth and profit over quality of life only leads to debt and blight.

“This business model puts undue hardship on the majority who live and work in Lake Worth.

Coming soon. . .

Oh, No! Developers are here!

What’s next! A store selling men’s pants?

Spread the Word! Have you ever visited Barton Elementary School?

Calling Teenpreneurs! The “Shark Tank” is coming to the little City of Lake Worth.

Barton Elementary School, “Home of the Charging Bulls!”, is located at 1700 Barton Rd. Click on image to enlarge:
Public Event. This coming Thursday at 6:00. Learn more about E-Roadmap using this link or call Exec. Dir. Veleke Brown at 804-641-4040; email:

Call For Photographers: ART Studio Café hosting exhibit, “It’s a Beautiful World Out There”.

Please Note: The deadline is tomorrow to submit photographs for this exhibit.

The ART Studio Café is located at 410 2nd Ave. North. Show opens Friday, June 2nd. More details below.
Photo credit: Shawn Moss‎ titled, “Light painting with the cars 2”.

SHOW OPEN TO ALL. Non-professional photographers welcome. Submit 2 pieces for approval to exhibit.

Show will open Friday, June 2nd, at 6:00 with a wine & cheese reception. All pieces exhibited will be for sale for 3 weeks (studio takes 20%).
  • Submit/exhibit fee is $35 (limit 2 pieces per person).
  • Pieces need to be submitted no later than Wednesday, May 31st.
  • Questions please call 561-667-3923.
Photographs must show “It’s a Beautiful World Out There”, e.g., if it’s a park bench with pigeon you have to illustrate “where”.

All works must be titled, signed, labelled with photographer’s name and brief description.

“Commentary” or “Opinion” must be clearly labelled if not published in the editorial section.

If you saw the “Local News” section in The Palm Beach Post yesterday (5/29), on page B3, you found commentary about the City of Lake Worth by a reporter that was not labelled. Whether you agree with the reporter or not, commentary and opinion belongs in the editorial section, not in the local news section.

For more about “Commentary” and “Opinion” from The New York Times Clear Thinking, Clear Writing” is this:

“Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled. . .”.

And if you think some in the City of Lake Worth are too critical of The Palm Beach Post’s reporting, The New York Times advises that newspapers should. . .

“Encourage the public to voice grievances against the news media.

Thank You for visiting today and hope you enjoy learning more about what makes LDub so very special.

Remember when protesters from Everglades Earth First! tossed a car battery into a lake at the “Briger Tract”?

Then came the sensational “Briger Forest Trial”!

And then one of the protesters ran for seat on the Lake Worth City Commission!

Is this a creative short story in the “Fiction” category about the City of Lake Worth (aka, “LDub” in the radical community)? No. This all actually happened!

“Verdict: Environmentalists guilty” . . . “for role in demonstration against Briger forest plans”:
What’s the latest with the “Briger forest”? Did one of the protesters really throw a battery into a lake? Continue reading to find out.

There’s new news about the “Briger Tract” — now called the Alton Tract in Palm Beach Gardens — from Palm Beach Post reporter Sarah Peters (excerpts below).

Many of my blog readers will recall the “battery in the lake” episode, a tragic story but a humorous one as well. After all the political monkeywrenching over the years in the City of Lake Worth by Everglades Earth First! (EEF!) there was an element of schadenfreude upon hearing the news about the protest that failed spectacularly in Palm Beach Gardens (PBG). However, beyond EEF!’s misfortunes and flawed strategies are serious questions about the environment, the future role of our coastal cities (e.g., the City of Lake Worth), western sprawl, and yes, the future of the Everglades as well.

The protests, sit-ins, tree-sitting, and banging of pots and pans in Palm Beach Gardens by EEF! went on for several years and it all ended quite ingloriously in 2014. As far back as 2011 they were getting attention on this blog about their protesting and other activities in PBG:

It turns out that Mr. [Panagioti] Tsolkas and company challenged the Comprehensive Plan change and final environmental permit. Both challenges were dismissed. The first one due to lack of “standing.” . . . So, by losing these two challenges, the tree-sitting exercise can be thought of as trespassing, sour grapes, publicity seeking and a fundraising opportunity with I-95 frontage.

The Briger Tract went on to become quite the topic of interest here in the City of Lake Worth back in 2014, but not quite the public relations message our good friends from EEF! were looking for. Displaying few “situational awareness” skills, out of the 1,001 ways to disable a vehicle taught in the hundreds of Anarchist manuals and ‘cookbooks’ circulated world-wide, the protesters from EEF! chose the worst one of all:

Not the best way to disable a vehicle, especially by those protesting to save the environment. No report of any snakes or turtles being injured, thankfully.
Hard to believe but true: One of the protesters that day in 2014, Ryan Hartman, ran for a seat on the Lake Worth City Commission in 2016. He lost. Hartman’s concession message wasn’t very nice.

As far as bad PR goes, it couldn’t have gotten any worse for the City of Lake Worth’s contingent from EEF!. It was a disaster. Many here in the City were in stunned disbelief on hearing what happened. Post reporter Linda Santacruz chronicled the events that day:

The protesters were activists with Everglades Earth First, demonstrating against The Kolter Group development taking place in Palm Beach Gardens’ Briger Forest. Two women chained themselves to a disabled vehicle that blocked the site’s construction entrance and, unintentionally, the school’s [Mandel JCC, a Jewish community center] access road.
     The two women stood on either side of the van, reaching through the broken windows with their wrists chained together, police said. A pipe was placed over their arms to prevent authorities from cutting the chain.
     The protesters also removed the van’s battery and dumped it in a nearby lake. It was later recovered to prevent any chemical spills, [emphasis added] police said.
     PBSO deputies cut the chain connecting the women and they were both arrested. Another man [Ryan Hartman] was arrested after he admitted to parking the van in the location.

A year later, in November of 2015, the three protesters went on trial and they were all found guilty. Post reporter Daphne Duret covered that story:

Afterwards, the activists said their friends’ convictions will only serve to continue their case. Panagioti [sic, Peter] Tsolkas echoed the sentiments of Schlesinger [Assistant Public Defender Brad Schlesinger], who in his closing arguments compared the Everglades Earth First! agenda to the civil rights movement.

The judge was sympathetic and probably thought the three protesters had suffered enough from all the embarrassment. They were all sentenced to probation.

Now here’s the latest news about the Briger Tract from Post reporter Sarah Peters:

Palm Beach Gardens officials approved a plan for 515 more homes in the Alton development, plus a new road and traffic signal to make it safer to turn left out of the Mandel JCC. [note: this was the intersection of the EEF! protest in 2014]
     The 316 single-family homes and 199 townhouses will be built south of Grandiflora Road and the first neighborhood on a roughly 95-acre parcel. The entire Alton property — formerly known as the Briger tract — is about 680 acres, Planner Don Hearing said. The City Council approved the site plan at its May 4 meeting.
     Developer KH Alton, a subsidiary of Kolter Homes, will complete Alton Road between Hood and Grandiflora Roads. Alton Road will connect to a new east-west road built by Kolter, Beckman Terrace. Beckman Terrace will start at the entrance of the Mandel Jewish Community Center.

Note that the Briger Tract, as it was called then, is along the I-95 Corridor. All the while EEF! was protesting in Palm Beach Gardens plans were already in the works for another city called Westlake, the County’s 39th city, further west in Palm Beach County. And recently on this blog posted news about another “new master-planned community” called Arden, west of the Village of Wellington:
Arden, being developed by Freehold Communities, will have 2,000 homes, along with recreation amenities and a working farm.
In conclusion, ultimately the question comes down to this: Where do we want new residents of Palm Beach County to live and build homes? Close to and in our coastal cities? Along the I-95 Corridor or further out west up to and past the Florida Turnpike?

To the question: Should it be “Eastward Ho!” or “Eastward No!”?
A question posed last November to the environmental community here in the City of Lake Worth has still gone unanswered. Is just saying “No” to development in this City the responsible answer?