Saturday, August 5, 2017

First stealth meeting of Lake Worth’s C-51 Advisory Committee (CAC) is next Wednesday: Latest on the Blueway Trail.

Please share the details of this stealth meeting with Mayor Robert Shalhoub and everyone else you know in the Town of Lake Clarke Shores. Why is that important? That is explained in detail below.

Representing the City of Lake Worth at CAC (pronounced kack as in “cackle”) will be Water Utilities Dir. Brian Shields, P.E. Also in attendance will be Dr. Kim DeLaney, the Dir. of Strategic Development and Policy at the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council.

Heard something about the Blueway Trail and
want to verify that information? Use this link and
learn who to contact.
The first stealth meeting of CAC in the City of
Lake Worth is next Wednesday (August 9th) at
City Hall from 3:00

Why is this meeting stealth? Because. . .

  • There is no agenda as of Saturday, August 5th.
  • The meeting is not on the City’s calendar.
  • On the City’s website the CAC still doesn’t have a Commission liaison (still “TBD”?).
  • Although CAC was formed last year, the beat reporter from the Post has never once mentioned or even cited CAC, the Blueway Trail (news blackout remains in force), or even the name “Mark Foley” (a former 2-term City commissioner).

You’re wondering, “What is the CAC?”

The purpose of this committee to monitor and review the results of the State’s engineering and feasibility or any other subsequent studies related to the C-51 Canal. Resolution No. 56-2016 – effective November 1, 2016, created a five member committee composed of one member appointed by the Mayor and one member appointed by each City Commissioner.

The first thing CAC will need to address is choosing the Chair. Mr. Mark Foley is the obvious choice given his experience in government and his most recent accomplishment, saving Spring Baseball in Palm Beach County.*

CAC was created last year at the urging of Mayor Pam Triolo. It was a 4-1 vote with Commissioner Andy Amoroso dissenting. Two former commissioners, Ryan Maier and Chris McVoy, PhD (the latter is quoted below), both voted to create this board as well. If that vote were held after the elections last March the vote would likely be 4-1 or 3-2 against creating this board.

Why? The two main reasons are:

  1. The C-51 Canal is not within the municipal borders of the City, so therefore, has no jurisdiction whatsoever.
  2. Why create a volunteer board for something over which the City has no control? The City of Lake Worth doesn’t have a board addressing crime, the heroin epidemic or even proliferation of ‘sober homes’. Create a CDBG Board? Create a board to monitor the settlement with Morganti and REG at the Casino? Maybe create a board to review the creation of new boards?

Anyhow. . .

Why does Lake Clarke Shores Mayor Shalhoub need to be in attendance at this meeting next Wednesday?

The City of Lake Worth needs to know whether or not we need to prepare for an invasion. Mayor Shalhoub can do two things: try and quell rumors the Town of Lake Clarke Shores has, “Marauding bands of pirates, looters, and ‘bad people’ ” making plans to invade the College Park neighborhood in the City or agree to a treaty or enter disarmament talks to make an invasion impossible.

Further fueling the hysteria are suggestions the recent appearances at Lake Worth City Hall by Richard Reade, the village manager of Palm Springs and Greenacres Councilman Anderson Thelusme weren’t goodwill missions but reconnaissance to scope out the City’s defenses — and our will to fight and defend our City — if the Village of Palm Springs and City of Greenacres decide to form an alliance with Lake Clarke Shores.

This is all silly nonsense of course. Lake Clarke Shores is not going to invade Lake Worth.

This is just as silly as. . .
. . . critics such as a former commissioner, Chris McVoy, PhD, trying to describe impacts of the Blueway Trail on the City of Lake Worth, said “Hey, we were just thinking of putting I-95 right there.

*According to Post reporter Joe Capozzi: “Foley, 61, stepped up when the baseball proposal, originally involving the [Houston] Astros and Toronto Blue Jays, was dying in Palm Beach Gardens. He helped keep it alive by introducing the owner of a new team to a new site [now The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches], a site now in position to host spring training for the next 30 years.”

News from Post reporter Tony Doris, “Old City Hall must come down piece-by-piece. . . why not in 30 seconds?”

Reading the article today by Tony Doris (link and excerpts below) brought back a lot of memories. The former City Hall in West Palm Beach is being demolished to make way for a new downtown hotel, apartments and retail along with a parking garage.

I was hired by Rick Greene who is again the Planning Director for the City of West Palm Beach and worked on the second floor of this building from 1989–1993. Even back then they were constantly monitoring the air quality. This structure and many others were referred to as the “sick buildings” constructed in the 1970s and 80s.

West Palm Beach in the early 1990s was a time of great change and laid the foundation for much of what you see today. Nancy Graham became the mayor in 1991 and it was Mayor Graham who ushered in the “strong mayor” system. For those of you in the City of Lake Worth who don’t know what that means, we still have what’s called the “weak mayor” form of government. The city manager runs the day-to-day operations and the mayor is mostly ceremonial and runs City meetings.

This article from 1997 in The New York Times titled, “A Campaign to Draw People Back Downtown Is Paying Off ” is a very good one to read and understand how far West Palm Beach has come, or in some people’s minds, how far off track the city has gone since Mayor Graham left office.

It was during Graham’s time as mayor the fountain on Clematis Street came to be. And who can forget the very dramatic blowing up of the former Holiday Inn on a New Year’s Eve which made way for the amphitheater and open space. The NYT article also mentions City Place and calling in Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk to prepare the downtown master plan.

Readers of this blog will recall Nancy Graham is once again in the news. Click on image to enlarge:
Former Mayor Nancy Graham was a panelist at
the recent Public Forum,
Getting from Point A to
Point B
” addressing traffic on Okeechobee Blvd.

But I digress. . . here are three excerpts from the article by Tony Doris:

     The old City Hall will bite the dust with as little dust as possible, said Jon Ward, executive director of the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency, because so much of it was made with asbestos, from tiles to insulation, that undramatic dis-assembly is required.

and. . .

     The public won’t notice much change until next month, when the exterior panels come off, a process like building with blocks but in reverse, Ward said.
     Aside from the asbestos, the other challenge will be removing the cantilevered top floor that held the mayor’s office. Taking down the concrete and steel on one end could make the other end unstable, so the workers will have to be careful.

and. . .

     The demolition should be complete by mid- to late October, in time for the planned hand-off to developer Navarro Lowrey Properties, Inc.

Today is last day: “OneJupiter” exhibit at the Cultural Council* in Downtown Lake Worth

Below are two excerpts from DiPaolo’s wonderful article and the exhibit details follow:

JUPITER — Paintings, weavings and the history of Guatemala are all rolled into the OneJupiter exhibit at the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County.
     “We are representing the people of Palm Beach County on our walls,” said Trish Halverson, manager of arts and cultural education at the center on Lake Avenue [in Downtown Lake Worth].
     The exhibit is a joint effort between the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse & Museum, El Sol Neighborhood Resource Center and the Lighthouse ArtCenter Gallery and School of Art in Tequesta.

and. . .

     “Art can be an incredible icebreaker between cultures. People step out of their normal space and see what they have in common,” said Stuve [Jamie Stuve, the president and chief executive officer of the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse & Museum].
     Paintings by Guatemalan artists such as Lorenzo Marroquin are also on display. Marroquin took art classes at El Sol. Many painters do their art work in between jobs at El Sol, said Andres David Lopez, El Sol communications director.

At the end of the article is, “If you go”:

  • What: OneJupiter exhibit.
  • Where: Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, 601 Lake Ave., Lake Worth.
  • When: Until Saturday, August 5th.
  • Cost: Free.
*The Cultural Council galleries, visitor information center and store are open 10:00–5:00, Tuesday–Saturday. For a complete calendar of cultural activities in The Palm Beaches use this link or call 561-471-2901. To plan a personalized cultural itinerary, connect with the Cultural Concierge.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Headline: “City Adds Overdoses Chronic Nuisance List”

The blog title is the headline in The Lake Worth Herald this week (excerpts below).

The critics of this new ordinance had some really good pull quotes for the beat reporter and editor(s) at the Post if they decide to chime in. It needs to be noted, however, the cities in Palm Beach County have come a long way dealing with the epidemic of overdoses well underway in 2015 and prior.

However, back in 2015, the primary focus at The Palm Beach Post wasn’t on overdoses and so-called ‘sober homes’, a situation already a very big problem for many cities and communities, including the City of Lake Worth. The focus back then by the Post was on Sheriff Ric Bradshaw and the series,

Bullets, badges, death on the street!

Everyone is very happy the Post has won awards for their reporting on the overdose epidemic. But if they had begun those front page stories and feature articles one year earlier — in 2015 instead of 2016 — it makes one wonder how much further along we would all be right now in Palm Beach County.

Below the caption are two excerpts from the Herald.
To contact the editor use this link. Pick up the print edition every Friday at the City’s newsstand at
600 Lake Ave. It
’s still ¢50!

     The City Commission [on August 1st] voted to include overdosing and code enforcement violations to the list of Chronic Nuisance Property Codes.
     The list will now include thirty-three different activities which constitute a nuisance. Under the amended ordinance, two or more calls for service within a period of thirty days to the same property for police, fire, medic, or other emergency personnel to assist an individual who displays the symptoms of an overdose of a controlled substance will constitute a nuisance.

and. . .

     The ordinance has been re-tooled to allow the city to create a “Chronic Nuisance Abatement Agreement” that will include an action plan developed by both parties instead of the property owner develop their own action plan.
     Director of Sustainability, William Waters told the Commission,

“Because property owners are ultimately responsible for the conduct and actions on their property, the City deems it necessary to insist that owners take corrective action to abate these nuisances; and this ordinance amendment adding these offenses is a tool to assist the city with that goal.”

“Hmmm. I’ve heard the term ‘demolition by neglect’. But what does it mean exactly?”

From the City of Lake Worth’s MuniCode,* “Demolition by neglect” is:

  • Improper or inadequate maintenance of any designated historic resource which results in its substantial deterioration and threatens its continued preservation.
  • Avoidance of demolition by neglect; maintenance and repair of landmark property in historic districts: 
Minimum maintenance standards. Every owner of a landmark or a property in a historic district shall keep in good repair all of the exterior portions of such buildings or structures and all interior portions thereof which, if not so maintained, may cause such buildings or structures to deteriorate or to become damaged or otherwise fall into a state of disrepair . . . The owner shall repair the structure if it is found to have one (1) or more of the following defects:
  • Deterioration to the extent that it creates or permits a hazardous or unsafe condition, as determined by the building official.
  • Parts or elements of the building are so attached that they may fall and injure persons or property.
  • Deteriorated or inadequate foundations, flooring, floor supports, deteriorated walls or other vertical structural supports.
  • Defective or deteriorated floor supports or floor supports insufficient to carry imposed loads with safety.
  • Members of walls or vertical supports that split, lean, list or buckle because of defective material, workmanship or deterioration.
  • Members of ceilings, roofs, ceiling and roof supports or other horizontal members which sag, split or buckle because of defective material, workmanship or deterioration.
  • Members of ceilings, roofs, ceiling and roof supports and other horizontal members which are insufficient to carry out imposed loads with safety.
  • Fireplaces or chimneys which list, bulge or settle because of defective material, workmanship or deterioration.
  • Deteriorated or ineffective waterproofing of exterior walls, roofs, foundations or floors, including broken windows or doors, or deteriorated or crumbling exterior finishes such as stucco, shingles, paint or mortar.
  • Defective or insufficient weatherproofing or exterior wall covering because of lack of paint or other protective covering.
  • Any fault, defect or condition in the building which renders its structurally unsafe or not properly watertight.
*Source: MuniCode, City of Lake Worth. Current. December 30th, 2016.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Palm Beach Post headline today in the print edition, dialing back expectations?

“Solution appears forthcoming
for Lake Worth Casino’s
ailing balcony”

“Work on the Lake Worth Casino balcony
should be finished by Feb, 15. . .”

“Solution appears forthcoming”? Headline the previous day (see below) was much more confident, it read, “At last, a solution. . .”. The ailing and bedraggled 2nd floor balcony is just one issue that needs to be addressed, e.g., lost revenue over the years for empty space on the 2nd floor. Then how could this be called a “settlement”?

December 2011. Second floor of Casino under construction. Click on image to enlarge:
Post online edition headline yesterday, “At last, a solution for Lake Worth’s bedraggled beach casino balcony”. Notice the headline in the print edition today doesn’t read so confidently.

What’s not mentioned, and maybe the editor at the Post will address this soon, is something called the Coastal Construction Control Line (CCCL). You see, back in 2011:

“The City’s ‘team’ worked the calculation to determine whether this project represented a ‘substantial improvement’ and came up with a valuation scheme that put the ‘new building’ below 50%: the threshold after which the building would have to meet current code standards.”

The decisions that were made back in 2011–2012 set the stage for the biggest problem of all. The horizontal red line (see image below) is the CCCL.

A significant portion of the ‘newly renovated’ Casino
is east of this line.
The answer, ultimately, is to tear down the Casino and start all over with a new site plan, a parking garage and maybe even a new aquatic facility.
Of course, after the seawall protecting it all is properly inspected.

TODAY (8/3): FINAL CHANCE to comment and provide input.

“PUBLIC HEARING”, Florida Dept. of Transportation (FDOT), District 4.

“Project Development and Environment (PD&E) Study for the I-95/SR 9 Interchange at 6th Avenue South”.

The purpose of this Public Hearing is to give interested persons a final opportunity to comment and provide input on the study and recommended improvements.

This Public Hearing is scheduled for August 3.

Open house at 5:30, formal presentation at 6:00. Followed by a comment period.
Location: Gymnasium at the Therapeutic Recreation Complex, 2728 Lake Worth Rd. in suburban Lake Worth (east of Congress Ave. on south side of Lake Worth Rd.).
For further information visit the project website or contact Fernando Morales: 954-777-4687 (toll free 866-336-8435, extension 4687); or email:

Calling All Bicyclists: The City of Lake Worth DID have a reputation for being difficult once upon a time.

Theft PREVENTION is the City’s focus.

Question: Have you been to Relentless Bicycles (Electra Bike Dealer!) in Downtown Lake Worth? Family Bicycle on Dixie Hwy.? Learn more about these two popular bike shops below.

“Is Lake Worth really ‘bike theft capital of world?’ Some think so”.

Above is an actual headline in The Palm Beach Post. Not kidding.

And below is another primer, or “How To” for headline editors. By the way, the use of hyperbole in a headline is a big “no-no” in newspaper publishing.

The ways to PREVENT bike thefts should have been the major focus by the beat reporter, but it wasn’t. Find out one of the best and most effective ways to prevent bike theft, and all you need to do is visit a bike shop here in the City of Lake Worth (learn more below).

How silly can the headline editors at The Palm Beach Post get?

Very silly and at times, very inaccurate and misleading as well. There is a plethora of tips and learning sources available for editors such as The New York Times’ “Learning Network”:

An inexperienced editor who has trouble writing a headline might be tempted to try to write a headline on a secondary angle of the article, but a good headline is based on the lead.

For example, this headline is terribly inaccurate and very misleading:
Do you remember the “curfew” nonsense in the Post?

Now, back to the Post article on bike thefts, buried in the middle of the article is this:

But Ogonowski [Mike Ogonowski, Relentless Bicycles at 702 Lucerne Ave.] said riders need to invest more money in better locks to deter thieves. Too many bicyclists, he said, are opting to buy an $18 braided steel lock that can be easily clipped as opposed to a $36 chain lock that is harder to break.
     “You need a better tool to cut the chain lock and those are tools your average bike thief isn’t carrying around,” Ogonowski said.

For new residents in the City of Lake Worth, and others concerned about having their bike stolen, below is information that is very useful to protecting your ride. If you just read the silly headline and scanned the text you might come away thinking we’re indeed leading the world in bike thefts.

We’re not. Not even close.

Here’s a link I posted shortly after that article in the Post explaining PREVENTION IS THE KEY and that, e.g., drug addicts are stealing bikes because they’re an easy way to get money to buy drugs. Bikes with cheap locks are an easy target of opportunity.

The issue of bike theft is an easy one to understand but, once again, you had to get far into the article to learn about that. One of the clues why people were having their bikes stolen can be found in this video that accompanied the article. A bicyclist tells his story about his bike being stolen and in a dramatic scene the cyclist gets on his new bike and rides down the road.

And guess what’s missing? THERE’S NO BIKE LOCK! 

Really folks, doesn’t that explain it all? To secure a bike you need a quality lock. Get a lock affixed to your bike or in a pouch so it’s always there. Bike riders in South Florida have known for many years there is a problem with bike theft so take the necessary precautions. If you’re a Lake Worth resident go to one of our local expert bike shops and learn WHERE to lock your bike and just as importantly, HOW to lock your bike properly:

Meet Mr. Mike Ogonowski:
Stop by Mr. Ogonowski’s shop and find out how to keep your bike from being stolen. His shop, Relentless Bicycles, is at 702 Lucerne Ave. (561-547-1396). Also, Family Bicycle is located at 127 S. Dixie Hwy. (561-533-6040).

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

News! Mr. Mark Foley is coming back to City Hall.

Next Wednesday (August 9th) is the first C-51 Advisory Committee meeting!

An update on the Blueway Trail.

The City’s representative will be Water Utilities Dir. Brian Shields and Dr. Kim DeLaney from the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council will also be there.

Also, at last night’s City Commission meeting, Commissioner Omari Hardy renewed his call for a Resolution of Support for the Blueway Trail:

“[T]he Blueway Trail Project, there’s this very, very strong interest in that from our neighboring elected officials just like there’s strong interest from our residents here in Lake Worth.”

Stay tuned for more details.

March 1st, 2016: “Lake Worth City Commission meeting regarding the default declaration for the Casino construction problems”

Last night, August 1st, 2017, the City Commission passed the settlement agreement with Morganti and REG. To learn more about this, scroll down or use this link.

The excerpt below is from this blog last year:

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

This video below is from March 1st, 2016.

To learn more about this meeting last year use this link.

Heard about the City Commission settlement for the Casino at the Beach?

Are you wondering why the Casino structure still does not have a Certificate of Occupancy (CO). It’s been a Temporary CO ever since the new Casino was constructed. Heard about the seawall? Wondering why people are concerned that this settlement is not in the City’s best interest?

Use this link to read more about what happened last night:
One of the lines was, “at no cost to the city”. What about all the lost revenue for all these years because the 2nd floor was not leased?

Below is a blog post from the archives that will try and explain a lot about this situation.

Back in 2011 the mantra from a previous administration in the City of Lake Worth was SAVING the former Casino structure from demolition, along with the promise that all the existing tenants could stay during the ‘reconstruction’. This ‘rehabilitation’ myth continued until it was finally debunked on this blog.

Photo of the Casino construction site in August 2011.
Above is what was actually “saved” after all of the debris was cleared away.

This video from April 2010 may bring
back some memories.

The City’s ‘team’ worked the calculation to determine whether this project represented a “substantial improvement” and came up with a valuation scheme that put the “new building” below 50%: the threshold after which the building would have to meet current code standards. You can read about the implications of that using this link.

Photo from December 2011:
East side of current Ballroom. This side of the ‘renovated’ structure is where most of the
water leaks are.

The long and short of this is that since a previous administration chose to build in exactly the same spot as the original building, to give the perception that it was a “rehabilitation, now calls into question whether the $6 million investment is adequately protected by the existing seawall or “armoring device” as the Florida Building Code refers to it.

This meant the time and expense to do an exhaustive study was needed by a certified engineer that actually evaluated whether or not the seawall qualifies as that armoring device. Also, by shutting down creativity and the problem-solving, that made it impossible to look at other locations on the site, and risking a site plan that could have been more functional.

This is what is being heard now — complaints about adequate parking for delivery and emergency vehicles, the pattern of traffic in the upper parking area, the long walk up the dune for the elderly and families — among other issues.

Another photo from 2011.
Retail area on the ground floor.

Second Floor looking south. Lovely renovation, no?

Second Floor looking west. All new construction.

A previous plan by Greater Bay — never approved or officially reviewed — had the building in the center of the property along with a parking deck. Think of the unobstructed view of the Atlantic Ocean as you crest the bridge east towards the Beach! Unfortunately, now we have a walled-off view and a structure still without a CO next to the Atlantic Ocean.

A parking deck would have provided needed shade for beach-goers and consolidate asphalt/concrete to allow for more green space. But no parking deck was ever considered for the Casino structure we have now. And a lot of other features were also “value-engineered” out of the final product. That’s called “Greenwashing.

Now fast-forward to 2015.

A WPTV news crew showed up when reports were coming in the Casino was flooding.

[Note that water leakage prevented this space on the 2nd floor from being leased to a tenant. Will City of Lake Worth ever recover that lost revenue?]
Inside the second floor during a storm.

Use this link to watch the WPTV news segment. Remember, this is 2015. Here is the text from the news report:

Juan Ruiz, Director of Leisure Services [now assistant city manager], reports 8 leaks; 2 doors in the upstairs ballroom and 6 doors in the adjacent vacant space.
     Ruiz sent the city pictures of the damage. Lake Worth City Manager Michael Bornstein says the continuing issues are being documented and are being handed to the city attorney.
     Bornstein reported in an email that he had not heard from the contractor and/or architect on how they plan to correct the issues. As a result, Bornstein asked the city attorney to draft letters voicing their displeasure.
     The city plans to recommend further legal action if “rational and feasible plans” aren’t presented by the contractor and/or architect.

I hope this helps to explain things. Thank You for visiting today.

The Casino settlement last night was passed by the City Commission.

UPDATE: The City Commission passed the settlement agreement last night with Morganti and REG to fix the Casino structure at the Beach. By the way, one of the lawyers thought the Casino has a Certificate of Occupancy (CO). It doesn’t. The building has a Temporary CO and has for 4 years now. Is this actually a Permanent Temporary CO?

One of the lines last night was, “at no cost to the city”. What about all the lost revenue for all these years because the 2nd floor was not leased?

What happened last night is this current City Commission now owns the Casino and all the problems that preceded them. The previous commission has now been given a “pass go” and all their mistakes wiped clean. That’s good news for them.

However, the biggest problem of all remains. Here is a blog post from last Monday.

The Lake Worth Casino (see image below) is almost completely east of the Coastal Construction Control Line (CCCL). Questions:
  • Has the Casino structure received Florida LEED Certification?
  • Or will that certification be forthcoming once the settlement terms have been completed?
  • Can the Casino even be LEED certified because it’s not constructed on pilings?
  • Has the seawall east of the Casino been inspected properly?
Click on this link: a video from a Commission meeting last May vis-à-vis the pool discussion at the Beach.

This image is from the meeting last May.
The red line is the CCCL.
Note the ‘newly renovated’ Casino is mostly east of the CCCL. The previous structure was actually 94% demolished in June 2011.

The previous Casino structure at the Beach.

At the City Commission meeting on May 23rd this year, David Stewart, P.E., structural engineer from Kimley-Horn, gave the presentation regarding the structural and building issues related to the now-condemned pool at the Lake Worth Beach and, “the impact of the Coastal Construction Control Line on necessary permits.”

Mr. Stewart also briefly addressed these “Out Of Scope Considerations” about the pool:
The CCCL, “Functional design and layout” and “Financial feasibility”. Shouldn’t these issues be In Scope Considerations about the Casino structure?

What was said at the Lake Worth City Commission meeting last night that caused the greatest reaction.

[UPDATE: Below is a link to this meeting on YouTube.]

Mayor Pam Triolo said to City Manager Michael Bornstein, “You live in College Park. You don’t live in a historic district do you?”

Bornstein responded, “I intentionally did it that way.”

The historic preservation program here in the City of Lake Worth was given its last chance last year. Last night it received a loud message of “no confidence”. Despite the ordinance passing there were many misgivings and concerns from the dais.

This discussion lasted well over an hour. To watch this item at the Commission go to the 1 hour mark in the video using this link. From the 1:40 mark to 2:10 is the Commission discussion. There is still a lot of frustration, particularly about guidelines for homeowners looking to have improvements done to a historic structure.

Looking back, all this reached a “tipping point” at the South Palm Park neighborhood in early 2016 when homeowners wanted to “opt out” of that historic district and some called for a petition drive to put the issue on the ballot. Then several neighborhood meetings were scheduled for public input:

These meetings are being held in response to concerns over administration of the program and how to improve the resident/property owner experience within a historic district.

From June 2016:

Many of the complaints were about the length of time it takes to get a permit within a historic district. There was also discussion about the relative importance of the program in light of other factors such as the need for modern impact windows and doors (for storms and security as well), roofs, and our precarious property insurance situation. Many people expressed frustration about the economic impact of living in a historic district. Too many suggestions by City staff are very expensive alternatives that break the budget of many homeowners.

This program, certainly in its present form, will most certainly come to an end. Smaller districts possibly narrowly focused on contributing structures and much less so on non-contributing. 

Here is a blog post from January 2016.

In July of 2015 I resigned as the chair of the Historic Resource Preservation Board in Lake Worth. The reason for that resignation had nothing at all to do with my thoughts that follow.

First some background: There are six different historic districts in Lake Worth. They take up a good portion of the eastern half of the city. If you happen to own property there, commercial or residential, the changes that you make to your building are regulated to a greater degree than if you own property outside those districts. What kind of roof, windows, doors, siding, additions and new construction all face a higher level of scrutiny than do properties outside of a historic district. Owning property in a historic district, over time, has been proven to increase the property’s value. However, there is a fine balance between maintaining the historic character of a district (or neighborhood) and the inconvenience, or worse, for the property owners within that district.

I did not attend the meeting of the South Palm Park Neighborhood Association but have heard a lot about what happened; there was discussion about how the property owners and residents can get out from under the regulations related to being in a historic district which they feel have become unduly onerous. This is disquieting news for someone who is a strong advocate for reasonable historic preservation efforts. However, I hear more and more complaints from people who are trying to improve their properties within historic districts and how the process has become cumbersome. The complaints range from the time it takes to review a request/permit, to not being able to communicate with staff, and to property owners being treated abruptly and with little sympathy.

There are sound reasons for the establishment of historic districts, but everyone must be aware of the impact those regulations have on the property owners and, more importantly, how they are administered. I think that Lake Worth is crossing the line in terms of being overzealous in the way it deals with requests, for both contributing and non-contributing properties. The scale needs to be tipped back towards the side of reasonableness and with a keen awareness of the need for an efficient review of applications in a timely manner. My fear is if the city continues its present approach we are in jeopardy of losing the benefits of a respected historic preservation program and it will appear to be more of a burden than it is worth to investors, homeowners, and possible future residents.

Have you heard or read something about blue-green algae recently?

If you’ve already read this blog post, Thank You for visiting today and please scroll down.

By the way, the most-viewed topic the last 2 months? The daily and weekly “Progress Reports” on the Gulfstream Hotel — and next Monday, every Monday, is another weekly progress report — of course, as previous progress reports have shown, don’t get your hopes up. There will probably be no progress to report but continue to stay tuned.

Now back to, “heard or read something about blue-green algae?”

First, please take note: Thus far this year there have been NO WATER RELEASES from Lake Okeechobee east into the Indian River Lagoon.* Please continue reading to learn why this is very important. Also, below is more information (including a video) about the Lake Worth Lagoon you may have missed.

From this blog on Thursday, news from Alex Hagan at WPTV/NBC5. Headline datelined July 19th:

“Scientists, county leaders looking to solve Treasure Coast bacteria issues”

Two excerpts from this news segment are below (use link to watch an on-site interview by Mr. Hagan): 

ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. - If you're looking for a place to cool off on the Treasure Coast, avoid the North Fork of the St. Lucie River.

and. . .

     Most recent testing labels the water quality as poor.
     “One of the major problems,” says Brian Lapointe with FAU Harbor Branch.
     He has been studying this issue for more than 30 years.
     “Poor soil conditions and in the wet season, high water tables that in many cases infiltrate the drains fields of septic tanks,” [emphasis added] says Lapointe.
     He says he is working on a study with Port St. Lucie city leaders to find the source of the pollution.

On lagoons in South Florida. . .

Have you read “Paddling the habitats of Lake Worth Lagoon” by reporter Willie Howard? Two short excerpts:

     To date, the county [Palm Beach County] has overseen 49 environmental restoration projects in the Lake Worth Lagoon, the 20-mile-long estuary that stretches from Ocean Ridge to North Palm Beach.

and. . .

     Creating a place for paddling, fishing and nature observation is a side benefit of the restoration work. [emphasis added] The Snook Islands Natural Area [City of Lake Worth] features a boardwalk and gazebo overlooking the mangrove islands, educational kiosks, day-use boat docks, a fishing pier and a kayak launch on the northwest side of the Lake Avenue Bridge.

For more about the Lake Worth Lagoon, here is a short video† to share with your friends and neighbors:

*More information from the South Florida Water Management District.
For more recent news on this topic, from AP reporters Jason Dearen and Mike Schneider, and by NPR Miami correspondent Greg Allen use this link.

Film titled, “Under the Big Top”, (PG; July 2017). Narrated by Mr. Greg Rice; starring the City of Lake Worth and our Intracoastal Lagoon. Please note: special care was taken not to injure or harm birds, fish, eels, or turtles. Lookouts and volunteers detected no blue-green algae, press, or media during the filming of this event.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

More from our tour of the Brighline Station in West Palm Beach on July 27th.

Check back soon. Another video will be
available shortly:
Tour sponsored by the PBC Planning Congress in collaboration with WPB Downtown Neighborhood Assoc. Below are links to Parts 1–3 about this tour.

“Know Your Signs and Signals”
Click on images to enlarge.
Look. Listen. Live.

View down the tracks from the 2nd floor.
Heard but could not confirm train schedules will
be “adjusted” for big events in South Florida,
e.g., Miami Dolphins, college football games,
and other big events.

Is this true? We’ll all have to wait and see.

  • Use this link to read Part One, the “big surprise” with a short video from the tour.
  • Use this link to read Part Two about the Brightline Station functionality, signage, traveler drop-off, and much more.
  • Do you remember the “donut hole” in downtown WPB? Use this link for Part 3.
There are several lounge areas throughout the 2nd floor awaiting a train. Here is one of them:

Seating in the Select Lounge:
Seats have charging stations with an
electric outlet and 2 USBs.

News from the City of Lake Worth:

“Please Note: The Lake Worth Historical Museum will be closed until August 15th due to many of our volunteers going on vacation. Tours may be arranged by appointment by calling the Lake Worth Public Library at 561-533-7354.”

Use this link for more news and “Special Announcements” from the City of Lake Worth.

Scary people talking to the press and news media (please watch video below).

Have plans to be at the Lake Worth City Commission meeting tonight? The meeting begins at 6:00 in City Hall.

If attending City meetings is new to you,

Some of the most exciting things happen during breaks. So pay attention. Especially if the news media and press show up. Why? Because that means something is afoot. Below is a video of what you can expect. But first, a short explanation.

Prior to City Manager Michael Bornstein having new cameras and video equipment installed in the Commission chambers, Yours Truly would show up at meetings and take video with my trusty camera and tripod. The City had a video feed back then but it was very clunky and difficult to find any one particular portion of any meeting.

That situation has since greatly improved. Also, you can now watch archived City meetings on YouTube (use this link to see the video archives). However, back in July 2016 the City still had its old system of recording meetings and I was there in my usual spot. The Post beat reporter was there and then CBS12/WPEC showed up with a reporter and cameraman and took a spot in the back of the room too. “Hmmm. Interesting”, thought to myself.

When the Commission decided to take a break the CBS12 crew quickly walked up to front of the room and began interviewing some people. For no reason in particular decided to record the happenings, which took 3 segments of video. Didn’t think too much about it until one of my blog readers called with some interesting observations.

First, the two interviewed at the beginning by CBS12 looked like they were both expecting a TV news crew to show up. If you’re familiar with Commission meetings and those who attend their appearance was noticeably different. At the 4:45 mark the Post beat reporter starts interviewing a former commissioner, Chris McVoy, PhD. Their body language was, well, watch that portion of the video for yourself.

Pay attention during the breaks!

There was quite a lot of ambient noise with a lot of conversations going on all over the room so I replaced the audio with music. Enjoy:

Public comment at the City Commission meeting tonight.

How does one give public comment? It’s very easy. Use this link to learn how with one video showing “how to” and another video showing “how not to”. The most important thing to remember is:

Always be respectful to the Chair of the meeting, Mayor Pam Triolo.

When the little bell rings, please swiftly conclude and return to your seat. If you prepared your remarks ahead of time (highly recommended) and were not able to finish, hand your card to the city manager and he’ll have your comments entered into the record.

Vibrancy and charm are encouraged.
Also important. You are not required to use all of your time (two or three minutes) at public comment. It’s perfectly acceptable to stop at any time, smile, say “Thank you” to the Chair and politely give way to the next person in line.

Weekly Progress Report, Gulfstream Hotel, Lake Worth, Florida.

Week ending Sunday,
July 30th, 2017.

Once again, there is no progress to report. However, you may be interested in the timeline below and some quotes, e.g., “I do not believe anything Hudson Holdings says”.

Remember, Hudson Holdings* purchased the Gulfstream Hotel in May 2014. From an article published in The Palm Beach Post shortly afterward:

It’s not yet clear what Hudson paid for the Gulfstream, or what it plans to do with it. But it seems as if Hudson is looking to bring in additional investors to redevelop the property, which it calls a “history landmark redevelopment hotel project” on its website.

NBC5/WPTV news segment dated May 14th, 2017:

Remember this ‘news’ from 3½ months ago?

“Our plans are to rehabilitate this hotel [and] bring it back to its historic significance in the public areas, the lobby, corridors etc.,” said Steven Michael, principal of developer Hudson Holdings during a tour Friday. “We’ll do a complete rehabilitation of the whole building from top to bottom.”
Quote from this article in the Sun Sentinel datelined April 14th, 2017.

Remember. Hudson Holdings purchased the Gulfstream Hotel in May 2014. The hotel sat shuttered on July 4th that year and then every July 4th since from 2015–2017.

Were you in Downtown Lake Worth last July 4th for all the festivities? Do you remember seeing any vibrancy going on at the Gulfstream Hotel? Use this link for a video from that day.

From January 22nd, 2017:

“ This [hotel renovation] is something that would lead to more vibrancy [emphasis added] and investment in the city,’ Steven Michaels, Hudson Holdings co-founder, told The Palm Beach Post.”

And another quote from the same article. . .
“I do not believe anything Hudson Holdings says,” one resident posted on the Facebook page Lake Worth Local. “Look at how they let the property deteriorate.”

Another line from the article. . .
In the eyes of many, Hudson Holdings has little — if any — credibility left.

How the historic Gulfstream Hotel looked just last week:

Title of Hudson Holdingspress release: “National Historic Real Estate Property Developer, Commences Historic Gulfstream Hotel Project”.

*For more information and to contact Hudson Holdings:

  • Use this link to contact the company spokesperson with your questions and/or concerns.
  • Address: 20 S. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach, FL 33444
  • Email:
  • 561-768-7621
  • Use the Gulfstream Hotel’s Facebook page.

Monday, July 31, 2017

“I do believe that my constituents. . .”? Whose constituents? A muddled, confusing quote in the Post today.

Who exactly is representing the “constituents” in District 1?

Briefly, here’s the definition of a constituent vis-à-vis politics and political representation:
“voter in a district represented by an elected official.”
However, if you read what the Post beat reporter wrote today (see excerpt below) — and you didn’t know any better — you would be very, very confused today.

Here is our “current” City Commission.
When you visit the City’s website, Scott Maxwell (on left) is the District 1 commissioner and also the vice mayor on the Lake Worth City Commission.

Now read this latest quote from the beat reporter, does this make any sense?

     Sarah Parr-Malega, vice president at The Zoo Gym, said she hasn’t done enough research on the issue [of medical marijuana dispensaries].
     “It lies in the hands of our current commission,” Parr-Malega said. “I do believe that my constituents [emphasis added] have all the power to respond to residents’ concerns.”

“I do believe that my constituents. . .?” Whose constituents? Starting to get confused about now?

When you visit the City’s “Municipal Election” page, the District 1 candidates are Sarah Malega and Scott Maxwell. Maxwell is the incumbent and Malega is the challenger.

Who is quoted by the beat reporter saying,

“I do believe that my constituents have all the power to respond to residents’ concerns”?

Question: Is the reporter quoting Scott Maxwell or Sarah Malega? Is the reporter presupposing Malega already won the election on March 13th, 2018? Maybe have the election victory party this week and get it over with?

We haven’t even gotten to the Qualifying Period yet! That doesn’t begin until November 28th. Maybe tomorrow this will all be clarified for the public. But don’t count on it.

Remember, it’s now officially the Silly Season.

On the Casino settlement. What exactly is being settled at the Beach? In the long run, nothing.

[Below is a blog post from earlier this week with some additional observations.]

Video below, June 2016: During a typical rain storm decided to grab some lunch. . .

Question: How does one fix a structure, next to the Atlantic Ocean, that’s been leaking water for 4+ years?

The sound you hear in the video is a wet/dry vac being used to suck rain water from on top of the suspended ceiling tiles. The water was coming from the 2nd floor of the building during a typical south Florida rain event. It had been raining about 15 minutes before this scene unfolded.

Upon first learning there was a settlement agreement at the Casino Complex a few weeks ago expected a step forward, maybe even a big one. Afraid to say this may just be another step back, two steps back, or some sort of status quo just to get past the elections next year.

Big decisions need to made about the Beach and the Commission needs to think big. Because if they don’t, expect new faces on the City Commission next March.

What’s an example of a BIG IDEA?

On the “wish list” at the Commission meeting on July 25th about what to do with the County’s ¢1 sales tax proceeds was a BIG IDEA by Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell. All of the electeds had their top 3 choices. A parking garage in the Downtown was either #2 or #3 on everyone’s list. It’s generally agreed we need a parking garage at the Beach too.

Here’s Maxwell’s BIG IDEA: Build a parking garage Downtown and another one at the Beach and form a parking authority to manage it all. You may like that idea. Or maybe not. However, if a parking garage at the Beach is a good idea why construct one supporting a dysfunctional Casino with a business plan everyone knows does not work? 

Folks, the answer to fixing all the problems at the Beach isn’t to tinker around the edges. We need BIG IDEAS. Here’s another one: “Tear it all down and start all over again” (read more about that below).

Who do you think said this about the Casino complex at the Beach?

“It’s also caused political issues. The city of Lake Worth has been an afterthought in all of this and I don’t think our best interests were in the forefront of what y’all were doing.”
Find out at the end of this blog post.

The Commission, if they agree to this settlement, are just putting more “lipstick on a pig”. We’re not solving anything in the long run. And we get another tolling agreement too. How charming. How many tolling agreements is this now? Has anyone been keeping count?

If there was a Lemon Law for structures we would have gotten a brand new Casino building last year or maybe two years ago. So:
  • We know we need a parking garage at the Beach.
  • We know we need a new business model at the Beach.
  • We know we need a new parking plan at the Beach.

The plan for the Casino structure is to try and fix it?

I’m reminded what Jeff Perlman said,
It can take 10–20 years to rebuild a city. But it can take as short as a year or two to tear down all that hard work and all those accomplishments.
Before long will begin counting down the days when many years of hard work gets wiped out. We’re 7½ months away from another election and this is no time to be playing it safe. This is no time to be playing “prevent defense”. It was BIG IDEAS from the City Commission that got us to this point.

The ultimate solution is to tear it all down and start all over again.

Why? Because the fundamental problem is the one problem nobody is talking about: Our Casino building was constructed in the wrong place.

Instead of being in the center of the Beach property, it occupies the far northern part. But did you know there was once a solution to this problem? There was. It was called the Greater Bay plan. Below is an image, the proposal by Greater Bay, that appeared in The Palm Beach Post in an article from reporter Nicole Janok datelined October 2005:

“Beach makes headway in Lake Worth”

This plan by Greater Bay was rejected. Instead, what we ended up with is a vastly inferior design.

The idea of tearing down the Casino and starting all over again is not new by any means. For example, back in 2015, a resident of the Great Walled City of Atlantis in a letter to the editor published in the Post, wrote these words:

When I moved here from Connecticut, I thought, the first time someone took me to Lake Worth Beach, I had found heaven. The sunshine, the sand and the few steps to the ocean — Lake Worth Beach had it all.
     Then a revision mucked up the works; it added shops, places to eat and a little shopping.

and. . .

     Handicapped parking is inadequate as well. Bring back a short walk for families and seniors — not climbing up what seems like mountains to the disabled (try it with a cane or a walker), and then dodging cars to get your toes in the sand.

then this cryptic line. . .

     Perhaps take the money from the investors and fix our streets and bridges, which are far more in need of help. After all, the beach is Mother Nature at her best, and no one wants to mess with Mother Nature.

Image below in the Post, 2005, “Proposed site plan for Lake Worth Beach”.

Note where the Casino is in the Greater Bay plan: The middle of the Beach property with a parking garage, a “Renovated pool and deck”, and note that parking and traffic lanes SURROUND THE STRUCTURE.
A quote from Nicole Janok’s article: “We know we need to do something,” [former] Commissioner Retha Lowe said. “We asked for a partner and we got one. Now let’s work together as partners to get this beach done.”

Why didn’t this plan by Greater Bay ever see the light of day and serious consideration? Because there is another fundamental problem with the Lake Worth Beach as well: Getting the public in this City to understand all the lies, deception, mis- and disinformation that has been perpetuated for so many years about the Beach.

Do you remember these former commissioners and the former city manager?
Recognize anyone? These former ‘visionaries’ stopped celebrating shortly after the ‘renovated’ Casino opened. Why?

Remember from earlier in this blog post, about a quote, “Who do you think said this about the Casino complex at the Beach?”

When the building, which cost $6 million, was opened in 2013, it was riddled with issues, including water intrusion, bad drainage, leaking and rusting.

and. . .

     “We’ve lost revenue and it’s put a strain on the financial plan that was designed for that building,” Maxwell [Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell] said. “It’s also caused political issues. The city of Lake Worth has been an afterthought in all of this and I don’t think our best interests were in the forefront of what y’all were doing.”