Saturday, August 26, 2017

Schedule below: Lake Worth High School Trojans Football. First game next Friday on the home field.

This historic depiction is from “Palm Beaches Remembered”. Click on image to enlarge.
To learn more about Athletic programs at Lake Worth High School use this link.

Schedule, home games in bold:

Go Trojans!

  • September 1 vs Palm Beach Lakes
  • September 8 vs Palm Beach Gardens
  • September 15 at Park Vista
  • September 22 vs Spanish River
  • September 29 vs Santaluces
  • October 6 at Glades Central
  • October 13 vs Boca Raton
  • October 20 at Atlantic
  • October 27 at John I Leonard
  • November 3 at Boynton Beach

Have a business or restaurant in the “Heart of Palm Beach County”? Have a story to tell but local beat reporter never calls back?

“Where is the Heart of Palm
Beach County

This is an area that includes all or part of 7 cities (Atlantis, Boynton Beach, Greenacres, Lake Worth, Lake Clarke Shores, Lantana, and Palm Springs) and includes the unincorporated “Lake Worth Corridor”, for example, Palm Beach County College, John Prince Park, and the nearby airport.

Do you have a business in this area? Do reporters from The Palm Beach Post return your calls?
What if I told you there’s a solution to your problem? There is! Learn the “Five Tips” below.

Have you been reading the Post and wondering how businesses in the City of Lake Worth get so much attention and your business — let’s say in or near the City of Greenacres or Palm Springs — never get a call back from a reporter?

Or do you have a business in Lake Clarke Shores or near JFK Hospital, maybe a new eatery in the Village of Palm Springs and have been trying forever to get noticed but no response after repeated calls and emails?

Then learn the “Five Tips” from the Business Editor at the Post.

Businesses in the City of Lake Worth that have learned to employ these tips, first published in August of 2016, have gone on to excel at getting noticed in the Post, especially new Hipster eateries in the Downtown and establishments such as World Thrift as well:
  • Know whom you want to reach out to, the editor writes, “. . . the trick is reaching to the right journalist.” For example, sending information to a beat reporter may not be the best option. Have you considered a business reporter? An entertainment reporter?
  • Who’s your audience? “So, tell us how many followers do you have on Twitter? How many friends/fans do you have on Facebook?”
  • Local, local, local, “. . . there must be a direct and definite Palm Beach County connection.”
  • Newsmakers, “Some of the best-read content we produce isn’t on the front page.” For example, per the Business Editor, try to get your business mentioned in the “weekly Newsmakers section”.
  • Video, “So if your business has ‘good visuals,’ drop in a link to some B-roll video that we can attach to the story.”
Reports are these “Five Tips” do indeed work. Have you seen how busy World Thrift is lately? Noticed the parking lots, including the new one recently paved and landscaped, are almost always filled with shoppers?

Friday, August 25, 2017

Item on P&Z Board agenda next month, “to allow for outdoor storage of boats, recreational vehicles, and trailers, etc.” in the POC.

First, do you know where the Park of
Commerce (POC) is?

Use this link to learn more about that area in the City located west of I-95. Past administrations have tried and failed for 25–30 years to make the POC a contributor to the City’s commercial tax base. Hard to believe now, but some former electeds “back in the day” were so desperate to have something happen in the POC, anything at all, even a chicken farm was suggested. Luckily, that idea didn’t go very far.

For the map of the POC, “Fast Facts”, progress updates, and more information, use this link to the City’s official website.

Anyhow. . .

The City of Lake Worth’s Planning & Zoning (P&Z) Board meets the first Wednesday of the month; the next meeting is September 6th at 6:00 in City Hall:

Members review site plans and make recommendations to the City Commission for the development of residential (≥ 3 units) and all commercial properties.

Below are excerpts from a public notice that appears in The Lake Worth Herald today (p. 10, center column):

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that the Planning & Zoning Board City of Lake Worth, Florida, will hold a public hearing in the City Hall Commission Chambers . . . to re-consider the conditions of approval by the Palm Beach Mobile Home Park, Applicant on behalf of Riverstone Communities LLC, Owner, for the following:

PZB Project# 17-00500007: A request for a Conditional Use permit to allow for outdoor storage of boats, recreational vehicles and trailers, etc. The subject site is located at 2003 7th Avenue North PCN 38-43-44-20-01-060-0020 in the Industrial Park of Commerce (IPOC) zoning district pursuant to Sections 23.2-29 of the Land Development Regulations.

and. . .

For additional information on the above issues, please visit the City of Lake Worth Division of Planning, Zoning and Historic Preservation located at 1900 Second Ave. North, Lake Worth, Florida 33461 or contact City Staff at 561-586-1687.

Here come the PACs! Just in time for the March 2018 elections.

The latest new PAC in “Lake Worth” is the
Palm Beach County Green Party.

But there are a few problems the Supervisor of Elections office seems to have overlooked.

Click on image to enlarge:
The Zip Code is wrong and there are other problems. Hayden Drive is in the Town of Palm Springs,
not the City of Lake Worth.

The Zip Code on the treasurer’s report should be 33461. And another thing: there is an expenditure but this PAC shows “$0.00” in contributions. If you’re interested in learning more about this PAC go to the Supervisor of Elections office and ask to see the file.

To see the current list of Political Action Committees (PACs) here in Palm Beach County use this link to the Supervisor of Elections website. Imagine my surprise a few months back to find out two PACs in particular are no longer on the list. One of those not listed any longer is the “Forced To Farm” PAC.

Former Lake Worth Commissioner Suzanne Mulvehill, the champion of resiliency, sustainability, anti-development, etc., while an elected commissioner here in the City of Lake Worth later became Chair of the Forced to Farm PAC that was organized to loosen regulations on land development in the Ag Reserve. Try to wrap your head around that one.

And there’s another PAC that’s not on the list any more: Citizens Against Unfair Taxation (CAUT). You may recall the kerfuffle when the Chair of CAUT lost control at a City Commission workshop last year:

We learned at this City Commission workshop that because that Katie McGiveron's CAUT PAC scuttled the LW2020 bond to fix the roads and potholes BY JUST 25 VOTES in 2014 it will now cost $9 million more to fix the City’s roads.
     At the end of the City’s workshop McGiveron went completely nuts to the shock of nearly everyone in the chamber and the meeting was shut down. At one point Vice Mayor Maxwell was heard saying, “Is there a doctor in the house?

The CAUT PAC is no more:
CAUT may be gone, but there’s still the “Save Our Neighborhood” PAC:

A “Waiver of Report” from last year. Click on image to enlarge:
Use this link to download one of this PACs latest treasurer reports. By the way, where exactly is “Our Neighborhood” they’re trying to “Save”?

Thursday, August 24, 2017

UPDATE: Swim advisory lifted at Lake Worth’s beach.

For more information contact Mr. Ben Kerr, the City’s Communications Specialist at 561-586-1631; email:

Press Release dated today, August 24th.

Lake Worth, Florida The recent swim advisory (August 22) issued at Lake Worth Beach has been lifted. Follow up testing undertaken on Wednesday (August 23) by the Water Operations Section of the FDOH PBC Environmental Public Health unit has confirmed that Lake Worth Beach’s water quality is “Good” and presents no risk to the bathing public.

“We are LAKE WORTH. A hometown City that is committed to delivering the highest level of customer service through a commitment to integrity, hard work and a friendly attitude. We strive to exceed the expectations of our citizens, our businesses, our elected officials and our fellow employees.”

Coffee & “Conversation With a Deputy” at Starbucks in Downtown Lake Worth.

Thursday, September 7th from 1:00–2:00.
“No speeches. No agenda.”
Here’s a question: “The PBSO Golf Tournament
for the Christmas Toy Giveaway was held in the
Great Walled City of Atlantis last year. This year
it’s at the Westchester golf course in suburban
Boynton Beach. What gives?”

Whilst on the subject of golf courses,
did you hear about this news?

Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner announced [August 1st] that Lake Worth Golf Club, located in the city of Lake Worth in Palm Beach County, has been chosen as the featured course on the Florida Historic Golf Trail for the month of August.

“We are pleased to feature Lake Worth Golf Club as a partner on the Florida Historic Golf Trail,” said Secretary Detzner. “Today’s golfers can enjoy playing on this historic course on the picturesque banks of Lake Worth, where it was created more than 90 years ago.”

And did you know Babe Ruth played golf here
in the little City of Lake Worth? It’s true.
Mike May, a world-famous golf writer based in South Florida called the Lake Worth Golf Course, one of forgotten gems and. . . “was a winter golfing destination for former baseball slugger
Babe Ruth, back in the day!”

Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, “Come On Inside, The Culture’s Fine In The Palm Beaches”.

Currently at the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County in City of Lake Worth:

The Cultural Council Biennial 2017, a juried exhibition of works by Palm Beach County artists, is on view through September 2. Through September 23, the Council is exhibiting the works of nine Palm Beach County artists/members of the prestigious Florida Artists Group (FLAG).
     Be sure to explore the Council’s Roe Green Uniquely Palm Beach Store for artist-made jewelry, whimsical and practical items, books and more, produced in Palm Beach County.

For more information contact:

  • Judith Czelusniak
  • 561-471-1602
  • Email:
The Cultural Council of Palm Beach County* is located at 601 Lake Ave. in the City of Lake Worth’s vibrant Downtown. The Cultural Council galleries, visitor information center and Roe Green Uniquely Palm Beach Store are open 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Tuesday–Saturday.

Across ‘L’ Street is a public parking lot and plenty of FREE street parking nearby.
The Cultural Council presents exhibitions featuring Palm Beach County artists and additional programming at its headquarters in the historic Robert M. Montgomery, Jr. Building, an iconic Streamline Moderne former movie theater in Downtown Lake Worth.

LAKE WORTH, Fla., Aug., 2017 /USNewswire/ Travelers who want a sunny vacation with a dose of culture, and those looking for a beach break that’s fun in any weather, are seeking out The Palm Beaches for the best of both worlds.
     More and more travelers are choosing to visit Palm Beach County year round, as a destination with as many indoor delights as there are outdoor diversions. A vacation to The Palm Beaches is a feast for the senses and for the soul, with lush natural beauty and pristine shores, plus indoor exhibitions and cultural experiences that guarantee a memorable visit in any weather — for beachgoers and the sun-shy alike.

*For a complete calendar of cultural activities in The Palm Beaches, connect with the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County or call 561-471-2901. To plan your own personalized cultural itinerary and explore options curated just for you, connect with the Cultural Concierge.

Dear Lappeenranta, Finland. Our City’s Sister City Board is being eliminated. But please don’t give up hope.

To Our Dear Friends and Forgotten Sister City in Lappeenranta,

The City of Lake Worth’s Sister City Board has to be eliminated. There was no other option since becoming a “political football” (please take no offense, that’s a reference to American football, not to European soccer or Australian rugby, both fine sports as well).

The Lake Worth City Commission has eliminated the Sister City Board. The responsibility now to further the City’s Sister City goals will be taken over by another entity or entities, e.g., LULA Lake Worth Arts (the home of “HATCH 1121”), the team at the Palm Beach County Cultural Council located in Downtown Lake Worth, or maybe a collaboration of the two.

So. Dear Citizens of Lappeenranta: Please keep us in your thoughts as the City continues to struggle with objectives other cities accomplish so easily. For example, the cities of Boynton Beach (Sister City of Rauma, Finland), Jupiter, and Delray Beach, also in Palm Beach County, have thriving Sister City programs.

In the meantime, Citizens of Lappeenranta, think about visiting the City of Lake Worth next March for our Midnight Sun Festival:
Palm Beach Post reporter Michael Readling wrote a feature article about this event last March.

A message for our good friends in Finland:
Start planning your Winter/Spring vacation
in Lake Worth, Florida.

Correction. In the comment section below is this left by a reader:

“Tervetuloa Floridaan! Taalla on paljon toimintaa. Suomalaisia klubeja on kaksi ja seurakuntiakin monta. Correction to blog above Tourist Club is actually the Finland House or Suomi Talo and American Finnish Club used to be called Kerhotalo. Both have fantastic people and activities and carry on the traditions of Finnish culture.

Sincerely apologize for any confusion.

If anyone from Finland wishes to come to Lake Worth and demand a personal apology will most certainly comply. We can meet at the Lake Worth Casino or would you rather meet at the golf course also open all year long next to the Intracoastal Waterway?

The Finnish people have a long history in Lake Worth, Florida. The American Finnish Club, the oldest Finnish hall in Florida, is located only minutes from the City. Here is from their website about their history:

     “Finns took up residence in Florida much later than in other sections of the country since the warm climate didn’t draw them from the northern parts of the United States and from Canada until well into this [the 20th] century.
     However, by the year 1937 Finns had arrived in sufficient numbers in the Lake Worth-Lantana area to join in group activities, calling themselves the Tourist Club. The prime objective in the beginning was to aid its member’s or their parent’s homeland, Finland which was engaged in the struggle to maintain its freedom during the beginning years of World War II into which the United States wouldn’t be drawn until 1941."

Learn more about the City of Lake Worth here. Make plans to visit us and remember, we have a Beach!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Notes, news, observations: Budget work session at the City Commission last night.

UPDATE: The highlighted text below is more information from the Commission work session.

This was the last meeting prior to the process of actually adopting a City budget which will happen at two meetings next month, according to Finance Dir. Marie Elianor. Mayor Pam Triolo was absent; Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell officiated the meeting which ended before 7:00, less than an hour.

Here’s a list of what happened last night:

  • We learned from Commissioner Andy Amoroso the Lake Worth Electric Utility made a commitment last year to match grants received by the CRA for community WIFI to help children, students, and at-risk neighborhoods.
  • Maxwell’s push for a 0.25 reduction in the millage rate appears dead in its tracks (it would turn out to be $211,000 in the budget). There was talk of giving Triolo a chance to chime in but with commissioners Amoroso, Herman Robinson, and Omari Hardy opposed there’s little to be gained it would seem. Hardy said this fiscal year is “not the right time”, and Robinson added a millage rate reduction “would indicate a [City] management success” but next year would consider a reduction in the millage instead of this year. Amoroso, “Agree with lowering the rate but not right now”.
  • Scott Maxwell: “I see some momentum building up.” He made the case for a millage reduction considering rising property values, existing homeowners paying more taxes now, and the City should offer some relief. Maxwell also pointed out he doesn’t think the new Homestead exemption on the ballot next year will pass. He hinted there will be powerful opposition.
  • If the Homestead exemption on the ballot next year passes it will ended up costing the City $280,000.
  • Three items in the budget, thanks to the County ¢1 sales tax proceeds: 1) Paying for the FEC crossing upgrades; 2) removing the condemned pier at Spillway Park; 3) license plate readers.
  • The Lake Worth Pier does indeed need to be repaired due to “spalling concrete”. There’s no money in the Beach Fund to pay for it. How much will it cost? Stay tuned.
  • Although the Beach Fund was on the agenda there was very little discussion about that. Got the impression everyone is just tired of talking about it; it’s a mess. Downtown parking came up briefly and the ShotSpotter technology discussed in previous budget meetings wasn’t mentioned at all. Waiting for PBSO to take the lead?
  • No one from the public spoke. However, a lot of noise is going on about the City top staff receiving another week of vacation. For those upset about that, reach out to a sports fan; they know all about retaining and attracting talent. On one hand you can’t complain the City has a hard time keeping good talent and then complain when the City takes the steps to address that issue. Just thought I would point that out.
  • As always, Marie Elianor was excellent. Our City is lucky to have her.
City Manager Michael Bornstein did a very good job explaining how the budget process works to Hardy and Robinson (the two newly electeds), but he did warn them, “It’s getting late in the game and [staff] needs some clear direction.”

Robinson’s idea of a “retreat” for the City Commission to get together in a publicly noticed place to talk and share ideas was well received by everyone. Staff would be there to listen and take notes how each commissioner sees the City going forward in the next 5–10 years.

Expect the City Commission to explore this more closely before the end of the year. Amoroso said, “It’s a way to work together and share visions.”

Not a bad idea, Commissioner Robinson!

Notice of Public Meeting, City of Lake Worth: Justice Assistance Grant Program.

Meeting is tomorrow at 6:00 in the City Hall conference room (next to the Commission chambers). For further information please contact Grants Analyst Jerry Kelly at 561-533-7358.

Press Release: 

Please join the City of Lake Worth for a Public Meeting to discuss the upcoming Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program allocation of $33,136 for Fiscal Year 2017. During this meeting the City of Lake Worth staff will describe eligible uses of JAG funds and solicit public input on uses of this funding opportunity.

Harder Hall and the Gulfstream Hotel: It’s a near miracle both of these historic structures are still standing.

“[T]he success of preservation efforts often hinges
on local activists working within their communities
to influence policy-makers.”

“Everything Florida Has — We Have”
But for how much longer will Harder Hall (see below) and the Gulfstream Hotel stand?

What will it take for the Millennials to carry on the fight? And don’t forget, being on the National Register of Historic Places provides no protection from the wrecking ball.

“Maybe it’s our Gulfstream Hotel, still an eyesore in our Downtown following all that excitement in January 2016, that stands a constant reminder what historic preservation cannot do. What needs to happen is not happening. We need more young people to get actively involved.”

Harder Hall (see video below) and the Gulfstream Hotel have a lot in common.

From Wikipedia:

“Harder Hall was named for its developers, Lewis F. Harder and Vincent Hall, both of West Palm Beach. Prior to the Wall Street Crash of 1929, Florida experienced a boom in real estate and tourism. It was during this period that many Spanish style hotels, such as Harder Hall, were built.
     Construction of the hotel began in 1925, prior to the end of the Florida land boom of the 1920s. In 1927, the classic Spanish Style hotel and golf resort, opened on the shore of Little Lake Jackson. Harder Hall was built in Sebring because the city was a stop on the Atlantic Coast Line railroad.”

An incredible video of Harder Hall. . .

“Here’s a short story of a playful drone that discovers an old abandoned hotel and decides to investigate.”

Here’s a recent picture of our Gulfstream Hotel
in the City of Lake Worth.
To review the timeline use this link. Remember, Hudson Holdings bought the Gulfstream Hotel
in May 2014.

“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.

Hudson Holdings bought the Gulfstream Hotel almost 3½ years ago.

Are there any plans afoot to clear the vegetation away from the sidewalks around the Gulfstream Hotel property for pedestrians along Lakeside Drive and 1st Ave. South?

View east of 1st Ave. South.

The eastern sidewalk along Lakeside Drive
near the corner of 1st Ave. South.
Nice place for a criminal to hide a stolen bike or stash drug paraphernalia for a while.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Brightline Train Station in downtown West Palm Beach.

Use this link to read Parts 13 from our tour
of the facility last month.

Once this was a vacant lot. Residents in downtown West Palm Beach used to refer to this area of
the city as the “donut hole”.

“Know Your Signs and Signals”!
Click on image to enlarge.

Question: The news below is not being promoted or distributed by the City of Lake Worth.

Does anyone know why not?

If any other golf course in South Florida received this news below we wouldn’t hear the end of it:

Press Release. “Lake Worth Golf Club Featured as Florida Historic Golf Trail Course of the Month”.

Secretary of State Ken Detzner announced [August 1st] that Lake Worth Golf Club, located in the city of Lake Worth in Palm Beach County, has been chosen as the featured course on the Florida Historic Golf Trail for the month of August.

“We are pleased to feature Lake Worth Golf Club as a partner on the Florida Historic Golf Trail,” said Secretary Detzner. “Today’s golfers can enjoy playing on this historic course on the picturesque banks of Lake Worth, where it was created more than 90 years ago.”

The Lake Worth golf course in on the Intracoastal. To the east is the Town of Palm Beach.
Use this link to learn more about the Lake Worth Golf Club and the course. More from the
press release:

In 1923, the city of Lake Worth approved a proposition to build a golf course along the city’s lakefront. The golf course architectural firm of Langford and Moreau was hired to design an 18-hole course. Plans included dredging the bottom of Lake Worth to fill in a considerable portion along the lake front. Designed under the supervision of William Langford, the first nine holes of the golf course officially opened on November 12, 1926 at a cost of $400,000. In 1948, the completed 18-hole golf course opened for play after golf course architect Dick Wilson redesigned the original holes and added nine more.

“Lake Worth Golf Club is honored to be chosen as the Florida Historic Golf Trail’s featured golf course for the month of August 2017,” said Matt DeRosa, Lead Golf Professional at Lake Worth Golf Club. “Once a favorite golf course to the great Babe Ruth, Lake Worth Golf Club offers a fun and exciting round for all golfers. Located along the intra-coastal waterway, the golf course showcases a wide variety of wildlife, as well as spectacular views of Palm Beach Island.”

Monday, August 21, 2017

From CityLab: “Atlanta’s Planning Department Makeover”.

“A new seal, a new name, and most importantly,
new signs that people will actually read.”

Here are two excerpts from the article in CityLab by reporter Teresa Mathew:

Public notices about tree removal or zoning ordinances rarely catch the attention of the average person walking by them. That’s no longer the case in Atlanta.
     Fed up with the cluttered and uninspiring signage coming out of his office, Tim Keane, Commissioner of Atlanta’s Department of Planning, decided to make a change.

and. . .

     The previous signage system “appeared to be designed by lawyers,” says Blake Howard, the project’s creative director. “The language was hard to understand, jumping off the page at the same time. It wasn’t very visually appealing.”
     The ethos of the rebranding is “To Be Clear is To Be Kind.”
     “If we want to be kind to the public,” Howard says, “we want them to be able to understand what the purpose of the sign is.”

“To Be Clear is To Be Kind.”
Seen these signs around the City of Lake Worth?
Atlanta rebranded the “Department of Planning
and Community Development”.
It’s now simply
called the “Department of Planning”.

Community WIFI is critical for our little City of Lake Worth: For kids and public school students, the Internet is a bright, safe place.

Who do you think wrote this quote?

“Providing internet access for our young students, many of whom don’t have computers at home will go a long way to helping raise our struggling schools’ grade rankings. This, in turn helps to attract more families to buy into our neighborhoods and invest in Lake Worth.”

Where did this quote come from? Find out below.

We learned last week from School Board member Erica Whitfield that one of the big things holding back our students and young people is no access to the Internet at home (scroll down or use this link to learn more). Dr. Epps, the new principal at Lake Worth High School, confirmed this as well.

Whitfield explained, for example, Guatemalan children are really smart! These kids perform very well in mathematics but lag behind in other skills like language and social sciences. Having the Internet available at home would further social assimilation and bolster what they are learning in public school.

That is IF these kids show up at school at all.

Many Guatemalan parents and others in immigrant communities — out of fear due to rumors and unverified news reports — are keeping their children out of public schools. And remember, who is teaching the older Guatemalan population how to speak English? It’s their kids! Much of the fear in our immigrant communities can be ramped down with education. Young children and teenagers learning the facts about immigration policy and then spreading the word in their neighborhood.

Palm Beach County public school teachers can only do so much. But imagine a teacher giving a student or a group of students an Internet assignment overnight? These kids could come back the next day and teach their teacher a thing or two about how to teach Guatemalan children. Maybe these kids will have other ideas, like instead of being taught how to hold a spoon or fold a napkin, come up with a lesson plan to teach their Guatemalan parents how to communicate with a deputy or police officer.

Now back to community WIFI in the
City of Lake Worth.

Do you remember this news from last November about the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) and City of Lake Worth event at the Casino called “Destination Lake Worth: Investment and Development in Lake Worth”?

Click on image to enlarge:
“Developers, Property Owners, Commercial Realtors and Business Owners” expect investment
in our children and schools as well.

This meeting was targeted to property owners and potential investors to let them know Lake Worth is “open for business” and presented reasons why investment in the City is a good idea whose time has come. Here is an excerpt from the meeting last year, “Destination Lake Worth”:

“[T]he CRA is working toward establishing a WiFi system that will be part of the City’s infrastructure and will utilize electric poles throughout the CRA district as a way to bridge the ‘digital divide’ for those with challenges accessing the Internet.”

Remember the quote at the beginning of this blog post, the question, “Who do you think wrote this?”

Here is the entire quote, which includes the excerpt, from a comment left on this blog:

The CRA has budgeted this year for the WIFI program and has partnerships already in place with the School Board, Palm Beach State College, Palm Beach County and our Electric Utility just to name a few of the major players.
     A few missing pieces remain such as fiber optic cable run to public facilities (schools) in order to triangulate signals for full coverage. Real possibilities for this program to take off this budget year.
     Providing internet access for our young students, many of whom don’t have computers at home (and with this program will) will go a long way to helping raise our struggling schools’ grade rankings. This, in turn helps to attract more families to buy into our neighborhoods and invest in Lake Worth.
     Please encourage your elected officials to support this effort.

Chip Guthrie
Member, Lake Worth CRA

Now it’s up to you.

Start by contacting your local elected leaders, the mayor and commissioners here in the City of Lake Worth. Tell them you support community WIFI for children, students, and others who live in at-risk neighborhoods. And then ask these elected’s who they think “up the chain” can help too, like County commissioners and representatives in the Florida House and Senate.

And then maybe some time soon, students and children that need help in our City of Lake Worth will be able to contact their elected leaders on their own, all by themselves, using the Internet.

With training, instruction, and the teachers in our public schools, the Internet and community WIFI won’t be a dark, dangerous place after all.

In their own words, on our schools in the City of Lake Worth, School Board member Erica Whitfield and High School Principal Dr. Epps.

Two videos are below from the Lake Worth City Commission meeting last week (August 15th).

Instead of somebody else telling you what they think Whitfield and Epps said, watch and listen to the videos below for yourself.* Also a note to the press and news media: please try to focus attention on the good news and positive trends going forward as well. Thank you.

To learn more about School Board member Erica Whitfield’s presentation at the Lake Worth City Commission use this link. Whitfield introduced Dr. Epps to the community as well. He is the new principal at Lake Worth High School.

Below are the videos for everyone interested in our schools here in the City of Lake Worth. And for the reporters at the Post, please feel free to use these videos and try not to focus on just the negative numbers and information. Because if you pay attention, you’ll discover there is also a lot of good things happening in our schools as well.

Dr. Epps is introduced in the 2nd video.

Thank You for visiting today.

*Click on the red “Subscribe” icon to show your support for my Lake Worth YouTube channel. Subscribers also get an email when new videos have been uploaded.
     If you’re curious, use this link to see the most popular videos all-time. One video is the Lake Worth Casino and Beach from Nov. 2007.

“A Wish List”: Shotspotter technology, community WIFI for at-risk children, pool for swimming lessons, license plate readers, Downtown parking. . .

The items above, and many more, are issues local governments have to grapple with every budget cycle.

This year’s budget cycle has not been kind to the City of Lake Worth (there is a City budget meeting tomorrow; details below).

On top of everything else we received a $450,000 bill for upgrades to FEC track crossings, we learned the City’s pier may have major problems with “spalling” concrete (an engineering report will be issued), and Shotspotter technology which would be a huge benefit for our City we found out is by subscription and very expensive.

And don’t forget — some loud voices in the public want a brand new pool at the Beach too (read more about that below) — a facility not affordable for so many families in our community, many with children that need to learn how to swim, a public safety priority.

There is good news, however. The City of Lake Worth is receiving funds from the County ¢1 County sales tax proceeds. How are other cities grappling with all these pressing issues during the budget process? Here’s a blog post from yesterday.

From Post reporter
Lulu Ramadan:

“Eight projects on Delray’s penny
sales tax revenue wish list”.

There are some very interesting items on the City of Delray Beach’s “wish list” and one of them, license plate readers, may be on the City of Lake Worth’s list as well. Below are excerpts from the Post article this week.

But first, here is the agenda for Lake Worth’s budget meeting tomorrow:

Lake Worth City Commission Budget Work Session
Tuesday, August 22nd, 6:00
Item 3: Updates/future action/direction
A. FY 2018 Budget wrap-up overview.
B. FY 2018 Review of policies and direction.

Check back tomorrow for how to watch this meeting Live Streaming.

Last July the City of Lake Worth had a work session to prepare a preliminary “wish list” for the proceeds from the ¢1 County sales tax increase. However, because the infrastructure here in Lake Worth was ignored and allowed to deteriorate for so long, most (or all) of the County ¢1 sales tax proceeds will have to used for the necessities, e.g., roads and infrastructure projects.

The City of Delray Beach has some leeway to be more creative. Use this link to read the entire article by Post reporter Lulu Ramadan.

Here are two items from the Delray Beach
“wish list”:

Hybrid downtown trolley. The city has a Downtown Trolley Roundabout that transports patrons and employees from parking lots throughout the downtown to the businesses on East Atlantic Avenue. [emphasis added] It has budgeted $1.5 million for a new, environmentally-friendly electric or hybrid trolley, according to the [City] report.

and. . .

Skate park. About $410,000 is set aside to repair and replace the skate park at city-owned 505 Teen Center, a drop-in center for local youth at 505 SE 5th Ave.

Here’s an idea from Delray that Lake Worth Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell has been pushing for to help lower the crime rate in certain areas of the City:

License plate readers. The city [Delray Beach] aims to purchase license-plate readers for the downtown “to reduce crime in high tourist areas” for $400,000, the report says. It adds: “Nearby cities are already utilizing these technologies to reduce crimes and have higher percentage of crimes solved.”

Lastly, one more from the Delray “wish list”:

Pompey Park pool.* About $470,000 was budgeted to redesign the pool at Pompey Park, at 1101 NW 2nd St, as well as add shading and improve the indoor gymnasium, according to the report.

It’s nice to see a city address the needs of residents and families that need to learn how to swim, isn’t it?

But here in the City of Lake Worth some still want a brand new pool at the Beach to replace the “white elephant” that was condemned last December and ignored by a previous commission when the Casino was ‘renovated’ back in 2012. Even prior to 2012 everyone knew the pool at the Beach was a big problem but it was “kicked down the road”.

Remember when the pool was shut down in 2010?

And whereas parking is FREE at almost every public pool, to use the pool at the Lake Worth Beach cost $4 (2 hour minimum) every time to park.

No wonder so many kids never used it; many parents couldn’t afford it. For a family of four it cost $16 for 2 hours each trip to the pool at the Beach. Staying longer than two hours and it gets even more expensive (note: that doesn’t include a soda or a slice of pizza).

But with the elections looming in March 2018, some continue to pander to a very small but loud group of constituents.

The editor at The Lake Worth Herald nailed it
when he wrote about a pool at the Beach,
“Does it have to be there?”

Lake Worth does have some under-utilized parks with enough space to accommodate an aquatic center and should consider investing in a pool somewhere other than the beach.
     Bryant Park has space, but that would raise the ire of those who walk their dogs in the park. What is more important, dogs or children?
     What about Sunset Ridge Park, there might be enough space there too.
     Go to the north end of the city, there sits numerous baseball and softball fields, some of which are never or seldom used. Take PONY field for example, it is in shambles and occupies a large portion of the park area.

But once again, as is the case way too often, the hard decisions and political will have to wait until after the elections are over.

*From the City of Delray Beach: Pompey Park Pool is a modern aquatic facility adjacent to the Pompey Park Recreation Center. It is fully accessible and meets ADA regulations.
  • Facilities: Drinking fountain, restrooms, swimming pool, wheelchair accessible.
  • Activities: Swimming, swimming lessons, aquatic exercise, scuba diving lessons.
  • Hours of operation: Tuesday–Friday 9:00 a.m.–1:00 and 4:00–8:00 pm; Saturday 9:00–5:00.

“Editing: Standards in Action” for newspapers (and online editions). Chapter 5.2: “Headlines: In a Nutshell”.

Excerpts from The New York Times’ “Learning Network” are below explaining how a proper headline should appear in a newspaper.

There’s a big difference in public perception between an “ordinance” and a “curfew”.
Headlines are “about six words that need to reflect the article accurately . . . a good headline is based on the lead.”

It’s important to note the reporter never used the word “curfew” at all in the article — not one single time — it’s also important to note the headline above appeared 1½ months prior to election day here in the little City of Lake Worth (the elections in March 2016).

That headline was all part of the silliness in January 2016 by the media and the press. Election season can bring out the worst from reporters sometimes. Remember the “forced relocation” and another story that ended up being retracted?

Anyhow, we’re once again entering another election season here in the City of Lake Worth.* In the meantime, as a public service, learn how to monitor the media and press so what happened last year doesn’t happen again. Let’s learn about headlines from The New York Times:

The line editor (who could be a desk editor or copy editor) writes the headline for the article; usually there’s room for about six words that need to reflect the article accurately and attract readers. 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. [emphasis added]
     Headlines are written in the historical present tense. That means they written are in present tense but describe events that just happened. The exception to that is when you’re reporting on something that happened quite some time ago. If information just became available on attendance figures for the last school year for example, the headline might say, “Attendance Improved Last Year.”

and. . .

    There are some shortcuts that most newspapers allow in headlines (but few of these shortcuts are seen in The New York Times). To save space, most papers let editors drop forms of the verb “to be” and the articles “a” “an” and “the.” The headline writer can also let a comma substitute for “and.”
     What the headline writer should try to avoid — and online papers seem to be big offenders here — is to let one thought in a headline break from one line to the next.
     That is called a bad break, or wraparound. To avoid bad breaks, keep adjectives and their nouns, and keep verbs and their auxiliary verbs and adverbs, on the same line. Don’t let prepositional phrases start on one line and finish on the next. Bad breaks make headlines hard to read, and editors of online papers need to make their publications as reader-friendly as possible.

So. Headline editing is also important in the online edition as well, not just the print edition. Over the next few weeks see if you can spot a “bad break” and also see if the online edition of the Post is as “reader-friendly as possible.” And accurate too.

The job of the press and editors is to educate the public about things like ordinances and curfews: before and after election day.

*For more about the elections on March 13th, 2018 use this link. To actually qualify to be on the ballot doesn’t begin until November 28th, but one can start a campaign earlier by visiting the City Clerk and asking for more information.
     Starting in 2018 the mayor and commissioners in District 1 and 3 will begin serving 3-year terms. And do you know what the rule is on campaign signs? Use this link to learn about that.

Wes keeps on “beating a dead horse”.

One-way streets in our City.

Try an experiment: Return a few
back to two-way traffic?

The City’s bond referendum passed overwhelmingly last November to fix the roads and potholes, can we try a little experiment? Try changing a few one-way streets back to two-way like our City was designed in the first place over 100 years ago? Two-way streets it’s thought creates more “eyes on the street”, reduces crime, increases property values, and slows down speeding cars. Just a few benefits.

Here’s an article from the Strong Towns blog
written by Rachel Quednau; an excerpt:

     A recent article out of South Bend, IN suggests that the movement toward two-way streets is growing. [emphasis added] South Bend plans to convert many of its downtown streets back into two-ways by the end of 2016.
     As an example from the neighboring state of Kentucky, the article explains how one multilane couplet (two parallel one-way streets that move traffic in opposite directions) was previously a high crime, low-property value area:
     John Gilderbloom, director of the Center for Sustainable Urban Neighborhoods at the University of Louisville, lived on First Street with his wife when he first moved to the city. 
It was awful, he recalled recently. “There were prostitutes, people selling fenced goods, drugs, everything like that. . .” But after the couplet was returned to its two-way origins:
     Steadily, crime fell, property values rose and retail revenues increased, he said. New investment followed, as residents and business owners rushed to take advantage of the improving landscape.
Remember, Lake and Lucerne avenues in the Downtown weren’t always a multilane couplet (one-way each way). That came later when the most important goal for FDOT and traffic engineers was getting cars from point A to point B as quickly as possible, pedestrians and bicyclists an afterthought.

Many streets in Lake Worth could easily be returned to two-way without many changes to the road infrastructure. Of course things like signage will have to change along with driver behavior as well.

Good idea? Or is Wes still “beating a dead horse”?
Important to remember: Lake and Lucerne avenues are controlled by FDOT, not the City. Other FDOT roadways in the City are Dixie Hwy., Federal Hwy., Lake Worth Rd., and of course I-95.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Just in case you missed this from yesterday. . .

Blog post titled, “City’s Historic Preservation program: Regulations aren’t the problem. It’s administration of the regulations.”

Already read this? Please scroll down and Thank You for visiting today.

Allow me to share a few thoughts regarding the recent discussions of changes to the City of Lake Worth’s historic preservation ordinance. This most recent kerfuffle has made news in the Post but this all goes back much further. The current beat reporter from the Post was here in January 2016 when things “came to a head” in the City’s South Palm Park neighborhood, but what happened didn’t make the news back then.

The reverberations from that event still continue
to this day (after reading this blog post come back,
use this link
and learn more about what happened
in January 2016)

Some of you may recall, for varying lengths of time, I was on the combined Planning & Zoning and Historic Preservation boards. It was later the Historic Resource Preservation Board (HRPB) was separated from P&Z and became its own entity. I also served as Chair over most of that time.

If you’ve been paying attention, the City staff and HRPB have put together some changes that would create more of a distinction between contributing and non-contributing properties within historic districts. Those changes would also provide a hierarchy of what requires more attention and less attention as it relates to approving changes to a property within historic districts.

The intent of those changes is good,
but misses the mark.

Staff, somewhat after the fact, presented those proposed changes to the State Historic Preservation Office for their opinion on whether or not they would negatively impact the City’s Certified Local Government status. Of course, the answer was the state had some concerns about what they saw as the loosening of restrictions, as is the nature of any bureaucratic organization charged with enforcing certain standards. Bureaucracies are not in the business of giving up control.

There does seem to be hope a discussion can continue between the state and the City staff. Some agreement may be reached on acceptable language. I won’t “get into the weeds” of what might be possible or even workable given the current situation vis-à-vis the public mood as it is, which is very unhappy and impatient.

I could examine possible language to the ordinance. But I won’t. Because that misses the real issue.

The real issue at play here is the increasingly over-zealous enforcement of provisions in the historic preservation ordinance and the importance or weight of staff’s opinion of changes to structures affected. Let’s start backwards and work forward as it relates to the customer/resident/property owner experience as they approach the staff in charge of administering the City’s historic preservation ordinance. 

If the phones of the city manager, mayor and commissioners are ringing with complaints about the time it takes to go through the historic preservation review process, there is something wrong with the way the regulations are being implemented. 

For example, it is not “the regulations” that do not return phone calls or emails in a timely basis. That is the staff’s job.

One of the reasons I chose to resign from the HRPB two years ago was because I was getting 4–5 calls a week from people stuck in what seemed a never-ending circle of subjective reasons why they couldn’t do something to improve their property in a historic district. At the same time, at least 80 percent of the time our meeting packets would be filled with staff reports carrying recommendations for denial. This set up an adversarial relationship between the City and residents trying to improve their properties, with the HRPB to be the ultimate arbitration authority in the matter.

[It needs to be pointed out, the HRPB is a volunteer board. It’s no small sacrifice of time and energy to be a member of the HRPB, or any City volunteer board for that matter.]

As each case is different, there are seven members on the board with seven varying points of view, consistency is difficult to achieve each and every time. A difficult case shouldn’t be an automatic appearance at the HRPB. Staff is paid to make hard decisions, and yes, sometimes it’s unpleasant to work with the public. That’s why they call it “public service”.

One solution would be to have a set of “design guidelines” that would clearly lay out what would be permitted and what would not be. There are guidelines in existence for properties along major thoroughfares in the City and in College Park as well. Those were done soon after the initial adoption of the historic preservation program in 2000 or so.

When asked for design guidelines for other areas governed by historic district regulations the oft-heard reply was “We didn’t have the staff”, “Not enough money to complete them”, or “The state was cutting back on grant money”, etc. etc. etc. Understandable and comprehensive guidelines never rose to a “line item in the budget” priority.

The City does have a grant now from the state to prepare guidelines and work should commence soon if it hasn’t begun already.

Why the City spent $14,000 on an outside attorney to do the work to change that ordinance language, then present those changes to not one but two HRPB meetings and then the City Commission — only to be told by the state we couldn’t do that, possibly risking the loss our Certified Local Government status — one can only speculate. But it doesn’t look good. Not what one would expect from a professional staff and well-paid attorneys.

I suggest the City staff closely examine the process as seen from the property owner/applicant experience with the historic preservation program.

When these “customers” receive what is assumed to be a default “No” from staff they are left to put together an application, with attendant fees, and present that application to the HRPB. By doing so they are putting their own time, money, and effort into a request that may or may not even be approved by the board. The very act of applying carries its own risk.

You also have to overcome what is most likely a negative recommendation from staff. The process itself is more onerous now than it has ever been. I’ve had the experience of putting together a few applications over time.

The simple summary is this: It is not the regulations that are the problem. It is how the regulations are being administered.

And lastly, having a historic preservation program does increase property values over time as many studies have shown. A study to try and prove otherwise would be a waste of time and energy.

Going forward, imagine if there were sets of guidelines for historic preservation everyone could follow? Not just for the public and the HRPB, but for the City staff as well.