Saturday, October 14, 2017

Part 1. Quote by Lake Worth Asst. City Manager Juan Ruiz, “It’s obviously a high point of interest in our community.”

“Evaluation Meeting and Presentations”

“RFQ 17-305 for Lake Worth Beach Complex Conceptual Plans Design, Cost Estimates & Construction Design and Construction Phase”

Meeting in the Commission Chambers on October 12th (and also note, the first of five videos is below).

To the press and news media: Feel free to use all the information you need in the videos taken of this meeting on October 12th. Please credit the source (if your editor will allow it).

Without further ado, below is Part 1 about this “high point of interest in our community” as our assistant city manager stated to begin this meeting last Thursday. There will be much more information to come.

For those of you new to this issue, understand that in the 100+ year history of our City, nothing has drawn more interest, ire, embarrassment, high praise, and yes, even despair, than the Lake Worth Beach and the construction, demolition, broken promises, and the oft-told hysterical nonsense, “They’re trying to steal our Beach!” that continues to this present day.

Many a Lake Worth Commission candidate or mayor’s career has crashed and burned upon its shores. For an interesting look back use this link for former Post reporter Scott McCabe’s timeline beginning in 1912.

How We Got Here. A very brief history:

Pretty much everyone knew about all the problems with the ‘renovated’ Casino structure back in 2013–2014 (which was actually 94% demolished), and many attempts were made to have Morganti (the construction company) and REG (the architect) correct these issues.

But then in September 2015 a news report by WPTV’s Andrew Ruiz hit the air; this finally got everyone’s attention and set off the proverbial storm:

It’s only a problem when it rains. . .
Which delves into the biggest question of all:
Why try and fix the Casino if it may end up being demolished to make way for new
construction at the Beach?

Now back to the issue at hand, RFQ 17-305:

Presentations by CPZ Architects, Inc. from Plantation, FL and Kimley-Horn from Delray Beach.

The City of Lake Worth “Evaluators” (with City Attorney Christy Goddeau present on the dais; also present was City of Lake Worth Purchasing Specialist Melicia Wilson):
  • Assistant City Manager Juan Ruiz
  • Leisure Services Assistant Director Lauren Bennett
  • Casino Facility Supervisor Phil Johnson
  • Aquatics Manager Doug Yoakum
  • Parking Operations Manager Larry Lightfoot

The agenda:

  • Signed oaths submitted.
  • Evaluation discussions.
  • Presentations by CPZ Architects, Inc. and Kimley-Horn.
  • Q&A Session.
  • Evaluations recorded.

“Announcements of Each Proposers Score and Rank.”

By a very thin margin — just 10 points (469 to 459) — CPZ Architects came out on top.

I can tell you from being present, there was indeed a noticeable sigh of relief when CBZ Architects was picked. Reasons for which will be explored in future installments.

The big reason why I think CBZ received the highest score is they are a “fresh set of eyes”. Back in 2010 I was posting on this blog about issues, “related to accessibility and ADA requirements.” And everyone understands now all the problems at the Lake Worth Beach vis-à-vis parking, traffic flow, access for emergency vehicles, and just the terrible oversight back then that now requires so many visitors, wedding attendees, and restaurant-goers to walk that steep dune to the Casino complex.

And maybe some of you will recall all those times I went to the Casino for lunch and,
Are you kidding me? Spent all this money for lunch here and can’t even see the ocean!”
The site plan for the ‘new Casino’ did not receive the critical scrutiny it deserved because anyone who made a suggestion to improve upon it was called a “heretic” by the previous majority of electeds and administration at the time. And, yes, a former commissioner — the one with a PhD — was one of the majority starting in 2010.

Who was responsible for many of these problems?

Kimley-Horn. Having Kimley-Horn do more work at the Casino complex and Beach property is like paying them to come back and fix their old problems. CBZ Architects is an unknown. However, given that they beat out Kimley-Horn in the eyes of the City’s panel is a testament to how well CBZ was prepared.

As stated already, there are five videos of this meeting. To see them all and watch at your pleasure use this link to my YouTube Channel and look for “City of Lake Worth RFQ Evaluation Meeting”.

The City did not record this meeting using its own YouTube Channel. But I decided to show up with my trusty camera and tripod just in case. So these videos taken are the only ones of this meeting. Just in case you don’t know, anyone can show up and record public government meetings if you are not disruptive or obstruct the proceedings. If you’re curious why I took a spot behind the easel in the first set of videos, the answer is easy: you can never block or get in the way of the public. This is one of the inherent problems in the layout of our Commission chambers.

That’s why the recording of public meetings, most times, are taken from the side and not directly in front of the government dais; not that all the press and media care about or even know about that rule.

Remember, this is Part 1.

Many more parts to come. Some short, others
lengthy and in-depth, and some funny ones
too to break things up.

Watch the video below if you have the time and check back tomorrow for Part 2 — which is “obviously a high point of interest in our community” — and will continue to be for a very long time. “Hope springs eternal” and hopefully we’ll get it right this time.

At the 2:00 minute mark in the video below, City Attorney Christy Goddeau makes an important opening statement. Goddeau says this meeting is not about the process to “sell the beach”. NO ONE IS TRYING TO “STEAL THE BEACH!”

After 105 years it’s about time to end that nonsense once and for all [Hello, Lynn and Laurence].

Hope you find this video informative and helpful; use this link (copy and paste to your email) to share it with your friends and neighbors:

Lake Worth City Commission “Regular Meeting” next Tuesday, Oct. 17th at 6:00.

See below for two excerpts from the agenda next week and also below are instructions how to download this agenda and look it over for yourself.

Please note: Earlier this year the City Commission increased the time limit for Public Comment of non-agendaed items from two minutes to three minutes. Despite trepidation and much concern some in the public would would abuse this extra minute, so far that has not been the case.

In the future, it may become three minutes across the board once again for all items on the Commission agenda like it was prior to former commissioners Cara Jennings et al. lowering the time limit to two minutes. Stay tuned as they say.

Here are two interesting items on the agenda:

  • Item 9L. “Consent Agenda”: Resolution No. 61-2017 - Aesthetic Feature Agreement with the Florida Department of Transportation for the installation of a mural under the Robert A. Harris [Lake Worth] memorial bridge.
  • Item 12A. “New Business”: Internal Auditor Selection.
Are you following the City on Twitter?
Following the City on Facebook? You can’t.
There is no official City of Lake Worth
Facebook page. Why not? No one knows.

Instructions: How to download the City Commission agenda:
  • Use this link to the City’s website.
  • Scroll down for “October 17 Regular Meeting”.
  • Click on “Agenda & Backup” and download will begin.
Yes. It’s that easy. Have something to say next Tuesday? Use this link to learn how to give Public Comment. The #1 Rule is always be respectful to the Chair, Mayor Pam Triolo.

City press release: “Lake Worth Ocean Rescue hour adjustment”.

Lake Worth, FL — Due to a lack of daylight starting October 15th [tomorrow], the City of Lake Worth will be adjusting lifeguard hours on the Lake Worth Beach to a 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. schedule. The City and your Ocean Rescue lifeguards encourage swimmers to exercise caution when lifeguards are not on duty.

For more information contact the City’s Public Information Officer, Ben Kerr, at 561-586-1631; email:

“Located in Central Palm Beach County, Lake Worth is a dynamic, multi-cultural city with an individualistic style. People are drawn to the City by its acceptance of different cultures, lifestyles, hip downtown and colorful arts district.”

Friday, October 13, 2017

Tomorrow is the “Club Scrub Endless Summer Paddle & Sandbar Party”!

Don’t Miss Out on the Largest Paddle Event
on the Treasure Coast!

To see photos and videos from past “Paddle and Sandbar” parties use this link to the Club Scrub Facebook page.

Did you head up to the Treasure Coast last weekend after seeing news about this event in the October 6th TGIF section in The Palm Beach Post?
If you did pack the car last Saturday for that 45 min. drive, that’s too bad. Because you missed the “Correction” in the Post the very next day, Oct. 7th,
on page A2 below the fold:

“Because of an editing error, the incorrect date for the Club Scrub Endless Summer Paddle & Sandbar Party appeared in Friday’s [Oct. 6th] Palm Beach Post. The event is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 14. The item appeared in the TGIF section.” [emphasis added]

Don’t be deterred!

To save time today you can register online
using this link

Pack the car with all your stuff tonight and head out early tomorrow morning. The Jonathan Dickinson State Park Swim Beach River Area is located at 16450 SE Federal Hwy in Hobe Sound:

Park opens at 8:00 am. Arrive at River Swimming Area at 9:30 am. Check in at the Swim Area beach; adjacent to the River Pavilion in the back of the Park.
     We ask that you arrive early so there is plenty of time for you to drive to the back of the park to unload your equipment, park & register. There will be an unloading area. Please move your vehicle after you unload and then proceed to registration / check-in.

“PADDLES UP at 10:15!”

“Message from the Mayor Regarding Support for our Neighbors in Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands”

To read the entire press release from Mayor Gail Conoglio use this link:

The Town of Palm Beach is part of a non-partisan, public/private coalition called Palm Beach County Cares. This newly formed organization is currently concentrating on helping our neighbors in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands recover from significant damage caused by the recent hurricanes.

and. . .

     Our goal is to raise $5 million dollars in the next 5 weeks. The United Way of Palm Beach County will oversee the collection and distribution of the funds. Donation information is on the website.
     You may drop off items at any time within the next five weeks at any of the three Town Fire Stations:
  • Central Fire – Station #1 (355 South County Road).
  • North Fire – Station #2 (300 North County Road).
  • South Fire – Station #3 (2185 South Ocean Boulevard.
All donations will be delivered to the Port of Palm Beach, who has donated a warehouse to collect items to be shipped to the islands. Requested items include:
  • Baby formula, wipes, diapers
  • Batteries (all sizes)
  • Canned goods, can openers
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Extension cords
  • First aid kits, pain medications, diarrhea relief medications
  • Hygiene products (wipes, sanitizers, female necessities)
  • Insect repellent
  • Toilet paper, paper towels
Thank you for joining your fellow residents and organizations across the entire County in this important humanitarian effort. Questions about dropping off donations can be directed to the main phone number of the Fire-Rescue Department: (561) 838-5420.

Thank you!

Mayor Gail L. Coniglio

Check back later on today for more details: “Project title, RFQ 17-305”.

Observation from this meeting,
“A fresh set of eyes.”

CPZ Architects, Inc. from Plantation, FL chosen to move forward with project at Lake Worth Beach Complex over Kimley-Horn from Delray Beach.

Check back to this blog later on
for more details (including video)
from this meeting today at
Lake Worth City Hall.

Assistant City Manager Juan Ruiz did an excellent
job laying down the rules at the beginning
of this meeting.
Ms. Christy Goddeau, the City Attorney, was in attendance as well (to left of asst. city manager).
The Lake Worth Beach, Casino, and pool: Happier days.
Remember when the pool had water in it?
Once again, check back later on for notes, observations, and videos as well. Following is background on this latest development
(pardon the pun).

City staff’s Evaluation Committee met for the first time on August 30th. Meeting scheduled for September 9th was cancelled due to Hurricane Irma:

“Lake Worth Beach Complex Conceptual Plans Design, Cost Estimates, Construction Design and Construction Phase Services”.

First, it may be confusing for the public to learn an RFQ (“Request For Qualifications”) — encouraging developers to come forth with ideas how to fix all the problems at the Lake Worth Beach — when the City just recently reached a ‘settlement’ with Morganti and REG Architects on August 1st (just 2 months ago), to try and fix water leaking from the 2nd floor of the Casino structure, a problem discovered well over 4 years ago.

Let’s just say for now, it’s rather complicated. For example, use this link for an article in The Coastal Star,
“At issue is whether building should continue east of Coastal Construction Line”.
But one can understand why there may be confusion and some “head scratching” going on (by the way, the construction company Morganti, is not one of the respondents to “RFQ 17-305”):

Is the money for future construction, maybe even
a new pool, coming from proceeds of the
County’s ¢1 sales tax increase?

To even suggest that is absurd.

The City Commission seems in no mood to spend all the ¢1 sales tax at once but would rather fund multiple community projects like annual bill for FEC track grade crossings, license plate readers, and public safety improvements (e.g., demolition of condemned pier at Spillway Park).

There is also the City’s Neighborhood Road Program to consider. It would look downright irresponsible for the City to consider shifting money from the County ¢1 tax proceeds to the Beach only to discover more of our streets have since fallen in the Pavement Condition Index and are in need of repair.

And. . . why would anyone try and speculate (as
some already have) how to pay for a project
when there is no project?

The meeting last August 30th was only to see if the companies responding to the RFQ were QUALIFIED to be part of a future project. The next meeting on October 12th (see press release below) will be a broad view going forward with few specifics, mostly about ideas, concepts, and possible designs. And. . .


These meetings are open to the public, the City of Lake Worth will have an attorney present, and the rules will be followed to protect the public interest. What’s the timeline? Time will tell. In other words there are many known unknowns and many unknown unknowns as well. This is simply a process that needs to play out. It may go somewhere. It may go nowhere at all.

If anything does comes of this RFQ, one thing is for certain: this will be a City project and not a public-private partnership of any sort.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

PBC School Superintendent Dr. Robert Avossa, Ed.D.:

Do you think Dr. Avossa “is greedy and adding to
the ‘swamp’ of cronyism”
as was published in
The Palm Beach Post yesterday?

From the biography of
Dr. Avossa:

Dr. Robert Avossa is in his third year of leadership of the Palm Beach County School District. The District is the 11th largest district in the country with a student enrollment of more than 193,000 students. The annual budget exceeds $2.4 billion and the District is the largest employer in Palm Beach County with over 23,000 employees.
     Since accepting the role of Superintendent, Dr. Avossa has redirected $5.5 million of the District budget back to Title I schools to support teaching and learning. He has also allotted 6% in salary increases to personnel, including an increase of the minimum District wage to $10 per hour, and an increase to $14 per hour for bus drivers, making them the highest paid in South Florida.

and. . .

     Dr. Avossa is a Broad Academy Fellow and a member of Chiefs for Change, an esteemed network of state and district education Chiefs. He serves locally on the boards for the American Heart Association, CareerSource Palm Beach County, Children’s Services Council, Criminal Justice Commission, and Education Foundation of Palm Beach County.
     Dr. Avossa is a University of South Florida graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Exceptional Education and Behavior Disorders, as well as a Master’s Degree in Special Education. He earned his Doctorate Degree from Wingate University.

Show your support for Dr. Avossa by following
him on Twitter: @Supt_Avossa:

Whilst on the subject of
schools, parents, children,
and famlies. . .

 What does your famly think of the job
being done by Dr. Avossa?
“Famalies” and more “Famlies”!

Were members of your famalie “scratching their heads” when they saw this headline?
“Delaney slips past Klug”?

Do you think Dr. Avossa has done well at embracing the “roll” of an outsider?

Remember this in the Post? A mangled headline for a Washington Post syndicate story:
Most famalies would agree, our Palm Beach County schools have improved immensely under the leadership of Dr. Avossa. What does
your famlie think?

Notes: Historic Resource Preservation Board (HRPB) meeting last night.

Unfortunately, there is no video record of this meeting. Learned later while in attendance at this meeting some in the public wanted to watch “Live Streaming” but saw this message instead:

“Sorry, the live stream is offline now”

And stay tuned. The City Commission very soon will be addressing two RFPs, Request For Proposal 17-210, “Lake Worth Historical Resources Survey Update, Phase 2” and RFP 17-211, “Lake Worth Historic Preservation Design Guidelines”.

We’re going to need a very big turnout for this upcoming meeting (stay tuned for when it appears on the Commission agenda). Now that this issue has gotten the attention of local mediaand our elected officials are completely fed up with all the complaints — now is the time to get our City’s Historic Preservation program back on track:

“The hurricane’s not enough for them apparently,” said Hardy [Commissioner Omari Hardy about State bureaucrats]. “That was really disappointing for me because here at local government, we hear from the people a lot more than those bureaucrats in Tallahassee.”

and. . .

     “If we have a solution, that helps make people’s lives better in Lake Worth, we should be allowed to do that,” he said. “Don’t handcuff us and tie our hands when we’re trying to help the people who elected us.”

Now, brief notes from last night’s HRPB meeting:

The all-volunteer HRPB approved the house addition on Columbia Ave. with conditions and approved a garage conversion on South Palmway. The board also approved the multifamily Art Deco style window replacements, done without a permit, a total of 28 windows with blue-tinted glass with an altered muntin pattern. This overrode the Historic Preservation staff recommendation of denial. This structure is on the west side of South Lakeside Dr. just north of 1st Ave. South.

The HRPB also approved a request for an awning at 208 South Lakeside Dr., removing the first condition which called for an elevation survey of the building. The board and staff thought the building official would require it anyway.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Another leap forward for our little City of Lake Worth: A split screen!

Imagine my surprise when I showed up at the City of Lake Worth’s Commission Work Session, “Presentation of the Comprehensive Plan Amendment” last night, sat down, looked up and saw the split screen on the monitors in the chambers!

Now viewers at home can actually see and hear the mayor, vice mayor, commissioners, city manager and staff discuss the topics at hand and see the agenda item images at the same time. Some regular attendees at Commission meetings may conclude there’s less interest these days because of lower attendance at City meetings. They would be wrong. More people — including the press and media — are staying home to watch meetings on YouTube now.

The view from my seat last night:
This was a Work Session. The next regular meeting of the City Commission is next Tuesday, Oct. 17th, beginning at 6:00.

Prior to showing up last night I attended the Lake Worth CRA meeting at HATCH (1121 Lucerne Ave.), but more about that at a later time. Suffice to say for now, one of the agenda items at the CRA will appear on next months Planning & Zoning Board (Nov. 1st) and at the Historic Resource Preservation Board as well (Nov. 8th).

What will the future City of
Lake Worth look like?

Use this link to find out, the video of
last night’s meeting.

The “Presentation of the Comprehensive Plan Amendment” last night is painting the picture. However, this is just another step in a very long process. I wasn’t planning on going to this meeting until I heard the Commission, all the electeds on the dais, were very involved and asking some very tough questions so I wanted to see this for myself.

It wasn’t testy or combative at all. The electeds had some very serious questions and concerns.

So. Are you concerned the City is putting too much attention on “affordable housing” since we already have so much affordable housing available? Concerned we have some volunteer boards that have lost their vision and purpose? Did you know the current Comp Plan has no section on “Ecomomic Development”! It’s true. That shows you how far off track the City was 7 years ago when the last Comp Plan was addressed — or rather not addressed — in a competent, realistic, and sustainable manner.

Transportation. Energy. Parking. Regional cooperation. City parks and open space. Festivals and community pride. Neighborhoods. Our schools. Zoning. Do we need more soccer fields? A vision. A plan.

The Comprehensive Plan is not a trivial matter.

It’s very, very important. I encourage you to click on the link, highlighted in yellow above, watch all or parts of this meeting and get involved in the Comp Plan process.

More news in The Palm Beach Post about C-51 Canal, S-155 Spillway structure, and the future boat lift.

The idea of a boat-transfer system at the Lake Worth spillway that allow boaters to move from inland freshwater lakes and canals into the Lake Worth Lagoon and on to the ocean — a nexus some say would boost inland property values — is being floated by local officials.
     The boat-transfer system at the S-155 water control structure, better known as the Lake Worth spillway, would be just east of Dixie Highway on the canal that separates West Palm Beach from Lake Worth. The feasibility is being studied by West Palm Beach, Lake Worth and Lake Clarke Shores.
     It could be as simple as a marine forklift or as complex as a small lock system that would raise and lower boats to move them from the freshwater canal into the lower brackish estuary, and vice versa.
     In addition to giving boaters in places such as Lake Clarke Shores access to the Intracoastal Waterway and the ocean, opening the freshwater network of lakes and canals to more boaters could spur redevelopment of commercial property along the inland freshwater canals, West Palm Beach Commissioner Shanon Materio said.

and. . .

     Lake Worth City Manager Michael Bornstein said the proposed boat-transfer system at the Lake Worth spillway could be located at Spillway Park, a popular fishing destination on the south side of the spillway that is owned by the water management district [South Florida Water Management District] and maintained by the city.
     “We’re very concerned about what happens there,” Bornstein said. “But if we can provide better access for our citizens and our fishermen, that’s something we might want to consider.”
     Bornstein said boaters entering the Lake Worth Lagoon from neighborhoods along the inland canals and lakes could bring business to downtown Lake Worth. They could run their boats south from the spillway to the Snook Islands docks near downtown for an evening out — or for special events such as the popular Street Painting Festival held in February.

Was this article published in
The Palm Beach Post today?
No. It was not.

This article was published in September 2013.

Written by former Post reporter Willie Howard.
Use this link to read the entire article from over
4 years ago. Here’s one more excerpt:

State Rep. Dave Kerner [now County Commissioner Dave Kerner], D-Lake Worth . . . called the proposal “one of the most exciting projects I’ve heard of in terms of economic development.”

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Is The Palm Beach Post news blackout about the Blueway Trail still in place?

Check back later today or tomorrow
morning for the answer.

To learn more about the nearly two-year news blackout at the Post vis-à-vis the Blueway Trail project use this link. It’s hard to believe, but one has to go all the way back to December 2015, in an article by reporter Eliot Kleinberg, one that chronicles and provides in-depth news reporting about this project.

And that’s the problem with the article that appeared in the Post print edition yesterday: It’s old news to begin with; the event reported happened almost a week prior, on Tuesday, October 3rd.

What’s being missed here is all the hard work by Commissioner Omari Hardy paid off. Several times Hardy asked for a resolution of support for the Blueway Trail project to be placed on the Commission agenda and he finally had enough of the delays on August 15th. The next regular meeting was on September 19th, right after Hurricane Irma, so the resolution Hardy wanted was on the October 3rd Commission agenda.

And besides, “Resolution 50-2017 Supporting the C-51 Boat Lift” passed unanimously so it’s over and done with. And did you know, on the very same night the City of Lake Worth passed a resolution of support for the Blueway Trail, the City of Boynton Beach did so as well, unanimously. That wasn’t reported in yesterday’s Post article. Boynton Beach became the 16th “Resolution of Support” for this exciting regional project in Central Palm Beach County.

And in context of recent news reports in the Sun Sentinel by reporter Brooke Baininger and by Alanna Quillen at WPTV, the article in the Post offers little in the way of more information about the actual Blueway Trail project, both current events and past history explaining how we got to this point.

Focusing on just one aspect, a testy exchange between Commissioner Omari Hardy and Mayor Pam Triolo may sell a few more newspapers but doesn’t provide information or the context the public needs to stay informed like the news reports in the Sun Sentinel and NBC5/WPTV did.

But one thing is without doubt:

Commissioners Andy Amoroso, Herman Robinson, and especially so of Commissioner Omari Hardy, they are the ones providing the leadership for the Blueway Trail in the City of Lake Worth.

A photo taken last December of “The Grinch” with
then-citizens Messrs. Herman C. Robinson (on left)
and Omari Hardy (right):
Also of note, prior to being elected last March, then-citizen Omari Hardy made his support of Blueway Trail very clear and was attending meetings to learn more about this project at SFWMD headquarters* and other venues as well.

*SFWMD  =  South Florida Water Management District; headquarters located at 3301 Gun Club Rd. in West Palm Beach.

Tonight at 6:00: City of Lake Worth’s Commission Work Session, “Presentation of the Comprehensive Plan Amendment”.

To watch this meeting Live Streaming, go to the City’s website at 6:00 ( and scroll down for the “Live Broadcast Channel”.

Have questions or comments about this “Comp Plan” Amendment? Use this link for the Department of Community Sustainability, then scroll down the right-hand column for who to contact at the City.

This item at the City Commission meeting has
271 pages of backup, helpful information,
many graphics and images.
For example, here is a question: Should the importance of our City’s festivals be mentioned and highlighted in our Comprehensive Plan?”

“Executive Brief”: Comp
Plan Amendment


General discussion of the proposed Evaluation Analysis Review (EAR) based amendments to the City’s Comprehensive Plan that are part of a seven (7) year cycle of review as outlined by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO).

Background and Justification:

The subject workshop will address the Evaluation and Appraisal Review (EAR) based amendments to the City’s Comprehensive Plan. Pursuant to section 163.3191, Florida Statutes (F.S.), local governments are required to evaluate their local comprehensive plan every seven years to determine if plan amendments are necessary since the last update of the Comprehensive Plan, and notify the State Land Planning agency as to its determination. In 2016, the City of Lake Worth determined it necessary to conduct a review and evaluation of its current Comprehensive Plan to reflect changes in state requirements, current City conditions, challenges and future community trends.

and. . .

The proposed Comprehensive Plan amendment encompasses the following eleven (11) elements including a new element — Economic Development — and the addition of Neighborhoods to the existing Housing Element: Future Land Use; Transportation; Housing & Neighborhoods; Infrastructure; Coastal Management; Conservation; Recreation and Open Space; Intergovernmental Coordination; Capital Improvement; Public School Facilities; Economic Development.

and. . .

As part of the City’s community participation process, a number of workshops were held to discuss the proposed amendments. The Planning & Zoning and Historic Resources Preservation Boards had a total of two workshops prior to the LPA hearing. One took place on March 15, 2017, and a second on August 16, 2017. In addition, a workshop with the City Commission was held May 9, 2017, and a second workshop will be held [next Tuesday] on October 10, 2017.

Next, public hearings are required to transmit the proposed amendments to the State Land Planning Agency including a Local Planning Agency (LPA) hearing followed by a City Commission hearing. Upcoming hearings are potentially scheduled for later this year.

Meet your City of Lake Worth’s elected leaders:
To contact your elected leaders use this link.
Make sure to ask, “What can I do to help?”

Post-Hurricane Irma: Write a positive Letter to the Editor about Lake Worth’s Electric Utility.

Do you remember after Hurricane Irma and those “disgusting” comments on social media about our Lake Worth Electric Utility, management, and staff were posted? Then a few days later this item appeared on Facebook and shut them all up:

“I do not normally post, but decided to do so due to a lot of complaints I have read about electric [Lake Worth’s Electric Utility] . . . I have lived in this City since 1981. I am not political in any way, shape or form. I have been through the unnamed storm in the late 80’s . . . no power. I have been through Frances, Jeanne and Wilma in ‘04 and ‘05. I lived with no power, food loss, no generator for 7, 10 and 13 days with three children, and even fell and broke my ankle during Wilma.
     I saw Matthew at tropical storm . . . no power loss.”

and. . .

     “The negativity I have been reading on my phone is disgusting.”

Was your experience a positive one in the City of Lake Worth? Were you surprised or even amazed when electric was restored after one, two, or maybe five days, expecting the outage to last much longer? Why not take a few minutes and write a Letter to the Editor (LTE; see instructions below) with a few words of encouragement for all the hard work to restore the City’s power?

Here’s a LTE published in The Palm Beach Post
last year following Hurricane Matthew:
For those of you who remember hurricanes Frances, Jeanne, and Wilma, hurricanes Matthew and Irma demonstrated how far along our Electric Utility
has come since 2004/2005.

Were you pleased how well the City of Lake Worth and Public Information Officer, Ben Kerr, got so much information out to the public and to the media as well? Write an LTE about that!


How to get your LTE published in the Post.

  • Keep your LTE to 150–200 words in length. The “shorter the better” is a good rule.
  • An LTE submitted by email (see below) is the best method and remember to include your phone number and complete address.
  • Listing your credentials will help greatly.

Then always follow-up!

  • Follow up your LTE with an email or fax later that day or the next morning.
  • Then later, call the editorial department and explain why your letter is important.
  • Don’t be timid talking to the editor and be polite.
  • Just ask outright, “Are you planning to publish my letter?”

Who knows, maybe your LTE will get published
in the upcoming Sunday edition?

  • Email:
  • Fax: 561-820-4728
  • Phone: 561-820-4441
Snail mail:
Palm Beach Post
ATTN: Letter to Editor (LTE)
2751 S. Dixie Highway
West Palm Beach, FL 33405

Good Luck!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Latest news about the Blueway Trail (just in case you missed this from yesterday).

Please Note: The news blackout at The Palm Beach Post remains in place, not covering this very important regional topic here in Central Palm Beach County.

Fortunately, other news organizations such as
the Sun Sentinel are picking up the slack.

Use this link to read the article in the Sun Sentinel datelined October 6th (news report by reporter Brooke Baitinger and videographer/editors Jim Rassol and Cindy Choi; also included is a very good graphic produced by Yiran Zhu with information courtesy of the Palm Beach County Dept. of Environmental Resources Management).

Here’s an excerpt from the article in the
Sun Sentinel (with emphasis added):

     The project has garnered support from many entities, such as the Palm Beach County League of Cities, South Florida Water Management District and Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council.
     Fifteen municipalities had endorsed the concept, including Lake Worth, West Palm Beach and all the municipalities on the Chain of Lakes, according to Shalhoub [Lake Clarke Shores Councilman Robert Shalhoub]. Most recently, Boynton Beach commissioners unanimously endorsed the project.
     “Thanks for being No. 16,” Shalhoub said at the Tuesday [Oct. 3rd] commission meeting where the city passed a resolution supporting the plan.
     Boynton Mayor Steven Grant said the link would allow boaters to frequent Boynton’s waterway restaurants, such as Two Georges, Banana Boat and Prime Catch.

By the way, do the names Buddy Tuppen, Joseph “Jay” Fearnley, and Bill Murrelle sound familiar?

Below is history about the C-51 Canal that may surprise you. We’ve become accustomed to looking at the C-51 like a drain and nothing more. But that waterway you hardly notice was once a vibrant part of our economy here in the City of Lake Worth . . . until I-95 came through. We’ll save that history for another day, but suffice to say that was a wound we’re still recovering from to this day.

Do you have more questions about
the Blueway Trail Project?
For questions and more information, use this link to contact the office of Kim DeLaney, PhD, at the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council.

Let’s take a stroll back in time. . .
First posted on this blog last year:

I had a very good conversation with Mr. Buddy Tuppen [in early 2016]. That would be Buddy Tuppen, the son of another Mr. Tuppen who founded Tuppen’s Marine and Tackle on Dixie Hwy. here in Lake Worth. It was an earlier conversation with Mr. Joseph “Jay” Fearnley at the Lake Worth Rotary that set all this in motion.

The Blueway Trail project on the C-51 Canal between the city’s of Lake Worth and West Palm Beach has been getting a tremendous amount of attention on this blog, as you know, but all this took an unexpected turn after speaking with Mr. Fearnley: the Blueway Trail in the context of history. There once was a marina on the C-51 Canal in Lake Worth.

More on that below; first some images
to put this in perspective:
Inside the hashed box: Spillway Park, C-51 Canal and the S-155 “Spillway” structure as it is today.
To see this for yourself take Maryland Ave
. off
Federal Hwy in Lake Worth.

Note the change in orientation and C-51 Canal (on right). This image is from 1937. In the center you can see the early platted streets of what is now the College Park neighborhood in Lake Worth.

This image is from the 1950s. Compare with the first image above. See the marina on the Lake Worth
side of the C-51? How many businesses supported
this marina? Motels? Restaurants?
Fishing supply stores?

Buddy Tuppen is in his 80s now. His family used to live on 15th Ave. North and would ride his bike with other kids to fish around what is now Spillway Park. Doing the math that must have been around the late 1940s.

He remembers the era when the picture was taken (see image above from the 1950s). This was south and east of the previous Dixie Hwy. bridge. You can see that on the aerial. He said there was also a “lock” so that boats could pass through. He said the land was owned either by the City or the County (Jay Fearnley said the City owned that land). He remembered boats in slips that were perpendicular with the dock which ran parallel to the shoreline of the C-51.

The marina was run by a fellow named Bill Murrelle. After the City or County made him leave he set up shop in Lantana and had a place called Murrelle Marine which is still in business today. Murrelle sold that business but it kept the same name. He has since passed after moving to Sebastian.

Buddy Tuppen went on to give more interesting history: his Grandfather bought the land where Tuppen’s Marine is today. The business began in either 1936 or 1937. His grandfather bought the land for past due taxes, about $38. Buddy said his Grandfather had to borrow the money from friends to make the purchase and wondered how he was going to pay it back.

Prior to being Tuppen’s Marine, that lot had been a Ford dealership that was wiped out by the 1928 hurricane. The property sat idle after that hurricane until it was purchased by the Grandfather Tuppen in the mid 30s.

Do you have any more history and/or pictures of this area along the C-51 Canal is Lake Worth?

Please contact me at 561-308-0364;
The showroom “Grand Opening” at Tuppen’s in
the 1950
s. Its still there at 1006 N. Dixie Hwy.

Will another marina open up on the C-51 Canal?
If so, customers will be heading to stores like
pen’s, eating at our restaurants and looking for
local hotels and motels. . .

Just like it used to be in the
little City of Lake Worth.

Why try and fix the Casino if it may be demolished anyway to make way for new construction at the Beach?

There’s a bonus below. Photos of the Lake Worth Casino under construction in January 2012
taken by the former City manager.

Take Note: Next Thursday (October 12th) is the next scheduled meeting to address Project RFQ 17-305:
“Lake Worth Beach Complex Conceptual Plans Design, Cost Estimates, Construction Design and Construction Phase Services.”

Very briefly, how we got here.

The first meeting vis-à-vis this RFQ (Request For Proposal) was on August 30th and only lasted a few minutes. The meeting was conducted by Asst. City Manager Juan Ruiz, an attorney representing the City was present along with the two respondents; this meeting simply set the stage, moving to the next step in a very long process, ideas and concepts.

The next meeting was then scheduled for September 9th but was cancelled due to Hurricane Irma, ergo this second meeting addressing RFQ 17-305 next Thursday.

Now to the question: Why try fixing the Casino
after all these years when it may end up
being torn down anyway?

On August 1st, nearly 2½ months ago, the City of Lake Worth reached a settlement with Morganti (the construction company) and REG (the architect) to fix the problem of water leaking into the building from the second floor; problems first discovered over 4 years ago.

So why not take a cash settlement (which includes lost revenue from the vacant 2nd floor space since 2012) and use that money to help fund construction of a new structure with a parking garage?

The issues with the 2nd floor of the Casino are just a distraction now. The biggest overall problem with the Casino and Beach property comes down to this: the structure was built in the wrong place to begin with. The Casino should have been constructed in the center of the Beach property with the parking and traffic flowing around it.

Consider this. If it’s decided to construct a new Casino at the Beach in the center of the property — south of where the Casino is now — the businesses operating there may be able to remain open during the process (it won’t be like what happened to John G’s back in 2011).

Maybe a new plan for the Beach like this:
The Greater Bay plan: the Casino in the center with a parking deck attached. Note how parking is distributed equally and traffic flows around the structure. No ADA issues with this plan.

So. As you ponder why the City is trying to have the Casino structure fixed all these years later, think about a more functional site plan for the Beach, and whether or not a parking garage should be part of the plan going forward.

Here are the pictures of the ‘renovated’
Casino back in 2012:

The Casino at the Beach now was constructed east of the Coastal Construction Control Line.
An engineering report for the seawall protecting the Casino back in 2012 was not done. Is there one now?

These photographs are courtesy of Susan Stanton,
the former Lake Worth city manager.
Original plans called for the 2nd floor to cover 50% of the first floor. A full built-out 2nd floor added 33% to the project. Within the $6 million budget this was unrealistic and created major deficiencies.

The first floor under construction:
Virtually all “Green” amenities were eliminated, including pilings to protect the building against storm surge.

The second floor:
Eliminated amenities, or “value-engineering”, reduced the cost but resulted in lower lease rates, event rates, and contributed greatly to un-leased second floor space.

So. Why try and fix this structure?

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.”

Getting tired of hearing every year from City officials, “Why is the attendance at our Veterans Day Parade so low?”

Did you even know the City of Lake Worth has
a Veterans Day Parade

To find out more about this upcoming event
in just 33 days, see below.

And are you getting a little tired of hearing year after year how disappointed City officials and the electeds are at the low attendance on Memorial Day too? Or maybe tomorrow people will be disappointed to learn the Food Truck Invasion is tonight (after being cancelled due to Hurricane Irma last month) and missed it or will be sad to learn next Saturday that Evening on the Avenues was the previous night and missed out.

Well, it doesn’t help when the City — for some obscure reason — will not start a City of Lake Worth Facebook page. The City of Greenacres has a Facebook page and that was a great help for their residents prior to and post-Hurricane Irma.

True. The City of Lake Worth has a Twitter feed (and so does Greenacres) and those efforts performed spectacularly leading up to and following Irma. But to many in the public Twitter remains very much a mystery.

Facebook and Twitter are very, very different
means of communication.

Whereas Facebook is the “Public Square” and has been for many years now, Twitter is ideally suited for instantly getting news (or correcting/clarifying news reports) to media outlets, reporters, and other ‘newsies’ on Twitter who then share that information through other means, e.g., Facebook, TV news segments and as re-written City press releases published in the Post.

So. Does a lot of information sent out on Twitter, “make the news”? For Hurricane Irma it did, but that’s the exception and not the rule for a “Tweet” from the City.  

By using Twitter prior to and post-Hurricane Irma, the City of Lake Worth was controlling its message on Twitter. By the City of Lake Worth not having a Facebook page — an official Facebook page — the City WAS NOT controlling the message on Facebook. So anyone can post pretty much anything on Facebook and the City was conspicuously silent or used unofficial Facebook pages to communicate its message.

“But if we had a Facebook page people can write mean comments about Lake Worth.”

No, they can’t. Not if you follow the lead of Greenacres. Just simply disable the ability to make comments. It’s as simple as that.

The Rule of Thumb is: “If you don’t control your message, somebody else will.” And as far as content goes on a City of Lake Worth Facebook page:
  • Date and times of upcoming City meetings.
  • “Watch tomorrow’s Commission meeting Live Streaming. Learn how.”
  • Hurricane and storm alerts.
  • Active Outages” in Lake Worth’s Electric Utility service area.
  • Special Events”.
  • Information for water/sewer customers, like what number to call in an emergency.

Or maybe even. . .

The “City of Lake Worth Veterans Day Parade & Ceremony of Honor”:
Don’t complain about low attendance at City events when all the best tools available arent being used
to get the word out.

The important role of contributors and doers and sage advice: Never let the “complainers” gain control.

“If you find yourself catering to complainers that do not have solutions you are going to face a quick descent.”
—Jeff Perlman. Quote from his “talk” given in Lake Worth last year.

Perlman, you may be interested to learn, wrote a book titled, “Adventures in Local Politics” and the profits from the book go to the charity Dare 2 Be Great.

A group of Lake Worth residents joined Perlman in our Downtown last year and he talked about his time in Delray Beach as a community leader, journalist, a commissioner and then later, mayor of Delray. The theme that ran through the entire talk was this:

How important it is to forge your own City identity.

By the way, Perlman likes to tell people there was once a time you could throw a bowling ball down Atlantic Ave. in Delray and not hit anything. One of the things stressed early on in Delray’s visioning process was not becoming another high-rise community like Boca — just like Lake Worth doesn’t want to be a clone of Delray or any other city.

Perlman said he used to keep lists of strengths and weaknesses, opportunities, and a “threats analysis” in his drawer he would update every couple of weeks. He took a stab at Lake Worth’s strengths and weaknesses as an outsider “looking in” and made these points about Lake Worth’s strengths:
  • Lake Worth has many amenities including a “fantastic waterfront” on the Intracoastal.
  • A “real downtown” with two main streets.
  • Unique historic cottages.
  • A walkable downtown and our own Beach.
  • An engaged citizenry.
  • Central location in Palm Beach County.
Weaknesses he identified are:
  • More residential density is needed “which creates more eyes on the street”.
  • The City needs more downtown housing to support the businesses in the Downtown Commercial Core.
  • A lack of industry.
Interestingly, last year Perlman thought one of the biggest threats to Lake Worth’s future success was a “resistance to risk-taking”. In many ways, what’s happened since may put that threat to rest. The City’s elections last March, November 2016 Neighborhood Road Bond referendum and ¢1 County sales tax proceeds may indeed be the tipping point. Many, including Yours Truly, have called those elections and referendums a “seismic shift”.

However, on the subject of elections and referendums, Perlman also cautions how important it is to develop a cadre of leaders with the skill sets to keep the City’s vision and direction moving forward. It only takes one election to wipe out many years, maybe even decades of hard work. So it’s important to have the right people in the right leadership positions.

Then there’s this sage advice that needs to be hammered home from Perlman’s blog:

Listen to critics but never “deflate the contributors”, or you’ll “kiss progress goodbye.”

Following Perlman’s talk, judging by the positive reaction that followed, he got a lot of people thinking and talking. That’s exactly what’s needed to solve our pressing issues in this little City of Lake Worth.

We can never let the complainers, especially the ones without any solutions, be driving the debate. If they do, they’ll lead us right over a cliff — or if you prefer, another example — join a march of well-heeled lemmings onward and into the waters of the C-51 Canal all screaming together:

“Save Us From The SFWMD!
Create A City Board For Us!”

UPDATE: From NBC5/WPTV reporter Alanna Quillen, “Lake Worth neighbors hit roadblocks in upgrading historic homes against hurricanes”.

The news report from WPTV is below.
Here’s the latest update:

Stay tuned for these two items to be addressed by the Lake Worth City Commission some time very soon:
  • RFP 17-210, “Lake Worth Historical Resources Survey Update, Phase 2”.
  • RFP 17-211, “Lake Worth Historic Preservation Design Guidelines”.
[RFP  =  Request For Proposal.]

There has been an “Intent to Award” for both items and last Thursday (Oct. 5th) an evaluation meeting with the City’s Community Sustainability Dept. on RFP 17-210.

We’re going to need a lot of neighborhood and community involvement in this process. 

This is an opportunity to fix all the problems with the Historic Preservation program, once and for all, and maybe even expand the program west of Dixie Hwy. to save our City’s history “on the other side of the tracks”.

The news from WPTV:

This WPTV news segment is datelined Sept. 29th
(see below for excerpts from text in this news report).

In the video below Anthony Marotta, president of the Parrot Cove Neighborhood Assoc. and District 2 Commissioner Omari Hardy are interviewed by reporter Alanna Quillen (following a brief commercial message):

No City staff or management was interviewed which is not surprising considering what happened at the Commission meeting last August 16th following the “tipping point” reached in January 2016 and the “boiling point” in June of that year. If the City staff was hoping the mood of public anger and frustration with the management of the City’s Historic Preservation program would just go away or dissipate they are very mistaken.

If anything, Hurricane Irma reinforced in many people’s minds the need for change, a different approach from City staff. Ordinances are one thing. How they are interpreted is another thing altogether.

At the City Commission on August 2nd this year is the exchange that summed up the situation perfectly:

Mayor Pam Triolo asked 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.”

Without further ado, excerpts from the text of the news segment on WPTV:

LAKE WORTH, Fla. — We still have about five weeks left in hurricane season, five weeks left of fear for some homeowners that a storm may significantly damage or destroy their most important investment.
     If you think its costly to secure your own home, people who live in homes designated as “historic” face not only cost, but also red tape.
     Anthony Marotta and some of his Lake Worth neighbors want to protect their treasures from hurricanes but history and beauty comes with a hidden cost.
     Marotta, who serves as president of the Parrot Cove Neighborhood Association, lives in a 105-year-old home but because the home has been designated “historic”, he has faced some roadblocks in installing storm shutters.
     “Things that should be very simple such as hardening ones homes against hurricanes, we’re being hamstrung by decisions people made 100 years ago,” he said. [emphasis added]

and. . .

     Marotta said people are spending thousands of dollars on costly upgrade requirements, permits and push back from the board on what you can and can’t do.
     “There are people in favor of the historic program but they just want it balanced better to where the costs are so high and the challenges aren’t as great,” he said.

the last excerpt. . .

     “The hurricane’s not enough for them apparently,” said [Commissioner Omari] Hardy. “That was really disappointing for me because here at local government, we hear from the people a lot more than those bureaucrats in Tallahassee.”
     Hardy believes Lake Worth will appeal the state’s rejection [of rewriting Historic Preservation ordinances].
     “If we have a solution, that helps make people’s lives better in Lake Worth, we should be allowed to do that,” he said. “Don’t handcuff us and tie our hands when we’re trying to help the people who elected us.”

Well put. Our elected leaders will ultimately be the ones to fix all this and am fully confident they will.