Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year’s Eve!

Note City Hall and City offices will be closed tomorrow to ring in New Year’s Day 2019.

And then on Wednesday the City’s business picks up again in the New Year.

Public meetings and the goings-on next
week at Lake Worth City Hall.

On Wednesday, January 2nd will be two public meetings at 6:00. The Planning & Zoning Board will meet in the City Hall chambers and the Electric Utility Advisory Board will meet in the City Hall conference room.

Then next Friday will be the first Lake Ave. Block Party of 2019; this block party is the first Friday of each month.

The following week, Monday, Jan. 7th–Thursday, Jan. 10th are several public meetings including this one publicly noticed in the Lake Worth Herald:

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that the City of Lake Worth, Florida, Historic Resources Preservation Board, will hold a public hearing in the City Hall Commission Room, 7 N Dixie Hwy, in said City at 6:00 P.M., or as soon thereafter as possible, on Wednesday, January 9, 2019 to consider the following:

HRPB 18-00100307; 18-00100308; 18-00100309; 18-00100310; 18-00100311; 18-00100312: Consideration of a request by the Lake Worth Community Redevelopment Agency for the relocation and/or demolition of all structures located at 17 South M Street, 23 South M Street, 24 South L Street, 26 South L Street, 30 South L Street, and 32 South L Street for the construction of a new vehicular surface parking lot, pursuant to Sections 23.2-7, 23.3-13, and 23.5-4 of the Land Development Regulations. The subject parcels are located in the Mixed Use East (MU-E) Zoning District and contain seven contributing resources and three non-contributing resources to the Old Town Local Historic District.

and. . .

Written responses can be sent to the Lake Worth Historic Resources Preservation Board at 1900 2nd Avenue N, Lake Worth, FL 33461 and must arrive before the hearing date to be included in the formal record. You also have the opportunity to attend the meeting to provide oral testimony.

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 Avenue North, Lake Worth, Florida 33461 or contact City Staff at 561-586-1687.

FYI: According to the City’s official calendar the next regularly scheduled City Commission meeting will be held on January 15th. But stay tuned. That could change at a later date.

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! New development at The Palm Beach Post today, Monday, the 31st day of December, A.D. 2018.*

And yesterday, on December 30th, many readers and subscribers were surprised to learn the South Florida Sun Sentinel prints The Palm Beach Post. Did you miss that news? Learn more about that below.

Will tomorrow, the 1st day of January, A.D. 2019 usher in another big change?

Has the weekly Reign of The Six Special Cities finally come to an end at The Palm Beach Post?

The Order of The Six Special Cities began in 2015, that was soon after PBSO began the merge with the Greenacres PD when the Post used to cover the goings-on in the City of Greenacres and the nearby Village of Palm Springs too. But shortly afterwards all the focus turned to the City of Lake Worth when on a brisk Monday morning the first Lake Worth Very Very Special Monday Cursory Print Edition (LWVVSMCPE) first appeared.

At first everyone thought this was temporary. That over time other municipalities would get their chance to be special too. But that never happened. The Order of The Six Special Cities remained The Order. For over three years.

And why wasn’t Delray Beach one in the Order of The Six Special Cities in the Post? Will that ever be explained? And who chose the Six Special Cities to begin with? Learn more about this below.

And were you one of those shocked yesterday to learn The Palm Beach Post does not print their own newspaper?

Well. Be prepared to be astounded again today!

The latest development is this: The City of Lake Worth was not special today in the Post print edition! Could it be the weekly Six Special Cities feature is finally finished, a tiresome spread on p. B3 ‘LOCAL’ which began in 2015? Imagine you are not a resident of one of those Six Special Cities and having to put up with that for over three years?

Central Palm Beach County has certainly had enough of the Six Special Cities. That vast area between the City of Lake Worth and the Village of Wellington is not just ‘Flyover County’ like its been treated for far too long.

Learn more about this lamentable situation later on.

And of course there was
THE BIG NEWS yesterday. . .

For many it was upon learning that the presses of the South Florida Sun Sentinel in Deerfield Beach print both The Palm Beach Post and the Palm Beach Daily News (aka, The Shiny Sheet). But many long-time residents of Palm Beach County knew the Post shut down their printing presses about ten years ago. Already a terrible economy at the time that decision to shut down the newspaper printing presses had a crippling effect on nearby municipalities including this City of Lake Worth.

[T]he Post downsized its newsroom by more than 30 percent in 2008 and 2009. At the same time it closed its printing press. The Post’s print edition is now printed in Broward County by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and shipped north [by big trucks] to Palm Beach County for daily distribution.

Sending all those jobs to Broward County the Post certainly saved some money but in giving up control of printing their own paper it’s always been a mystery how the editor(s) at the Post can get away with slamming local governments when faced with hard budget choices themselves.

Read more below about what happened yesterday, the message “To our readers” issued by the editor(s) published on the front page of the Sunday paper.

Now to the latest development!

The City of Lake Worth WAS NOT a Special City today! For the first time ever the three-year plus Special Cities feature on p. B3 did not get published.

The other five Special Cities — each and every week Tuesday–Saturday — are Jupiter, Wellington, Boynton Beach, Palm Beach Gardens and then West Palm which does not have a beach.

Has the Six Special Cities weekly finally been eliminated by GateHouse Media? Gatehouse took over at the Post on May 1st of this year.

We’ll know for certain tomorrow if Jupiter isn’t Special:


Why doesn’t Greenacres get a Special Day? Palm Springs? And Delray Beach is not special? Why not a city in the Glades community, why can’t Belle Glade be special now and then?

Now to what happened yesterday. . .

Published on p. A1 above the banner:

To our readers

A computer virus caused significant disruption to production and delivery of Saturday’s edition of The Palm Beach Post. While some papers were delivered, subscribers who did not get Saturday’s paper will receive it today along with the Sunday edition. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Now to the whole story.

Did you know. . .

The Sun Sentinel prints
The Palm Beach Post newspaper.

This is explained by journalist Rafael Olmeda in an article datelined yesterday (Sat., Dec. 29th) and headlined, “Computer virus freezes South Florida Sun Sentinel”. Here are the first four paragraphs from Olmeda’s report:

We are still here.

The South Florida Sun Sentinel was crippled this weekend by a computer virus that shut down production and hampered phone lines, leading confused subscribers to call the paper’s offices on Saturday morning only to be told, incorrectly, that the numbers were not in service. continued to operate without interruption, and readers could still see their Saturday paper replicated in our e-edition, which was initially affected but restored by mid-afternoon.

The virus affected Tribune Publishing papers across the country. In South Florida, delivery of the New York Times and the Palm Beach Post was also affected because the Sun Sentinel also prints their newspapers here. [emphasis added]

For those of you who did not get the Saturday delivery of the Post print edition you should get that today along with the Sunday print edition.

If you did not get the Saturday print edition or have other questions, call subscriber services at 561-820-4663 or send an email to:

*“2019 (MMXIX) will be a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar, the 2019th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 19th year of the 3rd millennium, the 19th year of the 21st century, and the 10th and last year of the 2010s decade.”

A very special “Happy New Year!” that never gets old.

Below is a New Year’s message heading into 2016, 2017, and once again into 2018.

A message courtesy of an excerpt from a Letter to the Editor published in The Palm Beach Post that sums things up quite nicely heading into another New Year:

     I support freedom of religion and of speech, and if this were another time of year, with some exceptions, like Easter and Yom Kippur, I wouldn’t care at all about the pentagram. But to place it now is simply unkind.
     The man might think he’s making a statement about others’ tolerance, but he might think a little more about his own. Thumbing your nose at Christians is not a social statement. It’s a personal one, and it’s just ugly. [emphasis added]


The Insulting Atheist never did come back. But he still has a few supporters here in this little City
of Lake Worth. So. In the spirit of this day, a
message to all those malcontents and trouble-
makers and to Mr. Smith as well:

Everyone in L-Dub wishes you a
Happy New Year in 2019!

Great news! Please share: City of Greenacres made prestigious “Safest Cities in Florida” list.

Atlantis, Delray Beach, South Palm Beach and West Palm (sans a beach) DID NOT make the list but three municipalities patrolled by PBSO did.

And stay tuned! The long-awaited update in The Palm Beach Post on the merge of PBSO with the Greenacres Police Dept. will be forthcoming very soon.

With former journalist Chris Persaud back with the team at the Post a lot of data, comparison, and of course the political angle will be explored in depth.

Also of note is reporter Emily Bloch. It was Bloch who penned the breaking news front page Special Report about the eradication of invasive Muscovy ducks from a Village of Palm Springs neighborhood so she is well-versed in the local area and her unique perspective will be one certainly worth noting.

Earlier this year was the ten-year anniversary of PBSO in the City of Lake Worth. Back in 2015 when Greenacres was considering a merge with PBSO the “tipping point” was the residents’ experience here in Lake Worth, many of whom went to Greenacres City Council meetings and spoke highly of PBSO since the merge with the former LWPD. 

And many of you will recall this news
from earlier this year. . .

FLORIDA 2018”:

Greenacres made this year’s list.

Learn more below about this recent high
honor for the City of Greenacres.

FYI: Greenacres is patrolled by PBSO.
But did you know. . .

There are thirty-nine (39) municipalities in Palm Beach County (PBC). Thirty (30) have their own police departments and nine municipalities* and unincorporated PBC (areas in white; see map below) are patrolled by PBSO.

On the merge of the Greenacres PD with PBSO in 2015–2016,

“[T]here is no debate about the result. Overall crime is down, and available law-enforcement resources are far better.”

—Quote. Editor at The Palm Beach Post, March 10th, 2018.

Eastern area of Central Palm Beach County (CPBC).
Note that a map of western CPBC is below. 

Click on image to enlarge: 

On this year’s Safest Cities in Florida (SCF) list are Greenacres and villages of Wellington and Royal Palm Beach, all are patrolled by PBSO. City of Lake Worth is also patrolled by PBSO, latest data shows crime is down significantly, but the City didn’t make the SCF 2018 list due to outdated methodology used by the committee (see below).

Seven cities, towns, and villages in PBC made
the list this year. Here is the list:

  • #10. North Palm Beach
  • #19. Wellington [patrolled by PBSO]
  • #33. Jupiter
  • #42. Royal Palm Beach [PBSO]
  • #49. Palm Beach Gardens
  • #50. Greenacres [PBSO]
  • #53. Boca Raton

Note the locations of Wellington and Royal Palm Beach in this map. The City of Greenacres is to the east of these two villages on the edge of the Florida Everglades.

Near the Village of Wellington in zip code 33449 is where Barbie the little horse was killed by coyotes recently. Some TV reporters still confuse this area with ‘Lake Worth’ but is actually in unincorporated PBC or “suburban Lake Worth”.

The following cities did not make this year’s list and that’s possibly explained by the methodology (see below) used by the National Council.

  • Atlantis
  • Delray Beach
  • Hypoluxo
  • Manalapan
  • Palm Beach
  • Palm Beach Shores
  • South Palm Beach
  • West Palm Beach

Methodology used by the National Council’s 100 “Safest Cities” list:

To identify the safest cities in Florida, we reviewed the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics along with our own population data and internal research. We eliminated any cities that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI and removed cities with populations under 10,000.

The remaining cities were ranked based on the number of reported violent crimes (aggravated assault, murder, rape, and robbery) and property crimes (burglary, arson, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft) per 1,000 people. These variables were then weighted, with violent crimes accounting for 1.5 of the total (due to their severity) than property crimes.

*Besides Greenacres, Wellington, and Royal Palm Beach the other six cities, towns, and villages patrolled by PBSO are: Belle Glade, Lake Park, Lake Worth, Mangonia Park, Pahokee, South Bay and the unincorporated Loxahatchee areas.

January 1st, 1942. Celebrating the New Year at Gulfstream Hotel: “Everything Florida Has — We Have”.

January 1st, 2019: No beaming lights or celebrations on the patio. The doors remain shuttered.

Below are images from the menu and cocktails at the “Gala New Year’s Party” from 77 years ago at the Gulfstream Hotel in Downtown Lake Worth.

Of course, this historic hotel remains shuttered since being purchased the last time in May 2014, almost five years ago now. Below is a chronology of some highs and mostly lows, about our Downtown historic hotel. In 2012 I spent an entire day touring the hotel whilst it was under previous ownership and you can read more about that below.

The very good news is Hudson Holdings is finally history, out of the picture and no longer involved with the future of the Gulfstream Hotel.

Click on this link to find out the status of the current approvals from the City for the renovation of the Gulfstream Hotel and new construction.

It’s very important for the public to know that a designation of “historic” is no protection from the wrecking ball. I’ve been through this process before: documenting a structure’s significance, showing it once existed, then torn down and hauled away. And also, over and over again, the public is misled about historic preservation by those who should know better, like the editor(s) at The Palm Beach Post when they published this nonsense:

“The Gulfstream Hotel should be taken back by the city and made into an affordable destination for tourists who would generate income and provide jobs for our community.”

The City of Lake Worth, never in the history of the Gulfstream Hotel, has ever owned that structure. It’s always been private property and the City could not just ‘take it back’. But since that nonsense got published how many in the public think the City is responsible for this historic structure?

Since May 2014: The highs
and the lows.

For a brief time in August 2016 we gathered to celebrate good news on the hotel’s patio and to honor an old friend, Loretta Sharpe, who devoted so much of her time and energy to save this historic structure, our Gulfstream Hotel.

Sadly, Loretta had passed away, but her strong
spirit was there that day.

On March 31st, 2017 came the best news of all, or so we all thought at the time: “The Petition for
Writ of Certiorari is DENIED

Then on April 14th, 2017 came this news from Sun Sentinel reporter Arlene Satchell headlined, “Lake Worth’s historic Gulfstream Hotel slated for $80 million makeover”, an excerpt:

“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.” [emphasis added]

But of course nothing moved forward and the Gulfstream Hotel remained shuttered. However, since May 2014 no event or news has stood out more than what happened on January 5th, 2016 at the Lake Worth City Commission when a very well-respected land use attorney then representing the owners of the Gulfstream Hotel said:

“I have to tell you, in 23 years I’ve never, ever seen so many people come out, leave their homes at dinner time to speak in favor of an application. It just doesn’t happen. People come to speak against, but people don’t come to speak in favor. So I am overwhelmed by the volume of people that have been here this evening.”

A month later I published this video to YouTube:

Let’s take a stroll back to 2012. . .

I toured the Gulfstream Hotel from the roof all the way down to the maintenance room six years ago while under previous ownership and the structure is indeed impressive. From the roof the views are vast of “the Palm Beach Area” (note the first image below).

The roof was (and still is) used by a cell phone company with an array of equipment outside and inside the building that made a constant ‘whirring’ sound. The hallways and stairs I noticed were completely clear of any debris or obstructions but the individual rooms were torn apart like they were being renovated. It was like the crew doing the work went on lunch break, years ago, and haven’t returned to finish the work. On the top two floors there was some water damage which is to be expected.

Interestingly, the hotel had running water when I was there. The rooms have very small bathrooms, tiny closets, and barely enough room for common amenities the modern-day hotel customer is accustomed to. Most of the rooms I looked through were on the top four floors and surmised all the hotel’s rooms were in a similar condition. A renovation will lower the number of rooms and increase room sizes as tourists and business travelers expect in this modern era.

The lobby and first floor are incredible and you can imagine a visitors’ joy arriving to the hotel fresh off a Henry Flagler train to escape the northern cold. Most of the first floor, when I was there, was being used for furniture storage and it was all kept in an orderly fashion. Below the hotel’s first (main) floor is the boiler room and maintenance areas and was like a step back in time, like a movie scene from the 1930s or 1940s.

I’ve made this observation many times on this blog and will do so once again: it’s a near miracle this hotel is still standing tall in our downtown. So many of these historic structures are long gone now and are just memories in a book or computer file that nobody, or very few, care to look at any more. 

I hope you enjoy this look back at New Year’s Day at the “Gulf Stream”* Hotel 77 years ago:

“Everything Florida Has — We Have”

New Year’s Dinner at the “Gulf Stream” Hotel: January 1st, 1942.

The Gala: New Year’s party on the “Gulf Stream” Patio and Cocktail Lounge: December 30th, 1941.

*“Gulf Stream” (historic name for the hotel) and “Gulfstream” (2 words ‘blended’, a portmanteau) are used interchangeably over different eras for many reasons, e.g., commonly accepted title by the public, news reports, public relations, advertising, etc.

Balancing shade vs. public safety in hurricane-prone South Florida.

Trees, public safety, and maintaining essential
public services will be a major theme in
this City of Lake Worth in 2019.

Starting off this public education effort will be the upcoming annual Festival of Trees on Saturday, February 16th. If you would like to be part of this year’s festival and help get the word out about hardwood and shade trees click on this link. The Tree Festival will highlight our City’s Electric Utility (hardening of grid and power line safety) and other essential public services such as the delivery of clean water, stormwater drainage, natural gas lines, and emergency services in case of major storms.

The message is simply this:

Trees are important.
But public safety is Priority #1.

The 2018 Hurricane Season is over. And everyone knows the public loves shade trees. However, each year beginning on June 1st begins another Hurricane Season.

So from December 1st to May 31st when no one is thinking about hurricanes and you go out and pick up a new tree have you considered looking overhead for power lines? Find out where your natural gas and water lines are? Is that tree too close to the sidewalk?

Two short quotes, first is one about Hurricane Michael that hit the Florida Panhandle. . .

“We have a lot of trees here,” said Lauren Nash, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Tallahassee, a city that has half of its land mass covered by canopy.
     “In terms of those trees, 100 mph can very easily uproot, break, snap, take down trees. Even healthy trees, that [wind] can knock them down.” [emphasis added]

Excerpt. News by reporter Ashley White at Tallahassee Democrat datelined Oct. 10th, 2018 headlined, “Tallahassee: ‘A city that loves trees’ will be tested by Hurricane Michael, barrage of wind”.

and a quote from last year. . .

“It appeared to me that most of the damage during the recent storm [Hurricane Irma] was done by falling trees and tree branches. But with few exceptions, palms were not the problem. Hardwood trees were.”

Excerpt from letter to editor(s) published in Palm Beach Post, Sept. 23rd, 2017 by Mr. Jack Lippman of Boynton Beach sourced in blog post titled, “Lessons learned: About predictions, frequency and strength of hurricanes every year.”

What follows is more information from a blog post titled, “Lessons learned from Hurricane Irma” posted shortly after that massive storm in September 2017.

Use this link for a MUST READ article by Post reporter Susan Salisbury titled, “After Irma: Why planting the right tree in the right place matters” and from FP&L about “Trees and Power Lines”: 

  • Find the right tree. “Before selecting your tree, make sure you know how tall, wide and deep it will be at maturity, and whether it’s a problem tree.
  • Choose the right spot. “At maturity, will your trees’ canopy reach the overhead lines?
  • Work safely. “Whether you’re planting a tree, preparing your property for storm season or picking fruit, remember to stay safe and stay far away from power lines at all times.

Without further ado: Lessons learned from Hurricane Irma.

Preparing for the next hurricane or major
storm in the City of Lake Worth and elsewhere
in Central PBC.

Some of the big issues post-Hurricane Irma were trees too close to power lines on private property and vegetation overgrowth. These issues need to be looked at thoroughly in the wake of Irma.

Below are excerpts from two articles in The Palm Beach Post, one by reporters Julius Whigham II and Sarah Peters and the other by Jane Musgrave.

Residential tree trimming and vegetation removal near power lines is key in Hurricane Season. Below are excerpts from an article titled, “Downed tree limbs, not destroyed structures, marks Irma’s passage” by Post reporter Musgrave:

     Power remains out for roughly 500,000 county residents and another 3 million customers in Florida Power & Light’s 35-county coverage area.
     With some traffic lights still out at some intersections, electric lines down and some roads blocked by downed trees, [emphasis added] county officials ordered a curfew from dawn to dusk.

And as we await the next “monster storm”:

“[E]lectric lines down and some roads blocked by downed trees. . .”

Sunday, December 30, 2018

“Local government is where things get done” and, “I want to thank the voters who approved this. Because this is really going to transform our City.”

Below are two quotes. One from Lake Worth Mayor Pam Triolo and the other is from Commissioner Omari Hardy.

First, a quote from Mayor Pam Triolo.

From the text of Mayor Triolo’s State of the City Address held at the Lake Worth Casino in February of this year:

“I am pleased to introduce,
  • Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell
  • Vice Mayor Pro Tem Andy Amoroso
  • Commissioner Omari Hardy
  • Commissioner Herman Robinson.

Commissioners, I applaud your willingness to step into the white hot spotlight of public office.
     In an era of cynical media and in the shadow of the shenanigans in Washington and Tallahassee, local government is where things get done. The gridlock and lack of leadership there makes what you do here even more important.
     We are better off because of your work on behalf of the citizens and I thank you.

Below is the quote from Commissioner Omari Hardy (photo taken at the PrideFest Parade shortly after the elections held on March 14th, 2017).

Commissioner Hardy at the Lake Worth City Commission on January 16th this year commenting on road repairs, the Neighborhood Road Bond, and CDBG funding for infrastructure:

“You [Commissioner Hardy addressing Water Utility Dir. Brian Shields] and the rest of the team [Public Services Dir. Jamie Brown et al.] are doing a really fantastic job. There might have been some disconnects here and there but I think overall you guys are doing an amazing job and I’m really glad that you’re on board while we’re going through this.
     I want to thank the commissioners who have been sitting on this dais longer than I have for having the courage to go for this twice.* And I want to thank the voters who approved this. Because this is really going to transform our City.
     We talk about ‘curb appeal’ all the time. The street is the part that we have ownership of and we’re finally taking responsibility for that. So I appreciate everybody who was involved with the decision-making in this process and I appreciate all you doing such a great job in the execution of it.”

*This is in reference to the first Neighborhood Road Bond referendum in August 2014 that failed by just 25 votes.
     In November 2016 the second bond referendum passed “by a whopping 69%”:

     Commissioner Hardy is quoted above saying, “I want to thank the commissioners who have been sitting on this dais longer than I have. . .”. He is referring to Mayor Pam Triolo and two other members of the City Commission: District 1 Commissioner Scott Maxwell and District 3 Commissioner Andy Amoroso.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Worth Another Look: Radical cheerleader and her New Year’s salute. You can’t make this stuff up!

From the program notes:

In 2005, a danceoff was called between Lake Worth and Miami young radicals. The competition was so brutal and almost damaging, the dancers agreed that instead of competing again, we would work together, - “Never a Danceoff, Always a Showcase” - and thus South Florida United Queer Dancers was formed.
     This year, Miami called for an Apocalyptic Pop & Lock Showdown at their New Year’s Eve party for 2012, and the competition was back on. This is Lake Worth’s performance.

That’s our former City Commissioner Cara Jennings leading off the video as Dancin’ Kim. She can really “Pop . . . and lock it!”:

For those of you who missed this.

Already read this? Then Thank You for visiting once again and please scroll down.

Looking back. January 11th, 2018 was a monumental day for the City of Lake Worth [Beach].

It was a packed house for a breakfast at the Casino and Beach Complex. Over one hundred RSVPs. Over one hundred invitees attended.

The City was on stage.
A spectacular performance.
And everyone noticed.

Well, not exactly everyone. This event was ignored in The Palm Beach Post. A complete press blackout. But it didn’t matter. The news got out anyhow.

Let’s set the stage.

What happened on January 11th this year followed a particularly terrible year in 2017 for this City when it comes to press reporting. Of course The Lake Worth Herald and Coastal & Greenacres Observer are the exception.

On the heels of a brutal dog attack that was reported in The Palm Beach Post in Dec. 2017 as having happened ‘in Lake Worth’ — that did not happen in this City — to a park being featured in the ‘LOCAL’ section with photos and an in-depth story about how wonderful this City park is.

Just one problem. John Prince Park is not in our City. Ten parks actually within the City could have been featured. But none were.

And on and on it went. One would think this City was the most terrible place on Earth and at the same time one of the largest land areas for a city in the southern United States.

This City is only six square miles. The crime rate has dropped dramatically year after year.

Now that the stage is set:

A blog post from January 11th
of this year.

It was the City’s “Breakfast” for Realtors and real estate professionals at the Lake Worth Casino Ballroom
at the Beach.

Attendees were greeted by miniature Little Free Libraries, the paperback “Cottages of Lake Worth” book, and much more helpful information as well.

I attended the City of Lake Worth’s “Real Estate Agent Breakfast” held at the Lake Worth Casino Ballroom last Thursday morning [Jan. 11th, 2018]. This was a momentous occasion for a number of reasons. For the first time in my memory the City actively reached out to a section of the population that influences how people think about the City of Lake Worth every day.

The City shared information about ongoing programs and efforts like the solar array that is part of our electric utility infrastructure, how we are almost at rate parity with FPL and how the City could be a pioneer in research and development creating energy from the Gulf Stream Current right off our coastline.

One of the many presentations was by Director
Ed Liberty at the Lake Worth Electric Utility.

There are three YouTube videos of this meeting
to watch at your convenience.

In this first video of the event you will hear Mayor Pam Triolo say just those things and more (links to videos #2 and #3 are below). This meeting and the presentations was for an RSVP audience of 103 real estate professionals and most, if not all of them, showed up. Word went out to these professionals about this “Real Estate Agent Breakfast” to change many of the false perceptions there are about this City and turn all that around in a positive direction.

The people assembled in the Casino Ballroom associate with other people every day who either own property or are interested in buying property here in this City of Lake Worth. This community of people, Realtors and real estate professionals are really the City’s ambassador corps. They are on the front line when people ask questions about Lake Worth’s Electric Utility, all the unique neighborhoods, and about crime and public safety too.

It is from their mouths that the answers come that present the City in a positive light — or if they don’t understand or know about all the progress that has been made — in a negative light.

Meet PBSO Lieutenant Anthony Johnson.
In his presentation we learned there was a
significant decrease in crime last year.

Why is there so much confusion about the issue of crime in this City? One reason is due to bogus news reports such as this, “Is City of Lake Worth one
of the ‘Most Dangerous Places in Florida’?”
Of course it’s not.

From attending this meeting myself and by you watching the series of three videos from the event you will see how the City was able to transform the perception of many Realtors and how this very important group of people actually “sees” Lake Worth.

For some it was their first introduction to the area and the City of Lake Worth specifically. Many were newcomers with a desire to learn more about what many Realtors already knew: the fact that Lake Worth is becoming more and more all the time a great place to live, work and play.

I heard people express that being part of this City, to them, felt like “finding the needle in the haystack.” Many talked about how they liked the City’s “vibe” and they were impressed with how distinct it was from other more “normal” communities in Central Palm Beach County and in South Florida generally.

A view of the Lake Worth Casino Ballroom:

The Realtors learned many things about this
City including more information about the
Lake Worth Neighborhood Road Program” and other infrastructure projects.

Many people in attendance left convinced that “Lake Worth has turned the corner” and that “interest in Lake Worth is at an all-time high.”

Kudos go out to the City for hosting and organizing such an event. We have a good story to tell and yesterday it was told to a very receptive audience of ambassadors: real estate professionals and Realtors.

About the other two videos in the series
(link to the first video is above):

For the second YouTube video which starts off with the presentation by Lake Worth Utility Dir. Ed Liberty click on this link. Later in the video PBSO Lieutenant Anthony Johnson talks about how much the crime rate dropped in 2017 and there are other presentations including one from Director Brian Shields from the Lake Worth Water Utility.

The third and final video is a special one. It starts off with Mayor Pam Triolo and Commissioner Andy Amoroso discussing various important topics. That’s followed by a Q&A and at the end of the video it’s about how the press, specifically The Palm Beach Post, continues to promulgate many of the negative stereotypes about this City as cleverly demonstrated by City Manager Michael Bornstein.

Hope you found this blog post informative and helpful. And if you’re interested in learning more about this City start by browsing through the City of Lake Worth’s website, for example, the Planning & Zoning Department or learn more about the City’s Dept. of Leisure Services and all the listed “Special Events” as well.

I think you’ll be very interested, happy and excited about much of what you see and learn about this little City:

“Gentrification!” A word used to confuse and oftentimes frighten the public.

The “Politics of Fear” explained plus something called, “The Gentrification Paradox”.

What follows is a fairly long read with a brief introduction to that “loaded word”: Gentrification. Later on in this blog post is about a “paradox” (self-contradictory, false proposition) and how the public can be manipulated by a looming threat or fear that doesn’t exist, e.g., “The Wolf at the Door”.

The word gentrification, once a favorite loaded word to create fear and instability in neighborhoods throughout the City of Lake Worth in years past, flares up now and then, but has mostly disappeared from the lexicon. Why? We’ll examine that a little later. But first:

A loaded word is one, 

[T]hat attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes. Such wording is also known as high-inference language or language persuasive techniques.

Do you know what gentrification is? No one does.

There is no accepted definition. Another interesting thing is how this word can show up in the strangest of places, even when there are much better words to choose from, like in this article about The Cottages of Lake Worth.

Emily Badger at The Washington Post wrote an article titled: “It’s time to give up the most loaded, least understood word in urban policy: gentrification”:

These questions get at a fundamental problem with one of the most controversial (and fuzzy) concepts in urban policy: Even researchers don’t agree on what ‘gentrification’ means, let alone how to identify it. (And this is to say nothing of its even more problematic derivative, the “gentrifier.”)

Think about this, since urban gardens are so popular with some, are they actually promoting gentrification? Because developers love urban gardens. Have you read this article, “Urban farmers find that success leads to eviction”? This is called “The Gentrification Paradox” (read more about that below).

One last question, a very troubling one: Is it possible there were people or groups here in Lake Worth intentionally using tactics like “Gentrification!” to suppress neighborhood improvements, increase the crime rate, and create fear for political objectives? A shocking thought isn’t it? Or maybe not so much for others.

Everyone knows the naysayers and malcontents here in Lake Worth. The ones that have nothing good to say about the City Commission first swept into office in 2012. Finally this year the last of the holdouts (see image below), lost his District 2 seat held since 2010. Some of those naysayers, once upon a time, were in control of this City and you may be wondering how such negative people ever got into positions of power. They accomplished that with the politics of fear, also called “The Wolf at the Door”.

Photo taken of prior administration in 2012 at the Lake Worth Casino:

“Gentrification!” was a word Cara Jennings (on right, facing) was fond of using. Chris McVoy, PhD (beaming, blue shirt) managed to hold on for a
while but lost his re-election bid last March.
Recognize anyone else?

The public in Lake Worth woke up one day 6 years ago and realized there was no “Wolf at the Door”, or “Vulture at the Door” if you will. The real problem was a few commissioners in City Hall. Unsurprisingly, the mood in this City began to change beginning back in 2012 and despite some setbacks and disappointments, the outlook going forward is mostly positive about our City’s future. The passing of the Neighborhood Road Bond in Nov. 2016 by a “whopping 69%” was proof a new positive attitude had swept over the City.

So. . . why did the cry of “Gentrification!”
stop working?

Also in this blog post are more of the tactics used to stop neighborhood improvements and ways to discourage people from being more involved in their communities. And. . . why blaming elected officials for ‘gentrification’ is a fallacy, merely a tactic to gain political advantage.

Gentrification is one of the most misunderstood phenomenons in American culture. It’s a term that’s derogatory to some and a very hopeful one for others who live in persistently blighted areas. The logic by some is a certain level of blight is ‘charming’ because it makes the area undesirable to investors or ‘outsiders’.

People who rail and frighten a neighborhood against gentrification (G) are then in the unenviable position of having to balance how much blight is good to deter more people from moving in but still keep the area in a state of limbo: not getting better and not getting worse either. Because if the neighborhood gets too blighted the people who live there will move out.

On the other hand, if one person decides to do a home renovation and improve his or her home, another home will have to decay further to maintain that balance. And what if, God forbid, a homeowner decides to replace the roof!

If one property increases in value, the anti-G logic is, then that is a threat to all the other homes on the street. Then to show the neighborhood how enlightened, resilient, and sustainable they are, then they encourage urban farms and urban gardens which leads to what? Less blight. A bland, unkempt home doesn’t look as bad when surrounded by a garden or a farm. Welcome to what’s called the Gentrification Paradox.

Here is one explanation of this phenomenon from the Strong Towns blog. To put it very simply: Some tactics to stop ‘gentrification’ actually do the opposite. They make neighborhoods, towns and cities more attractive rather than less.

However, the ‘anti-G’ folks have other tactics from the grab-bag to try and stop, or at least slow down, the process of a neighborhood improving that do terrible long-term damage and truly affect people’s lives in a negative way:

  • Upzoning (policies to destabilize residential neighborhoods).
  • Increase the crime rate (or the perception of crime in an area).
  • Encourage the homeless to take over a “space”, like the Cultural Plaza downtown.
  • Promote needle exchange programs to attract more drug addicts (another tactic in Lake Worth from the bag of tricks).
  • Try to make it easier for sober homes to operate without supervision and less scrutiny.
  • Under-fund or obstruct education initiatives for children and recent immigrants.

All of these tactics, and there are many others, are ultimately unsuccessful. Why? Because the process is market-driven and as the economy improves people want a better quality of life. Those who who live in blighted areas will do things like paint a house, clean up the front yard, remove abandoned cars, and engage in activities like forming neighborhood groups, request bike lanes, and become interested in things like community policing. All these changes increase real estate value over time.

In the City of Lake Worth was the Grey Mockingbird Community Garden. This garden located at D Street and 22nd Ave. greatly increased visitors and interest in the area not only due to the garden but also with their educational and entertainment activities. The garden was discouraging blight and encouraging neighborhood improvements. How many people visited the garden and decided to look around the City, liked what they saw and either decided to invest in or move to Lake Worth? That is hard to gauge but it certainly has happened.

In the 2015 election cycle the word “gentrification” was used almost constantly by the ‘anti-G’ faction who knocked on doors to frighten certain neighborhoods in Lake Worth. They blamed some politicians for promoting it and others were praised for trying to stop it which is all nonsense, but it did play well ‘at the door’ to some degree but was much less effective than in previous elections.

However, the tactic was completely ineffective in the 2016 elections and not used at all in the 2017 elections. Why?

The answer is easy: They simply overplayed their hand and ‘crying Wolf!’ had lost its effectiveness.

In conclusion, if someone tells you that your commissioner, mayor, or state representative is responsible for ‘gentrification’ they are lying to you.

And on the issue of trust:

Why would you ever trust anyone who told you that your neighborhood can’t aspire to be better for your children, friends, and family?

On the business of retail in Palm Beach County, “Join us in the former Macy’s space in City Place. . .

“. . . as we explore the future of retail and the retail spaces that inhabit our landscape.”

At an all-day forum last June examining the future of retail in this County were some names you may recognize: Dana Little, Natalie Crowley, Maria Marino, Anne Gerwig, William Waters, Brandon Schaad, Seth Behn, Raphael Clemente, Chris Roog, and David Harrison. Who are these people? See the bullet list below.

Below is more information including a video from that forum.

The ripples from this very well-attended forum could be felt in the City of Lake Worth this week at an all-day “Visioning Workshop” where the topic of retail and revitalizing Dixie Hwy. was a very big topic. Looking 5–10 years out new retail establishments will be essential for this City’s continued growth.

This forum was sponsored by the Palm Beach County Planning Congress, Inc. and meets on a regular monthly basis and features a variety of topics. Meeting formats vary and include presentations, panel discussions, field trips, tours, and/or a combination of formats depending on the topic.

This recent forum was titled:

“Planning Challenges 2018: Shapeshifting Retail. Facts and Fiction”.

The keynote speaker was Tony Carvajal, the Executive Director at the Florida Chamber Foundation. From the forum program:

“Tony Carvajal serves as Executive Vice President of the Florida Chamber Foundation, the research and solutions development arm of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. Working in partnership with state business leaders, the Foundation advances initiatives that envision a vibrant and sustainable economy in the Sunshine State.
     He is regularly called on to provide guidance and insights into state-level plans and has served on numerous policy steering committees covering topics as varied as education, early learning, workforce development, economic development, transportation, healthcare, volunteerism, civic infrastructure, philanthropy, and smart justice.”

The video of Mr. Carvajal is at the end of this blog post. There are eleven (11) videos total, the shortest video is eleven minutes and the longest is thirty minutes. Click on this link to see the entire list of YouTube videos.

Another keynote speaker was Bob Gibbs, founder of the Gibbs Planning Group, a leading thinker on retail development and author of the book Principals of Urban Retail Planning and Development. Other speakers and facilitators included:

  • Dana Little, Urban Design Director, Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council.
  • Dale Scott, Southern Division Lead, International Council of Shopping Centers.
  • Natalie Crowley, AICP, Planning & Zoning Director, Palm Beach Gardens.
  • Mayor Maria Marino, City of Palm Beach Gardens.
  • Mayor Anne Gerwig, Village of Wellington.
  • William Waters, Director of Community Sustainability, City of Lake Worth.
  • Brandon Schaad, AICP, Development Services Director, City of Boca Raton.
  • Seth Behn, AICP, Land Use Attorney, Lewis, Longman & Walker.
  • Raphael Clemente, Executive Dir. Downtown Development Authority, City of West Palm Beach.
  • Chris Roog, Director of Economic Development, West Palm Beach.
  • David Harrison, Vice President of Design & Construction, Related Companies

Without further ado, Mr. Carvajal with
the opening keynote:

As always, Thank You for visiting today and hope you found this blog post informative and helpful.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Once again, the editor(s) at The Palm Beach Post miss the major point about “Lake Worth Beach”.

Back in July this year the City of Lake Worth held an all-day public “Visioning Work Session” but no one from The Palm Beach Post bothered to show up. And not once since has this news been reported in the Post. So this goes a long way in explaining why the editor(s) at the Post are so far behind in understanding the concept of “Lake Worth Beach”.

“Where We’re Going . . . Themes  →  Priorities”

Marketing  ↔  Communication

No one’s zip code will change! The initial change to “Lake Worth Beach” will be mostly social media and marketing. Hard changes to signage, for example, would happen over many months to years and be very gradual.

This appeared in the paper last Monday on p. B3 ‘LOCAL’ under the heading, “A name-change proposal for the city”:

We’ll know on March 12 as city commissioners in November [sic] agreed to let voters decide on changing the city’s name to Lake Worth Beach, mostly to capitalize on the prized coastline and to distance itself from unincorporated [suburban] Lake Worth crime stats.

It’s worth noting second reading at the City Commission to send this question to the voters was on December 13th, not ‘in October’ as reported. To read about what happened two weeks ago click on this link which includes a video from that Commission meeting.

Yes. The “Beach” is significant and does indeed make this City a special place.

And yes, it is most certainly because of ‘news’ like this published in The Palm Beach Post that the City’s image has been tarnished and damaged so badly.

But the editor(s) miss the mark.

The major point about “Lake Worth Beach” is about a thing called “Branding” and how places out west are plundering our unique brand.

The region called ‘Lake Worth’ is no longer a special place any more. It used to be about ninety years ago. But not any more. If you have a ‘Lake Worth’ zip code 33462, 33463, 33466, 33467, 33449 or 33454 you are not “in Lake Worth”. You are living in what used to be called the Florida Everglades after it was drained and paved over.

Here is just one very recent example of such a place:

There is a ‘community’ using the Lake Worth Casino as a backdrop to promote it’s condos on Twitter:

As a local landmark and tourist destination, the Lake Worth Casino is the perfect place to take in the sites and enjoy the brisk South Florida weather. Stop by today to get a taste of Lake Worth living. #LakeWorth #LakeWorthCasino

This ‘community’ called Colony Reserve is located at 5299 Lantana Rd. It has a ‘Lake Worth’ zip code 33463. The actual City of Lake Worth uses zip code 33460 and part of 33461 (see map below).

And whilst on the topic of businesses actually in this City versus those outside the City read about Kilwins Chocolate and another chocolate shop with a ‘Lake Worth’ zip code in the City of Atlantis.

Most unincorporated areas west of the City of Lake Worth (un-shaded) have a ‘Lake Worth’ zip code.

Ergo the reason for “Lake Worth Beach” and differentiating this City from places out west.

Now one can understand why the “City of Lake Worth Beach” makes sense. And just wonder . . .

Maybe if the editor(s) at the Post understood a long time ago about, “Where exactly are places, cities, towns and villages in Palm Beach County?
And why it matters.”

The Greenacres PD and merge with PBSO: Very worthy public policy news but not in The Palm Beach Post?

After several years of being snubbed — the elected leadership, administration and staff, the fine City of Greenacres was recently news in the Post — but sadly no updates about PBSO and District 16 coming up on their three year anniversary:

“We want to know from residents what they think Greenacres should look like and what our strong points are,” Greenacres City Manager Andrea McCue said. “We want to use that information … to come up with a strategic plan for the city we’re hoping turns into an economic development plan for us.”

It’s worth noting that Lake Worth beat reporter Kevin Thompson at the Post used to be the beat reporter in the City of Greenacres just like former Post reporter Willy Howard used to cover the same two-city beat. Covering these two municipalities is not unusual. But three years ago the editor(s) at the Post pulled Thompson off the Greenacres beat to focus entirely on the City of Lake Worth.

And yes, because another Monday is coming up, it will be another Lake Worth Very Very Special Monday Cursory Print Edition (LWVVSMCPE). Repetitive.

Three years later and still the very same six Special Cities each and every week.


However, since GateHouse Media has taken over there have been some very welcome changes to the LWVVSMCPE. For example, that ridiculous list of phone numbers published every Monday has finally gone away. Really now, how many times did the Post need to publish the phone number of the Sewer Dept.?

“Honey, the sewer is backing up!”

“Sorry, Mabel. You’ll have to wait til Monday when the paper comes out.”

But really now, isn’t it about time for a special news feature in The Palm Beach Post about this very important public policy and law enforcement policy that goes back to almost three years in a neighboring municipality here in Central Palm Beach County?

Maybe the public in other municipalities would like to have that debate as well about merging their law enforcement with PBSO?

Note that two weeks ago in the Post was a story about “[A]n increase in ADA lawsuits related to [municipal] website accessibility.” This was a collaborative effort by photographer Damon Higgins and beat reporter Kevin Thompson and staff and reporters Charles Elmore, Hannah Morse, Sarah Peters, Alexandra Seltzer and Chelsea Todaro too.

How much trouble would it be for the editor(s) to do a feature story on PBSO in Greenacres?

What is happening in Greenacres is truly amazing. And just like in Lake Worth the turnaround can be traced directly to merging the local PD with PBSO. District 14 was formed ten years ago in this City. District 16 covers Greenacres.

And whilst on the issue of crime the editor(s) at The Palm Beach Post also praised PBSO Sheriff Ric Bradshaw last year who “smartly requested $1.8 million to hire 15 entry-level deputies” applying for a highly coveted federal grant for COPS: Community Oriented Policing Services.

To learn more click on this link for the many ways to volunteer for PBSO. For example, volunteers are needed for the media unit, Citizen Observer Patrol (COP), Volunteer Emergency Response Team (VERT), honor guard, mounted unit, and bike patrol.

Want to share your thoughts with the editor(s) at the Post on this very important topic? Then take a few minutes today and write a Letter to the Editor (LTE). If you get one submitted early enough it could make tomorrow’s print edition. It only takes 5–10 minutes to write and submit a LTE. Click on this link for instructions which include contact information and very helpful tips.

The editor(s) finally acknowledged on March 10th, 2018 in the endorsement for Greenacres Councilwoman Judy Dugo, noted briefly about PBSO and the coming merge with the City of Greenacres PD back in 2015 that,

“The dust appears to have settled on the discord that marked many of the council’s meetings in recent years. Through it all, Councilwoman Judy Dugo, ■, has maintained a singular focus on making the city safer. With that, she was a key voice for the city’s 51-member police force merging with PBSO. . . . [T]here is no debate about the result. Overall crime is down, and available law-enforcement resources are far better.” [emphasis added]

How long has it been since any updates have been published in the Post about merge with PBSO and improved law enforcement in Greenacres?

Surprisingly, the last time we had any news at all about this important topic was when beat reporter Thompson used to cover news in Greenacres back in November 2015.

Back then, the editor at the Post thought it was in the public interest to report news about public policy and about law enforcement and to have a beat reporter from the newspaper in the fine City of Greenacres. But after PBSO took over law enforcement duties in that city the editor pulled their beat reporter to focus entirely on the City of Lake Worth. You know, that’s when the (LWVVSMCPE first began.

In 2015 our City of Lake Worth became special every single Monday in the print edition. Every Monday the LWVVSMCPE. It was back then when Greenacres became an afterthought.

Which prompted this oft-repeated observation
on this blog:

It’s been over two years [now nearly three] since the merge and little if any news in the Post about this very important issue here in Central Palm Beach County. Isn’t it about time for a feature story in the local ‘B’ section? Maybe even the Monday paper with a leader over the banner on the front page?

Interestingly, the Post in early 2016 used to cover the topic of code enforcement in Greenacres too!

I know. It’s hard to believe but it’s true:

     “District I Councilwoman Lisa Rivera [now former Councilwoman Rivera] led the wide-ranging meeting, which covered everything from trash inside newspaper vending machines to unsightly medians along Lake Worth Road to pitch black streets on Haverhill Road. [emphasis added]
     Several city department heads and Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office deputies were on hand to answer questions from Rivera on why her district looks the way it looks.”

and. . .

     “Rivera is also concerned that many of the businesses in her district, which runs from the L-10 Canal south to the L-15 Canal, and from Military Trail west to South 57th Avenue, look like they should be in a flea market, with their garish colors and tacky banner signs.
     ‘It looks horrid,’ Rivera said.”

In conclusion. Please scroll up and click on the link to learn how to write a Letter to the Editor (LTE) and let the editor(s) know what you think.

Have you ever thought of becoming a volunteer for PBSO in District 16 (Greenacres) or District 14 in the smaller, little City of Lake Worth? Click on this link to learn how.