Saturday, August 11, 2018

Brief history, 2009–2018: Code Enforcement in City of Lake Worth.

By the way, you may be interested to learn that on July 24th the City of Lake Worth held an all-day “Visioning Work Session” and one of the major topics of conversation by our elected leadership and staff was Code Enforcement. If you wish, after reading this blog post scroll back up and click on this link to read all about it. And also below is how to contact your local neighborhood code official and much more information about the Code Dept.

About the history of Code Enforcement in this little City we start off with this from Mr. Andrew Marra:

“Most code enforcement fines were never paid, and no efforts were made to collect them. Dangerously dilapidated properties were left untouched, while code enforcement officials continued tacking on fines they knew would never be collected.”

Quote, then-editor and now schools reporter Andrew Marra. Palm Beach Post, editorial dated October 20th, 2013.

There are now many more updated and new City ordinances to reduce blight but in 2009, 9 years ago, the situation seemed so out of control there would be no way possible to ever catch up.

Hard to believe, but at one point (in 2014) it was decided to just burn these former homes down (see video below), using these dilapidated structures to train firefighters, and then have the CRA build a new home in its place.

Finally, in early 2016 after much work by the City staff and City Commission — the rewriting and updating of the codes and ordinances — things began to turn around in a big way. City Manager Michael Bornstein wrote in a City newsletter, “Code is Moving Forward”:

“[I]t was apparent that the City’s Code Compliance Division was having some serious problems. The Division’s operations were hampered by trying to enforce outdated and inconsistent City Codes and they did not have the resources and training necessary to deal with the difficult circumstances in our City.” 

How did we get into this terrible situation
to begin with?

When a prior administration began to gut the Code Enforcement Dept. — starting in 2009 — a well-respected resident stated later,

“After [Susan] Stanton was hired [in 2009] she made a statement concerning code and indicated that it was no longer a priority. The number of code officers dropped and she did not replace them. I met with her a year after she took over and confronted her with the fact that code was doing nothing to stop the blight and that I was extremely disappointed with her decision to allow the department to fall apart.” 

Stanton was fired in December 2011; Mr. Bornstein was hired in April 2012.

Now fast-forward to July 2017 (use this link)
from City Manager Bornstein:

“Maintaining community standards through Code Compliance is not an easy process. But it is one that we are committed to and one that we have made great progress in over the past several years. Thanks to new and enforceable laws adopted by the City Commission, the creation of the Code Remediation Fund, and a dedicated staff committed to the improvement of the City, we are working to make things better.”

Last June here in the City of Lake Worth there was a proclamation for “Code Enforcement Officers Week” at the City Commission. I was in attendance at that meeting. It was one of the biggest applauses I’ve ever heard in a very long time at City Hall. They deserve it.

Anyhow, some day next week. . .

Contact the City of Lake Worth’s Code Compliance Division and give them some kind words of encouragement and say, “Thank You”!
  • The office is located at 1900 2nd Ave. North.
  • Open Monday–Friday, 8:00–4:00.
  • Phone number is 561-586-1652.
  • Email:

More information about Code Enforcement. . .

FYI: Asking a neighbor, contacting a TV news reporter, wishing for a lifeline, or phoning a friend about “Community Code Compliance” is completely unnecessary.

To make an online inquiry or if you have a complaint, the list of code enforcement officers and contact information, the “Vacant Registry” and common FAQs click on this link. Why? Because using this link for example — in combination with this online map of Code Enforcement Zones 1–8 — anyone can find out who their local code enforcement officer is and contact that person directly. 

Oh, and remember that video
I mentioned earlier? Here it is.

Let’s all please pause momentarily for a public safety message.

“The thick black smoke was hard to miss. It curled into the sky, swallowing tops of palm trees. . .”

“. . . tumbling down like a shroud over the downtown streets . . .”

Public Safety. A reminder for City of Lake Worth residents. What to do if you see smoke.

Don’t go searching for adjectives or fear that smoke may be coming from a marijuana dispensary across the street. Don’t frighten the children with any silly schemes! Stay calm. You don’t want those kids running across Dixie Hwy. or into a nearby store selling cigarettes and beer. And don’t make the mistake assuming the smoke you see is just harmless smoke from a crematorium and forget about it. Don’t do anything else until you do this first: 

If you see smoke,
call 911 immediately.

If there is smoke coming from a structure, there may be people inside and possibly pets too. 

Afterwards go on Facebook and social media and
tell all your friends about your experience!

If you see suspicious or unusual smoke, even without presence of flames, immediately stop what you’re doing and call 911.

However, if you see any smoke at all coming from a crematorium call 561-840-4500 or contact the Palm Beach County, Florida, Dept. of Health. If you wish to schedule an appointment to discuss this matter, call 1-855-438-2778, or use this link. Another option is to write a letter to:

Palm Beach County Dept. of Health, 800 Clematis St., West Palm Beach, Florida, 33401.

And while you’re at it, ask the Dept. of Health if it’s OK for an elementary charter school to be just a few blocks away from a crematorium.

If you’re interested in learning more about this issue, you may find these articles in the Post interesting, including an explanation why, “at one point in our City’s history, there was nothing stopping crematoriums to operate a business in Lake Worth”.

From a Post reporter in 2015:

“The thick black smoke was hard to miss. It curled into the sky, swallowing the tops of palm trees and tumbling down like a shroud over the downtown streets . . .”

Friday, August 10, 2018

Schemes. A silly cat and a dog house. And a prediction made on this blog last Wednesday has come true.

PLEASE NOTE: For more information about the presentation by CPZ Architects last Tuesday evening about the seven schemes for the Lake Worth Beach and Casino please click on this link. And for more information about the “CPZ Architects Beach and Casino Conceptual Plans and Design” use this link.

About that prediction. . .

Following this public meeting at City Hall predicted that the critics of CPZ and the malcontents who never even bothered to attend this meeting at City Hall last Tuesday,

“[W]ill soon begin flailing themselves in fits of anger and disbelief so get ready for that.”

Well, it didn’t take long. It happened in less than 24 hours. There are some who have become quite unhinged and are focusing almost exclusively on the word “scheme”:

Scheme, noun, “1. plan, design, or program of action to be followed; project. 2. an underhand plot.”

Scheme #1: We’ll call this the dog house scheme.

If you have been following this public process to fix all the problems at the Beach and Casino you know this has been a very public process. This week CPZ Architects presented seven (7) schemes, in other words, seven plans, designs, or a program of action.

The Lake Worth City Commission can choose none of the schemes, choose one scheme in particular, or mix and match: make a new scheme from one of the seven schemes.

And note this process will done at public meetings.

Scheme #2: We’ll call this the ineffectual cat scheme.

A critic of CPZ Architects mused just recently,

Conceptual Design Concepts and Aquatic Consulting Engineers [CPZ Architects] gave their presentation on their “schemes.” And everything presented was a scheme. . . . Tuesday night, the seed was planted by the assistant city manager to use our penny sales tax for our beach but he was quickly reminded they were not there to discuss financing of any “scheme.” The city doesn’t want the cat out of the bag quite yet, conniving and maneuvering with a plan to grab this cash.

So, you see. Because the previous administration (the ineffectual cat; aka tongue-in-cheek, “The Best Commission Ever!”) bungled the job so badly at the Lake Worth Beach and Casino our present City Commission has to scheme (Scheme #1) with better knowledge, information, and actual competence.

The lesson here is the cat is already “out of the bag”. So pay attention and attend meetings. The only “underhand plot” is the one coming from someone’s imagination fantasizing about idioms and not understanding that imaginary underhanded schemes are a “dime a dozen”.

The electeds on the City Commission, administration and staff, CPZ and the public are still very early in this process. The adults are firmly in charge. So don’t act like a silly cat and wonder where that “seed was planted”.

And remember, if former elected officials had actually focused more time on a properly planned scheme, we wouldn’t be in the mess we are in now, having to fix things because things weren’t planned and measured properly in the first place by former elected officials who threw up their hands and said, “It’s all Greek to me!”

November 10th and November 20th: Please mark the days on your calendar.

Saturday, November 10th, is the Veterans Day Parade in our City of Lake Worth.

More details to come. To learn about last year’s parade and the pipe organ which entertained everyone in attendance click on this link.

Sad to say, the attendance at this year’s Memorial Day Ceremony at Pinecrest Cemetery was very low once again.

Tuesday, November 20th: Following the parade will be a regularly scheduled Lake Worth City Commission meeting and the annual wringing of hands and questioning, “Why was the attendance so low again this year?

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Whilst we all await the next anonymous quote in The Palm Beach Post. . .

Have you already read about the presentation by CPZ Architects at the City Commission last Tuesday night? Then Thank You for visiting once again today and please check out the right-hand column for other stuff going on in this City and nearby communities as well.

By the way, in a recent story in the Post about the Lake Worth Electric Utility was another anonymous quote. Why? Who knows. However, if you want to learn more about recent developments at the Lake Worth Electric Utility click on this link.

For more background about “Lake Worth Beach Complex Conceptual Plans Design, Cost Estimates & Construction Design and Construction Phase” click on this link.

Now to the presentation by CPZ Architects at the City Commission on Tuesday, August 7th at the Lake Worth City Commission.

One of many photos taken at this public meeting.

Click on image to enlarge:

We are now officially in Stage 1 of the process to fix all the problems at the Lake Worth Beach and Casino. If the image above is upsetting or causes a fit please consider medical marijuana. Stage 1 is just one of many stages to come.

At this presentation by CPZ Architects seven (7) conceptual schemes were presented.

If you wish to dismiss the preliminaries and get right to it, the YouTube video of this public meeting is at the end of this blog post. Before we proceed. . .

Remember, the “Big Myth” is that the current Casino structure was ‘renovated’. It was actually 94% demolished. Oh, and by the way, the structure was Greenwashed too. So keep this in mind as you look over this information provided by CPZ Architects:

To demonstrate how terrible the planning was
at the ‘renovated’ Casino:

For example, when guests to a wedding walk from the lower parking lot to the Ballroom they can smell the grease trap and see the leaks and spills as well.

And it gets worse, much worse.

Click on image to enlarge:

The second floor space, you know, the one with the “killer view”? That 4,973 sq. ft. on the 2nd floor is being used for office space and storage.

Opposite that “killer view” on the 2nd floor is the Casino Ballroom. But that space has problems too.

It truly is remarkable how City staff has made
the Ballroom a great success
despite all the ‘renovations’ at the Casino.

And now for the biggest failure of all.

Click on image. Read it and weep as they say. . .

Right next to the ‘renovated’ Casino is the now-condemned municipal pool. The former administration shut down the pool in 2010. Then after the current majority took over the ones who shut down the pool demanded it be reopened again.

Below is a lot more information. Check back to this blog for more information to come about this very important topic..

For example, we learned it will cost approximately $1.1M to demolish that “white elephant” at
the Lake Worth Beach.

Or put another way, that horse will not get up
and run any more.

Referring to the municipal pool at the Beach it was the inimitable Mr. Tom McGow back in 2010 who first coined the term “white elephant”.

Below are more photos from the meeting, a random collection, but give a good idea of what went on last Tuesday. The Lake Worth Beach Complex was agenda item 12B. There were the usual suspects from the public and new faces too which was good to see. Commissioner Scott Maxwell was initially absent but was there for the entire presentation by CPZ. Mayor Pam Triolo began the meeting on time and proceeded through the agenda with blazing speed.

The City set a new record for the shortest amount of time spent on public comment on non-agendaed items. Why? Because everyone was there for item 12B. It took only twenty-eight minutes to get there.

CPZ Architects is doing a tremendous job. They had a 62-page handout for the public and below are some images from their presentation. There is still some hand-wringing on the Commission about a new pool at the Beach. This is really silly and looks like pandering now. The focus needs to be on revenue and problem-solving, both of which CPZ is addressing in a professional manner. I think it was Commissioner Omari Hardy who pointed out why pay a lot of public funds to demolish the condemned municipal pool and then spend so much time and money to build a new one.

Going from the numbers given by the City, just by demolishing the pool and in-filling it and paving it over to make just fifty parking spaces will produce approximately $180K of revenue in one year. If anyone really wants to swim in a pool at the Beach so badly they can keep an Intex 18′ × 10′ × 42″ Oval Frame inflatable pool in the trunk and bring it with them.

More photos.

Click on images to enlarge:

Once again, despite all the issues at the Beach the City staff has performed excellently to promote the 2nd floor Ballroom and special events.

Some of the major players.

Chris Zimmerman, the president of CPZ at the podium with City Manager Michael Bornstein (left) and Asst. City Manager Juan Ruiz.

The dais:

Commissioner Scott Maxwell was absent for roll call. He was present for entire CPZ presentation.

The chambers filling in.

At the start of the meeting.

And three more slides from the presentation. . .

Once again, the video of last night’s meeting is below. Watch the video in segments if you wish and jot down the minute mark so you can quickly pick up where you left off.

Mr. Zimmerman from CPZ Architects began the official presentation at the 40:00 mark in the video below if you would like to begin watching right away.

Early on Asst. City Manager Juan Ruiz, well, sort of stepped in it by mentioning the proceeds from the County’s ¢1 sales tax. But Ruiz quickly got everything back on track after this initial kerfuffle and the meeting continued in an orderly and efficient manner.

The critics and malcontents about using proceeds from the County’s ¢1 sales tax for this revenue-producing infrastructure project, of course, will soon begin flailing themselves in fits of anger and disbelief so get ready for that. And maybe there will be another anonymous quote or two in the Post too. You know, basically just the normal stuff.

Actual funding for a project is a discussion that will come much later in the process and speculation about using proceeds from the ¢1 sales tax is just that: speculation.

And if you happen to hear wails of grief and despair that is because one of the concepts for the Beach and Casino improvements is a new hotel and a public-private partnership. This is just one of seven concepts. We still have a very long way to go. Once again, if you feel the urge to start wailing please consider medical marijuana.

It’s worth repeating we are now officially in Stage 1 of this process with many more stages to come.

Briefly, it will take approximately $1.1M to demolish the pool, locker rooms and pump building. The sense I got was if a new pool is ever built again at the Beach it will come much later after all the other revenue producing projects have been completed. Prior to the parking rate increase from $2 to $3 the calculation was $200/month per parking spot. So one can see how 50–75 spots created after the pool is demolished can really make a big difference.

Sent out many Tweets about this meeting and this one is humorous in a gallows sort of way:

No. The City of Lake Worth will not be constructing a car wash at the Beach. But hope you all got a good laugh though.

Anyhow, without further ado, the City’s YouTube video from last night.

As always, Thank You for visiting today and check back later for more information and photos from the City Commission meeting. This is still very early in the process and the City clearly made a great choice choosing CPZ for this project.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018


The Lake Worth Tree Board meeting tomorrow (Thursday, 5:30) will be held in the conference room at City Hall. The original agenda from the City gave the incorrect location.

Also note there is a Historic Resource Preservation Board meeting tonight at City Hall (6:00) and City Budget Work Session #4 is tomorrow at City Hall in the Commission chambers. Click on this link for more information and learn more about The BCE! too.

“Hey, Lake Worth, it’s 2009. No worries. Let’s party like it’s 1999!”

Do you remember The BCE!

Before we get to The BCE! and what happened here in this little City of Lake Worth nine years ago. . .

Public meetings this week: Today, August 7th, 2018 through Thursday, August 9th, 2018.

  • Today (Wednesday, 6:00) is a Historic Resource Preservation Board meeting.
  • Tomorrow (Thursday) is Budget Work Session #4 at the Commission.
  • Also on Thursday the Tree Board meets in the City Hall conference room, this meeting begins at 5:30.

Whilst on the topic of the City budget. . .

Without further ado, “Hey, Lake Worth!” Do you remember 2009?

A very revealing graphic is below from April 2014 (see “General Fund Revenues vs. Expenditures”), included in the back-up material at a City Commission Budget Work Session. For some perspective, Cara Jennings was elected in 2006 and JoAnn Golden in 2007, the two original members of The BCE!

In concert with The BCE! the former city manager, Susan Stanton, was hired in 2009.

But very briefly about “Visioning” in this City of Lake Worth is this recent blog post about code enforcement. Whilst our elected leaders were looking forward this year was a previous administration from back in 2009 looking on:

At the all-day Visioning Work Session held on July 24th, 2018 . . . note the framed photograph on the wall.

Click on image to enlarge:

The ‘Best Commission Ever!’ (aka, The BCE!) was the former 3-member band that ran the show, the majority consisting of self-described Anarchist Cara Jennings (District 2; standing next to American flag), JoAnn Golden (District 3, sitting), and then-District 4 Commissioner Suzanne Mulvehill.

There remain some — fewer and fewer all the time — that refer to the former majority of Jennings, Golden and Mulvehill as ‘The Best Commission Ever!’, a reckless reign, that three member band that stopped playing for good in 2011.

The BCE! is still glorified from time to time which is called historical revisionism. What actually occurred is spending was completely out of control.

By the way for everyone wondering, also in the image above, the framed picture hanging on the wall at City Hall is former Mayor Jeff Clemens who ran and won election to the Florida House of Representatives in 2010. And the rest is history, as they say.

Former District 1 Commissioner Retha Lowe (standing, center) who often challenged the majority of The BCE! opted not to run for re-election in 2010 when a former commissioner (Scott Maxwell, 2001–2003) returned to the scene.

The majority on The BCE! and Maxwell did not get along very well.

After what happened in 2009 it was left up to future elected officials to pick up all the shattered pieces of this City following the Great Recession.

Click on image to enlarge:

In 2009 there were twenty-eight municipalities in PBC. South Bay and Pahokee suffered the worst following the Great Recession. The third worst hit? The City of Lake Worth.

In 2011 Pam Triolo became the mayor and Andy Amoroso replaced Golden on the City Commission. They both joined Scott Maxwell who had been elected the year prior. One of the first things “The Three” did — the new majority of Triolo, Maxwell, and Amoroso — was fire Stanton. In April 2012 Michael Bornstein was hired to be the city manager.

So the next time you hear anyone talk about how great The BCE! was, well, now you know really what happened. And maybe take a few moments and wonder how much further ahead our City would be right now if a former administration hadn’t recklessly squandered so much money away back in 2009, wearing blinders and acting like the year was 1999:

Monday, August 6, 2018

A splendid idea for an illuminating editorial and letters to editor published in The Palm Beach Post.

Did you know the City of Lake Worth, to have bus service restored to the Lake Worth Beach once again, will have to pay up to $250,000 and fund the entire project? Most certainly the editor(s) at The Palm Beach Post will see the injustice. Isn’t more public access to the Lake Worth Beach a matter of social justice? But will the editor(s) call this out?

Recently a beat reporter at the Post wrote about parking at the Beach going from $2 to $3:

Many of the residents The Palm Beach Post spoke with were fine with the rate increase. [emphasis added]

Wonderful news, right? Not so much for low-income families west of Dixie Hwy. with transportation by car being one of the only viable options. But what about that family just hopping on the bus? Have kids learn about the value of public transportation?

Are you just fine with this City having to foot the entire bill for a new Palm Tran bus stop? Will anyone from the public in Central Palm Beach County (CPBC) rise up, grab the laptop and compose a letter to the editor? The instructions to compose a Letter to the Editor are below.

Remember, it was Lake Worth Commissioner Scott Maxwell who first hammered the point home several years ago: the Lake Worth Beach is a regional beach. The public as far out as Wellington consider the Lake Worth Beach to be their beach too. And so does every person in CPBC that uses Palm Tran Route 62 except the bus doesn’t go that far.

This bus route, Route 62, serves Lake Worth Rd., a main County arterial in the County. Major bus stops include The Mall at Wellington, Nassau Square, Wellington Regional Medical Center, Greenacres Library, Greenacres Post Office, vast areas of suburban (unincorporated) Lake Worth, Palm Beach State College, Lake Worth Tri-Rail Station, Lake and Lucerne avenues to Lake Worth City Hall, and potentially the Lake Worth Beach.

As of now the last eastern stop on Route 62 is Lake Worth City Hall on Dixie Hwy. One could continue to the Beach using a ride-sharing service like Uber. By bicycle using the Palm Tran “Bikes On Buses” program the public Lake Worth Beach is about ten minutes away (≈1.5 miles). By foot it’s a brisk 25–30 minute walk further east, up and over the Robert Harris Bridge (unless there is a bridge opening for ships to pass), and then the pedestrian making it thus far has to dodge traffic on A1A and then up another incline to the Beach by which time that person might wish for ropes and a Sherpa escort.

The Beach bus stop will provide a benefit for Palm Tran and their bus drivers. This bus stop, if constructed, will be what is called the “pee stop” for bus Route 62. There are plenty of necessary facilities for drivers at the Casino Complex. But the main purpose of the so-called ‘pee stop’ is for drivers to have time to catch up on their records, plan the next drive out west, and return calls to supervisors as well.

As to the editor(s) at the Post. . .

Did you know today marks three hundred and forty-seven (347) days since the last editorial was published in the Post about this little City of Lake Worth. Hard to believe, but that was prior to Hurricane Irma last year.

Contact the editor(s) at the Post by calling 561-820-4663 and ask them to address this situation about a Palm Tran bus stop at the Beach and ask them to be nice too. None of us have a problem with Palm Tran. We love Palm Tran. We just think they should help our City construct a bus stop at the Beach.

And as to letters to the editor(s). . .

Positive letters never get published about this City, for example any letter calling out all the hard work by residents and the Little Free Libraries, or a City official (Lauren Bennett!), or uplifting words for the community about the mayor and city manager and their unfolding vision for the future; letters published in the Post just mostly focus on the negative like this one that got published on Independence Day, July 4th.

Sit down and write down a Letter to the Editor today!

And please be nice. And be charming and full of good will too. We don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings at Palm Tran. Our little City would just like some help constructing a bus stop at the Beach for everyone who rides the bus, and the future bus ridership here in CPBC.

The Instructions:

How to properly compose and submit the Letter to the Editor (LTE) with a few simple steps.

  • Keep your LTE to 150–200 words in length. The “shorter the better” is a good rule.
  • An LTE submitted by email (see below) is the best method and remember to include your phone number and complete address.
  • Engage like-minded “average citizens” to write LTEs on the same subject.
  • Listing your credentials will help greatly; then always follow up your LTE!

This is very important:

  • Once you have submitted your LTE follow up with an email or fax (fax number below) later that day or the next morning.
  • Then later, call or contact the editorial department and explain why your letter is important.
  • Don’t be timid! Stay pleasant and respectful but make a strong pitch.
  • To hammer it home just ask outright, “Are you planning to publish my letter?”

So get cracking and have your LTE published in
the Post, hopefully some day very soon:

  • Email:
  • Fax: 561-820-4728
  • Phone: 561-820-4476

Using snail mail:

Palm Beach Post
ATTN: Letter to Editor (LTE)
2751 S. Dixie Highway
West Palm Beach, FL 33405

Maybe an editorial in the Post and letters to the editor(s) will do the trick and encourage Palm Tran to help our City construct a new bus stop at this popular and treasured public beach in coastal CPBC.

Write an LTE today
and Good Luck everyone!

Very important public meeting tomorrow at the Lake Worth City Commission.

The long-awaited Casino Complex and Beach presentation by CPZ Architects will be held at Lake Worth City Hall tomorrow night and is open to the public. The Commission meeting begins at 6:00. However, the Casino presentation is late in the agenda,

Item 12B: “Presentation of Conceptual Design Concepts for the Lake Worth Casino Beach Complex Improvements.”

See the summary of this agenda item
at the end of this blog post.

If this information makes anyone upset then medical marijuana may be the answer. In the meantime, please try and refrain from writing any more silly Letters to the Editor(s) at the Post because he/she/they sitting in their plush offices cannot help you. Remember, this next meeting is just another in what will be many more steps.

For those of you following this process, and appreciate all the hard work being done, consider trying this approach: contact one or more of your elected leaders and ask how you can help. I know, a radical idea.

This public meeting coming up will be addressing public input from the public charrette held last April to finally fix all the design problems and planning deficiencies at the Beach and Casino complex going back to 2008–2010 (click on this link to learn more, which includes a timeline).

For more background on this important topic, an editorial in the Herald titled, “Stop the bleeding”.

This Herald editorial came out last year just when it looked like the City was going to cave once again and cater to that small cabal with loud voices who wanted ‘their pool’ fixed and the City staff — who seemed unable to ignore that small, shrill crowd — well, one could say the editor at The Lake Worth Herald had enough of all this nonsense:

“It is imperative they [children and young adults] learn to swim.” And. . .

“Lake Worth needs a pool, but . . .
also need some Staffers with some creativity.”

The editor at the Herald nails it. Yes. Our City does need a municipal pool. But we don’t need one at the Beach to teach children how to swim.

I waited a long time for this day last year. After 6+ months pounding away explaining why constructing another pool at our Beach is a bad idea, then comes along an editorial in the Herald. Here are three excerpts:

It has become evident over the last dozen or so years, Lake Worth can’t figure out how to make a pool pay for itself, or even come close, at the beach.
     Lake Worth needs a pool, not necessarily an Olympic pool, but at least one big enough to serve the community and teach children how to swim. There are plenty of opportunities for children to come into contact with water in Lake Worth. It is imperative they learn to swim.
     In years past, Lake Worth attracted swim teams from colleges to the area to train in the winter, defraying some of the expense of having a pool. Lake Worth has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair, paint and stripe the pool on the promise of attracting swim teams again. It isn’t going to happen, that ship has sailed.

and. . .

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

and. . .

     Stop the bleeding.
     Lake Worth needs a pool, but they also need some Staffers with some creativity. How many times do we have to fail at the same thing before we realize it is the taxpayers who suffer in other areas so we can keep failing?
     If staff won’t get creative, maybe the electeds should take take the wheel and not just take staff’s worn out ideas that have proven time and again to be extremely expensive to the taxpayer.

Also mentioned in the Herald editorial is the oft-mentioned term “White Elephant” vis-à-vis our municipal pool at the Beach:

Why is it so many who never used the pool suddenly want to “save the pool” now? And if a pool at the Beach is so important to some former electeds, then why did they shut it down in 2010?

Summary. Agenda item 12B tomorrow at City Commission:

Presentation of Conceptual Design Concepts for the Lake Worth Casino Beach Complex Improvements.


The City issued a Request for Qualifications (No. 17-305) for the Lake Worth Beach Complex Conceptual Plans Design and subsequently awarded the contract to CPZ Architects Inc... CPZ Architects was tasked with creating several design concepts that include probable construction cost estimates that address deficiencies at the Casino Building, address parking and the municipal pool.

Background and Justification:

In April 2016, the City Commission entered into an Interlocal Agreement with Palm Beach County and the School District of Palm Beach County to support a one-cent infrastructure surtax. In November 2016, the one cent sales tax was approved by 56.63% of the voters of Palm Beach County. As a result, the City will receive approximately $21,675,296 million dollars over a 10-year period to identify and complete projects that meet the surtax ordinance criteria. The surtax funds can be used by the City to acquire, finance, plan, construct, reconstruct, renovate and improve needed infrastructure such as property, buildings, equipment, roads, bridges, sidewalks, streetlights, signalization, parks, recreational facilities, drainage, wastewater facilities, and public safety vehicles and equipment that all provide a public purpose and benefit for a minimum of five years.

City Commission approved the issuance of a Request for Qualifications (No. 17-305) for the Lake Worth Beach Complex Conceptual Plans Design and subsequently awarded the contract to CPZ Architects Inc. CPZ Architects was tasked with creating several design concepts that include probable construction cost estimates that address deficiencies at the Casino Building, address parking and the municipal pool. Use of the City’s surtax allocation was previously identified as a possible source of funding for the potential improvements at the Beach Complex.

End of summary.

Have you heard the news? WPB has become a Welcoming City!

West Palm Beach: Following in the footsteps of our City of Lake Worth.

Finally stepping up and declaring itself a “Welcoming City”, news from Joel Malkin at WJNO.

Please remember. This is very important:

The City of Lake Worth is and has been a “Welcoming City” for a very long time.

However, our City IS NOT and NEVER WAS
a so-called ‘sanctuary city’.

Not to be outdone or left behind in Palm Beach County history, suddenly West Palm Beach has declared itself a “Welcoming City” too following in the footsteps of the Lake Worth City Commission and Mayor Pam Triolo. But is West Palm truly “Welcoming”? West Palm likes to claim a lot of things. Time will tell. By the way, as long as one is not breaking the law, PBSO District 14 in the City of Lake Worth has strict rules about when and when not to inquire of someones immigration status. So if you happen to be undocumented just follow the law.

So a few days ago West Palm quietly took their first “Welcoming” step by sending out their police chief to break the news. From the news by Joel Malkin at WJNO (AM1290), Chief Sarah Mooney said,

Our municipal law enforcement agencies don’t really deal much with immigration and status of people and we don’t even really have an occasion to check on anybody’s status unless they’re involved in criminal activity. So, if you’re involved in criminal activity and there’s a reason to be checking documentation that’s related to a person that may be taken into custody [emphasis added] . . . She points out that anybody arrested in any Palm Beach County municipality gets processed at the county jail, which is operated by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

At the conclusion of Malkin’s news report is an all-too-common error in press and media reports:

[W]hen the city [West Palm] first passed the resolution which declared West Palm a “Welcoming City,” there was controversy over some thinking that meant it was a “Sanctuary City,” [sic] but city officials say that is not the case.

The term ‘sanctuary city’ must never be capitalized! Find out why later in this blog post.

So how did all this come to be, that West Palm Beach felt the need to copy what the City of Lake Worth did three months ago?

Below are two excerpts from The Lake Worth Herald that sum up this situation quite well.

But first, please remember the term “sanctuary city” is a fallacious term (also called a Red Herring), just an urban myth really that was created to divide the public and to demonize diverse, integrated areas and therefore the term should always be used in quotation marks or with air quotes (see definition below) or when speaking in public employ what are called “finger quotes” when enunciating either of the terms ‘sanctuary city’ or the plural ‘sanctuary cities’.

It’s worth noting that according to newly-adopted standard uniform English-speaking accepted style guideline the mythical term ‘sanctuary city’ should always be lowercase within a sentence and in public speaking the speaker should always raise both hands in the air, above the shoulders, pause momentarily and wiggle the index and middle fingers of each hand prior to saying the words ‘sanctuary city’.

Air quotes are, as explained in Wikipedia:

Air quotes, also called finger quotes, are virtual quotation marks formed in the air with one’s fingers when speaking. This is typically done with hands held shoulder-width apart and at the eye level of the speaker, with the index and middle fingers on each hand flexing at the beginning and end of the phrase being quoted. 

Now let’s proceed to the topic at hand, the news in The Lake Worth Herald about the City of Lake Worth being a “Welcoming City” and not a ‘sanctuary city’.

To see the latest front page of the
Herald click on this link.
Have LOCAL community news you want to share, want more information on subscription and advertising rates? To contact the editor call 561-585-9387 or use this link.

Here are two excerpts from the Herald about our “Welcoming City” of Lake Worth:

The City of Lake Worth has named April 17, 2018 as Welcoming City Day [see proclamation below], celebrating all residents of the City. The proclamation, read by Commissioner Omari Hardy declares Lake Worth fosters a welcoming environment for all individuals, regardless of race, ethnicity or place of origin, enhances Lake Worth’s cultural fabric, economic growth, global competitiveness and overall prosperity for current and future generations.

and. . .

[T]he City encourages the business leadership, civic groups, other governmental agencies and community institutions to undertake their own initiatives, beyond this resolution, to make Lake Worth not only a welcoming place for new residents from other countries but also a center of world commerce.
     A resolution was passed by the City Commission after much debate with the commission instructing City Attorney Glen Torcivia to add a paragraph stating Lake Worth is not a “Sanctuary City” [sic].

What follows is the agenda item from a City Commission meeting last April, “Proclamation declaring City of Lake Worth a Welcoming City”:


WHEREAS, Fostering a welcoming environment for all individuals, regardless of race, ethnicity or place of origin, enhances Lake Worth’s cultural fabric, economic growth, global competitiveness and overall prosperity for current and future generations; and

WHEREAS, Lake Worth has long been recognized as a hospitable and welcoming place where people, families and institutions thrive and the contributions of all are celebrated and valued; and

WHEREAS, Lake Worth is committed to continue building a welcoming and neighborly atmosphere in our community, where all are welcome, accepted and integrated; and

WHEREAS, Community efforts that promote understanding and collaboration between our native-born and foreign-born community member regardless of legal status, are crucial in encouraging and preserving Lake Worth’s welcoming environment; and

WHEREAS, Lake Worth encourages the business leadership, civic groups, other governmental agencies and community institutions to undertake their own initiatives, beyond this resolution, to make Lake Worth not only a welcoming place for new residents from other countries but also a center of world commerce.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Pam Triolo, Mayor of
the City of Lake Worth, Florida, by virtue of the
authority vested in me, do hereby proclaim

APRIL 17, 2018

In the City of Lake Worth, Florida and we urge
all residents of Lake Worth to do their part in reaching out to and welcoming all who live in
and visit our City. 

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto
set my hand and caused the Seal of the City of Lake Worth, Florida to be affixed this 17th day of April, 2017.

Lake Worth City Commissioner at TCRPC about our City’s “good grid system” and “arterial” challenges.

First, what is an ‘arterial’? Dixie Hwy. is one example of an arterial and so are the east-west Downtown pairs Lake and Lucerne avenues, arterial roadways all controlled and managed by FDOT:

Arterial (adjective): “[B]eing or constituting a main route, channel, or other course of flow or access, often with many branches: an arterial highway; an arterial drainage system.”

The C-51 Canal is also an arterial, one managed by the South Florida Water Management District. This particular canal is part of a future project called the Blueway Trail which will create public waterway access for ecotourism and water taxis in Palm Beach County.

The quote (see below) by Commissioner Omari Hardy is from the minutes of the June 15th Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council meeting. Hardy is an alternate on the Council representing Palm Beach County. For the director and staff at the TCRPC click on this link; the next meeting is scheduled for August 17th.

For those unaware, here is your representation at the TCPRC from Palm Beach County:

  • Palm Beach County Commissioner Hal Valeche.
  • PBC Commissioner Mary Lou Berger.
  • PBC Commission Vice Mayor Mack Bernard.
  • Village of Wellington Mayor Anne Gerwig.
  • Village of Royal Palm Beach Councilman Jeff Hmara.
  • Village of Tequesta Mayor Abby Brennan.
  • Alternate: City of Lake Worth Commissioner Omari Hardy.
  • Alternate: City of West Palm Beach Commissioner Paula Ryan.

Without further ado, from the minutes of the TCRPC meeting last month:

Alternate Commissioner Hardy noted when he first came to Council he was encouraged by the executive director [Michael Busha] to read the book Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream written by Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk and Jeff Speck [see more information about book below]. He stated he read the book twice and was so fascinated he attended a Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) conference. He explained that CNU is a group of people who want to create walkable, livable, sustainable communities the way they had been created up until World War II. He said he was able to learn a lot about some of the hard problems we are facing in South Florida and encouraged everyone to attend CNU events. He indicated that although they [City of Lake Worth] have a good grid system within the different neighborhoods in Lake Worth, in order to get from one neighborhood to another people have to cross an arterial that is not controlled by the city. Because of this, he said they are beginning to have discussions with the county [Palm Beach County] and the Florida Department of Transportation on how to effectively move people around the city without compromising some of their other livability objectives.

Later, following this meeting at the TCRPC, Palm Beach County Commissioner Dave Kerner became involved and then the subsequent “Town Hall Traffic Meeting” held this week in the City of Lake Worth. So you may be wondering, how important is the TCRPC in this little City and the whole scheme of things regionally?

It’s said what happens at the TCRPC last month is this month’s news.

About the book Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream:

“For a decade, Suburban Nation has given voice to a growing movement in North America to put an end to suburban sprawl and replace the last century’s automobile-based settlement patterns with a return to more traditional planning. Founders of the Congress for the New Urbanism, Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk are at the forefront of the movement, and even their critics, such as Fred Barnes in The Weekly Standard, recognized that ‘Suburban Nation is likely to become this movement’s bible.’ A lively lament about the failures of postwar planning, this is also that rare book that offers solutions: ‘an essential handbook’ (San Francisco Chronicle).”

The tenth anniversary edition includes a new preface by the authors.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

What is going on at the Lake Worth Electric Utility?

Get all the latest developments and updates about the Lake Worth Electric Utility (LWEU) straight from the source:

Director Ed Liberty and utility staff.

Click on this link to hear the audio from the Electric Utility Advisory Board (EUAB) meeting held on Wednesday, August 1st.

This meeting followed the Special City Commission meeting held the day prior which was all about one topic: the Electric Utility.

Liberty begins speaking at the 3:00 mark in the audio and his first presentation is about twenty minutes long. Following Liberty is much more information from utility staff and more updates from Liberty. For example, at the 52:00 minute mark he begins to explain about LWEU, “We are growing.” The utility went from 410 kWh supplied to customers to 472 kWh in 2017, the utility power plant has space on the property for an industry to be creative and make use of the City’s valuable high-pressure natural gas line, and there is plenty of competition from outside power providers to enter the LWEU market.

Other topics Liberty discussed were the reorganization of the LWEU, the drop in costs to purchase power in FY2019 and FY 2020, and the increase in revenue from pole attachments by Comcast, AT&T, and other vendors.

Yes. LWEU has a lot of challenges. However, there are a lot of very good things happening as well.

And if you happen to be a communication firm and have attached any equipment to an electric pole owned by the City of Lake Worth, and have not received permission or negotiated a price, expect to be contacted some time soon. The City of Lake Worth encourages commerce but the City’s electric poles cannot be used for free.

Basically, some communication companies have been “squatting” on LWEU electric poles for many years. That is going to change and increase revenue to the LWEU significantly.

The entire audio is a little over two hours and includes a lot of information. Lisa Maxwell is the Chair of the EUAB; click on this link to look over all the City’s volunteer advisory boards and use this link to find out more about the LWEU.

At the end of this blog post is an eye-opening video from a recent public meeting at Lake Worth City Hall.

The blog post below is from yesterday and prior to that video are a lot of twists and turns. So if you’re short on time today read the first few paragraphs and then scroll down to watch. A blog reader yesterday reached out and said the blog post “rambled on” a bit too much. And that was true. So you can call this blog post today a ‘little less rambling one’ because some repetitive matter was indeed removed.

Without further ado, the blog post titled:

“Visioning” in this City of Lake Worth: A very difficult and public conversation about code enforcement.

For over six hours last month at City Hall was the much-talked-about “Visioning Work Session” and for about fifteen minutes or so the electeds talked candidly about Code Enforcement. And yes, what they said is indeed eye-opening. They talked about code enforcement and the use of swords, small ones and big ones. Not real swords but the proverbial type.

In a previous blog post wrote about this event that it would be “the gift that keeps on giving”. Why?

Because as the aid to facilitator Kevin Knutson lists the highlights and the lowlights too. . .

[Click on image to enlarge.]

. . . a former City administration looks on.

Note former Mayor Jeff Clemens and the
former commissioner in District 2 and self-described Anarchist, Cara Jennings (standing; ironically next to the American flag).

Also in the framed picture in the image above hanging on the wall at City Hall, circa 2008, from left to right: former commissioners JoAnn Golden (sitting), Retha Lowe (standing, center) and on the far right is Suzanne Mulvehill.

Further down below in this blog post is the next framed picture to grace the wall at City Hall, the present-day Lake Worth City Commission which includes the majority that took over in 2011 and have continued winning elections ever since, most by very wide margins.

More large notes for everyone to see. More visions about the future from our elected officials.

Another photo, one of many, of an easel at the City’s public Visioning Session. Click on image to enlarge:

Did you read the news about this all-day public event in The Palm Beach Post last month? Continue reading to learn more about that too.

And also below is a very good reason why everyone involved in this City and its future — from residents to community volunteers and to investors alike — why it is a very good idea to become a subscriber to The Lake Worth Herald. Learn why a little later in this blog post.

“How did we get here?”

Below is the YouTube video of what occurred at City Hall last month. Mayor Pam Triolo, Vice Mayor Andy Amoroso, and commissioners Scott Maxwell, Herman Robinson, and Omari Hardy talk honestly and openly about code enforcement in this City. At one point in the video City Manager Michael Bornstein took great exception to some remarks he heard.

Some will be shocked by what they see and hear. And maybe others not so much. And a new word was added to our local lexicon: “slamlords”. Find out what a ‘slamlord’ is a little later.

It needs to be acknowledged there has been a lot of criticism about this Visioning Session organized by the city manager and one of the more valid ones is why it took so long to have one. However, channeling the late great Johnny Carson, here is what one well-known political observer thought about this Work Session and the consultant that was hired to facilitate:

Commissioners met with Carnac the Magnificent, called it a Visioning Session. Peering through the envelope. Once again, visioning session reveals same hurdles, could just buy back copies of LW Herald. Only the names change.

On a serious note, another valid criticism is how can Millennials like Commissioner Omari Hardy try and push forward with visioning the future when some of the elders on the City Commission keep hearing footsteps from back in 2011? One of the hopes was that increasing terms for elected officials from two to three years would help to solve this problem, the trepidation and fear of ghosts long gone. Hopes dashed? No. There is still plenty of time.

Briefly, some information about Code Enforcement. . .

FYI: Asking a neighbor, contacting a TV news reporter, wishing for a lifeline, or phoning a friend about “Community Code Compliance” is completely unnecessary.

To make an online inquiry or if you have a complaint, the list of code enforcement officers and contact information, the “Vacant Registry” and common FAQs click on this link. Why? Because using this link for example — in combination with this online map of Code Enforcement Zones 1–8 — anyone can find out who their local code enforcement officer is and contact that person directly.  

The Lake Worth City Commission.
Click on this link for contact information. 

Most people contact their elected leaders to complain about something. Try something different next time. Like ask a simple question, “What can I do to help?” instead of the oft-heard litany of bellyaching.

And maybe last month’s Visioning Session at City Hall will finally make the news on page B3 in next Monday’s print edition of The Palm Beach Post, the weekly feature dedicated to this City. But speaking hyperbolically or maybe is the semihyperbolic parlance, “Don’t hold your breath.”

Why hasn’t the Post reported any news about the all-day Work Session at Lake Worth City Hall?

This Work Session made front page news in The Lake Worth Herald on July 26th. Click on this link for subscription rates.

Here are the opening three paragraphs from that top news story about this Work Session:

Lake Worth City Commissioners held a visioning session with City Manager Michael Bornstein. Topics included strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, challenges, key issues, secondary issues and other issues.
     Some of the strengths listed were the City’s location and the proximity to the beach, the diverse and welcoming nature of the community, the small businesses and restaurants downtown and the Arts.
     Weaknesses included the negative perception / reputation of the City. The existence of low property values and the lack of a Chamber of Commerce don’t help sell the city for investment. [emphasis added]

The City’s all-day “Visioning Work Session” was held on Tuesday, July 24th and the Post has yet to report any news about this very significant event. On the day of this event at City Hall the reporter assigned to cover the Lake Worth beat reported instead about a structure that, “[W]ill be built on the Palm Springs campus of The Palm Beach Habilitation Center by June 2019.”

So one could accurately say the beat reporter was “out of town” whilst the City of Lake Worth was visioning the future ten years from now in this City, from 2019–2029, and then the vision for the future ten years beyond that.

Prior to being sold to Gatehouse Media last May and going back several years, code enforcement was a frequent topic — or target if you will — in the Post and it was one article in particular that drew the ire of Lake Worth City Manager Michael Bornstein. And going back as far as 2013 then-editor Andrew Marra reported about unpaid code enforcement fines and,

“Dangerously dilapidated properties were left untouched, while code enforcement officials continued tacking on fines they knew would never be collected.”

Now moving on. . .

At last month’s Visioning Session was a lot of very frank public debate and open conversation about many topics. Because of the Sunshine Law many issues brought up at this workshop are off-limits for elected officials outside the public realm and that is why the city manager scheduled this work session with the help and facilitation of consultant Kevin Knutson.*

Whilst on the topic of open conversation and code enforcement at one point in the video below Bornstein said to an elected official, responding to comments about code officers being arbitrary with the public and acting improperly:

“I would take exception to that. And I don’t think that the people maybe telling you these stories are genuine in what they are telling you. And if there is any staff member out there that’s inconsistently or either taking direction from different commissioners on things I want to know about it because I want to bring them in and have a little talk with them in HR.”

Without further ado, the video starting at the four hour and twenty-two minute mark.

Note: Near the 4:24 mark Commissioner Omari Hardy says the word “slamlords”.
Defined: Slamlords  =  landlords encouraging slum (noun), a “thickly populated, run-down, squalid part of a city, inhabited by poor people”.

*To watch the entire video from the beginning of this “City of Lake Worth Visioning Workshop” click on this link.
     To learn more about consultant Kevin Knutson use this link.