of So. Ocean Blvd.
from Intracoastal at Lake Worth Bridge
by Jimmy Shirley
Gov’s Push to Cut State Gas Taxes Gets Bipartisan Support
following article is not about party affiliations. It is about how
even in partisan times like these, you can look beyond politics
and agree on doing things for the benefit of the people. A
positive and productive idea, that is what bipartisanship should
always be about. Not politics, but the people and their best
all know by now that inflation is on and appears to not be going
away anytime soon. One of the obvious red flags in this situation,
are the rising prices at the gas pump. This is especially dire,
for those who make their living traveling to and from work,
delivering products and even those in everyday life.
Governor, with all that he is doing on so many fronts, has come up
with a proposal for the Florida Legislature, in order to lower the
State’s gas-tax. Even if it is a temporary measure, for six
months, by dipping into Florida’s federal COVID-19 stimulus
money, which, according to DeSantis, "…. the reduction in
gas-tax revenue won’t hinder the state Department of
Transportation’s annual road program.", as stated in a WUSF
Public Media article.
Governor’s proposal, has the bipartisan support from two of the
possible opposing party candidates for Governor in 2022. Both
Charlie Christ and Nikki Fried, also agree that there should be
gas-tax relief for Floridians.
indeed, is something that gets high marks as Bipartisan approval
of Governor DeSantis’s proposal. Also, no doubt the same will be
true for Floridians, their visitors, truckers, businesses, and
has no State income tax, so sometimes the State and even Counties
use taxes to bring a steady income stream in. Gas/fuel costs are
no different and no exception to this formula. Add to that, the
rising gas prices for transportation needs from the growing
inflation that our Nation is now experiencing.
the last several months, the USA is no longer energy independent.
Currently, due to certain actions by the federal government’s
administration, our Nation finds ourselves submissive to countries
in the world, that are far from friendly to our Nation or,
reliable. Leaving OPEC, as more powerful than ever before, because
of the USA’s new dependency on them to supply our oil energy
needs, while cutting oil off in our own Nation. Which means, they
can easily hold us hostage. This, undoubtably leaves the USA, at a
from a Nation that was finally energy independent to one that is
not. Add to that, the supply chain snarl, inflation growing within
our economy, mandates that leave less workers, truckdrivers and
more, and as those with less money due to it being worth less,
means expensive gasoline becomes more and more of a hardship.
positive for Florida, is that even with the escalating gas/fuel
costs, at least for Floridians, there will be a temporary reprieve
due to the Governor’s proposal push and hopefully Florida’s
Legislature’s vote, to make that possible.
to an article on this topic, from The Tampa Bay Times, in
late November, "DeSantis said he was still working out the
details with state lawmakers. He estimated that canceling the
state gas tax for six months would save drivers $1 billion…"
and the Governor said, "We want to protect Floridians as much
as we can against the inflation that we’re seeing."
article from the Epoch Times, "DeSantis said that ‘nothing
has pinched people more than these gas prices.’ In addition to
relief for Floridians via the tax cut, he called on fuel stations
to reduce prices by 25 cents per gallon".
article also describes, that DeSantis is "concerned that an
increase in salaries and wages will not be enough to cover the
rising costs of goods." The Governor is quoted as saying,
"Even if you start making more money, if the prices [for
goods and fuel] are going up faster than your wages or salary, you’re
actually losing money in this inflationary economy."
Governor said that he is pushing back at the "inflationary
pressures" and that he wants to make a "meaningful
to my research, the Governor has spoken to executives at several
large Florida-based gas stations and gotten agreements to lower
the gas prices during the tax-cut period.
the WUSF article, it was explained that Florida’s
Governor feels that the "approximately 25-cent-a-gallon
‘gas tax relief’ proposal could save the average Florida
family up to $200 over a five- to six-month period, while reducing
state revenue by more than $ 1 billion. DeSantis wants
lawmakers to approve it during the legislative session that starts
Governor said that in regard to doing the "gas tax
relief", "…this is, I think, really, really big."
The great news, is that both of the candidates that each hope to
run from the Democratic party for Governor of Florida, both
apparently agree with the Governor and think so too!
better compliment can there be and encouragement for confirmation
by the Florida Legislature, that both Democrats that hope to run
in 2022 for Governor against the incumbent, are actually in
agreement with this move being pushed and proposed by the
MUCH MORE BIPARTISAN CAN YOU GET!
Florida Be A Major Leader Out Of The Supply Chain Snarl?
appears that Florida has become a Leader, among many of the
current important issues within the 50 United States of America.
The issue to be covered in this article is the present-day supply
chain snarl and how it is a major negative impact for so many
issue is not about politics, nor who we voted for and what our
views are. The supply chain woes that we all have been hearing
about for some months now and NOT getting any better, but possibly
worse, are about logistics and getting the goods we need in a
not get into the blame game here, although there are some that are
intertwined with the supply chain problems. The purpose of this
article is to bring out the positive possibilities that are
available out there and ones that can bring affirmative outcomes.
all have heard that the ports in California and also in New York,
have ships waiting out in the ocean for weeks due to the
conditions at the ports that make offloading and sending out
goods, impossible at this time.
order to help this process, succeed, consideration of other
alternatives need to be contemplated.
Media, in an article dated 10/13/2021,
said that the Florida Ports Council put out a Press Release,
"that the state’s ports are open, staffed, and ready for
Press Release went on to say that "Florida is where your
success comes in, and our seaports are the solution to ensure the
cargo shipping logjam doesn’t become the grinch that stole
Christmas", stated by Florida Ports Council President and
CEO Michael Rubin. In addition, "With inflation growing,
shipping and manufacturing industries can save time and money by
calling on Florida ports. Why pay to moor off the coast of
California, when Florida shipping lanes are open and serving as
the gateway for getting goods to America’s market?"
article cited at that time that there were more than 60 ships
waiting off-shore. Heard that number was more like 100 ships
Ports Council President Rubin confidently stated, "Florida
is open for business, and we are the solution to help resolve the
global supply chain crisis. Instead of waiting off the coast of
California, cargo vessels can offload and move their product to
Florida and other discretionary markets in the same time it takes
to find space in an increasingly congested California."
to the Press Release: "The Sunshine State’s 15 public
seaports are well-positioned to step up."
Press Release also detailed that, "Thanks to Governor
DeSantis, Florida is well-positioned to serve as part of the
supply chain solution. Earlier this year, Governor DeSantis infused
Florida’s 15 seaports with $250 million in stimulus relief to
help offset the impacts experienced as a result of the pandemic.
The stimulus is in addition to other port infrastructure and
connectivity investments made in Florida to increase our capacity
and ability to move cargo and passengers around the world…"
to the article’s positive prediction, they hoped that shippers
would reward Florida’s proactive attitude, so that Christmas
trees, toys, sneakers, clothes and even toilet paper, can come
ashore in Florida, sooner than anticipated to be delivered to
California and the other slow-moving ports, so as to be
moved-around within the USA.
Washington Post gave additional details
of the problem with the port crisis in California, by explaining
that is also causing rail-yards to back up and logjams for
has passed laws for Truckers, that eliminate owner-operators.
Additionally, a law was passed that puts restrictions on the age
of trucks that can legally operate in the state.
these restrictions, including the VAX Mandate for Truckers and
Port-Workers/Longshoremen, further impede getting all the goods
out of the ports and in and out of the rail-yards.
to Florida’s leaders, "Florida doesn’t have any of these
make things more difficult in California, US Rep. Michelle Steel
of CA introduced Legislation to ban ships from idling or anchoring
within 24 nautical miles of the Southern California coastline for
180 days. Do they have the right to this authority?
IN CONTRAST, IS OFFERING THE CARGO SHIPS A PLACE TO GO!
to a Washington Examiner article, dated 10/24/2021,
"Florida is encouraging ships to ditch backed up ports in the
West Coast and head its way."
Examiner said that Governor DeSantis, "…warned that
the supply chain problems could worsen as the holiday season
DeSantis was quoted as saying, "WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE THAT
ALL THE NECESSITIES ARE THERE AND IF IT’S BECAUSE SHIPS ARE
SITTING OFF THE COAST SOMEWHERE ELSE, AND THEY CAN BE REROUTED
HERE, AND WE CAN GET ALL THOSE SHELVES STOCKED, THEN WE WANT TO BE
A PART OF THAT SOLUTION."
importantly, a spokeswoman for JAXSPORT, which is the Jacksonville
Port Authority, stated that "the facility welcomes any
rerouted ships or new cargo vessels, whether temporary or
permanent.". The spokesperson said that unlike the ports
of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which account for about 40% of US
imports, ‘the Jacksonville port has not had container vessels
backed up at any point during the pandemic’.
Governor has sited Port Everglades, Port Tampa Bay and Port Panama
City as having the capacity to bring in additional ships and
vessels have to go to ports that can support their size. There are
other States with ports, like Houston, Texas and Savanna, Georgia
that can take more traffic. It is Florida though, that has
openly and publicly reached out though. Mark Derks, chief
marketing officer for Florida-based BlueGrace Logistics, who said
"That IT IS LOGISTICALLY POSSIBLE AND COULD BE
ECONOMICALLY VIABLE TO REROUTE SHIPS FROM CALIFORNIA TO
office is confident that the trip to Florida is well worth it.
Governor’s Press Secretary Christina Pushaw, stated that the
trip from the backlogged ports of Southern California to Florida,
are much more practical and would expedite things rather than
waiting up to five weeks or more to dock and unload cargo in
article in Health News Florida, dated 11/12/2021,
"Over the last month, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and other
leaders have been promoting the state as a destination for cargo.
They suggest ships avoid busy harbors like Los Angeles and Long
Beach, sail through the Panama Canal, and drop anchor in the
said, Florida is a positive alternative for the choked-up supply
chain crisis. The shame of it all, is that have heard very
little about whether anything has come of Florida’s common-sense
offer in order to expedite goods to get to Americans much faster.
ADDITION, THE USA NEEDS TO MANUFACTURE MORE GOODS, NECESSITIES
AND PRODUCTS, RIGHT HERE IN OUR NATION! INSTEAD, OF BEING
PLACED IN A BIND, WHEN THINGS ARE COMING FROM OTHER COUNTRIES,
MOST NOTABLY FROM THE CCP IN CHINA.
Stance Will Come Back To Haunt Town
a Palm Beach Daily News/USA TODAY NETWORK article dated
10/29/2021, it describes how the Town of Palm Beach is planning to
ask the State’s "Resilient Florida Program" created by
the legislature in 2021, for grant monies so the Town can
"lift", "raise", "elevate"
"infrastructure" within the Town.
Town is planning to ask, as of September 1st, "for more than
half a million dollars from a newly created state coffer…."
such things as in their initial plan the Town now FINALLY plans
on, "Lifting, lift stations that move sewage and
wastewater, and elevating pump stations that handle sewage-free
article goes on to tell us that Town Consultant Bob Hamilton
"emphasized there are many more concerns to address,
especially on the lagoon side of the island where homes, roads and
the Lake Trail are the most vulnerable to rising waters."
is quoted as saying, "There is a substantial present-day risk
of flooding from the Lake Worth shoreline". Claiming it would
likely come from "stormdriven surge through the Lake Worth
Inlet that traps water in the lagoon, ballooning levels and
overtopping seawalls." He also confirmed that this
"present-day flood risk" "is anticipated to
increase in the future."
article also sites one of the most conservative assumptions that,
in the future that new construction and some forms of remodeling
of homes, WILL need to be RAISED UP, or ELEVATED, "TO 3
FEET ABOVE BASE FLOOD ELEVATION." Hamilton, also
acknowledges that "THE FLOODPLAIN WILL EXPAND IN THE
FUTURE." The house raising and remodeling of homes will be at
the expense of homeowners.
practical, EXCEPT that the Town of Palm Beach has been within
FEMA’s Most SEVERE SPECIAL FLOOD HAZARD ZONE for many years now
and done an absolutely minuscule job of planning, constructing and
raising any elevation, EXCEPT WHEN REQUIRED by FEMA.
of retaining a consultant to study and prepare projects for the
Town’s "FLOOD VULNERABILITIES AND BUILD PROTECTION FOR
INFRASTRUCTURE AGAINST WATER THREATS.", Palm Beach starting
at least as far back as 2014, made "AESTHETICS" their
Palm Beach PLACED THE MOST IMPORTANT INFRASTRUCTURE,
ELECTRICITY, FOR THE ENTIRE TOWN AND ITS COHABITANTS, IN ABSOLUTE
PERIL BY LOWERING IT, BURYING IT UNDERGROUND IN NON-WATERPROOF
CONDUITS AND PLACING OTHER NON-WATERPROOF EQUIPMENT BELOW THE
AND THE RELIABILITY OF HAVING IT, IS MOST IMPORTANT FOR ANY
PRIVATE HOMES, STRUCTURES, MUNICIPALITY, STATE OR FEDERAL
PROPERTIES! BURYING A NON-WATERPROOF ELECTRICAL INFRASTRUCTURE
SYSTEM WITHIN A SEVERE SPECIAL FLOOD HAZARD ZONE, DEFIES LOGIC AND
knowing that the barrier island had all the glaring
vulnerabilities of: low-elevation, high water-table, salt-water
intrusion, within a direct storm and hurricane alley, sea-walls
due to the ability of water to rise up through the ground, can not
only go over the top, but under the structure onto the properties-
- the Town of Palm Beach Town Council CHOSE NOT TO ACCEPT the
overhead high-tech hurricane-proof hardened poles, strong wires
and constantly capable of updating smart technology.
the Town Council chose underground non-waterproof conduits with
"taps" or seams, which as confirmed at the time from
FPL, decomposes from saltwater flooding in the severe flood zones
which cover the majority of the barrier island Town.
Finally, the Council chose to install non-waterproof electric
transformers directly within severe flood zones and below the base
flood elevation level.
community may look aesthetically pleasing, but Municipal Leaders
should NEVER delay the most important priorities they are
responsible for, which are: The Protection, Safety, Well-being and
Property Values of those they represent!
it came down to being PROACTIVE and PRIORITIZING FLOOD PREVENTION
AND PROPERTY PROTECTION, the Town of Palm Beach has fallen
2014 up to and including 2016, the Town took on a direction and a
Town-wide Project was pushed forward by the Town’s Leadership,
that made no sense for their particular Municipality, either
practicality wise, for safety or even, for future property values.
of doing their due diligence in 2014, the Mayor and Town Council
decided to vote to Underground their Electrical Utilities in a
Town-wide Project. Then proceed to promote and finance their
ill-advised Project with a Bond Referendum in 2016. Believe the
beginning of construction on this multi-phase troubled Project
came in 2017.
give-away to the impractical stance of the Town’s
decision-makers, came when Town Consultant Bob Hamilton said at
the 5/27/21 Shore Board Meeting, how he has worked for the Town
for 20 years. He then said that in 2014, he started to talk to
the Town about their ‘FLOOD VULNERABILITIES’!
without ever informing the residents of their flood risk
vulnerabilities, the Town Council voted unanimously in October of
2014, to underground electrical utilities in a Town-wide Project!
addition, Hamilton said that the Town Council had commissioned
him in 2017, which was either just prior or at the VERY
BEGINNING of the actual construction stage of the Electrical
Underground Project, to do a supposed "Flood Vulnerability
Assessment", which for some inexplicable reason was delayed
and not completed until 2019.
AS RECENT AS NOVEMBER OF 2021, NOTHING HAS COME OF THE
VULNERABILITY REPORT to bring any kind of practical protective
Project. Wonder if the fact that the
Municipality has still not completed the Town-wide Underground
Utilities Project could have something to do with the ongoing
it is because the Vulnerability Assessment was little more than a
ruse by the Town, unless forced to do otherwise?
Town should have planned for a Town-wide necessity and protective
Project and FUNDED IT FIRST and foremost, PRIOR TO: financing and
constructing a NON-WATERPROOF Town-wide Underground Utilities
Project, renovating the Town’s Marina and making pretty parks
and fountains. If the Town had instead built A NEW AND ELEVATED
TOWN-WIDE WATER DRAINAGE AND PUMP SYSTEM, to lessen or eliminate
the Town’s Flooding problems, that would have been the ONLY
ESSENTIAL PROJECT that made practical sense to do first!
answer as to why not, makes for much confusion and shows SKEWED
PRIORITIES and lack of attention to the Town’s protection and
answer came directly from Public Works Director Mr. Brazil who
represents the Town’s policies, regarding the drainage pipes,
which are now underground. He said that it, WOULD BE TOO EXPENSIVE
TO MODIFY IN ANY WAY.
has said and confirmed more than once that when the Town-wide
Underground Project is completed and there is the threat of storm
surge, which occurs during many hurricanes, THE POWER WILL BE SHUT
the antiquated storm drainage and pump system, which ARE RUN BY
ELECTRICITY, will NOT FUNCTION AT ALL, when the power is turned
off by FPL!
current drainage and pump system will flood, since the water will
likely "overwhelm it", plus the electricity will be
turned off and make the Town’s current
Drainage and Pump System totally useless!
why then, has the Town wasted valuable time and taxpayer dollars
on Aesthetic, "feel good" Projects, instead of at least
having planned and initiated a new ELEVATED Town-wide Drainage and
Pump System Project?
now what are they going to do about the loss of electricity they
created with their new pet Town-wide Electrical Undergrounding
appears to be abundantly clear to anyone paying any attention in
the Town of Palm Beach, is that THE IMPRACTICAL STANCE OF THE TOWN
COUNCIL- -WILL COME BACK TO HAUNT THE TOWN’S RESIDENTS!
Denying Treatments For COVID-19,
What Rational Reason
Can Justify This Action?
with its growing population, including the greatest number of seniors
than any other State, is suddenly, now on top of that denial list and
their supply of the treatment, of Regeneron, has been
to several sources, the manufacturers have confirmed supplies within
the USA, are ample and there WAS NO SHORTAGE OF THE MONOCLONAL
to the Defense Production Act, the only entities that can actually
purchase and distribute the Monoclonal Antibody Treatments available in
the US, are the White House and its Agencies. Why was this instituted as
part of the Act?
average need for Monoclonal Antibody Treatments in Florida is 72,000.
Due to this sudden policy change, that number was slashed to fewer than
has said that move has resulted in cutting the essential supply by more
than half to Florida. Which left the Governor and the State’s Health
Agency scrambling and almost in limbo.
addition, the Federal Government, who contracted two of three companies
that produce the therapeutic, have made it so that Florida’s Governor,
CAN NOT EVEN PURCHASE ANY ADDITIONAL SUPPLIES TO MAKE UP FOR THIS
SUDDEN SHORTFALL, DUE TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT’S NEW RATIONING
no other choice, Governor DeSantis was forced to purchase whatever
number of doses they had available, from GlaxoSmithKline. Another
pharmaceutical company that has the treatment, located in the EU and
purchase these expensive treatments with State monies at $2,500 a dose,
which he otherwise would have received from the Federal Government for
on the news, that Nikki Fried, who is one of the Democratic candidates
planning to run against Republican Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis in
2022, is also against the cut of Monoclonal Antibody Treatment dosages
to the State of Florida. The report said she had asked Biden NOT to cut
Florida’s dosages of the treatment. I attempted to contact Ms. Fried,
but thus far received no confirmation of the report.
that saving lives, should be non-negotiable, regardless of
therapeutic was originally created, manufactured and stocked up under
the previous Presidential Administration, where the plan was that any
State could obtain as many dosages as each State deemed necessary. That
plan was already set in motion, but completely underutilized until
DeSantis’s initiation of it throughout Florida.
fact, the Monoclonal Antibody Treatment was taken successfully by the
previous President of the USA after he contracted the virus and as you
may recall, he was back in business in 24 to 48 hours of taking it.
lifesaving Monoclonal Antibody Treatment for some unknown reason, had
been pushed aside, as the main focus became the vaccines, to prevent the
virus from occurring. So instead, the use of therapeutics, for those
that already contracted the virus, had been put on the back burner for
many, many months. Unfortunate, because it could have possibly saved
many thousands of lives.
is possibly, the first State in our Nation to make the Monoclonal
Antibody Treatments available! Through the previous Administration and
the Federal Government, it was made free to any State.
President of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama, Dr Aruna
Arora explained that many patients who receive this antibody treatment
feel better within 24 to 48 hours!
an article from NewsRescue, it is suggested that if someone tests
positive for COVID-19, "IT CAN BE A LIFE-SAVER IF GIVEN WITHIN THE
FIRST 10 DAYS OF SYMPTOMS."
Pushaw’s strong statement for Florida’s Governor, should be
universally agreed upon, by ALL Americans, "VACCINATED OR
UNVACCINATED- DENYING TREATMENT TO COVID PATIENTS IS WRONG"!
to note, studies and the facts demonstrate, that in Israel, where
there is a heavily vaccinated population, COVID-19 is still spreading
amongst the vaccinated people! In fact, there has been reports that
recently Israel has had a "dramatic surge of new COVID-19
antibodies are engineered immune system proteins that boost an immune
response against an infection.
when the virus first began, the previous administration sent
ventilators, hospital ships, doctors, nurses, supplies and more, to
those States who said they were in need. That happened to be in
"Blue" States. The former President of the USA, regardless of
what you may have thought of him, with those actions, plus the
initiation of the unprecedented "Warp Speed", which created
the COVID-19 vaccines in record breaking time, manufactured and paid
for, so that as soon as they were approved, could go into arms, were all
accomplished without skipping a beat. Therefore, "What has changed,
since then, that could justify any treatment that can saves lives,
currently being denied in any State that is in need?"
current HHS response is that the agency will, "determine the weekly
amount of mAb products each state and territory receives based on
COVID-19 case burden and (Monoclonal Antibody Treatment)
utilization" and that the new system "will help maintain
equitable distribution, both geographically and temporarily, across the
country…." Is nothing but a bunch of mumbo-jumbo. Especially,
when this new policy, which begun around September 14, 2021 or so, had
and still has no shortages of this treatment.
treatments should always come before political policy decisions. That
statement, comes from the fact, that at the time, the denial/rationing
policy was made, coincidentally or not, the impacted States, were
"Red" States only.
sudden policy decision or action could lead to the loss of lives.
a letter from Governor DeSantis to Biden and his Administration, the
Governor stated that, as a result of DeSantis’s action, Florida has
administered "100,000 treatments" and that Florida was
"the first state in the nation to focus on early treatments for
COVID-19 by setting up 25 treatment sites for monoclonal antibody
treatments across Florida."
Governor listed that due to his policy there was a "50% decrease in
new hospitalizations; 24 consecutive days of declining hospitalizations;
2-month low in emergency room visits."
appears that frustrated by the fact that DeSantis could not purchase any
of the necessary treatments, due to the fact that the Federal Government
has a lock on the two companies that manufacture the supply of the
treatment in the USA, and the sudden over 50% decrease of the treatments
by the Federal Government to Florida; must have led the Governor to
accuse the current President, that this decision was, "….to make
this about politics even if it means lives lost."
Governor had a valid point, when he wrote, "This is bigger than
politics. Lives are at stake."
really makes no sense, because this should be an automatic agreement by
the WH and Administration regardless of politics, is why the week prior
to this sudden ration of life-saving therapeutics, Biden announced that
HE WOULD IN FACT INCREASE SHIPMENTS OF MONOCLONAL ANTIBODY TREATMENTS!
only one week later, he flip-flopped on the issue and deliberately
denied these life-saving treatments and slashed the dosage numbers in
Florida by more than 50%!
YOU PUT SO MANY RESTRICTIONS ON TREATMENTS/THERAPEUTICS, WHY WOULD WE BE
SURPRISED THAT SO MANY MORE PEOPLE SO FAR, WITH VACCINES, HAVE GOTTEN
SICK AND EVEN DIED IN 2021 OF COVID-19, THAN IN ALL OF 2020?
I leave you with the question that began this article,
"Deliberately denying life-saving treatments, whatever they may be,
for those that have contracted COVID-19, what rational reason can
justify this action?"
should be universal agreement within the USA, that every American has
the ability to receive lifesaving treatments which will allow those
individuals that are ill due to a pandemic virus, receive the medication
in time to help them get better before their illness becomes
life-threatening. Especially, if this lifesaving treatment not only
helps the ill person, but also can keep them out of the hospital.
IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT priorities that any Leader should have!
today’s current environment, there is so much confusion about what is
actually factual and what is really just political theatre. One day,
government officials say it is okay to do things one way and then, a
week or, even a couple of months later, it completely changes. Those
actions that have heightened over time, have caused mass confusion and
division among the American population. Especially, due to all types of
supposed experts and various Officials’ insistence one way and then,
they flip-flop to the other. The worst part is, most often, the advice
at one point in time vs. another, proves to be wrong. The obvious end
result of this chaotic management and sometimes demands, have not only
caused the obvious division, but even, mistrust of the unknown. All of
this, as we can see in the news and, hear from people we meet, has
unnecessarily confused and even angered the public.
ONE THING THAT SHOULD NOT CONFUSE ANYONE THOUGH, IS SAVING THE LIVES OF
THOSE THAT DO CONTRACT COVID-19! THIS SHOULD BE NON-NEGOTIABLE!
all know by now, that regardless of what we were told at different
points in time, vaccinated people, DO STILL GET THE COVID-19 VIRUS.
Also, can pass it on to those that are already fully vaccinated and
those that are not. Just as unvaccinated people can contract COVID-19
and pass it on.
FURTHER PROVE THE POINT ABOUT THE FACT THAT, THOSE FULLY VACCINATED
PEOPLE CAN AND DO STILL GET COVID-19, IS THE 10/18/21, RECENTLY REPORTED
DEATH OF FOUR-STAR GENERAL COLIN POWELL, OF COVID-19 COMPLICATIONS AT
THE AGE OF 84. COLIN POWELL WAS FULLY VACCINATED!
is more evidence, that ALL the therapeutics that are out there,
including the Monoclonal Antibody Treatments, properly utilized, should
be made available in the United States, to every American!
seldom discussed category of people, are those with "Natural
Immunity". Those individuals, have already contracted the virus and
recovered. There are many millions in that category. It has been
determined by scientists that those with "Natural Immunity"
have at least 27 times stronger immunity antibodies and T-cells than any
vaccinated person. Since, there are few publicized studies, we do
not know if their immunity lasts for more than a couple of years or,
like those who prior to vaccinations, got measles, mumps and
chicken-pox, last as much as a life-time.
of creating an environment where people are, "running around with
their hair on fire", which appears to be
the way things have become for so many since this pandemic has
continued. Our Leadership NEEDS TO NOT ONLY MAKE VACCINES AVAILABLE
FOR THOSE WHO CHOOSE TO GET THEM, BUT JUST AS IMPORTANT, OR MAYBE EVEN
MORE IMPORTANT, MAKE ALL THE THERAPEUTICS FOR COVID-19 AVAILABLE! SO
THAT THE PEOPLE WHO DO CONTRACT THIS VIRUS CAN RECOVER! THOSE
REALITIES NEED TO BE ABSOLUTE!!
far, those treatments have either had little availability or even been
denied to patients throughout the USA.
is well known that Florida has quite a large population and is growing
by leaps and bounds. Florida probably has THE HIGHEST senior
population of any State. Florida and Texas are loaded with Veterans.
Although, the vast majority of seniors in Florida have been
vaccinated, those same vaccinated seniors, are still susceptible to
different variants. Despite taking both vaccines and possibly even a
third, they get what some call "break-through" COVID-19, in
different levels of severity. This occurs because we now know, that
the vaccines "LEAK" after a shorter period of months than
POINT BEING, THERE IS A GREATER NEED IN FLORIDA, FOR THERAPEUTICS, SUCH
AS MONOCLONAL ANTIBODIES, THAN MOST OTHER STATES!
Health website states: "Monoclonal antibody treatments can prevent
hospitalization or death in high-risk patients with COVID-19 and are
widely available in Florida." They go on to say that, "In
clinical trials, monoclonal antibody treatment showed a 70% reduction in
hospitalization and death."
details that Regeneron cocktail that is currently being used, decreases
the odds of getting sicker by 70- 80%.
are other therapeutics that have had success when used properly, but at
this time appear to be unavailable through government channels. In
addition, there have been many reports of COVID-19 treatments as being
denied to practitioners by local pharmacies in numerous States.
the Florida Health website though, the Regeneron cocktail, is being made
available within Florida.
TO NOTE: The website also states that it is NOT a substitute for a
getting a vaccine.
to Florida Health, COVID-19 Response, "High-Risk Populations",
"older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying
medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from
COVID-19." They explain that "Many conditions can cause a
person to be immunocompromised…."
to the fact that regardless of one’s vaccination status, excluding
those with "Natural Immunity", who are thus far now still
immune, Florida Governor DeSantis’s Press Secretary said that,
"MORE THAN HALF THE PATIENTS GETTING THE MONOCLONAL ANTIBODY
TREATMENT IN SOUTH FLORIDA ARE FULLY VACCINATED"!
Governor’s spokesperson, Christina Pushaw stated, that those patients
have "breakthrough infections."
significantly, as the spokesperson for Governor DeSantis, Pushaw
insisted on behalf of Florida’s Governor, these monoclonal antibody
treatments MUST BE GIVEN TO THOSE IN NEED!
Biden has stated and it is on video, that THE MONOCLONAL ANTIBODY
TREATMENT IS SUCCESSFUL!
question then becomes: "Why has the current administration in the
White House, announced that the federal government would suddenly ration
or, greatly decease, the doses to some States?"
BEING ON TOP OF THAT LIST!
next issue, Part 2 of this same article, IS A MUST READ, that lays
things out in detail and gives new important information that every
American should be aware of. In addition, it elaborates more deeply
about the reason for the previous question, as well as the title of this
article. So, stay tuned.
Journalism Practiced By Many Newspapers
disappointing and unprofessional it has become so common place for
"Yellow Journalism" to be practiced, instead of
objective news reporting. It should be obvious for most thoughtful
readers, that "Yellow Journalism" has become the norm in
most newspapers, in order to serve a particular agenda and it is
getting worse, every edition.
particular subject matter being covered in this article, is the
tragic collapse of a building, which happened to be a condo and
the deaths that resulted from this horrendous accident that
occurred in June, 2021 in the Town of Surfside, Florida.
Journalism" is defined as a type of press and are American
terms when a newspaper, "exploits, distorts, or exaggerates
the news to create sensations and attract readers" and is of
questionable, or poor taste. "Techniques may include
exaggerations of news-events, scandal-mongering, or
a good friend of mine described, it was "Yellow
Journalism" that caused the Spanish-American War in the
1880s, after William Randolph Hearst in his 27 National newspapers
started, "yellow journalism showed the media could capture
attention and influence public reaction". Unfortunately, it
appears that technique is being practiced NOW on steroids, and the
condo collapse is a perfect example of it.
appears that the tragedy of the collapse of the Champlain Towers
South Condominium and the deaths caused during this catastrophe,
have been abused and used in an on-going series of articles, op-eds
and other sad excuses for scaring the daylights out of folks, in
order to make Florida condos appear unsafe.
Possibly to also encourage rushed-draconian mandates and policies
in the State of Florida.
THIS JOURNALISTIC TACTIC, IS DEFINITELY A COORDINATED ATTEMPT, TO
DEVALUE THE ECONOMIC ENGINE OF FLORIDA’S REAL ESTATE AND CREATE
HESITANCY FOR BUYERS, OWNERS AND TOURISTS TO COME TO THE STATE AND
now, you may be asking yourself, "Why on earth would the
press do that?" Well, there are various potentialities and,
after covering this subject in more detail, the possible reason
should come into clarity. So, let’s begin.
that Florida properties and moving to the State in the last couple
of years has become known as a, "prima", incredibly
desirable local to reside and invest in, plus, even visit- - has
made this fear-mongering "Yellow Press" campaign, using
the tragic collapse and deaths in order to amplify this
catastrophe to its absolute maximum, a reality! A shameful and
despicable way to make all kinds of "know-it-all"
accusations, theories and opinions, appear like well researched
news articles, including, expert OP-ED pieces.
important fact to note: the larger newspapers throughout Florida,
although they may appear to be local papers, are anything but.
They are owned by very few, NON-Floridian, National news/media
conglomerates. As for other large out-of-State well-known
newspapers, also reporting by using this same scare-tactic method,
like their sister Florida papers, all appear to have the same type
of beat-down agenda. They are seemingly unified with the same
goal, which is to propagate this constant fear-mongering in the
news about Florida. By attempting to diminish its desirability or,
defiling the State by the use of what was likely an
"anomaly" and certainly a tragedy, using FEAR as their
is much more of an agenda than a simplistic boost in readership or
sales. One just has to look a little further than the obvious as
to why this beat-down on Florida condominiums has been ramping up
for months now. That will be revealed later in this article for
readers to ponder.
constant assault on the public’s psyche and their investments in
Florida’s condominiums, kicked into high gear in August. The
titles alone of the articles from NY, Washington DC and Floridian
papers, were enough to enhance the fear with unsubstantiated
theories as to why the collapse took place. Such as: "How a…could
have caused a Florida condo building to fall"; "They
were Bullies Inside the Turbulent Origins of the Collapsed Florida
Condo"; "Corrosion Exposed in collapsed Fla condo";
"Designed to Fail"; "Aging condominiums in
Florida"; "Up to nine Surfside victims may have survived
collapse- - Questions over whether more could have been
rescued" ( totally disgusting and insensitive article);
"How a decade of dysfunction contributed to condo
disaster"; "Surfside demands systemic changes"
you may recall, on July 7th, I interviewed world-renowned Forensic
Structural Engineer, Allyn Kilsheimer, who has been retained by
the Town of Surfside, Fl to do a forensic investigation and a
detailed report on what actually "triggered" the
collapse. He told me then about all the supposed experts and their
comments as to the causation and that "none of them either
have the expertise or, they don’t have enough data, to make
those decisions, (hypotheses or theories), about what was the
cause." He also said to me, without the forensic
investigation results, they, "DON’T KNOW WHAT THE H… THEY
ARE TALKING ABOUT"!
to note, Forensic Structural Engineer Kilsheimer told me, "A
building DOES NOT KNOW, that it is a condo or any other kind of
also made these significant statements, "BASED ON MY 63
YEARS OF EXPERIENCE, I THINK IT WAS AN ANOMALY." When
asked if a 40-year-old coastal condo/co-op building that is
maintained, should have concern of a collapse, Kilsheimer said, "DOESN’T
MEAN A 40-YEAR-OLD BUILDING THAT ISN’T MAINTAINED WILL
said that "SOMETHING IS THE INITIATING FACTOR". Also, he
said, "THERE WAS A TRIGGER OF SOME TYPE AND IF THAT TRIGGER
WOULDN’T HAVE HAPPENED, MOST LIKELY IT WOULD NOT HAVE COME
said he will do a forensic investigation of every possibility,
including: "AN EXPLOSION FROM BELOW; A CAR HITTING A COLUMN;
PROBLEMS WITH THE ROOF SLAB DROPPING DOWN…" HE SAID HE WILL
INVESTIGATE ALL KINDS OF PERTINENT INFORMATION.
you may also recall in my previous article, I got responses from
the top man in charge of the State of Florida, Governor DeSantis,
regarding any policy changes in the aftermath of the condo
tragedy. The Governor responded to my direct questions with, "IT
WOULD BE IRRESPONSIBLE TO PREEMPTIVELY ASSUME THE CAUSES OF THE
COLLAPSE BEFORE REVIEWING THE FINDINGS OF ANY INVESTIGATION."
"A THOROUGH INVESTIGATION IS NEEDED TO INFORM FACT-BASED,
EVIDENCE-DRIVEN POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS." "IT WOULD BE
RECKLESS TO SPECULATE WHAT LEGISLATIVE AND REGULATORY CHANGES NEED
TO BE MADE AT THIS POINT." "If anything needs to be
changed in terms of policy, or regulations, those decisions will
be made to prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again."
spite, or maybe because of all of these points made by Forensic
Structural Engineer Kilsheimer and Florida’s Governor, it
appears that, the various newspapers in Florida, New York and
Washington DC, have ramped up the fear-mongering articles.
articles and op-eds, have encompassed, attacks on: the developers’
backgrounds; digging up dirt on part-time building inspectors;
corrosion and salt-air scare/fear-tactics; trying to find all
kinds of "condos" in Florida that they claim
"averted tragedy"; attacking condo owners for not moving
fast enough on maintenance matters throughout Florida, (as if that
would cause a condo to collapse); encouraging the public to panic
if they need any kind of "structural" repairs-must have
immediate attention, (or their condo could fall like a house of
cards); attacking Florida’s " Condominium Act", which
was the first State to create such documents in 1963 and have been
updated; attacking or insinuating Condo Boards are made up of
idiots and in need of government take-over; Stating that special
assessments for various items, should be passed and levied on
owners immediately, (or, that could cause a collapse); BLAMING
FLORIDA’S RULING PARTY LEGISLATURE, FOR THEIR ACTIONS ON
FUNDING; these and more, just to name a few, of the endless
unconscionable things covered in the "Yellow Journalist"
of all, was the article giving THE NAMES OF SOME OF THE
DECEASED AND DETAILS FROM THE AUTOPSY REPORTS. Making
statements and insinuations of how these victims who perished from
this catastrophe and practically, describing how they must have
suffered before dying under the rubble of the collapsed condo.
Starting by taking credit for the paper’s investigation and what
it "suggests". Such as, "Some medical examiner’s
reports listed injuries that would not, on their own, be
considered lifethreatening or result in immediate death."
Claiming, "The (Their) investigation raises questions about
whether any of the victims COULD HAVE BEEN RESCUED, AND HOW THE
article was abhorrent and totally insensitive! What purpose did it
serve? Just to panic condo dwellers that their building could not
only collapse with them in it, but they can suffer a long and
painful death. Despicable "Yellow Journalism"!!
do you think might be motivating this? To get more readership?
it possible that the goal, is as simple as political motivation?
tragedy or deaths should be made political,
regardless of how the newspaper’s owners lean, vs. the party
affiliation of a Governor. Presuming that in fact is what this
"Yellow Journalism" is being used for, as a means to
damage a Governor’s credibility and by extension, also the State’s
no-tax policies and its standing in our Nation. IN THE EVENT
THAT THIS TRAGEDY IS BEING EXPLOITED TO DIMINISH AND DESTROY
FLORIDA ECONOMICALLY AND ITS REPUTATION, IT IS SHAMEFUL AND
REPREHENSIBLE! It appears, that is about the only thing THAT
EXPLAINS WHY FLORIDA IS UNDER FIRE LIKE THIS. If that is the
answer, what else would the yellow-press stoop to?
PLAY WITH THE LIVES OF FLORIDIANS AND PROBABLY THE BIGGEST
INVESTMENTS THEY HAVE MADE IN THEIR HOMES, IS ABOUT AS LOW AS YOU
DeSantis’s Responses To Policy Changes In The Aftermath Of Condo
this journalist’s quest to find out what should be done at this
point in time, in the aftermath of the tragic collapse of the
Miami Champlain Towers South Condominium, regarding possible new
regulations/legislation/policies, upon older Floridian condos and
all types of buildings that are a few stories high; I decided to
reach out to the one man in charge of running the State of
Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis.
reason for wanting the views of the Florida Governor on this
subject, has nothing to do with politics, but rather to keep
people apprised of the facts and make sure Floridians that already
own homes, rent, visit , or plan to buy, are accurately informed.
lead me to seeking the top person in charge of policies and
important decisions of the State, was the continual and ongoing
fear-mongering reactions in the press. Through articles and even
op-eds. All written by or about, supposed
"know-it-alls", in the weeks following the building’s
am grateful that with the incredibly busy schedule and time
restraints that are required of a Governor, that I was able to get
Governor DeSantis’s written responses to my questions on this
most important subject.
the press has been using this tragedy as their excuse for either:
1- Scaring the heck out of the public about older Floridian condos
being unsafe and in danger of collapse, or 2- Insisting on reasons
to make hurried and harsh new legislative and regulatory
crack-downs on older condos and other residential buildings,
claiming that they are unsafe and could collapse!
property-owners/shareholders, should maintain their homes, whether
they be multi-story buildings, duplexes, townhouses, or even
single-family homes. Good maintenance though, or the lack there
of, according to world-renowned Forensic Structural Engineer Allyn
E. Kilsheimer, IS NOT THE REASON FOR A MULTI-STORY BUILDING
COLLAPSING! As Kilsheimer told me, "Doesn’t mean a
40-year-old building that isn’t maintained, will collapse"!
questions to Florida’s Governor, came as a result of all of the
unsubstantiated, onerous and frightening news articles/op-eds,
circulating in Local and National press and the fact that most of
the publications contain unnecessary negativity that are
frightening the public.
misrepresentation of why the collapse occurred, could instigate
premature changes with impulsive new over-reactive regulations,
policies, legislation, with dire code enforcement consequences and
more. All when, NONE OF THE REAL FACTS ARE IN, AS TO WHY THERE WAS
AN UNPRECEDENTED COLLAPSE OF A CONDO IN THE UNITED STATES OF
AMERICA, SPECIFICALLY IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA.
concern is these changes could happen, without decision-makers
waiting to find out the real "cause(s)", "trigger(s)",
or the "initiating factor(s)", as described by
Kilsheimer, as to the real reasons why this catastrophe actually
knowledge from Forensic Structural Engineer Kilsheimer, who said
that this unprecedented tragic collapse of an older
condo/multi-story building in Florida is, "BASED ON MY 63
YEARS OF EXPERIENCE, I THINK IT WAS AN ANOMALY", gave me
the impetus to ask the questions I did to the Governor.
are the written responses I received from DeSantis to my
When asked if the Governor thinks that new Legislation, Policies,
or Regulations should be enacted regarding the possible collapse
of older Condos/Co-ops and other multi-story buildings in Florida,
prior to the final forensic report conclusions being made public?
DESANTIS’S RESPONSE: "IT WOULD BE IRRESPONSIBLE TO
PREEMPTIVELY ASSUME THE CAUSES OF THE COLLAPSE BEFORE REVIEWING
THE FINDINGS OF ANY INVESTIGATION."
GOVERNOR STATED UNEQUIVOCALLY, that: "A
THOROUGH INVESTIGATION IS NEEDED TO INFORM FACT-BASED,
EVIDENCE-DRIVEN POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS."
DESANTIS: "We expect the
investigation process to reveal a clearer picture of the factors
that contributed to the collapse, which is a necessary condition
to determine whether changes to State requirements or legislation
should be considered- - and if so, what those changes might
importantly, GOVERNOR DESANTIS RESPONDED: "If an
investigation determines that the collapse was caused—in part,
or in whole—by factors that could be mitigated via state-level
policy change" He "would certainly give due
consideration to any proposed reforms that could prevent such a
tragedy from happening again."
DESANTIS EMPHASIZED: "IT WOULD BE RECKLESS TO SPECULATE WHAT
LEGISLATIVE AND REGULATORY CHANGES NEED TO BE MADE AT THIS POINT,
WITHOUT THE FACTS THAT WE WILL ONLY BE ABLE TO OBTAIN FROM THE
Governor also included with the responses, that he has offered the
State of Florida engineering expertise to aid in the
investigations. DeSantis fully supports the investigations by
Forensic Engineer Kilsheimer’s firm, as well as the federal
government agency National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
having started their own investigation, and OSHA, who is also
doing an investigation. The Governor, "has committed to
providing whatever resources are needed from the state."
addition, the response included the following: "Local
authorities are responsible for building code enforcement. Not
only in Florida, but throughout the country."
"What would you like to say to the people of Florida and the
Nation about this fear of older buildings collapsing in
DESANTIS’S RESPONSE: "Local
authorities in Miami-Dade County (including Forensic Structural
Engineer Allyn Kilsheimer), did emergency inspections of older
residential buildings after the Surfside tragedy. THERE IS NO
INDICATION THAT THIS IS A WIDESPREAD PROBLEM. Even the
Champlain Towers North, the sister building to the one that
collapsed, was inspected by the local authorities (and most
significantly, by Kilsheimer) and found to be in good
DESANTIS ALSO STRESSED: "Therefore, residents of Florida
should not be worried. Everyone should be aware that local and
federal investigations about the causes of the Champlain Towers
South catastrophe are underway."
DESANTIS’S RESPONSES CONCLUDED WITH:
"Once we learn from those investigations IF ANYTHING NEEDS
TO BE CHANGED IN TERMS OF POLICY, OR REGULATIONS, THOSE
DECISIONS WILL BE MADE TO PREVENT SUCH A TRAGEDY FROM EVER
to the, 8/2/21, Sun Sentinel, it was reported that there
are municipalities, for example in Palm Beach County, that are
already proposing "Beefed-up safety program may affect
hundreds of buildings in…", "to prevent another
tragedy like the June 24th collapse in Surfside…." And
goes on to say, "affect buildings older than 30 years and
taller than three stories or 50 feet." Implying that it
is, "because of saltwater’s corrosive effect on
structures". The article explained that the City’s
staff, not the private homeowners and their Board of Directors,
will "establish a schedule of needed repairs and begin
sending notices to building owners…" The article went on to
say that building owners in this municipality would, "typically
be given six months to complete those repairs." Even more
excessive over-reach, is, when it stated that if the owners do not
comply to whatever the city staff determine and "…fail to
do the required work by the deadline, code enforcement and a
special magistrate can issue fines…".
to note: It takes longer than that time period to notify multi-
property owners or shareholders; to special assess them for the
repairs, only after a duly noticed meeting takes place; to find a
good and reputable contractor; to schedule the work to be done; to
get the permits, to give owners a chance to find other places to
live during the repairs; to get the work completed and inspected
on time and; to give owners/shareholders the opportunity and time
to arrange a way to finance the special assessment.
above is a perfect example of how unnecessary and excessive
government over-reach on private properties can take place, on the
State, County and Municipal levels. Which will occur, if they jump
the gun with new legislation/regulations/policies BY USING A
TRAGEDY, when they have NO proof, NO facts and NO data OF WHAT
ACTUALLY CAUSED THE COLLAPSE TO OCCUR.
caused by unproven and unsubstantiated hypotheses.
repeating, as Forensic Structural Engineer Allyn E. Kilsheimer
told this journalist, "Based on my 63 years of experience, I
think it was an anomaly."
is hoping that Governor DeSantis’s responses as to how to handle
things in the aftermath of the tragic condo collapse, is heeded by
State Legislatures, County Officials and Municipalities throughout
that the public reads what Forensic Structural Engineer Kilsheimer
says about why THERE IS NO NEED AT ALL TO FEAR OLDER BUILDINGS IN
FLORIDA COLLAPSING LIKE THE CONDO IN MIAMI!
Engineer Kilsheimer Describes How His Investigation Will Proceed
article will outline the investigation as specialist Forensic
Structural Engineer Allyn E. Kilsheimer described it.
my 7/7/2021 interview with Kilsheimer, among the most significant
statements that he made about the partial collapse of the Miami,
Champlain Towers South Condominium, through the lens of his 63
years in the field, was when he said that he believes the tragic
event, "WAS AN ANOMALY" and also, "WE DON’T KNOW
THE CAUSE YET".
is exactly what his forensic investigation is seeking to find. As
Kilsheimer informed me during our interview, "SOMETHING IS
THE INITIATING FACTOR", what the "TRIGGER" was,
because he said there was "A TRIGGER". The purpose of
this forensic investigation process, is that after a thorough
investigation, hopefully the "the trigger" will be
revealed to all.
Kilsheimer also stated, that "IF NOT FOR THE TRIGGER",
it "WOULDN’T HAVE HAPPENED. MOST LIKELY, IT WOULD NOT HAVE
COME DOWN", referring to the collapse of the condo.
to also note: that whether a condo or other type building is well
maintained or not, Mr. Kilsheimer asserted to me, "DOESN’T
MEAN A 40-YEAR-OLD BUILDING THAT ISN’T MAINTAINED, WILL
as significant, he also proclaimed, "I DON’T THINK THIS
TYPE OF SITUATION IS SOMETHING THAT 40-YEAR-OLD BUILDINGS OR MORE,
SHOULD WORRY ABOUT"!
it is imperative, when a strange death occurs, an autopsy is
performed before determining the specific cause of death. A
forensic investigation on the collapse of a building, which was
unexpected and the loss of lives, with the subsequent report to
the Town of Surfside, who retained Kilsheimer, going out to the
public, is a more high-tech type of scientific process than an
following was taken from another interview with Allyn
Kilsheimer. I saw this on a local Miami news outlet,
"Straight Arrow News". The video was taped prior to my
interview with Mr. Kilsheimer. He described the process that he
will take with this important forensic investigation. Which will
result in a detailed and thorough final report giving the
conclusions about what caused this catastrophe.
in mind, this was prior to the search process for those lost souls
being halted. As recent as Friday, 7/23/21, the halt of that
search was announced.
to Forensic Structural Engineer Kilsheimer, who simplified this
for laymen, these are the basics of what the investigation process
"You collect drawings, to the extent that they exist."
"You listen to all the people that are experts and know
exactly what happened and why it happened WITH NO
INFORMATION AND NO BACKGROUND. Absolutely, but you have to
listen to them. You have to pay attention to them."
"We come up with 30 or 40 things (triggers) that might have
"THEN YOU FIGURE OUT, WHAT YOU NEED TO DO. THEN, YOU REDUCE
THE NUMBER OF POSSIBILITIES BY PROVING THAT THEY DIDN’T
"And that is kind of where we are now."
"WE USUALLY TAKE A LOT OF SAMPLES: STEEL SAMPLES, CONCRETE
SAMPLES AND OTHER CRITICAL MATERIALS."
"We keep collecting and finding things to understand it
"I looked at the two other buildings that are similar to this
to understand it better." "I have looked at some other
buildings at Surfside. Now, I just looked at another one in an
adjacent Town." In one news report, Kilsheimer said, he would
let his grandchildren stay in any of those buildings, without fear
of a collapse.
"WE ARE DOING COMPUTER MODELS OF INFORMATION WHERE EVER WE
Kilsheimer had said at that time, that unfortunately, "The
people we would want to talk to, are not around now. You learn a
lot from the first minute or two. We have paid attention to some
of the eye witnesses that said, ‘I was in my apartment and this
is what I heard’." At the time of that interview with
Kilsheimer, he stated, "I have not yet asked to interview
those people first-hand, because I think they are still under
shock. No reason to put them in anymore grief."
Just as Forensic Structural Engineer Kilsheimer told me, he
announced in this interview, "WE ARE LOOKING FOR A TRIGGER
TO SEE WHY THIS HAPPENED."
"WE TRY TO GET IT DOWN TO ONE, TWO, THREE TRIGGERS"
(possibilities). He admitted the goal is to get it down to THE
trigger, but sometimes that is difficult. "We are trying to
do everything factually…"
another short interview, Kilsheimer stated, "The bottom
line is we will be able to do everything we have to do, IT JUST
TAKES TIME TO DO IT."
the process of my research, I found that Allyn Kilsheimer was
asked, if he had a sense that Florida Building Codes or Code
Enforcement will change significantly at all depending on what he
Kilsheimer’s response, is important to take note of, he
declared, "I THINK THE ANSWER IS, THE FLORIDA BUILDING
CODES ARE ONE OF THE BEST IN THE COUNTRY, BASED ON MY EXPERIENCE.
BUT, UNTIL YOU KNOW WHAT ACTUALLY OCCURRED HERE, WE DON’T KNOW
IF WE’RE GOING TO SUGGEST THAT THEY MIGHT MAKE ADDITIONAL
CHANGES TO IT."
an update on the Champlain Towers South tragedy. We now know that
98 people perished. We also know that the search for bodies has
been halted, the site is mostly flat now and the rubble has been
moved to a Miami warehouse. We know that Allyn Kilsheimer and the
forensic work is ongoing, including examining the debris at the
a demonstration of Kilsheimer’s knowledge and expertise: As
recently as last week, Kilsheimer wrote a letter that warned the
Town of Surfside and Miami-Dade County that due to the void caused
by the collapse in the hollowed out foundation , "If the wall
were to collapse or rotate substantially, the retained soil under
the street, (area of Collins Ave. near the collapsed condo), and
sidewalk could move around it and could cause portions of the
street to collapse and could seriously compromise the utilities
under the street."
a response to Kilsheimer’s warning, Miami-Dade sent in crews to
shore up the remaining underground walls. Apparently, Kilsheimer
knew that the underground walls from the condo, no longer had the
support of the street level floors and heavy rains or more, could
increase risks greatly.
clearly shows, Kilsheimer’s expertise and his statements to this
journalist, about other older buildings, whatever type they are,
are coming from decades of his knowledge and work experience.
Structural Engineer Allyn E. Kilsheimer’s assertions that the
public should NOT BE CONCERNED this type OF COLLAPSE TAKING
PLACE IN OLDER BUILDINGS, coastal or not, because it is likely an
anomaly, are sound and extremely factual statements.
it is imperative that this unnecessary fear that is being
communicated, with unsubstantiated claims, for example: that the
cement from older buildings is disintegrating, along with the rust
of rebars, salt-air, salt-water, lack of enough and swift
maintenance, lax code enforcement, climate change and other
hypotheses, theories and opinions, from "experts"
anonymous or even named, public officials and mostly the press- - NEEDS
ONE KNOWS WHAT CAUSED THIS UNPRECEDENTED TRAGEDY AND UNTIL, as the
63-years of experience, Forensic Structural Engineer, Allyn E.
Kilsheimer stated in another interview:
THE END, WE WILL HAVE A VERY LENGTHY REPORT. WE WILL HAVE ALL THE
INFORMATION WE FOUND AND IT WILL BE ATTACHED TO THE REPORT. IT IS
OUR PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERING BASED ON ALL THE DATA WE’VE
REVIEWED, THAT THIS IS THE POSSIBLE CAUSE OR, CAUSES OF WHAT
would be sound reasoning and in the best interest of those owners
and visitors to be impacted by any changes, stricter laws or
regulations and enforcement, that UNTIL THAT INVESTIGATION IS
COMPLETED AND THE REPORT BECOMES PUBLIC, however many months it
may take - -that NO State Legislatures, NO Counties and NO
Municipalities should create NEW regulations, legislation or,
force condos or any older buildings, to engage in panic driven
maintenance actions. ESPECIALLY WHEN, THEY MOST LIKELY HAVE
NOTHING TO DO WITH A BUILDING COLLAPSING!
Forensic Structural Engineer Retained By Surfside Clarifies
Escalating Rumors In Interview
Structural Engineering of world-renowned Forensic Structural
Engineer, Allyn E. Kilsheimer,
who has been retained by the Town of Surfside, Florida, to do a
of the collapse of Champlain Towers South Condo in Miami, Florida.
had the privilege of a phone interview on 7/7/2021 with esteemed
and world-renowned Forensic Structural Engineer, Allyn E.
Kilsheimer. He has been hired by the Town of Surfside, Florida, to
do a forensic investigation of the partial collapse of the
Champlain Towers South Condominium in Miami, Florida.
to the N.Y. Post and my research, Allyn Kilsheimer is
"world-renowned", a respected consultant retained on
major disasters, like the 9/11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon
and the collapse of the Florida International University
pedestrian bridge in 2018. He also examined the Miami-Dade College
garage collapse in 2012 and the partial collapse at the Charles de
Gaulle Airport in Paris in 2004. (According to Florida Politics).
owner of KCE Structural Engineers in Washington, DC, a forensic
structural engineer, has overseen more than 400 projects,
conducted more than 100 investigations, including more than 30 for
structural collapse. Quite impressive.
contacted Mr. Kilsheimer after reading about him in recent N.Y.
Times and N.Y. Post articles, researching the tragedy
in Surfside and listening to local Miami news reports when he
spoke. This all lead me to go to the top and speak to the man who
could clarify and quiet the swirling rumors.
rumors and snowballing fear factor result from many expert
hypotheses. Their frightening conclusions and theories, appear to
serve to escalate the fear and panic about condos, that once they
reach the age of 40 years or older, are in danger of collapsing
stated my goal right up front to Structural Engineer Kilsheimer. To
get the facts and try at the same time to hopefully diminish or
abate the panic that is overtaking many: condo/co-op owners,
their Boards of Directors, potential buyers, State Lawmakers,
County and Municipal Leaders.
response to me was, THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT HE WANTS TO ACCOMPLISH
TOO. He also said, "I want to try and help some people feel
not as panicked about where they live if I can."
asked whether it is possible or even likely that, this terrible
tragedy and collapse, IS AN ANOMALY FOR COASTAL CONDOS OR CO-OP
BUILDINGS? First, he said, "A building does not know that is
it a condo or any other kind of building."
significant though, was Allyn Kilsheimer’s response, "BASED
ON MY 63 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE, I THINK IT WAS AN ANOMALY."
asked if a 40-year-old coastal condo/co-op building that is
maintained, should have less concern of a collapse, Kilsheimer’s
response was quite revealing. He said, "DOESN’T MEAN A
40-YEAR-OLD BUILDING THAT ISN’T MAINTAINED, WILL COLLAPSE"!
asked him about the growing fear that older coastal condos/co-ops
were possibly less safe than newer buildings. Kilsheimer’s
response is an important one, "I DON’T THINK THIS TYPE OF
SITUATION IS SOMETHING THAT 40-YEAR-OLD BUILDINGS OR MORE, SHOULD
WORRY ABOUT." He has said,
"The age of the building did not bring the Champlain South
the age of a building the tipping point for possible collapse? Mr.
Kilsheimer made the analogy to me that "speaking from
experience, I’m 80-years-old. That doesn’t mean I’m in bad
shape, right? The building being 40 years old, it doesn’t mean
it’s in bad shape or will collapse either."
talked about the fact that some articles suggest that cracked
concrete or spalling in a parking garage under or between
buildings, or water intrusion and improper waterproofing might
cause the sudden collapse. He said that "Waterproofing has
nothing to do with holding up the building."
explained to me, that, "SOMETHING IS THE INITIATING
FACTOR". "There was a TRIGGER of some type and IF THAT
TRIGGER WOULDN’T HAVE HAPPENED, MOST LIKELY IT WOULD NOT HAVE
an interview on a Miami news program, Kilsheimer was asked about
the photos of concrete spalling in the garage and other places
from an engineering report and if it could have caused the
collapse? He responded, referring to the photos, "Remember,
those are very limited areas and you don’t know if that is one
square foot out of a million square feet or not. He then made a
very important statement, "I DIDN’T SEE ANYTHING IN
THOSE PICTURES THAT WOULD MAKE ME SAY, ‘I THINK THIS BUILDING IS
IN IMMINENT DANGER OF COLLAPSE’."
is a theory that the pool was pitched in a way to get into the
underground garage and the sub-foundation supports of the building
and, that is what caused the building to collapse. Kilsheimer
responded that, "THAT IS NOT WHAT MADE THIS THING FALL
said that every possibility WOULD BE investigated. Including,
"AN EXPLOSION FROM BELOW, A CAR HITTING A (SUPPORT) COLUMN,
PROBLEMS WITH THE ROOF SLAB DROPPING DOWN…. ALL THAT KIND OF
told me that he is getting all kinds of emails and hearing experts
and various opinions about the cause for this collapse. Kilsheimer
has said, "none of them either have the expertise or,
they don’t have enough data to make those decisions, (hypotheses
or theories), about what was the cause." He also said to me,
without the forensic investigation results, they, "Don’t
know what the h… they are talking about."
since he expressed this frustration to me as well as in other news
TV and video, it is borne out of the fact that Allyn Kilsheimer
repeated to all, that, "NO, WE DON’T KNOW THE CAUSE
YET." As he told me, this forensic investigation will
take many months and must be done meticulously and methodically,
BEFORE coming up with a thorough report and conclusions.
reason that Mr. Kilsheimer is disturbed by all the frenzy that has
come from the news reports, experts and their
"opinions", is due to the fact that it has created an
unnecessary panic about coastal Condos and Co-ops.
rumors, opinions and theories are creating a frenzy of fear,
even though NO ONE KNOWS WHAT REALLY CAUSED THE PARTIAL COLLAPSE,
we can only hope that State, County and Municipal leadership, DO
NOT JUMP THE GUN prior to the completion of Kilsheimer’s
forensic report results! They all need to show restraint and
wait the many months until the forensic investigation is complete
with proof of the facts and causation revealed to everyone.
Anything less would be a disservice to the public.
appears, however, that without all the facts and forensic
conclusive evidence in, some Floridian coastal Municipalities and
even Counties are drawing their own conclusions. They
seem to be considering enacting their own regulations/new policies
upon older condo/co-ops, but not other buildings. DOING SUCH,
WOULD BE PREMATURE, WHEN THE FINAL CONCLUSIONS, WHATEVER THEY MAY
BE, WILL PROVE THE CONDO COLLAPSE IN MIAMI TO LIKELY BE AN
the worst thing to occur, would be IF BEFORE THE FORENSIC
INVESTIGATION IS COMPLETED, State, County and Municipal
Governments ENACT MASSIVE OVER-REGULATIONS on older Condo/Co-ops.
This over-reaction will do more harm than good for those most
another article, more facts from Kilsheimer on how this forensic
investigation will proceed.
Strikes When Miami Condo Collapses
of television coverage images of the Champlain Towers South condo
collapse (left photos) and responders carefully searching through
debris pile (top right) and a memorial wall with photos of missing
loved ones (bottom right)
a tragedy strikes, it is only human to attempt to immediately find
explanations for the horror and loss of lives. Rushing to judgment
though, although with good intentions, is NOT necessarily what a
thorough investigation will confirm.
1:30 AM on June 24th there is video proof of the sudden collapse of the
Surfside, Champlain Towers South Condo. The partial collapse of the
building came down as if it were imploded and the collapse happened all
at once. A video showed the center going down first and then within
seconds, the tower, which is facing the ocean, collapsed immediately
after. The 136-unit building had around 80 units occupied and there were
residents and guests there at the time of this catastrophe.
like this has ever happened before, except during an implosion of an
empty building, or when the Towers were struck on 9-11 and also in
Oklahoma City from a bombing, but nothing like this in the USA
specifically in a residential building without a deliberate reason.
Mayor, Burkett said on twitter and to the news that he felt that
"there is no reason for this building to go down like that unless
someone literally pulls out the supports underneath or they washed out.
Or, there is a sinkhole or something like that, because it just went
Mayor went on to say that, "Buildings in America do not fall down
like this." He also told the News, "Something very wrong
happened here and we need to understand what happened." Burkett
concluded with, "I mean it looks like a bomb went off, but they are
pretty sure a bomb didn’t go off."
DeSantis issued a State of Emergency Declaration.
the Republican Governor, DeSantis and Democrat Mayor Levine Cava of
Miami-Dade, agreed that there needs to be "a definitive explanation
for how this could have happened."
said that a "definitive explanation is needed in a timely
manner." He also said, "It’s an explanation we don’t want
to get wrong." The Governor explained at a press conference that it
needs to be thorough, timely and absolute because, "You have
families here that lost loved ones in this building collapse. They have
the right to know. You have other folks who were able to get out safely,
but then lost their homes… They have a right to know as well."
the press conference he went on to say, "There is a lot of other
people throughout this community and throughout Florida, who want to
know: ‘Well how can a building just collapse like that?" DeSantis
called this "a unique tragedy."
Governor has had more than one press conference and had immediately
flown down to Miami to the site. He said the State will support local
investigative efforts that are already underway.
to the unusual circumstances of this catastrophe, the Israeli Defense
Forces who specialize in this type of situation have been sent to
the White House, Biden was reminded by VP Harris before he left a press
conference about the collapse and he said that the federal government is
prepared to send federal monies.
there have been reports of MAJOR ISSUES BELOW THE POOL DECK of the
partially collapsed condo. Most experts though, who referred to this and
ANY OTHER PROBLEMS THEY FOUND, said that they did not know for sure
that any of the issues found were the reason for the collapse.
the less, hopefully this terrible catastrophe was an anomaly, but the
loss of precious lives, including all those missing 150 people as of
this writing, should be mourned by the State and even the Federal
Government. Answers really need to be found. A thorough investigation is
Cause Stagnation Of Water Which Can Create Dangerous Toxins
if you listen carefully to experts that are volunteering their services,
what you can pick up. At the Town of Palm Beach Council Meeting on
6/8/2021, there was an invited guest speaker, who showed a slide
presentation as the founder of his organization called "Lake Worth
Waterkeeper". Reinaldo Diaz said that they look for pollution,
bacteria, toxins, etc. and knows about watersheds.
Diaz’s presentation, he showed a Marina. What he said about the
possible dangers of a Marina, (especially those in lakes, intercoastal
waterways, canals, etc.), he described a "Marina" as being
"like a canary in a coal mine".
Diaz was talking about a particular Marina, the Pahokee Marina, off of
Lake Okeechobee. The premise he explained would apply to other large
Marinas, in the areas I’ve mentioned in the previous paragraph.
reference was in terms of the water surrounding the docks and boats in
those situations as attracting toxins. It
was explained that the water surrounding a Marina in those types of
areas are stagnant and apparently can become "EXTREMELY
should have been sounding ALARM BELLS for the Mayor and Town Council! Especially,
since the Town is SPENDING, AT LEAST, 38 MILLION DOLLARS ON A TOWN
MARINA PROJECT right NEAR residential homes and condos/co-ops.
Town of Palm Beach has another ongoing pet Town Project. The Project
will GREATLY ENLARGE THEIR TOWN MARINA, SO IT HAS MORE DOCKS/BOAT SLIPS
AND CAN RENT DOCK SPACES FOR MANY MORE BOATS & YACHTS!
Town Project, which is NOT being done at the behest of many of the Town’s
constituents, is really being done to attract INCOME FOR THE TOWN,
probably to offset monies spent on other projects that are having
Town frequently retains favored firms and experts that always spend time
complimenting the Town and playing up to their bosses’ egos. Palm
Beach loves to lord themselves as leaders for others, but that does not
mean when they get truly objective viewpoints that differ from the
Council’s desires, that they listen or take heed to those that give
facts or information that they don’t want to hear. We know that from
the way they handled the facts and information of the negative
consequences for a Town-wide Underground Utilities Project in their
severe Special Flood Hazard Zone Municipality.
Diaz was NOT retained by the Town, but that particular reference that he
made at the beginning of his presentation as to the health hazards and
the fact that the Town Council knows, in fact, they are enlarging a Town
Marina, should have been evident that many never discussed health issues
this large Marina could cause major problems to occur in Palm Beach.
This prospect was or should have been a bright red flag warning for the
Town Council who were listening to the presentation.
journalist, is in no way implying that the prospect of toxins in
drinking water is not of extreme importance.
Mayor and Town Council though, instead, noticeably TOTALLY IGNORED
that particular red flag, regarding their Town Marina Project. Not even
acknowledged whatsoever by any of the Council members or the mayor. They
were too busy preening about how proactive they are being about their
interest regarding toxins in drinking water, while the dangers of
another Town Project that they are doing within the waters alongside the
western shoreline of the Intercoastal waterway, or the Lake Worth
Lagoon, completely flew over their heads. Wonder why?
water in these large and crowded Marinas, apparently according to Diaz,
"gets stopped/stuck and the stagnant water really likes
cyanobacteria and when it gets bad it becomes EXTREMELY TOXIC"!
Reinaldo Diaz said to the Mayor and Town Council next, was even more
frightening. He said, "YOU DON’T WANT TO EVEN BE WITHIN 20
he said, "THERE IS RESEARCH THAT SHOWS IT CAN TRAVEL THROUGH THE
AIR", REFERRING TO THE TOXINS THAT CAN GROW AND BLOOM. WHICH FROM
HIS DESCRIPTION, IT CAN ALSO OCCUR IN THE TOWN’S ENLARGED AND NEW
MARINA IN THE LAKE WORTH LAGOON, WHICH WILL DOCK MANY, MANY YACTS, THAT
WILL CREATE STAGNANT WATER AND IS SO CLOSE TO THE TOWN’S COASTLINE
WHERE TOWN CONSTITUENTS RESIDE!
dangers and health risks of CYANOBACTERIA as defined are: "Exposure
can cause conjunctivitis, rhinitis, earache, sore throat, and swollen
lips. Respiratory effects can include atypical pneumonia and a hay
fever-like syndrome. Exposure can also cause electrolyte imbalances,
headache, malaise, and muscle weakness/ pain in joints and limbs."
further you can easily find answers to these important health hazard
questions as to illnesses and even death that exposure causes:
What diseases are caused by cyanobacteria?
illnesses caused by short-term exposure to cyanobacteria
and cyanotoxins during recreational activities include hay fever-like
symptoms, skin rashes, respiratory and gastrointestinal distress.
Can cyanobacteria kill you?
cyanobacteria can produce cyanotoxins in such concentrations that
they poison and even kill animals and humans. ... Exposure to cyanobacteria
can result in gastro-intestinal and hayfever symptoms or pruritic
Are cyanobacteria toxic to humans?
from the species Cylindroapermopsis raciborski may also produce toxic
alkaloids, causing gastrointestinal symptoms or kidney disease in humans.
Not all cyanobacteria of these species form toxins and it
is likely that there are as yet unrecognized toxins.
is funny, when Palm Beach’s Mayor and Town Council want something
done, they become tone deaf to the negatives and dangers a pet Project
of theirs could bring to their Town. This presentation by Reinaldo Diaz,
demonstrated such negative consequences and possible health hazards that
could easily occur in their community. Yet, total silence and it
appeared to go right over the Mayor and Town Council’s heads.
the allergies, illnesses, diseases, respiratory problems this new Town
Marina can cause for residents, property owners and visitors, due to it
not being in ocean waters, but along an already polluted Intercoastal
waterway shoreline, in addition, the large yachts can accidently have
oil spills and cause not only air but also water pollution. STAGNANT
WATER ALSO ATTRACTS INSECTS TO THE AREA.
possibilities of dangerous health hazards that the Town’s NEW ENLARGED
Marina can cause for the health and well-being of those within the Town,
appear to outweigh the income desirability of this Town Project.
can doubt that the Town will even acknowledge the possible dangers of
the Project, since they again did not do their homework before they
initiated this enlarged Town Marina Project.
past history is any indication of the Town’s possible reversal or,
reconsideration on a Project, once they decide to move forward, it
appears nothing will be done to face the negative consequences of their
actions. G-d forbid that the Town should stop this Town Project and just
keep the same footprint of their original Marina, so that this Project
does not do more harm than good. That prospect though, seems highly
unlikely and instead, if anything, they will deny all negative
possibilities and move forward with lightning speed.
time will tell.
+ Delay Imperative Projects = Future Disaster
priorities of Officials and not being proactive with those Projects
that are essential, can lead to future disaster. In this case, a
Town that lost its way somewhere along the line, would be the Town
of Palm Beach.
community may look aesthetically pleasing, but Municipal Leaders
should never delay the most important priorities they are
responsible for, which are: The Protection, Safety, Well-being and
Property Values of those they represent.
of ignoring the severity of those essential Projects, the
intentional delays and non-actions, are actually doing a terrible
disservice to their Constituents and the Property Owners.
it came down to being PROACTIVE and PRIORITIZING FLOOD PREVENTION
AND PROPERTY PROTECTION, the Town of Palm Beach has fallen
2014 up to and including 2016, the Town took on a direction and a
Town-wide Project that made no sense for their particular
Municipality, either practicality wise, for safety or even, for
future property values.
of doing their due diligence, using the taxpayer dollars to
prioritize and plan, plus initiate Flood Protection Projects based
on the obvious vulnerabilities of their severe Special Flood Hazard
Zone barrier island Town, in 2014 the Mayor and Town Council decided
to vote to Underground their Electrical Utilities in a mega
blank-check bottom line, Town-wide Project. Then proceed to promote
and finance their ill-advised Project with a Bond Referendum in
2016. Believe the beginning of construction on this multi-phase
troubled Project came in 2017.
the recent comments made by one of the Town’s favorite consultants
at the May 27, 2021, Shore Protection Board (SPB) Meeting, all the
proof necessary was exposed to demonstrate that the Council was in
fact, FOREWARNED about their vulnerabilities PRIOR to engaging and
beginning construction on their ill-fated Town-wide Project.
give-away came, when Town Consultant Bob Hamilton said at the
5/27/21 Shore Board Meeting, how he has worked for the Town for 20
years. He then said that in 2014, he started to talk to the Town
about their ‘FLOOD VULNERABILITIES’!
without ever informing the residents of their flood risk
vulnerabilities, the Town Council voted unanimously in 2014 to
underground electrical utilities in a Town-wide Project!
addition, Hamilton said that the Town Council had commissioned
him in 2017, which was either just prior or at the VERY
BEGINNING of the actual construction stage of the Electrical
Underground Project, to do a supposed "Flood Vulnerability
Assessment", which for some inexplicable reason was
(delayed) and not completed until 2019.
Mayor and Town Council knew that if that information came out prior
to the 2016 Referendum Vote, it likely would have doomed the vote to
finance this folly. If it was exposed that due to the FLOOD RISK
VULNERABILITIES that financing and initiating such a Project was not
only a bad investment, but due to the essential need for reliable
electricity, undergrounding within the Town of Palm Beach would be a
completion of the "Flood Vulnerability Assessment" in
2019, meant the Underground Project was well underway. Also, at that
time the Town was facing several lawsuits challenging the Project.
Therefore, if the flood risk vulnerabilities were exposed, those
lawsuits might have had more strength.
the Flood Vulnerability Assessment was finished, it was impossible
for any layman to decipher what it really meant to the properties in
the Town. Important to note, there was NO FLOOD VULNERABILITY
ASSESSMENT DONE FOR THE UNDERGROOUND UTILITIES INFRASTRUCTURE
PROJECT AT ALL!
addition, the Flood Vulnerability Assessment did not take into
account, flooding from rain events, or seemingly the fact that
saltwater comes up under the island, which impacts the flooding with
the high-water table, which would also affect the underground
equipment and buried electrical conduits.
thing was obvious, the Town’s residents at large were kept in the
dark about anything negative and factual of any significance on that
though the Town Council had been advised about their flood risks and
vulnerabilities at least as far back as 2014 and DID NOTHING! Oh,
not true, they DID IGNORE IT, and went ahead with their Town-wide
non-waterproof electrical Underground Utilities Project instead of
taking care of the Town’s many flood risk vulnerabilities!
outrageous, don’t you think?
coincidence is, now in June of 2021, when the Town-wide Electrical
Underground Utilities Project has been going on for years, the
construction for the most part, not even deterred by a pandemic, in
June, after years of delay, the first draft of the Town Consultants’
"Level- Up Palm Beach, Coastal Resiliency Implementation
Plan" is being presented. Coincidence, or something else
said at the Shore Board Meeting that, "YOU ARE LIVING WITH A
DECENT AMOUNT OF RISKS FOR FLOOD ZONE POSSIBILITIES RIGHT NOW"!
but should not be surprising to the Town Council or those that have
done their homework on this subject, was when the Town’s
consultant, Bob Hamilton said, "IN SOME WAYS, YOU HAVE BEEN
FORTUNATE, BECAUSE YOU HAVEN’T HAD THESE BIG STORMS AND A GIANT
(STORM) SURGE THROUGH THE INLET, INTO THE BACK SIDE & INUNDATED
said next, "THE TRUTH IS, THAT EXISTS AND THAT LEVEL OF RISK
IS GOING TO INCREASE IN THE FUTURE"!! That statement was
less detailed and briefer than the description that the Town’s
former Floodplain Manager, Bill Bucklew gave at a Town Meeting and
written about by this journalist several years ago, but just as
three statements, should be EXTREMELY ALARMING TO EVERYONE ON THE
the Mayor and Town Council’s ignoring the SEVERITY OF THE TOWN’S
FLOOD VULNERABILITY RISKS, and then DELAY AFTER DELAY IN DOING
ANYTHING ABOUT IT--- SHOCKING!
an article written by William Kelly on this same 5/27/21 meeting,
ironically said, "Florida Power & Light electrical
transformers", (switch boxes and all utility boxes),"
situated on ground-level concrete pads to serve the new underground
utilities system being built in the town, need to be raised to
higher elevations to avoid prolonged loss of power caused by
flooding, according to a slide in the presentation."
Hundreds, if not thousands of new electrical utility boxes were
already installed and continuing to be, during this Town-wide
Titanic of a Project, on concrete pads BELOW the floodplain. The
conduits buried underground will remain non-waterproof and
vulnerable to salt-water inundation.
the slide showed was necessary, when asked by a Shore Board Member,
"Have you all coordinated all of this that is going on with the
undergrounding that is going on in the north and in the middle of
the Town?" The response, which further demonstrates that the
Town deliberately left that out of the engagement with the
consultants, was: "I haven’t looked at the plans for the
underground thing." Obviously, would not have, because the
Town, who has retained its own Contractors, did not want to expose
this from the very get go. Just the raising of the Utility Boxes
alone, would have MADE THE COST OF THE PROJECT MUCH, MUCH HIGHER!
So, sacrifice safety for price, plus, Ignore and delay. The
reason why, should be glaringly obvious by now.
top of that, the Town’s Public Works Director, Paul Brazil, said
that, "THIS IS A LONG-TERM PROGRAM WITH A 50-YEAR
LOOK-OUT." Is he kidding?
Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), as this journalist reported,
had done a study in 2018 that showed conservatively, that the Town
would be inundated with chronic flooding on the first floor of homes
in less than 24 years and the inundation by 2100 will be
Town and their consulting firm, at the Town’s pleasure, are
underplaying the severity of the flood issues within the Town. In
50 years, besides the fact that no one involved, including the
Property Owners, will be alive, appears by that time the Town of
Palm Beach will be the equivalent of the island of Atlantis!
a legacy that will be inherited from the Town Council, for the heirs
of the Private Property Owners, when Palm Beach and all its niceties
will be either totally inundated or underwater!
Beat Goes On-Town Ignores Severe Flood Issues In Palm Beach
is the same old song in the Town of Palm Beach, "The Beat Goes
On" …as the Town continues to ignore their most severe
newest FEMA Flood Maps are out, but do you think that means anything
in a Town that has their priorities upside down and instead where
Aesthetic Projects mean more than proactive essential Flood
Preventative Safety Projects?
research and long-time residents’ experiences, we know that the
barrier island of Palm Beach has historical Flood issues. We also
know the seas are rising. That new issues, unrelated to Flooding
from rainstorms, hurricanes, the high-water table and other
conditions, is Flooding on the Intracoastal Waterway side even
during sunny days when the "king tides" come in. On top of
that as the FEMA Flood Maps are updated, whether they are done for
Flood insurance or not, it is apparent that more and more of the
Town of Palm Beach gets included in the most severe "Special
Flood Hazard Zones".
Beach’s Town Council spends time and taxpayer monies on whimsical
Projects, like pretty parks, flower
gardens, dog fountains, a non-waterproof Town-wide Underground
Utility Project and even a larger Town Marina that looks pretty, while
neglecting what should be a priority in their growing most severe
Flood Zone Town.
of their Projects may look Aesthetically pleasing, but NONE of them
are going to help the barrier island Town when it Floods. Homes,
businesses and lives will be destroyed. At that point, what good
would it do to hold the Town Council accountable for their lack of
action to protect the properties and their constituents from the
imminent Flood Damages that will ensue?
newest FEMA Flood Maps, as I have previously written many times,
demonstrate that the majority of the Town is more than 75% within
the most severe FEMA Special Flood Hazard Zones. This was confirmed
by the Town’s former Flood Plain Manager, Bill Bucklew.
it comes to the FEMA maps and Flooding on the barrier island Town,
what most don’t know is, as a Preservation Foundation consultant
Lisa Craig revealed during a presentation at the organization’s
meeting, is the FEMA maps only identify some of the flood hazards
in a coastal community. Craig said the maps DO NOT TAKE SEA-LEVEL
RISE INTO CONSIDERATION! Therefore, the SEVERE FLOOD ISSUES IN THE
TOWN ARE EVEN WORSE THAN THE FEMA FLOOD MAPS SHOW!
so, the narrow island municipality, both on the north-end and the
south-end are predominantly within either the most severe Special
Flood Hazard Zone AE on the Intracoastal Waterway/Lake or, on the
extreme wave velocity hazard of VE (wave action) on the Ocean side.
the Town’s local paper, the Palm Beach Daily News, on 5/13/21 had
some probably unintended misinformation in an article, describing
how the FEMA Flood Maps have been updated.
paper said that, "Flood risk has long been a concern for
homeowners on the island", (would be an understatement if
owners were MORE INFORMED by the Town’s Leaders), and then their
first "mis" was, when they went on to say, "and the
town has stepped up its efforts." What efforts are those?
article went on to describe an event at the Preservation Foundation,
which is NOT a Town entity, but a private foundation/organization.
Therefore, they DO NOT represent the Town! The Town appears to be
attempting to take credit for what a private organization is doing.
The organization gives lectures, informing property owners. As
well-meaning as that may be, this DOES NOT represent the
initiation of Town proactive Flood Protection PROJECTS whatsoever!
second misinformation came when the Foundation’s director of
programing, who is not an expert in Flood Plain Management, was
quoted as saying, "As we have learned, about 50% of homes on
the island are in special flood hazard area zones…" (The
percentage according to statements from the Town’s previous Flood
Plain Manager, was stated about 75% of the Town). What was accurate,
was when the Preservation Foundation programming manager went on to
say, "…and that percentage will keep growing each year…"
Everyone can check out what Flood Zone they are in by clicking
on/ or, going to Palm Beach County GIS
is also important to note that a portion of the famous Breakers
Hotel Golf Course, has flooded after a good rain. Longtime residents
told me that it was once "a swamp, which was later filled
in." In addition, the north-end of the Town has a large area
that was also "filled in swamp."
example, came on September 21, 2020 with a Town Alert that said,
"Please Use Extreme Caution Around Town Due to Flooded
Areas." It had to be quite dire, because the Town of Palm Beach
is anything but transparent about their history and current issues
of frequent Flooding.
one has to wonder why the Town has not taken action on its many
issues with Flood waters? There really is no excuse at all that this
has gone on for years and things are only getting worse.
Beach’s lack of preparedness for Flood events were laid bare back
in March of 2019, when during a discussion at a Town Council
Meeting, Public Works Director Paul Brazil replied to a few Council
Members’ questions about the Town’s Storm Pump and Drainage
system. Mr. Brazil said, "YOU CAN’T PUMP THE WATER OUT
WHEN THE LAKE IS HIGHER THAN YOUR PUMP IS"!
Brazil at that time, regarding the pumps, said: "WE CAN
HANDLE ABOUT AN INCH AN HOUR"!
more alarming was the next statement by Brazil, when he stated, "There
will ALWAYS be a STORM that CAN OVERWHELM IT"!
point here is, JUST ONE EXAMPLE of a Town-wide necessity and
protective Project that the Town should have planned for and funded
first and foremost, prior to: financing and constructing a
non-waterproof Town-wide Underground Utilities Project, renovating
the Town’s Marina, making pretty parks and fountains. Would have
been, if the Town had instead built A NEW AND ELEVATED TOWN-WIDE
WATER DRAINAGE AND PUMP SYSTEM, to lessen or eliminate the Town’s
answer as to why not, makes for much confusion and shows SKEWED
PRIORITIES and lack of attention to the Town’s protection and
safety. The answer came directly from Public Works Director Mr.
Brazil who represents the Town’s policies, regarding the
drainage pipes, which are now underground. He said that it, WOULD BE
TOO EXPENSIVE TO MODIFY IN ANY WAY.
has said and confirmed more than once that when the Town-wide
Underground Project is completed and there is the threat of storm
surge, which occurs during many hurricanes, THE POWER WILL BE SHUT
DOWN TOWN-WIDE! Therefore, the antiquated storm drainage and
pump system, which ARE RUN BY ELECTRICITY, will NOT FUNCTION AT ALL,
when the power is turned off by FPL!
current drainage and pump system will flood, since the water will
likely "overwhelm it" when there is more than 1 inch of
water an hour, plus the electricity will be turned off
and make the Town’s current Drainage and Pump System totally
why then, has the Town wasted valuable time and taxpayer dollars on
Aesthetic, "feel good" Projects, instead of at least
having planned and initiated a new ELEVATED Town-wide Drainage and
Pump System Project? Plus, now what are they going to do about the
loss of electricity they created with their new pet Town-wide
Electrical Undergrounding Project?
the Real Estate prices are souring in Florida right now, due to the
fact that it is one of the most desirable locations to live, in the
future- - as a result of the Town Council’s neglect of their
severe Flooding issues, this valuable Real Estate will END UP ONE
VERY BAD INVESTMENT!
Shell Games Continue
a shame that Town Council members in any Municipality in regards to
a Project in their Town, would suggest things that are
misinformation. Plus, then try and find a way to use that misleading
story or, even consider using it as subterfuge in order to cover-up
a financial blunder of their own creation.
the Town of Palm Beach at their 4/12/21 Council Meeting, Town
Manager Blouin was reporting some very unexpected good news that the
Town of Palm Beach, although as Blouin explained "is NOT an
entitlement community with needs", is expected to receive $3.7
million from "the "American Rescue Plan" COVID-19
Relief Package (ARP), which was recently passed by Congress.
news media as well as the White House, https://www.whitehouse.gov/american-rescue-plan/,
said that this bill was for COVID-19 vaccine expansion programs,
safely reopening K-12 schools in every State, provide direct relief
to Americans, all to the price tag of almost $2 Trillion. Although
advertised as such, that is only a very small portion of how the
large number of monies will be allocated.
of that is the fact that the Town of Palm Beach, which has only one
elementary public school, as we know Florida schools have been open
and in-person learning for many, many months now. As described, the
Town is not an "entitlement community" and getting a
treasure-trove of almost $4 million. Although, those monies as
explained by the Town Manager "cannot be used for pension"
(Too bad, since the Town has an unbelievable debt on that front)
and, cannot be used for "normal budgetary measures". Town
Manager Blouin said only that "There is a whole list of
that is when Town Council member Araskog piped in with a
misinformation propaganda statement that she and her Council
colleagues have been attempting to claim as the reason for the
financial blunder with a blank check price tag, flood-prone
susceptible massive Town-wide Underground Utilities Project’s
overage, that continues to grow.
member Araskog, first stated, "I know you are dealing with
infrastructure". As many have learned, the American Rescue Plan
had much hidden within it. In fact, MOST of the plan has nothing to
do with COVID-19 vaccination programs, payments for unemployment and
direct payments to Americans, assisting every race and creed small
business owners with deficits caused by the COVID lock-downs, or
safe school re-openings. Therefore, in that regard, Ms. Araskog knew
the plan also included certain types of loosely defined
"infrastructure", among other unrelated things.
was most troubling and not accurate though, was Ms. Araskog’s next
claim when she said, "That ALL THE DELAYS WE HAD IN OUR
UNDERGROUND, WHICH CAUSED US TO HAVE OVERRUNS. IS THERE ANY WAY
THAT COULD BE INCLUDED?" (With monies obtained by the Town from
ARP.) "Or, is that out of the loop for this?"
article will go into the deliberate misrepresentation of Ms. Araskog’s
reason for the overage claim, after completing the rest of what
subsequently took place at this same meeting, WHICH IS QUITE SHOCKING
first, in response to Council member Araskog’s request for the use
of the ARP monies, Town Manager Blouin, responded that,
don’t think there is anything in there for undergrounding."
the next conversation got really disturbing. Council Member Crampton
came up with a tricky and slight-of-hand Shell Game idea to possibly
get those monies in another way. When he said, "There is a
lot of Infrastructure money available and that could be on Projects
we don’t have to spend. In other words, we can take some of that
money that we are going to spend on those Infrastructure Projects
when we get the Infrastructure money. And that perhaps can be used
against the deficit that we’re experiencing on the Undergrounding
was just as disturbing, was when Town Manager Blouin responded, "MR.
CRAMPTON IS EXACTLY RIGHT…."
it appears that when the Town gets monies for an infrastructure
Project from the government that are eligible Projects, not because
the money from the Town’s Project is not planned and budgeted or
put aside already, they will use those monies to try and diminish
the continually growing overage that the Town has accumulated from
the massive Town-wide Underground Utilities Project. Sounds rather
sleazy, although likely perfectly legal maneuver. Talk about a
to the Town Council claim that delays are the reason for the
you may recall in previous articles, the Council members claimed
that those delays were caused by unwilling Property Owners who did
not volunteer to give up, or grant a free easement on their front
lawns of their private valuable real estate properties. Therefore,
the Council placed the blame for the Town-wide Underground Utilities
Project overage, squarely on the shoulders of their own Constituents
and taxpaying Property Owners.
far back as 5/6/2016, at a Town Underground Utilities Task Force
Meeting, the future of this Project’s many issues and financial
blank check were transparent, but ignored by the Mayor and Town
Engineer specialist consultant Danny Brannon spoke at said meeting
and HE GAVE A DETAILED ACCOUNT OF THE STANDARD PROBLEMATIC ISSUES
THE TOWN WOULD ENCOUNTER.
explained that the "CONSTRUCTION BIDS WILL BE HIGH AND THERE
WILL BE COST OVERRUNS." That was way back in 2016 before the
Town began the Project in the first place!
Town was also given explicit warnings about that same time, of cost
overruns from the Town of Gulf Stream.
2019, after the Project had been underway, the most bizarre excuse
given in order to diminish the severity of this boondoggle, came
from Town Manager Blouin when he said at a 11/12/19 Town Council
Meeting that he was, "NOT HOPING FOR A RECESSION TO OCCUR, that
would create a whole host of problems for the Town, BUT, THAT
(RECESSION) COULD CHANGE THE DYNAMICS OF THE LONG-TERM COST OF THIS
AND WHAT IT MIGHT BE.". At the time I could not believe
what I was hearing.
now the Town currently possibly faces inflation. Due
to the fact that the Town has to re-negotiate the construction of
each Phase of the eight, two-part North/South Phases, inflation will
impact each part of each Phase’s cost. Making the Town’s
financial blunder even worse going forward!
in 2019 also described his reasons for the soaring price-tag of the
Project, then at $120 Million, as being also as a result of "The
labor and material costs have gone up substantially! We’ve had
additional difficulties in obtaining easements that have driven up
the costs. THE TARIFF WARS HAVE DRIVEN UP THE COSTS. THERE IS A
WHOLE SLEW OF ITEMS…" Tariff wars? You mean the equipment
was coming from China? So many excuse(s) for something that the
Town was fore-warned about before the initiation of the Project in
the first place.
regard to the $120 Million cost increase of the Town-wide Project,
the Project had been advertised to Town residents as $90 Million,
including a 20% cushion.
escalating "OPINION OF COST(S)" of a RUNAWAY Town-wide
Project appears little more than a minor inconvenience and
annoyance, when the staff and Town Council makes up varied excuses
regarding its SKYROCKETING FINANCIAL BOTTOM LINE, which overtime has
gone up to as much as $150 Million and then mysteriously
dramatically down/up somewhat again.
September of 2020 at a Town Council Meeting, Ms. Araskog spoke-up
with her claim that the only thing responsible for the cost overruns
were those pesky uncooperative Property Owners who were unwilling to
give away their valuable real estate in their front yards for those
high-voltage eyesore utility boxes. Can you imagine that?
after the Town has tried every and any pressure tactic to get them
to relent. Araskog said, "We are going way over what was
originally projected and it costing so much more BECAUSE…NOT
WILLING to give the easements, or having many meetings…and now
showing up in the budget."
RECOGNIZING THAT THE EASEMENTS WERE A SMALL PART OF A BIGGER
FINANCIAL MESS THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN EXPECTED AND PRICED FOR, LONG
BEFORE THE TOWN ADVERTISED AND WENT FORWARD WITH THE PROJECT!
to forget a previous idea of Council member Crampton, when he said
regarding the Undergrounding Project that since the Town was "OVER
BUDGET", THE OVERAGE CAN EASILY BE PAID FOR. (GET READY FOR
THIS.) "WE HAVE $100 MILLION IN OUR RESERVES, WE DO HAVE THE
RESOURCES TO DEAL WITH THIS PROBLEM, ABSENT A STORM… WE WILL NEED
TO CONSIDER OUR RESERVES"!!!
troubling things come out of these Town Leaders’ mouths.
the Town’s Public Works Director Paul Brazil admitted at the
February 2021 Town Council Meeting, as to the future costs, etc.
for the Town-wide Underground Utilities Project as: "UNKNOWN IN
THE OUT YEARS."
TO MOST REASONABLE AND LOGICAL INDIVIDUALS, THAT THE SHELL AND BLAME
GAME IS INGRAINED IN THE ACTIONS AND METHODS OF PALM BEACH’S TOWN
COUNCIL. A sad commentary.
should be disappointing for the Town’s Constituents, knowing that
the Mayor and Town Council are anything but transparent when they
have a pet project that has already proven to be an unsuccessful
Town Council Fiddles
Palm Beach Drowns
islands and some coastal areas ARE
the Town of Palm Beach ignores their "Titanic-like" major
issues and for the most part, aside from some rare and empty
meaningless words, disregard what really should matter most to their
the Town Leaders skip down the garden path while their Town is under
assault from "Mother Nature" and is likely SINKING,
which only exacerbates their historic and growing FLOOD ISSUES!
would think with all the obvious dangerous issues, that Town
Leaders, specifically the Mayor and Town Council, would be
proactive, but it appears they are more interested in surface-type
is not as if the Town Council for many years now hadn’t been aware
of all of these issues, impossible! Although they made sure to keep
their Constituents uninformed of these dangers. Therefore, there is
no reason why they could not or should not have retained competent
experts to battle these dangerous issues and already put these
projects into motion.
they think because of the Town’s famous reputation they are immune
from catastrophe? It appears from research and scientific experts
that they are tragically wrong!
is unless they light a fire under their derrieres and start taking
responsibility for what lies before the Town. Plus, wake up to the
inevitable and harsh realities that they need to try to resolve
before it has gone too far, or before it is too late.
most important responsibility of any Municipality’s Mayor and
Council Members, is to PROTECT all its residents and the property
values of those Constituents NOW and IN THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE.
barrier island Town of Palm Beach’s Mayor and Town Council, aside
from some "show piece" projects, such as beach
renourishment for SPECIFIC and LIMITED AREAS of the Town, while
sprinkling sand on the inadequate dunes and not nourishing the
critically eroded beaches in other parts, appear to ignore their
most essential responsibility- -to protect ALL the properties on ALL
SIDES and THROUGHOUT the island.
is in addition to protecting those that reside within the Town with
varied strong EFFECTIVE Flood Protection Projects. Such as, to start
with, an elevated Town-wide Pump and Drainage Project. Those type
projects are where the Taxpayer’s monies need to be invested.
is a known fact that the barrier island Town, has a high-water
table. Its foundation of coral and limestone, means that the ground
is like Swiss cheese, therefore the saltwater also comes up from
underneath the land. In addition to the Town’s low-elevation, they
experience FLOODING from king tides, plus water driven hurricanes
and even rain storms. They are within an evacuation route because
they are at high risk of storm-surge. Add to that the likelihood of
the barrier island SINKING!
IT IS INCOMPREHENSIBLE AND MIND-BOGGLING THAT THE TOWN OF PALM BEACH
OFFICIALS ARE CONSTRUCTING AESTHETIC PROJECTS BEFORE DESIGNING AND
INSTALLING FLOOD PROTECTION PROJECTS!
Palm Beach property owner sent me a National Geographic
article, dated March 8, 2021, entitled "Sinking land and rising
seas: the dual crises facing coastal communities."
article, cited, "The world’s coastal residents are
experiencing more extreme sea level rise than is widely appreciated
because they are concentrated in places where the land is SINKING
RAPIDLY, a study published Monday in Nature Climate Change has
future reference, in most studies the issue of "sinking"
land is most often called "subside" or
a March 19, 2020, The Invading Sea, Florida and The Climate
Crisis article, they talk about parts of Florida as
"sinking". Most significant they sight that, "Sea-level
rise and land subsidence can both increase the risk of flooding in
1/15/19, in an article from the Palm Beach Daily News, "Rising
sea levels inevitable in Palm Beach…." At a local private
Preservation Foundation meeting, several Town Council members were
in attendance when they heard from guest speaker and author Jeff
Goodell, "The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking
Cities and Remaking of the Civilized World".
described that Palm Beach is at risk of INUNDATION. The
article went on to say that, "Goodell displayed a Palm Beach
map with flooding projections, based on current conditions. It
showed that a sea-level rise of 3 feet would put some low-lying
areas under water." He also said that at 6 feet, "you’re
starting to lose the entire barrier island", and added that at,
"8 feet the entire barrier island will be under water."
described that the "water will come, but the question is how
high and how fast." He explained, "this is not a
slow, linear thing. Sea level rise comes in pulses- - big
you would think if nothing else at that meeting, that the Council
members in attendance might have given more thought to the
prioritizing of Flood Protection Projects, when the author
explained, "The trouble begins long before a city (or Town),
becomes Atlantis." He noted that, "…septic-tank
systems fail immediately during floods, marine creatures carried by
water spill into streets and CORROSION ESCALATES. The latter
condition can be especially problematic for public
INFRASTRUCTURE." Such as non-waterproof UNDERGROUND
ELECTRICAL UTILITIES INFRASTRUCTURE!
expert speaker recommended that he thought that billions (or more
like multi-millions) of dollars would be spent on Adaptation,
Protection and Prevention to combat the SINKING, RISING SEAS AND
though, he did not know how the Mayor and Town Council operate,
since they are NOT PROACTIVE and they instead prioritize Aesthetics
and spend Taxpayer monies on those type projects.
mentioned, "raising the foundation of houses, elevating
streets, INSTALLING PUMPS and building walls to keep the water
was most interesting, was not what any Council member said, but what
a concerned Palm Beacher in the audience concluded, "I think we
need research, planning and adaption". "We need all of our
brains and all of our creativity and all of our innovators—AND WE
HAVE TO START RIGHT AWAY."
bad that is not the way Palm Beach’s Mayor and Town Council think.
Council members continue on their merry way with unsuccessful but
aesthetically pleasing show projects, like their blank check
Town-wide Underground Utilities Project, or beautifying Town parks
and making flooded gardens.
Council ignore the rising seas and SINKING LAND on their lake side
and thus the major rising Intracoastal Waterway FLOODING goes on
without a Town-wide credible resolution and plan for these issues
their so-called Beach Renourishment Projects, aimed at specific
areas of the Town’s shoreline, while other areas remain critically
eroded and at great risk. Those Renourishment Projects have no real
strength since they are not contiguous along the critically eroded
shoreline, much like a broken chain. Alas, it looks good where they
think more people see it.
appears that Palm Beach’s Mayor and Town Council fiddle while
their Town continues to SINK AND FLOOD!
a bit like Nero fiddling while Rome was burning.
PRIORITIES LEAD TO CATASTROPHE DOWN THE ROAD.
& Plants vs
The Rising Seas
of sensible flood protection Projects, Palm Beach rather make pretty
gardens and parks.
are municipalities that serve their constituency well with Projects
initiated for the safety and protection of the community they serve
when they endeavor to construct well thought-out Projects. These
Projects are successful when they are accomplished in a timely
fashion, so as to be preventative, rather than constructing
aesthetic wish-list Projects that appear to be part of some kind of
Palm Beach Daily News, 3/13/2021 article
entitled "Tidal Gardens aims to redirect rising waters"
describes "a public-private partnership with the Garden Club
and the town".
like the Town-wide Underground Utilities Project’s real goal of
getting rid of power-lines and poles, this small project, is another
perfect example of the Alternate Universe that the Town Council’s
decisions come out of. On the surface, this particular project
sounds initially quite lovely, as the Tidal Garden might very well
be. The comments contained in this article though, made about the
garden or park which lies directly in a severe flood hazard zone
alongside of the Intracoastal Waterway, shows how out of touch these
people are with the harsh realities of flooding that lies before
them in the Town.
Leaders and their associates, appear to be doing nothing about the
real issues facing the Town and its Property Owners.
article describes the severity of one of the many flood issues for
the Town, "King tides, are exceptionally high tides that happen
annually in the fall in Palm Beach County, are increasingly causing
headache and heartache for homeowners, municipal officials,
motorists and boaters. The high waters inundate roads, batter
seawalls, flood FIRST FLOORS and cost tax dollars for road repair."
problem is no stranger to the most severe Special Flood Hazard Zone
barrier island Town of Palm Beach.
the face of all these major and dangerous flood issues facing the
Town, the Town’s new Mayor Danielle Moore, said, "IT’S A
FUNCTIONAL AND BEAUTIFUL WAY TO DEAL WITH A GROWING ENVIRONMENTAL
ISSUE." Ms. Moore is not new to the Town, she grew up there
and prior to becoming the Mayor, served on the Town Council for
several years. That being said, one would think that the Mayor
and Town Council would be finding "functional" and safe
Projects for the Town to PROTECT its Constituents from the
onslaughts of flooding from king tides, the rising seas on all sides
of the barrier island, hurricanes, rain storms and storm surge.
make matters worse, the Town’s favorite landscape designer and a
Town Board member, made the outrageous claim, which in addition to
the Mayor’s comment demonstrates unrealistic skewed priorities, by
stating: "WE USED TO BUILD RETAINING WALLS TO HOLD BACK
NATURE. NO MORE. WE DON’T FIGHT NATURE. WE CELEBRATE IT AND WORK
WITH IT", was said by Jorge Sanchez.
naïve statement made by the President of the Town’s Garden Club
was, "The waters are rising. There is no stopping it.
INSTEAD OF FIGHTING MOTHER NATURE, we are working with her".
This demonstrates how the Town has not properly educated their
residents of the true severity and seriousness of rising water
within the Town and the danger and damages it will bring.
those assertions, the Town’s philosophy about dealing with
flooding issues on the island? Appears to be, from everything they
have NOT done and from statements like these. Imagine, when the Town
of Palm Beach is totally flooded as National experts, like the Union
of Concerned Scientists have predicted will occur.
flooding destruction on the island could have been avoided, or at
least impeded greatly. Their own statements and actions prove that
the Mayor and the Town Council don’t want to "deal with a
growing environmental issue". Nor, "fight nature", to
PROTECT PROPERTY OWNERS AND RESIDENTS. Giving in to flooding, as has
been suggested by all three statements, is not something that is
beneficial for the properties, investments or, the SAFETY of the
residents that live in the Town.
PROPERTIES AGAINST THE ONSLAUGHT OF "MOTHER NATURE’S"
DETRIMENTS ARE WORTH "FIGHTING" FOR!
statements by the Mayor, the Town’s board member and landscape
consultant, plus the Town resident, demonstrate a frightening lack
of reality for the severity of the flood issues that face the
Property Owners that have invested in the Town with their private
the Town of Palm Beach’s Mayor and Town Council should have done
long ago, was to educate their Town Boards
and residents of the dangers that being within a most Severe Flood
Hazard Zone barrier island really means, so that residents are fully
informed. Kept a positive but practical attitude that resolving
these dangers is well worth "FIGHTING" FOR!
the Town should have carefully investigated, sensible and successful
Flood Protection Projects, such as a Town-wide elevated Drainage and
Pump System Project, Town-wide contiguous Beach Nourishment
Projects, a Lake-Side contiguous Retaining/Seawall Project that will
prevent water intrusion throughout the western border of the Town.
All of this, instead of making excuses for not doing the right
Projects and instead, continually engaging the same consultants for
studies that go nowhere or, end up with ineffective Projects.
the Town had done these wise, thoughtful and common-sense type
Projects, Palm Beach’s Mayor and Town Council would have protected
the investments of their Constituents and been a role model of
preventative flood management, vulnerability flood protection and
stellar leadership for their residents as well as for other
Municipalities. Plus, the Property Owners’ tax monies would have
been well spent.
THE TOWN DID THE OPPOSITE AND INITIATED PROJECTS THAT THEY FELT
LOOKED AESTHETICALLY PLEASING, or were selectively acceptable to
certain areas of the Town and, placed those Projects and the elitist
people that wanted them, ABOVE THE REAL SAFETY AND PROTECTION OF
THEIR VULNERABLE FLOOD-PRONE MUNICIPALITY.
Town’s pet newspaper, the Palm Beach Daily News, 3/21/21
editorial endorsement of Tidal gardens as a way to deal with the
rising seas as "a template for the future" is almost
comical, if it weren’t so misinformed. Don’t they know that the
majority of the Town is within the most severe FEMA Special Flood
Hazard Zone? Plus, that the barrier island also has a high-water
table too? Does this template include forgetting about all the
Homes, Buildings, Businesses, Residents and Property Owners that
live within the Town? DOES PALM BEACH’S FUTURE INCLUDE TURNING THE
TOWN INTO A GIANT TIDAL GARDEN? TALK ABOUT IDIOTIC ASSERTIONS!
PARKS AND LANDSCAPING ARE NICE, NO OVERHEAD POWER-LINES MAY LOOK
BETTER, BUT, WITHIN A MOST SEVERE SPECIAL FLOOD HAZARD ZONE TOWN,
WHEN THE WATER RUSHES IN-- NEITHER WERE A PRIORITY AND NEITHER
PROTECT PROPERTIES FROM FLOODING OR LOSS OF POWER!
a shame. A sad commentary, but an accurate reality.
have been writing about local issues for years now, but I am
deviating because of something I read in a newspaper that needs to
be rectified. In the e-paper edition of the local newspaper, on
3/6/2021, there was an article, titled "Better Days
Ahead?", "Cuba’s struggling entrepreneurs look to……with
hope" under the Associated Press tag line. The article
completely romanticized what are proposed by the author of the
article to be "entrepreneurs" within Cuba and, what type
of government exists within Cuba today.
fact is, Cuba IS a third world "Communist" country and
there is NOTHING romantic or entrepreneurial about living there!
plan in the following article, is to contrast the romanticism and
misnomers about life for ordinary citizens of Cuba, with a reality
check accomplished through a trip BY INVITATION, I made to the
island in the spring of 2016.
can guarantee, that in 2021, as per the type of government and their
business enterprises, that nothing has changed within the tiny
island Nation of Cuba.
to the 3/6/21 Associated Press article, "HAVANA—Business was
booming for a trendy little clothing shop called Clandestina in the
heart of Old Havana, one of thousands of new private businesses that
had arisen in what was once a near-wholly staterun socialist
article begins with a large photo of a man in a hat and mask in the
tobacco field. The man is working in the field. How does that make
him an entrepreneur?
get some realities straight here. Cuba as of 2020-2021 has a
President, which is apparently, nothing more than a puppet show
position, while "listed as the most powerful position in
Cuba", is "Leader", "Raul Castro (1st Secretary
of the Communist Party)."
a Nation, such as Cuba, or the Press, may call them a
"Socialist economy", there appears to be a fine yet blurry
line between what is in reality, Communism economy and rule.
US government-funded Freedom House, founded in 10/31/1941 by Eleanor
Roosevelt and still being funded by the US, as of 2020, classifies
Cuba "…as being ‘Not Free’. "
significantly, Freedom House states that, Cuba is on the list from
the Americas, "……of THE WORST OF THE WORST: The World’s
MOST REPRESSIVE SOCIETIES FOR WIDESPREAD ABUSES OF POLITICAL RIGHTS
AND CIVIL LIBERTIES."
quotes the Associated Press article gave from these workers
and authorities within Cuba, are staged for foreigners, especially
for those from the United States. When you live in a country like
that, your speech and rights are limited and you do not want to
anger the government because of retribution.
I visited Cuba, we were told at that time that there were new
private businesses. To the average tourist, many from Canada and
parts of Europe, at that time those tourists from the US had limited
access, but every tourist was taken to certain approved areas for
planned and staged events, stores, as well as restaurants.
tourists are only interested in the lush tropical climate and do not
look beyond the limited areas shown that are all staged and they
have limited to no contact with the average Cuban. This journalist
however, always goes beyond, asks questions of local guides and
anyone they introduce us to. Looks carefully beyond the prepared
I learned about the private businesses is they were a sham. There
supposedly were some new businesses that a family or a person was
said to own, but in reality, they had to pay the majority of any
profit they received to the government, with little left for
themselves and their families.
had churches, but was told after inquiring that there was no worship
allowed in the churches. They took us out for a ride in different
antique cars, which Cuba is also known for. Our driver, explained to
me that the drivers had to give most of their income to the
government. He explained that the homes that look well-kept and
nice, belonged to the elite in the government. No one owned their
homes anymore and that was why those on side streets were in decay
with many families occupying what were once, in some areas, nice
homes owned by single families that fled Cuba to the USA and left
could read between the lines that those in the tourist industry,
were much better off than the average Cuban.
the second of two articles I wrote after my 2016 trip to Cuba, I had
been contacted by a Cuban American who emigrated to the US. This is
what she wrote to me: "I want to thank and congratulate you on
your eye opener and true to life article on Cuba in a recent Condo
News. Coming in 1961 as a Cuban refugee with my parents and
sister, it infuriates me when I see and hear people’s enthusiasm
in their forthcoming visits to the island. Nothing has changed or
will change, sadly but true." Those words from a Cuban who
escaped with her family, says it all.
average Cuban lives in poverty under total government control on all
levels. The powerless population of Cuba, can’t escape and they
live the lives that the government has preordained for them. Those
working in a cigar factory, were given no choice. Although the
factory had a family name, the family that had owned it fled years
ago and the government took over. The Cuban government determines
everything, including what young people go to college, which is
free. They determine what career, or profession the government needs
local guide showed us her "ration card" for food and
essentials. Remember, she was better off than most. We were told
that a good salary to a Cuban in 2016 was the equivalent of $20 to
$30 A MONTH.
the article in the Associated Press describing a beautiful
Cuba with entrepreneurs, is nothing more than a facade.
the truth for oneself and researching the reality of what you’ve
seen, whether it be Socialism or Communism, is something to be
shunned and never romanticized. THE REALITIES THAT GO WITH THAT TYPE
OF GOVERNING ARE SOMETHING TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY AND RECOGNIZED FOR
Ever-Moving Shell Game of Underground Project Shortfalls
the February 9, 2021 Palm Beach Town Council Meeting, it was
announced that, CURRENTLY, "the shortfall" for the
Town-wide Underground Utilities Project, was claimed to be $10.5
million as of 2023-2024. What makes this ever-changing number so
impossible to trust as reliable, is that over the years since early
2017, the proposed overage of the Project and shortfalls have been
on a roller coaster ride of different ranges.
original cost of the Town-wide Project, WAS ADVERTISED AND SPECIFIED
"NOT TO EXCEED $90 MILLION"! Which included a
substantial cushion of at least 20%. It was not as if prior the
Mayor, Town Council and their Board, the Underground Utilities Task
Force (UUTF) members, were not warned of all the pitfalls by an
experienced expert in the field who had done these types of Projects
on a much smaller scale and additionally cautioned by another
municipality, the Town of Gulf Stream. The legitimate warnings of
what would come, regarding the time extensions and unknowns for the
construction of such a Project, the many problems that the Town
would ensue AND how the costs would ESCALATE UNBELIEVABLY!
didn’t take very long at all, for the cost of the Project to
skyrocket to $150 million! That first glimpse into the reality this
Project would bring was when the REAL COST MANIPULATION GAMES and
SHELL GAME began in Palm Beach!
time, the supposed cost of the Town-wide Project appeared to take on
an artificial budget allotment. Like an out-of-control graph, the
continually shifting lines, if such a graph existed, would have
shown the changing costs of the Project. The lines with categories
went down and then climbed slightly upwards, down and jumped upwards
once again. Never really quite reaching the first highest spike
cost. Why? Where did the $150 million cost expenses go to?
one point THERE WAS AN ITEMIZED LIST OF ADDITIONAL EXPENSES, that
would add up to an excessive cost for the Project. That list and
most of those expenses just vanished and were never seen again
within the Undergrounding budget. Why? Where
did those itemized underground utility project costs go to?
was rumored and possibly quietly mentioned, that most of the
escalating cost items were being moved to other Town budget lines.
and other tactics, like never mentioning the interest costs of the
GO Bonds, which will add onto the final cost, were and have been
DISGUISING WHAT THE REAL COST OF THE TOWN-WIDE PROJECT WILL BE!
next artificial cost game played on the Town’s Constituents and
the Property Owners that are paying the brunt of the expensive
burden for this misguided direction of the Mayor and Town Council,
came in 1/2020, when the Town popped up with a new and improved
revised, "Opinion of Cost" for the Project.
course, it was MUCH, MUCH HIGHER, about $120 million, (that number
is minus the $8.5 million in grant monies the Town managed to get),
than the original $90 million cost the Project was advertised as to
the Town’s people. Could have and would
have made a huge difference, knowing how the costs would escalate
alarmingly, for any residents at the original time who may have
thought okay, without knowing anything about the many other problems
that would occur: including the short life-span of such a Project
and numerous flood-related electrical issues.
with this newest "Opinion of Cost", the original much
lower one appears to have disappeared from memory of the Town’s
officials, most notably the Mayor and Town Council, who are
responsible for the initiation of the Project in the first place. No
one speaks of the original $90 million price tag, nor the higher
cost of $150 million and any of those mysteriously removed details
and related expense items that would have added up significantly
within the Underground Budget.
if they just evaporated into the ether and were never referred to
again at Council Meetings or in communications to the public. It is
as if it never even existed in the first place. THEREBY,
DELIBERATELY MAKING THE TRUE OVERAGE AND SHORTFALL OF THE PROJECT
APPEAR GREATLY DIMINISHED!
is as the Shell Game and the numbers continue to move around, so
that it is next to impossible to see the sleight of hand. All that
they need are, three walnut shells and a pea.
do you think that Elected Officials would endeavor to do such a
thing to their Constituents and Taxpayers, who in the end are
financially responsible for the decisions and actions that take
place within their municipality?
now, even as the ever-moving Shell Game and Magic Act continue,
there is still a proposed overage and "shortfall" of at
least $10.5 million added onto the latest unknown cost of the
with this new escalated "Opinion of Cost", the Town-wide
Project is proving, none the less, to be what this Project was
called prior to getting off the ground, when the Project was
accurately labeled by some residents with common sense, as a
"Blank Check for the Town’s Property Owners."
Shell Game Magic Act Project continues on its costly path forward
without any real transparency, regardless of the Town Council’s
claims otherwise. This reality is quite simply shown by the short
response at the February Town Council Meeting from the Town’s
Public Works Director, Mr. Brazil. Mr. Brazil’s evasive and blurry
response as to what the future of this underground utilities Project
holds is demonstrated by his statement regarding all the costs, etc.
as: "UNKNOWN IN THE OUT YEARS."
kind of way is that to run and manage a multi-million-dollar
is called "Ching, Ching, Ching." Leading to the Town’s
Property Owners and Taxpayers to "Pay, Pay, Pay", one way
or the other. Through pocket A or, through pocket B.
appears that the Town of Palm Beach expects their Constituents and
Property Owners to trust them and never verify. Of course, it would
be difficult to trust, regardless of their words, because of the
true lack of transparency and deception that has taken place over
such a long period of time.
addition, no longer does the Town give details as to why streets are
closed down quickly in the underground areas, no longer are there
any mention of gas leaks and construction accidents as had been
constant in the past, along with no real details as to where the
true costs of this out-of-control Project have gone.
but yes, "the Blame Game", the Town Council and their
obedient staff play for the rising costs of the Project are in full
throttle. For some time now, the blame for cost increases have
clearly and overtly been shifted to the Property Owners who do not
immediately bend to the Town Council’s will and continual pressure
tactics. Such as not giving up their valuable real estate for a
high-voltage electrical utility box or boxes, with freebee easements
on their front lawns.
the Mayor and Town Council have shifted all the real blame to the
Property Owners, in lieu of taking responsibility for initiating
this Project in the first place and then plowing through with it
regardless of its inevitable financial and electrical flooding
ironic that this Blank Check of a Town-wide Project, on top of
everything else, should NEVER HAVE BEEN PLANNED, CONSTRUCTED OR
EXIST, IN A SEVERE SPECIAL FLOOD HAZARD ZONE BARRIER ISLAND TOWN!
easy it would have been for the Mayor and Town Council to have done
their homework and realized that installing non-waterproof
electrical utilities underground and ground-level equipment below
the floodplain was the most detrimental decision any elected Town
Officials could make.
the Legacy of the Palm Beach Town Council will NOT be one of
foresight and well-managed Projects based on protecting Town and
THE LEGACY OF THE MAYOR AND TOWN COUNCIL, WILL BE ONE OF FRIVOLOUS
AND SHALLOW PRIORITIZING OF AESTHETICS, PLACED WELL ABOVE SAFETY AND
PROTECTION FOR ALL!
Beach Is Drowning In Their Leaders’ Lack Of Foresight
more example of the severe flooding issues that exist within the
Town of Palm Beach. Photo taken by Charles Pepper on 11/28/2020.
Town of Palm Beach has been ignoring the reality of the high risk
their flood hazard zone Town is in and instead, they continue to use
every and any tactic to try to complete this pet Town-wide
Underground Utilities Project.
the Town has used and required Property Owners’ payments by the
method of non-tax-deductible Special Assessments, knowing that the
30 years of payments will extend longer than the Project’s
life-span. Would any logical person think that is practical and
financially sound decision- making?
appears that the Town’s debt, from this blank check financial
blunder, has the Town asking a second time for pre-payments from
Property Owners, for a diminishing return Project.
the January 12, 2021 Palm Beach Town Council Meeting, when the Town’s
Financial Director was asked about this second attempt to get
pre-payments, four years after the Town’s first full-scale push to
get Property Owners to pay for all the years at once. Ironically,
the Town’s senior Financial Director, Ms. La Clainche’s response
to the Mayor’s question about the special assessments was, "These
assessments will be on the tax bills for the next 26 years. So, it
will transfer to the new owner when they sell… FOR MOST PEOPLE, I
THINK THE OPTION TO JUST LEAVE IT ON THEIR TAX BILLS IS PROBABLY THE
Town’s Financial Director, La Clainche used her common sense and
her expertise to give this response.
appeared to have displeased Town Council member Araskog who after
Ms. La Chainche gave her expert opinion, made her own attempt to
ignore the Financial Director’s analysis and instead gave her
reasons in favor of pre-paying, further demonstrating the Town’s
desperation to get monies as fast as possible from the Property
Owners, for a financially failing and escalating Project.
appears, the Financial Director had the right answer and was
thinking of the Property Owners best financial interests when she
gave her educated opinion.
sea-level is rising, and the damage costs from this flood reality
are increasing year by year, with the now conservative estimate for
some possible solutions to this major issue, being well over $4
Billion in Florida alone.
sea-level rise is speeding up, we have the Town of Palm Beach, who
did NOT have any foresight to choose the essential years of careful
and thoughtful scientific planning and prioritizing this frightening
and dangerous reality of their flood-prone Town’s current issue.
Scientists have warned for years now, that these issues with
sea-rise, excessive rain, storm events and water intrusion issues
will increase greatly in the future, with coastal properties and
homes being plagued with constant flooding.
Town having no solutions or projects to protect their Property
Owners from this flooding onslaught, instead, in its place, chose an
unwise bizarrely unthinkable Town-wide Project. To bury
Non-Waterproof Electrical Infrastructure Utilities on their most
severe, low-lying, high water-table, Special Flood Hazard Zone
barrier island! The real question here is: "What planet are the
Mayor and Town Council living on?"
reality is that scientifically, the rising sea-level and flooding in
Palm Beach will destroy the non-waterproof electrical utilities
system and leave the Town’s Constituents, their properties, their
real estate values and their homes, flooded, without electricity and
underwater! THOSE ARE THE FACTS THAT THE MAYOR AND TOWN COUNCIL HAVE
CHOSEN TO IGNORE.
and the facts have revealed that TRADITIONAL METHODS TO SOLVE
SEA-LEVEL RISE AND THE IMPACTS FROM THE VARIOUS FORMS OF FLOODING,
THAT OCCUR IN FLORIDA, JUST WILL NOT WORK!
reason some of the usual methods to successfully solve sea-level
rise DON’T WORK IN FLORIDA and especially on the low-elevation
barrier island Town of Palm Beach, IS THAT SALT-WATER FLOWS THROUGH
THE POROUS GROUND.
comes up from below and even the use of sea walls, are not
sufficient, because the salt-water comes under the sea-walls. Oh
yes, but the Town of Palm Beach has not even been looking into that
solution, or anything else to stop the impacts from sea-level rise.
No, instead they are barreling along with burying their electrical
utilities with a NON-WATERPROOF Town-wide Project soon to be
UNDERWATER! Makes perfect sense.
for this major problem SHOULD NOT be ignored! They include
construction of: Stormwater Improvements, ELEVATING new Drainage
and Pump Systems that cannot be flooded out or lose their
electricity, RAISING Roads, protecting the Sewage Systems and
Drinking Water from saltwater intrusion and adapting new building
and zoning regulations, while figuring out ways to protect existing
homes and properties.
should be included in these solutions, IS THE VITAL NEED TO PROTECT
THE MOST ESSENTIAL ELECTRICAL INFRASTRUCTURE WITHIN A MUNICIPALITY.
Especially, since currently there is NOT A WATERPROOF Underground
Electrical Utility Infrastructure System that is proven and can
sustain long-term. Certainly not for flood-prone barrier islands.
the construction of such a Town-wide Project with all of these known
serious problems of flooding and sea-level rise, makes Palm Beach’s
current Underground Utilities Project, economically insolvent and a
disaster waiting to happen!
with Palm Beach, the priority is ramrodding this fool-hearty Project
Town has used every and any tactic to get Property Owners to
surrender their valuable real estate at no cost, for high voltage
electrical equipment installed mostly under the floodplain in front
yards of homes and condos, while the conduits with electrical wires
inside, are buried in a flood zone and are NOT waterproof. The
Property Owner, with said high voltage on-ground level equipment,
from the standard easement forms signed by homeowners, still
maintain liability for personal injuries on the easement property.
Why would anybody want that if they knew all the facts?
they already began their pet Underground Utilities Project, the Town
attempted to cover themselves by hiring one of their usual
consultants and with an occasional reference to their
"Vulnerability" Study. The most significant fact though,
is this Vulnerability Study the Town engaged AFTER the Town-wide
Project was already underway, never even considered an unbiased
analysis of why undergrounding NON-WATERPROOF electrical equipment
would be a catastrophic and financial failure.
truly unbiased Town-wide Vulnerability Study should have been
engaged and completed WELL PRIOR to the conception of an Underground
Electrical Utilities Project, let alone putting such a major
infrastructure Project into motion.
this current cover-up supposed Vulnerability Study, HAS GONE
NOWHERE, ACCOMPLISHED NO REAL PROTECTION for ALL the properties in
this high-risk Town AND the current study, absolutely and completely
ignored the Town-wide NON-WATERPROOF Electrical Underground
Utilities Project! Don’t you wonder why?
is just one of many in the demonstrations by the Town Council of
their lack of foresight, due diligence and any objective
responsibility towards their Constituents and Property Owners for
not only their best financial well-being, the long-term property
values and most importantly, the essential safety in the future of
CAN THIS MAYOR AND TOWN COUNCIL BE THINKING?" and, "WHAT
PLANET ARE THEY LIVING ON?"
Town-wide Underground Utilities Project in the Town of Palm Beach,
is a glaring lack of foresight. It will eventually prove that Palm
Beach Town’s Leaders should have instead found solutions for the
onslaught of sea-level rise and flooding to protect their barrier
island municipality. The problem is, it will be too late by then.
Decision vs Shortsighted Strategy
Commissioner in the Municipality of Highland Beach who I had
interviewed about 1 and ½ to 2 years ago, reached out to me.
Commissioner Evelyn David reads my articles and wanted to update me
on Highland Beach.
David mentioned how her residents/constituents "successfully
DEFEATED a plan to underground our… utility lines."
Highland Beach Commissioner stressed to me that you do NOT
Underground Utilities, "Not when you’re are on a Barrier
reminded me that her neighbors in the Town of "Gulf Stream
completed two miles of undergrounding and it took them 10 years. In
addition, since they are connected to Boynton Beach to actually get
their power, (from the mainland, much like Palm Beach), when Boynton
goes out so do they."
David explained that, "FPL hardened all the utility poles in
Highland Beach. I don’t believe we have lost power for more than a
moment or two since then. Hardened poles may not be aesthetically
beautiful, but THEY WORK!"
cost to Highland Beach for the "FPL hardened" utility
poles was ZERO DOLLARS and only G-d knows what was spent and will be
spent in the Town of Palm Beach for their Town-wide Underground
addition, I was told that, (unlike the Town of Palm Beach, who
refused the hardened poles with smart switch technology, which are
installed closer together than the original utility poles), Highland
Beach’s hardened poles will be used with 5G technology. Which,
according to Commissioner David is another plus.
course, the most obvious reason for Highland Beach Commissioner
David’s comments about never undergrounding electrical utilities
on a barrier island, are due to the facts that barrier islands are
even more vulnerable to flood risks than inland communities. That is
a known and confirmed fact. A recent article, in The Palm Beach
Daily News, demonstrates how flooding is an issue in Florida,
that is getting worse year after year.
article, entitled, "It was hot and wet in 2020" discussed
"the official Nation Weather Service stations statewide, totals
were nonetheless impressive…. drenched by nearly 100 inches of
rain." As the article described, "May came in sloppy with
an early start to a rainy season that lingered stubbornly."
inland areas had flooding issues, like a Lantana resident who was
crawling out a front window to keep rain-induced flooding…. The
man "…sealed up the doors to his Sea Pines Way house in early
October with a silicone-like plastic, following three days of heavy
rainfall that totaled 5.5 inches at PBIA." The homeowner told
of "The pool was disappearing and water was coming in the
garage." Describing how, "For weeks we had to go out the
is reminiscent of what one Town of Palm Beach, north-end homeowner
described after a rain, that the water flooded his garage and the
water was thigh high and had actually knocked out his garage doors.
This flood was from a mere rainstorm!
reminds one of one of the greatest floods in the Town of Palm Beach
on January of 2014, where hundreds of cars were towed and people had
to be rescued by the police. The following was written to me by a
long-time Town homeowner. The description is quite graphic, but
clear. The questions, excellent.
would the effect have been where the Town undergrounded at the time
that storm hit our barrier island? This is a legitimate area for
inquiry and answers since the majority of the town has low
was evidenced by the storm in January of 2014 when the flood waters
were over two feet in places and people lost cars and some were even
trapped in cars and had to walk in multiple feet of water from the
would the consequences have been had that storm hit Palm Beach after
the entire Town had underground electric? What would the time period
have been to restore electric?
areas would FPL began first to restore? How long after the storm
ended could they begin restoration in order to prevent electrocution
of their workers? Since people were walking and trapped in multiple
feet of water during the storm, would they have to turn off power in
order to prevent the risk of electrocution in standing water?
far in advance of the storm would power be turned off if at all?
Where, how, and do they differentiate the higher and lower flood
elevations in town?
what happens when the flood level rises above sufficiently to cause
salt water to intrude upon the equipment? Assuming that occurs isn’t
it true that outages can occur well after the storm ends and power
to the article, "It was hot and wet in 2020", when it
describes, "An average of about 60.5 inches of rain, fell in
2020 across the 16-county region from Orlando to the Keys that is
overseen by the South Florida Water Management District. That’s
about 8 inches more than normal, …"
all the rain, flooding and the Town of Palm Beach being so
dramatically vulnerable, it seems mind-boggling that any reasonable
and Town serving Mayor and Town Council would keep pushing through a
Town-wide Underground Utilities Project.
the facts, studies and experts with the unlimited problems laid
bare, leaves any reasonable person to think past the aesthetic
shallow purpose for the construction, as well as the unmerited
claims of more reliability and instead, it makes one wonder,
"What is the real reason the Town of Palm Beach is doing what
is obviously an unwise financial blank check Project, which due to
the serious flood risks on the barrier island, this Project is sure
to fail, besides being preposterous, within the low-elevation, high
water-table Special Flood Hazard Zone Town?
yourself that question a few times and you will be more and more
baffled and then disgusted.
is an old saying, that if you do not learn from history (or
mistakes), you are doomed to repeat them.
The sentiment, in its original form came from writer and
philosopher, George Santayana and refers to the need for common
sense. This adage appears to apply to the
Mayor and Town Council in Palm Beach.
the December 8, 2020 Town Council Meeting, Council members appear to
have learned nothing, when it comes to their brazen lack of interest
in the fact that as they demean Taxpaying Property Owners who do not
want to give up their valuable real estate with freebie Easements to
place high voltage utility boxes, transformers and switch boxes, on
their private properties. The Council with their uncaring and
unprofessional actions are doomed to repeat their mistakes.
example of this was when Council member Lindsay stated, "THE
RESISTANCE, INSTEAD OF GOING DOWN OVER TIME, AS I WOULD HAVE
EXPECTED, IT IS GOING UP!" Council member Lindsay is
referring to the fact that Property Owners, despite the enormous
pressure tactics coming from the Town, are not willingly granting
unrealistic and unprofessional attitude, is demonstrated when
Council member Lindsay expressed her continual displeasure with
Property Owners who value their real estate and might also be
concerned with flooding on their properties that can occur, as well
as the dangers of high voltage equipment on their front lawns. There
is also, the liability factor that remains with the Property Owner,
regardless of whether they give away their valuable real estate for
an Easement to install the high-voltage equipment on it.
added, "THE FURTHER WE GO, THE GREATER THE RESISTANCE. THE
NIMBY FACTOR." "NIMBY", as previously described by
Council member Lindsay, translates to: "Not In MY Back
Yard". Although it is Not In Anyone’s Back Yard, but, much
worse, because IT IS NOW IN THE FRONT YARD OF HOMES.
many justified concerns and risks that the Palm Beach Property Owner
must consider as they are being pushed, harassed and pressured, to
grant this FREE Utility Easement IN PERPETUITY!
Council member Lindsay stated at the meeting that, "Because a
few people don’t want to participate" (Is that what you
call giving away valuable real estate?) Remarkably, she
considers that "Tragic!"
addition, Council member Araskog, expressed her attitude towards
Taxpayers. Due to her goal of getting every Easement for FREE from
Palm Beach Property Owners that she and her colleagues think they
are entitled to and, the unrelenting desire that it should be
granted regardless, it appears Ms. Araskog does not realize that
when she said the following, that her statement is accurate, JUST
NOT IN THE WAY SHE INTENDED.
Araskog’s enlightening statement, "WE ARE SPENDING SO MUCH
OF TAXPAYER MONEY, THAT COULD HAVE BEEN USED ON SOMETHING
ELSE." Yes, indeed, Council member Araskog, rather than the
sure to fail unnecessary Town-wide Underground Utilities Project, IN
LIEU, at NO COST TO TAXPAYERS, THE TOWN COULD HAVE INSTALLED FLOOD
RESISTANT, HIGH-WIND CAPACITY, HARDENED POLES WITH SMART SWITCH
significantly, TAXPAYER MONIES should have been used, NOT with a
NON-TAX DEDUCTIBLE, SPECIAL ASSESSMENT, but AS TAXES, to construct a
Town-wide Flood Protection Project, like Miami Beach and other
low-lying municipalities, with an ELEVATED Town-wide Drainage and
Pump System Project. That would have been proactive and protect the
Town, private properties and their residents!
the Town is WASTEFULLY AND IRRESPONSIBLY "spending Taxpayer
monies", that COULD HAVE INSTEAD BEEN
USED ON A NECESSITY FOR THE TOWN’S FLOOD RISK PROTECTION AND
sad reality is that in the case of the Town of Palm Beach, the
Town-wide Underground Utilities Project is really nothing more than
a frivolous "aesthetic" obsession of the Mayor and Town
biggest losers in all of this, are the Town’s current and future
Property Owners. That is the greatest tragedy of all!
long-term attitudes by Town Leaders are astoundingly callous.
lack of understanding, is remarkable, because the Project and the
obvious repeated obsession of "aesthetics" is the real
reason the Mayor and Town Council are endangering a historically
highly vulnerable Special Flood Hazard Zone barrier island Town.
constructing a financial runaway underground infrastructure Project,
with non-waterproof conduits containing electrical underground
utilities and ground level high-voltage utility boxes. This bizarre
priority of "aesthetics", should not even exist in a
municipality of such high flood risks.
the Mayor and Town Council appear to care less about protection of
valuable real estate and human lives rather than their shallow
perception of what they believe looks attractive.
their occasional claims of improved reliability that have no real
merit, because the Town could have easily trimmed the overgrowth
near electrical wires and poles, it is the desire for
"aesthetics" that drives the real reason for their
the Mayor and Town Council on the barrier island Town of Palm Beach
Zone Palm Beach!
FLOODED backyard turned into a lake on Seaspray home in PB. Photo
taken by PBer Charles Pepper
FLOODING on Lake Trail, PB Can instead rent out Kayaks on this
walking/bike path. Photo taken by Charles Pepper.
FLOODED sidewalks & street-wade through the water in Midtown, PB.
FLOOD photo on S. Ocean Blvd., south of Southern Blvd., PB from
rainstorm. Photo by Maddy G
of the WORST FLOOD areas in PB is in much of the north-end of Town.
NO AVAILABLE photos at this time.
Town of Palm Beach, due to their unrelenting "Aesthetic"
obsession, may choose to ignore their Barrier Island Town’s:
history of FLOODING from rain events over the many years, more
recently, sunny day FLOODING, King Tides, FLOODING from the
vulnerability of being low-elevation, having a high water-table,
FLOODING from strong water-driven hurricanes, the majority of the
Town being within the most SEVERE FEMA SPECIAL FLOOD HAZARD ZONE,
FLOODING from sea-rise that is worsening every year, the risk of
FLOODING from storm surge, BUT…. that
DOES NOT CHANGE THE REALITY, that the Town is a historic flood-prone
Barrier island, whose FLOODING ISSUES ARE GETTING WORSE AND MORE
as unbelievably irresponsible as it is, the Mayor and Town Council,
chose to ignore the severity of the Town’s Flooding risks.
Instead of doing an ELEVATED Town-wide Drainage and Pump System
Instead of ELEVATING all the western side retaining walls in a
Instead of NOURISHING AND RE-NOURISHING, ALL the Town’s critically
eroded beaches and making the coastal protection contiguous to the
Town’s southern border.
to PROTECT THE TOWN AND THEIR CONSTITUENTS’ PRIVATE PROPERTIES,
instead, the Mayor and Town Council, in their infinite lack of
wisdom, CHOSE A FRIVOLOUS, UNSUSTAINABLE, NON-WATERPROOF, TOWN-WIDE
ELECTRICAL UNDERGROUND UTILITIES PROJECT!
add, insult to injury, they put the majority of the financial burden
for this sure to fail Project, which only complicates and harms the
FLOODING ISSUES and the need for reliable and sustainable Electrical
Infrastructure, which undoubtably should have been and continue to
be, the MOST IMPORTANT PRIORITY OF ALL TIME WITHIN PALM BEACH,
INSTEAD, the Town burdened private Property Owners with annual
special assessments for 30 years. Longer than the Project’s
life-span, to pay for this unrealistic, TITANIC OF A TOWN-WIDE
while continuing to use guerrilla, unconscionable tactics in order
to gain freebie Electrical Utility Easements on valuable private
FLOOD ZONE PALM BEACH!
are living in an Alternate Universe, "the Twilight Zone",
or "Never-Never Land".
Running Wild For Underground Utilities Project!
interesting matter of consequence discussed during the Town-wide
Underground Utilities Agenda item at the Town of Palm Beach’s
11/10/20 Town Council Meeting, besides what was revealed in the
previous Condo News article, "Skewed Priorities Lead To
Draconian Tactics", was how "OVER BUDGET" the
Underground Utilities Project is.
"over budget" problem, is not really a surprise. Since the
initial claim that the Town-wide Project’s cost with a substantial
cushion was "originally" to be $90 million, there has been
a consistent shell-game of tactics used by the Town to cover the
fact that the Project’s real cost, was and still is, nothing more
than a BLANK CHECK!
years ago, in 2016, before the Project began its
construction, there was a PAC of Palm Beach residents who
actually had hand-outs to look like a bank check, which said,
"Pay to the order of: Wasteful Government Spending", with
four question marks in the box to write the cost of the
Undergrounding Project. How apropos that insightful card has
become and proven to be, predicting the way this sure to fail
Town-wide Project is.
it comes to the Town-wide Underground Utilities Project, although as
stated at the same Town Council Meeting, the Project is NOT even
halfway there yet, somehow, numbers and totals seem to be fluidly
changing with spikes and dips that are unaccounted for.
and totals for the cost of the Project, are much like a Magic Act,
and the growing costs, just seem to disappear in to thin-air and
then come back with lower and different numbers, never fully
explaining how the higher costs just vaporized.
of the many perfect examples of this Magic Act, was spoken by Mayor
Coniglio, when she now claimed at the November Town Council Meeting
that the "original cost" of the Town-wide Underground
Utilities Project, was "$98.58 million". When in fact, it
was advertised and written as "$90 million".
Mayor Coniglio said that the Project is already "$22
million" …." OVER BUDGET"! It appears that the
totals are ever changing, due to the overage being moved around to
other areas to hide how much it has really increased. Still, even
with that major deception, the "over budget", keeps, with
the hidden amounts and the visible ones, increasing and increasing.
enlightening statement by Mayor Coniglio, who has been
extremely supportive of the Project from its beginnings and is still
currently, was when she said, "Our assets are going to be
compromised to cover the short-fall."
next statement, "As we go forward, our pocketbooks are
getting slimmer and slimmer", is rather startling.
Especially, since this Project was all pushed, promoted and being
done, due to the Mayor and Town Council’s persistent
"aesthetics" obsession. This "aesthetic"
obsession, appears to have blocked the Mayor and Town Council’s:
common sense, need for safety, reliability concerns, as well as
their necessary financial foresight, to instead achieve their
factual reality here is, that the Mayor’s comment, is also going
to be true of the Property Owners, who have to pay annual Special
Assessments to finance this "aesthetic" blank check
failure, each year for 30 years!
brilliant statement and idea, was from Council member Crampton,
who had the audacity to suggest that the Town’s Underground
Utilities overage, or the fact that regardless of what pocket the
overage is hidden in, will still show to some extent and this
"OVER BUDGET" Project will also fall onto the Town. Therefore,
according to Councilman Crampton the overage can be easily be paid
for. All the Town has to do, (get ready for this one), is "WE
WILL NEED TO CONSIDER OUR RESERVES"!!!
Crampton went on to proclaim that, "WE
HAVE $100 MILLION IN OUR RESERVES. WE DO HAVE THE RESOURCES TO DEAL
WITH THIS PROBLEM, ABSENT A STORM." Town Council member
Crampton explained that those resources, (which was unsaid, but are
there in case there is a hurricane, storm surge, etc.), are "…
the resources to deal with the problem in the future." What an
irresponsible and horrifying statement that an elected official made
regarding the use of emergency reserves within a municipality.
action is the same as selling your Life Insurance.
would venture to say, Mr. Crampton, that "THOSE RESERVES ARE
FOR EMERGENCY REASONS, SUCH AS CATASTROPHIC HURRICANES!"
Afterall, the barrier island Town of Palm Beach is within what is
considered a "hurricane alley". To even suggest such a use
of reserve monies to instead pay off a frivolous Project as to
Underground Electrical Utilities on a severe Special Flood Hazard
Zone, high water-table, low-elevation, flood-prone barrier island,
when the need arises to cover for the Town Council’s bad and
dangerous decisions, is outrageously irresponsible!
YOU, NOT ONE MEMBER OF THE TOWN COUNCIL AND THEIR MAYOR OBJECTED TO
MR. CRAMPTON’S BRILLIANT IDEA.
to imagine that any Town Council would have this mind-frame and
continue along their merry way with a Town-wide Underground
Utilities Project. Knowing, that the Project puts the Town’s
electrical infrastructure at much greater risk, since neither the
underground conduits carry the electrical wires with their seams, or
connections, nor, the electrical high-voltage utility boxes, most
not even installed above the salt-water flood-plain, are not
waterproof and are VULNERABLE TO SALT-WATER INTRUSION AND FLOOD
decisions by a Mayor and Town Council have long lasting negative
consequences for the Constituents and Property Owners in a
Municipality. As unfortunately will be the outcome for the Town of
DECISIONS WILL GO DOWN THE DRAIN, RIGHT ALONG WITH THE TOWN!
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