Our ongoing battle with the city of West Palm Beach, FL over where the city should fall on the list of Most Depressing Cities has been taken to a brand new level today.
Chase Scott, a reprsentative of the Mayor’s office (mayor Lois Frankel is the one on the right), has written in to us disputing our claims, in particular an article we linked to about an ice cream man getting murdered. Mr. Scott wants us to know that it didn’t happen in West Palm Beach, it happened in the City of Lake Park. Apologies to Mayor the mayor and the entire city of West Palm Beach. We hope you’ll accept this correction.
Now before we post the entire letter (below), we’d just like to defend ourselves by posting the headlines from CBS12 this morning.
- Space shuttle’s landing cancelled for the day due to bad weather
- DCF: severe child abuse cases up, economy to blame
- Worms crawl in, don’t crawl out at morgue
- mum charged with killing son on the playground
- BankUnited Shut Down: Local Branches to Remain Open
- South Florida rainfall totals: Have drought conditions been lifted?
- Toddler swallows Oxycodone pil
- Regulators close Florida’s BankUnited FSB
- Gas costs more, but don’t expect a repeat of 2008
- Employee pistol whipped at Delray Beach Burger King
- Autopsy inconclusive on body in Illinois river, Could it be Stacy Peterson?
Yeesh! Now granted, not all of those are West Palm Beach stories, as the mayor would no doubt point out, but just having to wake up to all that news would have us reaching for the Prozac.
Now, here’s the Mayor’s entire letter to us:
Mr.Weisenthal and Insider Staff,
A recent article listed West Palm Beach as the 7th most depressing place to
live in the country. The “facts” used to support your article are
First you also cited the death of an ice cream vender as evidence of
rampant crime in West Palm Beach.
A. The vender was killed in the City of Lake Park, not West Palm Beach.
B. The vender lived in the City of Lake Park, not West Palm Beach.
In fact the City of West Palm has reduced our crime rate by almost 20% in
the past year and our downtown entertainment district by over 40% during
the same period. This is bourne out by FDLE and FBI crime stats. available
to you easily on line. We have one of the safest entertainment districts in
the nation with often entire weeks passing without a single incident. We
are not even among the top 5 most dangerous city in the county. Contact me
for details on how we have become a model for other police departments thru
new procedures, the latest technology, and legislation.
You also cited bad ocean-front condo sales and showed a picture of the
units. The City of West Palm Beach is NOT ocean-front, we are on the
Intracoastal. And in the article you used as an example, further down the
page it read the real stats from the assoc. of realtors for the area:
Inventory numbers have come down in recent months and while home values show stability the past
few months, these are also based on fewer sales. We have seen more activity in Realtor offices
and with many reading the headlines that property values have gone up the past few months, this
could coerce them into writing offers. If your horizon is more long term than short, I think
you will be fine.
In the past 2 years in depressed areas we purchased large blocks of land
and put up affordable housing mixes of apartments and single family homes
(Merry Place) transforming our most challenging areas. The CRA has been
active here as well creating a stable new business area with chic
restaurants and shops called “Northwood”. The neighbourhood there has
thrived with this progress.
Virtually every city in the nation has experienced declines in property
values. But our area has faired better than most and to help those in need,
we opened the first one stop Foreclosure Assistance centre in the country.
It was featured on CNBC, and in Fortune and on CNN, etc. We have directly
saved 100’s of families through this centre.
In terms of quality of life…
In April we opened the most state of the art public library and city
complex in the country, City centre (read the palm beach post articles on
this and the waterfront commons project). We have revitalized our downtown
by installing new public docks (opened in April) and, at years end, the
entire waterfront will open-up to the public…an amazing amenity complete
with a beach, water features, pavilion, gardens, and much more. The City’s
efforts in these areas have DRAWN dozens of new business here in the past
year alone…ask the Downtown Development Authority about the number of new
business openings and talk to the new owners about how their business is
The first new major downtown hotel in 25 years just opened, the Hyatt, and
they are very happy with the number of bookings they have enjoyed. In fact,
the largest waterfront music festival in all of Florida, the 4 day
“Sunfest” event just concluded with record attendance even with tighter
economic times nationally. And every week we have “Clematis by Night”, a
free street party with live bands. Sunday’s we have “Sunday at the Myer”,
featuring jazz and other lighter fare in our outdoor amphitheatre. 4th on
Flagler in the largest Fourth of July fireworks display in Florida,
Kaleidoscope is a multiple national award winner for culture events, and
the list goes on and on. All this and the incredible weather.
Based on your faulty information we request that you correct the article by
immediately removing the city from your most depressing places list. It’s
inaccurate and harmful to our businesses and residents. I also invite you
to do a correct article on how we are progressing through this tough
Visit soon to see first hand how good life here really is.
City of West Palm Beach
200 2nd Street, 5th Floor
West Palm Beach, Fl., 33401
Office: (561) 822-1411
Fax: (561) 822- 1424