NY Times Rags on Lake Worth "Riff-Raff," Makes Commissioner Bluster

Poor Lake Worth. The hippie, quirky, crunchy little stepchild of Palm Beach got a brief shout-out in the New York Times "Frugal Traveler" blog this week, but the fifteen minutes of fame only angered a city official.

In a story about how to tour the town of Palm Beach on less than $200 a day -- a bargain, perhaps, if you live on the Upper West Side-- reporter Seth Kugel deigned to acknowledge Lake Worth. He called it "a nice enough town, though it lacks the elitist Palm Beach feel you came for. Admittedly, the decadent raspberry stuffed granola French toast for under $10 at Benny's on the Beach makes the temporary exposure to the riff-raff tolerable."

To be fair, Kugel did not specifically mention the homeless men who gather in the downtown plaza every morning, or the unwashed dudes who strum guitars on the corner of Lake Avenue and L Street. He may even have been kidding about the "riff-raff," since he was focused on high-brow Palm Beach.

Still, he struck a nerve with Lake Worth City Commissioner Suzanne Mulvehill.

"This feeds into the negative perception of our city," Mulvehill wrote in an email to supporters. "Negative press hurts our city and costs our businesses money in lost revenue. If we had a marketing person on staff, he/she would contact this reporter to address this negative comment. In the meantime, we all have to be that marketing person! I hope that you will click on the link, read the article and post a positive comment about Lake Worth."

Ouch. Mentioning the need for a PR person is rarely a good move.Neither is calling yourself "on the map."

"We are 'on the map,'" Mulvehill continued. "With millions in new infrastructure projects underway. Our businesses are doing a great job of promoting themselves locally, but tourist dollars are a vital revenue stream. We need to continue building a positive brand and image for Lake Worth."

So c'mon, tourists! Don't you want to meet the riff-raff up close?

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