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Here’s The Scoop … The Lauderdale-By-The-Sea December 14, 2010 Commission Roundtable … Recycled Garbage …

DEJA VU…

Dear Readers … this writer will need some time to really wrap my brain around what I witnessed tonight… up is down and down is up …and old ways of governing and administrating have come back into play…special meetings for contract extensions set down last minute before the Commission … Shades of business as usual done in the past.. Look, I Like this Town Manager and Asst. TM ….but as I have stated over and over again when Esther Colon was at the helm…I don’t care who the TM is …the rules and expectations are still the same…Imagine if they had done the special meeting items?…No question it would have been addressed….Comm. Sasser made it clear he did not like it…leaving VM Dodd to not have to make the statement he so often made to the former TM to the new one…. The Notice of Intent was a joke as Comm. Vincent more and more convinces me he is channeling his predecessor with his jibberish front and center …The Mayor had one toe in and one toe out on it… stating she was on “Humpty Dumpty Wall”…and Commissioner Clottey still likes to tell tall tales of the masses contacting her on their concerns…. when she cited a 3-4 month time frame to ease into a change such as this…She really went down the rabbit hole when she said special meetings like the one they had tonight would be available …Comm. Sasser called her on that one …citing less transparency… VM Dodd reiterated the “homegrown” requirement once again brought up by the TAtty. and stated a one month time frame between 1st & 2nd reading s as well as the internet backup info would give ample time and information to the public…He began this evening as he ended it …in the minority …(deja vu) …As previously posted the NOI is only required to be posted in Town Hall in a “conspicuous” place and in the development office..How about asking staff to produce how many times anybody from the public used the NOI public hearing to make a statement or comment in the past few years?… Unbelievable…Then came the “show of hands” the Vice Mayor wanted to go back to his original desire for a full elimination to the parking requirements for restaurant and restaurant-type businesses… It appeared the show of hands would have been 3-2 on Dec. 7th…But tonight Comm. Vincent provided the change in the majority when after extensive back and forth he joined the Mayor and Comm. Clottey in the suspension program… Clottey was her usual clueless self in wanting landlords to lower their rents…Does she really believe in these hard time landlords have not already done so?… Comm. Vincent was spouting bits and pieces he was told from various sides who had his ear or so it appeared…and getting them messed up in the process… He thought a 3 year suspension program would make it a “fire sale” for businesses to come to town verses an open ended time providing no hurry…He actually said If I’m not making any sense I’ll repeat it”..Channeling Silverstone perhaps…The Mayor asked the TAtty. to speak of West Palm after stating she asked Trevarthen about another community who has no parking restrictions…The TAtty. spoke of West palm..she did not say anything adverse…The Mayor interjected that she was told West Palm already  has a  plan and a parking garage in place…Comm. Vincent  obviously emboldened tonight spoke again about the application mechanism in place for a parking suspension program and the paperwork …He was way off base on the “deed or note” and what would be passed on to a new owner in 10-15 years …He actually made Comm. Sasser’s point of why it should not be a suspension program with all the forms..which Comm. Sasser stated..The TM spoke about the need under a full exemption for some sort of mechanism in place …some paperwork in place to put a limit on development …She also answered Comm. Sasser’s desire to not charge 101 Ocean going forth for its 10 parking spaces from the Town…stating that would be retroactive negating their parking requirements putting the parking responsibility on the Town alone… The TAtty. stated retroactive meant a pre-existing use …or never mind you don’t need to meet the requirement anymore … She said you want to state it clearly…regardless of how it is marketed…After that thee was more back and forth on the impact as they approach the end of the 3 years and development time…The TAtty. stated there was language at the end concerning that…and we “need bureaucracy to give business what they want.”…HUH?… “At the end of 3 years everyone’s up in arms”… this is the advantage of having it in place …She said at the Commission’s direction (Dec. 7th) notice will be given 6 months before the 3 years to extend it or not… Comm. Vincent said “what if we extend it for a few individuals”…citing they might say the building dept. was holding them up.. The TAtty. responded quickly to Vincent “I don’t recommend that.”…again saying there needed to be a “clear line.”… Asst. TM Bentley added that if a business submits before the end it will be processed according to existing requirements…and that the Town has no time frame for site plans at the present time.. The TM said it could last 5-6 years for some applicants… Comm. Sasser said he understood …He gets it…He said Comm. Vincent’s statements made his point of why an exemption was clearer and easier… Vincent obviously taken aback said no you have to have to do something …have a mechanism …Hmmm… Comm. Clottey was about to speak but the Vice Mayor asked hear from the Mayor …Mayor Minnet said she was “enjoying this”…and then went on to repeat what she had stated on the dais on Dec. 7th..She’s pro business but not convinced elimination will produce much..She asked who will pay for future parking spaces…She said it would be the taxpayers… She reiterated her “on the backs of future Commissions” stance and also about quick fixes vs years out… She used the NOI as a case in point…HUH?… Clottey asked the TAtty. about suspension vs. exemption ..The TAtty. said exemption is “attractive” as an atty. suspension program with scope clearly stated is defensible…Comm. Vincent said “I just speak and everything is so clear”..HUH?… Exemption gives a “false sense of value”…with suspension “value remains…exempt parking not disclosed …exempt is for life…there’s a time element…HUH?…The TAtty. again quickly responded to Vincent to state … as a person who responds she would never give credence to that..She was “hesitant to say these are valid”…and it “doesn’t have to be a valid claim”…There could still be a fight…Comm. Sasser said we could get sued either way..The Vice Mayor said before they put this to bed… to Comm. Clottey the Comm. has no influence over landlords … That a change would bring revenue for the Town…He spoke of the elimination remaining until such time we have a parking problem…which he hoped would come …It was semantics really and the only argument he was hearing tonight is the possibility of being sued…Comm. Vincent spoke of the pay stations and the need for a study of revenue coming from them…VM Dodd spoke of towns lagging 10 years behind and the need for bolder steps forward…He stated the charging for parking spaces for 101 Ocean while receiving revenue for those “mythical spaces” was like double dipping …again saying he had not heard “one concrete reason” for not eliminating the requirement…He said there would be no burden for Commissions going forward… He spoke of the forms etc…as a hindrance in the process… Comm. Vincent said “we can’t worry about 3 years from now”…HUH?… The VM countered about the grandfathering and Vincent snapped back “We fully understand Vice Mayor”… The TAtty. said they were not and they had to be a restaurant touching on the addition to that restaurant would be subject to to rules…The VM said it could be 12 months until the 1st restaurant starts up…Bud Bentley gave an example that day one someone could come and declare additional service space ..The VM asked how many months it took for a restaurant to open ..alluding to the Taco restaurant which we hear has been going through an extended 7month process….The TM said Bud was talking about a changed use scenario…The VM clearly miffed said that was not the question…The Mayor seeing where this was headed asked the VM if he wanted a “show of hands” still…The VM never one to back down said absolutely…In the end it was Comm. Sasser and Vice Mayor Dodd who raised their hands!…The Mayor said afterward to VM Doddd and Comm. Sasser “it doesn’t mean things can’t change”…Comm. Sasser lobbed back to her…” You don’t have to give us any solice!”…

BC- What a loss….for the marketing that could have happened…”Business loves bureaucracy”…said the TAtty… Seems Comm. Vincent does too!… How can those against this really believe that no savvy businessman or woman would see what was going to happen and not jump ahead …buy some property and be prepared to build a parking garage in anticipation of a boom that might result from the elimination?… Why would businesses not jump together to provide parking if it is advantageous to their continued success?… And finally…the status quo.for the downtown…..How’s that working so far…and ..Comm. Clottey…does that mean step 2…Hotel parking requirements are off the table as well?… Where was Paul Novak and the Chamber of Commerce?… This was Paul’s “baby” at the MPSC last year… And last but not least ….to Comm. Vincent ..How you gonna explain your actions tonight when you’re hobnobbing with your fellow Republicans…GULP!…

The Mayor was confused in thinking they did not need to make a ord. 1st reading after the lack of hands shown…Comm. Sasser responded “yes, we do.”…The TAtty. said the suspension program is on the P & Z agenda for tomorrow night …(prev. post)… The TM spoke about the previous discussion of a 1 month time frame between 1st/2nd readings… But… in the end it will be 1st reading in a special mtg before the Jan. 11th Roundtable with 2nd reading on Jan. 25th…. Next was the repeal of the 1994 resolution for the retired health insurance option…The TM said she needed the okay to repeal it …Comm. Sasser had a question of the TAtty. concerning the state statute and the after his question and the paying in required of 100% the TM said maybe they should rewrite it rather than repeal it…Comm. Vincent asked them “to educate me on this”..HUH?… The TM said we don’t define retiree and the state statute gives us the option to contribute or not…The TAtty said she and the TM “would out our heads together” and come back to the Comm… The NLC Drug Program was addressed next and the TM relayed what was in the backup of it being little involvement from the Town to be participate in it…Comm. Vincent once again showing he had not read his backup asked the cost to the Town ..The TM said no expense for Town except some staff time…The Mayor asked about the local media clause and how that affected our getting the word out …The TM said she look into it due to wanting to put it on the access channel and Town Topics…The VM asked about participants data being shared or sold…Vincent said that would be covered under Hipaa…HUH?…The VM quickly said the prescriptions are under Hipaa…that was not the data to which he was referring…Comm. Sasser concurred with the VM’s concerns …and asked about the contract agreements and any liability to the Town …He said it would be 20% savings beyond the insurance coverage…Comm. Clottey countered him to say it was only medication not covered by insurance and that she brought this to Esther when she was the representative for the Town at the league…The TM said she would bring this back to the next roundtable…Red Light camera was item f. and the TM said it had been discussed before so she would bring up consultant Kathy Margoles and Chief Llerena to answer questions…Chief Llerena began by stating the Sheriff’s office would not take a stance on this..He spoke of what was in the backup…that in 12 months there was not a single red light related accident …They did a covert operation to see the red light infractions …over 4 hours there were 40 from those who were going straight on Commercial..not right hand turns as have become a problem for towns …He said he thought the number met the threshold ..He also spoke of the dis-allowance for handwritten tickets if the red light camera program was enacted…as well as the cost associated with changing to compatible ticketing for BSO…The TM stated that and action on using non-sworn personnel for ticketing would call for a change to the BSO contract…Kathy Margoles picked up on that as well as the costs about $48,000 per camera per year and the recent cases that made it to the Clerk of the Courts just this week …37 cases… Comm. Clottey could not believe there had been no red light accidents and said this was to be implemented for safety reasons…The Mayor and Comm. Sasser chimed in it was for revenue… The VM took issue  with that citing safety elsewhere and asked about dummy signs instead…He asked the Chief’s choice in getting the cameras or not and the Chief said again the Sheriff’s office would offer no input…Comm. Vincent batting 1000 tonight (sarcasm invoked) said that intersection was slow moving traffic…HUH?..The VM said to Vincent he must have been there during the election to see the near misses …(Yep, standing next to VM Dodd & this writer…commenting on them!)…The Mayor spoke of being on the Broward task force and asking about the synchronized red lights…The technicians came and looked and said we meet the acceptable guidelines at the intersection… She will continue on with it though…Comm. Sasser spoke of reading today about Houston and it costing them millions… stating it’s more revenue than safety… put a deputy there it’s cheaper for safety… The Mayor happy as could be lobbed onto his comment she wanted that for the parking problem as stated last week… Comm. Clottey said she “sees the fear in people’s eyes to cross A1A”… Comm. Vincent gave a slap to the BSO and said he didn’t see it as safety …He wanted to know why BSO was using radar on the short strip of Comm. Blvd. going over the bridge for revenue generation rather than dealing with that intersection…WOW!…The VM said more red light cameras throughout Broward will result in less running of the lights due to uncertainty of who has them and who does not… and it would actually cost us…The Mayor concurred …Comm. Clottey wanted to know what most major accidents were from in town and asked the Chief to tell those at home…He said rear end ..low speed ..failure to yield… The Mayor asked the consultant how may before the magistrate were thrown out..The consultant reiterated it just started this week so there was no data… The TM said the sentiment was to not go forward…It seemed to be a 4-1 vote in the Mayor’s view with VM Dodd in favor..He stated he too was not for it at the cost it would be to the Town… It was not over yet Comm. Vincent had one more Silverstone type comment …when addressing the left turn problem on Comm. and A!A he said “most of these people crossing are licensed drivers”…YIKES!…

BC- Finally some good news for this writer who has been opposed from the get-go…The Sentinel online tonight posted a story that agreed with the costs…http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/broward/fl-red-light-fights-20101210,0,3889729.story

Comm. Clottey added an item to the agenda to bring back the public bathrooms…She actually used residents and BTSFuture editor Mark Brown (who brought this up when it was on the table way back when)…as a reference for going out to rent modular bathrooms and putting them in the Town owned property by Oriana to see if they are successful… Comm. Vincent spoke spearheading the bathrooms and of the costs involved $150,000 and said they were sidelined due to keeping the millage down and the TM said the money was already in the CIP and it was sidelined due to wanting it in the master plan due to location…Clottey wanted this done ahead of the plan…as a “convenience”…VM Dodd said that was an interesting use of words for this topic ..and it was much like the failed doggy beach..NIMBY… (not in my back yard)… The Mayor asked about the water hook up and Clottey said there was water and the cost would be minimal…rented on a short term basis… Comm. Sasser said this was a major distraction and spoke of the time spent with staff to prioritize projects…The Mayor concurred and said they could not keep bringing things back up… Clottey said there were people that don’t want bathrooms and they should find out location and any problems before …She saw she had no agreement she said and dropped it… Her next added item was just as insipid …She felkt the need to talk about her visit to Pompano Beach and the cost associated with irrigation meters$25o1 and Pompano Beach’s non-recommendation for them…She spoke of what was published a month back of the cost not being recouped for a very long time…

BC- Comm. Clottey could go to Pompano Beach…and this could be added to the agenda …but not the SRCondos and the sewer situation… Jeez!…

The Vice Mayor added onto the agenda the Henley on the Thames visit he wanted participation in either in May or July and asked for input and interest in it…The Mayor questioned the Town’s participation in the Sister Cities program… The VM obviously taken aback let it go… BC- this was brought up at a prior meeting with the Mayor giving the VM her support..and it was Comm. Clottey who stated it was not a Town program…Hmmm……

The Mayor added on the Broward League of Cities leadership programs …I believe she brought this up at a previous meeting …She spoke of the “building blocks” …”building tools” meetings beginning Jan. 27th with excellent programs such as the one on that date about social media with Twitter and texting.. as well as he “social networking that follows it… Comm. Clottey questioned the cost to participate…The Mayor said it was $35…TAtty. Trevarthen said that was if you stayed for dinner… With that they adjourned…

BC-Time for certain Commissioners to revisit their campaign promises….as well as their reasons for choosing the new administration ….

This meeting will be archived on video  on the Town’s website… http://www.lauderdalebythesea-fl.gov/

Tomorrow night is P & Z where they will be addressing parking & signage … Dare I hope for a better outcome?….

more to come…

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