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Here’s The Scoop … The Lauderdale-By-The-Sea May 24, 2011 Commission Meeting … How Many Times Can You Cry Wolf? … #2 …

SIGNAL SAYS …LOOKING FOR THE GREEN …

Dear Readers … the real fireworks came early for 4th of July this year and they began at public comments at the May 24, 2011 LBTS Commission meeting when allegations were made by Athena By The Sea owner Louis Marchelos of being the victim yet again of secret meetings and schemes to impact his businesses in town …The problem for this writer this time around after hearing such charges made by Marchelos and his brother so many times before is how many times can you cry wolf? …I watched and listened as Mr. Marchelos aimed his all too familiar laundry list of baseless accusations at Vice Mayor Dodd…That may have worked when aimed at the previous Vice Mayor  (McIntee) but it does not pass the smell test when aimed at the current Vice Mayor, Stuart Dodd… I am told by some of those who play both sides of the political aisle Marchelos found some fast support from those who thought these charges could serve as payback for my calling for no 3rd term for Mayor Minnet…as many of them know of my long friendship with the Dodds… The difference though is my reasons were spelled out and based on actions made by the Mayor that a reader and a voter can look into and see for themselves before they decide to agree or disagree …My opinions are based on the position held and not personal and never are they salaciously made calls of illegal acts … Mr Marchelos chose to make such allegations without regard to inflame …in my opinion….. Sadly I believe in the end it is the Marchelos brothers who will come out looking bad … They will come out of it looking not only like they were part of a politically motivated set-up but as trying to find a way to charge the Town even more for the use of the pier barely 2 months before the event with no other option available …..Oh sure I have no doubt the Marchelos’ “pals” will appease them on the corner by their restaurant and politically “gang up” on VM Dodd to show some sort of political camaraderie but in private they know this isn’t the first time and won’t be the last of hearing the same tired old charges being made….. There was alot of unwarranted ground covered to get in on the browbeating of the Vice Mayor and it was mind-boggling to witness in this latest “conspiracy” the Marchelos brothers think is so abundant here in LBTS when it comes to them…. It will need to be posted in more than one post… So let’s begin…

On February 22, 2011 during his Commissioner Comments VM Dodd said the following “Last but not least just as the Mayor is looking for volunteers for Easter, I’m starting to look for volunteers for July the 4th.”

On April 27, 2011 during Commissioner Comments VM Dodd said the following ” The July the 4th is progressing. I had another good meeting with the volunteer Fire Department who will be organizing the parade and will be submitting the permit to the Town shortly. Brief outline for anybody out there that is listening is the parade will be from 10 to 11:30. Then we’ll have a children’s opportunity with the Volunteer Fire Department from 11:30 to 12:00 in the Minto Parking Lot. That will be followed up with beach events. Sand castle building contest with some very generous prizes being put up by Arubas and also a demonstration or competition with Alley Oops that will be around 1 til 3. Ah, the Volunteer Fire Department have offered to do a sea rescue demonstration from 3 til about 3:30. Ah, they’ll be a band downtown from about 5 til 8:45 when people will be asked to move down to the beach to enjoy the fireworks and then they’ll be a final session from the band after that. Hopefully it will be a great day with the emphasis on the sea part of Lauderdale By The Sea as well as a low cost, low key, an event for all the people and the children of the Town.”

The April-May-June Town Topics-
Volunteers are needed for this
year’s July 4th Committee, which
is being chaired by Vice Mayor
Stuart Dodd. The Town’s annual
Fourth of July
event features a
great parade,
music and a
fantastic fireworks
show! If you can
help out at all,
please contact Vice Mayor Dodd
at 954-612-1600

BC- The Commission approved the minutes from this meeting last night at the very same Comm. meeting that many of them used for going after VM Dodd avidly inserting themselves into a situation they knew nothing about… The exception was Mayor Minnet who was right on target when she tried unsuccessfully to inform her fellow dais members of the long-standing precedent of allowing a Commissioner chair their event without dealing with such intrusive  and accusatory actions as were being witnessed … She went further to say if this was now going to be the norm that next year the staff should take over the event…Kudos to her!… Commissioner Sasser also tried to stay above the fray and concentrate on coordination and contract issues …

I know VM Dodd made the decision early on to not have a cavalcade of volunteers and to make it so the day returned to a simplicity not seen in Town on 4th of July in a very long time as the event morphed into something that left many of those who felt they were obligated to volunteer dreading being asked once again …..Loads of the VFD members was heard (prev. posts) in prior years to openly be unhappy about the amount of time expected from them to participate while taking away time with their families and friends… The Vice Mayor immediately went to the VFD and found a receptive response to the major role they would play informing the VM that it was also the VFD’s 50th year of service… The VFD was asked by the Vice Mayor to recommend someone for the Parade Marshal to personify that achievement and a longtime member will indeed be this year’s Marshal… The VFD has met often with the Vice Mayor over the past months and they have come up with what they feel is the right mix for the day’s events… The Vice Mayor knew fireworks were wanted by many in the community and sought help from the Town staff to secure the pier and the vendor and had meetings with staff many time to shore these issues up as well… The Vice Mayor decided since so many people are tourists in town why not move the festivities into the downtown and met with the businesses that are adept with dealing with events and are located in the area where tourists seem to gravitate for the holiday..The core of the downtown… I know for a fact the VM would not exclude the Marchelos brothers and that he was told by them they would be putting on a 3-day event…So he knew they were getting what they wanted and would be occupied with that…. In this writer’s opinion I believe it was gracious of the VM to not stop them from doing their event on the 4th… Knowing Stuart Dodd for so long I know that he goes out of his way to accommodate those who might be adversely impacted and he did so whenever he thought some issue for the event might do so… He did so when issues arose throughout….The Marchelos would not have had any parking impact if they were having a 3-day event in their pier lot so there would be no need for the VM himself to warn them of such an impact … The Vice Mayor surely assumed that staff would keep them in the loop as they were dealing with them on their 3-day event as well as the pier lease negotiations as Mr Marchelos pointed out in his public comments they were….I must say what also does not pass the smell test for me is that we are to believe Marchelos and his brother knew nothing of the Town’s event or the band planned …First you can now see from the comments above the timeline of events were made public…Second the Town Topics in April (see above) …and on top of that ….nothing happens in the downtown without one or both brothers knowing it…or so they have said …They are milling around the town constantly while attending to their businesses which are located at either end of the center of the downtown… One final note before continuing on …I find it quite amusing that there is this sudden clamoring for the roads to be open to the pier throughout the July 4th event coming from those who sat around the charette tables in March and just over the last days calling for no traffic east of A1A!… Now tell me that these collective cries of foul play are not trumped up!…

Louis Marchelos -public comments …

Louis Marchelos came to the podium with papers in hand and said ” Good evening Mayor, Commissioners. Louis Marchelos Athena By The Sea. I’ve had not too much to talk about lately. Um, I do now. This may appear to only affect my business but what these town representatives do to one of us establishes a precedent for all.Certain members of code services and one member of this dais do not believe a Town event includes all of us. I refer to the 4th of July Town event. The existence of the plans for 4th of July plans were intentionally concealed from me. In many contacts with Town staff while negotiating the use of the pier for fireworks and the pier parking lot for an event not one person in spite of numerous requests as to what citizen Dodd was planning had the moral courage to be up front and ethical. This includes at least Kim Williams and Stuart Dodd. The others that benefit from and participate in this secret planning must have at least turned a blind eye. Be ashamed! I found out suddenly. No contract for fireworks. Am I angry? Absolutely. Am I disappointed? Yes. Do I intend to take advantage of the acts of a few and punish this whole town? Absolutely not. I have the numbers and even though I will sustain some loss of anticipated profits I will help the Town stay within its budget by accepting the original sum of $10,000 provided the Town allows my Saturday night July 2nd event and waives my Saturday night parking fees for one year commencing now and that there is no impediment and is given complete access to use my pier parking lot on the 4th of July. It makes no sense for me to complete with a Town event from which I have been excluded. There was a finite number of people who will come to Lauderdale By The Sea  for the 4th and positioning and exclusion make it impossible. Code’s comment that we would get the spillover from the City’s supported event is without conscience. One last condition is that the matter be investigated placing Chairman Dodd and Officer Kim Williams under oath for full questioning by an independent counsel. There must be severe consequences for this outrageous breech of my rights. A little news I called Vice Mayor Dodd this afternoon. He was totally unapologetic.”…

The Mayor cut Mr. Marchelos off as he ran over the allotted 3 minutes to comment…He wanted to finish and she said “that’s it, we’re done.”…

VM Dodd’s comments were made before the consent agenda items were discussed after being put at the top of the order in order to allow the Vice Mayor to deal with the matter before he left due to recovering from hip surgery less than 2 weeks ago…

Vice Mayor Dodd-

“This saddens me that the town has not been able to reach agreement with the owners of the pier – I was told this at lunchtime today. I have tried to involve the businesses in this year’s event and approached the major restaurants in town to see if they would offer an Independence Day burger at a 10% discount and the vouchers will be handed out during the parade. The pier owners were included and agreed to participate. A sidewalk café request from the square to the pier that was submitted by Aruba’s and the Village Grille that was matched with an offer to allow the pier owners to have their own sidewalk café area from the square to A1A ,West bound commercial. Early on I was told that the pier owners would be submitting their own permit for a 3 day event and were “doing their own thing”. I even rang the pier owners to remind them to submit their permit on time. Staff have bent over backwards to accommodate all their requests even the one about the direction that the music to faces West in case there was a conflict with the musical event being organized by the town through the Village Grille. This I believe is the first three day event to be allowed at the pier site. I chose to let the owners hold their event on the 4th of July even if there was a risk of conflict with the town’s own sponsored event. The lease agreement was not in any way restrictive on the pier owners, nor did it prohibit them from holding their own party in their car park on 4th 0f July. At this juncture we do not have a lease to let off fireworks – Unless the pier owners are prepared to give their verbal agreement here tonight the next commission meeting is on June the 22nd before I can be receive formal approval to proceed with this year’s event. In my opinion Town staff and I have done all we can to accommodate the pier owner’s requests and there has been plenty of time for them to raise their concerns in the proper manor directly to myself or through town staff long before this evenings meeting. Even this afternoon I spoke to the pier owner who refused to tell me what the problem was and why he was withholding the approval of the lease.
One constructive solution would be to request a short recess to allow the town staff and myself to meet with the pier owners in order to try to salvage this year’s event. And that is what I propose. If the pier owner’s willing to meet with the Town staff and myself possibly in the kitchen while we can discuss this through and see if we can reach agreement to lease the pier There were allegations made tonight and I am not going to entertain even trying to answer them. I can simply say I am happy to answer anything under oath. There has never been and there never will be any backhand agreements or anything made that will exclude anyone of the businesses when I’m trying to organize a Town event and I actually take that as a personal affront. But in order to try and proceed forward and actually achieve something I would like to ask the pier owner publicly if you’re prepared to meet with Mr. Bentley and myself in order to  try and resolve this issue. Because without agreement tonight we cannot go ahead with the July the 4th. ”

It sounded like Spiros Marchelos yelled from the back of Jarvis hall and the Mayor said “whoa, wait,wait.”…Commissioner Clottey was confused about the item being discussed due to confusion that began when the VM asked for certain items to be moved up and the Asst. TM wanting items pulled off the “Consent Calendar” for discussion before a blanket vote was taken as well as the Mayor  stating item Fat the start of this portion of the agenda….The VM had asked for the two items that were part and parcel to the pier lease for fireworks and the pier parking lot 3-day event… The Mayor explained that to Comm. Clottey and said “So again, I think we understand what we’re all talking about here.”… She went on to say the Vice Mayor wants to get this resolved, it’s important and needs to be done as quickly as possible…She asked for a nod from Louis Marchelos to take VM Dodd up on the offer to talk during a brief recess…

Louis Marchelos ” With all due respect Mayor I want transparency. If he wants to meet let’s do it right now on the public forum so the people and the Commission could hear what’s going on. No backhanded deals in the kitchen!”

Mayor Minnet said after a brief moment of a standoff from Marchelos that the VM received his answer (no)…She said what Marchelos said in a public forum only and asked him what he wanted to do since it was his event. Before he could respond she asked if he wanted staff to come up and again before the VM could respond Asst. TM Bud Bentley came to the podium and it went from bad to worse…In this writer’s opinion the Asst. TM in his remarks below acted as if the demands made by Marchelos were valid!… Not to me!… I believe they were crazy to make and it was insane to even consider…

Asst. TM Bentley ” I heard Mr. Marchelos’ comments under public comments. I picked up on several things. One the um, I need to ask him for one clarification in the proposal was fora one year contract or a three year contract? (looking at Marchelos in the back of the all) … Ok, so the, the proposal was for a one year contract at the reduced price requested by the Town plus the waiver of the um, ongoing Saturday night parking which for you information is about $91 a night so if they have 26 events during the year that’s um, roughly well, roughly $2600 . Um, that’s what I heard as the core elements um for that, the pier owners um are asking to resolve this. There was some other things requested um, I would suggest that if we could come to agreement on the, on the pier license agreement tonight that those other things that we could talk about and explore how those communications occurred this year and then plan for next year. Um, you know it’s one of those things where um, everyone was acting from my perspective with good intentions and it was um, well and there was some communication issues from different parties. But if we could come together on the core elements and that is a one year license agreement with the pier and ah, which would include the price of $10,000 for the lease, excuse me and I left one out and approval of the event for Saturday night only this year which would be July 2nd and then waiver of the parking fees for um, the year.”

BC- This is where I end this for now… But come on …get real … The pier owners have disparaged  the Town’s Vice Mayor … They have accused him and the Town of illegal acts… They asked for and received the ok and go ahead for a 3-day event in their pier parking lot … They said they knew of no bands or Town event…Baloney…Look at the Vice Mayor’s comments in April and above…including an OJ moment to come in the next post from Comm. Clottey…The pier owners claim they will suffer financially from the Town’s event …Hogwash!… They would be having a 3-day event..They would have had food and drinks closest to the beach where the Vice Mayor stated the activities were front and center… They said they were going to not punish the Town and help keep the Town within budget and then upped the ante by $2600!… They want …they want …they want…and the Asst TM without the Town Manager or the TAtty. calling him on it was all too ready to roll over and say…anything else you want for pulling this stunt… The application for the special event was received on May 2, 2011…. and to be approved this evening…If he was not doing his own event VM Dodd would have asked him to join the rest of the establishments coordinating their efforts for the event… … The plans for closing the downtown to cars during the the day of July 4th in the afternoon was also on the agenda to be discussed and it was ironed out only in the last week or so …no longtime concealment …no secret meetings… The difference from prior years that allowed cars…This was a full day downtown event and the VFD and BSO would be at the beachfront…There is nothing in the backup for how long the negotiations went on for the fireworks but I believe it has been a while due to comments made and moving forward with the fireworks agreement that is also for 3 years…Is that now in jeopardy due to the Marchelos’ strong-arm tactics? ….How much will all this cost the Town and the taxpayers in the end….just to appease those who cry wolf?…

more to come…..

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