Search and Categories

HERE’S THE SCOOP…. WHICH CAME FIRST…THE LANDMARK RESTAURANT OR THE PLAZA?…..

September 25, 2022 by Barbara

LANDMARK ARUBA CAFE WAS THE WHARF RESTAURANT BUILT BY LBTS FOUNDING DEMKO FAMILY !….

Dear Readers….As previously posted there is a small minority of misinformed LBTS residents and visitors who are being told that Aruba Beach Cafe is infringing on our public property and must be stopped…..

This is a campaign of lacking the facts and the history of our town….especially as we approach our 75th year and the upcoming celebrations….

The facts as you can see are quite the opposite….The Wharf Restaurant was built by the Demko family who like the Anglin family who built the Anglin Pier and the Friedt family who brought us Friedt Park…. are landmarks that were here long before the 2008 Pavilion and the 2013 Ocean Plaza….

The Wharf Restaurant now known as Aruba Beach Cafe should be rightly recognized along with the pier and the park and the Welcome Center that was the original Women’s Club in our 75th year and as such should be coveted and revered ….not denigrated and displaced as this group is looking to do….

Don’t buy into these scare tactics of “tunnels” to the beach and there being no more public space for children to play….It is a ruse of the worst kind to work people up under false fears for the future….

Instead…. join those who know that Aruba Beach Cafe is as it has always been….well placed both in its historic placement with the pier and within the Ocean Plaza as we proceed to improve upon what our founding families provided us with a town like no other….

 

Below is the email I sent to the commission last week….and the link to-

Lauderdale- By The – Sea A Living History found on our Town website….

It is a must read for all who live and love LBTS…..

 

‘Mayor, Commissioners-

I stood before you on 9/14/2022 and spoke about Aruba Beach Cafe being a landmark in our town.
Further investigation produced more credence to designate it as such along with our other landmarks such as Anglin Pier, Friedt Park, Women’s Club Building (The Welcome Center )etc…
Included in the book Lauderdale- By- The- Sea A Living History by Martha E Munzer Chapter 1. “The Beginning” on page 3  is the history of the Wharf Restaurant now known as Aruba Beach Cafe.
It was built and run by one of our Town’s founding families,The Demko family and it is described for its location as is the pier built by another founding family the Anglin family.
What this tells us all is that Aruba Beach Cafe ( The Wharf) and Anglin Pier were the coveted properties in place decades before the redevelopment of the pavilion ( from  metal shell covers) in 2008 and the Ocean Plaza ( from parking places) in 2013.
To denigrate Aruba Beach Cafe in the manner a small minority is doing with threats of a referendum ( not possible for the Nov.8,2022 election per required process) and threaten them with falsehoods in alerts disgraces the history and significance of Aruba Beach Cafe( The Wharf) and its Demko history as well as a look at the reverence long paid to it past and present.
Experienced planners look to join public- private ventures such as we have with Aruba Beach Cafe in the Ocean Plaza and as such it should be recognized for the landmark it rightly is and a shining example of urban planning at its best!
I again ask the Mayor as he finishes his term to spearhead designating Aruba Beach Cafe with a proclamation as a landmark alongside Anglin Pier, Friedt Park, The Women’s Club Building and others.
Respectfully,
Barbara Cole’
Link- Lauderdale- By The – Sea A Living History found on our Town website-
https://www.lauderdalebythesea-fl.gov/DocumentCenter/View/286/A-Living-History-PDF?bidId=
Post Division

HERE’S THE SCOOP…. THIS WRITER LEAVES THE GREEN TEAM….

September 19, 2022 by Barbara

This Writer Leaves the LBTS Green Team!

Past Green Team El Mar Supporters who fought to retain El Mar Drive from being redeveloped should know that the current defunct Green Team has gone off course with the new call to protect and preserve our town.
It is a rotten ruse!
Past Green Team supporters should also know that it was this writer who came up with “Protect and Preserve “ slogan and wrote the previous Green Team newsletters, alerts and Captain of the Green Team public comments throughout the El Mar campaign.

This writer is parting ways with the defunct Green Team on its call to prevent Aruba continuing its use of a scaled back portion of the Ocean Plaza!

Don’t be fooled that this unnecessary call to arms is the same fight!
In fact the sad result of this defunct Green Team going off on this tangent is the scandalous loss of the 2023 “earmarked” $1.6 million dollars for refreshing El Mar Drive!
The Town Manager moved that money received from the old Holiday Inn and the Oriana to other Capital Improvement Projects and slated El Mar Drive for yet another design phase in 2025 and project in 2026!
A look at the 2023 budget shows there are no funds allocated for median lighting on El Mar Drive and that a paltry sum of approximately $77,000 was used to fill the cracked swales as well as minimal expensed funds were used to redo cracked sections of sidewalks.
Hardly the expected refreshed “ Protect and Preserve” package that could have been if this defunct Green Team had kept their eye on the El Mar Drive prize!
Please remember after volunteers went out to all areas of the town (both north and south) that surveys were brought into Jarvis Hall in baskets and presented to the commission in overflowing numbers when sidewalk dining including the plaza use were looking for extensions and permanent use from residents, hotel guests and visiting patrons showing the overwhelming support and desire to retain what resulted from Covid compliance initiatives.
The Green Team has fallen mightily from Preserve and Protect El Mar Drive to a campaign full of poorly written falsehoods!
But, what is truly mind boggling to this writer is that the Captain of the defunct Green Team has actively joined forces with the resident/ town contracted engineer who engineered ( pun intended) the redevelopment of one- lane El Mar and the removing the medians for parking in this crazy plaza endeavor!
Until 2012 the plaza was comprised of parking spaces and not the historic public space being touted by the defunct Green Team.
In fact, it was Aruba and the Pier that anchored it when there was no plaza or pavilion!
 The plaza in 2020-2022 uninhabited by Aruba Beach Cafe is a space that fills up not with children playing games while holding their balloons as they have in the last decade when they are waiting with their parents to get a table at Aruba ( before the plaza portioned outdoor seating)!but with loitering souls as any regular downtowner can attest to.
Please take note-
As of 3 weeks ago the plaza games the defunct Green Team laments are no longer in use along with new additions have been put back in the plaza and it is Aruba that is taking care of putting them out and back for the Town to extend their time beyond the hours of the Town maintenance employees!
Aruba is a town landmark as this writer previously posted, emailed and spoke at Public Comments about.
As such, an all- out campaign to malign this anchor to our town built on falsehoods should be discounted and called out by all!
Aruba is not using the sidewalks and the plaza. A look throughout the past few years and present time shows this to be false.
Aruba and all downtown restaurants have long leased from the town and will continue to with rates commensurate with their usage of space involving requirements of maintenance that will decrease the town’s need to do so. This has been stressed each time the discussion is on the agenda throughout this process.
No “ tunnel” will result from partnered plaza usage as the defunct Green Team extolls will be the case. It is true fear-mongering in pushing this narrative.
 There is no doubt that the Town administration, commission and plaza restaurant occupants whether it is one or two will continue to partner as well to provide all the advantageous and beautifying space we have long enjoyed.
As events in the Ocean Plaza have slowly returned Aruba has continually assisted in providing whatever space is needed and wanted and in offering up complimentary services and goods that have elevated the event experience as the Town administration, staff, commission and event participants can and do appreciate and regularly attest to!
Please do not fall for “ Alerts” that come in emails bearing inaccuracies that stir the pot and negate all the success the former Green Team had with El Mar Drive.
As we celebrate our Town’s 75 th year –
Support outdoor downtown dining in the Ocean Plaza showcasing our adjoining
3 LBTS Destination Landmarks –
Aruba Beach Cafe
Our Beach Pavilion and Plaza
The Pier
More to come….
Post Division

HERE’S THE SCOOP….MAYOR, COMMISSIONERS….SHARPEN THOSE SHARPIES…

September 16, 2022 by Barbara

KEEPING THE MILLAGE AND BUDGET DOWN IN LBTS….

Mayor, Commissioners,…….Gentlemen …. Sharpen those sharpies….

First Round…..
At the 9/14/2022 1st Budget Meeting for 2023 …..Mayor Vincent, Vice Mayor Malkoon and Commissioner Strauss put their constituents first and kept the millage the same as in 2022……

These three dais members knew the shell game that is government budgeting at its finest and began the process of turning over this doozy predicated on “Building a Stronger Foundation” and “Staying the Course” with a snazzy bullet point presentation and Town Manager “invites” to push through her Hope Chest of the 2023 LBTS Budget…..

It is jam packed with goodies for our overblown number of town employees and the expansive contracted service providers that will definitely keep them busy with resume building projects culminating in the end of the budget year ( 3 months) that provides them the wish list items conveniently attainable due to the inflated budget approved and passed the past September…..It happens every year!….
When the millage PR campaign pushed by the Town Manager lost its first round the staff was asked to find ways to cut that $300,000 deficit….and on the fly….
What did the manager put forth?….. To not proceed with repaving of the streets! …..Which included the 3 rd vote to keep the millage down Vice Mayor’s BelAir streets….Pow!….
A look at the 2023 budget and accompanying justification sheets – found on Town Website- link to agenda /video below) has so much pork that can and should be removed that much, much more can be cut than the $300,000 without taking away from taxpayer infrastructure etc…
Why in the world did the commission end with agreeing staff would come back to recommend the items to be cut?….
The constituents expect the commissioners to come up with their cuts for keeping the constituents first and doing the job the commission was elected to do!…… No pencils please!……..Indelible markers are required!…..
Here’s some suggestions for Round 2 on September 28,2022 at 5:30pm Jarvis Hall…… Based on the agenda backup for the budget, the justification sheets and years of sitting at budget meetings and experiencing the same playbook….
Do not continue to curb and/ or negate code violation fines…..
Airbnb held to same tourist taxing for guests as hotels…… offering the same services….should require the same impacts of doing business in our town….
Do not re- design award winning Abatte portals- see historical documents on them…..replace the one that was torn down and repair the other Mimo structures….
Do itemize contractural contracts and cut “ studies” etc…….. Where else can an unitemized laundry list of expenditures be listed with a lump sum column and be accepted and approved?….
Do not hire more employees – pare down town employees. …..The Town has not grown but the number of employees in all departments has….with new titles and expanded assistance that defies the need with the outside experts we use as well….
Look at employee costs for conferences/ training and dues….. Are they all necessary and required each and every year?….
Look at actual breakdown of public works and contracted providers for the approximately $1.3 million along with salaries that puts this 2nd highest cost behind public safety….. The Mayor brought this forth and the response was non-responsive….but calls for itemization this year and going forward….Mayor, get the answers at the 9/28/2022 2nd Budget meeting…..
Do not allow ordinance changes at the increasing rate we have seen in the past few years ….This too has grown in numbers that beg for more scrutiny …….
Severely cut even more Town marketing – our hotels and restaurants do their own marketing….. Doubling up for what ?….
Archiving social media  which was approved on the 14th for $6000 this year…..is totally unnecessary when everything is attainable and on the cloud……
Do not continue to give free usage of parks etc.. to profiting businesses…..Charge a hefty rate or negate practice altogether….. And please do not let vendors compete with our downtown restaurants and stores for months at a time…..The vendors do not have to cover the same costs as our downtown businesses …..
Charge the vendors who use our beach for their chairs etc… if we do not do so presently….Something questioned and brought up to this writer often….
Do not add any more events in town….. We specifically cut events due to the negative impact to residents, costs and staff time……
Put marketing costs to event users to market beyond our normal web outreach……
Raise the parking rates….. Go as high as possible to coincide with the our prime location and usage….. Residents can get permits, businesses can get parking for their employees……
Stop buying more land…… Again, the town has not grown and start counting private parking lots……. when stating we need more….
Have a 2nd and even a 3rd opinion look at the fire safety report that is pushing for new Public Safety Facility for $10-$20 million….. It will not align with our small- town in looks or need!…..
Do not allow the Town Manager to remove the “ earmarked” $1.6 million for El Mar without a vote of the commission…..There was no vote to do so….The Mayor stated last year at the 2022 Town Budget meeting of it being for 2023 for El Mar Drive ….and suddenly after one comment over the summer from the Town Manager to move it to other Capital Improvement Projects…POOF!…. Those funds disappeared and El Mar was moved to “design in 2025 and redevelopment in 2026!….
Require itemized contractural list in Justification sheets instead of lump sums shown in current budget. It’s deceptive…… It bears repeating this ……
What actually needs to go to Flynn Engineering and Cap for review- same for our attorney, architectural review et al……
Require apples to apples comparisons in past budget numbers to new budget presentations in order to make cuts …. Not bullet-point presentations that skew the comparisons with the same lump sums as the justification sheets!….Comparing 2008 to 2022 is a ploy that fails on the details….As seen on 9/14….
Look at yearly charity $63,000 by town using taxpayer monies and have a cap if any. Why should towns give to charities when individuals, businesses should decide which if any privately……It’s an expected practice at the taxpayers expense….
Look at the real numbers for the Pelican Hopper $125,000 and the Visitors Center $85,000+ for this and future budget to retain or dismantle…… A discussion that comes and falls by the wayside…..
Remove proposed “Circuit” for $200,00 and its accompanying costs…..
Stop mailing out and distributing Town Topics approx. $45,000 use web only…..Most end up in the trash…. It’s an antiquated practice…..
Institute and insist on bids for services at annually and on a 2-5 year term for contracted companies -Town Engineers, Town Attorneys etc… No free passes ….Existing contracted servers can participate in the process…..
Do not allow for departments to get “ wish list” items using excess surplus from the budget….This  bears repeating as well…….Just watch any meetings from the past in the last months of the yearly budget under consent agenda!….
Readers…..
Let’s see if those we elected are ready to show their ability to be fiscally responsible and responsive to those they swore an oath to who are facing inflation and income uncertainty in 2023!…..
Round 2…..9/28/2022 ….The 2023 Budget Meeting in Jarvis Hall at 5:30 pm…..
Links….
https://granicus_production_attachments.s3.amazonaws.com/lbts/262dfa0089ddce8b4a576bbfae1dad960.pdf
https://lbts.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=4&clip_id=1416
More to come…
Sent from my iPhone
Post Division

HERE’S THE SCOOP…..ARUBA BEACH CAFE A LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA LANDMARK….

September 11, 2022 by Barbara

HERE’S THE SCOOP….

Dear Readers…. Below is an email I sent to Town Mayor Chris Vincent, Vice Mayor Edmund Malkoon, Commissioner Buz Oldaker, Commissioner  Theo Poulopolous, Commissioner Randy Strauss as well as Town Manager Linda Conners, Deputy Town Manager Ken Rubach et al…. today…..

‘ARUBA AND OUR TOWN…..

Mayor, Commissioners-

It has come to my attention that once again there are a minority of people who are pushing their views of the plaza use to you in order to remove Aruba Beach Cafe from retaining their outdoor dining on a portion of the plaza.

I have no doubt that they would find out from their hotel patrons, neighbors and the majority of residents, neighboring residents and tourists both in our town and beyond that the pairing of our ocean front plaza and Aruba Beach Cafe are actually combining the two major landmarks we are known for along with the pier.

On the agenda for 9/14/2022 is to approve the archiving of our social media.

If you look at these archives you will see Aruba Beach Cafe in first or second place with the ocean plaza of photos taken by those using social media along with public relations photos and articles capturing our town.

Go to any specialty shop, photographer and art vendor or store and you will find Aruba Beach Cafe postcards, sketches, paintings and household items that change from place to place assuring its place as our town destination landmark.

Aruba Beach Cafe anchors our town and our downtown restaurants and has done so from our lean days to the present day that affords us all with much coveted parking revenue that you all marvel at year after year.

Add to that the income this town enjoys from the income we derive from Aruba Beach Cafe both from taxes and from their patrons who surely expand their patronage to other businesses in our town.

Aruba Beach Cafe under the management of Peggy Mohler has proven throughout their time in the plaza with their outdoor dining that they go over and beyond with the town in maintaining the plaza far beyond their designated area. 

They have happily and helpfully made sure to not impede or impact the town’s events in the plaza. In fact, they have supported and supplied assistance to elevate each event as you can all attest to.

It is time to laud Aruba Beach Cafe for being the first rate example of true public- private urban planning that urban planners on every level strive for.

I look forward to seeing all of you join the majority in making sure that Aruba Beach Cafe knows it is a LBTS treasure with a long overdue proclamation that solidifies it and the assurance of full support for retaining their plaza dining!

Barbara Cole

It is time for this town commission, administration, staff and residents to proclaim Aruba Beach Cafe as the landmark we all know it is and to support it as such….

More to come……

 

Post Division

HERE’S THE SCOOP….WHEN IS A TOWN NO LONGER A TOWN?….. WHEN IT BECOMES A CITY!….

July 14, 2022 by Barbara

THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A TOWN AND A CITY…

Dear Readers….

Below is an email this writer sent to our commission after the 7/12/2022 commission meeting which continues to be problematic for those of us who know that unless and until there is a majority on the dais that leads rather than follows what staff puts in front of them we are heading towards the demise of LBTS being a TOWN! …..
We will become a CITY with unnecessary big ticket purchases of land for parking, large building, mega mansion  overdevelopment, city complexes and re- designs that will make our unique beachside village indistinguishable from all the other staff, contracted design- CRA driven municipalities!……
The only way to stop it is for those who chose to live here because we are a Town and not a city to speak out and let your commissioners know you want them to protect and preserve what we covet!…..
Silence from our LBTS stakeholders will only emboldens this trajectory from a Town to a city and will certainly leave us all with only our memories of what we once had and cherished but did nothing to stop it from happening!….
Please step up and pay attention and get involved because the few who are doing so cannot save our Town without you!…..
More to come…..
Email to our LBTS Commission-
From: Barbara Cole
Date: July 13, 2022
To: LindaConnors <[email protected]>, Chris Vincent <[email protected]lauderdalebythesea-fl.gov>, TheoPoulopoulos <[email protected]>, Randy Strauss <[email protected]>, Buz Oldaker <[email protected]lauderdalebythesea-fl.gov>, Edmund Malkoon <[email protected]fl.gov>, Barbara Cole <[email protected]>
Subject: 7/12/2022 Commission Meeting
Good Evening-

7/12/2022

What a disappointing night for those you represent!
You approved the purchase of an A1A parking lot with a lousy location, with terrible car access and a rather precarious dark sidewalk walk to our downtown to be bought for $5 million plus!
I asked about the required appraisals and none of the dais members took either the time to get the three appraisal amounts that were not provided in the agenda backup verbally from the Town Manager or to lookup the 4/26/2022 agenda that contained that overview per the Town Manager in her rather lacking response!
Here it is-
‘1. Prior to initiating any negotiations for the acquisition of any real property with the property owner, the Town shall obtain two written appraisals performed by a state certified real estate appraiser with an MAI Designation if the appraisal exceeds two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000). Appraisers selected to appraise real property pursuant to this Section shall submit an affidavit substantiating that the appraiser has no vested or fiduciary interest in the property that is the subject of the appraisal.
2. Appraisal reports, offers and counteroffers are exempt from the provisions of Florida Statutes Section 119.07(1) (Public Records Law) for a period of time as provided in Florida Statutes Section 166.045, as amended from time to time.’
Look-
‘The assessed value of the Property well exceeds the $250,000 threshold, so Staff has ordered and received the required appraisals of the property which range between approximately 3-4 million as well as an appraisal provided by the property owner. Staff also seeks Commission direction as to whether the Commission wishes to have Staff begin to negotiate for the purchase of the Property. If a tentative agreement is reached, it will be scheduled for Commission consideration after the Town provides thirty (30) days’ notice to the public of the meeting.’
3-4 million! So where is the justification to pay 1-2 million more?!
I am against the 10 million dollar Public Safety Complex as stated previously due to the future of small municipalities such as ours being incorporated into the county as well as the limited size of our providers and the viable future of retaining a VFD.
That being said,  if it is the desire of the commission representing their constituents then forgo this 5 million dollar property and put it towards a complex that offers surface parking below the building.
Downtown, you all think the way to proceed is to pay for construction drawings and bid and then pull what is not wanted?
Why? Does it not seem fiscally responsible to do the reverse?
 Do the basic switch wanted by the restaurants and the residents then build on it  if need be.
It is akin to asking your builder to provide plans for a mega mansion only to end up with a tiny house! What a waste of time and money!
Someone please stop this separation of our downtown Commercial Ave. businesses and those further east on the plaza!
It is one downtown, already small with no need to further compartmentalize or diminish by purposefully dividing it for no reason!
This staff led commission is showing why this style of government will continue to replace our small town in to a city indistinguishable from our neighbors to the north and south at a record pace!
The commission should certainly take advantage of those interested and knowledgeable residents and businesses who offer up their vast expertise and knowledge because this was definitely an integral component to our biggest achievements and can continue to be if considered and accepted!
Which dais member will be the first to decide to lead us back to the formula that provided us our most success from 2010- 2016?
Will it be our current Mayor, our second term commissioner fresh off a campaign win he worked hard for, our newest commission member or those two commissioners in their final terms who are already vying for the center seat in 2024?
The residents, businesses and your future voters are watching!
Barbara Cole
4/26/2022 Agenda Item-

 

Post Division

HERE’S THE SCOOP….WHAT HAPPENED?….SIMPLE WAS THROWN OUT THE WINDOW!….

June 17, 2022 by Barbara

WHAT HAPPENED ?     SIMPLE WAS THROWN OUT THE WINDOW!…..

 

DOWNTOWN OUTDOOR DINING PLAN

Dear Readers…. The Downtown extension for outdoor dining has gone from a simple change to allow for a cohesive mix of outdoor dining and pedestrians to a whole other big money…redeveloped plan that is not with keeping our quaint unique LBTS vibe!… If our commission does not do an  immediate about face this Town Manager and her hired designer will make LBTS look like any other town around!…. This is El Mar Drive redevelopment deja vu!!…. Time to rally and tell your commissioners to walk back the plan they approved on 6/14/2022!!… The designer stated when asked by Commission Oldaker the power-point represented everything – all the bells and whistles and then it could be walked back ….This was when Oldaker stated…correctly…that this $350,000 plan was going to be a million three….which is not only unjustifiable but a ballpark figure that will morph the same way this extension plan has for the second time with the second designer brought forth by the Town Manager!…

Below is an email this writer sent the following day to the commission…No surprise…no response back…. Take a look at the video from the commission meeting on 6/14  https://lbts.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=4&clip_id=1385 and the current Pompano Pelican article  https://www.newpelican.com/articles/sidewalk-design-plan-approved-by-commission/…..( if no direct link…copy and paste to get there)….to see what is going to transpire ….. unless and until  LBTS concerned residents and businesses make sure the commission knows to stop the insanity!….

6/15/2022 ….EMAIL TO LBTS COMMISSIONERS…

Mayor, Commissioners-

What happened?!
Last night’s power -point and the discussion after it was going down the rabbit hole of where we began with outdoor dining extensions!
When you saw the designs from the first hire the Town Manager brought in, the response from the Mayor and Commissioner Strauss was to keep it simple and to not change the vibe we have in the town.
Now after more and more meetings and another Town Manager hire we are back to designs that take us away from who we are as a town and makes us look no different than Fort Lauderdale or Pompano Beach!
I know more often than not I am a dog whistle when I come to the podium or send in emails but I am hoping this is not one of those times!
There is no need to increase the current outdoor extension dining seating.
There is no need to add tables on El Mar or A1A.
There is no need to make Commercial Blvd. 10 feet.
There is no need to add signs that look like dog biscuits.
Please go back immediately to the original intention of allowing this extended dining use as is with the object of what needed to make in coincide with walking which is to switch the dining closer to the buildings, widen the sidewalk area as much as is possible without changing the road, and simple barriers such as Aruba put up – ropes and low, movable streamlined planters. Then take care of the pavers and call it a day!
As the restaurateurs will tell you empty tables on A1A will send patrons on to Fort Lauderdale, Las Olas, and Pompano Beach!
Please do not proceed with what was shown last night and ruin what LBTS has and is known for!
The vote given to the Town Manager offered her carte blanche to head in a costly decision that your constituents, the taxpayers,downtown patrons and businesses do not want!
This was not a move forward, it was a move all the way back to a vision of planners and design firms who push cookie cutter designs on towns that only provide them a resume builder and leaves the towns to deal with the failure they left behind!
Someone bring this back to the 6/28 Commission Meeting and inform the Town Manager to tell Hugh to cease any further work until you do!
Barbara Cole

More to come….

 

Post Division

HERE’S THE SCOOP….A REPRIEVE…. OR …..CAN WE NOW GET ON WITH IT…..

May 12, 2022 by Barbara

A REPRIEVE OR…..CAN WE NOW GET ON WITH IT?…..

 

Dear Readers…..Did we witness a reprieve or a do-over….and we can get on with it?….
Tuesday night’s LBTS Town Commission meeting was just a scintilla size improvement over the previous two meetings with our newly seated commission……
Again on this agenda was 12B to revisit and /or to continue to allow Aruba Beach Cafe outdoor dining in the Ocean Plaza …… It was put on by Commissioner Oldaker, a vocal opponent to allowing Aruba the space ….A careful read of his agenda item put forth a short- term reprieve to ” transition” out….With that…. Commissioner Oldaker tried to rewrite history of what took place on April 26th….. in my opinion and  if that wasn’t bad enough …..he proceeded to put his new fellow Commissioner Poloupoulous on the hot seat with Oldaker’s interpretation of this writer and others calling for a separation of what Poloupolous can and cannot vote on…. Which is exactly what was rectified following this unnecessary time wasting diatribe!….
If you were in the hall you heard the groans loud and clear that Oldaker’s “ line of questioning “ was a bust and you witnessed Commission Polopolous’ robust response to it clearly indicating he was none too pleased to be put in this position especially with what Poloupolous had planned and carried out once this finally concluded…
After this painful droning on by Oldaker that has become his M. O.  ….Commissioner Poloupolous finally did what this writer and so many others gave been calling for and did indeed separate out Aruba thus allowing him to vote due to his having no conflict in doing so requiring him to abstain…..
He seconded Commissioner Strauss’ motion for Aruba to continue for 6 months……
Unfortunately, the commission again confused and with no real guidance from the Town attorney overlooked that they could in fact have put forth a year extension due to the agenda item for Aruba allowing for it as it was not designated under the same extraordinary circumstances 6 month requirement the downtown restaurants were per the agenda item they fell under….
Commissioner Poloupolous offered up the year extension but it went fell on deaf ears and was not enacted…. A big mistake and real missed opportunity that could have gone a long way toward compensating Aruba for the unnecessary blind-sighting thrust upon them by the Town manager…
The vote was called and passed 4-1 with Oldaker surprisingly voting with the majority…..Vice Mayor Malkoon voted against…. This writer believes he only joined to be on the prevailing side which allows for him to bring it back and further torture us all with his long winded  pontifications..that repeatedly run counter to those he swore to represent…
Commissioner Poloupolous then went on to ask the Town Attorney that he be allowed to separate out Mulligans Restaurant ( a family benefit connection) from the rest of the downtown restaurants in order to vote on their extension which he did ….This should have been the case from the get- go of his taking his place on the dais in March and  preventing the ensuing fiasco we all witnessed from the previous two commission meetings and the unnecessary fallout that resulted from not separating conflict properties from non- conflict properties…
Our… Town attorney who has been in her position since 2009…..should have been advising for the separation of properties and of issues concerning Commissioner Popoloupolous’ conflict properties from non- conflict properties before any items were addressed rather than six weeks in and the Commissioner asking ( although it was certainly planned ahead of the dais exchange) it be allowed!…. What a disservice to this commissioner, the dais, the business owners and the residents!…. Maybe it’s time to look for another Town attorney….as it seems that being in this position too long has diminishing returns….as we saw with the last longtime Town attorney we dealt with prior to 2008…..
This separation can and must continue throughout Commissioner Popoloupolous’ time on the commission to assure us we will have the full representation of all 5 commission votes and to assure his required abstaining does not adversely impact the businesses or the Town unnecessarily….
Let’s hope this puts an end to the massive time consuming mess we all witnessed last month and we can get on with the much desired and wanted upgrade of added and integrated dining space in the plaza and downtown and not an overblown  pie- in- the sky- redevelopment scheme …..that is not needed….
This separation of voting allowing for the 5 commission votes came along with the surprising but much needed appointment of Public Works Director Ken Rubach as Deputy Town Manager….He will now be the point person in charge of  the Ocean Plaza/ Downtown Revitalization / CIP ….. This should rectify the ongoing insufficiencies and debacles brought about by Town Manager Connors inability to lead as her predecessors Hoffman and Bentley!…
Unlike Connors, Rubach has the experience and the personality to be a Town manager…in my opinion…
One final note… it is now time for real guidance from our Town attorney on procedures on the dais for this commission when it comes to motions, seconds and discussion … She used to provide it and now seems to sit back and does nothing … why?…. Too long in her job?…..
Monday May 16,2022 at 6:30 the third community outreach for downtown takes place in Jarvis Hall … No telling what this will unfold …. Fingers crossed!….
In the meantime the massive amount of people for the extension of Outdoor dining in the Ocean Plaza and our Downtown can not let down their guard and must keep up on its progress to make sure that this commission and this administration follow through with what was and is clearly non- wavering overwhelming support!….
More to come…..
Post Division

HERE’S THE SCOOP…..EMAIL TO LBTS COMMISSION ET AL…. WHY ARE YOU KILLING OUTDOOR DINING IN THE OCEAN PLAZA?…….

May 3, 2022 by Barbara

LBTS OCEAN PLAZA OUTDOOR DINING IS BEING KILLED BY RECUSAL…. BUT WHY?….

DEAR READERS….Below is the email I sent to our Town Manager, Town Attorney and Town Commission today after receiving my Public Records Request for the required recusal disclosure that prevented new Commissioner Theo Poulopolis from voting on the Ocean Plaza outdoor dining policies and requirements and allowing for Aruba Beach Cafe to continue their extended outdoor dining in a portion of the plaza that the previous commission voted 5-0  on January 25, 2022 in favor of  and after an overwhelming number of LBTS residents, visitors and downtown patrons who were surveyed and who actively participated in many meetings stated they were all for!……If you watched the LBTS Commission meeting on April 26, 2022 you too saw the disgraceful debacle our Town Manager instigated….in my opinion….that resulted in a 2-2 failed vote due to Commissioner Poupolous’ recusal that for some inexcusable reason extended beyond his recusal disclosure statement it was for his father-in-law’s restaurant- the Pier!….

This needs to be rectified….ASAP!….

Please join those who support fairness and transparency in government and let them know they got this all wrong and they need a do-over on May 10, 2022 at the next LBTS Commission meeting….starting with Commissioner Poulopolis voting for what he is clearly allowed to vote for!….

Below is the 5/3/2022 Email….The 5/2/2022Poupolous Recusal Disclosure/ The 3/24/2022Town Attorney’s response to this writer and the Commission…..

May 3, 2022 Email…..

‘RECUSAL OF COMMISSIONER POULOPOLIS AND WHAT IT COVERS!….

Mayor, Commissioners-

After watching the April 26,2022 Commission meeting and seeing the blindsiding of Aruba by the Town Manager and the resulting mess and utter confusion I sent you all an email.

I followed up that email by making a Public Records request for Commissioner Pouloploous’ required Recusal Disclosure form.

It verifies that this commissioner is only recusing himself from a conflict with one restaurant owned by his father- in- law.

Therefore, Commissioner Poulopolus should and can vote for any policies or requirements for outdoor dining in the Ocean Plaza.

Commissioner Poulopolous should and can vote for any policies or requirements for the Dune Plaza.

Commissioner Poulopolous should and can vote for any policies or requirements for outdoor and extended outdoor dining in the downtown area.

Commissioner Poulopolous should and can vote for Aruba Beach Cafe applying for outdoor dining in the Ocean Plaza as he has no relationship or financial interest or gain relating to Aruba Beach Cafe.

Commissioner Poulopolous should and can vote for any restaurant downtown applying for outdoor dining that he has no relationship or financial interest or gain in.

Commissioner Poulopolous CAN NOT vote for the Pier restaurant or any restaurant that is owned by his father- in- law in our town- PERIOD.

On May 10,2022 this commission needs to separate out the following- with all 5 commission members voting for-

1-The policies and requirements of outdoor dining in the plaza.

2- Aruba Beach Cafe applying for outdoor dining in the Plaza.

3- Downtown/ Ocean Plaza outdoor dining extension to continue until ordinances and design plans are enacted.

The only time Commissioner Poulopolous should and CAN NOT vote is when and if his father- in – law makes application for his Pier restaurant for outdoor dining in the Ocean Plaza or any other properties he owns in the downtown requiring a vote from the commission.

Commissioner Poulopolous’ father- in – law is the only business owner that should and can be the recipient of the outcome of only having 4 commission members able to vote leading to the possibility of a 2-2 vote leading to the failure of that vote.

Subjecting any other non- relative business owner to that outcome is a dereliction of this commission’s duties and I cannot believe it is not opening the town up for a legal challenge in doing so.

This Town Manager and some commissioners are unfairly and irrationally singling Aruba Beach Cafe out with denying not only the vote of all 5 commissioners but denying Aruba the same benefit of extended dining the commission approved and offered all the other downtown restaurants during covid.

Covid is not going away. To deny Aruba Beach Cafe now will further cause an inequitable outcome as a result if covid restrictions are returned for indoor dining anytime in the future.

As far as the Ocean Plaza and public use.
This was a metal shell roofed parking area until the pavilion was constructed not long before the remaining parking areas became what is now the Dune Plaza until 2013!

Those who speak of a Norman Rockwell type use in 2022 are not facing the reality of its use by homeless and other deterring actors who loiter in both plazas. This influx which we are prevented from interfering with is severely negated by having the extended dining !

At the April 26,2022 meeting Commissioner Oldaker and VM Malkoon spoke of calls and people opposed.

I know that if you look back at all of the meetings last year – commission, 2 failed round tables and the charette you are able to verify that  these handful of opponents fully participated in public comments as well as in-person!

This downtown development improvement project  is not to be jumbled with the failed El Mar Drive  Project. El Mar did not have overwhelming support despite the then Acting Town Manager and Town Engineer using the same strong-arming tactics we are witnessing with the downtown/ Ocean Plaza dining.

Outdoor downtown/ Ocean Plaza extended dining had and has such overwhelming support shown in- person and with the huge response survey cards the Town received and that were entered in to the public record during season!

This commission needs to follow the lead of Mayor Vincent and the overwhelming amount of your constituents who include as he repeatedly points out many of our restaurant and business owners in righting the egregious actions of April 26,2022 and not separating out Aruba Beach Cafe from the Pier Restaurant!

Respectfully,
Barbara Cole’

The 5/2/2022 Poupolous Recusal Disclosure

The 5/3/2022 Town Attorney Response….

MORE TO COME….

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop … Re-Elect Randy Strauss For LBTS Commission….March 8,2022

February 17, 2022 by Barbara

IT’S IMPERATIVE WE KEEP RANDY STRAUSS AS COMMISSIONER!….

Dear Readers-

It is vital that LBTS voters re- elect Randy Strauss for a second term!….. His opponent has shown from the start that he has no reason to be our commissioner and no knowledge of our town to be our commissioner…
Brian Kuszmar introduced himself to this writer in Jarvis Hall at the January 25, 2022 commission meeting two weeks after the January 10th filing date closed for candidates for the March 8 th municipal election….. I asked him why he was opposing Commissioner Strauss and he replied he was not opposing him… I stated “ He is your opponent , so you are opposing him.”… He stated he had no issues with Randy ….Brian stated before and throughout these last weeks as he is running for this commission seat because he does not think a candidate should be unopposed!…No candidate can possibly know when he files to run for office if he will or will not be unopposed!….,When I asked about issues he was unable to bring forth any for our “city”.… Uh Oh!… Anybody who lives here and really understands the old – south end of LBTS knows never… ever…. do we called it a city!….. We are the Town of Lauderdale- by- the – Sea!!! …..
Upon leaving Brian told me he needed to contact the town manager to get a copy of the budget.. I told him all the budgets are online … he asked where online?…. I immediately answered on the town website!….Really!!…
In the weeks after that encounter…..Brian Kuszmar did not respond to the Sun- Sentinel Editorial Board’s questionnaire and did not respond to two emails for an interview for their endorsement as contained in the Sentinel’s Feb. 14,2022 endorsement of Commissioner Randy Strauss….  Two days after the Sentinel endorsement Kuszman sent the Editorial Board an email complaining their emails went to his spam and declaring it was unfair….
If this candidate was aware of previous commission campaigns he would have known full well that the Sentinel endorsement is an expected large component in the election process for candidates…. His email full of excuses says a lot!….
Similarly of note Brian Kuszman on the night we spoke and on his Youtube video speaks of the time between filing and election being too short …. I responded that evening that the timeframe has always been the same and that candidates are prepared with their campaigns long before they file to run…as his campaign manager nodded in agreement!…
Brian’s Youtube videos are compiled of the same election information the town has on its website which he shows in the Youtube  …. This information is streaming on our two government cable tv channels throughout the election….. He has no real substantive insight or issues to share in his videos…,
This leads up to the League of Women Voters Candidate Forum last night (2/16) in Jarvis Hall …. It was an even more glaring view that Candidate Brian Kuszmar is not running to serve the people of LBTS but is running to serve his “ 15 minutes!”…. In this writer’s opinion…..
This candidate was not at all prepared for this event …. He spoke off- the- cuff which was painful to watch….
He repeatedly showed in his statements that he is unaware of our town’s many extensive outreach methods such as Notify Me and CodeRED regularly utilized for each and every meeting for the commission, boards, special meetings and special events as well any issues or impacting events …. If he had looked at the town website he would see on the cover page to sign up as countless residents have done!…..
He went on and on about the lack of citizen participation in town…. This was truly rich due to his own lack of past participation which he had to own up to in responding to the moderator asking him!…. As a longtime active  participant in our town I can attest to never seeing or hearing comments from Brian Kuszmar at any town meetings or planning meetings in all my 16 years!….
In 2002 Mr Kuszmar ran for office against Connie Mack as a Libertarian but despite that he rambled on and on that our town should take over and even buy the pier which is privately owned by Ed Sorenson one of our oldest town residents and is leased by Spiro Marchelos….Commissioner Strauss made that known to Kuszmar but it fell on deaf ears…
If Kuszmar had taken the time he would have easily found in the archived meeting on the town website that the town has used all of the legally allowed avenues they have to address, deal with and assist with the pier repairs over many, many years!…..To watch this misinformed  candidate expound to the lengths Brian did about the pier over many of the questions he was to discuss should be concerning to those he says he wants to represent…
More egregious than the previous tone- deaf remarks and opining was his stance on maintaining our low-rise height limits in the future!….. He spoke of changes that would forever change our coveted ,unique seaside town to become indistinguishable from the neighboring towns to our north and to our south!….. We have long fought off developers and urban planners who entertain a future with removal of our height limits so to have a sitting commissioner receptive to the possibility is frightening!..…..
The Town website https://www.lauderdalebythesea-fl.gov offers a Youtube link – ‘February 16th Candidate Forum-District 2’ and it will be replayed daily on the Town”s government cable channels…
In recent elections we’ve seen candidates like Brian Kuszmar and thankfully thus far our knowledgeable, informed voters have sent them packing!…. LBTS voters need to do so with this candidate!….
If Brian Kuszmar is really interested in our town he needs to join his fellow citizens from the floor of Jarvis Hall and participate in workshops , boards and charettes as well as in town surveys and leave the dais to his opponent Commissioner Randy Strauss !….
Commissioner Strauss was dealt a bad hand last night at the LOWVoters Candidates Forum due to his opponent …. It severely reduced his ability to allow voters the opportunity to hear more from him about his four years of experience in his first term as commissioner and the issues and projects he and his fellow commissioners tackled as well as what he and his fellow commissioners can and will do in the next four years with a second term secured…
To continue to have a cohesive, proactive, protective commission that values its citizens, businesses and its values voters must re- elect Randy Strauss!…..
More to come….
Sent from my iPhone
Post Division

Here’s The Scoop…. That Red Door Has LBTS History behind It…..

February 12, 2022 by Barbara

The Women’s Club  circa 1956….

 

Dear Readers….
On Tuesday Feb. 22,2022 the Commission will have a hearing on a variance for a new dock at the Blue Moon on W. Tradewinds…. It shouldn’t be a slam dunk 5-0 commission approved vote …. in this writer’s opinion…..because when it comes to the neighborhoods and districts in our old town south- end of Lauderdale-by-the- Sea….and certain streets it really is a case of who comes first… the residents or the businesses that occupy the same area….In this case it is W. Tradewinds Ave.north of Commercial Blvd …on the east side of the intracoastal ….As you turn onto W. Tradewinds Ave….the Blue Moon sits on the intracoastal waterway and it is sandwiched between the purple medical building on the corner by the Commercial Blvd. bridge and the beginning of a residential neighborhood and the Women’s Club building with its distinct red door that sits upfront and off to their entry ….The Women’s Club is historically intertwined and revered in our town …and never to be toyed with….After all they provided the town with our Welcome Center building on A1A and Bougainvilla when they moved to W. Tradewinds Ave.  and opened the door of their new home in 1956 …  long before there was a Blue Moon to contend with…. https://womanscluboflauderdalebythesea.com/about-us/….So, it goes without saying that this commission must seriously weigh the impact and concerns of the Women’s Club and the W. Tradewinds residents before any consideration is made to merely rubber stamp this variance that increases the size of the Blue Moon dock and in the future considers bringing the water taxi stop there once the new dock is completed with the impact it too might bring forth to the Women’s Club and the W. Tradewinds neighbors…
This neighborhood is not alone ….on the south side of Commercial Blvd. is unjoined W. Tradewinds Ave. where this residential neighborhood deals with Benihana being situated on the corner of Commercial Blvd. and W. Tradewinds Ave. similarly impacting these homeowners daily….with their valet service and cars lining up …with patrons spilling over into their streets ….. The third area that will need the commission’s attention for their constituent’s quality of life is the marina property located on Basin Drive and runs behind our businesses on the south side of Commercial …. There is no doubt that the neighbors who reside around the water basin that is the entry to the marina property will be just as vocal on the impact they will face with the proposed new Marina Hotel/ Condominium development project as they were not so very long ago when the marina boat docking project tried and failed to win acceptance and approval…. The current Marina Hotel/ Condominium Hotel held an open public meeting in Jarvis Hall last year when most of the neighbors were not in town…. To his credit of the owner of the property decided not to proceed through the process until the neighbors were back ….Despite our Town Manager stating there was no need to wait….that government does not stop out of season! …What a huge disservice to our residential property owners……..if what this writer was informed of was so…..
These three distinct neighborhoods require that our residents come first and commercial properties come second… In order to make any improvements or changes to these commercial properties there must be more open and accountable dialogue between them and their residential neighbors with our town administration and staff being transparent while following the proper process from the start that results in a compromise that benefits both or a denial if our residents are still to be adversely impacted …
To followup on the specifics….
 It is now being pushed by both the applicants and the Town staff as a simple variance for the dock only despite all the hype and the hoopla surrounding the water taxi stop coming to the Blue Moon long before it was suddenly pushed out of sight for this January hearing….. while keeping letters of support for the water taxi in the backup for this variance…So which is it? ….Adding to this strange turn of events was the late in the process decision by the Town that this variance for a dock would be the first test of our new Citizen Participation Requirement Ordinance 2021-11 passed in October ….. How and why would a variance for a dock require using this new ordinance?….  The Blue Moon was told by the Town to send out notices to affected properties within 300 feet to attend which is the requirement for any variance application already!…. The meeting took place between Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Jarvis Hall …. Some residents voiced their objection to both the date and limited area for notice…As a result it was suddenly televised and on the Town website! ….. This writer took another look at Ordinance 2021-11 and what I found brings forth inclusions that allow the Director of Development or designee to deter the intended purpose for this ordinance …. it must be brought back on a agenda by a commissioner to rectify this issue asap!….
On Feb. 2,2022 the Planning and Zoning Board met to vote to accept or deny the Blue Moon dock variance ….It passed 4-1 after another poorly run and poorly advised meeting took place….in this writer’s opinion…. As an advisory board the commission includes their input as they deliberate and then vote to approve, deny or send it back to P & Z…. Below are the links to that P & Z agenda with backup and the video from the Town website…. This writer hopes this commission will take the time to watch the whole meeting in order to hear from the Women’s Group and from the neighbors who came to speak to the P & Z Board and the Town staff.….and will certainly come again to speak on Feb. 22nd…. requiring this hearing to be moved up on the agenda as has been done for many other such hearings ….
All five of our commissioners need to do what all five did not do when the Seaward Hotel ….a hotel that has been  on El Mar Drive for decades asked to meet with each of them early on as they dealt with what will now be the only single family allowed to be built on El Mar Drive in our hotel district due to the Town’s epic fail in disregarding our 2012 Conditional Use Ordinance for single family homes on its first time use a decade after it was codified…It required this commission to fast track and pass 5-0 a new ordinance to prevent anymore single homes on El Mar Drive!….Do Readers see the disturbing pattern on the part of our new administration as this writer does with both first uses of ordinances passed in order to protect our property owners from adverse impacts being improperly used!….
To tie this altogether…. in LBTS we are as we always have been…a unique small town with neighborhoods and districts that require special attention from those we elect to make sure our property is protected…. our quality of life is secure…. and our elected representatives put us first!…
More to come…
Post Division
Older Posts »