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HERE’S THE SCOOP…. A FEW GOOD MEN…..

October 27, 2021 by Barbara

Dear Readers-

Remember the movie A Few Good Men and the famous court scene with Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson when Nicholson throws out excuses waffling until Cruise boxes him in and Nicholson loses it telling him he can’t handle the truth?…..
Well, last night at the LBTS commission’s October 26 meeting we got the excuses… we got the waffling…… but we never even got close to the truth….
Part 2 of Leaving LBTS in the lurch in hiring a new town manager took place at the end of the 2nd commission meeting of the month after it was included as a late addition to the agenda 24 hours before….  in keeping with the down-low process this hiring of Linda Connors has become…
I really thought that Jarvis Hall would be overflowing with those supposed town supporters of her permanent position as Town Manager, especially the 5 men who spoke out to hire her on the 12th with cake and toasts to celebrate since that did not transpire with the 3-2 vote ….But, alas there was no full room….no favorable supporters….including these 5 men…no cake…no toasts….and again….  no speech from Ms. Connors….
In the end….it was only this writer who applauded after the 5-0 vote lit up in green on the voting board ….sealing the deal for a 3-year contract with all the bells and whistles…. Starting with a salary equal to the outgoing former experienced Town Manager in his 2nd year!….Well done Town Manager Connors….she won the LBTS lottery!….
I do not blame Ms. Connors for new position without comment…….nope…..I blame those commissioners up on the dais who once again chose to ignore her record as both Director of Development and Interim Town Manager…. doing twists and turns…and thumbing their noses at even attempting to address …ALL….of the red flags….that were right in front of them the whole time!….
Here is a woman who should have been fired in 2018 when all five of these commissioners were on the dais and present for a massive fail in the noticing of 18 ordinances with one of them that forever impacted the neighbors who live on Tradewinds ….and instead of that…and all the other issues presented in previous posts…3 of the 5 made her our new Town Manager….with all 5 giving her the top range of salary to boot!… if that’s not winning the lottery….it should be….
At the podium during public comments….despite my pleas for discussion …after pointing out to them they had spent more time with more questions and concerns over the restoration of the west Commercial sculptures than Ms. Connors employment …and telling them that with a public records request I made I received in error an email from Ms. Connors ( by way of her Assistant to the Town Manager) to the Town Clerk on October 5, 2021 asking them to ‘ please start working on a summary of accomplishments since I have been Interim?’… This was done with a pdf of agenda minutes ……Why was this not used at the October 12, 2021 meeting?….In doing so it might have led to honest, open dialogue and discussion by the commission…. requiring responses from Ms. Connors on all of the insufficiencies …. and there were many…. contained in those agendas……and…that must be why it too was cast aside….
Commissioner Strauss about to run for his 2nd term was in charge of negotiating the contract for Ms. Connors…as a result of  Commissioner Malkoon insinuating and insulting Mayor Vincent on the 12th ….stating he should not in good faith carry out the role as he and previous mayors have long done…..because he did not vote for Ms. Connors …. Rather than let the Vice Mayor who made the swift motion and did vote for her….Mayor Vincent passed the gavel and made a motion for Commissioner Strauss…who had also voted no….Perhaps…. thinking much as Commissioner Malkoon thought about him not acting in good faith…the Vice Mayor would not do so in the role of negotiator due to his actions that night ….It passed 5-0….
Unfortunately….passing the gavel….made absolutely no difference ….in this writer’s opinion…..Commissioner Strauss essentially did exactly what the Vice Mayor would have done….using the previous contract for Town Manager and conferring with the Town Attorney…. He came up with an amount certainly not commensurate with her experience…and again…. equal to the previous Town Manager who had come to our town with years of administrative experience in his 2nd year of employment…. …When he explained his reasons for doing so…. he actually negated his previous no vote for her hiring on the 12th…. Commissioner Strauss used reasons such as cost of living…and saving money by not going out for a Town Manager search…. The very “process” Commissioner Strauss touted as the reason he voted no….  Furthermore he praised Ms. Connors on her time as a Director of Development and Interim Town Manager…. joining those who did not look at her record….
In his response the Vice Mayor included that he had pre-written comments approving the contract …thanking Commissioner Strauss…. No surprise here for Vice Mayor Oldaker… in fact he could have lauded Commissioner Strauss …for best contract ever…just as he did with his best budget ever comments to Ms. Connors two weeks prior…. Both were merely changing the numbers on the supplied outlines sheets….
The Vice Mayor falsely claimed that Ms. Connors was interim far longer than former Town Manager Bud Bentley …trying to compare a lack of vetting….and was quickly schooled by Mayor Vincent when he made his comments at the end ….
Commissioner Sokolow spoke of his air conditioning company and hiring management from within….as with all of his second term comments.in his final two years …we can only count down to March….enough said…..
Commissioner Malkoon thanked Commissioner Strauss for all the time he spent on the contract…. Again, the outline was there…and it was a last minute addition to the agenda…2 weeks after the hiring on the 12th….How much time could it have taken?…He just gave some awkward comments to justify the higher salary that he would never have made or justified with past town managers….both on and off the dais….as seen in previous years…
Mayor Vincent spoke last…he spent this last bite at the apple to not only correct Vice Mayor Oldaker’s horrible slight on vetting  former Town Manager Bud Bentley …He stated the fact Bentley was #2 in the vote for Town Manager in 2010….He was hired as Assistant Town Manager by Connie Hoffman….and then became our Town Manager when she retired…. The Mayor countered Commissioner Strauss for his cost of living and not going out for the search cost savings reasons for the high salary amount he proposed for Ms. Connors…..
A handing over of the gavel for commission discussion and a motion on the salary amount…. even though it would certainly not have received a second….and of course a no vote…. would have been this writer’s preference…. but…

in the end he voted along with the other 4 to approve the contract for Ms. Connors and to move on…..
So Dear Readers… how do we move on?…. There are two more meetings …One in November and one in December before the time comes for candidates in January to file papers to run for three seats on the dais in March…. The Mayor- at- large….A Commissioner in the south….A Commissioner in the north…..
I, as an actively participating voter am looking at candidates and commissioners who will do better …. commissioners that will return us to the Town Commission- Town Manager form of government our Charter states we are….but have not been for quite a while….. It can only be attained and returned by having a majority who want to do the hard work…request and receive all of the historical backup…..and be actively involved rather than leaving it all to staff agenda items and recommendations…with rubber-stamping votes…….holding the administration and the staff accountable for their actions and to the highest standards we deserve….
I am looking for commissioners that put constituents first….and never…ever ….turn their backs on their needs and plights….no matter their personal feelings of like or dislike….then insisting on the same from their administration and staff….
I am looking for commissioners who are forward thinking….not antiquated….thinking outside the box…. while protecting and preserving our Old Town  south- end rather than imposing urban planning redevelopment thinking they know better…. requiring us to always watch out for the next impactful project we need to fight off… Public Safety Complexes…..Overbuilt hotels….and ….. surface parking lots….redesigned cookie-cutter streetscapes….
I am looking for commissioners who are fiscally responsible with our taxpayer monies….who value our small town ways and values as a priority …..who avoid at all costs… (pun intended)…. constant ordinance revisions……bloated requests for studies and consultants…. any unnecessary resume builders….
I am looking for commissioners who will to the original requirements for Town Manager…. ASAP….
I am looking for a few good men….and now more than ever……a few good women!……
More to come…..
Post Division

HERE’S THE SCOOP….DID YOU HEAR THE ONE ABOUT THE 2 LAPDOGS AND THE LAME DUCK THAT LEFT LBTS IN THE LURCH?….

October 13, 2021 by Barbara

lap·dog
/ˈlapˌdôɡ/
noun
  1. a small dog kept as a pet.
    • a person or organization which is influenced or controlled by another.
      “too many boards have become executive lapdogs”
Dear Readers…. Sad to say lauderdale-by-the-Sea was left in the lurch last night …..
Vice Mayor Buz Oldaker, Commissioner Edmund Malkoon and Commissioner Elliot Sokolow made Interim Town Manager Linda Connors the Town Manager while no one was watching!……
In the south- end of town these 3 commissioners have been crowned with their own titles as well … Linda’s lapdogs and the lame duck!….
While their monikers are well deserved Ms. Connors is certainly not!….. ( see previous posts )….
Walking in to Jarvis Hall for the 1st Regular Commission meeting of October was quite something to behold…..
It was like the party where the invitations got lost in the mail…. On purpose!……
The Interim Town Manager was dressed up in a little black dress and prominent pearls ala Breakfast at Tiffanys topped with a cheshire cat smile ….the perfect little combo reeking that the fix was in!……And boy was it!….Finely orchestrated from behind the scenes ……..and in the back room…..no doubt…
Lindas lap dogs and the lame duck ignored their constituents, their due diligence and their oaths  … turning the facts upside down and casting them aside….just like the Conditional Uses requirements, Downtown desired businesses, and a plethora of other well known cast-asides we have witnessed from Ms. Connors in her time as Interim Town Manager…… It was a lie- in-wait plan to slip Linda Connors into her  $200,000 + Town Manager position ….letting her be the Urban Planner she is ……who no longer needs even try to hide her bad cop persona ……now emboldened and armed with a long to- do list to finally pounce and change the south side of town….. settle some scores and carry on with her blunders secure in the knowledge that she has 3 on the dais and an army in the north end to just buy more rugs to sweep them under!……
We haven’t seen this kind of commission maneuver since Oliver Parker locked the VFD out and shucked them aside for the BSO !…….That was vindictive payback and so is this…..We have seen it all firsthand……
Buz Oldaker and Edmund Malkoon finally made it to the inner sanctum of the Town Manager’s office in Town Hall and they like it!……covet it….. like a drug…
Buz Oldaker …..who has always been self- serving from the start with one of the dirtiest campaigns seen in his first term run ….and a mindset that makes him a north- ender at heart who sees this as the first step on the road to being Mayor in 2024 with Linda and a mishmash of north- end army city dwellers who like him favor the town becoming Pompano 2.o with lots if tax increases,  redevelopment projects and an increase in town employees and commissioner perks….. and of course more shirts with the town logo below ‘ Mayor Oldaker’!  …..That’s a bubble worth bursting……with a reality check!…
Edmund Malkoon…. oh, poor Edmund Malkoon…. he found a lap to sit on …and lost his independence, integrity, and his credibility ……all for a brief moment …..as he has a brief 2 years left in his brief 2 terms … (6 years not 8)… with no chance sit in the center seat as a result…. South- side voters have long memories when they’ve been duped and disregarded….  He will have a lot of years to wonder was it worth it?!…..
Elliot Sokolow…..the lame duck….. after burning his bridges in both in the north and the south…since he won a second term and lost his supporters including former commissioners… who regularly text SMH ( shaking my head)… whenever he feebly takes to the microphone to disparage and lecture us all….He leaves termed out most likely the same way he left Sea Ranch Lakes as Mayor … the last Mayoral job he will ever lay claim too…  Finally he will be correct when he says…….”Change is coming”….. Bye, bye….Lame Duck!….
Now what?….….
Will the south wake up today to hear the news …. read the Pompano Pelican and mobilize once more?…..
Will the Cristie Furth and her Green Team put their T-shirts back on to protect and preserve LBTS from the new Town Manager , her 3-2  L/L majority on the dais and Linda’s co-captain for change Town Engineer Jay Flynn?…..
Will newcomers join us “ old loudmouths” as the Connors- Flynn- Sokolow- Oldaker- Malkoon- North-enders who never understood the south call us for wanting to save our south- side from those who smugly say change is coming, change is inevitable and we are here to make those changes?!….
It is time once again to put away any fear of repercussions, code enforcement paybacks, bitching in the background  and 11th hour rescuing from the jaws of those who will never give up their roadmap to build up their resumes at our expense and make yourselves known….This Town is worth it!…..
It starts with calling out the lap dogs and the lame duck… letting them know what they have done!…..
It starts with calling out any and all bad acts are instigated and directed at you by the Town Manager!….
It starts with looking for a new commissioner who takes over Sokolows north seat promising they would never pull what he has and that they will save the south…
It starts with going to the meetings and roundtables and participating… in large numbers that cannot be ignored….
It starts with reminding commissioners and candidates our town is a Commission- Town Manager form of government…and the commission directs the Town Manager not the other way around….
It starts by thanking Mayor Chris Vincent and Commissioner Randy Strauss for doing the right thing….pushing for the process…the Charter….the search….. remembering their duty…. promises…and those they represent!…..
It starts …. Now!!!!…..
Save the south….. Save Our Town!…….
More to come…..
Post Division

HERE’S THE SCOOP…. DO THE RIGHT THING COMMISSIONERS….

October 12, 2021 by Barbara

DOING THE RIGHT THING AS A COMMISSIONER WHEN HIRING A TOWN MANAGER…

Dear Readers…. The Lauderdale -By-The- Sea Commission will make a decision tonight that will make or break our small town as a result!

A little background…. Last January the commission fired former Town Manager Bill Vance in advance of his 2nd year in the position…. Mr. Vance was supposed to be going on a medical leave and the Director of Public Works Ken Rubach was to step up as Acting Town Manager….Mayor Chris Vincent believing the position would be temporary put forth Director of Development Linda Conners due to her length of employment….

Right from the start there were many  in town who questioned even a temporary time as Town Manager for Ms. Connors due to her tenure as Town Planner from 2011-2015 and as the Director of Development from 2015-2021…..The concerns were due to many mistakes, missteps and insufficiencies the Town had to deal with resulting from her actions in both positions …..

After the first few weeks buyer’s remorse kicked in for some over Ms. Connors and the idea was floated to have former Mayor Scot Sasser put his hat in the ring…..A Special Meeting was swiftly set in to motion …..too swiftly for those of us who value the process ….. The former mayor too realized that in an effort to assist the Town as he was urged to do the optics were not as they should be and he respectfully asked for the meeting to be canceled…..He did however state his interest to continue in the process along with others who had responded to the Town advertisement for applications…. That too was discarded when the Town invited former city manager Ken Parker who assists municipalities in searching for managers to their March 23, 2021 commission meeting  …..Mr Parker who had no familiarity with our town opined about never looking for a Town Manager during budget season….which runs counter to LBTS history ….and put forth that the pool of candidates would not be strong if they were made aware that an Interim Town Manager was installed from the town staff position assuming that person was highly qualified…… The commission with the exception of Mayor Chris Vincent who tried to appeal to his fellow commissioners that the process was still important to follow and the budget was not the sole criteria for a Town Manager took Mr. Parker’s advisement as gospel ….The commission voted 5-0 for Ms. Connors to remain Interim Town Manager until October at which time it would be put on the agenda…

The agenda for tonight has under Old Business 12.a to revisit the Town Manager position and to do the following…

  1. Negotiate a contract with Linda Connors to fill the Town Manager position.
  2. Extend the Interim Term for Linda Connors.
  3. Direct Staff to Hire FCCMA or a consultant to conduct a search and assist as necessary in the Town Manager recruitment.

Option 2 is the only option this commission should approve……The commission knows that there are only 4 meetings until the January 2022 candidate filing period for 3 seats on the new 2022 commission….It has long been the practice of outgoing  commissions to not proceed in matters of such high importance this close to a town election that would tie the hands of a new commission…

The Town Charter states the following ….  Ms. Connors and all applicants must meet what is required  in it….. There can be no wiggle room with …’the accepted competencies and practices’ portion which should never have been inserted and should be removed asap….

  • Sec. 5.3. – Town Manager—Appointment, qualifications and compensation.
    The Town Commission shall appoint a Town Manager who shall be the administrative head of the municipal government under the direction and supervision of the Town Commission. The Town Manager shall hold office at the pleasure of the Town Commission. The Town Manager shall receive such compensation as determined by the Town Commission through the adoption of an appropriate resolution. The Town Manager shall be appointed by resolution approving an employment contract between the Town and the Town Manager. The Town Manager shall be appointed solely on the basis of education and experience in the accepted competencies and practices of local public management including, a graduate degree with a concentration in public administration, public affairs, public policy, or public finance and two (2) years’ experience as an appointed city manager or county manager, or four (4) years’ experience as an assistant or deputy city manager or assistant or deputy county manager. Alternatively, the Town Manager shall be appointed on the basis of education and experience in the accepted competencies and practices of local public management that is determined by the Town Commission to be commensurate to those listed in the prior sentence.(Ord. No. 2013-13, § 2, 10-22-2013)

If for some reason a majority of the commission chooses to ignore the protocol of their predecessors and usurp the next commission by negotiating a contract with Ms. Connors their constituents should inquire if they have done their due diligence  in making the decision to go for Option 1…….

The Interim Town Manager has never submitted her resume to the town due to the cancelations of the process last winter….Have they researched her accomplishments and failures?…..Have they evaluated her performance as they would any new candidate or Town Manager by reaching out to residents and businesses for their experiences as well as town employees?….. Or…are they fearful that because they failed with the hiring of Bill Vance they prefer to avoid the process altogether?… All of the above should long be held in voter’s memories if each commissioner does not provide us with their extensive criteria for choosing to make Ms. Connors our Town Manager permanently at this time…

I want to let Readers know that I did my due diligence concerning Linda Connors and what I found along with my conclusions is based on research just as I have done since 2006 concerning past Town Managers and Town Manager Candidates…. My findings are below….. which I intend to speak about and provide to the commission tonight….and enter in to the public record…

‘Mayor, Commissioners-

I will put forth why the Interim Town Manager should not be installed permanently especially at this time.

This commission will find that I have researched previous Town Managers in- depth beginning with former Town Manager Bob Baldwin to Esther Colon to Connie Hoffman and Bud Bentley and the other candidates in 2010 as well as former Town Manager Bill Vance and other candidates for the position. I have written about them as well as coming to this podium.

Therefore, my research into Ms.Connors is a continuation of that to make sure this commission or any future commission and the residents know as much as possible before they make this all important decision for the Town Manager.

All of what is included below is factually based on Town archived records, internet searches, in- person exchanges and public records requests. All can be accessed to verify. I have included my own opinions on the conclusions I found.

I wondered why former Town Managers Hoffman and Bentley did not put forth the Director of Development in 2017 as Bud Bentley retired, especially since she was their hire and has been employed by the town since 2011 as Town Planner and Director of Development since 2015.

I believe that answer can be found from many missteps and mistakes made under her watch in the Development Services Department with the largest most impactful being eighteen ordinances she did not properly notice prior to 2018 which when found during an ongoing 2018 property development hearing culminated with the neighbors of a W. Tradewinds McMansion after nearly a year of fighting both the Town and the property owner to lose their intercostal views when the new owners were allowed to go ahead with their backyard setback increase as a result  of her actions which negated the updated non- noticed ordinance that would have prevented it.

There were 17 other ordinances requiring a re-notice and commission votes as well on March 27, 2018.

The video of that meeting shows this commission were all on the dais to witness this and to hear these outraged neighbors who had their properties forever changed due to Ms. Connors stating she should be fired.

Ms.Connors was involved with the single/ duplex conditional use requirements when it originated in order to protect and preserve our historic hotel district on El Mar Drive as an author and as the Town Planner representing its significance to the 2012 P & Z Board and again with the 2017 P & Z Board.

It was a real shock that on July 7, 2021 as the P & Z Board held the Quasi Judicial Hearing for 4112. El Mar Drive that was delayed from May 2021 were deliberately lacking in staff direction and historical documents from the Acting Director of Development Campbell and Interim Town Manager Connors showing the importance of the single family conditional use application and requirements thus tying their hands as the board members themselves stated when reluctantly approving an 8000 sq. foot contemporary home that ran counter to the 2012 intentions.

Ms.Connors continued to cast aside the significance of the conditional use when the Quasi Judicial Hearing was removed from the July 27, 2021 commission meeting stating in her Town Manager Report it was ” just another level of review.”

The hearing was delayed over the citizen outrage that arose after the July P & Z hearing debacle.

At that meeting the commission directed the Town Attorney to look into removing single family/ duplex homes on El Mar Drive due to the conditional use being cast aside.

That new ordinance came to the P & Z Board as an inclusion with another land use change on September 1, 2021. Several of the P & Z members reiterated their frustration with the July hearing and its outcome and voted against the grandfathering of 4112 El Mar to rectify their votes to approve and despite veiled assertions that the applicants have property rights and can use Bert J. Harris to sue the town.

At the September 13, 2021 commission meeting the commission passed the single- family home ordinance and the grandfathering of 4112 El Mar Drive while still in the dark concerning the facts of this property application process.

A public records request on September 14, 2021 showed that the applicants applied and received a development review on July 28, 2021. This required the Town contracted Architect to do an architectural review. Leo Hansen did 3 reports that mirrored the conditional use requirements, stating the contemporary home did not meet LBTS architectural standards in material, size and being harmonious and non- adversely impacting the adjacent neighbor and neighborhood. He ended his final reports saying the applicants showed no desire to change their home and recommended they study the Town architecture citing the Seaward Hotel as a desired example ( as shown in our Architectural Standards Manual.)

Although the applicants did not want to go back to the architect after the first report and disagreed with the report wanting instead to go ahead with the Quasi Judicial Hearing the Interim Town Manager and staff did not let them proceed as they requested.

A public records request I made for 4112 El Mar Drive showed that in January 2018 Ms. Connors in an email informed Rob Gordon about the conditional use requirement, the process and stated she could not answer the likelihood of approval by the commission. In August 2019 Town Planner Susan Leven informed Chip Falkanger, a broker for the property, that he would need to obtain a conditional use. On October 28, 2019 Linda Conners received an email from the realtor Chip Falkanger asking about conditional use requirements and side setbacks. Ms. Connors replied that the property was ‘exempt’ from conditional use and the side setbacks were 5′ ‘both incorrect responses.

On October 13,2020 the owner of the property Rob Gordon contacted Director Conners to verify the information she provided to Chip Falkanger ‘ in an abundance of caution’ as they were ready to start plans.  At that time they were going to build a duplex townhome with 5′ setbacks and he wanted to re-confirm both the side setbacks and the exemption from conditional use.  Ms.Connors one year later, responded ‘ I  have reviewed the email and the code referenced. Unfortunately, the information provided referencing Section 30-242 is incorrect. The section of the code clearly states that the regulations apply only to those properties that are west of Bougainvilla Drive. As 4112 El Mar Drive is east of Bougainvilla, the provisions would not apply.’Director of Development Connors provided the wrong code and wrong area in 2019.

The owner and attorney for 4112 El Mar Drive were the same owner and attorney that found Ms.Connors lack of notice for the property on N.Tradewinds in 2018.

Finding this information one has to wonder if this was why the Director would cast aside the single- family conditional use as this application proceeded.

The commission is to decide grandfathering 4112 on 2nd Reading on 10/12/2021 after basing their stance on conditional use and architectural review but with the trajectory and background now known to do so is to disregard the Interim Town Manager and Development staff actions to date and to unfairly offer property rights to these applicants while taking away property rights to the adjacent property.

As Interim Town Manager Ms.Connors came to the commission in 2021 to recommend that they dissolve our Historic Preservation Board ordinance to create such a board.

A look at the history shows the ordinance was passed in 2018 which was after the June 2017 meeting of the Broward County Historic Preservation Board convened to discuss the changes for requiring cities to be Certified Local Governments.

Strangely, in 2019 Ms.Connors informed the commission that the Broward County Historic Preservation Board was going to make changes and require municipalities to become certified local governments although Ms. Connors participated in the 2017 meeting and before the ordinance was passed to form a board in our town.
The commission voiced their concerns about home rule and what the new requirements which Ms.Connors was to bring forth at the Broward County meeting dealing with these changes.

Transcripts from that April 2019 meeting show that the board offered to assist the town in reaching the new criteria and that home rule would not be impacted in the process.

Director Connors never came back to the commission that I could find in the archives. There was no attempt made to reach out to our community for qualified residents to join the board as she stated she did not believe we had the caliber required in our town.

Another reason for not pursuing the board was the lack of an historical Architect. I found through my public records request for 4112 El Mar Drive that our Town contracted Architect Leo Hansen is the past president of the Broward County Preservation Board.

Interim Town Manager Connors came at the 11th hour in 2021 stating all the false assertions of our town not being able to form a Historic Preservation Board with the new requirements when she was well aware of the aid offered by Broward County along with contacts to succeed without allowing the commission to direct her from 2019.

From the commission comments made at the 2018 ordinance and the comments the commission made at the 2021 dissolution I believe the outcome would have been quite different if the commission knew the facts.

In 2021 in the Town Manager Report the Interim Town Manager informed the commission a head-shop called Grateful J’s and 2 smoke shops were approved for the west end of our downtown.

Ms.Connors as both Town Planner and Director of Development was well aware of what commissions and constituents did not want in our town. She was also aware of the 2009 ordinance stating the following

‘The Town Manager or designee shall consult with the Town Commission on any proposal to find that a use is similar, prior to authorizing such use in the B-1-A district.’

No matter the designation the Development Department decided these stores fell under the red flags right in front of them to stop these businesses from being approved!

Ms.Connors was involved with all actions put in place over the last decade to improve and redesign the west downtown corridor.

At the October 6,2021 P &Z Board meeting to discuss a new ordinance to update the previously allowed businesses the attorney for Grateful J’s stated if his client was told they were not wanted they would have passed on our town! Instead he stated they were welcomed even receiving a Welcome letter from the Town.

Ms.Connors came and stood at the podium and tried to justify this happening due to the ‘Specialty’ Store designation used for the application. This store stated its name to know what type of store it was  (they have other locations ) in their application but left out any reference to paraphernalia in describing what would be sold.

The P&Z Board as well as members of the audience did not buy the designation explanation and the commission should not either.

The new ordinance takes away the 2009 Town Manager consulting the commission before approval and inserts what Ms.Connors did with this debacle legitimizing the Interim Town Manager’s actions.

From January 2021 to June 2021 the Interim Town Manager never brought to the dais the Florida Legislatures change to Home Based Businesses.

We only found this out in September at the P&Z Board meeting when it was on their agenda for a new ordinance to accommodate the new legislative changes.

A look at the Florida League of Cities website showed that emails were sent out throughout this process urging municipalities to join as 141 others did. Our town did not! Our Interim Town Manager is budgeted to be a FLOC member so she must have received this information but chose not to bring it to the dais and the residents.

When this brought forth outrage from the neighborhoods there was no response from the Interim Town Manager for why we were not informed and participating.

Our lobbyist at the first 2021 Budget Meeting told me that emails were also sent to the town from them throughout 2021. The same lobbyist that Ms.Connors wanted to remove from our 2021-22 budget. The commission directed her to keep our lobbyist in the budget.

A Resolution was voted on after the fact at the Special Meeting on Oct.4, 2021 after our lobbyist told us no change would be coming in the upcoming year.

Ms.Connors chose to subvert the Downtown Sidewalk Expansion Round Tables on three separate occasions.

Round Table discussions have brought great success to prior town projects during her tenure as Town Planner and Director of Development and to change the formula as Interim Town Manager keeps up Ms.Connors choice to turn her back on what we have long found works well.

The October 4, 2021 Special Meeting needlessly riled residents and businesses up by Ms.Connors attempt to tie the expansion to the need for more parking by purchasing a lot being used already by Aruba for $2.5 million for 16-20 spaces on A1A and/or partnering with FDG ( old Holiday Inn) for 200 spaces at the south end of El Mar Drive.

On the 10/12/2021 agenda her insistence to tie increased parking to the expansion continued with the explanation for the Old Business item to update the 2015 parking study. The commission did not receive all relevant backup as has been the case since 2018 and the hiring of former Town Manager Vance.

The Interim Town Manager promoting the Steven Fett design renderings was akin to the El Mar Drive Streetscape Project redesign in scope of change. Mr. Fett to his credit at the meeting asked for the Jarvis Hall attendees to speak after his presentation resulting in some commissioners, restaurateurs and residents to speak out to return to a Round Table Meeting to start over with the “base” of what we have now with the expansion.

After the meeting, Mr. Fett spoke to me and he said too felt this venue was not the right way to begin this project.

A few days later the Interim Town Manager put out a town alert along with yard signs and banners throughout the town for the Oct. 27, 2021 Round Table. She included the Steven Fett presentation PDF and promoted these design plans for the downtown expansion.  Once again Ms. Connors has pushed for her vision of changing our town as she did with the El Mar Drive Streetscape Project.

The Interim Town Manager as Director of Development joined Town Engineer Jay Flynn in an all-out push to redevelop El Mar Drive. She verbally stated her view that the “old loudmouths” who did not want the Jay Flynn/EDSA designs should be disregarded.

Ms.Connors fought against the outcry from the residents until their voices could no longer be ignored. After the decision was made to walk away from it she would not remove it from future projects or the town website and only did so after several directives from the commission.

There are other troubling issues both as Director of Development and as Interim Town Manager that show that the problems in her department such as we saw in 2018 with the massive amount of ordinances that were negated continue.

The Development Department is still under her Interim Town Manager and watching the P & Z meetings since June of this year shows a board that has not been fully supported in any way. Just to watch these meetings it is undeniable and in both September and October Ms.Connors was in attendance and needed to take to the podium to instruct both the staff and the board how to proceed.

In September Ms.Connors sat down next to me after the meeting and her response to my stating the need for his board to receive staff assistance and guidance as the 2012 P & Z Board had with the conditional use ordinance was to state this board was inferior to that board and to then state it shows why we would not be able to get the quality of Historical Preservation Board members.

At the September Code Compliance Meeting Bethany Banyas negated a $200,000.00 lien on a private home due to a code error in filing. This was under Ms.Connors as both Director of Development and Interim Town Manager.

At the same Code Compliance meeting we heard from professional office building tenants that their building was deemed unsafe and they had 2 hours to vacate. The tenants stated they were not allowed back in and the impact of this drastic action to both their businesses and their clients. The building official from CAP was a disgrace and the Town offered no aid or comprehension when the building official stated the building issues were a public safety issue. The Town did not rope off the areas surrounding the building until after this meeting took place. This too falls under Ms. Connors as Interim Town Manager.

The Marina Hotel, another big project that requires residents and businesses to be in town and to be participants was being pushed by Ms.Connors to proceed because as she said “government does not stop.”  At a public meeting held by the developer he was agreeable to postponing until residents returned. The Interim Town Manager and the Development Department still put forth a public meeting with the commission prior to the return and before it went to the P & Z Board. The meeting was finally canceled after pushback but not before riling up the residents, as we have witnessed throughout Ms.Connors tenure in both positions.

Equal treatment has been an ongoing problem for Ms.Connors as both Director of Development and Interim Town Manager with businesses crossing her and staff while other businesses were privy to leeway concerning code violations and permits.

Ms.Connors told me when we walked El Mar Drive right after her appointment as Interim Town Manager that as Director of Development she was the “bad cop” to the Town Manager’s ” good cop” and she could fill the ” good cop” role. Unfortunately, she has proven she cannot.

The opportunity was there for Ms.Connors to immediately revert back to the successful leadership of former Town Managers Connie Hoffman and Bud Bentley but she chose not to.

Ms.Connors on that same walk on El Mar Drive told me she and Ken Ruback were really running the town for former Town Manager Bill Vance. If true and in hindsight she chose to continue the failed leadership of Mr. Vance time here with the same poor results.

As Interim Town Manager Ms.Connors did not get the 2021-22 Budget out until 6:30 PM on the Friday before the first budget meeting on Monday September 13, 2021.

The required Sun-Sentinel published notice for the budget was incorrect stating our proposed property taxes were increased. They were in fact lowered with a 3 to 2 commission vote to rollback the rate. No correction was published after I notified the Town of the error and no response to my email concerning the error was ever responded to.

Our residential permits were delayed resulting in an extension beyond September 30th due to it. The Town finally put the permit application online due to the number of residents inquiring per the Town Senior Office Specialist even as the date for the actual permits were hopefully before the September 30th renewal date.

As Interim Town Manager, Ms.Connors continues to be the planner of changing LBTS vs. preserving LBTS as she was as Director of Development.

I along with the majority of your constituents believe this town deserves a Town Manager who will preserve and protect our town and will honor our Mission and Vision Statements to its full extent.

Thank you,

Barbara Cole

Dear Readers…. I have not witnessed what I am seeing at this time in our town since 2006,2007,2008 and 2009 ….businesses, restauranteurs and residents are reticent to participate and make comments tonight concerning the Interim Town Manager fearing repercussions from her administration and staff in the future….I thought those days were long gone and never….ever….did I think I would encounter them again….sad to say….sad to write….sad for the future of our town….

More to come……

 

 

 

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HERE’S THE SCOOP…..THERE IS NO OTHER OPTION….

October 12, 2021 by Barbara

Commissioners should always put their Town 1st…. Option 2 does that….

 

Dear Readers…. below is a copy of the email I sent to our LBTS Mayor and Commissioners on Saturday as they began looking at their October 12, 2021 Commission Agenda…..

12.a Old Business is on the agenda to decide which option to follow concerning the Town Manager position….

There is no other option that is appropriate or keeps to past commission actions this close to a municipal election than option 2…..

‘Mayor, Commissioners-

The most important, transparent duty you have to represent your constituents and our town is who you hire as our Town Manager in our Commission- Town Manager form of government.
We know this from previous blunders and successes prior to 2010 , 2010 and in 2018 and the impact on our town with these commission elevated or hired Town Managers.
I have always been about the process and the right process has always benefitted this Town.
There were red flags from the start with former Town Manager candidate Bill Vance which you can find and refresh your memories with watching our Town Commission archived videos.
Unfortunately these issues were cast aside even though they were front and center right up to his hiring according to former Town Manager Bud Bentley.
As a result we were severely impacted by his hiring for almost 2 years.
The Commission elevated former Director of Development Linda Conners as Interim Town Manager.
From the start of elevating Linda Conners I was for the process being fair and  fully executed.
I was probably the first resident to email her as she was installed to wish her well in her endeavor.
I was also immediate in voicing my disdain and criticism concerning a special meeting to accommodate and decide if former mayor Scot Sasser should be fast tracked for the Town Manager position because it thwarted the process!
To his credit former Mayor Sasser decided it was not the right way to go and respectfully asked to cancel it.
I walked with Linda Conners on El Mar Drive at the start of her interim position which we all thought was just that knowing she would be a candidate for Town Manager.
Unfortunately due to misinformation cast out as fact you chose to extend her interim position based on Ken Parker’s dictum which was counter to our past process.
With the exception of Mayor Vincent who tried to remind the dais of the importance of the process in the Zoom meeting that delayed it the commission chose to revisit it in October.
The agenda for Oct. 12,2021 under Old Business now has it on to address.
This is again thwarting the process in its placement on a regular agenda with the options it includes-
1. Negotiate a contract with Linda Connors to fill the Town Manager position.
2. Extend the Interim term for Linda Connors.
3. Direct Staff to Hire FCCMA or a consultant to conduct a search and assist as necessary in the Town Manager recruitment.
We are 4 meetings away from January 2022 and candidates filing to run for 3 seats on the dais in March.
It is customary in our town to defer such impacting decisions to the incoming new commission.
By taking Ken Parker’s advice and holding off the search you should not proceed in either hiring or starting a search which will tie the hands of the next commission due to either lack of process or the time the process will take which coincides with our municipal election.
This means keeping the status quo until the new commission is in place which is really the only fair and transparent option.
Sadly, if a majority on this commission choose to disregard our history of deference to a new commission so close to an election, the Town Manager position requires a Special Meeting as well as signs, banners and alerts for public participation as a Round Table or a project that impacts our town!
Those you represent now and in the future will be watching and depending on this commission to adhere to your responsibility to make our next Town Manager a success starting with a fair and transparent process based on history, process and doing the right thing!
Thank you,
Barbara Cole
More to come……
Post Division

HERE’S THE SCOOP….. TIMING THE TOWN MANAGER POSITION…. IN 2021-2022

October 9, 2021 by Barbara

 

IT MATTERS WHO OCCUPIES THE TOWN MANAGER OFFICE….

Dear Readers…

Below is a copy of the email sent to our LBTS Commission in advance of the Town Commission October 12,2021 Old Business Agenda item 12.a Town Manager Position….

Please make your comments known to those who represent you before they act on this all- important issue which impacts every resident and business in our town!….

Mayor, Commissioners-

The most important, transparent duty you have to represent your constituents and our town is who you hire as our Town Manager in our Commission- Town Manager form of government.
We know this from previous blunders and successes prior to 2010 , 2010 and in 2018 and the impact on our town with these commission elevated or hired Town Managers.
I have always been about the process and the right process has always benefitted this Town.
There were red flags from the start with former Town Manager candidate Bill Vance which you can find and refresh your memories with watching our Town Commission archived videos.
Unfortunately these issues were cast aside even though they were front and center right up to his hiring according to former Town Manager Bud Bentley.
As a result we were severely impacted by his hiring for almost 2 years.
The Commission elevated former Director of Development Linda Conners as Interim Town Manager.
From the start of elevating Linda Conners I was for the process being fair and  fully executed.
I was probably the first resident to email her as she was installed to wish her well in her endeavor.
I was also immediate in voicing my disdain and criticism concerning a special meeting to accommodate and decide if former mayor Scot Sasser should be fast tracked for the Town Manager position because it thwarted the process!
To his credit former Mayor Sasser decided it was not the right way to go and respectfully asked to cancel it.
I walked with Linda Conners on El Mar Drive at the start of her interim position which we all thought was just that knowing she would be a candidate for Town Manager.
Unfortunately due to misinformation cast out as fact you chose to extend her interim position based on Ken Parker’s dictum which was counter to our past process.
With the exception of Mayor Vincent who tried to remind the dais of the importance of the process in the Zoom meeting that delayed it the commission chose to revisit it in October.
The agenda for Oct. 12,2021 under Old Business now has it on to address.
This is again thwarting the process in its placement on a regular agenda with the options it includes-
1. Negotiate a contract with Linda Connors to fill the Town Manager position.
2. Extend the Interim term for Linda Connors.
3. Direct Staff to Hire FCCMA or a consultant to conduct a search and assist as necessary in the Town Manager recruitment.
We are 4 meetings away from January 2022 and candidates filing to run for 3 seats on the dais in March.
It is customary in our town to defer such impacting decisions to the incoming new commission.
By taking Ken Parker’s advice and holding off the search you should not proceed in either hiring or starting a search which will tie the hands of the next commission due to either lack of process or the time the process will take which coincides with our municipal election.
This means keeping the status quo until the new commission is in place which is really the only fair and transparent option.
Sadly, if a majority on this commission choose to disregard our history of deference to a new commission so close to an election,
the Town Manager position requires a Special Meeting as well as signs, banners and alerts for public participation as a Round Table or a project that impacts our town!
Those you represent now and in the future will be watching and depending on this commission to adhere to your responsibility to make our next Town Manager a success starting with a fair and transparent process based on history, process and doing the right thing!
Thank you,
Barbara Cole
https://legistarweb-production.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/attachment/pdf/1094428/CoverPage.pdf
Christopher Vincent Mayor 954-612-8606 [email protected]
Buz Oldaker Vice Mayor 954-530-5279 [email protected]
Elliott Sokolow Commissioner 954-599-5800 [email protected]
Edmund Malkoon Commissioner 954-802-3403 [email protected]
Randy Strauss Commissioner 954-566-5297 [email protected]
Post Division

HERE’S THE SCOOP……SAVING EL MAR DRIVE….. AGAIN….

September 16, 2021 by Barbara

THE FUTURE  OF  EL MAR DRIVE IS AT STAKE….

 

Dear Readers…. whether you have lived in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea for years or just landed as a resident or tourist it must be because you fell in love with what you found…..A Town like no other as described by Martha Munser in her book that is still referred to on the Town website.

We have been here before with urban planners, Town administrations and staff that believe change is their task to accomplish and developers who look at our town as the last beachfront frontier to conquer!

They have all been held at bay and sent packing due to the mobilization of residents old and new who prevailed!

Here we are again!

Just when we thought El Mar Drive was off the redevelopment train with the demise of the overbuilt land grabbing luxury resort that was encouraged by those same change agents on the old Holiday Inn property and the massive design change pushed upon us for the El Mar Drive Project we are now faced with a massive McMansion Conditional Use application at 4112 El Mar Drive on a 50 foot lot that was a walkway to the beach!

Something nefarious, deceptive and/or ignorant has taken place as this application has moved through the Conditional Use process for a single family home in our hotel district, in this writer’s opinion!

Our Interim Town Manager Linda Conners was our Town Planner when the Town Commission made the Conditional Use requirement for single family homes their #2 priority in 2011. She presented it to the 2012 Planning and Zoning Board on March 21, 2012 emphasizing how important it was.

In November 2017 when single family homes were discussed while the Planning and Zoning Board was in the process of bringing the north end codes in-line with the south end, the current Chair of the Planning & Zoning who has been on the board since 2012 brought up single family homes on El Mar Drive and Linda Conners, Director of Development repeated the importance of not having them in our hotel district.

Here we are in 2021 and the first Single Family Home Condition Use application had been submitted for consideration  after it was removed from the original April 2021 Planning & Zoning hearing date. Suddenly it was not being presented on July 7, 2021 to the 2021 Planning and Zoning Board as the catalyst to build a single family home on El Mar Drive, rather it was being cast aside as non-essential in the board’s decision!

The Planning and Zoning Board made it clear they needed direction and history from the Interim Director of Development and the Town Attorney. They were given none! They were not provided backup to that March 21, 2012 Planning & Zoning meeting with the original backup provided for that meeting or the minutes and the video. They were not provided or informed that this 4112 El Mar Drive application was being based on it meeting the Conditional Use requirements to approve or deny it. They stated as a board they felt their hands were tied. They were correct!

The Planning and Zoning Board had their hands tied by being kept in the dark about their role as an advisory board and by not being provided the materials and the direction required to perform their appointed duties!

The last single family home application made prior to the 2012 Conditional Use requirement went to the Planning & Zoning Board multiple times requesting changes before it went to the commission.

That single family home that was never completed had heard the board loud and clear. The attorney for that applicant stated they had reconfigured their house to not impact the small hotel next door to their south!

It was the Seaward Hotel family owner and his attorney who came to the Planning & Zoning Quasi Judicial Hearing opposing the 4112 El Mar Drive Conditional Use applicant who intends to build this McMansion next door the Seaward that did the Town’s job!

Attorney Henry Handler , Seaward Hotel owner Jim Sellitti and their architect tried mightily to inform the board as well as the Interim Director of Development and Town Attorney James White of the purpose of the Single Family Conditional Use in their deliberations but they were summarily cast aside at every turn!

The board was reticent when they passed this applicant on to the commission 4-1 to a hearing set for July 27, 2021.

Between July 7, 2021 Planning & Zoning Board meeting and the July 27, 2021 commission meeting word spread about what took place and what was coming to the commission impacting El Mar Drive !

That Quasi Judicial Hearing in front of the commission was postponed as a result, in my opinion.

At the July 27,2021 commission meeting in Public Comments, Former Mayor Scot Sasser, Former Mayor Roseann Minnet and Former Vice Mayor Stuart Dodd made strong, impactful comments to stress the importance and significance of the Single Family Home Conditional Use requirement they instituted along with our current Mayor Chris Vincent. A large number of public comments were made at the podium and sent in to the Town Clerk from very concerned town people.

The Town Architect did a required architectural review in August after the applicants made a developmental review application right after the July 27, 2021 Quasi Judicial Hearing was canceled which is required for any development in RM25 zones.

On August 10, 2021 the architect stated in his review the modern mansion did not meet the architectural standards mirroring the adverse impact shown in the Conditional Use requirements to meet for approval and concluded with recommending the applicants should redesign and resubmit to not adversely impact the adjacent property or neighborhood. In fact, he lauded the Seaward as an example the Town used in its Architectural Design Standard to follow!
On Aug. 26, 2021 (according to an email sent to the commission on Sept. 7,2021 from the Acting Director of Development per Interim Town Manager Conner’s instruction to update them and inform them the Sept. 13, 2021 hearing was not going to be happening) , the applicant’s attorney found the review ‘insufficient and not specific enough’ and wanted to go forward to the hearing set for Sept. 13, 2021 and stated they  ( applicants) ‘refused to engage further on it.’
The Town instead of proceeding with the hearing, went back to the architect and on Sept, 4, 2021 and Sept. 7, 2021 in his amended reviews he stated ‘Since it is clearly not the intent of the applicant to adhere to the Mid-Century Modern principles’ he would focus on ‘the issue of the proposed alternative”Contemporary”style. He further pointed out the drastic differences with the same adverse, impactful outcome! He ended his final review recommending the applicant ‘study the Lauderdale-By-The-Sea Architectural Standard Carefully and propose changes that reflect that intention.’
On Sept.1, 2021 2021 the Planning & Zoning Board were given Ordinance 2021-09 to remove single family homes on El Mar Drive and the grandfathering option. The three Planning & Zoning Board members who voted against grandfathering the applicant did so to rectify the approval votes they said they would not have made on July 7, 2021 had they known what they learned afterward about the importance of the Conditional Use requirement.
In a most unusual move this writer has never seen prior the backup for the Sept. 13, 2021 First Reading for Ord. 2021-09  the Town staff countered the 3-2 vote against grandfathering Planning & Zoning Board vote stating Town staff ‘ deliberated’ and came up with 5 reasons to approve the grandfathering of 4112 El Mar Drive.
As the Seaward owner stated on Sept. 13, 2021 at the podium all 5 reason provided by the ‘deliberating’ Town staff were untrue to what has actually transpired with this application and the applicants as found in the minutes, documents,architectural reviews and the archived videos of the meetings.
At the Sept. 13, 2021 Lauderdale- By- The- Sea Commission meeting Ordinance 2021-09 First Reading took place to no longer allow single family homes on El Mar Drive (due to the debacle of not using the 2012 Conditional Use requirements with this application) and to decide to if they should approve this Conditional Use applicant wanting to build a modern mansion by grandfathering them in.
While the Commission voted 5-0 to approve Ord. 2021-09 to remove single family homes on El Mar Drive to protect our hotel district they greatly erred in approving the grandfathering in of 4112 El Mar Drive. It appears to this writer and many other well informed residents the Commission did not do their homework!
The applicants spoke of wanting to be a part of our town and the fairness they deserve. Thus far, those sentiments and charges made of being negatively labeled at the podium do not ring true when you look at what has actually transpired.
They stated for over the last 7 years they are familiar with our town expressing their  their desire to live here and having something to offer as residents but….
When your established and revered in Lauderdale- By- The- Sea architectural style ( per LBTS Architectural Standard and the Town Architect) next door neighbor, El Mar Drive neighbors, town residents, former elected town officials, town board members, hoteliers, restaurants,and businesses along with the Town Architect and the required Conditional Use and Architectural Review all agree your modern mansion dream home does not belong in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea on El Mar Drive it seems to this writer an applicant must decide whether to build a home that does as advised or build your modern mansion where other modern mansions are allowed!
The Commission on Sept. 28, 2021 at Second Reading must pass Ord. 2021-09 and must deny grandfathering of 4112 El Mar Drive based on actually watching both  Planning & Zoning Board meetings, the March 2012 Planning & Zoning Board meeting.
The Commission must read the 2012 Conditional Use requirements, the Town Architectural Review Standards and read all three reports from the Town Architect.
The Commission must honor their 2021 Mission/Vision pledge to preserve and protect our town!
More to come……
Post Division

….LBTS 6/8/2021 The Round Table Workshop …. That Was Not Well Rounded!….

June 9, 2021 by Barbara

Dear Readers-

Below is a copy of my email to the Mayor and Commissioners after the 6/8/2021 Workshop for the downtown businesses….

Any email sent or received is a public record so it is for public viewing….

My public comments, letters to the editor, comments on articles and blog posts  are made in order to inform my elected representatives and the Town staff as well as my friends and neighbors of my opinions and offer my input along with historical information on the topics being addressed in our town which impact us all….

 

‘Mayor, Commissioners,
How far we have fallen from our past productive successes!
The businesses came to you in a workshop forum and you did not even give them a seat at the table – literally!
Upon my arrival at Jarvis Hall my first question was where is the rest of the round table!
This turned out to be a visual for what this workshop would become with the Interim Town Manager looking uninterested in the discussions as more often the not she looking at her cell phone with the Town Attorney next to her on her laptop.
In the agenda were public comments made by Town Engineer Jay Flynn who made eerily the same Dead On Arrival projections for this downtown outdoor extension sidewalk improvement change project as he did for the El Mar Drive FDOT no need for a 6- foot buffer threat- only this was as a “resident”!
For this, the Town Engineer should be removed from this project as well as any future El Mar Drive improvements and some serious discussion should be made about the conflict of interest involved in having a Town Engineer who is also a resident, in my opinion.
Why was the Town Administration and staff knowing this workshop was setup not prepared to offer up their own presentation of what potentially could be done and what it would entail?
Why were 4 commissioners not advocating for our businesses and hotels instead of two commissioners falsely and inaccurately stating roadblocks that looked to be in lock- step with the administration and two commissioners staying mute?
Only the Mayor spoke up for his constituents and corrected the falsehoods being made while looking forward in a welcoming, constructive manner!
The Covid restrictions provided an unintended successful consequence in that we already know this outdoor seating extension works and is wanted by both residents and tourists as the restaurant owners and hoteliers stated.
The Covid pandemic may be over for now but anyone who thinks there is no chance of backtracking in the future of restrictions being enforced is being hopefully ignorant.
The negative comments were mostly addressing the barriers, fencing and non-uniformity of tents, umbrellas etc.. that were put forth in the business presentation to be remedied!
The biggest concerns in 2010 was to retain our town as a vibrant tourist destination and to not become a bedroom community.
These businesses and hotels have made that happen and they should be treated much better than they were at this workshop for that!
There is no reason to not expediently proceed making what has worked permanent including Aruba outdoor dining in the plaza to be equitable and fair.
Aruba is the anchor of this downtown as it always has been and will continue to be making it an asset to the plaza.
Most who are in the CH Plaza are there waiting to get in Aruba with their balloons thus it is already cohesive in its use!
This is not a full- out re-design of the downtown it is more akin to what was done in the west Commercial Plazas and the recent Bougainvilla Parking by Commercial Blvd. and those did not take years!
These businesses and hoteliers should receive an apology for what occurred last night and a second workshop with a full round table providing them their rightful seats should be setup asap!
Barbara Cole’

More to come…..

Post Division

AND NOW FOR A LOT OF HISTORY- NOTHING IS NEW -IT’S BEEN DISCUSSED BEFORE!

June 8, 2021 by Barbara

Dear Readers-

This writer has retained this site due to the number of daily visits Google shows of visitors looking for different items of interest that unfortunately are no longer provided to the current commission and their constituents as backup as was once the norm!

I have looked back as well on a number of agenda items put forth to the commission to refresh my memory and to provide to those making the decisions what is required in order to make them correctly- at least that’s always my hope although more often then not of late- it has not been the case!

There has been a big change in LBTS since my last post in 2016 with the commission, administration and staff.

We have lost much of what made our town special with commissioners no longer leading our discussions and decisions as they are designated to do resulting in the administration, staff and consultant led agendas based on their urban planning views for over-development that runs counter to the specialness we all saw in our town when we chose to put down stakes here!

After an outstanding Town Manager hired in 2010 by a newly elected slate-majority commission and her assistant Town Manager (who was a candidate for the position) who took over as Town Manager when she retired we started a decline!

After that Town Manager retired a Town Manager that had red-flags from the get-go was hired and quickly fired  – but not before the damage was done!

The current commission with the exception of the Mayor, seem to be lulled in to believing their roles are below those they hired thus leading to continued poor decisions and votes under the present Interim Town Manager ( moved up from Director of Development) thus continuing the damaging results with shrugs of indifference and a lack of response to their constituents when contacted!

There have been 11th hour uprisings to protect and preserve El Mar Drive which proved successful with the removal of both the grandiose -town property land grab of the Old Holiday Inn development and the demise of the Administration, Town Engineer led re-design of El Mar Drive with Plans 1,2 & 3  when the outcry was for Plan 4- fix what needs fixing !

Now, we are facing more impactful changes with stores coming in to town that are not in keeping with our long-term desire to connect west Commercial Blvd. businesses with the successful east Commercial Blvd. businesses!

A major blunder was made, in this writer’s opinion, by the current administration leading to an even larger divide of both sides of our downtown with consequences that have and will negate all that has been done to improve our downtown since 2010!

Again, in this writer’s opinion, the commission needs to lead and fix it asap!

In the past, when a Town Manager (moved up from Finance Director) made similar blunders such as the erected Pavilion that was not the design the commission voted on- she was fired when  the new majority was elected in March 2010 ( see previous posts.)

Our commission chose to listen to a gentlemen brought in for what he might offer as a search consultant for Town Manager candidates who stated his opinion of not looking for a permanent Town Manager  during budget season, which the commission accepted with exception of the Mayor. Once again, without backup, research, or follow-up questions this commission accepted it as fact!

Nothing could be further from the truth for our LBTS history of having March elections leading to the change of administrations!

That needs to happen again, a search for Town Manager needs to be brought back on the agenda now and the Interim Town Manager as well as the other candidates still waiting in the wings need to be vetted and interviewed to once again have the administration in place so vital to the success of our town!

As titled, ‘ Nothing Is New’!

We have been here before and the only way we changed the trajectory is in the numbers of concerned residents and business owners showing up to meetings, contacting their elected representatives and being proactive to assure our town is protected and preserved!

The time has come!

Read the agendas,  watch and participate in person and with comments at the commission meetings and workshops as well as the board meetings!

All are on the Town website and on your government channels on whichever provided used for TV.

lauderdalebythesea-fl.gov

Tonight there are 2 meetings – Jarvis Hall

Workshop at 5 PM on Downtown.

6:30 PM Regular Commission Meeting

Start now- get involved- It’s your Town!

More to come……

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop …. Well Played ….Time To Move On …. To Other Things…. Barbara Cole Writes….

March 30, 2016 by Barbara

The 2016 LBTS Final Election Results – Broward Supervisor Of Elections

Dear Readers …. Last night the new 2016 Lauderdale- By- The- Sea Commission was sworn in after a celebratory 6:30 pm farewell to outgoing two- term Commissioner Stuart Dodd and retiring Town Manager Connie Hoffman … I believe the election results were read from the dais and congratulations were made ….This writer chose to take a pass on watching the proceedings …. I did look at the official election results sent by the Town Clerk prior to the meeting and saw some disturbing issues that will be swept under the rug as so much was during this incredibly strange 2016 LBTS municipal election….The Broward County SOE left in 16 votes for “Candidate Withdrawn” aka Candidate Dan Darnell who dropped out asap after the final day of declaring to run for the commission and the resulting mess that ensued when his name was included on the absentee ballots …( see prev. posts)…..The Broward County SOE had stated no ballots with Darnell’s name would be counted and that first batch of absentee ballots received would either be put aside or destroyed …depending on which week the answer was given by the Broward County SOE ….Besides the 16 “Candidate Withdrawn” shown on the final election results there is a “Total Votes” number discrepancy between the mayoral race and the one commission race for Commissioner Dodd’s seat representing the south end of town……The mayoral race shows a ‘Total Votes’ of 2063 votes and the commission race shows a ‘Total Votes’ of 1998 with the inclusion of 16 “Candidate Withdrawn” -Darnell votes…That’s a short of 65 votes in this race …add back in the 16 “Candidate Withdrawn”-Darnell votes that were not to be counted or shown in the results and the total difference between these two races is 81 votes that are unaccounted for! ….Can it really be that 81 voters either voted for “Candidate Withdrawn”-Darnell and the Broward County SOE chose to show only 16 of them in the final official results …. tossing aside the 65 other votes….or…. did 65 voters really decide not to vote in the commission race at all?…. Neither makes any sense and in any other year that I’ve been involved over the last 10 years …..this would have been a “Red Hot Issue” ….one that would beg for immediate answers from the Broward County SOE before the swearing in to assure this was a clean election result for the commission seat in the south….. with real verified numbers to assure those results….in my opinion….But alas….this is not any of those past years….and we will never know what happened  and why….

That being the case…the sad case…. and for all the reasons written in the last 2 previous posts on this election ….this writer…. like my friend Stu Dodd … is term limiting out…. self- term limiting out …. The voters/residents became happily complacent in the last 6 years and in the 2012 /2014 municipal elections with uncontested races for incumbents and small turnout for single commission races …. and in my opinion…… the “Old Guard” mainly left in the north end of town ….so many thought were long gone….bided their time and waited for that complacency and for all the major opposing players to be gone or termed out to pick up where they left off in 2007…. Well played!…… Time will tell just how far this “Old Guard” agendas ( sewers in Palm Club etc…prev. posts) will be back on track and come to fruition with the newly seated commission now so beholden to them….. ( look at the backers of the newly elected and where they reside contained  in the candidate treasury reports)….and time will also tell if the demographics of the town…especially in the south end of town will come forward to decry those old tactics once again or will simply accept it all ….lock, stock and barrel …..as was the case for many years in the past….until it became to blatant to sit back and do nothing…

And no…. Dear Readers ….there will NOT be an outgoing “How The Sausage Was Made…2010- 2016″….as many have requested or asked about ….

For this writer……. I am going to go back to blogging on other topics as I did in the beginning of BCbythesea in 2008 ….Those old non -LBTS posts are still making their way around the world- wide web sphere producing comments years later from far and wide… bringing forth much pleasure of how vast this world really is ….and how much world there is outside of LBTS politics and those political “bubbles” that remain the same….

Under BCWrites….. more to come….

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop ….Updated….The Real First Term Resume Of Former Commissioner Birute Ann Clottey …. Do We Really Want A Repeat Of 2008- 2012? …

February 24, 2014 by Barbara

Former Commissioner Birute Ann Clottey at the dedication of the Commercial Blvd. Pavilion with all those she fully supported before they were ousted from Town Hall and the employ of LBTS!…

Dear Readers- You may have fallen victim to campaign revisionist history on behalf of the motley crew of backers supporting Birute Ann Clottey to return to the dais for a second act!… (Some of these avid supporters vehemently opposed her and 99% of her decisions/votes in the first 2 years of her term!)…They are playing hard and fast with the truth in order to secure their final hurrah…their final foot in the door….their final chance to stop the peace and the progress made without their questionable actions over the past few years …They are so full of themselves…so locked in reviving their past power play years that resulted in the Town’s version of the Peter Principle on steroids! It came with the rise in ranks of incompetent Town commissioners such as Clottey and her pals….Jerry McIntee and Jim Silverstone! … All three were in cahoots with the El Mar headquarters of their puppeteers as well as their chosen Town Manager Esther Colon…Asst. Town Manager John Olinzock …and the heads of each of the Town’s department  such as Finance and Human Resources that imploded upon the win of their opposition in 2010 and a long list of the mess they made and hid behind those Town Hall doors uncovered daily at every turn !…

What former Commissioner Clottey and her backers are doing now is hoping the voters have very short memories and that she can run claiming she was successful… well informed…well spoken…and independent…all of which is quite the opposite!… Birute Ann Clottey won her seat in 2008 by 113 votes against Incumbent Chuck Clark  …and that was due to her riding in on the coattails of her CIC “slate” …As written about so long ago after her win this writer was a co-manager of that campaign (see How The Sausage Was Made in the sidebar)….  she was a reluctant candidate who presented us with huge mountains to climb in order to make her anywhere near viable!… Once in office this writer spoke to her before every meeting about the agendas just as this writer was front and center coaching her on every campaign event and debate in order to make her presentable and informed on the issues which she was not…. For former Commissioner Clottey to claim she was responsible for the return of the VFD is akin to Al Gore saying he invented the internet!… She was not involved in the issue until former Comm. Jerry McIntee persuaded her to run from the north end of town when he could find no one else!… She knew nothing of the VFD and what had transpired…. Did she vote them in along with other votes from the dais that brought AMR to town…yes… as she was told to do!… Has she ever voted independently as this writer was informed she has claimed 90% of the time in her term?…. If you believe that then as they say I have some swamp land you can build on….if you want to put her in for another term!… Former Comm. Clottey voted as she was told by her “partners” in “crime (s)” …(metaphor or reality…you decide!)…. whether it was the “broom boys” and/or the Furths!… She voted most often with the 2010 majority until her term ended due to a lack of wanting to stir anything up as well as a major defeat that put the brakes on her co-horts especially after the fallout of what real mess was left in the wake of ousting Clottey’s Town Hall staff pals…which she alone was on record for trying to keep in place as long as she could!….

Here are some excerpts of former Commissioner Clottey’s as the Town fired Esther Colon in the Sentinel …( link is below) ….

Lauderdale-by-the-Sea fires town manager

Esther Colon worked for the town for a decade

April 21, 2010|By Linda Trischitta, Sun Sentinel

LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA — Town Manager Esther Colon was fired late Tuesday night with a 4-1 vote.

“I think that this was a foolish time to fire her,” Commissioner Birute Clottey said Wednesday. She cast the lone vote in support of Colon.

Commissioners gave no explanation Tuesday night for the dismissal.

But on Wednesday, Mayor Roseann Minnet said, “We fired her because the town is going in a new direction, and she wasn’t a part of that direction. We have a new commission and she served at the pleasure of the dais. We’re seeking unity, bringing the town together, working cohesively and respecting each other.”

“We needed her until August, and now it will be tough,” Clottey said. “She was a tough negotiator … and knew the system and how to get things done for us. We are now at a distinct disadvantage. I think this will result in higher taxes for our taxpayers.”

Colon’s departure was immediate. When the meeting ended, she turned in her cell phone and the keys to town hall and her municipal car, Town Spokesman Steve d’Oliveira said.

She worked for a decade for the town. Before she left, Colon thanked the residents who supported her.

When she became town manager in 2007, Colon’s contract listed a $146,743 annual salary. Despite a public records request, the town did not make available her current salary or severance amount.

Colon angered residents when she fired popular Broward Sheriff’s Chief Scott Gooding in July 2009.

Clottey said Colon was “a good public servant. What she lacked was a little bit of finesse in dealing with people. She treated everybody equally, and some people didn’t like that.”

http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2010-04-21/news/fl-lauderdale-by-the-sea-town-manager-fir20100421_1_town-manager-esther-colon-town-spokesman-steve-d-oliveira-chief-scott-gooding

Former Commissioner Clottey was once again on the wrong side as she was when she stood alongside her co-horts  when they backed the removal of former BSO Chief Scott Gooding which caused a huge uproar by the masses and required a meeting in Jarvis Hall to deal with the outcry !…. No taxes went up as former Commissioner Clottey predicted would occur from Colon being fired…quite the opposite!… The Interim Town Manager Connie Hoffman walked in to a 3- ring circus right after former Asst. Town Manager John Olinzock gave a big fat check to his former boss without being authorized to do so !… Readers can simply scroll to those times on this site or Google to see what transpired and to see that former Commissioner Clottey was drastically more often than she claims in her  present day election talking points on the wrong side with whom she aligned herself  with and chose to support as the giant scab came off and the mess left in the wake of those her allies fought to keep in place were escorted out of the building many with BSO officers by their side!….

Former Interim Town Manager John Olinzock and supporter Christie Furth..as he was ousted from his duties…

Interim Town Manager Connie Hoffman walked into such a tangled web of boxes upon boxes,  important paperwork missing, bills unpaid and no organizational rhyme or reason that she and those she brought in to aid her worked non- stop to in order to afford LBTS the working government we deserved and did not have in place unbeknownst to most of us!…. The budget that year could not even be finalized and adjustments were ongoing as accounts and accountability were installed and updated to offer real transparency instead of bogus awards that were long touted as financial achievements but upon some  research by this writer and some on the commission turned out to be nothing more than an everyone gets one award to all that apply!…

As the race in 2012 began former Commissioner Clottey decided not to run…It is this writer’s opinion she chose not to run because she knew she had no chance to win against Mark Brown an opponent who would and could nail her on her deplorable dais record especially since there was no way to revise it as she is trying so hard to do in this race due to fresh memories being front and center …..She who had so often been an embarrassment as this writer blogged about whether dealing with vendors… residents…businesses (an ongoing opponent of downtown music/special  events as advised by her co-horts)…..and her misguided and incomprehensible grasp on those areas of finance she now claims is her expertise!….. Here are a few excerpts from the Sentinel about that 2012 race with the link to the full story below…as Clottey took a pass….

“January 8, 2012|By Larry Barszewski, Sun Sentinel

The election: On Jan. 31, town voters will choose a new Seat 3 commissioner. Commissioner Birute Ann Clottey is not seeking re-election.

The candidates: Mark Brown and Edmund Malkoon

The background: Warring factions were prevalent in town elections as recently as two years ago, but the feud has essentially disappeared in this year’s Lauderdale-by-the-Sea elections. Vice Mayor Stuart Dodd has been re-elected without opposition and the two candidates for Clottey’s seat share views similar to those of the commission majority.

Town affairs have quieted down considerably since a new commission majority took over in 2010. The commission quickly disposed of former Town Manager Esther Colon and brought in former Fort Lauderdale City Manager Connie Hoffman to take the reins of the town’s administration. Commission meetings have gone from combative to congenial.”

http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2012-01-08/news/fl-elect-lbts-brown-malkoon-20120108_1_town-elections-vice-mayor-stuart-dodd-town-manager-esther-colon

Concerning our current Town Manager Connie Hoffman…. It has come to this writer’s attention that the Clottey -CIC crew has decided to use some of the 2010 playbook of blame the Town Manager for being in control …If true it’s beyond crazy when you consider that there is absolutely no meat on the bone to do so…..Clottey herself gave TM Hoffman high marks when evaluating her in 2011  as excerpts show from the Pelican…(link to full article below)…..

“Commissioner Birute Ann Clottey said Hoffmann “jumped in and took off running and is to be commended for this. She is an analytical and strategic thinker with excellent people skills. LBTS has benefited from her outstanding leadership.” But Clottey said she is concerned about a rush to outsource some departmental functions and wants to see the long-term benefit to residents and businesses before these types of decisions are made.”

How they rated her

Mayor Minnet .. . .4.0

Vice Mayor Dodd . . . 4.3

Commissioner Clottey. . . . .4.2

Commissioner Sasser . . . . . 4.0

Commissioner Vincent . . . . 4.7

http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00090900/00268

It was revealed to this writer that the Clottey- CIC crew are trying real hard to throw all the old Furth-CIC election playbook garbage out and see what sticks with the voters when it comes to declarations we are told were made concerning this commission’s agendas and the lack of  commissioner backed items as compared to their time at the helm… Come on!…The agendas back in the CIC led majority days were  tit- for tat commissioner items of war against opposing commissioners, constituents and businesses…They were used for fear and retribution as well as doing bad deeds and occasionally sometimes good ones for supporters and neighbors due to the utter lack of any staff assistance unless it was on the agenda and in the record  for agenda minutes …all courtesy of the Colon administration!…It resulted in overly long contentious meetings that sometimes went on for days …unnecessarily ….and ineffectively ….which by a way definitely helped in overturning that majority as most in town had simply had enough!… Town Manager Connie Hoffman quite literally took down the wall that prevented off the dais action by first removing the plate glass window in the reception area of Town Hall and making all departments and staff available and accountable as well as working with the commission to offer new web alternatives that  cut out the need for the old norms… Town Manager Hoffman and her staff have worked hard to keep the present commission fully informed of what is happening in real time throughout the weeks along with the successful liaison program introduced in 2010 so that agendas are much more streamlined and  manageable in content and time on the dais… and for those attending the meetings… This too was a big want of those who answered a 2009 survey hastily put out without a vote by the former administration pre- election!…On that point…this writer has repeatedly heard the old CIC line…”The people want…”… Please tell me who are “the people?”… For they have not and are not at the podium..armed with demands Clottey and her co-horts are using to make their minority views seem viable …Any excuses of fear to do so is a load of crap…as those who remember their past is a non-starter at best… They had no backing when they came to the Charter Review Board meeting despite claims being made in this campaign… A simple look on the town website at the videos of those meetings will prove the small number of Furth followers who answered the call to arms…Na da!….

There have been outrageous claims this writer has been told of made by Clottey and her supporters of 15-17 million dollars in reserves being used for the downtown project!… What?… Look at the numbers on the town website…look at our annual budget…This woman and her crowd have always been way off when it comes to budgets !… The accurate amount we are told is $4.475 million …Now compare that to what has been done in neighboring towns for the quality downtown project we received in an unheard amount of time for construction of 6 months!…  It’s overwhelmingly bizarre that the CIC and the Furths would go negative to any extent concerning the undeniably great results thus far when their organizations facebook page contains photos with nothing but positive captions of that very project!… The Furths did much the same in a mailer a few months back to advertise their motel!… Ha!…. Speaking of what we will get if former Commissioner Clottey is elected it has been called to this writer’s attention that even her campaign thus far has not met the requirements of the process itself in the candidate handbook!… She has had illegal signs that stated re-elect when she is not an incumbent…and did not provide the required information/disclosure and that it took quite a while to get straightened out…As if that was not enough from her first two financial reports she appears to be walking down the same path as former commissioners McIntee and Silverstone did which landed them in Tallahassee due to inaccurate or false claims and monies used  in ways that do not followed the required protocol such as who is paying what bills and with  what check/credit card and who may or may not be neglecting the $300 limit allowed to give a candidate which was the amount Clottey’s crew fought to introduce after lowering some years ago from $500!… If she cannot run her campaign and her campaign finances how can she possibly state she has the acumen to run ours?… From what this writer hears her campaign finances will not be overlooked and her accounting for them (pun intended) will continue most likely well after March11th!…

Former Commissioner Clottey has padded her accomplishments in her mailers …in my opinion …She places a spotlight on herself for what was basically going along with those she served with from 2010-2012… Her claims of getting grants were not done unilaterally by her and her statement of being “instrumental” in securing funds for improvements on El Mar Drive and A1A are greatly overinflated and delusional…again in my opinion… The MPO and Broward League of Cities appointments were and are routinely divvied up among those sitting on the dais…and she had her turn as did and do others …who don’t try to use it to flesh out a meager resume in order to get another term!…

It is so important that we don’t go backwards in this town…So important that we quash those who long for the days of being relevant and desiring of warring factions …calling the shots …on their whim and lack of knowledge…just because they can!… We as a town have another real opportunity on March 11th to continue the successes we have built on since the 2010 and 2012 elections….

That happens only …in this writer’s opinion ….with the election of candidate Elliot Sokolow who actually possesses the steller resume and acumen former Commissioner Clottey  covets! …… Candidate Eric Yankwitt may be that “good guy” (haven’t we been down that road before!)…as some have stated …but to me he is too much of an “I” man and was not in any way outstanding on the P & Z Board as far as this writer is concerned…and may be right where he belongs in our community serving up activities that impact us off the dais not on…

The voters have the opportunity over this last leg of the campaign to get the facts and check out those who are running and what they are espousing in their campaign literature and their responses at the upcoming debates… Don’t cast a vote on what you are hearing without checking who is behind the candidate as well as their claims!…. Who offers sincere and knowledgable unfettered by the past?… Elliot Sokolow does… Who offers accountability with a proven track record of  long term service with long term support from those who served alongside him as well as from those he represented? …Only one candidate in this 2014 race for seat 1…Elliot Sokolow!….

Don’t let former Commissioner Clottey  back on the dais …. because every seat up there is crucial to all of us and this town we love so much!….

VOTE 2 ELECT ELLIOT SOKOLOW …. he is # 2 on the ballot but # 1 in what he offers LBTS !…

more to come….

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