Search and Categories

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

HERE’S THE SCOOP…..LOVE DINING OUTSIDE IN LBTS?…… IT MIGHT BE CURTAILED AFTER JANUARY 25, 2022….

January 22, 2022 by Barbara

Dear Readers…. Do you love as residents…guests…visitors the outdoor dining extension seating our town was at the forefront instituting at the start of Covid?…. The decision is set to take place for it to be permanent on Tues. January 25, 2022 in Jarvis Hall at 6:30 pm…by our commission ….Your input is vital to their decision!…. This writer is all in for these improvements to our downtown….We had a Resolution in 2014 determining the uses of the Ocean Plaza …But ….we all know that times and uses change ….and that is the case with the Ocean Plaza….as 3 of those on the dais who signed this Resolution know and agree with….The time is now to make the change from that 2014 Resolution to allow extended dining with pedestrian reconfiguration access to the beach ….as well as to keep the extended dining in the Commercial Blvd. parking spaces…. The Town Manager puts emphasis on loss of parking revenue for these spaces….but….we are only flush with parking fund money ….BECAUSE….of the downtown restaurants!….To make up the loss….increase the parking fees to mirror other seaside towns….Below is the email this writer sent to the commission ….and I will be at the commission meeting to make public comments in full support ….  Readers can come and speak at the podium or send in their support to the Town Clerk …

[email protected]

My email…..

‘Mayor, Commissioners-

On January 25,2022 at your Commission meeting in Jarvis Hall on your agenda will be the decision on making permanent the outdoor dining extensions into some of the Commercial Blvd. parking spaces as well as providing the same extension to Aruba Beach Cafe in the plaza.

Our town was at the forefront of utilizing these areas to offer our restaurants what many other restaurants in our country lost out on, a way to stay in business throughout this ongoing pandemic!

We were quick to offer our residents, hotel guests and visitors near and far a safe way to partake in dining out and getting out of their homes!

What resulted from this was quite extraordinary and unexpected!

We found that the use of these hazardous parking spaces for extended outdoor dining were not in the least bit a negative impact in loss of use but  in fact it was a much safer use of prime downtown property and a much healthier alternative of not having the chance of impact from poor parallel parkers and car fumes!

In the plaza, Aruba Beach Cafe, long the real  anchor of our town for keeping our downtown afloat especially in those years of losing Mack Groves and before the fruition of the downtown revitalization that brought in other restaurants and businesses, provided a beautiful sight of welcoming umbrellaed covered tables for those who prior to this use would use the plaza with their balloons in hand waiting for a table there!

The use of the plaza has significantly changed from its original intended use.

For those who think otherwise I again implore you to spend time there in order to see that like most towns we have an increase of the less fortunate souls finding their way downtown to stay for extended stretches of time.

We’ve lost our ocean and beach views while seated under the pavilion which was key to the building of the pavilion and the plaza with the positioning of the boat benches and Adirondack chairs as a result of the need to increase our dune and seagrass protection.

Aruba Beach Cafe with this extension of dining has offered a solution to the plaza use as well as being a good steward to the daily upkeep and  maintenance of the plaza.

Peggy Mohler and her staff are always quick to assist the Town and anyone who might need to use the plaza as witnessed before and during the pandemic.

The most recent example was the Hanukkah event and unexpectedly saved with their umbrellas being on hand as it rained!

At Sea Ranch Club, I have reached out to large portions of over 700+ owners, renters and guests asking their take on the outdoor dining extension, loss of these parallel parking spaces on Commercial Blvd. and the extension of Aruba Beach Cafe and the response has been overwhelmingly for it to continue!

Seasonal renters from Canada back after a years absence, many returning as they have year after year, cannot fathom why there would be any opposition to making this permanent!

Others, new owners to the three buildings which is more than we have experienced in two decades, exclaimed they chose LBTS because of our being different from our neighboring towns where overdevelopment is rampant and they see the downtown restaurants with this outdoor dining setup as a a major component of what drove them to their decision to buy here!

They also cited El Mar Drive as is, stating their daily use and being fully aware of the push to change it and our height restrictions!

In not understanding the south- end old-timers as well as the new- comers those against this permanent outdoor dining extension sitting on the dais show a lack of any real connection to the heart and soul of our town and why we have and will continue to fight to protect and preserve it while being on board for refreshing and improving it in ways to make it better while honoring its specialness as this permanent extension of outdoor dining does!

Thank you,
Barbara Cole’

more to come…..

Post Division

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……

 

 

 

Post Division
Older Posts »