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Here’s The Scoop … 12/7/09 LBTS Round Table … Taco Bell Menu Specials….Package Deals …#1, #2, #3….and #4 ….The Whole Enchilada …

NO 33′ REFERENDUM? … ….TRY FOR THE WHOLE ENCHILADA …

Dear Readers…The “Broom Boys” need something to run on…and with 33′ feet off the ballot(?)..the next best thing is the “beautification” of El Mar Drive…That $980,000 dollars is Furth strategy # 2… Vice Mayor and his Pal Jimmy- Boy Silverstone couldn’t come up with enough convoluted reasons sitting around the table tonight to justify taking that money and putting into the south end medians on El Mar fast enough..it’s a safety issue…No it’s a shade issue…No it’s an educating the walkers issue…No it’s something we owe to the kids who came up with the idea…No we owe it to the Master Plan Steering Committee…despite the fact that the committee was saying to put the breaks on it until after the March election!…

Ocampo seemed to be all on board in  pushing through this ridiculous idea that the walkway for Ell Mar Drive should be the medians from Palm to Pine!…As one resident said…”If sidewalks were supposed to be in the medians they would be called middlewalks!”…

This writer calls for timed cameras to watch the activity on El Mar In a day…In the morning you have the large contingency of walkers…runners…bikers and such…and throughout the day…there will be groups walking into and out of downtown….And all day long you have the dogs!… Big, little and every size in between…from this neighborhood and beyond…Dogs are prohibited from going …pun intended …in the Town parks… and so they use the medians…Count the dogs…from the surrounding buildings and those brought here for their daily walks!…. Take away the grassy medians …and where do the dogs do their business?… It’s definitely a fitting finale for the Million dollar payout for 5 extra feet in the set-back!…

Tonight’s meeting started off with the “Broom Boys” tripping all over themselves in trying to justify breaking the commission’s own rules of not discussing anything that appears on the next agenda…after Commissioner Dodd and the Mayor called them on their actions…So close are they now after 4 years on the dais…that, like some old married couple..they can finish each other sentences!… Now that’s getting in touch with their feminine side!…OUCH!…

The Mayor correctly said the minority (Dodd and herself) would not prevail…as McIntee told it like it was…no doubt unaware of his candor…He basically admitted they had to break the rules…because if they didn’t do it  now…the project can’t get going…Yeah, baby…Silverstone, so accommodating as  his sidekick said “technically” this was not a “new issue” so therefor it should get a pass… Commissioner Dodd again drove home the point they were indeed breaking their rules!…Commissioner Clottey asked to comment said she had no response…

They went on…

Siting at the table in front with the commissioners were the Master Plan Steering Committee members Chair Paul Novak, Vice Chair Sandra Booth, Bob Eckblad, Marilyn Carr and Maryann Wardlaw …conspicuously absent was Taco Bell East owner and operator -BTSTimes Publisher/Editor Marc Furth and a couple others… Ocampo architect Ernie Ojito and on the dais Raul Ocampo who began a powerpoint presentation…

On the “menu” tonight 4 choices…to choose from for the Oriana “Million”…or more…or less…

Item #1- was the previous single choice offered up to the commission when we were operating under the pre-“Mr Oliver”-Clottey fast friendship…that threw the Town Managers almost 2 year assertions under the bus…Thinking we only could use the funds south of Commercial…and after a rather embarrassing MPSC/ commission round table some months back…Ocampo was directed to work with the Art Institute student’s designs for the medians and come up with some renderings…and they did…It was pet walks, benches, exercise areas, water features…and shade..

Item #2 – Someone directed Ocampo (who?) to do the same medians as in item #1…but to add “stamped concrete in the 2 adjacent lanes on either side of the medians for walking…textured they could be used for pedestrians or special events…and cordoned off…(This writer immediately thought this was Comm. Silverstone and his “squiggly lines” for walkers not cars) …at a cost of $796 per linear foot or $796,000 per 100 linear feet…

Item #3- widening the sidewalks to 8 feet (they are now varied from 4, 5, and 8 ft. )…median landscape only…redoing drainage…the cost $1030.83 per linear foot…or $1.030  per 1000 linear feet…

Item #4- THE “FULL ENCHILADA!”… per Ocampo…do the medians (#1) …do the adjacent lanes (#2) …do the 8 foot sidewalks (#3)… do it all!…the cost for the belly buster…$1412 per linear foot or $1.412 million per linear 1000 feet…

The distance for Pine Ave in the north to Palm Ave. in the south….5000 feet … or $5 million!…The original (#1) was approx. a 1000 feet…or 20%… of the entire length of El Mar Drive…

Having quire a “Mac attack” (wrong fast food joint )…the Vice Mayor pulled another “Bogdanoff” moment (prev. post…”Punked”)…when he insisted over and over again that Pine ave (north end) to Oriana was a 1000 ft.!… Comm. Dodd tried hard to make him (McIntee) understand Oriana was south of Commercial…3/4 of the way…far beyond a 1000 ft….Explaining he meant Palm…(south of Oriana)…As insolent as as always.. the Vice Mayor insisted that was what he said (watch the tape…with the Truth Deflector, VM)…

Finally Chair Paul Novak jumped in to speak about the cost being somewhere in the neighborhood ….pun intended of 3500-4000 square feet excluding the Oriana and Minto medians ….

VM McIntee was none too pleased with the Chair…saying we needed to do it because of the kids…But Paul Novak didn’t back down (Thank you, Paul)… and said the money should now go to both ends…reiterating the faulty information the committee was working under…

VM McIntee said that would mean starting over…(Yeah!)…

Paul Novak addressed the 8 foot sidewalks….and Commissioner Dodd asked about the drainage costs…Ocampo said options 2 and 3 do not include any drainage…Ernie Ojito spoke about how to do the drainage …the breakdown and the options that could be “pick and choose” on option 1.. (Is that with or without the sauce?)… Chair Paul Novak said he was for the “whole enchilada …that it would cost less in the end than doing it piecemeal…

Ernie Ojito spoke of the existing always and the conflict with the back-out parking….The Mayor spoke about the changes for backout parking with new development…but Ojito countered that non-conforming can stick to theirs…

VM McIntee was not having any…he was a man on a “mission”…to spend the “Million”…before he was tossed off the dais in March…He again said the “bottom line” was there was a million…for a 1000 feet at the south end…no problem…”no turmoil”…

Ernie Ojito like what he was hearing from VM McIntee and again spoke of the students…and the “components” that could be added or deducted in the bid process…

VM McIntee his foot shaking …his jacked stuck up in his chair…leaned forward…”back-out not in the game”..and we take care of the drainage…Comm. Dodd again tried to straighten him out…VM McIntee was belligerent…”I’m asking him”(Ojito)……Ojito said  …$100 per linear foot plus demolition … and you cannot “piecemeal” drainage …cost $650,000- $750,000..

Commissioner Clottey misread her  menu and could not get the combo…she asked why when she added the total bill it was 2.9 million and she kept getting 4.9?… Ojito told her she was looking at the price without the medians of 2.9!…

Discussion moved onto power…and how to get it to the medians…that have none…Comm. Clottey again showing her ineptness ..(sort of like her previous statement of “lifting the rock”…when discussing the new Bel Air monument signs)…said maybe we could go solar for lights…Ocampo and Ojito explained the costs substantial upfront for solar…the “redundant system”…”not reliable”…and in need of regular power to supplement the storage battery system that deteriorates over approx. 2 years…

VM McIntee was ready to get moving…”service from the medians…outrageous…costs off the wall!”…

Commissioner Dodd questioned the need for transformers…and Ojito said for simplicity of the system…

Commissioner Silverstone chimed in that option one would have drainage and utilities far enough away not to interfere…in the future.. He followed that up with how long?…7 months to 1 year!…Due to problems with getting contractors …and permits…Comm. Silverstone was ready to go…saying this was the “best direction”…for the million…

Commissioner Clottey wanted to know about “disruption”…and Ocampo said of course there will be some…but it will be “scheduled”….(we heard that one before…with the pavilion and street closings…OUCH!)…She also asked about the permitting process…and the answer was 3 months…going down to 2 after more discussion about lack of permits in the building dept…

Commissioner Dodd wanted more information on the stamped areas (2 El Mar lanes…think Pompano Beach crosswalks on Federal Highway)…and the noise that was mentioned in the presentation…and if it’s conducive to walking…There will be noise from driving on it…

VM McIntee…said there wouldn’t be a shovel hitting the ground until June…that’s when Ocampo cut his months for permits down to 2…and VM McIntee said season would not be in jeopardy…

Paul Novak asked quickly about the next season…and Ocampo said they would be doing the “finishes” then…

The Mayor spoke of concerns for people crossing the street to get onto the medians…the medians are not contiguous …

Paul Novak said he would not widen the sidewalks 1 inch…people will still walk in the streets…even with the medians…The Mayor concurred the pedestrians won’t use it anyway…

The Vice Mayor was still on a tear…”It will look prettier!”…

Commissioner Dodd agreed with Paul and the Mayor…and said lowering the speed limit was a better way to keep the walkers safe…

Vice Mayor McIntee must have thought he could “will” this desperate election attempt to include these south end medians on his palm card election bullet points to pass out next in town month…”Worth a try”…he said (Worth a million dollar try?)…

Ocampo was pushing the medians…for shade…

VM McIntee was like a dog who was just thrown a bone…”Shade is the issue”…(Since when?)….

Ever befuddled…Comm. Silverstone wanted to know about his “original idea” of striping the lanes…asking “any possibility”…YIKES!….Ojito told him what everybody in the room already knew…”Option #2″…Ocampo said they could discuss making the roads less wide when they widened the sidewalks…(Hmmm. sounds like Seagrape Drive lane talk)…

Comm. Silverstone went on about “liability” of walking on the stamped concrete lanes…Hmmm…(but he just said he wanted a lane for walking)…Ojito spoke of the cost to cut to one lane…(HUH? …No Cristie Furth came a running upon hearing El Mar 1 lane?)…..

Jimmy Silverstone must have had good quick kick under the table from his pal on his left…..because suddenly he did a total switch…he is now for the medians in the south end..(a look at his past dais comments were against the medians) …”Broom Boys”…united in 2010!…

More discussion on the stamped concrete and its impact on ADA…and talk of losing the stamped surface with a “re-do”….

MPSC member Bob Eckblad spoke about the “goal” not being “to spend a million as fast as possible”…and spoke about going to the Town Manager to see how to include the project in budgets to come…

Commissioner Clottey brought up the dire future with the numbers she heard from the Broward County Property Appraiser Rep. at the POA (prev. post)… But Bob inquired about borrowing 4 million if need be…

VM McIntee wasn’t having any …clearly showing his disdain for Mr Eckblad…”That’s another topic!”.. Mr Eckblad tried to continue..and again was cut off by Comm. Silverstone…

Vice Chair Sandra Booth spoke and said she felt now the improvements should be done in phases…no longer behind the medians being put in now…

VM McIntee was not happy, with what he was hearing from the committee…and spoke of dire straits to come…No government money…”5 million like finding 50 million” taking Mr Eckblad again to task…He said we have no debt…and he wasn’t going there…

VM McIntee wants to “Showcase a little event”…(code-speak for election propaganda)…and then told Bob Eckblad they would both “be pushing up daisies” if they put this million dollar project off!…

The Mayor was quick…and put the Vice Mayor in his place…saying they were not putting off anything…that she was not “doing this for me, today” …but doing the right thing for after…

Ocampo said it was important to do all of El Mar…the entire stretch…and Commissioner Dodd said it should go back to the Master Plan Steering Committee…for conformity…one plan…”the million is not going away”…Comm. Dodd said to” spend a million in the south end is wrong”…they need “an overall concept, not piecemeal”…get “coordinate” and do it next year…”not rush ahead”…

Commissioner Clottey said option #1 is part of option #4…(How long are the VM’s legs anyhow?) …and Comm.Silverstone stepped in to again try help VM McIntee seal the south end median deal…going over the previously discussed “students”… VM McIntee swooped in …to add again drive home his point…the terrible shape the government is in…”We can regroup”…but they “have a plan everyone’s happy with (HUH? The MPSC…has said otherwise tonight!)…)…We blew it on Minto  (Furth-prickly bushes)…saying we need “shade”…”safety”… on El Mar Drive…

The Mayor was all for incorporating all the ideas…and still wanted to hold off for now…speaking of the fees and the costs…

Paul Novak again spoke for the majority of his committee…and those in the hall …Wait…..Give the MPSC 2-3 months and let them go over it all again…He agreed with Comm. Dodd…Ernie Ojito offered the committee technical assistance…and somehow the meeting went off into storm water fees in the plans… (with the present majority/TM in 2010)……The legalities and illegalities…… and the after some less than kind exchanges from McIntee to Eckblad (New sparring partners?)…Paul Novak again asked for time…

VM McIntee was asking for Paul to “bring in more kids” to do the rest of the medians…and Paul responded “we don’t need anymore”…just time…

After a little more than an hour…it was clear…to most…This one’s gong down…3-2… a done deal…

Mcintee…Silverstone and Clottey…will be voting to spend a million tonight…at the 12/8/09 Commission meeting…Cha Ching…Cha Ching…Cha Ching…

What’s a taxpayer to do?…

Vote them out in March…and let the next commission cancel the “gangs” “Fast” food order…..

Taco Bell Doggy Bags for all!….

more to come…

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