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Here’s The Scoop … Like Herding Sheep ….

WALKING IN THE MEDIANS? ….

“Herding is the act of bringing individual animals together into a group (herd), maintaining the group and moving the group from place to place—or any combination of those.”

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Dear Readers … The Sea Ranch Club walkers of El Mar are “horrified” … and will not be “herded” into the center of El Mar Drive to walk on the medians…They will continue to walk in the street and on the sidewalks just as they always have!…The walkers of El Mar do not feel they need to be “educated” to walk down the center of road from Pine to Palm as was suggested by Ocampo and Associates at the Round table meeting on Dec. 7th!… The walkers on El Mar have never complained about the lack of “shade ” …as Vice Mayor McIntee tried to lob onto as an excuse to use the Oriana million to start piecemeal in the south end medians… The walkers of El Mar are not “happy” with McIntee, Silverstone and Clottey and their vote to disregard the MPSC and go ahead with this project despite the overwhelming sentiment to abort it until the board and possibly a new commission can further look into the whole of El Mar Drive and get this one right!… McIntee saying this has been in the works for 2 years is full of his usual bull-y pulpit you know what!… He was not involved in the actual process at all…It was done by the students of the Art Institute in record time…a matter of weeks…not years (prev. posts under boards)…and then crassly ignored by the same majority on the commission who now are so quick to get this done …(also previously posted)…Vice Mayor McIntee disingenuously tried to say they needed get going on this for the MPSC and Vice Chair Sandra Booth…Sandra Booth came forward at the meeting on the 7th (along with Chair Paul Novak , and member Bob Eckblad) to say she too felt it should not go forward …. but McIntee did not want to pay heed to her…especially after he threw her a “bone”of “praise”……The residents who live at the south end of El Mar do not want this done…and this writer is unable to come upon anyone who does!… Just three commissioners who do not walk El Mar Drive…and do not live on El Mar Drive…but feel the need to spend 1 million dollars to have Chen and Associates start a project that will cost the Town until a new commission can come in to stop it!…

If Readers look at the archived minutes from 2007… they will find much earlier than this in the “lame duck” days of the previous commission it was then-Commissioner McIntee…Commissioner Silverstone and the commissioner- candidates for the upcoming election who routinely voted items of much less importance and with far less financial impact to the taxpayer to be tabled for the new commission to decide!…

Just Saturday there was a Sentinel news article about the Furth’s pals from “Cry of the Water” ( with no RFP from another group!) and the $20,000 for a “Marine Park” payed for by the Town (5-0 vote in Oct. prev. post) …It included the “plans for meetings for public input and form a group of citizens that will create the management for the park”…Hmmm…They’ll do it for a $20,000 investment… but for a million… it’s over…and done…kaput…time to move on… says McIntee..Silverstone and Clottey…after McIntee stood his ground in a back and forth dialogue with MPSC Chair Paul Novak who expressed the views of the Sea Ranch Club “walkers”…and said “You can’t make everyone happy.”… His “gang”promptly  joined in for the 3-2 vote…to throw out a million dollars on a few medians in the south…ready to see if the “sheep” can be “herded” to go to the center and walk from Palm to Pine!… Bahhhh …HUMBUG!…

Below are the excerpt comments made by candidates Scot Sasser and Chris Vincent at the Dec. 8, 2009 Commission meeting on the median expenditure….and a letter from a concerned taxpaying resident…who wishes to remain anonymous…

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Candidate Scot Sasser
“Let me first thank the Commission for holding the round table discussion on the El Mar drive street-scape project. I found it to be informative and it helped me to understand just where we are in the process. With this in mind, I would like to take this time to put forth some questions and suggestions regarding this important project. Since it is obvious that we are in the very beginning stages, having not yet come to a final decision on overall look of the project, or whether or not the project will entail all of El Mar or a fraction thereof, might I suggest that we not rush into a decision to appropriate funds just yet? This is a very important project that does not need to be piecemealed together. This is our time to get it right. From the discussion last night it is clear that the project will cost more than the $980K which begs the question of where the other funds will come from. As several Commissioners pointed out, the projections point to a decline in tax revenue over the coming years due to the declining real estate market. Knowing this should place emphasis on the overall plan. We should realize that what we do not finish now could go unfinished for some time. There are also rudimentary questions that should be asked before moving forward.
• How would the proposed stamping of the asphalt affect the surrounding area since it will create noise as cars drive over it?
• Can we get a sample or see a sample of the proposed stamping to make sure it looks appropriate? Perhaps if we can see it in actual use somewhere it will help us answer the noise question as well.
• What is the long-term plan to tie in surrounding areas to create the look and feel we want downtown?
• Is there a way to begin all of El Mar and phase in instead of taking a fraction?
• How would spending this money affect our ability to complete infrastructure changes such as much needed sidewalk repair and torrential flooding at the pavilion?
• How will this dovetail into the budget in the coming years and is there a plan for any financial overruns?

I realize we are very early in the process and that many of these types of questions need to be flushed out but that is my point. Let’s “measure twice and cut once” as they say. There is no reason to rush into spending $1MM now just because we are still at the starting gate after a year has past.

Thank you and I want to wish each of you safe and Happy Holidays and New Year.”
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Candidate Chris Vincent.
“I would like to address two separate items this evening.

First regarding the Master Plan Workshop yesterday.

It was clear that the board was not in favor to move forward with the current plan on the table. They were given 3 new options to consider and we should allow them the time needed to do that. They have invested a tremendous amount of time and effort with this project and have a willingness to get it right the first time. Allow them that opportunity.

Please do not rush to spend the funds. There is no need to do that. The roundtable was a good start.

Many important issues were raised and should be addressed. Have additional roundtables until you get it right. The attitude of lets just get it started is really not having a well thought out plan.

You need to trust your boards recommendations, anything less would be disrespectful.”

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From a concerned Resident….
“The Lauderdale-By-The-Sea Commission voted 3 to 2 on December 8, 2009 to proceed with the El Mar Drive project. During the discussion leading up to vote some comments were made that were misleading (or as they say in Washington D.C., disingenuous), and irresponsible.

At the Roundtable Workshop Meeting the prior night it was clearly the wishes and recommendations of the Master Plan Steering Committee (MSPC) that the entire project including the medians, drainage, lighting, sidewalks, paving, etc. be evaluated and developed into a total plan so that a determination could be made as to the total cost and future sources of funding. While the Town may only have approximately $1 Million available at present, it was brought up that there might be local, State, or Federal Grants available in the future, that debt service on loans might be affordable in the future, and that an overall long-term plan should be developed before proceeding.

That, clearly, was Commissioner Dodd’s and Mayor Minnet’s interpretation. It didn’t sound like it was the intent of the MPSC to move forward immediately with the median project south of Commercial before agreeing on an overall plan. It was irresponsible of the Vice-Mayor to support concentrating on spending the $1 Million now and then say, “hope for the best.”

The overall cost of the entire project was projected to be approximately $5 Million, and if the Town borrowed the $4 Million balance needed the annual debt service would probably be in the range of $500,000, certainly a possibility worth considering, and not just dismissed out of hand.

Our elected officials should take a proactive role in planning for the future and not govern by the seat of their pants, or dress as the case may be. Successful organizations all have strategic plans, plans that can be modified as time goes by and circumstances change.

A Concerned Citizen”

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The Master Plan Steering Committee is canceled for Tuesday evening (12/15/09) …… and so far there have been no RFPs advertised in the Sentinel…But if the Town Manager reacts to this 3-2 vote as this writer expects her to do…”directed” by her pal Vice Mayor McIntee ( ala the anonymous letter -prev. post) it will be in there well before the Jan 12, 2010 first commission meeting of the month…depleting the million…for something it seems only 3 people, presently with power on the dais want done…

Vote for a new majority on March 9, 2010….and let the CIC- Mc-Furth Gang know that the LBTS taxpayers know full well…….when people are herded it is often known as crowd control….

more to come………

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