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Here’s The Scoop … The June 14, 2011 Lauderdale-By-The-Sea Commission Roundtable Meeting … #2 … Orchestrated Public Comments ? …

THEY WERE ALL PLAYING THE  SAME TUNE  …..

Dear Readers …at last night’s LBTS Commission Roundtable Public Comments it appeared the UOT bunch that showed up in Jarvis Hall was well orchestrated as they signed in to speak… After a resident from Sunset Lane spoke LBTS resident and Editor of BTSFuture Mark Brown came up to speak..(it took a few extra minutes due to Town Clerk June White’s inability to work the timer as well as her inability to read his writing calling out Mark Lees (?) before saying Mark Brown) .. He began what was the theme of the first half of this meeting to repeat and expand on his comments against having a referenda …Those who followed him did so with literally in the order they signed in as well as in the content of their opposition to any referendum items being on the 2012 ballot …The orchestration continued well beyond the comments as you will see in the next posts…

The Public Comments made on the referendum agenda item d. along with commentary from this writer…

Mark Brown -” I wanted to speak on item d. the referenda. I thought this item had been disposed of previously but it’s back on so I’m back up here to talk about it again. I just don’t understand this issue. You know I looked at the backup and it says that we’re gonna have a referendum on building a parking garage. Where’s this project? Where’s this garage gonna be located? What’s it gonna look like? How much is it gonna cost? Who’s gonna pay for it? Who’s gonna use it? You know how can we be expected to vote on project if we don’t have any information about what it is we’re voting on? There’s another one on there a referendum on a Town Hall project. What project are we being asked to vote on? Are we gonna renovate the existing Town Hall? Are we gonna tear it down and move it? Where are you gonna put it? What’s it gonna look like? How much is it gonna cost? Who’s gonna pay for it? When’s it gonna get done? You know we’re gonna need this information if you expect us to cast an informed vote on a referendum question then you gotta give us the details of these projects and I don’t see them. If you’re just planning to put some real vague question on a referendum, do you want a garage? I don’t think that’s fair to us to make us vote on something where we don’t know what we’re voting on and I’d love to hear from the Town Attorney if it’s even legal to put something that vague on a referendum question. My secondary concern is if you do put a real vague question on the agenda do you want a garage and people vote against it are you tying the hands of future commissions? Are you saying that there will never be a garage built in this town because the people have voted against it or there will never be a new Town Hall Complex in this town because people voted against it even though we didn’t know what we were voting on? Or what if these projects pass? What if people say yeah, let’s build a garage. How you gonna pay for it? What’s it gonna look like? Where you gonna put it? I mean you gotta give us some information if you’re going to put these issues on a referendum and finally I’ll repeat what I said last time. We elected our commissioners to represent us and to make the decisions about running the town. Personally, I think this Commission and this Town Administration are doing a great job and I mean that and I have confidence in your ability to make the right decision.  But if you’re not willing to do your job and vote on these issues, it’s not that hard. If you like a project then you come up with the money to pay for it and if you vote for it. If you don’t like a project you vote against it. If you’re concerned that maybe the timing is just not right, something like a garage should be put off for a couple of years, then just don’t bring it up. But don’t force a vote on a referendum that might tie the hands of future commissions and tie the hands of the town forever.”

BC- the handful of UOT members clapped loudly… (and did so after each of their speakers) …Personally, I like Mark Brown…but his comments are way off  base in my opinion…He not only led the way in the comments made this evening but he led them astray and entered into scenarios that made no sense at all when you look at the facts .. First of all he should know being in government himself before retirement and going through several referendums in our town…that the referendum items would not be posed as they were in the backup…He also knows that the cost and locations have been discussed as well as renderings from UM and in the previous renditions of town redevelopment … He knows that specifics could be ironed out as the referendum timeline went forward to include how to pay for it etc… I did not vote for these candidates I helped to redo the Master Plan and neglect the infrastructure, sewer, drainage and lighting problems along with streamlinig not growing town government over  the past fiscal year… After hearing these UOT supporters along with the Commission I along with many taxpayers know full well no confidence should be forthcoming for this Commission or Administration if we are to believe them that the big ticket items are 5-10 years away if that…But maybe they are really “a couple” of years as Mark states …If that is the case then you bet I want my say in how they will be funded… Can these be the same people that supported these Commissioners who as candidates won due to the past Commission’s purchase of the Public Safety Building and the Colon contract (made by the 2007 Commission) with it’s huge payout now stating it’s for the Commission to decide?… WOW!…The mantra of “tying the hands of future commission”…doesn’t fly either …because as we know all too well the Commission/Administrations can do that all on their own!… And yes, if the people vote to go ahead with the projects… then we know to go ahead… Tie the hands of commissions in the future?..I would have liked to have tied the hands of this Commission when they went ahead with this “pie in the sky” Master Plan redo and the hundreds of thousands of dollars we spent for a plan they say they have no intention of implementing until it’s as obsolete as they decided the 2004 Master Plan was!… I do agree it is not hard to do their job and the job I voted them in for was to keep focused, be fiscal no matter if you like the employee or not (streetsweeper at $60,000 for Muni Dir. Don Prince because the TM said Don wants it! Sasser, Vincent,Clottey gave the go ahead!) and of course do their homework…as well as being able to retain what they and the rest of the Commission have previously done…

Diana Kuglar – said she would “ditto” what Mark Brown said and said the UM was “awesome” and that she like most of it …not all… She said of the Master Plan revisions and referendums ” No referendums please. Go for it we elected all of you to make these decisions. Please do not leave it to residents to vote. Most do not have a vision for this town. Perhaps they’re afraid of change because there hasn’t been much of it. Leave it to the voters and the answer will be no and all of this and the future of our town will have been a waste. We’ll be squeezed by Fort Lauderdale and Pompano Beach making great strides. We’ll  be the town that didn’t keep up. That’s not the marketing plan or the model that I see for our future. I encourage all of you to make the big decisions. Go against the naysayers, continue to make rthis town a wonderful town to live and visit and vote no to referendums.”

BC- The above was just a portion of Diana’s comments…She and her husband live in the Minto condos and I would bet the part of the UM plan she did not like was the plan to build in the El Prado Parking lot which would impede her residence… It is a subject her husband a former member of the MPSC was adamant about in some pretty heated exchanges with fellow members when talk of a parking garage in that lot came up..(prev. post)…

Yann Brandt (his comments to come in separate post)& Frank Herrmann were definitely seated outside the “pit” when it came to the referendum as both were in favor…Mr Herrmann said leave it up to the constituents…He was also against a marketing /branding consultant and full-time employee in our little town…

Marie Chiarello- “I’m not up here to point fingers but I have to tell you I’m not happy seeing this great need to put referendums on any ballot right now. I feel this is undermining what was on the previous ballot at our last election. Remember Amendment 4 which was voted down? Clearwater made it loud and clear what happens when community is needed to vote on all major planning . I will be the first to tell you we don’t need a parking garage at this time and underground wiring. But we do need to start repairing this town. The residents have shown in the past if they are extremely against something they will make their feelings known to our Commissioners whether through emails, meetings, or phone calls. As usual we have people putting the cart before the horse. Let’s give our Commissioners and staff time to prioritize what is needed in the Master Plan. Let’s stop wasting time and money and yes this is a waste! I hope you always use your heads to think of what is good for this town not what the thoughts of others who threaten with loss of re-election.”

BC- Well let’s see… this Commission/staff already prioritized last year during the budget… It’s a little disingenuous to state no parking garage/undergrounding when that was all that was discussed ad nauseum at the charettes with nary a word outside of this writer to the contrary of doing both and much, much more… “Cart before the horse” said Marie about the referendum……I’d say that would apply to going through this costly MP re-do if we are to believe they do not want to get through the next election and then quickly start planning  for all of the above  … (Marie did say “at this time” when discussing the big ticket items  … And as for repairing this town (which comes up again from future UOT Candidate Malkoon) who stopped them over the past fiscal year…The cost to repair the infrastructure itself will require funding we don’t have in the town coffers at the present time…

Bill Vitolla- ” Again with the referendum,I don’t agree with going for it. People always come here you let them know their taxes are goin up or this and that. They’re gonna come and complain. You know you put anything out for a referendum as you can see in this town alot of things are startin to fall apart because alot of people don’t like spending their money on their properties and they’re falling apart and that’s why everything needs to get redone in this town, not everything but alot of things need to get redone. The people that don’t want to spend the money they need to spend the money on some of their buildings. And we elected the town to do our job to take care of our town and present the best way way they possibly can and that’s what we have commissioners for. People will come down and complain if you’re doin  something you don’t want. But me, I live up at the other end of town . If it costs me twenty dollars more a year, a household fifty dollars whatever it might be to put underground wiring on El Mar or fix El Mar up, hey it needs it. This Town needs help! Look at Fort Lauderdale. They’re redoing their beach committee, their beach area. Pompano redoing their beach area. Yeah, CRAs whatever u call it, but it’s still tax dollars. They’re not getting the tax dollars. They’re just going to that area, still tax dollars.”

BC- By this point this writer was say “check, check and check” to the same statements being made..On the subject of Fort Lauderdale and Pompano…and their redevelopment…silence is heard when asking the question of comparing the millage-population- business revenue and debt for redeveloped municipalities to our town …On the subject of those not fixing up their places throughout town …a look at the impact of the past years on those who reside in those properties would be more appropriate …and of course politically correct!…OOPS!….

Edmund Malkoon- ” Um, regarding the referendum, um, without sounding redundant I have two issues with having it on the agenda right now. My first issue is that you’re asking to put on referendum items that were never approved by the Commission or voted on or really even discussed. The Commission has not voted to put a garage . They have not voted to put a new Town Hall complex. Um, so then why are we discussing putting something on that hasn’t been decided upon? Um, the other concern of mine as it was sort of mentioned before was if you do put this on a referendum and it is my understanding the Vice Mayor is not in favor of these projects at this time but if you do put it on a referendum and the voters approve it and they say go forward do all these projects are you tying the hands of the future commissions and this town’s taxpayer dollars to spend and do all those projects? It could work in the reverse. So those are my concerns. For me the infrastructure is the number one priority and that needs to be addressed. The lighting, the sewers, the drainage issues we have. Let’s focus on those and move this town forward.”

BC- First let me say that Mr. Malkoon will not get my vote…due in large part to the fact that he obviously does not know the definition of “redundant”!.. He began by saying “without sounding redundant” and the proceeded to be so!… No one said we were hoping for a no vote on the projects …If the voters say yes…then we know they are willing to pay for it… In true political playing both sides of the fence he finished by asserting that infrastructure, sewers, drainage and lights need to be the number one priority…and insinuated as Marie Chiarello did that it is the two times the referendum item has been put on a roundtable that has kept us from moving forward…That is priceless!…Talk about being out of tune …. Malkoon, it is said sent a letter to certain Comms. after the MPSC was disbanded saying the committee needed to be kept in place and it was in the charter…Nope he was informed …it is not…Gulp! …For this writer the thought of a Commission with Comm. Vincent and Comm. Malkoon just cannot happen! …

Ron Piersante- ” I’m gonna sound like a broken record because the last roundtable we talked about referendums. I thought it was a dead issue. I’m not gonna say everything Mark Brown and Diana Kuglar said, Bill Vitolla. I would say the same thing. We elected you to make these decisions. You get the input from the people and do it. And, Vice Mayor as Mark Brown said what are these projects gonna cost. Now according to Yann Brandt we got all this money. I don’t know, he wants to give it back to me. I don’t know any other town that would give back money Yann, I’m sorry to say that and I believe we do have one of the lowest millage rates in Broward County. One of em, I’m not sure exactly. So I don’t look for any money coming back Yann, I’m sorry. They can keep the money and maybe do one of these projects that we want to get done. And that’s another thing we got to do. One project. The University of Miami people came in here. They came up with some good projects. They showed one block in Miami that they redone and it came out great. They did a second block. That’s what we need to do. The gentleman who ran that project that’s the one thing he told me. He said Ron they got to do one project. So do something! I don’t care which one. You pick, but pick the right project and we will back you.”

BC- Ron was the last UOT speaker…He had the same accusatory style we have all seen before from Ron (I have been a recipient in the past) when he opposes you …He took Yann Brandt’s public comments a little too literally…While I will post Yann’s comments in a separate post Ron was responding in his comments to content Yann included that dealt with the excess unused funds (2.6 million) found in last year’s audit from the Town overcharging taxpayers that sits in the town coffers still ….due to nonstarter projects that were prioritized by this very Comm./Admin and have been neglected…His point I believe was to lower the millage even further than the 3.99 we are at which would put the taxpayers monies where they should sit idle …in their own bank accounts earning interest… As far as the one project being done well.. this writer has posted many times that was the advice given by me early on to these very same people we are supposed to be trusting to make these tough decisions (per UOT) and chose instead to spend big bucks on a Master Plan redo that they and this orchestrated group want us to believe has no encore!…

For this writer …I’ll take a different conductor and sing a different tune… copies anyone?….

more to come….

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