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

February 24, 2014 by Barbara

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

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

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

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

Lauderdale-by-the-Sea fires town manager

Esther Colon worked for the town for a decade

April 21, 2010|By Linda Trischitta, Sun Sentinel

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

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

Commissioners gave no explanation Tuesday night for the dismissal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The candidates: Mark Brown and Edmund Malkoon

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

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

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

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

How they rated her

Mayor Minnet .. . .4.0

Vice Mayor Dodd . . . 4.3

Commissioner Clottey. . . . .4.2

Commissioner Sasser . . . . . 4.0

Commissioner Vincent . . . . 4.7

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

more to come….

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop …. Mc-Furth Times …..Beyond Kool-Aid ……

July 31, 2009 by Barbara


The Mc-Furth/CIC Sometimes pictorial is out….A colorful charade of fractured fairy tales….Full out Mc-Furth spin …Still livin’ large to the  beat of their different drummer…until March 2010…

You get what you pay for (it’s free)… a psychedelic plethora of Mc-Furth /CIC desperation…Epiphanies as real as the “press pass” worn around the “Healer’s”  neck…with a Psuedo “interview” included in this edition’s lovefest…. given by the soon to be departing Prize winning (11 years running for budget PRESENTATION) Town Manager who regularly ignores the real press….Those with journalism degrees…

SHAMfully… front and center …(besides the Leader Furth staged production photos)…the “Gang of 6”  has taken what the rapidly growing rallying resident voters ACTUALLY WITNESSED…the exchange with BSO Chief Gooding on June 23rd …and the June 30th special meeting melt- down crassly and disturbingly made from the soon to be ex-Town Manager …and turned it upside down and inside out…A truly mindbending experience!…. FLASHBACK….

It’s so implausible…so hard to comprehend…just so over the top…”SO WAY OUT THERE, MAN”…..that the only possible answer to how they could really believe (where’s Dorothy and her ruby slippers when you need her?)  readers would buy into what they are selling….desperately (seeking) selling……is….

the Mc-Furth staff has dropped something stronger than kool- aid…..YEAH, BABY!…

For those of you who dare to experiment…and peruse the latest issue…remember it does hold one redeeming quality….it’s  recyclable…the content as well as the paper…

Please come tonight to Village Grille and say thanks and goodbye to BSO Chief Scott Gooding…

It will be like going to DETOX!….

more to come…….

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop…. You Call This A Strategy? ….. Political Posturing Personified ….Pass The Smelling Salts …..

July 27, 2009 by Barbara


Dear Readers…you don’t have to wait for the Jimmy Silverstone   July 28, 2009 New Business Item  J. “PROCLAMATION FOR MARC FURTH”…or even for the Mc-Furth Times coming out at the end of the week….to see that for the 2nd time the CIC “leadership” ….have decided to “HIJACK” a Town sponsored/ Taxpayer funded event and claim it as their own …

The Citizens Initiative Committee is a registered Political Action Committee….that accepts dues from like-minded members…and you must be approved by the “cheerleading ” CIC BOARD to join….

It turned off the rest of the non- CIC LBTS taxpaying residents  big time when the “Mc-Furth Gang”  politicized July 4th by making this year’s event (paid for by the town)… a CIC/VFD /Town Sponsored event…( a first for this event)….The CIC Board “bent” the rules of eligibility to make the Mer-couple their  CIC “Citizen’s of the Year” with the self adulating  CIC -Coral Reef Project float front and center with the Furth close-up photos imposed on Mer-bodies leading the way….

Now they have sent out an e-mail (prev. post) to their dwindling “school of fish” that states they have placed this color ad in their Furth owned newspaper to get new CIC members…and prepare for the March 2010 CIC Commission Re-election Campaign straight from the Mc-Furth Times headquarter AKA Town Hall East…

We now have the copy of the CIC full page color ad..(can’t put on for copyright reasons)….

The background is a school of fish underwater…a familiar Marc Furth type-photo…


















BC-WOW!…The Mc-Furth’s have taken a longtime LBTS Capital Improvement Fund Project…..had CIC members pay for a full page ad in their newspaper to “tout” it and are using it as a campaign tool for donations and for new members to join their PAC organization!…….

BC- Looks like somebody’s tanks were low on oxygen…….For the rest of us….it gives us the bends!…..

Please note members pay $10 yearly dues…a full page color ad cost approx. $750 in the previous BTSTimes…

Did members vote on this one?…Are there 75 members left to pay for it?….OUCH!…

more to come…….

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop… Any Doubt Who’s Runnning The Show ….NOPE! …

July 27, 2009 by Barbara



7/27/09…E-mail to CIC members…Get ready to support the Mc-Furth Times and the Broom Boys 2010!…

Looking for some pockets to empty….are any left?…

‘Dear CIC Member

We have not had a CIC meeting this month and with many of us away on
summer travel we will not be having an August meeting. However, we have
been busy working behind the scenes. I think you will agree that the ad
below does a great job of promoting the CIC and the values we stand for.
It will appear in the next issue of By the Sea Times, and is being paid
for by the CIC.

Campaigning for the March 2010 election is already underway and the CIC
has to be ready to work for candidates who support CIC values.
Contributions to the CIC (in addition to normal dues) will enable us to
buy quality ads like this in support of these candidates. It promises to
be a hard fight, however, the Citizens Initiative Committee remains
steadfast in doing everything possible to insure that our wonderful
Lauderdale-by-the-Sea ?Quality of Life? is protected and preserved.

Looking forward to seeing you at the September meeting (date to be

Bob Roberts, Chairman’

BC- no ad was included…in the e-mails OOPS!…


FURTHNEWS LLC. ….(located at  TOWN HALL EAST)……(public record)

Florida Limited Liability Company FURTH NEWS, LLC Filing Information

Document Number L08000115292
FEI/EIN Number N/A
Date Filed 12/18/2008
State FL
Event Date Filed 12/22/2008
Event Effective Date NONE

Principal Address 4525 EL MAR DRIVE

US Mailing Address 4525 EL MAR DRIVE

US Registered Agent Name & Address GRAND, MARK S ESQ.

US Manager/Member Detail Name & Address Title



Mc-Furth BY THE SOME-TIMES  Paper paid for by the CIC/VFD due out this week…A Proclamation of love to the leaders Furth!……

more to come…CHA CHA CHING!….

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop…It’s A Mc-Furth Fourth Of July Brought To You By The CIC/VFD……

July 4, 2009 by Barbara

“IT’S NOT POLITICAL”….Vice Mayor McIntee/Comm. Jim Silverstone…

Dear Readers…This front and center self promotional July 4th float says it all  ( 1 of 2 in the parade)…It was definitely political…It was narcissistic….. And it was unbelievably  tone-deaf to the Town and where we find ourselves in at the present time!…

From the opening blunder of applying for a special event permit as a Town/CIC/VFD co-sponsored event …the sole control for the event for Coordinator Marc Furth…and the secretive and suspect planning …( a far cry from the co-chaired transparent event the year prior)….the 24 hour notice limited posting of meetings…( done with the Town Manager being fully complicit)… …The Mc-Furths went against the DEP’s known recommendations by planning  the fireworks display smack-dab on 3/4 plywood on the beach in the center of town…closing down the entry…along with a  280 ft. radius  perimeter…..requiring  Nova University monitors to be assigned to watch for any disturbances in the area to the sea turtle nests…  The Mc-Furth’s told the DEP untruths for why it must be on the beach…Coordinator Marc Furth made demands per a letter to the Town Manager/Commissioners that he reprinted in his  Mc-Furth BTSTimes accusing the Mayor and Comm. Dodd when they did their due diligence in checking out the facts…The Vice Mayor made “bloated” statements from the dais…and at the July 1st volunteer meeting…throwing out “garbage numbers” of who was volunteering for the event…going so far as to say his wife “turned away volunteers”….and the response from the VFD had been tremendous…(with Chief Perkin’s having to promise Comm. Dodd that the members not participating would not be fired as a memo said they would be …per the Dep. Chief)….Mark Conn and Cristie Furth spoke of a entries in the parade and for the afternoon party that never appeared….(Pompano FD engine/NY FD Engine/Antique Fire engine/Traveling Vietnam War wall)….Mark Conn said there would be 80 entries…(was an “entrie”counted as a person, a bike, or a trailer?)… The participants were as follows…….The Furth Float (LBTS Artificial Reef Project)….The  Marines…The American Legion- Thomas P. Johnston Post 222…VFD Captain Mark Conn on VFD-ATV (with a Sal’s towing ad on the side..a permanent ad)….NYPD car….The Mayor…(CHEERS)…VM McIntee and wife…(SILENCE)….Com. Silverstone….(SILENCE)…Comm. Clottey…(SILENCE)…Comm. Dodd and wife…(CHEERS)…2 vans with veterans….Army truck with disabled veterans…Congressman Ron Klein…….State Representative Ellyn Bogdanoff….The VFD members walking in front of ATV-Jet Ski….3 VFD-Firetrucks…(Squirt 12 was called to an alarm at the Mayor’s building!)… the VFD-pickup pulling the hurricane trailer…(with the strange permanent lettered sign of Commander Mikos Angeles on the side of it…HUH?)….2 AMR ambulances…Republican David Maymon …(running for State Rep. Dist. 91)…….2  classic cars….The LBTS -Community Church Noah’s Ark float….Lord’s Realty car…Bel Air Assoc. car….Cindy Geesey- POA Hometown Hero car (see below)….By-The- Sea- Future car….Kids on bikes etc…1 classic car…1 classic truck…Choice Environmental truck…and 2 BSO Mounted Police…(which produced a large amount of shock…sadness and anger from the parade attendees for their placement in the parade…behind the garbage truck!)……Political?….OUCH!…They were also the end of the parade… (28 entries)…No Senator Jeff Atwater?…Hmmmm……The crowd on the street was down from prior years…and Publix parking lot was empty…something very unusual for a LBTS parade…Just as the paltry donations (June 24,2009 memo $5,600) …small amount of volunteers …(despite unprecedented excessive measures taken to recruit both)…and silence the “Gang of 3” received as they drove by…it continued on to the afternoon El Prado event…Residents not affiliated with the CIC/VFD stayed away…resulting in an attendance of half of the year before….and we hear that at 3 pm the total cash was also half of what was made the year before…..Those privy to the borrowed City radios used for VFD communication……heard VM/Dep. Chief McIntee yelling at his “troops” for not showing up and helping at their required 4 hour minimum assigned jobs in the park….Included at the event…Pep Boys tent with a sponsored raffle…a Johnny Depp look- a-like pirate… a single tent for selling merchandise ….Pirates of the Treasure Coast…(an out of town vendor)…VFD T-shirts for sale…($5)….Choice Environmental tent for recycling information and getting to know the residents…a Dunk Tank…(at 11 am it was CIC- Mermaid Cristie Furth)…The 2 water slides…and 1 kids ride…classic cars…a band…a beer truck…sno-cones…3 veterans tents…and finally…the Anglin Monument wasn’t the only thing moved out of the park for the Furths…the Town Manager’s gift from last year… …the “United We Stand” sign remained in front of Town Hall…OOPS!…

BC-This writer wrote repeatedly that this “Gang” was in trouble from the start….but with the upheaval reverberating throughout the town as a result of the Town Manager’s “reassignment” (WITH CAUSE!….in the press)….of BSO Police Chief Scott Gooding… on June 26th ….(a move that was and is wholeheartedly supported by them all)….one can only wonder if any one of them is having second thoughts about their future endeavors …political and otherwise…for today’s response should tell them loud and clear….”WE WILL NOT FORGET!”….

2009 POA HOMETOWN HERO….CINDY GEESEY…..Mayor Minnet…State Representative Bogdanoff…..Resident Judy Jones…..

‘Cindy Geesey — Cindy has been part of LBTS for 55 years and has worked very hard on many projects in LBTS for over a decade. She has been a board member of the Chamber of Commerce for eight years, was President of the POA for eight years and introduced many new programs.  She has been on the boards of Sister Cities and the LBTS Performing Arts Center and served on the Board of Adjustment and as Chair of Planning and Zoning for four years.  She’s been a member of LBTS Kiwanis and the Assumption Altar Guild.  She co-chaired the 4th of July festivities for 3 years.  Cindy also does volunteer work for Broward Humane Society and organizes a group from LBTS for the annual Doggy Walk. This event raises thousands of dollars for the shelter.  Cindy is an editor for By The Sea Future newspaper and reports on town happenings to our residents and visitors. Her newest project is bringing military families to LBTS for a free weekend of fun and sun. She collects donations from all of our great merchants and puts everything together for a much needed R & R for families that protect our country.  All and all Cindy is there for LBTS and works hard for the town she loves.’


More to come…..

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop…./ UPDATED….The Mirror Is Broken…..July 4th Volunteer Meeting “No Politics…We’re Working Hard”…

July 2, 2009 by Barbara


Dear Readers…Vice Mayor McIntee made that comment when he praised Town Manager Ester Colon after the CIC “parade” he orchestrated to thwart her contract required annual review….It’s a statement he has made before and this writer has posted how truly odd it is…How do you thank somebody by looking into the mirror?…Who is looking back at you is …you!…But that being said…the VM was actually quite revealing in his use of it in regards to thanking Ms. Colon…for as we all can verify in LBTS …when he and she look in the mirror…….the image looking back…is one and the same!….

That being said after the Tuesday night Special Meeting to discuss the Manager/VM …planned “reassignment” of Chief Gooding…the mirror is broken…and we all know the kind of luck that follows …..


Last night this writer attended the meeting…as I have  2 out of the 3 prior…..(due to not being around Town/Jarvis Hall between the  late Fri. afternoon limited posting of the notice and the following Mon. night meeting)……I arrived at 6:35 for a 7 pm meeting…The doors were locked …and standing outside were a few volunteers…including new Mc-BFF Co-Chair of volunteers for the event…CIC member Gail Albohn and “Marvelous” Marvin as he’s known a neighbor from SRClub ….Gail asked me if I was going to volunteer…I responded “NO.”…She asked why I was there…(she had seen me at the other meetings)…I said to write about it…She said it was just a volunteer meeting…I said it was an “open to the public meeting”…Marvelous Marvin said “She can write”…I said “Thank you.”…Marvin said “Some people read it, a few”…I said “More than a few”…Marvin said he “used to read it”…I replied “That’s your prerogative” as we entered the hall which Comm. Jim Silverstone unlocked with HIS Jarvis Hall key…Marvin went on and I answered him…Comm. Silverstone’s Fiancee’ and the person in charge of the event’s food Peggy Mohler said “No politics!…Nothing  political in here!…We all worked hard, I worked hard.” I said “Excuse me, I was answering him about my site.”…Ms Mohler said “He was wrong to do that.”…I said “Thank you.”…A while later Gail Albohn came over and said she hoped she didn’t imply anything…as I sat waiting for the meeting to begin…

UPDATE: Ms Mohler and Aruba were represented at the Special Meeting by Guy Contrada. They also delivered a letter to Chief Scott Gooding.

BC-How truly odd it is that the Co-Chairs of this event…and their followers feel no adverse commentary or opinion should “hurt” their efforts..their “hard work” for a 4th of July event…BUT…these same Co-Chairs/ Commissioners / CIC & VFD members (Ms. Mohler was not in attendance the previous evening for the special meeting) had no such concern for the Town Manager /”Gang of 3″ diminishing a Police Chief and purposefully sullying a career!…WOW!….

UPDATE: Comm. Dodd was informed of the parade participation of the Commissioners after the meeting by Comm. Silverstone…

Before the Mc-FurthBTSTimes P.R. photo-ops…here’s the low down of the meeting…in attendance were 52 included in that number were the committee …Comm. Dodd, Mayor Minnet and this writer…bringing the number down to 39…..with a just a few not affiliated with either the CIC/BTSTimes or VFD….Comm. Silverstone and Co-Chair VM McIntee both said “No politics, this is not political”…Hmmm ….it was submitted to the Town as a CIC/VFD sponsored event…Quite Political!…Both went on to thank Marc Furth….Jim (being non-politcal) and stuck on the same old lines…repeated what he has said at countless Comm. comments…about “coming together for the community” in events like this…Again, for good measure adding “No politics.”…Moe McIntee the Co-Chair of volunteers said thanks for the great number of volunteers…they should give themselves a hand…and went on to speak of the sign up sheets and the assigned jobs and hours for each…They were still looking for help breaking down th eables etc…..Gail came to speak on the bike parade….and the Cristie Furth spoke of the tents being up and the 3 day setup awaiting them…with a call for volunteers to decorate…The Vice Mayor came to speak and looked out said he “counted 52 bodies “…and that “Moe turned away some volunteers “..HUH?…After he spoke of “no politics with this event”…he said he saw “happiness in the hall compared to last night”..This crowd laughed…(with the exception of a few)…The VM went to pick up the pizzas…Moe went over the assignments…Peggy Mohler was acknowledged for her work behind the scenes and a chant began for her to speak…she did not…Cristie spoke of the Dunk Tank…asking for volunteers…none were forthcoming at first…and Cristie said if she did it she would make more money than anyone…Doesn’t get more political than that!…The Mayor suggested the Town Manager as a dunkee…and this time the few that did not laugh at the VM’s remarks laughed …with Moe MciIntee throwing her well known  “evil stare” in the Mayor’s direction…Parking will be free and Moe said there would be on a first come first serve basis room for some volunteers cars within the Minto parking (construction area west side of El Mar) and Marc Furth has the key…Hmmm…. The event Coordinator has a key to Minto’s property..Minto who has come before the commission and is looking to lower their bond…to be voted on soon by the 2 Co-Chairs of this event!…Moe McIntee spoke again about the VFD who will do the cooking…and are giving a “tremendous amount of time” setting up the fencing etc…

BC- Who will be getting the proceeds from the sales from food etc…the VFD/CIC?….

VFD Captain/Sal’s Towing Employee (Sal’s is the VFD/Town contracted vendor)  Mark Conn…(who was booed himself the previous evening for apologizing to the Manager on behalf of everyone in the hall)….spoke of the parade…asked all to “go green” and walk to the parade if hydrate…Moe said she “felt like a teacher again”…and Marc Furth was going home to get his camera for a photo-op of the volunteers…so they should stick around…She said the turtles were not harmed…and then Jim Silverstone came to speak of the VFD response to help the turtles that day (prev. post)….He too added the “pizza is coming”…Marvin inquired on the politicians in the parade…(Comm. Dodd has not had any invite or information…Quite something when you recall the 2 Co-Chairs were miffed at 4th of July a few years back for no heads- up themselves!)…That question led way to the Grand Marshall for the parade  and the funnies statements of the night…

The Grand Marshall will be 12 disabled Veterans…in wheelchairs…. “Sal’s Towing, we’re going to lift them up.”…Marc Conn spoke of saluting them as they go by in an army truck…Cristie Furth said they were from a nursing home and they were “like kids in a candy store fighting over who will be on the float” “There will be a special area for them under the tent”…”These people have not been out of the nursing home for decades”…”Some have never seen the beach.”…

BC- This writer turned to the conference table and asked “where is the nursing home?”…”Pembroke Pines”, I was told…”What is the name of it?” I asked…”They didn’t know…”I want to call this nursing home that doesn’t let it’s Veterans outside for decades!…I joked…YIKES!…The material that comes from the Mc-Gang is always worth the attendance…

The meeting was over…the pizza was “coming” …Marc Furth came with camera and flags…and setup the Times P.R. photo for their next edition…

This writer left…as did the Commissioner Dodd and the Mayor….

more to come…

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop 2009 July 4th “open the public” Meeting…”Playing” To An Audience Of one!…

June 22, 2009 by Barbara


Dear Readers…the third  2009 July 4th  CIC/VFD  open to the public meeting took place tonight….What you didn’t know?…You didn’t see it?…Nobody called?…That was the plan…This writer knew from the post put on the Town boards Friday afternoon (despite comments made at tonight’s meeting it was Thursday)…

In attendance…the “usual suspects”…Commission/ VFD member/ CIC member/ BFF/Co-Chair Jim Silverstone …who has a key to Jarvis Hall..HMMM….(at the Broward Transit meeting neither Mayor Minnet or Comm. Dodd had one)….His Fiancee’ Peggy Mohler…VFD Captain/ CIC member/ BFF / Parade Coordinator Mark  Conn and his wife Janice …(We hear it was Mark Conn who told a BSO Deputy the BSO’s days are numbered…they’re gonna be outta here!.)…BTSTimes Editor/VFD Photog./Town Photog./ CIC member/ BFF / Event Coordinator Marc Furth….CIC board member/ BTSTimes Truth Detector-Staff Writer/ Slapp writer/ Wife / Event Volunteer Chair Moe McIntee…Vice Mayor/VFD Dep. Chief /CIC member/Co-Chair and Snake Oil Salesman Jerry McIntee…who provided the night’s entertainment…CIC member Marilyn Carr…BTSTimes writer/ BFF/ CIC member Maryann Wardlaw….CIC member/ BFF/ Event Volunteer Vice-Chair Gail Albohn….BTSTimes writer/ CIC member/ Event Donation Chair Jerry Sehl….

Before they began a little discussion on the posters …Marilyn Carr said Bob Roberts….AKA… R. W. Roberts…(pseudo letter writer to the Editor )/ BTSTimes Editor/ CIC Chair… “cut and pasted” them …Marilyn put two up already and Peggy will give them to the town restaurants to put up while Jimmy gives them to all the businesses…They made a point (the first one of many to come …aimed at this writer’s previous posts)…to say Dave Gadsby will supply chairs and tables and along with 101 Ocean…supply help with the food preparation…( we were told Dave was sitting this event out)….They went on about not knowing where the “magnetic signs” were …no one seemed to know…The talk turned to the raffle tickets….which were taken care along with prizes by Marilyn…Marc said it should be a quick meeting because they covered most of it last week…(another late posted meeting)….Marilyn asked Marc if everything was coming along and Marc replied “Yep”…she responded “That’s all we needed to know.”….Marc presented them with site plan design #6….and Jim officially called the meeting to order at 7:05…Marc had VFD Capt. Miko Angeles the event volunteer coordinator of the VFD crew members …(required to participate…4 hrs. minimum)…come in to discuss the posts for his men the day of the event…Peggy said the food was done…and Marilyn said she too was done with the prizes…gift certificates etc…all at her house …with the 42” flat screen TV …setup in Town Hall with a sign that says “Win Me”…She spoke of the numbers ready for the bikes and the parade participants…and the judge’s sheets for picking the winners……and then Jim (who we hear reads “everything” on the internet…participates anonymously as well daily we are told)…felt compelled to reiterate “Dave [Gadsby] is more than happy to help out”…Marc spoke of the missing magnetic boards once again…saying they need to be found ASAP or he needs to build more…and spoke of the new banners bought …He also asked the status on the grills…Jim did not know…and Marc said they needed to be tested…and the Fire Marshall needed to give them the OK…or they were in trouble…Mark Conn was asked about the progress on the Parade…(he is the parade coordinator)…He said it comes down to the last week and spoke of the Veterans coming..12 in wheelchairs…There was discussion on getting them on the trucks…with a lift and using Publix loading dock as a backup…He also said Firetrucks from New York and Pompano Beach along with  an antique  truck would join the parade…He added that Mayor Minnet was including “Going Green” bike riders for the parade…There was talk of the BSO and if they would be working the event…(BSO was not present)…Some remarks were made about the number of men needed …a conversation with Chief Gooding…at a cost of $970.00 and maybe hiring Wakenhut instead…Jerry said that wasn’t a good idea…but someone said just in case they cannot get BSO…Jerry remarked  “It’s 4th of July, they [BSO] don’t want to work.”… Marc said he hired 2 people from the County to monitor the beach from 10-11 pm…and sent the contract to the Town…Jerry said ” We need someone with arrests powers, everybody knows what a rent-a-cop is.”…Marc said he was “counting on the VFD and the ATVs”…saying he wants the jet ski on the beach…Jerry said it would be there…Marc wants the jet ski to go out and stop any boats who try to park their boats on the reef…Discussion came on the Coast Guard doing that…and Marc along with others saying there is not enough Coast Guard to do the job…Jerry said they would have to “play it by ear with the weather.”….As he went around the table asking for progress reports Jim asked Maryann..she replied “I’m easy, I’m with Cristie”…Jerry Sehl spoke of the donations saying it’s been “more upbeat this last week”…and Jim…(still on a roll)…said that was due to the “fireworks being a go.”….Peggy then added her “point” saying the food was done and the invoice for US Foods went to the Town and not through Aruba…(posted previously…Peggy obtained the food for the Town…not that Aruba bought the food)…the semantics of “through” seems to rub her the wrong way!….Marc made a weird statement after that saying he submits his invoices and John [Assist. Town Manager] brings the checks over to me.”…( HMMM….Blue Seas…Town Hall East!)….Marc added that Tents N’ Events wanted to set up early…(alluding to the TM report Tues. night  asking for a change of setup from July 3rd to July 1st)…He also said Minto was working with them on this…adding another tent …and saying Minto was to make a “sizable donation”…HMMM…(Minto is on the 6/23/09 agenda asking for a reduction in their bond…after stating the sidewalks/ and building of the last 2 developments will not take place for 2 years…which means..a trailer on the beach…no sidewalks and perhaps a conflict of interest with this donation ?)….Marc also spoke of the Reef project being involved in the event…and saying there is one more permit needed and that “is just a formality”…(The Sentinel…prev. post questioned the project’s lack of  peer reviews)….

Then the real “show began”…You can always count on the McIntees…

Moe was asked about volunteers…(previous posts on the trouble they are having getting volunteers and the numerous appeals for help……) She and Gail said the phones are ringing off the hook…they have over “100 plus”volunteers……..

Jerry then sat forward and said that some people “like to lie” about the volunteers…saying “we have more than we ever had before, people are lying out there!’…

He then added the VFD saying the were “getting a tremendous response from the families, they’re dying to come, and that’s a whole other pool (of volunteers). People are lying about that crap too! Just something we have to live with!”…( We hear that there have been more complaints than ever arising from within the rank and file…. aimed at the Dep. Chief)…

He [Jerry] went on to speak of getting the radios from town to use…AMR providing 3 trucks for the event..and then told Marc…concerning the VFD You have all the authority.”…

Marc spoke about some expansion he made in the latest site plan…and said they would need more sand…Jerry asked “Where do you get the sand?”…There was some laughter…and then to cover his tracks…he said “Bet you we’ll read we paid for the sand.”…

As I was busily writing down these “pearls of wisdom”…for the amusement of those not in the hall…I realized Marc was speaking to me…and I asked “Are you talking to me?”…(Quite frankly after the Easter egg dye incident at my home…..prev. post…any conversation from him was a puzzlement)…He said he was  speaking to me and wanted to clarify that no sea turtles were moved…I responded yes they were…he said not for the fireworks…(many who must be publicly politically correct to avoid problems with certain politicians and agencies… …would not be so fast to agree on his assertions behind the scenes)…

Jerry said …”Don’t argue with her, she’s not worth arguing with.”…

This writer responded ..”Right back at you.”…”You always give me such great material”…(Must have been frustrating that he could not call for a point of order!)…

Dr. Manatee is now the prognosticator of Sea Turtle and where they lay their eggs…in relation to the hurricane season…”The further the turtles dig in the worse the season is.”…He said they are digging in further…(Channel 4 Meterologist Craig Seltzer said we will have a mild to average season…prev. post)……

Jerry the called for adjournment…Jim spoke of the next “volunteer meeting..the first one”…HMMMM…

And Jerry then feeling the “need” to continue…. spoke “as Co-Chair I want to thank you….we’ve all come together….You’ve done a great job under adverse comments”…

Jimmy-boy did his usual shtick …saying “until you do it you don’t know what it’s like”…ARGHHH…(move that phonograph needle already Jimbo)…

BC- Too much fun……..Thanks to the Snake Oil Salesman…for selling his “bill of goods”…and making for yet another post filled with McIntee Mired Muck!…

more muck to come…

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop….How Long Until It Looks Like DESPERATION?….

June 19, 2009 by Barbara


Looks Like The Mc-Furth “GANG”-  CIC/VFD July 4th Committee is sweating bullets….and it ain’t from our hot, muggy Florida summer weather!….

A look at  our local Town Government informational channel …channel 78…and a clock shows  a full 5 MINUTES…of Desperate pleas for participation/ help/ donations!….

BUT BEWARE………July 4th Committee meetings…NOT INCLUDED!…YIKES!

more to come…

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop…Scene And Heard Around Town….4th Of July…Not Just A Re-Election Kick-Off…A Coronation…./VFD…Stumbles….Gumbles…And P.R…..

June 12, 2009 by Barbara



We hear the CIC could not come up with anybody at their 6/10/09 CIC July 4th Committee meeting……but alas…the Mc-Furths ( with their newly installed totally directed new officers…(past Chair Furth/V-Chair McIntee are still on the CIC board) are keeping up with the 2008 overhaul of CIC rules and procedures be damned …… Those pesky little details such as sending out letters in time for members to nominate…..kind of like having open July 4th committee meetings on the up and up for the whole town (not once in the Public Safety Complex..[notice  posted briefly on the Jarvis board]…and the 2nd one 3 days before the event itself )…You have to hand it to them…. the  CIC board was were quite “slick” in their e-mail that “paved the way” for this inclusion…”The nominee must be available to ride in the 4th of July Beach Blast parade.  To avoid any conflicts of interest the CIC Officers (Bob Roberts, Joe Couriel, Tom Carr, Carol Dickman), and sitting Commissioners are not eligible for nominations”…..

So now the CIC Citizens(s) of the year …(we hear)….MARC AND/OR CRISTIE FURTH!….(After all she is not an Officer of the CIC or a Commissioner…but a Board member which is conveniently allowable!….We call that a CORONATION!….For the Mc-Furth July 4th Event…WOW!…

The stop signs on El Mar Drive at El Prado…were supposed to have been reduced…taking down 2 of the 4 stop signs…BUT…somehow it became  no stop signs!…Just a pedestrian stop if a pedestrian is present!…The near misses due to this “executive decision”…keep racking up!…OOPS!

Looks the soon to be crowned couple Furth…got what they wanted the Anglin monument is gone…moved to Town Hall leaving the El Prado Park free and clear for their July 4th CIC-VFD (mandatory attendance for the 65 members plus mandatory for their families…4 hour minimum)…tourist event paid for with your tax dollars…

We have confirmation that the FWC did indeed move the turtle nests…despite their workshop response that they do not like to do it ….and the state and county did approve the Mc-Furth fireworks on the beach…off of a piece of plywood with the 280 ft. radius of clearance …( more if there is wind)…

Seen last night …the Town Photog. using his town free parking tag once again…just another perk….for the BFF pre-coronation…what’s he get afterward?

The members are getting restless….We hear the “most experienced” VFD Firefighter Dep. Chief McIntee really blew it a few days ago…entering a condo with his crew after a fire call…He is said to have sent firefighters up to the 15th floor without the required air packs……It is also being said that Dep Chief McIntee did not check the fire alarm panel upon arrival ….before giving the orders… the panel indicated the problem was on the 1st floor!…Still more procedural missteps are said to have taken place in not directing his “troops” to hook up the firetruck to the standpipe!…OUCH!….

We hear  VFD Chief Perkins …hot off his hyperbaric heroism sans the Dep. Chief…(he was out of town)……is “feeling his oats” these day and spending his free time …free of the  Dep. Chief….and talking to those that oppose the Vice Mayor/ Dep. Chief…about life in the VFD after McIntee and conveying how he as Chief is just “trying to hold the department together”…YIKES!…Expect a lot less “free time” after this post…Chief!…But if this is so…KUDOS!…

According to the VM/Dep. Chief he went in the command car (previous post) to purchase 15 gallons of foam to replace the foam used for the recent VFD bee nest foam “busting”……Those in the know say the amount of water needed for that amount of foam…reaches in the neighborhood of 200 gallons…HMMM…about those water restrictions…

We have confirmation that the recent P.R. for the VFD and their “Spokesman” VM/Dep Chief McIntee…including ….showing off his (it is said) self- inflicted surfboard facial gash on the local news…and two Miami Herald articles last week on the now famous beach safety “pole #7″…and  Dr. of Love…VM Manatee’s female manatee voyeurism escapade… of the captivating “wide hips” beached creature…was not done by the Town Public Information Officer…but by the VFD…(the spokesman, himself?)!…All’s fair in self-promotion….and war!…

Keep those scene and heard around town comments coming…

more to come..

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop…He Said…She Said…They Said….

December 21, 2008 by Barbara


John Thompson ….was last year’s “Man of the Year”…at his former paper…BTSTimes…then owned and operated by MacMillan and wife…before he was let go..(without his knowledge)…by way of hearing it through others after a CIC Board meeting took place…where he was asked to leave…due to a disagreement in the new set rules of secrecy demanded by the new CIC Chair and Vice Chair…(none other than the new owner and operator of the BTSTimes)…Cristie Furth and the Vice Mayor’s wife Moe McIntee… A letter was read after his departure… from the Editor-Publisher of the Times with disparaging remarks about their “Man of the Year”……(John was the only member of the board not in receipt of a copy of the letter )… After this  took place…John needed to implore the Board for a copy of the letter in order to respond to it and defend himself…He was also consistently left out of Board correspondence..after this evening……due to his long standing principles…of transparency for the organization as a whole… not decision making being done by a few…

In that vein…he is still being disregarded by some on the Board…despite the fact he was elected to represent the members..(with the most votes received) to maintain his Board seat until elections in April…

Mr Thompson as all those who know him are aware…sticks to his beliefs…his sense of right and wrong and is dogged in seeing anything he perceives being amiss rectified…no matter how long it takes or how far he must travel…to complete the task at hand …until its conclusion ……

He has left our town…once more…

The first time was a few years back after making the move from Sea Ranch Club to John Knox Village…a move in residency only…for he stayed involved in our town  due to his many friends and supporters requesting his presence…his guidance…his  meticulous research and his journalistic skills …as they moved to rectify the wrongs that still existed in our town. John complied, in many ways putting  the completion of his move to our neighboring town…and what awaited him there…on hold… to benefit us all and finish what he too started.

How sad it was to watch the increasing insults…coming at the end…after that “big win”…not from those he opposed all these many years, but from those he stayed around for, counseled, campaigned for, supported and called friend.

His “usefulness” had expired in their small “agenda” mindset, and the very attributes they so admired…his knowledge of the history of this town, his resolve in expecting  the same  fairness, transparency, decency from those now in the majority as he fought for from their predecessors became an unwelcome liability, a thorn in their Mc-sides…

So they began to act like their predecessors ….throwing out insults…”he doesn’t live in this town”…”he’s antagonistic”…and much worse accusations…none of which need to see more print…

Although  John has now moved on the “rest of the way”…finally getting involved in  John Knox Village after turning them down for so long in order to accommodate those of us who prevailed upon him ….. true to his make-up…he managed to tie up a few loose ends…in finishing what he started….

He will complete his term on the CIC Board…included or excluded by the Board……and not run for re-election…as stated in a e-mail sent out to all the members…and he will continue to support the VFD and those elected Commissioners…and friends in town…who continue to seek his counsel…

He also finished his complaint and appeal against the Futures paper…

His letter to the Editor of the Sentry paper was published…and a response to his actions appears in this issue of the Futures from Executive Editor Geesey …..currently online..

All 3 are below…John’s e-mail to the CIC (sent to this writer by  members in receipt of it )/ His letter to the Editor of the The Sentry 12-4-08/ The link to the Future’s response to his complaint/appeal……

THE CIC E-MAIL….Dec. 14,2008

Dear Fellow CIC Members,

I apologize for not having written in nearly three months to update you on the status of my service in the position of CIC Director to which you elected me last April. You will recall that when I last wrote, I advised that a majority of the board had voted to exclude me from attendance at Board meetings unless I promised not to disclose what took place at those meetings until the majority of the Board was ready to do so, and not to correspond directly with members (as I am now doing) without the permission of the full Board. I reminded them, and you, that I could not accept such restrictions because I had promised you before the April election that I would do my best to keep you informed of what is going on, and give you my best objective analysis of LBTS events – just as I used to do in By-the-Sea Times before being “let go” by the publishers.

But in the interim, I have not been entirely idle. First, I was engaged in follow-up of elections-code complaints I had brought against the (then) unidentified sponsors of the mysterious website that published political advertisements and other propaganda before the November 2006 election in apparent violation of the relevant Florida Statute. A month ago I rode the Greyhound red-eye up to Tallahassee and back to attend a decisive Elections Commission hearing with somewhat surprising and unpredictable results, as described in the attached article.

Moreover, I was asked again this year to accept a position on the Board of Directors of John Knox Village, where Ingrid and I now live. I had to decline last year due to the importance I attached to debunking old-guard myths in my opinion pieces in the Times and to my support for challengers in the 2006 LBTS municipal elections. Now that those commitments have been successfully fulfilled, I could not think of any good excuse not to accept a spot as one of three resident directors on the JKV Board. As I found out, that places numerous demands on my time in form of committee work and attendance at events, like the one that keep me from attending the December 14 CIC Caribbean Christmas Party. If Renee O’Neal organizes a party anything like last year’s, I know I will sadly have missed a red-letter event.

Due to the demands of my JKV position, I regret that I will be unable to offer my services as a CIC Director again next year. I am, however, fully prepared to serve out my current term, so as to honor the commitment I made to CIC members when I accepted their election as a Director last April. But I remain unable to do so as a result of the position of the current Board majority.

I had asked the other board members to put that issue on the agenda of the last CIC Membership Meeting, and call for a formal write-in vote by the full membership on whether they wished to have CIC Board meetings held in the “sunshine” and freedom for directors to relay concerns to other members without board censorship, or whether they supported current board prohibitions on “leaking” discussion and decisions until a “sanitized” version could be agreed, and on free communication between individual directors and members. I said I would happily resign if the majority of members favored the Board’s more authoritative approach, so that a new director — who concurred in that approach — could be appointed or elected.

The Board did not place the issue on the agenda. I was simply told that – unless I agreed to the restrictions on free communication – I would continue to be excluded from substantive Board meetings and communications (as I have been since August 6) and that the Board could operate very well with only eight (8) members.

I assure you that this is not about me in any way. I fully realize I am no longer a “stake-holder” in LBTS. And even when I was, my work in organizing the CAC and CIC, my candidacy for office, and my journalism were never performed in the hope of any personal gain or glory, but because I recognized a responsibility to offer knowledge, experience and skills I believed could be of significant value to my former LBTS neighbors.

When Cristie Furth asked me to join her and Kay Yanni in forming the original Citizens Action Committee, it appeared to me they intended a political sort of committee that would support the interests of one faction in the split-up of the former Main Street organization. I said frankly that I had no interest in being part of such a partisan activity, but would willingly serve on a non-partisan committee that openly sought LBTS citizens’ inputs on issues likely to come before the Commission and – if there appeared to be a significant consensus among citizens – communicate that consensus to commissioners. That is the basis on which the CAC was organized and run.

Only when the old-guard commissioners stubbornly ignored the expressed will of a majority of LBTS citizens did I reluctantly lead the reorganization of the CAC into a political committee – the CIC – able to initiate petitions to effect needed charter amendments and electoral (voter-initiated and approved) ordinances. When the Commission even went so far as to misinterpret and/or ignore voter-approved charter amendments by “imaginative” commission ordinances of doubtful legality did the CIC go one step further and endorse commission candidates who had committed to respect the popular will. I was surely not the only one back then to be shocked by the arrogance of the old guard, not only in ignoring both the popular will and obvious facts presented to them, but in their concerted vilification of any like Marc Furth, Jim Silverstone, Ken Wardlaw, Stuart Dodd, Barbara Cole, Jerry McIntee or myself who seriously researched and presented objective viewpoints different from their own.

I have always viewed the CIC as an open organization committed to freedom of speech and due process as tools to foster an informed electorate capable of communicating their concerns to a popularly elected commission that would honor those concerns. My concern now is that the current CIC leadership appears to be morphing the Committee into a political organization more dedicated to insuring the tenure of the current commission majority than proactively seeking and supporting the will of a majority of LBTS citizens. I do not think the situation is helped by the fact that the current CIC leadership includes a member of a current commissioner’s family and others closely aligned politically with that commissioner. Worse, I am deeply disappointed by the fact that the new-guard opposition majority — in which so many (not least myself) had placed so much hope — appears to be developing into a “cult of the personality” where any who dare to question a particular commissioner’s positions are not engaged or debated openly on the issues, but are again personally vilified in the well-known tradition of the old guard.

But I emphasize this is not about me. A dozen or so CIC members responded to my September message that if I resigned from the CIC Board they would also be leaving the CIC. I replied that I would resign from the Board only if that was the will of a majority of the members who elected me. But I urged them NOT to resign, but rather to hang on, and to work for the sort of CIC they believe in. I must agree with those who argue (albeit in their own self interest) that I no longer live in LBTS. I have labored long and hard to foster due process and good governance under the law in LBTS. Now it is time for others who share that concern – and who are willing to devote the necessary time and effort – to step forward as candidates for the CIC Board next spring. If only those having close ties with one or another political faction offer themselves as CIC board members, I fear the CIC will continue on down the road to full-fledged political-party status, and will thereby sacrifice its very commendable status as an objective, public-spirited organization seeking to defend freedom of speech and information, learn the will of an informed electorate – and act in accordance with that will!

Best wishes to you all for a happy and blessed holiday season,

— John


Last-Minute Federal Injunction Reprieves

Secretive LBTS Political Website Sponsors

(Letter to the Editor, Pompano Beach Sentry, December 4, 2008)

A new political website aimed at Lauderdale-by-the-Sea voters appeared suddenly a few months before the November 2006 general elections. With a name confusingly similar to that of the Town’s established newspaper, By-the-Sea Times, the newcomer proclaimed:

This web site represents the online outreach by a group of concerned citizens who have come together to form a positive “think-tank” with the hope of increasing awareness and encouraging participation in the town’s future.”

But nowhere on or off the site was there any identification of the group of concerned citizens. The political nature of the site, however, was perfectly clear.

The vast majority of articles and unsigned editorial comment dealt with ballot propositions at the upcoming November elections. There was extensive criticism of a March 2006 charter amendment setting a town-wide 3-over-1-story height limit for new construction and praise for a more liberal alternative amendment, Proposition 1 on the November ballot. One item stated flatly, “Vote for Proposition-1.” Other articles argued against another ballot proposition to establish term limits for Town Commission members. Still other articles criticized the LBTS Volunteer Fire Department and praised BSO’s Fire Rescue – another hot political issue, albeit not on the November ballot.

Florida’s Campaign Finance Statute, Section 106 FS, clearly provides that any group of two or more persons who accept contributions or make expenditures for the purpose of expressly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate or the passage or defeat of an issue must register as a political committee and file regular reports of contributions and expenditures. Similar rules apply to publishers of “electioneering communications” which take positions on candidates and issues without actually urging “Vote for” or “Vote against.” The Statute also requires that each such advertisement include a disclaimer stating who authorized it and who paid for it. The website sponsors observed none of those requirements.

The Statute provides an exception in case of “editorial endorsements by a newspaper, radio or television station, or other recognized news medium.” But the political website was clearly not a newspaper or other recognized news medium, all of which clearly list their editors and publishers, which the new site did not. A good month after the website appeared, “By The Sea Future, Inc” finally registered as a Florida corporation for profit. But still there was no identification of the “group of concerned citizens.” The single principal listed on the corporate filing was William Pinhas, President, VP, Secretary, Treasurer, etc. – a resident not of LBTS, but of Fort Lauderdale.

Nor did the corporate filing include any claim of newspaper or other news-media activity. Whereas the corporate filing of By-The-Sea Times clearly states, “The purpose for which this corporation is organized is: NEWSPAPER, MEDIAL OUTLET,” and lists the names of those responsible for funding and editing the newspaper – the MacMillans, the By-The-Sea-Future-Inc corporate filing lists purpose simply as “any activity or business permitted under the laws….” and does not list the names of actual organizers or editors.

Many, including this writer, therefore assumed that the site was sponsored by a group with clear political and/or business interests in passage or defeat of various November 2006 ballot issues, who concealed their identities in the hope that website visitors might believe the site was in fact sponsored by a group of impartial, civic-minded individuals.

That assumption was confirmed when, following clear rejection by LBTS voters of the website propaganda at the November 2006 elections, a hard-copy BytheSeaFuture newspaper began publication on January 19, 2007, as a companion to the website. The newspaper’s masthead for the first time listed Editorial Board members, including property-owner and would-be developer Michael Arker, Mark Brown, President of the North Beach Civic Association (successor to the SBCA political committee) and Cindy Geesey, a board chair under the old-guard regime in power up until January 2008.

A fourth member of the “concerned citizens” group was outed when Cindy Geesey wrote in a later edition of the paper that Bob Terrien, a political activist and one-time mayoral candidate and more recently Treasurer and President of the Chamber of Commerce, “was a founder of By the Sea Future, handled all the accounting, and provided creative and editorial input.” Failure to identify Terrien even when the hard-copy paper appeared in January 2007 may be explained by the fact that, during the period in question, he served successively as Chamber Treasurer, President and again Treasurer, while Chamber administrative expenditures quadrupled from 2005 to 2007.

Since it appeared that these financially and politically interested individually had clearly violated the Florida Campaign Finance Law, this writer filed a complaint with the Florida Elections Commission. I found it particularly unfair that while one group — the Citizens Initiative Committee — scrupulously observed the campaign finance laws, others did not, and thereby avoided disclosing the extent of funding of their political advertisements by developer Arker, and the others, possibly even drawing on civic association or Chamber funds. Under Florida law, persons against whom complaints are filed may not disclose the complaints until they have been resolved. As complainant, I was not bound by any such restriction, but did not want to take advantage of a right respondents did not enjoy, and therefore have remained silent until now.

The Elections Commission Staff reviewed my complaint, appearing to give the benefit of every doubt to the respondents. The complaint was twice rejected on legal grounds, but I was told I could appeal to the Commission itself, which I did. The Staff argued first that I had not provided any evidence that the Editorial Board of the printed newspaper had also been the editors of the pre-election website. When shown that that the editors themselves stated in their Mission Statement in the January 19, 2007 newspaper, “Last year, … we began publishing the popular web site,” the Executive Director suggested such evidence was not admissible since it was “hearsay,” something I had read in the paper. At the hearing on November 12, however, the Commission Chairman rejected that argument. First-person statements by editorial board members are not “hearsay” and do provide evidence of their responsibility for the pre-election website.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the forum, or rather, a very fortunate thing for the secretive “group of concerned citizens” responsible for the ’06 political website. The Federal District Court for the Northern District of Florida on October 29 – just two weeks before the hearing on the complaints, issued an injunction against the Florida Elections Commission declaring unconstitutional large portions of the Florida Campaign Finances Statute. In short, the Court denied the State’s right to regulate any electioneering ads short of express advocacy (“Vote yes” or “Vote no”) or its equivalent.

A further court “clarification” on November 2 denied the State’s right to regulate any “issue advocacy” (advertisements for or against ballot issues – rather than candidates) whatsoever, as infringement of the First Amendment right to free speech. And since the State cannot regulate such advertisement, they cannot require registration or financial reporting by organizations that engage in such advertisements. That injunction provided a last-minute reprieve to the editors and publisher of the pre-November 2006 political website who had engaged in activities now no longer regulated or subject to penalty

The emergency injunction was issued in response to a petition by four separate groups including Broward Coalition of Condominiums, Homeowners Associations & Community Organizations and the National Taxpayers Union. In principle, we can only welcome the injunction as a desirable reaffirmation of free speech, which we fully support. But it is noteworthy that the four petitioning organizations refrained during the run-up to the November 2008 elections from publishing any electioneering communications or issue advocacy on their websites until after the injunction they had sought was granted. That was in stark contrast to behavior of the secret sponsors of the LBTS political website who, during the run-up to the November 2006 elections, ignored the Florida Campaign Finance laws then still in full effect.

Now, unless the injunction is overturned, the FL Legislature will need to revise Section 106, FS, substantially, while groups engaging only in issue advocacy and electioneering communications will be able to operate much more freely than in the past. But bodies like the LBTS CIC and the South Pompano Civic Association – which conduct express advocacy for or against candidates – must still register as political committees, report finances, and publish disclaimers with their ads.

John Thompson

Pompano Beach

LINK TO FUTURE’S RESPONSE…Dec.19,2008…page 2

More to come…

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