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Here’s The Scoop … Like Herding Sheep ….

December 14, 2009 by Barbara

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………

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop …. 9/9/09 Commission Meeting Comments …. IN THEIR WORDS ….

September 20, 2009 by Barbara

COMMISSIONER/PUBLIC COMMENTS ….WRITTEN AND PREPARED …

Dear Readers…Two Commissioners, three Residents and a LBTS Business owner’s commentary …. made at the 9/9/09 Commission meeting…

1-Mayor Minnet  (from her website http://www.roseannminnet.com/ )

“Welcome back everyone from the break. I hope the summer has been enjoyable for all and I am looking forward to a positive start, starting tonight. With a bit of luck we might have a chance!

I first want to thank staff for installing a foot spray on the beach pavilion showers and the lock on the gate at the children’s playground. I know they may sound like small things, but staff was very helpful in accomplishing and making these things happen. Thank you for all your efforts and the residents who requested them, thank you as well.

Since annexation the town has been working for a one-town zip code. The Town Manager did send another letter to the USPS. I can only share with you that I am in support of this for the town, but it is also important for the residents to write to your Congressman, get a petition together and let them know how important this is to you as a community. One town, one community, one zip code. The power is in your name and in your petitions. The Town can write all they want, but they must hear from you.

I have a lot on the agenda this evening, so I will keep my comments brief. Lastly, I would like to ask the editors of the By the Sea Times if they quote me again, verify the facts. It is disheartening that there is a perversion of lies and mistruths being told and written. As always I am available if you have any questions and want to listen to the truth. I have said from the beginning you will get the information and facts from me but you may not always agree with the vote.”

Thank you.”

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2- Commissioner Dodd….

“My comment are not addressed at personal issues, never have been and never will be but solely on work being done by the town, questions I ask , areas to be addressed. It is never a personal issue and unfortunately it has been seen as such by certain individuals both on the dais and by certain town staff. My job as a commissioner is to oversea information I am given and evaluate and I would like to ensure all questions are answered, all items address. AT no time has there ever been a personality issue. I am elected by the residents to specifically oversee certain functions of the town administration and the way they conduct the town’s business.
I apologized to the Town Manager at the last meeting over my small mistake in the company that makes the awards for the audit. It is the Government Finance Officers Association. I followed up as you would expect me to and found – Ft.Lauderdale has received the same award for 24 years, Hallandale 21 years, Coral springs 17 years, Deerfield beach 12 years so I called the GFOA Government financial Officers association and discovered there were 1265 municipalities as members and over 90% received awards every year. The perception with the award was that everything was great and aren’t we doing well. It is an award solely on the documents submitted and absolutely nothing to do with the contents. I have said publically the Town Manager has done this year again a great job of the budget presentation. The GFOA awards do not translate to the commission or the town manager is making the right financial decisions.
One correction for the Vice Mayor in his written comments in the local Paper – Mayor Minnet and I did not vote to postpone the reef project indefinitely. I am a huge supporter of this project but I personally felt the Police facility was more important to the residents and we should only postpone the reef for one year and get our own house in order. Just another exaggeration that comes as no surprise.
I really enjoyed the break but still believe we should hold just one meeting in August since the 11 hours in July and I believe this will also be a long meeting leaving the commissioner exhausted after two such meetings.
I noticed in the paper on Wednesday Sept 2nd how Deerfield Beach resolved their Ethics code using a citizen’s advisory board rather than scrap the code which was too harsh they left it to a citizen advisory body. Sounds very different from LBTS – We don’t need a code of Ethics as there is no conflict!
I received a survey that was sent town wide. I would have expected the courtesy of being informed before it was sent out but perhaps I’m expecting too much from staff these days. I have a big issue as to why question 12 was slanted and incorrect. Do you support the current maximum height of 33 feet. I emailed the manager and her response was Overlay districts were repealed by the town Commission. Yes we repealed the Overlay districts but the overlay district was to do with zoning and not with height . We currently have nowhere zoned for 44 feet. Removal of the overlay district did not change the 44 foot height limit. The correct question – should the town change the zoning by referendum in certain areas to allow the 44 foot height limit that was passed in 3 referenda by the voters or should the height limit be lowered town wide to 33 feet by referendum. Everyone should to be aware of this subtle distinction.

I yield”

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3- Resident Chris Vincent… Silver Shores

Sept 9 2009

“Welcome back members of the Commission and Madam Mayor.

Hope you all have had a relaxing summer break.

I would hope that this commission has had time to reflect back on what your responsibilities are to this town and its people. After all we are approaching an election year and yes we are still listening.

At the upcoming performance review of the Town Manager, will she be held to the same standard of fiscal responsibility that she applied to our former chief of police, Mr.Scott Gooding. There have been many miss deeds by the Town Manager, only to go unchallenged by the commission.

Our Town Manager earns more in salary and benefits than the governor of Florida this information was indeed included in the May 2007 backup when Commissioner McIntee and Silverstone voted on it. A lifetime tenure contract, I thought was for only judges and certain members of some senates or upper chambers received these type of contracts. On May 12 of this year, commissioner Silverstone felt the Town Manager deserved a raise without even a performance review. That just blows my mind.

I personally feel from what I’ve researched and read, is that the Town Managers contract was not properly reviewed and further information needs to be put out to the people explaining how a contract such as the Town Managers could have been approved.  I am urging all on the dais to comply with this request.

I have to wonder if during her review, If she will consider the current state of our economy and the financial hardships facing our community and decide to kick back some cash to the people, you know show her fiscal responsibility.

Another issue of great concern is the request for emails from certain commissioners during the time frame that Chief Gooding was fired as just stated by Mr.Malkoon.

Just a friendly reminder you were elected to do what’s best for our Town. Somehow deleting your emails does not quite fit into that category.

Our Town Manager has requested a grant of 3 Million dollars for a new complex for the VFD.

We respect the VFD and its ability at this time to protect and serve its citizens. However do we really need to create a fire department that can support our town plus Pompano Beach, Light House Point or even Deerfield Beach?

Are we willing to continue to pay for the training of fire personnel in a new state of the art facility, so that they will eventually leave to a fulltime paying career in another city? Who is going to run this facility.  Are we going to hire a Professional Chief a Deputy Chief? Will our taxes be raised to maintain this new facility? What are our financial obligations if the grant is issued. These are just a few of the questions that need answers. It’s not that we are against the idea, we just want all the facts first.

And why hasn’t the Town Manager worked as hard to help the needs of BSO and its staff? Are there no grants available for Police facilities? I do not know the answer to that….I am not the one being paid an exorbitant amount of money to research these opportunities.

Transparency is powerful.  The more transparent you are the greater the Trust from the people.

Not being forthright and spinning information or attempting to distract from the truth breeds contempt.”

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4- Resident Bob Fleishman, Terra Mar Island

“And so the hot, steamy summer continues, in Politics at least.

Awaiting her much delayed review, and incidentally feeling no remorse, our Town Manager, a Loose Cannon, is a committee of one, doing as she, “so sees fit“, spending our moneys and ignoring a reserve-fund build up, for looming Litigation. The Town Manger has blinders as she awards contracts (RFP’s) to her favorite Cronies. She is now conducting her own survey for 33ft. Height limits. Been there, done that, and look where that has gotten us. Did anyone take a look at the Annexed part of the town, and the height limits, established when she was in swaddling clothes. I think not. The South part of Town is a lovely, quaint and preserved lower limit “downtown”, if you will. Maybe if some attention was paid originally to the annexed land and “its already in place” High-Risers, the focus would be on code, and not wasting money having new surveys. Four, “Bert J. Harris” Law Suits, in place, represented by Barnett, Rudin & McClosky, will certainly drain our coffers dry, and then some. Let’s see, what else is our industrious Town Manager doing these days. Well she seems to represent the money tree of the VFD. As they spend like Drunken Sailors, she just keeps doling out the bucks. We’re bleeding money, folks. Projects are being done, leaving drainage problems all over town. How is Chen and Assoc. these days? Where are all of their fail-safe, brilliance, overseeing “engineer renderings”, that are required to dictate the RFP’s Ms. Colon brings on. The redo’s should be at the contractor’s expense, not the Town’s.

To move on, guess it is politics as usual for the “Gang of four”. After all we have our own LauderGATE with SHREDDED, oh excuse me, I mean, DELETED E mails. Believe the Vice Mayor knows what that refers to. So is anyone answering to any Sunshine Laws, guidelines, or the will of the people? I think not. I got a kind of chuckle when our Vice Mayor referred to his 102’ Fire Engine find. “The equipment alone was worth the money” said he. Well the ladder may be good for pruning our Palm trees, but not much else. As far as the equipment goes; you know haw much used stuff is worth, folks, not to mention the

2.

depreciation of 20 year old hoses and the such. Gee, that be the case,

maybe he shouldn’t of been so hell bent on replacing the SUV, if he’s into antiques.

On that note, I’ll say welcome to you all in the audience, and know well, on the Dais, we are watching your every move and making sure it comes back to bite you in March.

Thank you ”

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5- Resident Edmund Malkoon….Bel Air

Commission Meeting
September 9, 2009

I would like to start by thanking the Mayor for adding to the agenda clarification about the Boat trailers. There seems to be confusion over whether or not boat trailers by themselves are permissible.
Next, The Bel-Air Board has approved a list of street names to further our beautification efforts. We feel this will make Bel-Air streets compatible with the rest of the town.
Last, but most important, I need to address this email situation. Vice Mayor you acted in a very inappropriate manner. To give a background, a resident had filed a public records request from you regarding Chief Gooding. He wanted to see if you had any previous knowledge or discussions regarding the Chief’s dismissal. Finally, after 3 months, you responded by saying your emails were not saved as you use America Online.
1) Three months is way beyond the “reasonable” amount of time Florida Statutes require for you to produce.
2) Why wait 90 days just to say you don’t have them? This looks very suspicious.
3) AOL stores personal file cabinets on your hard drive by default. So I will encourage the citizen to take this one step further and subpoena your hard drive for a forensic analysis.
I want to inform the residents that Florida Statutes state that, by law, you are the custodian of public records. It’s one thing to suspect you of just deleting emails which you don’t want seen..but not saving and deleting of all public emails is a definite violation of the law. This is a clear example of why elected officials should not use personal email addresses for Town Business.
I also find it very strange your retaliatory request for the Mayor and Commissioner Dodds emails. If you had a legitimate need to do this why not limit the request to a specific topic and dates? This blanket email request is nothing more than a witch hunt!
In my opinion this is a further effort to stifle or discourage access to one’s elected officials. I know of several people who are now afraid to email for fear of retribution. And yes these fears are founded. I personally have been the recipient of vandalism three times. The last occurrence was just over a month ago. In fact I know, based on evidence, a current member of this audience is responsible for carrying out at least one of those acts.
The citizens of this town will continue to insist on our freedom of expression, access to information, transparency and fair dealings.
You can count on me to always be among the towns watch dogs.
Thank you.

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6- LBTS Business Owner Louis Marchelos ….

“Welcome back. It’s been so quiet. Looking at the agenda I guess the quiet is over.
Think the Town Attorney has an ordinance factory. One week we talk about fishing on the beach and suddenly a fishing ordinance appears. None of us can find out who makes decisions or suggestions as to the new content.
I think transparency requires that we have access to all steps in the governance of the town. Perhaps the Town Manager could start a Blog detailing the whos and whats. With this type of info we would not have all our conspiracy theories.
We would know if she was informed by the Pavilion contractors if flooding would be a future issue and that the drains are needed. Perhaps the drains could have been put in last year during the Pavilion construction. It has been said the Town Manager knew about the future flooding issues but never informed the commission.
Therefore, now we have rfp’s for future repairs. I hope this commission agrees that the repairs are done in May of 2010 so that the Pier, The Aruba restaurant and the other businesses affected by the future repairs do not have consecutive years of the seasonal months being affecting and hurting our business with future construction.
IF the Town Manager had a blog, we would immediately know why Chief Gooding was fired and we would understand why it was financial irresponsibility to advocate the Sheriff‘s new quarters ,but not for a new fire house and to reimburse the VFD for an old fire truck in an amount in excess of $150,000.00.
The purchase was made without Commission consent so why should the Town reimburse.
Can it be that a certain Commissioner feels no obligation to act responsibly because of perceived plurality on the commission?
Has the Town Manager acted with financial responsibility?
If one of our Commissioners had such a role in obtaining this new truck can he ethically vote on a matter to reimburse that group in which he holds such an influential position and for whom he negotiated this purchase.
The lines of propriety are too blurred. He should abstain from this vote. This same commissioner, it is rumored has erased most if not all of his e-mails in violation of his obligations as a commissioner. We need transparency!!!!
It appears that we are indeed back but back to business as usual.
No transparency.
No ethics and an agenda based the need for power and not the needs of the people
Welcome back.”

BCbythesea.com thanks all the public speakers who chose to send them in for posting…

more to come….

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