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Here’s The Scoop … The “Median” Municipal Election In LBTS ….

January 15, 2010 by Barbara

“IT’S THE MEDIANS, STUPID”…..

Dear Readers.. The March 9, 2010 LBTS Municipal Election will be about the El Mar Drive Million Dollar Medians …. and if voters want to spend a million to be “educated” in walking the medians along with our furry friends…they should vote for the Furth endorsed candidates of Joe Couriel, Marjorie Evans and Commissioner Jim Silverstone…These three agree with Marc and Cristie Furth, Commissioner Birute Clottey and Vice Mayor Jerry McIntee that walking the medians is the way to go!…People just need to be educated to do so!….

Here’s what CIC Board Member-Editor of BTSTimes and Campaign manager to the CIc-endorsed candidates said in her public comments on January 12, 2010…

“I will speak on an agenda item but not this particular agenda, a previous one. The passage of the El Mar Drive beautification project. I’m very pleased that the majority of the dais (Silvertone, Clottey, McIntee) went ahead with that project that has been a year and a half in the works. Um, decided on by the Master Plan Steering Committee and with the dais being well informed that you only have so much money, that one million dollars which was a penalty for overbuilding the Oriana was designated to make pedestrian El Mar Drive more pedestrian friendly and this plan does exactly that. Everything else was discussed in the year and a half. Everybody was aware when it came time to vote for it. I would have liked to have seen a majority vote of 5-0 up there for it because it is exactly what the Master Plan Steering Committee was charged with doing and it’s exactly what they did. I don’t understand why anybody would vote against it. It’s not money taken out of anybody’s budget and anybody’s tax dollars. It is designed exactly for this purpose and another sidewalk down the middle of a ah, park like area, shaded ah, people can walk their dogs and would be if people want to get out of the sun because it’s very hard to get out of the sun on El Mar and it’s a very popular exercise boulevard. This is an absolutely ideal plan and I’m looking forward to its implementation.”

Well, Ms. Furth is very good at revisionist history at the podium….She has conveniently forgotten that for that year and a half the MPSC on which her husband is a member was misinformed by the Town Manager that the Oriana million per the agreement was only for the south end of El Mar Drive…thus the median idea came forth, using the Art Institute students …Although the Town Manager was repeatedly asked to verify her assertions by the committee,including both Mrs Furth and her husband along with certain commissioners ….the answer from the Manager was emphatically yes…only the south end of El Mar Drive could benefit from the monies…Not until Commissioner Clottey befriended former Mayor Oliver Parker and made the request yet again…at the 11th hour (true to TM Colon’s M.O.) did the Town Attorney state that the Oriana million could be used anywhere on El Mar Drive!…On top of that the Town Attorney added she did not need to contact “Mr. Oliver” that all she needed was staff supplied information!…YIKES!…

Ms. Furth also seems to have forgotten that after that information was revealed…the MPSC was thrown for a loop and had plenty of second thoughts for implementing the median project!…Among those calling attention to being led down the wrong path by lacking full knowledge was none other than galpal Maryann Wardlaw, and even Furth’s husband Marc!…(prev. post)…

At the Dec. 7th meeting according to the minutes approved on Jan. 12, 2010 by the commission 4-0 ,(Clottey was absent ) which means that each Commissioner approves the content as correct for the official record…the official minutes state on page 2 ” It was the consensus of the Commission to give the project back to the MPSC to gain an overall concept before spending the $1 million and return to the Commission at a later date with their recommendations. With no further business before the Commission, Mayor Minnet adjourned the meeting at 6:37 p.m.”

Again, when the Commission approves the minutes, they are approving the content as accurate for the official record…After reading the Dec.7, 2009  Commission Conference minutes above …here are the Dec. 8, 2009 Commission Meeting minutes on New Business item 16a….

“Discussion and/ or action reference: El Mar Drive Project (Vice Mayor McIntee)

Vice Mayor McIntee stated that the Master Plan Steering Committee was given direction to move forward. He believed the project was money well spent.

Commissioner Dodd said the Master Plan Steering Committee wanted to re-evaluate Ocampo & Associates recommendations and come up with a complete plan. He suggested the Commission follow the recommendation of the Master Plan Steering Committee.

Commissioner Clottey asked if any of the money could be used towards drainage improvement at the Pavilion. She preferred sidewalks but understood there was not enough money to do all the sidewalks. Commissioner Clottey stated that she would support Option #1.

Commissioner Silverstone also supported Option #1. He believed the intent of the Master Plan Steering Committee was to get going on the project.

Mr. Novak stated at the end of the Roundtable meeting the Committee agreed they wanted to move forward, but the Commission wanted them to have a couple of more meetings to make to sure it was right and move forward on the first phase.

Mayor Minnet agreed that it was the consensus of the Commission to look at the whole picture and have a correct plan. She did not believe it was wise to spend $980,000 on just a cosmetic fix for El Mar Drive.

Mr Novak believed the master Plan Steering Committee would need 2 or 3 more meetings to fine tune it.

Commissioner Dodd inquired of the street lighting and stamping.

Commissioner Clottey advised that Option #1 did not include stamping. She believed it was included in Option #3 or #4.

Vice Mayor McIntee made a motion to approve the $980,000 for the El Mar Drive Project Phase 1. Option #1. Commissioner Silverstone seconded the motion. The motion carried 3-2 Mayor Minnet carried 3-2. Mayor Minnet voted no. Commissioner Dodd voted no.”

This writer has spoken to countless longtime walkers of El Mar Drive and as previously posted they think totally the opposite of Cristie Furth-BTSTimes- Candidates Silverstone/Evans and Couriel -Commissioner Clottey and Vice Mayor McIntee …that this is “an absolutely ideal plan” and a great use of the Oriana million!…

Sea Ranch Club resident and El Mar walker Pauline McGuiness told this writer that it is ridiculous to think anyone will walk in the medians…She went on to explain as all the walkers have,  they will continue to walk in the street for the surface that is easier on their joints, further explaining which side of the road used depends on the sun and emphatically stating that one major point that has thus far been ignored from all discussion is that of the fumes from the vehicles! She said she will not walk the medians…and so far from the comments this writer has received…neither will anyone else!…So whether the money is as Mrs. Furth stated “It’s not money taken out of anybody’s budget and anybody’s tax dollars.”…it’s still money thrown down the drain!…OOPS!… No drainage in this project!….

So to Mrs McGuiness and all the other El Mar Drive walkers …remember when you vote on March 9, 2010……. vote for Mayor Roseann Minnet who voted against the El Mar Drive Project on Dec. 8, 2009 and Candidates Scot Sasser and Chris Vincent who are on record at the podium and speaking to residents throughout the town, stating they too opposed the use of the $980,000 for putting walkways in the medians and they too are concerned that a majority on the Commission ignored not only the MPSC but the walkers of El Mar Drive!…

More to come……..

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Here’s The Scoop … LBTS Commission Round Table … 12/7/09 … Round And Round We Go …

December 6, 2009 by Barbara

THAT $980,000 BURNING A HOLE IN SOMEONE’S POCKET …

ROUND TABLE- 12/7/09-5:30 PM -JARVIS HALL-PUBLIC INVITED-TELEVISED-ONLINE …

Dear Readers …Round and round we go and where this Oriana “million” goes…nobody knows!… But a certain Vice Mayor in need of some positive P.R. in the waning days of his first and last term as an elected official wants those buckaroos blasted out of the bank…and put in the medians at the south end of El Mar Drive….He’s doing a mini-mea culpa to MPSC Vice Chair Sandra Booth…the very same woman he skewered and slighted repeatedly throughout the past 2 years… Lamely he’s trying to make political points…But…it’s too little too late to remove the tainted Furth- orchestrated nastiness toward Mrs. Booth…and too much money to be thrown in to seal the deal…and try to salvage his savageness!…

On the next night’s agenda the very same Vice Mayor McIntee has put on new business item a. “Discussion ad/or action reference: El Mar Drive Project . 1.) To move forward with appropriating the $980,000 needed for the El Mar Drive Streetscape Project.2.) Commission approval of conceptual design of El Mar Drive. RFP process to begin by Ocampo & Assoc.”

BC- First…This is the same Vice Mayor that gave Comm. Dodd what-for when he put an item on the next agenda following a round table…McIntee said that was an agreed to no-no!…They are not allowed to discuss what’s on the next agenda…So the meeting on the 7th  is about the McIntee item on the 8th!…Which one is going south?…Or new majority rules…pun intended!……

Second…McIntee -Furth pal MaryAnn Wardlaw came to the podium to say the committee was not working with all the information …

Third….The Town Manager was never held accountable for her and her staff’s ineptness for well over a year! The Town Atty. in answering Comm. Clottey on her contact with Birute’s new BFF Mr. Oliver to verify the Oriana monies could be used for more than just the sound end…said she [Atty.] did not need to due to the very same Town staff giving her the information in less than 2 weeks!

Fourth… Did we pay for renderings…yeah…will it be the first time….nah….should it be the last time…putting the cart before the horse due to substandard backup materials…You bet!….Just add em’  to the “shelves of plans” from bygone years…

Fifth…There is precedence for holding off any major decisions to the new commission coming onto the dais with a few months left…Who led that decision…none other than man with burning hole in his pocket…Vice Mayor McIntee …always ready to spend , spend, spend the taxpayer’s  money…just take a look at the VFD…(prev. post)!

Tell your commissioners hold onto the million…til March!…

more to come….

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Here’s The Scoop … 4 Months To March Election Making McIntee Sweat?…

November 9, 2009 by Barbara

THE PROBLEM WITH BEING A LAME DUCK….

Dear Readers … Tonight in the waning months of the first term of McIntee and Silverstone …it seems the Vice Mayor is sweating bullets over his likely demise…He put on quite a show of desperation…with his nauseating performance of bending over backward with his sudden show of revering MPSC Vice Chair Sandra Booth…The same Sandra Booth he publicly dressed down when she was nominated for a return to the committee in 2008!… He made the audience collectively snicker as he called her “Mrs. Booth” …McIntee  droned on with the countless hours put in by the MPSC and now anything less than giving them the 980 thousand will be a slap in the face!… WOW!… The same Vice Mayor who would give no direction no matter how many times Chair Paul Novak stood in front of him…but alas…maybe the Vice Mayor has spent some quality time with “Mr Oliver” and was told if he [McIntee] sucks up big time in the last few months…all will be forgotten or forgiven… Not this time…Vice Mayor…there’s way too much too remember and too many of us to remind those that don’t!

This meeting was set up to discuss the Master Plan for the next 5 years… that was switched in order with the beautification projects…at the end of the evening it was set aside until next month… The Mayor asked to do the switch to deal with the projects at hand …the A1A FDOT  and the El Mar Drive Oriana escrow million…

The discussion on the FDOT was just the beginning of yet another look at this dysfunctional dais…Commissioner Clottey had the “concern” that her “constituents” would not have a say in the A1A plan and they would be impacted by the FDOT decision… The Vice Mayor chimed in as well about the FDOT having to convince “this commissioner” on any improvements due to A1A already being over capacity in traffic …The Mayor tried to make both understand it was just a “conceptual agreement” and the Town Manager as well told them it was a $58,000 conceptual plan…with the FDOT coming to the dais in the future to speak to the Town, and they were already in agreement to allow input from the residents…But in the end it is a state road and it comes down to the residents really having no say…The Mayor and Comm. Dodd implored the commission to allow the process to move forward …after the Manager told them if they wanted to stop now…that the FDOT would go elsewhere with the project…Comm. Dodd said “Let’s not put up barricades before we see the plans. Let’s not kill it at stage one!”… Perhaps they can “linger” over the conceptual plans…if Comm. Clottey allows for it?…

So what’s up with “Mr. Oliver”…the former Mayor Parker?… Who’s he buddy, buddy with these days?… Comm. Clottey asked if the Town Atty. had spoken to “Mr Oliver Parker” to find out the details of the Oriana million dollar escrow money… The Town Atty. replied she did not have to after receiving the pertinent information from staff… The commission was provided prior to the meeting with a geographic map of the former overlay districts…It was announced that the money was allowed for beautification of the Hospitality Overlay District…which meant it was from Pine ave (north end of El Mar) to Palm Ave (south end of El Mar)…and the previous statements made by the Town Manager and the same staff  of it being Commercial Blvd. north only were bogus!… This Town Manager was quite adamant about the agreement all this time……just as she was about the agreement with Oriana for the defunct boardwalk area behind the development (maybe that needs another look-see as well)…No mention of this huge blunder and its origin….But plenty of misstatements about the MPSC median project concerning the committee, the students, the commission, the money…The breakdown of who on the dais was for what after learning this new information was really something to watch…Strange partnerships indeed!…We heard of “dilemmas” from Silverstone and Clottey…sidewalks vs. medians … The” biggest bang for the buck”…from the Vice Mayor, Paul Novak and Ocampo  architect Ernie Ojito … Vice Mayor McIntee went into a quizzing mode of Sandra Booth and Paul Novak saying he was “amazed” he thought it was “a done deal”…and the “Kids” …the “countless hours up there “…the “years” of work… He did hear from both the Chair and the Vice Chair that they did think it was a go…and the medians would be done…Mrs. Booth said the A.I. was not anxious to get involved in another project and the Vice Mayor just kept on pushing it “for the MPSC and the students”…Commissioner Dodd agreed with the Vice Mayor and said it was time to get something done…The Mayor was with Comm. Clottey on sidewalks and felt the students input was also a “conceptual plan” and she agreed as well with Marc Furth… The Town Manager said nothing was approved from the drawings based on the students projects and the Vice Mayor became indignant that it was decided to spend $980,000 and it was done in “good faith” …that to change course now was an “insult to the Master Plan Committee and the students” and the person he “feels the worst for was Mrs. Booth”…After the meeting an audience member said the disingenuous onslaught from Vice Mayor McIntee to Mrs Booth made them “want to vomit!”… Diane Boutin Manager of the Windjammer came up to speak and began by saying to “some degree she agreed with the Vice Mayor”…but then quickly changed course to agree with the Mayor about the conceptual projects and told the commission they “owed this town a process” with more brainstorming saying “infrastructure before the flowers”… MPSC member Mary Ann Wardlaw who usually shies away from comment chose to make a statement that she was “dismayed” with the new information of the million’s use for the whole of El Mar and saying the committee was “only as good as the information we get”…Comm. Silverstone in full “dilemma” mode said he agreed …”this commissioner is still not happy”…and “I think we can do better ” [the medians]…The Mayor read the 3 paragraphs from the 2005 Master Plan about El Mar Drive and said the “key words” were “pedestrian and walking “… The Vice Mayor responded that he heard the description of one lane and we have 2, that pedestrians walking in the middle [medians] would keep pedestrians safe from back-out parking the major threat to walking on El Mar…(HUH?)…Commissioner Silverstone made the same ridiculous recommendation he has in prior discussion of striping off one lane for walking and art work …Comm. Clottey did an about face to join the Vice Mayor and Comm. Dodd after asking Mr Ojito how long to do the medians (6-7 months was the reply, no answer after a followup asking if that included the permits!)…She also said it would be 2 years before Minnet does the sidewalks (wrong!)…she then said the committee and the students “worked hard ” and the would have “to bite the bullet”…

Then it was my turn…”I sat through all these meetings and I’m very surprised. First of all we were under the impression and we were told quite a few times that it was only supposed to be for in the south end. But secondly you all voted for lowering the bond for Minto which really pushed a good portion of those sidewalks that if you hadn’t lowered the bond and I think the manager tried to tell you the first time (1st comm. meeting Minto asked to lower the bond) if you hadn’t lowered their bond they would have gone ahead and done a good portion of the sidewalks. (Actually, it was the recommendation of the Manager & staff not to lower the bond) The gentleman who came up to speak for Minto actually said if you don’t lower it, they’ll probably go ahead and do it [sidewalks] because it would be cheaper in the long run. (prev. posts) You don’t know when they’re [Minto] going to come back and do those sidewalks. You have no idea how many years it’s really going to take with development and every developer that comes in has been told they have to do underground utilities and then they’re going to have to put in new sidewalks afterward.”

“So, I’m surprised about that.  I think there can be a combination of doing all this but frankly we’re 4 months away from an election. I think you should put this million dollars in the bank . You now have all this new information”

Vice Mayor McIntee-” That’s inappropriate! That’s political! And that’s solely political!”

The Mayor said “excuse me” a couple of times…

I said ” I have a right to my opinion, and my opinion is that.”

Mayor Minnet-” There is no need for that interruption Vice Mayor, continue Ms. Cole.”

Me- ” A little thin skinned?  My opinion is that since you have been thrown this curve and it has now changed what you said, that maybe you should consider not making a fast decision and seeing what you come back with, with this new information and you’re facing the holidays. You have just one meeting now. [Nov.] You face Christmas,and you’re facing the holidays and then you’re in the throes of , excuse me Vice Mayor, an election. So, my opinion is that maybe you want to hold off until you get some different people up there and you use your million dollars.”

Vice Mayor McIntee-” Point of order Mayor! That’s absolutely unacceptable! She’s talking about changing the dais! It’s, that’s not acceptable! You have to stop now! Because the Charter says there should be no political activities in Jarvis Hall!”

Mayor Minnet-” Vice Mayor, Vice Mayor, that’s not political. We have an election in March 2010.”

Me- ” I said maybe there might be some different people  up there. Boy it’s gonna be interesting!”

Mayor Minnet-” Thank you for letting us know when the election is!”…The audience laughed!

The Vice Mayor wanted to “move on the $980,000″… The Mayor said she would not and that she was not for making a “hasty decision”…The Vice Mayor told her it was not a “hasty decision” that she was unacceptable in her statement..and again spoke of the years we had this money …3 years (it was in escrow and could not be touched until this year)…Comm. Dodd said the dais was “deadlocked” and a Round Table was needed… to have some “interchange” …The Mayor said the Vice Mayor wanted to give direction to the Manager to put this on the agenda…It went on the agenda for the Dec. 8, 2009 commission meeting…and a Round Table was set for Dec. 7, 2009 at 5:30 pm… The Manager asked after saying “it’s not personal” (HUH?) if she could get together ahead of the Round Table with Ocampo and work with Ocampo on the project…unfortunately, this commission must have had a temporary brain freeze and said go ahead!… This is the same Manager that unilaterally changed the Beach Pavilion, made up the Cone of Silence, stopped reading RFPs aloud and missed the 10 day (by law) deadline for RFPs with the Police renovation …( and on and on and on from her unilateral lifetime contract)…The same Town Manager that told them the money was for the south end only!…YIKES!… Before they adjourned Mrs. Booth came to the podium to praise her committee, to remind the commission how quickly the A.I. students started and finished the project (96 days) and say they [MPSC] serve at the pleasure of the commission saying they “can do anything you give us, we can do!”…The MPSC will join the commission on Dec. 7th and the public is welcome as well…

After the meeting, we found in the hall Nance and David Nixon back in town for a while. They are longtime residents of El Mar Drive……….Nance Nixon informed this writer that when the CRA was in tact [David was in charge of the CRA] …it was made known that in the future the medians on El Mar would be where all the underground utilities would run…and to put money in them now would be a total waste!…ARGHHH…

In closing…after seeing the meeting above and learning the information afterward…the future of El Mar Drive really should be decided in 4 months with the change up on the dais!…

more to come….

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