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HERE’S THE SCOOP…..EMAIL TO LBTS COMMISSION ET AL…. WHY ARE YOU KILLING OUTDOOR DINING IN THE OCEAN PLAZA?…….

May 3, 2022 by Barbara

LBTS OCEAN PLAZA OUTDOOR DINING IS BEING KILLED BY RECUSAL…. BUT WHY?….

DEAR READERS….Below is the email I sent to our Town Manager, Town Attorney and Town Commission today after receiving my Public Records Request for the required recusal disclosure that prevented new Commissioner Theo Poulopolis from voting on the Ocean Plaza outdoor dining policies and requirements and allowing for Aruba Beach Cafe to continue their extended outdoor dining in a portion of the plaza that the previous commission voted 5-0  on January 25, 2022 in favor of  and after an overwhelming number of LBTS residents, visitors and downtown patrons who were surveyed and who actively participated in many meetings stated they were all for!……If you watched the LBTS Commission meeting on April 26, 2022 you too saw the disgraceful debacle our Town Manager instigated….in my opinion….that resulted in a 2-2 failed vote due to Commissioner Poupolous’ recusal that for some inexcusable reason extended beyond his recusal disclosure statement it was for his father-in-law’s restaurant- the Pier!….

This needs to be rectified….ASAP!….

Please join those who support fairness and transparency in government and let them know they got this all wrong and they need a do-over on May 10, 2022 at the next LBTS Commission meeting….starting with Commissioner Poulopolis voting for what he is clearly allowed to vote for!….

Below is the 5/3/2022 Email….The 5/2/2022Poupolous Recusal Disclosure/ The 3/24/2022Town Attorney’s response to this writer and the Commission…..

May 3, 2022 Email…..

‘RECUSAL OF COMMISSIONER POULOPOLIS AND WHAT IT COVERS!….

Mayor, Commissioners-

After watching the April 26,2022 Commission meeting and seeing the blindsiding of Aruba by the Town Manager and the resulting mess and utter confusion I sent you all an email.

I followed up that email by making a Public Records request for Commissioner Pouloploous’ required Recusal Disclosure form.

It verifies that this commissioner is only recusing himself from a conflict with one restaurant owned by his father- in- law.

Therefore, Commissioner Poulopolus should and can vote for any policies or requirements for outdoor dining in the Ocean Plaza.

Commissioner Poulopolous should and can vote for any policies or requirements for the Dune Plaza.

Commissioner Poulopolous should and can vote for any policies or requirements for outdoor and extended outdoor dining in the downtown area.

Commissioner Poulopolous should and can vote for Aruba Beach Cafe applying for outdoor dining in the Ocean Plaza as he has no relationship or financial interest or gain relating to Aruba Beach Cafe.

Commissioner Poulopolous should and can vote for any restaurant downtown applying for outdoor dining that he has no relationship or financial interest or gain in.

Commissioner Poulopolous CAN NOT vote for the Pier restaurant or any restaurant that is owned by his father- in- law in our town- PERIOD.

On May 10,2022 this commission needs to separate out the following- with all 5 commission members voting for-

1-The policies and requirements of outdoor dining in the plaza.

2- Aruba Beach Cafe applying for outdoor dining in the Plaza.

3- Downtown/ Ocean Plaza outdoor dining extension to continue until ordinances and design plans are enacted.

The only time Commissioner Poulopolous should and CAN NOT vote is when and if his father- in – law makes application for his Pier restaurant for outdoor dining in the Ocean Plaza or any other properties he owns in the downtown requiring a vote from the commission.

Commissioner Poulopolous’ father- in – law is the only business owner that should and can be the recipient of the outcome of only having 4 commission members able to vote leading to the possibility of a 2-2 vote leading to the failure of that vote.

Subjecting any other non- relative business owner to that outcome is a dereliction of this commission’s duties and I cannot believe it is not opening the town up for a legal challenge in doing so.

This Town Manager and some commissioners are unfairly and irrationally singling Aruba Beach Cafe out with denying not only the vote of all 5 commissioners but denying Aruba the same benefit of extended dining the commission approved and offered all the other downtown restaurants during covid.

Covid is not going away. To deny Aruba Beach Cafe now will further cause an inequitable outcome as a result if covid restrictions are returned for indoor dining anytime in the future.

As far as the Ocean Plaza and public use.
This was a metal shell roofed parking area until the pavilion was constructed not long before the remaining parking areas became what is now the Dune Plaza until 2013!

Those who speak of a Norman Rockwell type use in 2022 are not facing the reality of its use by homeless and other deterring actors who loiter in both plazas. This influx which we are prevented from interfering with is severely negated by having the extended dining !

At the April 26,2022 meeting Commissioner Oldaker and VM Malkoon spoke of calls and people opposed.

I know that if you look back at all of the meetings last year – commission, 2 failed round tables and the charette you are able to verify that  these handful of opponents fully participated in public comments as well as in-person!

This downtown development improvement project  is not to be jumbled with the failed El Mar Drive  Project. El Mar did not have overwhelming support despite the then Acting Town Manager and Town Engineer using the same strong-arming tactics we are witnessing with the downtown/ Ocean Plaza dining.

Outdoor downtown/ Ocean Plaza extended dining had and has such overwhelming support shown in- person and with the huge response survey cards the Town received and that were entered in to the public record during season!

This commission needs to follow the lead of Mayor Vincent and the overwhelming amount of your constituents who include as he repeatedly points out many of our restaurant and business owners in righting the egregious actions of April 26,2022 and not separating out Aruba Beach Cafe from the Pier Restaurant!

Respectfully,
Barbara Cole’

The 5/2/2022 Poupolous Recusal Disclosure

The 5/3/2022 Town Attorney Response….

MORE TO COME….

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HERE’S THE SCOOP…. A FEW GOOD MEN…..

October 27, 2021 by Barbara

Dear Readers-

Remember the movie A Few Good Men and the famous court scene with Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson when Nicholson throws out excuses waffling until Cruise boxes him in and Nicholson loses it telling him he can’t handle the truth?…..
Well, last night at the LBTS commission’s October 26 meeting we got the excuses… we got the waffling…… but we never even got close to the truth….
Part 2 of Leaving LBTS in the lurch in hiring a new town manager took place at the end of the 2nd commission meeting of the month after it was included as a late addition to the agenda 24 hours before….  in keeping with the down-low process this hiring of Linda Connors has become…
I really thought that Jarvis Hall would be overflowing with those supposed town supporters of her permanent position as Town Manager, especially the 5 men who spoke out to hire her on the 12th with cake and toasts to celebrate since that did not transpire with the 3-2 vote ….But, alas there was no full room….no favorable supporters….including these 5 men…no cake…no toasts….and again….  no speech from Ms. Connors….
In the end….it was only this writer who applauded after the 5-0 vote lit up in green on the voting board ….sealing the deal for a 3-year contract with all the bells and whistles…. Starting with a salary equal to the outgoing former experienced Town Manager in his 2nd year!….Well done Town Manager Connors….she won the LBTS lottery!….
I do not blame Ms. Connors for new position without comment…….nope…..I blame those commissioners up on the dais who once again chose to ignore her record as both Director of Development and Interim Town Manager…. doing twists and turns…and thumbing their noses at even attempting to address …ALL….of the red flags….that were right in front of them the whole time!….
Here is a woman who should have been fired in 2018 when all five of these commissioners were on the dais and present for a massive fail in the noticing of 18 ordinances with one of them that forever impacted the neighbors who live on Tradewinds ….and instead of that…and all the other issues presented in previous posts…3 of the 5 made her our new Town Manager….with all 5 giving her the top range of salary to boot!… if that’s not winning the lottery….it should be….
At the podium during public comments….despite my pleas for discussion …after pointing out to them they had spent more time with more questions and concerns over the restoration of the west Commercial sculptures than Ms. Connors employment …and telling them that with a public records request I made I received in error an email from Ms. Connors ( by way of her Assistant to the Town Manager) to the Town Clerk on October 5, 2021 asking them to ‘ please start working on a summary of accomplishments since I have been Interim?’… This was done with a pdf of agenda minutes ……Why was this not used at the October 12, 2021 meeting?….In doing so it might have led to honest, open dialogue and discussion by the commission…. requiring responses from Ms. Connors on all of the insufficiencies …. and there were many…. contained in those agendas……and…that must be why it too was cast aside….
Commissioner Strauss about to run for his 2nd term was in charge of negotiating the contract for Ms. Connors…as a result of  Commissioner Malkoon insinuating and insulting Mayor Vincent on the 12th ….stating he should not in good faith carry out the role as he and previous mayors have long done…..because he did not vote for Ms. Connors …. Rather than let the Vice Mayor who made the swift motion and did vote for her….Mayor Vincent passed the gavel and made a motion for Commissioner Strauss…who had also voted no….Perhaps…. thinking much as Commissioner Malkoon thought about him not acting in good faith…the Vice Mayor would not do so in the role of negotiator due to his actions that night ….It passed 5-0….
Unfortunately….passing the gavel….made absolutely no difference ….in this writer’s opinion…..Commissioner Strauss essentially did exactly what the Vice Mayor would have done….using the previous contract for Town Manager and conferring with the Town Attorney…. He came up with an amount certainly not commensurate with her experience…and again…. equal to the previous Town Manager who had come to our town with years of administrative experience in his 2nd year of employment…. …When he explained his reasons for doing so…. he actually negated his previous no vote for her hiring on the 12th…. Commissioner Strauss used reasons such as cost of living…and saving money by not going out for a Town Manager search…. The very “process” Commissioner Strauss touted as the reason he voted no….  Furthermore he praised Ms. Connors on her time as a Director of Development and Interim Town Manager…. joining those who did not look at her record….
In his response the Vice Mayor included that he had pre-written comments approving the contract …thanking Commissioner Strauss…. No surprise here for Vice Mayor Oldaker… in fact he could have lauded Commissioner Strauss …for best contract ever…just as he did with his best budget ever comments to Ms. Connors two weeks prior…. Both were merely changing the numbers on the supplied outlines sheets….
The Vice Mayor falsely claimed that Ms. Connors was interim far longer than former Town Manager Bud Bentley …trying to compare a lack of vetting….and was quickly schooled by Mayor Vincent when he made his comments at the end ….
Commissioner Sokolow spoke of his air conditioning company and hiring management from within….as with all of his second term comments.in his final two years …we can only count down to March….enough said…..
Commissioner Malkoon thanked Commissioner Strauss for all the time he spent on the contract…. Again, the outline was there…and it was a last minute addition to the agenda…2 weeks after the hiring on the 12th….How much time could it have taken?…He just gave some awkward comments to justify the higher salary that he would never have made or justified with past town managers….both on and off the dais….as seen in previous years…
Mayor Vincent spoke last…he spent this last bite at the apple to not only correct Vice Mayor Oldaker’s horrible slight on vetting  former Town Manager Bud Bentley …He stated the fact Bentley was #2 in the vote for Town Manager in 2010….He was hired as Assistant Town Manager by Connie Hoffman….and then became our Town Manager when she retired…. The Mayor countered Commissioner Strauss for his cost of living and not going out for the search cost savings reasons for the high salary amount he proposed for Ms. Connors…..
A handing over of the gavel for commission discussion and a motion on the salary amount…. even though it would certainly not have received a second….and of course a no vote…. would have been this writer’s preference…. but…

in the end he voted along with the other 4 to approve the contract for Ms. Connors and to move on…..
So Dear Readers… how do we move on?…. There are two more meetings …One in November and one in December before the time comes for candidates in January to file papers to run for three seats on the dais in March…. The Mayor- at- large….A Commissioner in the south….A Commissioner in the north…..
I, as an actively participating voter am looking at candidates and commissioners who will do better …. commissioners that will return us to the Town Commission- Town Manager form of government our Charter states we are….but have not been for quite a while….. It can only be attained and returned by having a majority who want to do the hard work…request and receive all of the historical backup…..and be actively involved rather than leaving it all to staff agenda items and recommendations…with rubber-stamping votes…….holding the administration and the staff accountable for their actions and to the highest standards we deserve….
I am looking for commissioners that put constituents first….and never…ever ….turn their backs on their needs and plights….no matter their personal feelings of like or dislike….then insisting on the same from their administration and staff….
I am looking for commissioners who are forward thinking….not antiquated….thinking outside the box…. while protecting and preserving our Old Town  south- end rather than imposing urban planning redevelopment thinking they know better…. requiring us to always watch out for the next impactful project we need to fight off… Public Safety Complexes…..Overbuilt hotels….and ….. surface parking lots….redesigned cookie-cutter streetscapes….
I am looking for commissioners who are fiscally responsible with our taxpayer monies….who value our small town ways and values as a priority …..who avoid at all costs… (pun intended)…. constant ordinance revisions……bloated requests for studies and consultants…. any unnecessary resume builders….
I am looking for commissioners who will to the original requirements for Town Manager…. ASAP….
I am looking for a few good men….and now more than ever……a few good women!……
More to come…..
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