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Here’s The Scoop…1 Down…1 To Go…Town Of LBTS Sponsored Hurricane Seminar…The Evacuated Hall!…

June 11, 2009 by Barbara

LACK OF PREPARATION….PUTS A CLOUD OVER YET ANOTHER LBTS EVENT…

At the 6/9/09 Commission meeting during public comments,  this writer spoke once again about these seminars and workshops on hurricane preparedness…..presented by the Town…(yesterday)…an organization such as the POA…the Chamber doing theirs on June 17th (8am…Jarvis Hall…prev.post… places to go cat. )….the County does one annually…..along with inserts found at the beginning of June every year in every newspaper…and specials on all 4 local channels…along with public safety organizations putting out pamphlets  and other materials….all providing the public with the very same information…

Yesterday there was 2 residents in attendance…this writer and Editor of the By The Sea Future,  Mark Brown…Town staff and Mayor Minnet….everyone else was there to speak!…Including …Rusty Pfost from the Nat. Weather Service…BSO Lt. Cedeno….FLOC Wayne Anderson/Jim McGinn….VFD Chief Perkins….and AMR Chief Liddle…No sufficient advance notice was given out …no attempt to advertise in the Future paper…no “joining’ of forces with the Chamber to combine the two events!..Another slight to business!…Shameful!…

The Town Manager should have been embarrassed once more…( Is she capable of feeling embarrassed?)… As she should have been with the ISO Community Outreach Program and the Broward Transit Forum to name a few….Although unlike the others this one did have the doors unlocked…the Powerpoint ready to go…coffee and treats…handout bags and pamphlets ….and it was  televised!…

This writer heard Manager Colon lamely remark to the Mayor it was being watched at home…still a shame…no matter how you try to “whitewash it”…and an ongoing pattern of poor performance when it comes to Jarvis Hall meetings!…

First up was Rusty Pfost the Meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service…who spoke of their “mission” …protection of life and property…He presented a powerpoint presentation that included charts …maps and historical data and photos of what has come our way …He spoke of the averages and what we can expect…changes this year…no more “skinny black line” will be for tracking the storms…..and the cone of uncertainty will be used…He said to “maintain sanity” watch for updates 5-10 minutes an hour…Watches and warning will change in time in 2010..2009 watch is 36 hrs.-2010 will be 48 hrs/ 2009 warning is 24 hrs- 2010 will be 36 hrs…He recommended the links below….

http://www.fldisaster.org/

http://www.srh.noaa.gov/mfl/

Next up was BSO Lt. Angelo Cedeno who took the the podium to tell the residents he was there to “get residents up to speed”…speaking of the factors to keep in mind …be prepared…have a plan of action…as he explained that the Sheriff’s office operates under the County and that the BSO will work “hand in hand” with the VFD…He went through some tips for securing vital documents…food and supplies for the aftermath…evacuation which would be west on Commercial Blvd…and special needs shelters…He gave out the phone number to register for those..954-537-2888….He explained that the BSO has pamphlets and brochures  for further information and went on to speak about generators and safety measures for using them…He assured all that the Sheriff’s office would only be off while the storm is deemed unsafe …He said “We do a great job, we’ve got great people that partake in these events. Fire is key, law enforcement is key, keeping the peace after the storm. When you’re out there and you’re doing it, and you see it for yourself, it’s impressive and I hope that the residents of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea have full confidence in the Sheriff’s office to get through, prepare you and answer any questions regarding any concerns during a hurricane.”…A few questions were addressed such as re-entry after the event…once it is safe we will be allowed back…and I.D. shown will help protect from looters and those who do not have a reason to be in town…He was asked by the Mayor about “door hangers” that are used in other municipalities to show if some one is safe or in need of assistance in their home… BSO Sgt. Brown came to the podium to say it was an idea that had been addressed in the past, but the concern was it would encourage people to stay…Lt. Cedeno said some kind of tag system could be used by the BSO to show a property had been checked out in the aftermath…He also addressed the term “mandatory” evacuation and that it could not be enforced …and again said the “BSO will go above and beyond to keep the residents safe”…”We will get everybody back to civilization as fast as possible. A lot of manpower , boots on the ground”, they take “provide in serving the community.”…

The Florida League of Cities came as they did last year….Wayne Anderson and Jim McGinn…..also spoke of evacuating…extended the amount of days for food and water from 3-5 days to 7 days…spoke of plans…a checklist…and the new way of thinking…not to evacuate far distances…due to “packed roads” but west of 95…Wayne addressed securing of your property …speaking of the roof, gutters…outdoor furniture…and generators…Jim spoke of insurance…wind and flood…being a high risk area…the fallout of that…and what to do after an event…with policies…mold…and alternative living quarters…

ATVs WILL SAVE THE DAY!….and jet skis……the fireboat…and the trucks

photo91

VFD Chief Perkins…”Good Morning, thank you for inviting me. What everybody said was just you can’t emphasize enough on preparing for the storm. I happened to be here in 04 and 05 when the storms hit and life was miserable on this island to say the least.What I’m going to tell you today is about the fire department and what role it plays in evacuation and working side by side with the police. Um, as of today we’re up to 65 members (5 added this month). Um, ah, our main role here is to protect the town and be as safe as possible, protect our citizens. This year ah, we have more equipment thanks to our great government we have in this town. Our commission they’ve allowed us to have jet skis and ATVs. a fire boat and we have four trucks which will play a major role in evacuating this town. The ATVs will probably play a dual role as far as protecting the beach. We’re probably turn them into um, vehicles that will travel around the town would have chain saws, medical bags, everything we need to help our citizens. So those ATVs are going to play a huge role and from what I understand at 65 miles per hour if the wind is sustained ah, because the town owns all our equipment we have to think of the equipment first and we have to leave the island and take the equipment off and stage at Holy Cross. That’s where we’ll be bringing our trucks and that’s if the winds are over 65 miles per hour, we have to leave the island and the fire department will not be here. But we will come back when we’re told and we will start um, searching the island for victims or people, people in distress, people in trouble. We’ll drive around in the trucks, the ATVs, the pickup truck looking for victims, for people to help. Because I remember in 05, in 04 we did a lot of downed powerlines, um, we cut a lot of trees were down down we had to cut them up ah, remove them them from roadways. So there’s a lot of work for the fire department getting back on this island,And again, my advise  again life is miserable on this island. There’s no air conditioning , there’s no electricity, no food um, and it’s just not, it’s very hot. You got no air in your house. I slept in my car for two days. I didn’t have any air, but we were on twelve hour shifts, the fire department. As the storm approaches we will have the fire department will be manned by 24 hours a day. We will have at least 12 men here doing 12 hour shifts. And then once we evacuate we’ll come back or, and continue to do the same thing until the island is safe and everybody is accounted for. Again, this year we have a lot more equipment so hopefully we’ll be able to do a lot more rescues as far as the ocean and we’re surrounded by water. We do have a lot of boats and during hurricane season we have pets in the canals and I’ll give you some of the , we’ve had in 05 and 06 and when the hurricanes hit we just got grazed with. We were very lucky, a direct hit on this island would be devastating. But we glanced a couple of times and it was pretty bad. Things were pretty rough here. So we do have a fire boat this time, we’ll be going up and down the canals and in the ocean. We had a problem with surfers remember the police had a problem with surfers and they do jump the canals when the bridges are up and swim across with their surf boards and they run out to the ocean and then we gotta chase them down. So, um, manpower for the police is really stretched to the limit and definitely we have enough guys where hopefully we’ll be able to assist them in any way we can. We have a hurricane trailer. We’ve been preparing for several months now. The trailer will be equipped with chain saws, generators, ah, everything that the fire department will need to sustain for at least three weeks and they’ll be extra supplies as medical supplies and extra band-aids and gauze pads and medical bags. We’re pretty much um, we’re getting ourselves ready cause hurricane season is no joke and if you’ve ever been been here you know what it’s like. It’s ah, it’s not a pretty sight. We had a storm run through here ah, we had to have a firetruck at the gas station cause at night time all you hear is generators , it’s unbelievable it’s generators everywhere and we’ve had lines at the gas station. We’ve had fights. People coming up with plastic containers wanting to fill it up with gas. It’s not allowed. Everything has to be NFPA approved to put gas in. So if you do come to a gas station where there’s a big line and you’re trying to fill your generator we won’t give you gas in your milk bottle, milk container, it has to be a NFPA gasoline container. Ah, we had a serious problem at the gas station. This year hopefully they have a generator and they’ll stay open. But, they were closed for three or four days and then when they opened everybody just rushed to the gas station. We had to stay there overnight to make sure everything was alright at the gas station. We have no hospitals in town, um, I remember dozens of buses coming down unloading people from he condos, the older folks. The higher are you up in your condo the more stronger the winds are so we do ask you to kinda come down to the ground. Um, each individual building i assume has their own evacuation plans as far as buses go, but I do remember dozens of buses taking the elderly out of the condos. Um, again we have a lot more resources this year, the commission has given us a lot of tools to work with. Ah, again I think the ah, the ATVs are going to play a big role in this hurricane. Again, we’ll be evacuating to Holy Cross Hospital when the winds reach 65 miles an hour sustained. We will be off the island. So if you want to stay, good luck to you. But we won’t be here to help you. And if you call us we won’t be able to come  because we won’t be here. Um, let’s see does anyone have any questions? Again, my main role as Fire Chief is to protect this town and its citizens and with the equipment we have this year I think we’ll be able to do a fine job. 04 and 05 were kind of a practice run for me because I was here. So we kind of know what to do, what not to do. If anybody doesn’t have any questions? Ok, Thank you very much and I wish everybody luck this year.”…

We took a break…and waited for the final speaker…

AMR Chief Brooke Liddle…also spoke of preparedness…medical conditions and concerns…He said they had hand-out packets…and also had a list of townspeople with special needs …He spoke of those on oxygen…..kidney dialysis and where they should be evacuated to…He added ways for those in need to be assisted to the shelters ….He said they too would be stationed here with additional personnel as required …if they encounter sustained wind speed (65 mph) they too would be at Holy Cross Hospital until it is all clear for them to return to the town…

The Mayor thanked all those who came to participate…including the Town Manager…and reiterated the “theme” of this seminar …preparedness…

link to the video on the Town’s site….http://lbts.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=229

The end…..

more to come….

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop…Pelican Hopper …FARE Play?…

June 9, 2009 by Barbara

HOPPING TO PAY YOUR FARE SHARE TO KEEP THE COMMUNITY BUS?….

The Broward County Transit Community Forum came to Jarvis Hall last night…but the Hall was locked and no Town Manager or Assist. Town Manager were there to meet and greet them or the few residents in attendance!

This is forum that is being put on in all municipalities as directed by the Broward County Commissioners to get the input from the citizens on what the public transportation issues are , what should be done now and in the future to improve public transportation….

First and foremost it has become the disturbing, embarrassing  M.O.  of our Town to find such planned programs in such disarray when the presenters arrive at our hall….We have seen it multiple times before…It began with the first MPSC meeting …which was bad enough when dealing with volunteer residents..but it expanded onto RFP meetings….and  community outreach programs such as the ISO, Turtle Workshop and now this Transportation Forum…A “black eye” for the Town…

In attendance were Mayor Minnet, Comm. Dodd, L. Peanuts Wick, 3 residents…1 gentleman from Fort Lauderdale ( a member of the Florida Coalition of Rail Passengers), Finance Director Kaola King, and 4 members of the Transit Dept….including Bob Nelson Director of Broward County Transit (for the last 4 months coming from Portland Oregon)..and Suzanne Campbell who is in charge of the Community Bus (Pelican Hopper)…

After and introduction by Dir. Nelson there was a brief PowerPoint presentation was made addressing the Broward public transportation challenges…The daily ridership is 125,000 a day…38 million passengers a year..38-39 passengers per hr. (nat. avg. is 36 per hr.) …with rush hours purported to being so “packed” that larger buses have been purchases to handle the loads…Comparisons were made to other cities nationwide..which showed for example King County Metro  in Seatle…having a population of 1.9 million (Broward 1.7 million) …with 1,413 buses (Broward 289)…King County employees 4,361 (Brow. 1,016)…What was stressed in the comparison and throughout the meeting was the difference of a “predictable source of income” …. a “dedicated source of revenues”…meaning  a sales tax (1/2 cent)…Broward County provides $52 million out of its General Fund..”it’s capped”…and although federal funds are available for purchase of buses..the funds for the drivers and those who maintain and repair the buses are lacking…To deal with the larger buses some of the stimulus will be used at the Ravenswood location to increase the bays that are not long enough to do….Also discussed were the costs associated with adding more service…with the example given of frequency…every 15 minutes means more buses are needed…There are 4 major Broward Transit agencies…Broward/Miami-Dade/Palm Tran/RTA (tri-rail)…they provide over 153 million trips a year…2700 combined square miles service area…fleet of 1600 vehicles…Each County has its own planning organization at the present time…but there is a move to combine the agencies together to compete with larger cities such a San Francisco…Growth statistics were given showing an increase in population with the economy stabilizing…leaving the transit system unable to accommodate it…A challenge was shown with the time stuck in traffic due to congestion…and of course the environmental impact was addressed…along with the fluctuating costs of gas…The presentation showed by the year 2030 there will be 48% more people compared to 2000 (HMMM)…At the end was the age old problem of dealing with the other challenge…that people are “married to the steering wheel”…

After a brief time for refreshments …brought in by Broward Transit…two tables sat independently to discuss the “challenge” and get the input…At our table was Comm. Dodd, Brow. County  Rep.Israel (did not get a last name), Suzanne Campbell, Peanuts Wick , Michael Smith (Ft. Laud. FCRP member), a resident and this writer…Comm. Dodd asked for information on density to allow for a correct comparison between cities…( the info was not on hand)…along with speaking about the priority given to buses in other countries and what would need to be done along those lines to increase ridership…Israel spoke about both with input from Ms. Campbell…they are looking at buses having a device similar to emergency vehicles that have the ability to hold the traffic lights for 8-10 seconds allowing them to go through…especially for certain routes …also in the works “dedicated” lanes …where there will be the HOV lane…then the bus lane and then lanes for cars…Peanuts asked about passes and spoke of “smart cards” similar to the type used in Chicago (work like credit cards) …Those are in the works as well…Prior to the discussion Peanuts spoke to Comm. Dodd about the Pelican Hopper route…Peanuts again brought it up at the discussion with Ms. Campbell…a loop that would extend to the Galt  ( including that maybe the condos would “kick in” funding…see 3/10/09 meeting below) to Oakland Blvd…go to Holy Cross Hospital and come back to Terra Mar…Ms. Campbell said we have the say for the routes (a sharp contrast to the 3/10/09 comments on the dais from the Town Manager and the Vice Mayor…(see below)…Ms. Campbell took down the suggestion…she also spoke of community bus signs that are available for the town to have to put up anywhere…such as condos…The resident briefly added that she would be happy to pay for the service….(see 3/10/09 meeting below)…This writer asked Ms. Campbell about the apparent “disconnect” over the assumption there will be a community bus next year…due to the 3/10/09 meeting…the cut in county funding…and the lack of riders…Ms. Campbell was unaware of the meeting…and the Commission’s comments…She did say that the “talk” right now is that Broward County will cut down from $20 to $15 with LBTS picking up the difference …She was surprised that Assist. Town manger Olinzock was not there and said she contacted him, but received no reply….Also discussed were bus shelters…on the budget tonight under Capital Imp. for 2010-2011…after being removed this last year…The presentation included the stimulus providing for bus shelters in Broward County…This writer asked for further info and was told the Town should contact them…a brief discussion included the ADA requirements of the shelters…but Ms. Campbell added that contacting them could also allow for a “grandfathering” in that could alleviate those requirements in certain areas and the same requirements did not apply to the community bus stops…

LBTS video of 3/10 09 Town Manager item 7 C..Community Bus- consideration of fare for riders (County recommends)

http://lbts.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=200

The disconnect for this writer came from the 3/10/09 meeting …Town manger Report…7C…

The Town Manger said  the budget went down $14,000 and we are lacking in ridership…no double digits per hour as required for the grant…Some of the cities are looking at fares…and the County was asking for the Town to start looking towards that direction…without funding the cost to the Town $102,00 for the next year….She added a resident sent in a suggestion that with the lack of ridership why make the taxpayers pay?…She was looking for direction and felt as if she had received none…The Manager added that the Town sent out 200 letters to businesses asking for help…none was forthcoming…although for a brief time some restaurants and businesses did offer a coupon or discount…She said times are hard…and with Easter, 4th of July coming up she was being careful…Later on she added the problems she had with the wrong route being used saying it had been corrected and added the bus has to go where Broward County wants the bus to go (not according to the Broward County Community Bus Rep. Ms. Campbell…see above)…

The Vice Mayor asked for big signs saying FREE…and the manager said we had them on the bus..not the sides …could be added…He also stated without ridership with it being free and if  a fare is asked for “we’ll get nobody paying for a ride”…He added elderly depended on it….and we should do what we can to keep it but “I agree if it’s only 3 or 4 people we have to draw the line” ending with “Free and if we charge it’s history anyway.”…

Comm. Dodd asked about the cost being solely LBTS and if Galt Ocean was charged…this led to the route discussion by the Town Manager…

Comm. Clottey asked about a resident’s suggestion to ask Publix and CVS to provide funds or donate which brought forth the Town Manger’s letters sent reply…

The Mayor added that she did know people tipped the driers and she knew some that would pay a fare, that we should look in that direction to make it viable to keep the bus…

Comm. Dodd asked that Galt Ocean should be approached to ask for funds…(Peanuts brought this up after Comm. Dodd suggested it …see above)…

Vice Mayor McIntee said “Lauderdale-By-The-Sea doesn’t own the bus the County pays everything so to say we is not fair to the County or VM Keechl or anybody.in the County. They provide all the money and if they want to make the bus go all the way to Oakland Park and they give us a free bus, God Bless em cause we aren’t paying anything”…HUH?…

The Mayor ended the discussion saying we’re “status quo” and “maybe the businesses will kick in”…

BC- The ridership did not improve…The County is cutting its funding…We do have the 1st Budget Workshop tonight…What will the Town do with the Pelican Hopper in 2009-2010?…What will be a cost to the taxpayers?….Those who want to pay fares…those that will be willing to pay to keep it or those who will not want to pay.either way…..better let their Commissioners know!…The Broward County Transit Forum will return for a second time…This will be a second chance for the Town and the residents to participate…

more to come……

Town link with Pelican Hopper info …Broward County Transportation links for maps…and more…

http://www.lauderdalebythesea-fl.gov/town/hopper.htm

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop….I Went To LBTS For 4TH Of July And All I Got Was This CIC/VFD “Broom Boys” Kick Off Party….

May 8, 2009 by Barbara

PRE-PLANNING TO DITCH THE FIREWORKS?…

Readers may recall from previous posts that began even before last year’s LBTS 4th of July event that this writer thought our town event should below-key for residents at the municipal park with the VFD doing hot dogs and hamburgers…including old fashioned fun races and pictures on the firetrucks….and save the taxpayer monies for the fireworks…Well, that fell on deaf ears …and the event went on…Not being in town ourselves …we heard it was the “biggest” and “best” ever…along with these comments… all that we spoke to did  “fess” up that the crowd was tourists and visitors rather than town residents…After the event at the post- 4th of July posted meeting…(Yep, posted …just as all the other regular July 4th meetings were)…Cristie Furth declared that the fireworks should be severely cut down or or not done  at all….in order to have an even bigger event…Luckily at that meeting there were no “takers” to her suggestion…BUT…fast forward to the July 4th Beach Bash 2009…set-up a long time ago to be the “kick-off” for the  Broom Boys Re-election in 2010…with the “Boys” as Co-Chairs…and Marc Furth (and wife) as Event Coordinators…

Also previously posted on this site… …. addressed in Commission meetings…and in local papers…the difference going on behind the scenes with the July 4th 2009 Committee when compared to the 2008 committee that wasCo-Chaired by Comms. Clottey and Dodd….Making statements that they (Co-ChairsMcIntee & Silverstone/ Marc Furth) are copying everything that was done last year…”No need to reinvent the wheel”…EXCEPT…for the parts Furth found to be a “royal pain” and decided to forgo…such as those posted meetings for public input (although, we hear  the event was discussed with the CIC and the VFD)… sending out RFPs in the same manner as last year…and sadly they chose to follow the “desire” of Cristie Furth at that post 2008 July 4th meeting…and severely cut down the fireworks and go for that bigger  Mc-Furth event after the parade…with more rides..and more classic cars…We now have $15.000 for fireworks off the beach…with nowhere decent for those who want to actually watch the display to sit…being left to deal with an FDEP imposed 280 sq. ft. uninhabitable circumference from the display area being required (more area for winds)… and NOW… it seems that perhaps they (Co-Chair McIntte/ Silverstone & Furths) just might be “concocting” a way to walk away from the fireworks altogether…and blame the lack of fireworks on Mayor Minnet…Comm. Dodd …and anyone who dared to question their “unilateral” decisions…They must be unilateral…due to any discussions bring forth questionable Sunshine violations…

Event Coordinator/ BTSTimes- Editor/ Official Town & VFD photographer/ former Comm. Marc Furth sent a letter to the Town Manager and the Commission on April 30, 2009…stating the following…(overview and excerpts)……

He spoke about being asked to plan the 4th of July Town event again this year….adding “you will also recall I served the Town in the same capacity for last year’s event, which was noted by all to be a great success”…

“Unfortunately, this year I have been subjected to undermining actions by two members of the dais. Mayor Minnet and Commissioner Dodd which cause me great personal concern. For reasons unknown to me and without  any communication between us, they have both been contacting state and local officials behind the scenes, regarding my attempt to have a fireworks display on the beach rather than off the pier”…

He went on to write of Mayor Minnet contacting Lou Fisher, BC-DEP and saying she gave Mr. Fisher “misinformation, which resulted in a letter from Leslie Cinch from the state denying a permit to shoot off the beach and recommending using the pier”..(BC-we did not hear that at the meeting where this was brought up..all correspondence previously posted-scoops cat.)…Marc continues on to say tha “upon hearing this”..he contacted both men and “explained” his reasons…According to Marc he told both men it was economical for he (Marc) was told to severely cut cut down on the fireworks budget this year (BC-by whom and when?)…and he (Marc) told them the pier would cost $20,000…( BC-no official negotiation was ever made with the pier owners)…Marc continues…”At the last Commission meeting I told Mayor Minnet that if she wants the fireworks shot off a different way, just allocate the additional funds to do it, because it would make it much easier for me.”…(BC- actually if look at the tape from the meeting Marc was addressing the whole dais…and he conveniently leaves out not sending the appropriate people to speak to the pier owners…to make it easier for himself!)…Marc says he has done “much investigation with close proximity fireworks experts regarding fireworks from the beach” …(maybe this could have been presented at an open posted meeting?)…and added other municipalities are doing it as well…(BC- what are their beachfront areas like for viewers compared the the El Prado beach site?…perhaps this too could have been presented at an open public meeting?)…Marc goes on to state the beach front fire display option was the “best option” for “fireworks enjoyment” and “saving tax dollars”…”The two event Chairs, Vice-Mayor McIntee and Commissioner Silverstone agree with me.”…(BC- how did he let them know without a sunshine problem..just told them and that was that, not knowing each others views?)…

“However, the actions and subsequent public comments of Mayor Minnet and Commissioner Dodd (who are sponsors of the event as members of the Town Commission but not designated as Chairpersons or involved in the planning0 appear to be attempts to derail the beach fireworks plans and move the fireworks back onto the pier.”…”While it has been obvious to all that these Commissioners are great supporters of the pier owners”… Marc says “I,  personally, cannot justify the exorbitant $20,000 fee paid last year.”…(BC- it was not $20,000 after all was said and done last year…and again no Town negotiations were made with the pier owners to this date)…Marc wrote his version of his independent offer of $5000 to the “Marchelos brothers”…(BC- Louis Marchelos said at the podium this  was made on St. Patrick’s Day at the Pier parking lot to him alone with a strong-arm caveat of “allowing” the pier to use their parking lot for an event…and a time limit to respond to Marc only, after Marc told Louis he already had a fireworks company in the works to shoot them off from the beach)…

(BC-  ALERT…”PLAN” TO BUST UP THE FIREWORKS?.. below)…

Marc continues in his closing …page 2…”Unfortunately, the accusatory questioning and comments I have received during the Commission meetings and the politicking that continues to go on behind the scenes is seriously causing me to rethink my commitment to planning the fireworks portion of the July 4th event. Without the full support and backing of every member of the Commission, I am concerned that further attacks against my character and, more seriously, becoming a target for liability art the slightest cause. I am an unpaid citizen volunteer simply trying to do my best to give the Town another spectacular July 4th event.”

“I am requesting written assurance from the Town staff releasing me from any financial liability as Event Coordinator and a letter of support from all members of the Commission that they will follow the proper channel of communication by coming to me first to address any of their questions and concerns in order to consider moving forward with any fireworks displays at this time.”…”Sincerely, Marc Furth”……

BC- Many think it was actually written by Cristie Furth…which would be fit right in with her post 2008 July 4th words…Perhaps Marc would have had his “proper channel of communication” if he followed all of the planning done last year…and had the regularly posted open public meetings…

We hear the $15,000 fireworks approved at the last meeting would look pretty awful from the pier…being small in size….

It looks  like the Furth’s “took a page” right out of the Town Manager’s “playbook” of  giving ultimatums to Comm. Dodd to get her way… ..But just as the latest “ultimatum” Manager Colon gave failed when she tried to lob it at Comm. Dodd (previous post…LBTS agenda/meetings cat.)…on the parking hand- held devices and contract with the long- term company contracted with LBTS….(put on the Consent agenda without the proper RFPs being sent out)…..Comm. Dodd was not about to be given “ultimatums” from Event Coordinator Marc Furth…replying to this letter…

Comm. Dodd’s reply…
Mr. Marc Furth , Town Manager , Mayor , Commissioners,

Open letter in response to Mr. Furth’s letter

COMMISSIONERS – DO NOT RESPOND AS IT WOULD BE A SUNSHINE VIOLATION.

Dear Marc Furth,
Contrary to popular or your conceived opinion I am not against you or your attempts to organize the July 4th festivities.  However, I do have several issues that should be addressed.  I was not aware as a commissioner that The Vice Mayor and Commissioner Silverstone were delegating (or even allowed to delegate) 100% of the responsibility to you to make all the executive decisions for the town as well as manage the event in its entirety.  I understand this is how this years planning has been carried out as a means of avoiding any issues with sunshine laws. If you are the sole executive decision maker and are telling the Vice Mayor and Commissioner Silverstone of your own executive decisions without discussion or their input then there is no sunshine violation. This was not how I conceived the event was to be run and as a commissioner it is not in my personal opinion how the event should be run.  The commission is responsible for the tax payer’s money and as such there should be one commissioner at least making the executive decisions.
I have absolute faith in your ability to put on a superb event that will be enjoyed by all but whether that event is exactly in accordance with the majority wishes of tax payers in this town is a different matter.  While I appreciate the need this year to cut the event down to the bare bones I have reservations about asking for donations for fireworks ( at a cost of $15,000) because if you raise more than that figure you can’t legally use any excess to subsidize the rest of the event since the money was donated for a specific cause. The whole event appears to have been planned and executed without any input from any commissioner as that would be a contravention of sunshine regulations. There has been no opportunity for the public to express their wishes as to what they would prefer. You will remember last year Commissioner Clottey and I conducted numerous meetings where you updated our committee with the problems you had encountered with various organizations and then outlined the assistance you needed from the committee and the commissioners to make things happen. All the purchasing policies of the town were honored and obeyed. Countless hours were spent ensuring everything was out in the open, above board, discussed and then approved by vote.
You accuse Mayor Minnet and me of “going behind your back” to various authorities and trying to “derail” your plans.  I refute this comment since I am trying to satisfy myself that all the conditions of the state and local authorities can in fact be met.  I also refute your allegations that I’m a supporter of the pier owners. I have tried to remain absolutely impartial with all my dealings with any person or business in town and treat them fairly with respect and listen with an open mind to their problems or complaints – unlike some of my fellow commissioners.  I do not hold any favoritism or prejudge any one or any events.  In my opinion the owners of the pier lease have been treated deplorably and I am amazed they would even consider renting the pier to the town for $5000.00 after the way they have been treated. Their willingness to rent the pier has been stated publically by them on more than one occasion. Would you loan your pier after being harassed over code violations on the placement of restaurant tables, harassed over the pier sign, harassed over the South egress to their parking lot, harassed over Saturday night events, noise ordinances and had to put up with the construction of the pavilion.
As to your conditions – It is up to you to decide whether Mayor Minnet or I have “attacked your character” or caused you to “rethink your commitment”.  I have always been fully supportive of your efforts and have the utmost faith in your ability to stage a superb event for the benefit of the town.  Where I have a problem is that this year no-one in the town has had the opportunity to express even an opinion or offer their services as a volunteer other than the CIC and VFD membership. Should you wish to withdraw your “commitment to planning” the fireworks portion I as a Commissioner could not support the allocation of taxpayer’s money to fund a CIC/VFD party without the traditional patriotic fireworks display.
I am not able to comment on the liability issue raised in your letter but will continue to uphold my right to call anyone at anytime I choose.  I can not and will not be bound by your proposed restriction of directing my questions through you first. If that is a problem then I apologize but you can rest assured I am 100% supportive of your unpaid endeavors on behalf of the town despite the total lack of direction from the two commissioners who are supposed to be in charge of the event. No meetings have been posted or held to date yet the event has been formalized, permitted, rides and vendors booked and public money approved – all without a single public meeting of the designated commissioners in charge.

Respectfully

Stuart Dodd

BC- Expect more to come…As of today…it’s all up in the air (pun intended)…whether the July 4th “Committee” will try to Mc-Furth “SPIN” and cancel the fireworks from the beach…and whether the Town and the “Committee” will bring Mrs. Furth’s 2009 event party only to fruition…trying to lay the blame on the Mayor, Comm. Dodd, this writer and anyone else that dared to question…them!…

Also of note, although the pier owners have stated publicly and to the FDEP they would do the fireworks for the $5000…they have not been contacted and as of today per the Town Manager’s letter to the pier owners and the Commission are precluded from contact with the Town despite  asking for this action to be removed.

more to come…

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop…LBTS Commission Meeting ….#3…Foul Ball…The Town Manager…. Item 16F…

March 12, 2009 by Barbara

FOUL BALL ………..

http://i.a.cnn.net/si/2006/writers/lang_whitaker/05/22/the.links/p1_foul.jpg

THE HIGHLIGHTS OF ITEM 16F…3/11/09 (3/10/09 meeting)….

Vice Mayor McIntee…spoke that the hall was “completely full” the evening before… ……(it was full but  it was half and half…pro and con…with 19 CIC members signed up to speak)…and that he had received 14 calls of support for Esther earlier in the day (continuation meeting 3/11/09)…He spoke of the support of the Town Manager and the VFD being “side by side”…that it wasn’t “planned” that way…it “morphed” into it… He spoke of the Commission needing to support and respect their staff saying they “can’t be burying them with requests for information that are outrageous”…( such as RFP backup figures…and items that were passed but not carried out…only to start over again from scratch…due to….no backup materials supplied)….” We can’t put this town into a mold where it is spending more time researching old information than it is getting work done for the future”……( again, forget everything that has come before)….He made a motion to “support the Performance of Esther Colon as our Town Manager”…

This writer reserved my time from public comments to speak…due to my belief this was an action taken by the Vice Mayor to stop a performance review from happening…I spoke about how this came about after seeing  2 other towns ( Deerfield Beach and Pompano Beach) were asking the same review be done by their Commissions and I wanted to see if we have any such requirement…No one seemed to know if this was in the Manager’s contract so I requested a copy of it from the Town….After obtaining the Manager’s contract it was  indeed included… we also have in this clause for our Commissioners to enact it annually at budget time……I spoke of how it was a 2 way street offering not only a review of the Manager by the Commissioners…but the Commissioners were to be reviewed in turn by the Manager….so all were accountable each year……….. I expressed the view that a “parade” and a vote of confidence should not “usurp” an annual Performance Review” per the contract….That there is definitely a need for “prior history” to be asked for and supplied due to repeatedly finding in the past minutes from previous years so much of what this Commission is addressing has already been done…with some issues voted on….ending up long forgotten or unfinished….I also spoke of the “planned” CIC “parade” put together  and that I felt it was “demeaning” to say she was being “picked on”…because Manager Colon in my opinion is a “strong’ …”independent”… “professional  woman” who “should be treated like every other Town Manager”….that with all her years in government she is fully aware that taking the criticisms and the accolades that are all part of the job…repeating again that a vote of confidence should not supersede what is in her contract …

Commissioner Silverstone …..said the vote of confidence was a “great move to show the Town Manager she does have the support up here” ….The Town Manager who has to deal with newspaper articles and blogs that were “demeaning”…that  “showed a bad light for the Town Manager”….Again in his familiar litany of “Silverstone’s version freedom of speech”… which really means ….freedom of speech with caveats…( you have an opinion…that are not the facts as he thinks they are…keep quiet)…If you can’t understand where Silverstone is coming from…or most of the words he is saying…you are not alone…( Norm Crosby)… Everyday is performance review day for Esther Colon said Silverstone…budget time…award time…audit time…it was a familiar one note theme  seen in the parade of CIC members the CIC produced the night before and from this Commissioner…. the VM and Comm. Clottey… she is a great financial person…and “parades” “God bless them”…public comments are freedom of speech…”I think we’re blessed and I think  we should once in a while acknowledge that.”….

Commissioner Clottey….”Yes, I’m hearing a lot of things that are a little strange for a vote of confidence. What does a vote of confidence have to do with requests for information, the VFD, an annual review, previous Commissions, back up material.”…She went on to explain what a vote of confidence is and that “I don’t know know where some of the people are coming from when you’re making some of the statements you are. Maybe I don’t get get it on this one.”…( Nope …she doesn’t get it)….She said in her private dealings with Esther she has found the Manager to be fair…showing no favoritism…relating a story about an item she (Clottey) had and gave to Nikki ( Asst. Town Clerk)…then let Esther in on what she had done ..not wanting to break the “chain of command”…Esther immediately went to get the paper…located on top of the requests…and “she put it at the bottom of the pile so they had been working on a lot of Commissioner Dodd’s “…”first come, first served”….and she “understood that’s the way things are normally done”…She spoke of being respectful and gave her vote of confidence for Esther Colon concluding with…”An annual review is something entirely different. I think we’re putting too many eggs in one basket.”…

Commissioner Dodd… “I don’t believe this is the the time or place for  pats on the back. We didn’t perform a review of the Town Manager last year as defined in her contract. Why were we as new Commissioners or how were we supposed to have known that we were required to carry out a review is a different matter. Because it wasn’t on an agenda and we weren’t told.”…He spoke of  discussing a format at the “relatively square round table”…( a zinger sent out to McIntee who previously…much to the amusement of the audience pondered out loud on the dais a few times in the evening “why do we call it a round table when it is really rectangular?”)…..He went on to say ” No offense Madam Manager you quite correctly, I am sure review your town staff and I believe it is our duty up here to carry out the review. You have my vote of confidence 100% but I would like a review.”…Comm. Dodd then wanted to “set the record straight “…as “there were allegations out there that I’m the one that’s causing the problem.”…and described what has been previously posted ….an RFP was sent in asking for some backup figures…stating it would be helpful…rather than contact the Comm. the Town Clerk was “in tears”…the work was overwhelming…and an article was published in the BTSTimes by the VM describing the effect of his requests on the Town staff…leaving the Commissioner to go and speak to the Town Manager after the publication…to find the Manager repeating the VM article…Comm. Dodd “thought there would be a file”…and believed that all that resulted from his request could have been avoided with a call to him…..He went onto say that the Town Manager in this conversation was able to answer his request for a figure (the Waste Management Service contract off the top of her head…$1.7 million)…

Vice Mayor McIntee…..”Ah, I was very interested in hearing Miss Cole say that she ah, picked up the ah, Town Manager contract. I knew about that and I had discussions about that with two Town employees that were absolutely distraught over it and  the reason they were distraught over it was not because she had the right to come in and pick  up the Town Manager contract but because she stood outside in front of Town Hall with another Commissioner going page by page. Everybody in Town Hall watched . The inference of the people working in Town Hall whether it’s right or wrong was not positive. It was a sense of “Wow, she’s slapping us in the face” I’m being polite and she went out there and went through the contract and there was another Commissioner with her and they took it as a personal slap and that’s because if I would have gotten the Town Manager contract I would have probably put it in my car and gone home and looked  it over. But I wouldn’t have stood in the parking lot sort of challenging, I don’t know how to put that. They were hurt, they were hurt and that’s one of the problems and we’re trying to solve the problem and everybody knows I support Esther. Everybody knows I support the Town workforce. I’ll fight tooth and nail. When they screw up I’ll jump on them too. That’s the way I do things. But it just isn’t it isn’t one little item it’s the whole package and everybody cries lets bring the together.”

BC- I picked up the contract on Wed. Feb 25, 2009 from Nikki in Town Hall…She was alone at the front desk……and she also made copies of the pavilion plans for me…after that I went into Jarvis Hall for the Commission meeting…and looked over the contract  in my seat to see if there was a performance review. The VM just cannot help making up stories.The “Slap” references  and this statement…” Everybody knows I support the Town workforce. I’ll fight tooth and nail. When they screw up I’ll jump on them too. That’s the way I do things”……. priceless!

VM- ” Went on to speak of the “peace flier” he put out the evening before to Commissioner Dodd…saying he read “somewhere” “no peace, let’s keep the war”…( This writer posted in #1…peace with McIntee was like Israel and Hamas…now you know where he “tried” to read it)…He said this was an “airing of problems reiterated the Parade and the phone calls …said he could get 50-100 people lining up again…and to call it a parade “was not a nice ting to say”…

Comm. Clottey- implored respect on the dais for the Town Manager by referring to her as Madam Manager rather than Esther…

TOWN MANAGER………

TM-” Um, yes Ms. Cole and to the audience I have been doin’ this for 32 years and personally I know I do a good job. To Commissioner Dodd I think I’m reviewed everyday on a performance basis but it is up to this Commission if they have an issue to bring it up.”

BC- This is exactly what Comm. Dodd has done…

TM- went onto speak about the McIntee article in the BTSTimes saying Comm. Dodd was told by her in her office to go to the “source” the VM…

BC-Wouldn’t that be sunshine Madam Manager?….She went on to make this  strange statement…

TM-” You’ve seen me in a court of law and I’ve told you once and I’ll say it again. If we all want to get subpoenaed to say who’s doing what let’s just get it over with.”

BC- HUH?…

TM- ” I have a job to do. I feel in my heart I have strong work ethics. I am a very strong individual. I am doing my job. But at this moment if you would like to call to terminate my contract Commissioner Dodd then let’s get it over with so I can get my life in order and I can get my work done in this town.”

BC- Dear readers…re-read Comm. Dodd’s word…this writer’s words and what is being asked of the Town manager…an annual performance review as stated in her contract….this is the all too familiar “stomping of the foot”…”0-60″…over the top response we have seen before with this Town Manager….leading some to say…there is a difference in being the Finance Director and the Town Manager…as will be seen again as we continue…

TM- ” I have a lot to do in this town. And it’s a constant pressure and constant, you can have have a hundred residents say you like me ,you don’t like me. I’m gonna do a job whether you like me or you don’t like me. But we have a lot of things to do and it takes a lot of time it takes a lot of heart. We’re a great city, we’re financially stable. You don’t have to like me. No one has to like me. I’m gonna do my job anyway. But the criticism is not constructive and when you and I speak, ( addressing Comm. Dodd)..I’m sorry if I’m ignoring every Commissioner, I apologize, but the only that comes into my office says I don’t really  listen to Barbara Cole, Barbara’s blog, well you know what I don’t either. Because if I disagree with you I always told you. But this is gettin’ personal. I’m not gonna make it personal cause I’m gonna come to work. I’m gonna do my job. If I have to stay late I stay late. If I leave early, I leave early but you know I have a life and this job, this town has become my life. And honestly, I told you yesterday and I’ll say it again I don’t think it doesn’t matter what I do or my staff does you (Dodd) are never gonna thank us for doing a good job.

BC- My God…Comm. Dodd has been on the dais thanking staff…and if staff are asked…code enforcement…municipal works…BSO…AMR…they will confirm this…so to publicly insinuate such a juvenile remark because her administrative staff is sub-standard in areas of their work…highly over emotional and unprofessional to say the least…I’m thinking Sally Field…Oscar speech!…

TM- She went on to say she thanks her staff every day…and how they try to help everybody…

BC- this would have been enough to state and would seem the appropriate person to thank her staff ….regularly…

TM-” If we’re not doing enough Commissioner Dodd you need to replace me and get it over with. Let’s go. I am not gonna be unhappy because I leave. We’re all replaceable. My heart is here. If your heart isn’t here with me and everybody else. I don’t know what I can do. I am not a politician. If the Commissioner, Vice Mayor, I’m sorry, wants to parade 100 people like Barbara Cole or anybody else that is the residents that come and that is Vice Mayor McIntee. I am not a politician, I’m here to do my job and I’m asking please let me do my job.I’m sorry if I’ve gotten out of line Mayor.”

BC- The Manager should and could  have said after a few residents came forward…”Thank you for your support, but in the interest of doing the Town’s business…let’s move on”…a point made to this writer from a faithful reader….That would have been not only the correct move professionally but a class act move as well….

BC- I was allowed to come up again to counter the VM and his absurd comments regarding the contract I picked up and my actions afterward…I expressed “It’s a little odd that he’s (VM) talking about how other people felt about what I might have been doing”…I then went on once more to attempt to return to the matter at hand …the performance review…and imploring this was professional…not personal…that just as in other towns outside blogs posted their opinions…for readers to agree or disagree with..(The VM tried to stop my time saying I was off topic but the Mayor allowed for me to finish)….allowed to proceed I again explained that asking for a review as they are in other towns is up to the Commission to honor or not…and that critics and supporters are “the nature of the beast”…when it comes to local government….

The Mayor gave the Town Manager the opportunity to respond…

TM-” I will rise above it”…

BC- again, with this response… the Town Manager was off in left field!…

Comm. Silverstone…jumped in to say it was hypocritical…hypocrisy…pronounced by by Silverstone as “HIGHpocrisy seems to be  running rampant around here”…relating his hard to follow theory on opinions…who has them…who is allowed to have them an who should r should not have them….He said the Town Manager is extremely upset “which happens when somebody does their job of pride and honor feels they’re being questioned without knowing it”…He complained of hearing..” comments all the time, hissing sounds  (wrong side of the room Comm.)…background music (huh?) ..all the time it’s disrespectful, you all know who you are.”…He spoke again about earned respect…tried again to explain opinions…and said of the parades “God bless them”…… “The Town Manager shouldn’t have to  be even questioned like this.”…again with opinions…who’s are harmful who’s are a disservice and how it has to stop…Then he put in a plug for the CIC Town Hall meeting on Sunday saying …”I think that’s the beginning of it”…getting open information….

Comm. Clottey- “To everybody that criticizes the Town Manager let me remind you that we are one of two towns in Broward County that’s in the black.” (again what happened to the debt?)…”The Town Manager is doing something right.”…She went on to talk about people slipping up…human nature…and again stating we are in the black…She said we need to say “thank you” to the Town Manager…speaking of public comments and parades…saying she and her fellow Commissioner campaigned on that…and moved again to take the vote…

Comm Dodd-said he would make this brief and “rise above the present situation”…saying he would meet with the Town Manager in the next few days to try and resolve any difference…wanting to state for the public record…”I have the utmost respect for her ability and the ability of Town staff.”…

VM- “Esther under her breaths when she got done speaking said to herself let them terminate me, I’m not gonna put up with this. Something to that effect. If we lose Esther Colon we should hold all our heads in shame because there is no greater Town Manager in this county.”…He went on say he was glad Comm. Dodd was going in to see her…that peace needed to take place for 60 days….

BUT….

VM-“I will not call a bunch a people a parade”…

BC- definition of a parade….
1pa·rade Listen to the pronunciation of 1parade
Pronunciation:
\pə-ˈrād\
Function:
noun
Etymology:
French, from Middle French, from parer to prepare — more at pare
Date:
circa 1656

1: a pompous show : exhibition2 a: the ceremonial formation of a body of troops before a superior officer b: a place where troops assemble regularly for parade3 a: an informal procession b: a public procession c: a usually lengthy array or succession <a parade of visitors>4 a: a place for strolling b: those who promenade

VM-” …to patronize a woman that’s their right, that’s their right to come up here every single time.”…

BC- IS THE VICE MAYOR THREATENING A PRIVATE CITIZEN?….

VM- “If you want 50 in here next month to pick on you Ms Cole, fine we can do that too.”….

BC- Hamas …yep…

VM-” The bottom line is don’t denigrate these people because they spoke with their heart.”…He spoke that this was the beginning of a “healing process”…including getting along with Comm. Dodd…and that he did all this to stop what had been going on….

BC- He is GOD …after all….according to new CIC Vice- Chair Joe Couriel after all…

VM- ” We’ve got the greatest Town Manager. Let’s look in the mirror and say thank God we got her.”…

BC- RE-READ THAT Readers…the VM said…”Let’s look in the mirror and say thank God we got her.”…That really says it all…When you look in the mirror who do you see?….

Mayor Minnet had the final word before the motion asking for respect from the floor and the dais…thanking the Town Manager for her work and everything she has done…she has done a great job.

VM- I make a motion for vote of confidence for service performance of work Esther Colon has done…2nd by BFF Silverstone…passes 5-0…

BC- All because questions were asked…backup materials were requested….and the Commission was asked to do what is in the Town Manager’s contract…an annual performance review…A dog and pony show…pure politics…pure diversion…pure theater…for a simple required action to be instituted….before the budget…

Dear Readers…No matter who is “paraded” up to the podium…No matter how many or how often…Until and unless the Commission chooses to either vote to not enact that portion of her contract or to amend her contract and remove that portion…it should be done…

For LBTS voters in 2010…If it is voted to again not have a performance review in 2009 or voted to amend her contract…this action by a sitting Commissioner should be included in your decision for casting your next vote for Commissioners in March 2010….

more to come………

Post Division