Thursday, June 16, 2016

Phone Scam


Over the past few days I have been receiving phone calls from the "IRS".  Of course I knew it was a scam as they said the IRS had an arrest warrant out for me.  For the first couple I just hung up on them, then I found out I should report it, here is the response I received.  Bett
 
 -----Original Message----- From: phishing@irs.gov
 Sent: Thursday, June 16, 2016 3:33 PM
 To: bettwillett@gmail.com
 Subject: Phishing Report Received - Thank You
 
 This is an automatic reply from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Online Fraud Detection and Prevention (OFDP) team.
 We have received your report of possible phishing or fraud.  Although we review and investigate each email we receive,
 due to the number of incident complaints, we cannot guarantee a personal response to your message.
 
 Please note that the IRS does not contact individuals by email.
 Therefore, if you received an email claiming to be from the IRS it is a phishing attempt and should be reported to us.
 
 Additional information on IRS phishing can be viewed here:
 http://www.irs.gov/uac/Report-Phishing
 
 Additional information on avoiding phishing scams can be viewed here:
 http://www.antiphishing.org/consumer_recs.html
 
 Additionally, please be aware of Telephone Scams.  The IRS will always send taxpayers a written notification of
 any tax due via the U.S. Mail.  The IRS never asks for credit, debit or prepaid card information over the telephone.
 Please see:
 https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/press/press_tigta-2015-34.htm
 
 The IRS values your report, and encourages individuals to report future IRS phishing/fraud to phishing@irs.gov
 so that we can handle these incidents and limit the number of possible victims.
 To limit email volume, you will only receive one auto-response per day for any of your submissions.
 
 Thank you for your report.
 Regards,
 
 Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
 Online Fraud Detection and Prevention (OFDP)
 phishing@irs.gov

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Dixie Highway RM 50!!!! OMG!


Deerfield Beach has always prided itself on its hometown feel, we are a city, but everyone who lives here likes the small town atmosphere and the careful zoning we have to make sure that our residents are not subjected to inappropriate development next door.
Sure, we have stupid projects such as the giant industrial park where Eller’s golf course used to be, but to be fair, the nearby residents voted in favor of it, they were conned in my opinion, but they okayed it.
Now I hear that the city has a project on the horizon that, if I remember correctly, has already had residents in nearby neighborhoods signing petitions against it.  Residents DON’T want it! The city should not allow it.
A developer wants to build a massive, totally incompatible, and tremendously dense cluster of residential condos on Dixie Highway, in a business zone. 
He wants to double the density of our most dense city zoning anywhere, and build a residential project in a business zone.  We allow, at most in the city, RM25, that means a MAXIMUM of 25 units per acre and, we don’t have many of those zones.  The parcels he has are on either side of a street which he wants to re-route, huh?
This intruder wants RM50, 50!! FIFTY residences per acre on our already congested roads.  Residences on Dixie Highway, not businesses, not a project to bring jobs to our most needy area. 
I would love to see development along Dixie Highway, but development that goes along with the special business zone overlay the district has placed there to encourage businesses which would bring jobs to the area and be attractive along the corridor.
Dixie Highway is not an area that is conducive to residential projects, that is why it is zoned business; it is right across the street from a noisy railroad.  Not an inducement to potential residents.
Think about the size that this project will be.  It would tower over everything else in the neighborhood. 
Pity the gardens of the folks who live behind it, withering in the constant shade. 
Pity our poor city with this visual cancer on one of our most used roadways. 
Be sad for the loss of the ability of our commissioners to say no to the next person who comes along and wants to go bigger, denser, and higher, and change the land use anywhere in the city.
If there ever was a project to deny, this is it.  There is NO upside to the city, no benefit to the neighborhood, no added jobs for residents, most likely not much tax money to bring in compared to what would be if the area was used for nice businesses.  I suggest we all send an email to our commissioners and city manager urging denial to this disaster.
 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Sell the Hillsboro Boulevard Fire Station Property? NO WAY!


To paraphrase Hamlet: To sell or not to sell that is the question.

The answer is simple, NOT! 

This should never have come up, and the reason it did was to lamely justify closing the current fire station and building a new one as part of a municipal complex which would be part of the envisioned revitalized “downtown” Pioneer Grove. 

Do you see the problem here?  This is not a single issue. 

Close the fire station – is one issue. 

Build a new fire station - is a different issue.

Whether to build a municipal complex could be the same or different issue depending on the level of chutzpa of the parties involved. 

Sell the current fire station and land – a completely separate issue NOT dependent on the others. 

The fire station is on a prime corner property.  Developers are certainly salivating over the chance to turn it into a commercial cash cow.  Jim Rosemurgy could hardly contain his eagerness, at a recent commission meeting, when he was talking about buying the property to put a gas station and convenience store on it.  He didn’t see the horrified faces on the audience when he described his envisioned eye-sore. 
 
Some saner voices were heard at the last commission meeting, voices from the Florida International University Metropolitan Center regarding their preliminary findings of the City Economic Development Strategy Analysis. 

The picture they presented for Deerfield Beach was rosy, they pointed out the wonderful array of businesses and industry we already have, unlike other nearby towns. 

They pointed out how valuable the appearance of our “gateway” roads was and how the improvements to the beach and Hillsboro Boulevard will only enhance the desire of businesses to make Deerfield Beach their home.

They used the word “gateway”. 

It is very important to make a good first impression.  Redoing Hillsboro Boulevard from Federal Highway to the beach was huge!  Plans to improve the road from Dixie to Federal are underway.

With this in mind, it only makes sense that we would keep our only sliver of property on the four corners of Hillsboro and Federal and make it as attractive as possible.  Picture four corners of gas stations and drug stores.  Is this the “gateway” the city wants to present to tourists and possible businesses?

We, as a city, own this important property.  What we do with it will determine what the gateway to our beach looks like from now on.  Do not allow the land use change.

 A new fire station, if needed, must not be contingent on the sale of valuable city property.  Go ahead, if absolutely needed, build a new station wherever the city determines it is needed.  But do not think that the old station property needs to be sold to make that happen.  I am not convinced we need a new one, and all the talk brings to mind that boys love new toys, not that they need them. 

Selling the fire station, whether or not a new one will be built, will NOT give the city anything but a miniscule drop in the bucket worth of money to put toward the new facilities.  As we well know, in Deerfield Beach, new buildings are not cheap, they are not even expensive, they are massively costly boondoggles (remember the MOC center) and to think that a new fire station, at the least, or an entire municipal complex will come in at budget is magical thinking.

Renovate the old station, or turn it into a municipal center, and keep the PAL program there, we don’t have a center on the east side, or something else that will be attractive and serve the public purpose.  BUT! Don’t sell it; your grandchildren will blame you for your shortsightedness.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Thanks! You Are Awesome!

The holidays can be bitter or sweet.  Sweet for those who have family and friends to surround them with love, sweet for those who are fortunate enough not to want for the necessities of life, sweet for those who have interests which involve them in activities which enrich their lives and give them satisfaction. 

But, holiday time can be bitter for those who are not so fortunate.  So Wow! Thank you to the wonderful caring people who answered the last minute emergency request by Officer Harold Morrison and helped fund the purchase of turkey dinner baskets.

Due to rising prices and some longtime supporters cutting back there was a shortfall. Your response was heartwarming. In less than a week you enabled a happy Thanksgiving for 30 families who would have gone without, if not for your generosity, whether you gave $10 or $200, you are awesome!

Officer Morrison was delighted and relieved and I was really happy we could help. Thank all of you who donated:
 
Wayne Adams, Denise Bogner, Mary Ann Chicosky, Eleanore DeBoo, Becky Dressler, Dorothy Dunn, Katy Freitag, Jim Geoghegan, Elke Haus, Betty Masi, Joan Maurice, Phyllis Mavrikis, Marti McGeary, Pam Militello, Ellie Mills, Barbara Moriarty, Sally Potter, Claire Riccardi, Mickey Rosenkranz, Richard Rosenzweig, Verna Rosenzweig, Nan Schley, Sheree Thomas, Bett Willett.

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Deerfield Beach P&Z Board Doesn't Know What P&Z Means!

OMG, did they read their job description?

 When asked how he and the other Deerfield Beach P&Z board members could vote yes on all the variances for the new hotel proposed for the Cove Shopping Center one member said that they don’t pay attention to variances, the commissioners do that, it’s not P&Zs job.

From the Deerfield Beach City website: “The Planning & Zoning Division is responsible for long-range and comprehensive planning; current or neighborhood and project planning; maintenance and administration of the City's zoning code, which includes administration of sign permits and the Certificate of Use program.  Mission To plan and facilitate quality development and redevelopment, promote neighborhood sustainability, and facilitate the enhancement of the human and natural environment of the City.”

Somebody should give these folks some training; variances is exactly what they do!  The P&Z Board is the local planning agency, they review developers’ application, they hear requests for zoning variances, approve site plans and land usage and ensure that the plans comply with the city’s Comprehensive Plan and Code of Ordinances.  AND, if they don’t comply, and don’t have a really good reason (hardship) for not complying, it is the board’s job to say NO. 

Then the commission gets a stab at it, they may agree with the board or they may overturn it if there is a good public reason.  BUT, the P&Z Board does not get to be subjective about an application.

This is disgusting, city board members who don’t even know what they are supposed to do.

Monday, September 7, 2015

To Marcia Pounds at the Sun Sentinel, stop Deerfield Beach from Metering the Cove

Hi Marcia,
A while back you did an article in the Sun Sentinel about taxpayer money used to attract businesses to Florida, specifically Broward County.  Have you been following the attempt in Deerfield Beach to put some of our businesses out of business?  Could you do a story about how lots of taxpayer money is being used to attract businesses to our area, but Deerfield, to get a few bucks, is about to put many businesses out of business?
 
There is a small shopping center “The Cove Shopping Center” which during the recession was struggling to hang on, it is now doing well, almost full up, it is on Hillsboro Blvd.  just west of the Intracoastal.  The center has a variety of mom and pop businesses clustered around a parking lot. It is loved by the neighborhood, and frequented by residents. 
 
Strangely the parking lot is held by the city in trust from the Sullivan Family with the stipulation it be use for a parking lot or returned to the family.  The city cannot sell or transfer the property.  Weird I know. 
 
The city pays for the maintenance of the lot (formerly the businesses were assessed but the city let that lapse, who knows why).  The lot is close enough to the beach to park and walk (about 10 minutes over the Intracoastal bridge) which many do for the free parking.  The businesses are more than willing to go back to the assessment to handle the cost of maintenance and have given the city a proposal to do just that, but it seems to be falling on deaf ears.
 
There was a “workshop” by the city – forced by the center owners - about the proposal and it was jammed with business owners and residents protesting this mess, and giving really good reasons that their businesses would not survive the metering. (There is one loud mouth resident who is demanding that the lot should generate money to lower taxes,as if!!!  he was the ONLY one at the workshop who spoke in favor.) 
 
Sure there is a problem with beach goers parking there, but it is not a really big deal, mostly on weekends.  I go there and have never not found a parking place. Sure sometimes it is not right in front of the nail salon, but...  Beach parking is such a non problem that the city doesn’t even enforce the 2 hour limit.
 
Now the city wants to meter the lot with those boxes that make you put in your license plate number.  No other shopping center has meters in Deerfield, imagine paying to shop at Publix.  People will not visit the nail salon or the cafes or the doctor and dentists offices if they have to pay.  The doctors in the Cove have elderly patients who will have to trundle over to the boxes with their walkers and figure out how to work the thing, all in 90 degree heat or rain.  Even with the first hour free, they have to do that.  And, what doctor is done in an hour?   
 
Please help the residents and businesses stop this bad idea. 
 
 
From, www.deerfieldbeachusa.com  Meter Madness - 08/28/15
 
The city wants to charge for parking in the Cove Shopping Center. Of course they do. Just about every city charges for parking on city-owned property. It's big business now, especially in a city like Deerfield Beach that has a beach resort district that attracts thousands of people every day. It makes sense to extract some money from all these visitors to defray the costs of maintaining a beach area (and make a little on the side, right?).

Of course, the Cove is not the beach. But the city, through its Community Redevelopment Agency, has poured millions into the Cove Shopping Center to make it a hot destination spot as well. Someone wants to build a classy hotel down there (see the previous article). In a way, it's amazing that only now is metering the Cove being aggressively pushed — before now, discussion of it always seemed to be pushed aside or deferred to a different time — and the proposal is encountering equally aggressive public opposition. Opponents of the plan, which include most of the businesses, say that installing meters will all but destroy the shops and restaurants in the center.

People who have lived in Deerfield Beach for a shorter time than I might be astounded to know that when I landed here 30 years ago, there wasn't a single parking meter anywhere in Deerfield so far as I'm aware. Certainly not at the beach or in the Cove or at any park. Beach parking was free and in some places any day at any time. So if I wanted to drive up to the beachfront and park at 3:00 a.m., I could do so and it didn't cost a dime.
Then came the parking curfew, the beach parking lot, and parking meters. So much for the good old days. It was just a matter of time before the Cove Shopping Center, just off the beach, would come into the crosshairs.

Will paid parking hurt the businesses in the Cove? It's indisputable that it won't help any business and some claim they will be mortally wounded. Parking meters seem to go against the effort to make the Cove Center a robust business district.

Meter proponents say that providing this free parking is a subsidy to business. This, apparently, is a bad thing, but it's also a stupid argument. What if it is? We (taxpayers) subsidize businesses in many ways all the time. Why do we do this? To encourage business growth in the city. And we taxpayers likewise benefit by not having to pay for parking when we go to our doctor or while we satisfy our sushi craving.

Using the same argument, I suggest businesses, from now on, pay to build and maintain roads. After all, public roads are how they get their product and how people get to them to buy it. Taxpayers pay for roads — clearly a subsidy to business based on this logic.

Besides all this, most of the Cove businesses say they are willing to pay an assessment to maintain the parking lot. City officials estimate annual maintenance costs at around $80,000. If the businesses agree to pay, then the ridiculous subsidy argument disappears.

I don't know how much revenue the city would get out of this, but evidently the city doesn't know either. Using the same baseline ($2.00 per hour, first hour free), the city's projections have ranged from $1.3 million to $1.9 million annually. The city realizes about $1.9 million from its 800 or so metered spaces at the beach. The Cove Shopping Center has about 500 spaces.
Then there are the start-up costs, which include $25,000 for an enforcement vehicle (alias cop car). Why not use a golf cart?

I could go on about this, but the city commission has already heard the arguments, pro and con. They should reject the parking meters and work out a maintenance assessment plan with the Cove businesses.

Monday, August 17, 2015

"Colored Cemetery" Developer Taken to Task

D.R. Horton is the developer who has been pushing to put townhomes on the Deerfield Beach property that contains an African American Burial Ground which was termed an “Old Colored Cemetery” in historical documents.

D.R. Horton has been in the background while the City has dealt with the owner's requests concerning the development.

D.R. Horton should also face public scrutiny over its role in the desecration of the African American human remains that are buried there because, under segregation, African Americans could not be buried in “white” cemeteries. 

The following letter was written to D.R. Horton urging them to face their responsibility and back away from this project, which would be good corporate public policy and recognize the public outrage for placing greed before empathy. 
 
This would go far in addressing past racial injustices and show sensitivity towards African Americans.

 

LAW OFFICES

BOUTWELL & CONNICK

A PARTNERSHIP OF PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS
POST OFFICE BOX 1186
411 EAST HILLSBORO BOULEVARD
DEERFIELD BEACH, FLORIDA 33441

ROBERT E. BOUTWELL, P.A.                                                                                                  TELEPHONE: 954-428-0300
A. THOMAS CONNICK, P.A.                                                                                                                   FAX: 954-428-6506

August 13, 2015

PAUL ROMANOWSKI, VPRP
D.R. HORTON, INC.
12602 Telecom Drive
Tampa, FL 33637


BILL WHEAT, EVP, CFO
D.R. HORTON, INC.
301 COMMERCE STREET, SUITE 500
FORT WORTH, TX 76102

DONALD R.HORTON, DC

D.R. HORTON, INC.
301 COMMERCE STREET, SUITE 500
FORT WORTH, TX 76102


THOMAS B. MONTANO, VPAS

D.R. HORTON, INC.
301 COMMERCE STREET, SUITE 500
FORT WORTH, TX 76102


KATHLEEN SHIPPEY, AVP
D.R. HORTON, INC.
4220 Race Track Road
Saint Johns, FL 32259


ASHLEY DAGLEY, AVPAS

D.R. HORTON, INC.
301 COMMERCE STREET
SUITE 500
FORT WORTH, TX 76102


DAVID D. AULD, President, CEO

D.R. HORTON, INC.
301 COMMERCE STREET
SUITE 500
FORT WORTH, TX 76102


MACHAEL J. MURRAY, EVP, COO
D.R. HORTON, INC.
301 COMMERCE STREET
SUITE 500
FORT WORTH, TX 76102


RAFAEL J. Roca, VPDP

D.R. HORTON, INC.
431 Fairway Drive
Suite 350
Deerfield Beach, FL 33441


            Re:      SE 2 Avenue and SE 5 Court, Deerfield Beach, Florida

Dear Corporate Leadership of D.R. Horton, Inc.:

 This letter concerns the African American burial ground located at the above referenced location.
 
At this point in time, D.R. Horton, Inc., knows that this location was a burial ground for African Americans.  D.R. Horton, Inc., knows that there are remains of African Americans that are at this site.   D.R. Horton, Inc., knows the legacy of second-class citizenship of African Americans, which mandated that because of segregation, African Americans could not be buried at regular cemeteries, and had to be buried at places such as this location.

The Bible says:  “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” (Bible, James 4:17, New Living Translation)

Theodore Roosevelt said, “Knowing what’s right doesn’t mean much unless you do what’s right.”

There are a number of people in the African American community and in the Deerfield Beach community that are deeply upset that this burial ground is going be ignored so that D.R. Horton can build housing on this property.  The African Americans whose remains are at the site lived their lives as second-class citizens; they were buried there as second-class citizens; some of their remains and markers were previously removed as second-class citizens; and, those whose remains are now there should not have their remains removed as a final insult to their second-class citizenship. 

 It is totally inadequate to move the remains to another location.  That is a superficial pretend solution that ignores the truth.  That is a gross insult to the remains of these dead African Americans; it is a gross insult to current African Americans and to sensitive people in the Deerfield Beach community and the broader American community.   This issue must be made personal: you would not want that to happen to your deceased loved ones, and if it were done, it would show an insensitivity to both them and to you.  In this situation, because of the historical second-class citizenship of African Americans, not leaving their remains at that location is an insult to them, to their relatives, to the African American community and to the broad American community. 

 There every reason for this location not to become a housing development, and for those African Americans’ remains not to be further disturbed: out of respect for them, as a way of remembering and honoring those whose lives and resting place were as second-class citizens, out of historical respect for them and those similarly situated in institutionalized racism, and out of respect for the African American community, the Deerfield Beach community and the American community.

The owner of this property bought this property with “eyes wide open,” knowing it was an African American burial ground.  But, despite much oral information and record information, the human remains of these African Americans were not found during the 1980s.  That situation has changed, and there is substantial evidence of the human remains of these African Americans.  D.R. Horton, Inc., now knows these facts.

D.R. Horton, Inc., as an organization, and each individual in a leadership position of D.R. Horton, Inc., has to ask himself and herself: Is D.R. Horton, Inc., a company with a social conscience, or is it just an amoral corporate shark that relentlessly moves forward and devours everything in its path?

I request a meeting with VPDP Rafael J. Roca at your Deerfield Beach office.  There will be others in attendance with me at this meeting.  D.R. Horton, Inc., is presented with the opportunity to do the right thing.

In the arena of public opinion, D.R. Horton, Inc., will either be respected or condemned for its decision concerning this property.

Thank you.

 Sincerely,

A. Thomas Connick