Sunday, September 7, 2014

Another Greedy Self-serving Jerk Heard From

At a recent Deerfield Beach Commission meeting another jackass, not a Deerfield resident, got up and complained about restrictive building codes at the beach implying that developers cannot make money; such utter nonsense, and so very self-serving (he owns property in Deerfield Beach). 

 If he and anyone else continue to tell us that our development codes on the beach are too restrictive and developers cannot make money, the Group P6 developments may squash these falsehoods. 

Group P6 paid $540,000 for their 216 SE 19th Ave. property and $1,425,000 for the two lots at the corner of Hillsboro and SE 19th Ave.    Time will tell if these developments actually take place, but Group P6 bought these three properties earlier this year, so they must think they made a wise investment!

Here are renderings of what they are planning.  It certainly looks as if they are OK with the building codes and are planning on putting up a couple of profitable buildings.

Our beach codes are written to make the best use of our beach area and were approved by 75% of the voters.  They make sure properties are not crowded lot line to lot line with massive buildings.  The codes were written with the residents’ quality of life in mind.  The codes were written so that the beach would have a chance at staying the type of village-feel low rise area so desired by everyone who comes here and raves about the great time they had on our lovely beach.

None of the visitors, snow-birds, or residents want what accompanies the kind of development that the aforementioned jackass wants. 

So when you hear someone mention that our codes “stifle” development, or are not generous enough, make sure you ask them if they are going to live or vacation here, or if they just want to make a bundle of money off the misery of Deerfield’s beach goers.


Friday, August 8, 2014

School Board, Wake Up!

Most cities don’t have a city resident on the School Board, just someone from a large regional district.  This means that “our” representative deals with not only our 7 schools, but dozen’s more in other cities. This keeps the School Board members so far removed from the home towns that they don’t see the local needs, or the unfairness of many of their decisions.

It is impossible to have enough time to get to know each school’s and city’s needs, and so perhaps decisions are made without enough knowledge.  For example, deciding that schools don’t need to have School Resource Deputies. 

With what this country has seen in the recent past taking place on our school campuses, elementary, middle and high schools, police in each school are not a frill, but a necessity.

For years Deerfield Beach has begged and borrowed money for School Resource Deputies for its schools, not a city responsibility, but these are our children. 

This expense should be a School Board budget item.  However, when Commissioner Ganz contacted them he was greeted politely, thanked for his call, and then in effect told, “Take a flying leap”.

Decidedly money and politics count more than children in our School Board’s list of priorities. 

 The money for next year, $199,562.00 for 2 deputies, which should be paid by the School Board, is instead, with the Commission’s approval, coming from Deerfield Beach’s LETF Resources (money confiscated from drug deals and such). 

There is no way Deerfield Beach should be on the hook for the entire expense as the children in the schools come from many other cities. The School Board is not stepping up to the plate, so we have to, but each of the cities which send students to Deerfield Beach should pay their pro-rated share.  Who can make this happen?  Whoever it is should get cracking.

Think of the things two hundred grand could do for our city, for example, helping prevent crime with children’s programs or, perhaps, helping victims of crime.  This won’t get done because we are shouldering the entire burden of keeping our kiddies safe in their schools.

Our Commission has its priorities straight, however unfair it is, our city is paying the cost.  To our Commission, our children's safety comes first, I can't say the same for the Board of Education..

Perhaps we should grab our “pitchforks” and attend a few School Board meetings.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

A Leader at Last

Ben Preston, in his short time on the Deerfield Beach Commission, has done more for his district in accomplishments and in morale improvement than was done by any past  District 2 commissioner.

The folks in District 2 often felt that they were slighted, or ignored when it came to city support, but not anymore. 

Ben ran for office not because he wanted to be a commissioner but because he felt that being on the commission would enable him to help the people in his district help themselves.  And he has done that. 

Everything in the list below was done in response to what the residents wanted, all could have been done in years past but no one listened until Ben came along.

Ben feels that our children are our future and is doing everything in his power to make sure as many Deerfield Beach students as possible stay in school, or return to school and graduate.
  • Ben, in response to residents’ suggestions, spearheaded the new policy on how long the public has to speak at commission meetings; the new policy allows the public 4 minutes (versus 3 minutes) and an additional minute can be granted at the discretion of the Mayor.
  • Ben initiated the renaming of Westside Community Center to the Johnny Tigner Community Center.
  • Ben had the name of SW 10th Ct. changed to Bethlehem Ct.
  • Ben started Project 2nd Chance, a GED class program culminating in a graduation ceremony for successful participants.
  • Ben spent hours and hours getting the 1st ever Deerfield Beach Elementary and Middle School Debate Competition started which was such a success that everyone wants it to be a yearly event.
  • Ben fought for an Appeals board as a resource for volunteer coaches involved in city athletics.
  • Ben was successful in bringing baseball back to Westside Park with the new little league and adult baseball fields.
  • To improve the appearance of District 2, and to improve safety conditions, Ben expedited the repaving of SW 11th Drive, the repaving of SW 15th Street, the installation of sidewalks in North Deerfield and moved to get a drop-off lane at the High School, which also eased traffic congestion on SW 15th Street.
  • Ben supported the BSO/FAU Owls on Patrol program.
  • Ben, knowing that appreciation is a great motivator, moved to get a trophy case at City Hall where awards and achievements can now be displayed.
  • Ben listened to the people who were upset at the potholes in the cemetery and made sure they were repaired.
  • Ben moved to help provide transportation to and from football games for the parent run Packer Rattlers youth football team.
  • Ben listened to the many residents who complained to the city about wild chickens and made sure they were removed. Some had been complaining about this for many years.
  • Ben organized a field trip for Deerfield Beach children to see the movie Red Tails about the all African American Tuskegee Airman.  The event included an essay contest and awards
  • Ben was quick to answer complaints about trash and litter dumping and Instituted regular D2 street cleanups and has been actively fighting to eliminate illegal dumping in D2, which seems to be working ,as there has not been a single case of illegal dumping in more than two months.
  • Ben’s efforts in championing his district has led to the city working to keep District 2 as clean and as possible, for example frequent pressure cleaning of the columns at the entrance to Westside Park which has a new deer statue, and there is new focus on cleanups of parks.
  • Ben responded to residents and so the basketball courts at Westside have recently been resurfaced.
  • Ben worked with BSO to increase patrols and investigation activities at Mayo Howard Park after residents contacted him about their concerns, and also worked to move up the timeline for repairs at Johnny McKeithen Park, and the elimination of drug activity at Johnny McKeithen Park.
  • Ben, again alerted by residents and crime reports, worked with BSO to fight elderly intimidation.
  • Ben supported the redevelopment of the Teen Center set to open this summer.
  • Ben worked with the Butters Construction Company on the donation of a new community center in their new business park.
  • Ben listened to the residents’ concerns about our Martin Luther King Day celebration and worked to make historical changes to the parade. This year was the first year ever that the parade crossed Federal Highway it was also the largest parade this city has ever seen, he is continuing to work to make the celebration even better.
  • Ben helped to make the People's Trust transition from Boca Raton to Deerfield Beach as seamless as possible, while working with the late CEO Mike Gold, to develop relationships with the community.
  • Ben was instrumental in securing a $25,000 donation to the SW 15th Street (which runs in front of the Deerfield Beach High School) beautification Project set to break ground this summer, and is working to get SW 15th street renamed as "Buck Pride Way”.
When I compare Ben’s outstanding effort in getting residents involved to that of the last District 2 commissioners I see a pattern emerging.  Ben’s message is together we can make a difference - help me help you.  He is proud of his fellow District 2 residents and makes sure that their accomplishments are made public. 

Ben often distributes certificates of achievement to residents and employees who have made contributions to the quality of life of our city.  This is an exciting improvement compared to the past commissioners’ message of keep quiet, don’t complain and don’t make waves.  Keep up the good work, Ben!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Person or the Actions?

Yes, I am appalled by how Jean Robb is acting and what she is doing, but only because she is a danger to the quality of life of our beach and city.  Her rudeness could be tolerated but her actions and vocal attacks against the best interests of the city cannot.  

Keeping the OVER developers from ruining the quality of life of Deerfield Beach is how I became interested in City Hall.  I was a part time resident in 1993 when we bought our first place here near the beach, and now am a full time resident.  The commission and city manager in 1999, when I first started to question what was happening to the beach area, were kissy-poo with every developer who wanted to use our beach for personal profit.
I learned about the OSOBs and happily joined them in their fight to keep the main beach parking lot from being turned into a commercial development, and have been working with them to keep the beach area from worse traffic and congestion ever since.  Not an easy job, however (see the OSOB time line, ) with help from residents in all districts our efforts have paid off. 

Mayor Robb wants to undo our protections for the beach.  She has said many times that she wants to allow land owners to be able to build without the restrictions put in place after residents were shocked by the massive Tiara East building and wanted nothing like that on the beach again.  The then commissioners, forced by the public, put lot coverage and height limits on beach building. 
The commission with Al Capellini and Peggy Noland and from what I saw, controlled by City Manager Larry Deetjen did away with those limits to benefit a developer.  But, remembering what happened in the past, the again shocked residents, through referenda signed by thousands of residents and voted into the charter, restored the building codes. 

Mayor Robb’s lame excuse that allowing curb to curb buildings on beach lots will eliminate the drug rehab houses is laughable.  All cities are beset by these ADA protected facilities; codes have nothing to do with it.  Mayor Robb’s support for doing away with the beach building codes after she supported the OSOB past efforts, and has always been a voice against overdevelopment is puzzling.  
I and thousands of residents and members of the OSOBs, will fight her efforts to change the codes.

I spoke against her effort to thwart the Sullivan Park renewal and the Cove Shopping Center parking lot upgrade.  Happily, the other four commissioners also disagreed with her and we now have both projects going forward. 

As of this moment I believe our commissioners are on the right track with development in the city, if my thinking changes you will read it right here. 
Do I support Bill Ganz? Yes, of course, as he has the fiscal and quality of Deerfield Beach upper most in his mind, he wants what is best for the city.

Do I support Ben Preston?  Yes, and in a future post you will see the many reasons why.
Do I support Joe Miller?  Well, that road was much rockier for me; however Joe has learned a lot in his time on the commission and is now looking at everything from the viewpoint of what is best for the beach and the whole city.  

Richard Rosenzweig is new to the commission, however he is strong in his belief that the city should be for the residents, and they are the ones he answers to.
We now have a commission who is not in favor of development for the developers gain, but development that enhances the city and adds to the quality of its life. This is a far cry from the commissions of the past when the public was scorned and belittled and behind the door deals were the norm. 


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Deerfield Beach Mayor on a Power Trip

This is an excerpt from a post on the website, please go to the site to read the entire post.

Is Jean Robb Der F├╝hrer? - 06/21/14
A local resident and occasional speaker at city commission meetings, Patrick Jolivet, emailed a letter to Mayor Robb protesting her alleged attempt to block certain emails, including his, to her official city email address. He wrote, "It is important for you to understand that you are not Adolf Hitler and Deerfield Beach is not Nazi Germany." Jolivet's full letter is on the MAOS blog.

Obviously, the city cannot block emails or any other form of communication to City Hall under ordinary circumstances. If the charge is true, I am simply dumbfounded why the mayor would think she could do this. Then again, she thought she could use her personal email for city business to avoid the public records law until she was advised she could not...

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Nothing has changed in Deerfield Beach

In the Sun Sentinel from a local minister in 2005.  The controversy is as fresh and new today as it was then, and nothing has been done in all these years to make it right! 
Sun Sentinel February 2005

Invocations aren't appropriate

I have been a Lutheran pastor for 27 years and believe strongly in the separation of church and state.  I don't believe that God really cares a whole lot about what happens at a City Council or Commission meeting as long as there is no injustice perpetrated upon another human being unless the environment is being polluted or plundered. 

God has more important things to attend to rather than zoning issues, parking problems and other more important issues of running a city.

 These issues are important, but I don't believe they are issues that need the Divine Presence to work out. That's why God gave us brains.

 Personally, as a clergyperson in Deerfield Beach, I don't believe that prayers or invocations are appropriate at city meetings. These are not spiritual gatherings. It kind of goes along with my view on athletes making the sign of the cross before they shoot a basket or swing a bat. I think it helps only if you are good at the foul line or have a .550-plus batting average.

 But hey, this is just my opinion.


Friday, May 30, 2014

Marginalized in Deerfield Beach

From David Cohen responding to the Supreme Court decision in the Town of Greece, New York v. Galloway  case challenging the invocation prayer at city meetings:
I do not presume to retry the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) case but I must challenge the decision of the homogeneous majority as a violation of my human rights — I am now legally marginalized. 

When our city’s presiding officer opens each civic meeting by introducing the invocator which is followed by intoning “Everyone stand.” Or “Would you all rise!” it does not come across as a request.  When the invocation, in one form or another cites — emphasizes —  a belief that is inconsonant with mine,  I am consigned to the OTHER caste.

In their very nature, these invocations do proselytize though, according to the SCOTUS majority, it's always been done so it's acceptable as a time-honored custom.  How does this differ from the equally long-standing customs of slavery, of Jim Crow laws and from the ongoing legislation that truncates rights of minorities?

 I have long advocated a moment of silence as an inclusive procedure.  This is supported by scriptures of several creeds and accepted by many non-believers — equal as citizens also.  I cannot understand why any person of conscience in this 21st century republic would not wish to honor this simple step toward mutual respect and unity.

David Cohen — marginalized man