Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Save Our View





Saturday, March 11, 2017


 

Ken Wayne's Insurgent Campaign - 03/08/17



Ken Wayne is the insurgent candidate in this election. He's allied himself with Mayor Robb and apparently with that small group of people who gripe about just about everything the city does. He is supported by the anonymous attack group, Deerfield Solutions, which even had to retract one of its inflammatory, in fact, defamatory articles about Bill Ganz.


The Sun-Sentinel summed up Mr.Wayne this way: "He's not what Deerfield needs at the top."
Mr. Wayne's written platform contains all the routine good government promises. Of course, everybody supports ethical, fiscally responsible city government, lower taxes, etc. The question, therefore, is not so much what the candidate is for, but how he can achieve these things as a member of a collaborative legislative body. Nothing in Wayne's résumé suggests he is any better qualified than any of the other three candidates for mayor. In fact, his lack of experience and obvious lack of knowledge about Deerfield Beach city government would seem to make him the least qualified.


To achieve anything, any mayor or commissioner must work well with and build consensus with the city manager and the other commissioners. This was one of the failings of Mayor Robb, who managed to alienate most of her fellow commissioners, not even to mention city staff. Bear in mind that the mayor is one vote of five, is not in charge of the city, and can't do very much alone without commission support and a good working relationship with the administration.


Not in his published platform, but elsewhere, he's called for the ouster of the city manager, Burgess Hanson (Next Door post, Jan. 10). Going to war with the city manager, with whom he has never worked, would not be a constructive start, it seems to me, to building any sort of collaborative effort among the commission or with the public. Calling for Mr. Hanson's termination would only create havoc and discord ... and for no good reason that Mr. Wayne has articulated.


Elimination, or at least containment, of sober homes is apparently Mr. Wayne's key objective as it is the only area where he's made any concrete proposal. It seems, however, he has moved away from his "dubious" moratorium scheme to a different proposal. "Although we must be compassionate in caring for those struggling with addiction," he writes, "We must enact zoning laws to prohibit a construction or establishment of a new 'sober' house or drug treatment facility within three miles of a school, playground, daycare or residential community with at least one hundred units of housing." [Emphasis added.]


If the moratorium idea was legally questionable, this is down-right crazy, and hardly compassionate. Such a zoning law would be, essentially, an out-and-out ban, clearly violative of the matrix of federal laws and regulations requiring "accommodation." I cautiously assume that Mr. Wayne knows the difference between a sober home and drug treatment facility, which are governed by separate rules. Presumably, putting recovering alcoholics into the same category as, say, convicted sex offenders, would be prima facie evidence of a discriminatory intent against a protected class when the law suits roll in.


To win this, the city would have to prove it has a very high compelling interest to keep sober homes and treatment facilities far away from schools. I don't see it. School children face far more danger from drunk drivers than from recovering alcoholics.
I have to wonder whether Ken Wayne came up this new idea all on his own or it was planted by one of his more imaginative supporters. No question that sober homes present problems to the city, but tackling these problems requires sound and — forgive the pun — sober thinking. This plan sounds to me like it was the product of tee many martoonis and not-so-subtle bigotry against a particular group of persons.


What the city needs now (and always for that matter) is sound thinking by people who actually know what they are talking about — sober homes and myriad other city issues. What we least need are screwy plans that will never pass anyway from someone who drops out of the woodwork and has absolutely no experience with and little knowledge of the city, but thinks he is the future of Deerfield Beach by appealing to the zany complaints of a handful of chronic complainers. I can only hope that the 12 or 15 percent of voters who actually show up to vote see it that way.































 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

I Support Bill Ganz for Mayor of Deerfield Beach


 Deceitful Cowards

I received an email flyer from a person or persons identified only as Deerfield Solutions. There is no way to know who the writer is.  The entire flyer is dedicated to smearing Candidate for Mayor Bill Ganz.  How cowardly, if you truly believe something, why fail to stand up for it? 

Filled with lies.  My guess is he/she/they are hiding because the flyer is full of lies and inaccuracies.  The lies are clearly meant to make Bill Ganz look bad in order to benefit a less qualified candidate. 

Bill Ganz has put the quality of life and interests of the Citizens of Deerfield Beach in his decisions as a Commissioner.

 Good Growth.  Bill has supported economic development in the city which brings in added tax revenue but he has protected the residents from seriously bad projects that would badly impact neighborhoods and traffic including a misguided development plan on Dixie Highway that would have doubled the highest density the city allows and blocked adjacent neighborhoods.  Bill puts the residents’ quality of life first.

Untying the City’s hands – Sober Homes.  Bill has worked very hard with the folks in Tallahassee and Washington D.C. to try to get legislation changed about how sober houses and rehab facilities are allowed in neighborhoods.  The Americans with Disabilities Act categorizes those facilities and no matter what the city zoning says, they have to be allowed, it is a Federal Law.  Any move to ban, place a moratorium on, or confine sober homes to a particular zoning district is going to invite litigation and extensive damages, and this is especially the case if the action is the result of animosity against disabled people. Some changes are coming due to the diligence and commitment to this issue from residents in cities all over the USA. 

Voted it out. A number of years ago the commissioners at that time voted to allow themselves fully paid medical insurance upon retirement after eight years of service.  The commission that Bill was on, voted to repeal that benefit.  Yes, Bill was considered grandfathered in, but he never, ever, voted for it, he voted against it.

Felons and Children. Bill has had to put up with a number of residents, commissioners and especially a mayor who didn’t do their homework and/or let emotions override what’s best for the city.  Bill has always been very forceful in protecting our children.  Bill spearheaded the effort to have the City require background checks for volunteers who worked with our children’s sports teams.  Bill wanted Level 1 (local) and 2 (nationwide) background checks to protect our children.  In fact, these checks found that there were some convicted felons and sex offenders.  Among the many things the mayor opposed Bill on was the proper extent of the background checks.  Fortunately for the children, Bill prevailed and the children won. 

Credit rating excellent. Bill agonized with us all through the recent recession where the city had to make some very hard economic decisions, but our city pulled through, and our credit rating which had slipped one level is now back.  Our reserves are at good level and our tax rate is solidly in the middle of the Broward cities where it should be.* 

Utility Tax helps homeowners. The utility tax, similar to all other Broward cities, spreads the city costs among all.  People who pay no property taxes still pay the utility tax which takes some of the burden off homeowners.  Snow birds, who enjoy our City, pay by having to pay a utility tax. Without the tax, the property taxes would have to be raised to pay for city services.

 Low Crime Rate. Bill continues to work with the Sheriff’s Department to keep Deerfield Beach’s crime rate low, and Deerfield Beach has one of the lowest crime rates in Broward County when the entire city is taken into account, and not just one zip code.

Thanks to Bill, our commission has had to pay attention to the residents, especially the children, the fiscal realities of our city and our quality of life.  I have known Bill for over ten years and absolutely know he has the good of the residents in mind with everything he does.  I’m Bett Willett, proud to be a citizen of Deerfield Beach and proud to have, Bill Ganz, a person of such high abilities and integrity to serve our town.

 

*Fitch Ratings has announced that the overall Ratings Outlook for the City of Deerfield Beach is stable and has therefore, upgraded the Credit Rating to AA- from A- for the $17.2 million covenant to budget and appropriate (CB&A) bonds, and to AA from A for the $12.6 million general obligation (GO) bonds.

"A two-notch credit rating improvement is highly unusual. This is a well-deserved upgrade," said Sylvia Dunlap, Senior Vice President of Dunlap and Associates.

Fitch noted many key drivers for the ratings upgrade including:

·        An improvement in credit quality due to the City's improved financial flexibility, strict reserve policies, revenue growth due to higher taxable values and property rate increases.

·        It was noted that City's tough but "prudent efforts to reduce spending" was a key driver in the ratings upgrade.

·        There has been steady growth in the tax base in recent years and that is expected to continue with numerous residential, commercial and light industrial projects planned and underway.

·        The City's historical general fund revenue growth has exceeded national GDP due to a combination of tax base gains, policy action by the City to increase property taxes.

·        In response to declining property taxes City Management pursued other means to diversify its revenue base, it implemented a 10-percent public utility tax in fiscal 2012, which resulted in an additional $7 million in annual revenues.

·        In order to manage rising costs during the recession, the City reduced its work force, froze hiring, reduced wages and outsourced certain city operations.

The City closed its pension plans and now offers a defined contribution plan to employees.

"This is a humbling affirmation of the hard work of our City Commission and staff. We truly worked hard to get a steady handle on our City's finances. We made many difficult and unpopular decisions, during a very tumultuous time. But we had a plan and we knew that it was the right plan. Fitch has reaffirmed that strategy and we are excited about where we are economically as a City. This is all I ever hoped to do for our residents. This is a good day for our City," said Commissioner Bill Ganz.

Fitch Ratings also indicated that the city maintains healthy expenditure flexibility with moderate carrying costs. In order to control costs, the City Manager moved the organization towards a hybrid business model for its operations, utilizing both in-house and contractual resources. The city merged its police and fire operations with the Broward County Sheriff's Office and outsourced its building department and park maintenance operations, as a proactive measure to manage costs in the event of a future downturn.

"The merger with BSO enabled the city to control long-term liability expenses by closing the Fire Fighter's Pension Fund and removing those employees from the City's healthcare plan and future retiree healthcare plan costs," explained City Manager Burgess Hanson.

The City Commission and management team worked steadily since 2010 to increase efficiency and effectiveness in every single department, which entailed the streamlining of expenditures. Chief Financial Officer, Hugh Dunkley made it his mission to create new processes that would right-size the City's fiscal profile. The City also made the budget reporting easier to understand and more transparent to the public. In June of 2014 Deerfield Beach finally saw some of that hard work pay off, when Standard & Poor's Ratings Services upgraded the City's credit for its senior-most, tax-backed debt from A+ to AA- with a stable outlook. As for the AA rating from Fitch, this is the highest credit
that the City has received in nearly a decade.

Commissioner Joe Miller expressed, "We made really tough choices that deeply impacted us all. I am ecstatic over this news and blessed to see just how years of hard work has paid off."

City Manager, Burgess Hanson recalls many late nights, "It's been a long road, but I was always confident that if we just got back to the basics we could right the ship. We've overcome massive deficit, so to be able to celebrate a surplus and be acknowledged by experts like Fitch is a wonderful thing. Our entire workforce needs to be commended for their sacrifices and dedication to our citizenry. This is great news, but there is still much more work to do be done."


 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

NO on Sales Tax, NO on Amendment 1


VOTE NO - Sales Tax Bad for Broward  VOTE NO on Both of Them

 Pie in the sky seems to be the operating system of our government.  No well thought out plan, really, for the penny sales tax, just a lot of wonderful sounding might-be ideas, and cities salivating over the “extorted” agreement with the county.  Lots of dire warnings about infrastructure crumbling if we don’t do something and that something has to be new money from a tax that will be a burden on the least able to pay. 
 

 

Solar Amendment 1 Aims to Mislead Florida Voters

The proverbial wolf masquerading in sheep’s clothing is the best way to describe the misleading Amendment 1 wording on November’s ballot. Don’t be fooled! This is a utility bankrolled deception campaign that aims to mislead voters with confusing language and false promises.
 
Amendment 1 misleads Florida voters by promising rights and protections that Florida citizens already have. Amendment 1 is funded by Florida’s big utilities to protect their monopoly markets and limit customer owned solar. Floridians already have the right to purchase or lease solar equipment and are already fully protected under Florida’s existing consumer protection laws.

Amendment 1 paves the way for barriers that would penalize solar customers. It would add to the State Constitution the false assumption that solar customers are “subsidized” by non-solar customers and that non-solar customers are in need of additional protections. This false claim would lead to unfair fees and discriminatory penalties for solar customers.

 Clean solar energy makes sense for the environment and the consumer. With the effects of climate change already affecting Florida, the need to reduce dirty fossil fuel energy is more urgent than ever. The cost of solar has fallen more than 80 percent in the past 10 years. Florida is ranked 3rd nationally in solar energy potential but 17th in solar power generated. Restrictions and unfair fees would make solar more expensive, limit the expansion of solar, and hurt consumers by denying a cost effective way to lower power bills.

 With the successful passage of Amendment 4 to reduce taxes on property and renewable energy equipment, the next step is to vote NO on Amendment 1. The monopoly power companies have spent more than $21.5 million dollars to persuade Florida residents to vote YES. The amendment will only serve to penalize solar

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Original Save Our Beach (OSOB) responsible for Deerfield’s "Greatest Beach"


Original Save Our Beach (OSOB) responsible for Deerfield’s

“Greatest Beach” according to Dave Mirantz

 There is a new magazine in the city called “Deerfield Beach Magazine” which published its premiere edition in September 2016.  The second edition, October, 2016 has several articles about future growth & economic development plans for Deerfield Beach.  On page 36, Dave Mirantz, former president of the Chamber and head of the Economic Development Task Force, which came up with a plan for the city, says:   

  “We (Deerfield Beach) are uniquely positioned for growth; we have the greatest beach in South Florida to the credit of people who curbed expansion in Deerfield Beach.”

 To be fair, the OSOBs had the help of the voters of Deerfield who passed our amendments, which put the development codes for the barrier island into our city charter, by an overwhelming 75%.

 Residents in our city do not want to see the whole barrier island, including our precious main beach parking lot, covered with towering condos and commercial establishments.  Our residents had the intelligent vision for the barrier island and knew that by putting the development codes into the charter, future commissioners could not change these codes at their or a developers whim!

Our city has received compliment after compliment about how gorgeous our beach is and has attracted upscale and beautiful developments, which fit in with the image we have for our city.  The Royal Blue Hotel uses our unique beach as its main drawing point. 

For more details on how the OSOBs saved the quality of life in Deerfield Beach go to:


 To read the Deerfield Beach Magazine, go to:

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.