Saturday, January 2, 2010

2009 - Good, Bad, and Ugly

2009
January:

Deerfield parks director Vince Hendricks gets long-awaited kidney transplant.

The City election campaigns were underway with Deerfield Beach politics as usual, stolen signs, indicted candidates, partisan “news” articles in the local throwaway paper, unopposed candidate in District 2.

Appointments for commissioners to serve until the March election were made: Vice Mayor Sylvia Poitier was appointed mayor because Al Capellini was suspended by Governor Crist, Gloria Battle was appointed to fill in for Poitier’s District 2 seat and Colleen DiDonato was appointed to fill, resigned Commissioner, Steve Gonot’s seat for District 4.

The public was astonished that the city would consider paying Pete Boinis $600,000 to buy the Melrose Property, (the small piece of under and next to the toilets by the pier) after he only paid $200,000 for it.

Deerfield Beach Ethics Code was introduced by Commissioner Militello.

An ordinance that was developed by the City’s Telecommunication Towers Committee, was tabled after a very long discussion, the committee was formed after residents stormed the commission irate about a cell tower in a small west Deerfield park.

Deerfield Palms Condominium owed back water bills and there was a discussion as to whether to turn the water off to the entire complex.


February:

Residents were either amused or angry about Pete Boinis’ signs; he ringed his piece of beach sand with no trespassing signs. He was rubbing the city’s nose in the fact that HE owned the property.

As one South Florida politician after another became embroiled in scandal, Florida Atlantic University decided it was time to devote more attention to the study of ethics. So the university's School of Public Administration in Fort Lauderdale created a new Public Ethics Academy, intended to research ethics and provide training for local government agencies.

The Ethics Code was passed by the commission 4 to 1, public hearing to be held in March.

The Ordinance about cell towers, tabled from the last meeting, was passed.

The Key West look for the Cove Shopping Center was adopted.

This blog was started in reaction to the Observer Newspaper’s biased election reporting.

The Observer held a candidates forum that was so biased that people walked out, candidates walked out, and bloggers had a field day ridiculing Eller and his lawyer. Refresh your memory here: http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/juice/2009/02/deerfield_beach_mayor_election.php#more Part of what was written: “But even the understandably jaded followers of city politics were appalled by what they witnessed Tuesday evening at a candidates’ forum held by the Observer, the community newspaper. The word I heard most: "Disgrace."”

Al Capellini had to tape over Mayor on his election signs and was told to stop calling himself “Mayor”.

The County MPO recommended that the Dixie Flyover project receive stimulus dollars, the estimate for the project was $56 million.

The Original Save Our Beach mayoral candidate forum was a standing room only success. The format where all candidates were asked the same questions in rotating order went over very well with the crowd. Unlike the Observer show, the audience was encouraged to submit questions, and asked some tough ones.



March:

The Deerfield Beach Commission Ethics Code public hearing was long and spirited but the code passed, 3-2.

State grant money to buy the Boinis property was applied for in addition to the $350,000 from the County. Boinis is standing firm on his asking price of $600,000!!

The Deerfield Beach firefighters were found electioneering on city time and storing campaign materials in the firehouse. They received counseling as their punishment.

Buddy Nevins, in a foreshadowing of things to come posted this:
Broward County commissioners have been warned: Be honest. Or the feds might throw you in jail for up to 20 years! In a startling three-page memo from County Attorney Jeff Newton, commissioners were told in writing how to avoid being snared by a wide ranging federal corruption law. It has come to this, folks. Broward government is so shady that commissioners need advice on how to be ethical....” (Little did he know)

Thomas Noland (the Mayor’s son) was pulled in for stealing campaign signs.

Noland, Miller, Popelsky, Poitier (unopposed) and Ganz won the election.

More than 300,000 empty houses and condos in Florida. Big box stores like Circuit City -- the nation's second-largest consumer electronics retailer -- closed for good. Linens 'n Things, Home Depot's Expo Design Centers? All goners. Empty homes, empty stores, growing unemployment, people looking for someone to blame. Hmmm, how about sub-prime lenders and greedy developers.


April:

Keith Associates group presented the Cove Shopping Center proposal to the CRA Board aka the Commission. The audience was awed by the well thought out design.

The annexed areas still cannot get the commission meetings on Comcast, they had it for about a year, but now cannot get it.

Simon Cowell stunned by Susan Boyle’s singing.

Hillsboro streetscape is well underway, FPL is causing problems.

The CRA meeting vote to approve the design work on the Cove Shopping Center sidewalk design assured the businesses and residents that work would go ahead on the parking lot renovation.

The Code Enforcement Board was eliminated in favor of a Special Master.

Commissioner Bill Ganz was the only no vote for allowing a parking deviation for a Pain Clinic. (Good going Bill)

Commissioner Miller suggested that the City Manager approach Mr. Boinis with the proposition of purchasing the beach property for $510,000 using $200,000 of city money plus the county grant money.

May:

Resolution 2009/ - A Resolution of the City Commission of the City of Deerfield Beach, Florida, authorizing a contract for the purchase of certain property, Lot 1, Block 4, Page 45, in the City of Deerfield Beach for the purchase price of $510,000 from PPB Ocean, LLC.
Motion failed 1-4 (Miller the only yes vote)
“Commissioner Ganz said that we are about to spend a $500,000; $200,000 is coming from the City’s contingency account for a piece of property that is essentially unsellable. This gentleman is going to be able to make a profit when everyone else in the City of Deerfield Beach is losing money on their properties…”

HUD bails out Palms condos, helping with the water bill and mortgage modifications.

Request for reconsideration of Resolution 2009/ – A Resolution of the City Commission of the City of Deerfield Beach, Florida, authorizing a contract for the purchase of certain property, Lot 1, Block 4, Page 45, in the City of Deerfield Beach for the purchase price of $510,000 from PPB Ocean, LLC. (Requested by Mayor Peggy Noland) ACTION: Commission to vote on Resolution - Passed 3-2. Ganz and Popelsky voting no. Commissioner Popelsky thought it would be a nice thing for Boinis to donate the property to the city. Commissioner Ganz said that “we have no way of knowing what is going to happen this year, where funds will be needed. Our contingency fund is extremely low; using half of it to pay for this is risky and boarder line foolish”.

A lobbyist registration ordinance was proposed by Commissioner Ganz and passed by the commission.

Plans for LaPlace Du Soleil, a 17 room guest hotel to be built on the beach in the long empty lot were approved.

June:

City Manager Mahaney says he will present the 2010 budget to the commission on August 4th.

State officials presented the flyover project at a public meeting from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Monday. (perfect timing if you want to get home in time for dinner and not have any pesky residents show up).

Jim Jai Kong, Official Ninja for the Acts of Sedition was refused the right to show his DVD, and the commission decided to ban AV presentations without prior approval by the city staff. Pam Militello, next up for a presentation was also denied showing power point presentation on Cove Shopping Center Parking Lot. The ban was later rescinded after the commission, I assume, reread the constitution of the USA.

Residents near the west wellfield project requested that their properties be protected from the noise of the pump control building by relocating it.

The commission voted to raise the fire assessment fee from $99 to $149, Ganz and Poitier voted no.

Vice Mayor Sylvia Poitier said she was no longer going to use the name Poitier, she was going back to her maiden name of Ferguson.


July:

A quick Google search in July, ’09 brought up 17 articles about corrupt public officials; the tip of the iceberg.

From Tom Francis’ blog: The Deerfield Beach Commission should be ashamed of this pissant (firefighters’ campaign violations) investigation. http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/juice/2009/08/deerfield_beach_fire_investigation_campaigning_noland.php


August:

Michael Mahaney, City Manager, presented the Fiscal Year 2009/2010 Budget Highlights and scheduled commission workshops for budget review.

A Deerfield Beach city employee, Cassandra Moye, was suspended from work for failing to say hello to the mayor.

Commissioner Ganz proposed an ordinance giving local businesses permission for extra signs, on a temporary basis, during these hard economic times.

The Elections Commission and its investigators have issued a finding of no probable cause in the complaint by Chaz Stevens against ROC and Gerry Brown.

The Deerfield Beach Commission voted to award the temporary contract to run the little pier restaurant to J.B.s. Oops, nope can’t do that, the redo (took months) saw J.B.s withdraw and The Pier Grill get the nod.

Kathi Maggi stated to the commission that Quiet Waters, Lyons Creek Middle, and Monarch High School are the schools that the west Deerfield kids go to but none of their academics or athletic achievements are ever spoken of or mentioned in the local media.


September:

An ordinance which would spell out that the city would have to notify surrounding residents for city projects was tabled to provide clearer language. Bill Ganz asked for this ordinance in reaction to the Wellfield project for which there was no notification, as the city doesn’t require city projects to notify neighbors, and neighbors were irate about the plan.

Mayor Noland placed an item on the commission agenda to repeal the newly enacted Deerfield Beach Ethics Code. The audience was filled with people who held up signs saying Ethics Yes, and Ganz, Popelsky and Miller all said it would be a mistake to repeal it. Noland then said she just put it on for discussion; she didn’t really want it repealed. An ad hoc committee was formed to give recommendations about the code.

Budget discussions continued. After 7 budget workshops the commission felt that very little had been accomplished. It was disclosed that various festivals cost the city a lot. One year the Mango Festival received over $400,000, the Founder’s Day $115,000. For 2010 Festivals were cut down to a total of $60,000 which some thought too much.

An ordinance prohibiting fishing from the beach was proposed.

Commissioner Ganz proposed banning pain clinics (pill mills) from Deerfield Beach.


October:

The Commission met at the Embassy Suites hotel for a “Retreat”, led by a paid Strategic Planner, to come up with a vision for Deerfield Beach. This cost the city $15,000 and resulted in the discovery that the three most important things facing the city, in the opinion of our elected officials, are Communication, Commissioners respect of each other, and accountability and transparency.

Crist calls for grand jury to investigate public corruption

Michael Brewer was doused a rubbing alcohol and set on fire by school mates.

County Commissioner Kristin Jacobs held a well attended town hall meeting at City Hall.



November:

Christopher Chisholm received a certificate of recognition for putting out a fire in a city truck.

A group of fisherman gave impassioned pleas to the Commission arguing against a ban on beach fishing, including Chris Kristophe, 14 year old, who stated that due to the poor economy, he and his family would be sad if they were not able to fish from the beaches. The ordinance was voted down, fishing remains on the beach.

State Road A1A was designated a Scenic Highway Corridor by the State of Florida.

Pine View Cemetery fees were raised, discussion about restricting the cemetery to residents only will continue.

Red light cameras were put on hold; they could bring in $500,000 to the city but may not be legal.

The Deerfield Chamber of Commerce is struggling; Mahaney explained some of the issues that they are dealing with. He said that the Chamber of Commerce is behind approximately $3,000 on their water bill and they paid $500.00+ on the account a few weeks ago.

Greg Stewart of MPO said that it looks like it will be a long time if ever that the 10th street project will happen, it is still on the books, but not funded, and way down on the list of projects.

The city is working on a comprehensive plan for dealing with abandoned properties.


December:

Thanks to John and Patricia Blossom for donating a large parcel of beach property to the city. (Attention Pete Boinis!!)

A redevelopment plan for the bait shop, restaurant, beginning of the pier and the restrooms was approved.

Thanks to Bill Ganz proposing a new ordinance, the City now will be able to take remedial action on abandoned properties and levy a special assessment against the building so the city will get their money back. The City will also create a nuisance abatement trust fund and have a nuisance inspector, the aim is to maintain properties, prevent blight and vandalism.

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