Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy New Year

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Cove Shopping Center Dedication Spoiled by a Snub

The Cove Shopping Center renovation was dedicated Saturday.  This is the renovation that Mayor Noland called putting lipstick on a pig.  Except on Saturday when she was congratulating the commission for getting it done.  What a hypocrite.  She did everything she could to stop it.  Only when she saw voters, who had taken part in the design of the center by attending the workshops then Commissioner Pam Militello planned, were overwhelming in favor of the fix-up did she reluctantly agree to it.  Also, she can count, 3 of the 5 commissioners wanted Pam’s project.

So, because of pressure from the public and dogged determination by Pam, the Shopping Center is now the gem Pam and the neighborhood envisioned.  The opening dedication was beautifully done, a fun event run by the CRA staff.  The parking lot looks beautiful, so the city is planning a number of events there.

What is happening?  New businesses are coming in, the stores already there are sprucing up their façades and people are spending time there walking around, and shopping.  Just as was predicted.  The nay-sayers said that wouldn’t happen.  Well I am happy to say to them, “I told you so!” 

One great disappointment on Saturday was that while the Mayor was taking credit for the renovation she completely ignored Pam.  Pam wasn’t invited to attend the dedication and she wasn’t asked to come up on the stage to say anything.  This was childish and petty.  There is no love lost between Peggy and Pam, but right is right.  Pam should have been an honored guest at the event.  Someone told me that Peggy asked for Pam at the ribbon cutting; a little too late and a lot too little Peggy.  You didn’t even ask Pam to come over to the ribbon cutting; if you wanted her there and didn’t want to speak to her personally a simple “Would any of the past commissioners please join us” would have sufficed.

I remember when the swimming pool was dedicated, at that time Peggy was not on the commission and Pam was.  Pam, recognizing the work Peggy had done to get the pool invited her to come up on stage.  I guess we know who has class in this city. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

No Probable Cause, They Got it Right!!!!

From The Florida Commission on Ethics report

"The Commission found no probable cause to believe that PAM MILITELLO, former Deerfield Beach City Commissioner, failed to report a gift on a quarterly Form 9 to a City-sponsored festival that was valued in excess of $100. No probable cause was also found to believe that she solicited tickets and passes to the festival from a lobbyist of the City or that she accepted tickets and passes to the festival from a lobbyist of the City. Deerfield Beach Commissioner SYLVIA POITIER and former Deerfield Beach Commissioner STEVE GONOT were also cleared of the same allegations with a finding of no probable cause.

The Commission found no probable cause to believe that AL CAPELLINI, former Deerfield Beach Mayor, failed to report a gift of festival passes on a Form 9. No probable cause was also found to believe that he accepted passes to the City-sponsored festival from a lobbyist of the City.

The Commission found no probable cause to believe that Deerfield Beach Commissioner MARTY POPELSKY accepted tickets or passes to a City-sponsored festival from a lobbyist of the City. No probable cause was also found to believe that he failed to report a gift valued at more than $100 on a Form 9."

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Harmful Messages from the Media

Girls get a harmful message from media: http://missrepresentation.org/the-film/
"Like drawing back a curtain to let bright light stream in, Miss Representation (90 min; TV-14 DL) uncovers a glaring reality we live with every day but fail to see. Written and directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the film exposes how mainstream media contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America. The film challenges the media’s limited and often disparaging portrayals of women and girls, which make it difficult for women to achieve leadership positions and for the average woman to feel powerful herself.

In a society where media is the most persuasive force shaping cultural norms, the collective message that our young women and men overwhelmingly receive is that a woman’s value and power lie in her youth, beauty, and sexuality, and not in her capacity as a leader. While women have made great strides in leadership over the past few decades, the United States is still 90th in the world for women in national legislatures, women hold only 3% of clout positions in mainstream media, and 65% of women and girls have disordered eating behaviors.

Stories from teenage girls and provocative interviews with politicians, journalists, entertainers, activists and academics, like Condoleezza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, Margaret Cho, Rosario Dawson and Gloria Steinem build momentum as Miss Representation accumulates startling facts and statistics that will leave the audience shaken and armed with a new perspective.
" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gkIiV6konY

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dania Beach Activist Makes a Difference

David Clark is an activist in Dania Beach who has been working to get his city to change how campaigns are financed.  After a lot of hard work, he got an ordinance he initiated passed by the commission.  The commissioners were not happy about it; basically they were shamed into passing it. 

At the meeting they pontificated with the usual noise about how nothing that they are given changes how they vote yadda, yadda, yadda.   Anyone with even a few functioning brain cells knows that if donations didn’t influence commissioners there wouldn’t be any corporate or lobbyist donations.  Duh!

Well done David!!!

Here’s what it does:

“The attached Ordinance would only permit natural persons to make contributions to any candidate for the office of Mayor or City Commissioner. 

The Ordinance would prohibit all entities and organizations (including, but not limited to, corporations, LLC’s, sole proprietorships, banks, labor unions, political committees and unincorporated associations) from making campaign contributions to any candidate for the office of Mayor or City Commissioner. 

Additionally, the Ordinance would make it unlawful for any candidate for the office of Mayor or City Commissioner to accept contributions from any entity or organization. 

Definitions have been included to further define the entities and organizations that are prohibited from making campaign contributions to candidates for local office.” 

 (From a memo to the commission from David M. Wolpin and Anthony Soroka on behalf of Weiss Serota Helfman law firm.)
To read the entire ordinance go to:  http://dbagenda.com/2011-11-08/Exported%20OV%20Docs/Item%209.1/index.html and click on the items on the very top of the page. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Posted on www.deerfieldbeachusa.com Citizen's Right to Speak

Jeff writes about "The Citizen's Right to Speak" and concludes:

If citizens are not respectful of the commission, it's because they don't trust or respect the commission. But building an environment of mutual respect starts at the other end — with the public officials.

Read his entire article here: http://www.deerfieldbeachusa.com/

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The 3 Minute Rule

During Tuesday’s meeting Commissioner Ben Preston brought up something that has been a bone of contention for me for years - the uneven application of the rules covering the three minutes the public is allowed to address the commission.

A person has three minutes only, to speak his or her piece. This might be at the beginning of the meeting if applied for in writing in advance. It might be in reaction to a public hearing item on the agenda, or at the end of the meeting without prior notice.

What happens in reality is the three minute rule is flexible depending on who you are and who you know. The mayor is supposed to enforce the rule; the city clerk times the speakers and notifies them when the time is up.

Often the speaker wants to say a few more sentences or maybe more than a few; that is when the mayor and her hammer come into it. She is supposed to end it there and then and get the speaker to sit down. If they are stubborn the BSO officer escorts them away from the mike.

However, depending on the situation, the three minutes can be 4 or 6 or more. The most frequent transgressors are the mayor’s favorites. When one of her pets or a favored lobbyist gets up to speak and runs a little over she gives her famous helpless eye squint and shoulder shrug and with a wave of her hand allows the extra time.

Contrast that with what happens when an “ordinary” resident, or one out of favor steps up to speak and the buzzer sounds the end; many people are allowed to finish a thought or sentence but, depending on who they are, others are not even allowed this courtesy. To these un-favored, Noland’s reaction would have listeners believe that civilization as we know it would come to an end if an extra 5 seconds were permitted. She jumps right in at the sound of the buzzer and if her curt “Sorry, time’s up” doesn’t do it she can get downright nasty and personal, taking up far more time than the speaker wanted to begin with.

Commissioner Preston’s apology to the other commissioners for asking that one of his constituents be given a little more time was accepted by the Mayor without even a hint of irony. Not one of the commissioners spoke up to say that they had all done the same thing at one time. He was left feeling that he had indeed done something wrong, and that isn’t right.

I urge the commission to think about this, I urge the commission to apply the rules evenhandedly. I urge the commission to recognize that all residents have the same rights to their three minutes and to the application of the exceptions to the rule. What you do for one, you must do for all. Fair’s fair.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Broward's Ethics Code Under Attack

Remember last fall when county voters, sick of hearing about convicted and corrupt politicians, (Fifteen Broward politicians or their family members have been charged with or imprisoned for public corruption crimes in the last two years, and there are more to come.) approved an ethics code and voted to have it apply to county and city officials? Well as predicted, and as sure as power corrupts, the long awaited code was immediately loathed by elected officials and the whining for change began. What they are moaning about sends a clear message about why they ran for office.

The county ethics committee, as was their charge, assembled a tough code. Within milliseconds of its publication the County Commissioners were inundated with calls to water it down. In response (and in a CYA self defense move) the county asked the League of Cities to look it over and make suggestions for revision.

The League of Cities is made up of elected officials, enough said. They came up with a revised code which, with a wink at ethics, was guaranteed to allow things to continue as they are by inserting a bunch of loopholes .

The County code bans all gifts from lobbyists, the League revision seemed to say, our politicians are hungry and lobbyists have lots of money, let them buy us dinner, what can it hurt? Of course we won’t feel indebted to them, or any more inclined to vote their way. Yeah, right.

The County code says elected officials may not lobby before any municipality. Whoa, the League said, no fair. OK we won’t lobby our own commission, but the others should be fair game. Of course their being commissioners won’t sway the vote. Yeah, right.

The League proposed that municipal commissions be allowed to vote to opt out of the code by a four fifths vote by the commissioners. I guess that went even too far for the members of the League as it was withdrawn at the last minute. I give them credit for honest emotions in this one, it showed how much they fear and hate the code; I guess they thought it might not go over well with the voters, Duh! (Mayor Peggy Noland tried to eliminate the Deerfield Beach code and is still stinging from the reaction from throngs of residents who came to the commission meeting with “keep the code” signs.)

For more on this see: http://www.cityethics.org/content/broward-league-cities-poor-ethics-recommendations
and
http://weblogs.sun-sentinel.com/news/politics/broward/blog/matrixethics.doc

The League of Cities asked the municipalities to vote on the changes. Of 30 cities who voted on whether to water down the code and accept the League of Cities changes, 15 voted YES, 6 including Deerfield Beach Abstained, only brave little Oakland Park voted flat out NO (pretty sure we can thank Mayor Suzanne Boisvenue for that, she is one of the rarest of the rare, a politician who cares about the people and not her own gain.) http://weblogs.sun-sentinel.com/news/politics/broward/blog/2011/06/which_broward_cities_voted_for.html

Yay! For the County Commissioners who voted no to the League changes and approved the tough code.

Did the whining stop? Nope, we now have elected officials deliberately misunderstanding the code provisions and coming up with ludicrous reactions to it. The Wilton Manors Mayor Gary Resnick says some commissioners will quit if they can’t lobby. Coconut Creek Commissioner Lisa Aaronson objects to not being able to get a bottle of water from a lobbyist. The most ridiculous reactions are from Lauderhill Mayor Kaplan, who now won’t talk to reporters as he says they are lobbyists, and Southwest Ranches Councilman Breitkreuz who won’t talk to residents concerned about their neighborhood unless they register as lobbyists and pay a fee (nothing in the new code about that).

Why these over the top reactions? These are the opening shots in the war to get rid of the code. Politicians are fond of saying that codes shouldn’t be needed as we should elect honest people, such as them. Yeah, right.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New Website from the Florida Hometown Democracy Group

The PriceOfSprawl.com website is now live. You are among the first to get a preview of our site that will soon be released to the public.


We are hoping that PriceOfSprawl.com will be a good tool for activists, as well as those folks not yet informed about the costs of over-development. You’ll be able to see your local city or county approved and unbuilt residential development, the costs, property value decline of existing housing, vacancy and water supply --all from one place. In addition, articles and studies from other sources will corroborate website facts.

This is the untold story that politicians have ignored and do not want you to know. Our goal is to put this information readily at hand so you can see for yourself the economic and quality of life costs you will pay for new residential housing. It will be easy to share this information with your neighbors, politicians and the media.

It is our goal to depict 100 Florida Cities and Counties. So far we have about 60, so check back to see new city/county information and articles.

Please sign up for our email list, “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. You will not receive further emails from us unless you are “connected” through PriceOfSprawl.com .

Thanks for the good you do for Florida.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sun Sentinel Ethics Editorial Gets it Right

South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com
About time Broward cities get their own ethics rules
Sun Sentinel Editorial Board
September 29, 2011

Despite all the whining and angst, ethics rules are about to become law for all 31 Broward cities soon. It's about time.

After a seemingly endless list of Broward public officials were seen taken away in handcuffs, the public clearly had enough of corruption and demanded strict ethics rules. County commissioners adopted tougher ethics laws last year, and every Broward city will soon be living under those rules, similar to the situation in Palm Beach County.

Are the new rules nitpicky? In some cases, yes. But the number of indictments, plea bargains, arrests and actions that failed the smell test makes the rules necessary. This was not the result of one or two isolated cases. The public rightfully got tired of having its trust violated by those with their hands out.

The new rules state that elected officials can't accept anything from somebody who does busi-ness with the city. Sure, it's doubtful you will see an ethics complaint filed against a public offi-cial who takes a bagel from a contractor or a lobbyist, but that's the rule. Good. That's the way it should be. Hopefully, public officials will understand the real meaning of the word "no."

Many of the new rules are common sense, and if some public officials think they are too tough, maybe public service isn't the right vocation for them.

Among the rules:

• Elected officials in various cities can't moonlight as lobbyists in other Broward cities, and neither can their spouses. Nor can they lobby the County Commission.

• Elected officials must disclose any fundraising for charities, and can't use city resources to raise the money.

• Elected officials who work outside jobs have to report, quarterly, where they work and how much money they make.

• Cities must keep online logs showing every contact the elected officials have with lob-byists, even if the meeting is outside the office.

Ethics training will be required each year. And voters also approved a new corruption watchdog, Broward Inspector General John Scott, last year.

Various city officials were seeking more watered down rules, but they will rightfully have to ab-ide by the same rules that the county does.

This shouldn't be that tough. While it certainly won't eliminate corruption, it should at least make public officials think more about any questionable actions. If an elected official has a question as to whether something is legal, all he has to do is ask one of the many lawyers who work for the cities and the county.

Better yet, if there is a real question, the word "no" does wonders.

Copyright © 2011, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Monday, September 5, 2011

DCA Dead as a Doornail

The DCA growth management office is no more. Scott killed it.

In 1985 tough growth laws were enacted; the vision was to protect Florida from future sprawl and overdevelopment that had already wreaked havoc on so much of the state.

As soon as the laws were in place the watering down began, and by 2011 the tiger had become a declawed house tabby. But even though DCA approved 94% of projects, there were some really bad ones stopped, and others made smaller. And the laws made cities think long and hard about proper land use and zoning as the plans had to be submitted to the DCA for approval.

BUT, NOT ANY MORE

No longer will a city or county Land Use Plan have to get State approval. All lobbyists will have to do is convince the local commissioners if they want to get a land use change. How hard will that be? Think back on how easy it was for the Chait boys to convince the Tamarac and the County commissions to cave into changing a golf course to a housing development. All it took was some bribery and fast talking.

No longer will the State demand that developers put roads, schools, infrastructure and parks in their new developments. Guess who will have to foot the bill for that? Now we will be paying taxes to help line the pockets of land speculators. The city and county can pass ordinances demanding developers pay for roads and parks etc. but then who would donate to their campaign chests?

No longer will a developer have to convince the DCA that their project is needed, it won’t matter that there are hundreds of available units on the market, they will be allowed to build more anyway. So your used house will have to be even cheaper to compete with the shiny new ones.

Do you want to fight the plan to put a giant “whatever” in your neighborhood, you think it is incompatible with the area? Forget it, the new laws make it almost impossible for a grass roots movement to win, also forget going to referendum to put land use amendments in place. That option is now banned.

We can only hope that we get rid of Scott before the economy turns around.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

BSO is in

It’s done. The decision to have Deerfield’s fire rescue department operated by BSO was approved Tuesday evening. . After looking over the numbers and the agreement, I, who am very wary about giving the BSO control of over 50 percent of the city budget, think now that it was probably the right thing to do. Probably!

But, only time will tell; numbers aren’t everything. Most likely the commissioners think the same way, hoping against hope that they made the right choice.

In the agreement the city retains ownership of our fire stations and equipment which might make it possible to take back control if the BSO costs get out of line, however I wonder if after the 5 year contract is up whether any of the “equipment” we own but are letting BSO use will be in any condition to be useful. Maybe, I hope so, only time will tell.

This merger may well be the most important decision Deerfield Beach ever had to make. Do I think that there should be a referendum on the decision? Yes I do, but the city has a legal opinion that it is not necessary. Get two lawyers together and you will have two opinions. It would take a lawsuit to decide this.

I also think that there should have been meetings in all of the districts about the plan before the final decision. Ben Preston, newly elected District 2 commissioner voiced his disappointment that his district had no input into the decision making because Sylvia Poitier was suspended shortly after the beginning of the process.

This is the kind of highhanded decision making that years back, forced the OSOB to have a petition drive and referendum to amend the City Charter so that if the city wanted to lease or sell any city owned property worth more than $750,000 they would have to go to the voters in a referendum.

Everyone agrees that this is a very important decision. Everyone agrees that the commissioners are elected to represent what the residents want. What reason could there be not to share the unfolding of the plan and the projected savings and benefits?

Unfortunately, too many politicians get the idea that they know better than the voters who elected them, and that they can make decisions that are good for the city whether the residents agree or not. Their defense is that they are elected to do the will of the people and the people should let them do it. That is only valid, if the politicians actually know what the WILL of the people is. And in this case, without a referendum or at the very least city hall meetings sharing information, how could they know?

My guess is that the city residents would have, in view of the tanked economy, voted in favor of the merger, but we will never know.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Chaz? Not Now, Not Ever!

“For now.” That is what Peggy Noland told the reporter. Chaz Steven’s will not be appointed to the Housing Authority Board “for now.” Is she leaving the door open for sometime in the future?

It seems so.

Thanks to Ben Preston, his appointment was found to be done improperly and due to the uproar of concerned residents, he won’t be reappointed at the next commission meeting.

Peggy, I cannot believe it!!! Chaz calls you a “cunt” and you think that is OK?

From the Urban Dictionary: “CUNT” – “Derogatory term for a woman. Considered by many to be the most offensive word in the English language”.

Would Chaz do a good job? After all he (and only he) says there is something wrong with the DBHA. He says he has studied how the Authority works and only he of all the appointees will be able to get it to straighten up and fly right.

Who would be better? ANYONE is better than Timothy Stevens. Why? Because a person is known by their actions and deeds. And, anyone who has read Stevens’ blog over the last couple of years, back to when he started with soft porn pictures, knows he is immature and spiteful, and has absolutely no regard for accuracy or people’s feelings.

A board member needs to be able to work with others; honoring others’ ideas and values. Chaz has not shown the ability to do this. If someone doesn’t agree with him, or ignores him, or is old, or chubby (even people with whom he has never had a single conversation) they get hauled over the coals.

Unlike a real journalist, he doesn’t talk to the people he heaps scorn on; he has no use for their opinions, or reality. If he gets it into his head that they disagree with him, he infers they are homosexual and/or makes up offensive nicknames. Chaz is a master of insinuation. All he has to do is see a person in a setting and he fantasizes in print about what they might be doing. He is seldom right, but that doesn’t bother him at all.

He tries to ruin people’s reputations rather than appreciate that they are working toward improving the city. Notice that NO ONE lives up to his standards.

Recently he made a racist remark about Pam Davis, and was naive enough to think that an apology would clear the air. The deed defines the man.

After he apologized for saying Mrs. Davis needs things written in Ebonics to understand, he wrote, “I should have said she is a liar, a cheat, and an idiot.” Do we really want someone like this representing our city?

Who better????? ANYONE, but especially Sally Potter who is on the appointment list, she is a whiz with numbers, if there is anything even slightly “off” about the Housing Authority, she will spot it quickly. She will be up to speed on how the Housing Authority works in short order, all without calling anyone an idiot, or retarded.

Let’s get real; Chaz is not needed, not now, not ever.



Friday, July 22, 2011

Ben Preston, Best Choice

Congratulations to Ben Preston on his win, District 2 is lucky to have him as commissioner as is the entire city. A commissioner is not just a representative of his or her district but a commissioner for all of Deerfield Beach, and Ben will be a refreshing presence on the commission.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Housing Authority

Attorney Tom Connick sent a scathing letter to the Deerfield Beach Commissioners concerning the Deerfield Beach Housing Authority. The following excerpt about the board members describes the hard working volunteers who have given their time to the board and are about to be thrown under the bus by Peggy Noland.


The entire letter is below the excerpt.

The Board of Commissioners of the Deerfield Beach Housing Authority are citizen volunteers who freely give their time and efforts to the community in providing through the DBHA affordable housing to those in need and access to self-sufficiency and community programs. These DBHA Commissioners work without compensation – they give of their time and effort to the community for free. And, for their efforts in assisting the community, Mayor Noland wrongfully smears them by publicly announcing that she plans on bringing charges against the entire DBHA Board of Commissioners because the Mayor lacks the backbone to stand up to Chaz Stevens’ bullying. Despite the DBHA reaching out to the Mayor and Commission, neither the Mayor nor any City Commissioner has shown any interest in meeting with the DBHA Executive Director or the DBHA Board. The DBHA Board of Commissioners are flesh and blood people who are in good faith performing their volunteer duties for free while being vilified by Chaz Stevens and the Mayor:

A. Keith Emery, Chairman, has devoted 19 years as a member of the Board, with 11 of those years as Chairman. Mr. Emery is President of CMS-Construction Management Services, Inc. His company has a thirty-two year history in Deerfield Beach. The motivation behind Mr. Emery’s dedication in devoting his time and construction expertise as a citizen volunteer stems from his concern for promoting the development of self-sufficiency in individuals with limited resources. His primary focus is providing to those less fortunate affordable housing and new opportunities for success. Chairman Emery's expertise in construction has been instrumental in all aspects involving the facilities of the DBHA, including his tireless efforts in the development of the Palms of Deerfield Beach Town Homes. It is rare that a local volunteer Board has the good fortune to have someone with Mr. Emery’s construction expertise that is so crucial to the DBHA, and it would be a serious long-term loss to the DBHA and community to remove him from the Board.

B. Richard Sales, Vice Chairman, served as DBHA Commissioner from 2001 through 2005, and was reappointed in May of 2007. A member of the local business community since 2000, he is the owner of Reflections Printing in Deerfield Beach. In addition to Mr. Sales’ community volunteer activity as a Board member, Mr. Sales has also supported Deerfield Beach by his involvement with the Deerfield Beach Chamber of Commerce, NE Focal Point and Deerfield Beach High School’s School Advisory Board.

C. Caryl Berner, Commissioner, was appointed to the Deerfield Beach Housing Authority in April of 2010. She has contributed to the community as a substitute teacher in the Broward County School System since moving to Florida. She devotes herself to many civic and governmental works. She has served as a volunteer on the Board of Master Management in Century Village East, was instrumental in having the City provide a no smoking beach area and working with City staff to institute a Casket Flag Ceremony to honor fallen heroes. She also serves as Chair of the CVE Walk-A-Thon in conjunction with the DB/LP Relay for Life to combat cancer. She is honored to serve the DBHA in their mission to advocate and provide quality of life and opportunities for success to individuals and families.

D. Lee Giannino, Commissioner, is a thirteen-year resident of the City of Deerfield Beach, and has served as DBHA Commissioner since January 2002. Despite his business being severely adversely affected by the national economic downturn, he still takes the time and effort in devoting himself to the mission of the DBHA. Mr. Giannino's other community involvement includes serving as a past Vice President and member of Crime-Stoppers for over ten years and serving on the Broward County Land Development Board.

E. Ernestine Gray, Commissioner, was appointed as Commissioner in June 2008. Ms. Gray has been Affordable Housing resident at the Stanley Terrace Apartments in good standing since 1998. She also currently serves as a board member of the Stanley Terrace Resident Council. Ms. Gray is active in doing her part to contribute to the community in improving the lives of others.

F. Dr. Alan Leavitt, Commissioner, is a sensitive caring chiropractic physician who is dedicated to providing professional care and treatment and in assisting his patient's in staying healthy. Dr. Leavitt is very supportive of the mission of the DBHA and devotes his volunteer time generously to it.
The DBHA Board of Commissioners are decent, well meaning people whose volunteer efforts should be appreciated by the Mayor and City Commissioners, rather than being the unfair objects of Chaz Stevens’ and the Mayor’s false statements. It is morally wrong for the Mayor to use her office to tarnish these volunteers’ reputations by saying she has legal cause to remove them from the DBHA Board.

… It is hoped that since the Mayor refuses to meet with HUD and the Executive Director of the Deerfield Beach Housing Authority while she awaits the results of the Inspector General evaluation, that the Mayor and City Commissioners will not act prematurely in wrongfully judging the DBHA Board and/or Executive Director guilty before the Inspector General’s evaluation, especially in light of the facts presented in this letter and attachments demonstrating the misunderstanding the Mayor has concerning true facts. Of course, the Mayor and City Commissioners have the power to engage in a Stalinist show trial and wrongfully prematurely condemn the entire DBHA Board as the Mayor threatened on June 21st. But, perhaps there might be a glimmer of thought given to the public purpose of such a blatant sham, and the long-term negative consequences to the City of such reckless and imprudent action. Since the Mayor wanted an Inspector General evaluation and she has gotten her wish, she should at least wait for the results of that evaluation.


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

July 15, 2011

Mayor Peggy Noland
Vice Mayor Marty Popelsky
Commissioner Joe Miller
Commissioner Bill Ganz
150 NE 2nd Avenue
Deerfield Beach, Florida 33441

Re: Deerfield Beach Housing Authority (“DBHA”)

Dear Mayor and Commissioners:
I am writing this letter as special co-counsel for the Deerfield Beach Housing Authority (hereinafter “DBHA”) in this matter.

The DBHA desires to fulfill its mission of providing quality affordable housing and self-sufficiency programs that improve the quality of life for individuals and families in Deerfield Beach. Interfering with that mission have been the relentless attacks, harassment and misinformation of Chaz Stevens that has been accepted by the Mayor. The DBHA Board of Commissioners in fulfilling their duties as unpaid volunteers have sought to reasonably and fairly protect the Housing Authority. In that effort, they continue to be attacked by Chaz Stevens and the Mayor. The DBHA is responding to these attacks. The contents of this letter and its Attachments are to give you factual information and reasonable inferences to be drawn from that factual information.

The DBHA again requests that the Mayor meet with the DBHA Executive Director and HUD, something the Mayor refuses to do. The DBHA again requests that each member of the City Commission meet with the Executive Director concerning any questions that a City Commissioner may have, which invitation has never been responded to.

HUD’s Favorable Evaluations of the Deerfield Beach Housing Authority

1. The Deerfield Beach Housing Authority is run in a proficient manner as determined by HUD in numerous evaluations.
Did you know that 88.88% of the funding for DBHA is from HUD?
Did you know that the funding for DBHA for the last fiscal year (ending 9-30-2010) was:
88.88% - HUD
9.16% - Tenant Revenue
1.78% - other revenue
.18% - Interest
(See Audit - Attachment “5”, page 7).
Did you know that the DBHA must comply with HUD rules for those matters in which HUD is the source of funding?

So, while the DBHA is a Housing Authority created under Chapter 421, Florida Statutes, which statutorily provides that the Mayor has the authority to name and the City Commissioners the right to approve the DBHA Board of Commissioners, the rules and requirements that the DBHA must meet are under the control of HUD. The following recent satisfactory evaluations from HUD are attached (there are no unsatisfactory evaluations from HUD) and these reports (with the exception of the Audit in subparagraph E) have been previously provided to the Mayor and City Manager:

A. Attachment “1” – January 19, 2011 letter indicating that the Housing Authority of Deerfield Beach’s final Section 8 Management Assessment Program score for the fiscal year ending 9-30-2010 was 93% which places the DBHA’s overall performance rating as High.

B. Attachment “2” – January 21, 2011 Public Housing Assessment System Score was 84 out of 100, with Management scoring 30 out of 30 and Financial scoring 27 out of 30.

C. Attachment “3” – February 1, 2011 HUD On-Site Monitoring Report January 26-27, 2011 indicated that there were no issues concerning the ARRA funds.

D. Attachment “4” – February 4, 2011 Limited Procurement Review.

E. Attachment “5” – Most recent Audit of the Deerfield Beach Housing Authority, done by a CPA firm that is familiar with auditing Housing Authorities and is capable of auditing Housing Authorities.
2. Over the past 21 years, the DBHA has consistently benefitted the City of Deerfield Beach by providing affordable housing to residents of Deerfield Beach. In addition to fulfilling all of its other obligations, the DBHA as recently as 2008 brought a major affordable housing project success to Deerfield Beach with the Palms of Deerfield Beach Town Homes, a sophisticated complex venture utilizing 4% tax credits and low-income credit tax bonds. It was DBHA’s skill and innovation along with positive cooperation of a number of governmental agencies that was responsible for bringing 56 Affordable Housing Units (townhomes) to Deerfield Beach in project known as Palms of Deerfield Beach Town Homes (it is noted and appreciated the cooperation given at that time by the City, including the Deerfield Beach Building Department cooperation).

3. The DBHA Properties:

A. DBHA owns and operates Stanley Terrace, a 96 unit family housing complex,

B. DBHA owns and operates The Palms, a 100 unit elderly housing complex.

[Because low cost housing is provided, tenant revenues account for only 9.16% of the DBHA income (as indicated above, 88.88% of DBHA funding comes from HUD)].

C. DBHA also manages the 56 unit Palms of Deerfield Beach Town Homes.

D. The DBHA also administers 481 Housing Choice Vouchers (previously referred to and still commonly referred to as “Section 8 Housing”).
4. The DBHA also:

A. DBHA runs the Family Self-Sufficiency Program.

B. DBHA is a certified Housing Counseling Agency, which benefits the City in the City’s efforts to assist for first time homebuyers. DBHA has been successful in obtaining grant resources for self-sufficiency and family and children service programs.

C. Owns and operates the Business Skills Center.
5. The activities of the DBHA are responsible for bringing Money and Jobs to Deerfield Beach as a result of the construction work from funding resources.

The Board of Commissioners of Deerfield Beach Housing Authority consists of Citizen Volunteers giving for free to the Community

6. The Board of Commissioners of the Deerfield Beach Housing Authority are citizen volunteers who freely give their time and efforts to the community in providing through the DBHA affordable housing to those in need and access to self-sufficiency and community programs. These DBHA Commissioners work without compensation – they give of their time and effort to the community for free. And, for their efforts in assisting the community, Mayor Noland wrongfully smears them by publicly announcing that she plans on bringing charges against the entire DBHA Board of Commissioners because the Mayor lacks the backbone to stand up to Chaz Stevens’ bullying. Despite the DBHA reaching out to the Mayor and Commission, neither the Mayor nor any City Commissioner has shown any interest in meeting with the DBHA Executive Director or the DBHA Board. The DBHA Board of Commissioners are flesh and blood people who are in good faith performing their volunteer duties for free while being vilified by Chaz Stevens and the Mayor:

A. Keith Emery, Chairman, has devoted 19 years as a member of the Board, with 11 of those years as Chairman. Mr. Emery is President of CMS-Construction Management Services, Inc. His company has a thirty-two year history in Deerfield Beach. The motivation behind Mr. Emery’s dedication in devoting his time and construction expertise as a citizen volunteer stems from his concern for promoting the development of self-sufficiency in individuals with limited resources. His primary focus is providing to those less fortunate affordable housing and new opportunities for success. Chairman Emery's expertise in construction has been instrumental in all aspects involving the facilities of the DBHA, including his tireless efforts in the development of the Palms of Deerfield Beach Town Homes. It is rare that a local volunteer Board has the good fortune to have someone with Mr. Emery’s construction expertise that is so crucial to the DBHA, and it would be a serious long-term loss to the DBHA and community to remove him from the Board.

B. Richard Sales, Vice Chairman, served as DBHA Commissioner from 2001 through 2005, and was reappointed in May of 2007. A member of the local business community since 2000, he is the owner of Reflections Printing in Deerfield Beach. In addition to Mr. Sales’ community volunteer activity as a Board member, Mr. Sales has also supported Deerfield Beach by his involvement with the Deerfield Beach Chamber of Commerce, NE Focal Point and Deerfield Beach High School’s School Advisory Board.

C. Caryl Berner, Commissioner, was appointed to the Deerfield Beach Housing Authority in April of 2010. She has contributed to the community as a substitute teacher in the Broward County School System since moving to Florida. She devotes herself to many civic and governmental works. She has served as a volunteer on the Board of Master Management in Century Village East, was instrumental in having the City provide a no smoking beach area and working with City staff to institute a Casket Flag Ceremony to honor fallen heroes. She also serves as Chair of the CVE Walk-A-Thon in conjunction with the DB/LP Relay for Life to combat cancer. She is honored to serve the DBHA in their mission to advocate and provide quality of life and opportunities for success to individuals and families.

D. Lee Giannino, Commissioner, is a thirteen-year resident of the City of Deerfield Beach, and has served as DBHA Commissioner since January 2002. Despite his business being severely adversely affected by the national economic downturn, he still takes the time and effort in devoting himself to the mission of the DBHA. Mr. Giannino's other community involvement includes serving as a past Vice President and member of Crime-Stoppers for over ten years and serving on the Broward County Land Development Board.

E. Ernestine Gray, Commissioner, was appointed as Commissioner in June 2008. Ms. Gray has been Affordable Housing resident at the Stanley Terrace Apartments in good standing since 1998. She also currently serves as a board member of the Stanley Terrace Resident Council. Ms. Gray is active in doing her part to contribute to the community in improving the lives of others.

F. Dr. Alan Leavitt, Commissioner, is a sensitive caring chiropractic physician who is dedicated to providing professional care and treatment and in assisting his patient's in staying healthy. Dr. Leavitt is very supportive of the mission of the DBHA and devotes his volunteer time generously to it.
The DBHA Board of Commissioners are decent, well meaning people whose volunteer efforts should be appreciated by the Mayor and City Commissioners, rather than being the unfair objects of Chaz Stevens’ and the Mayor’s false statements. It is morally wrong for the Mayor to use her office to tarnish these volunteers’ reputations by saying she has legal cause to remove them from the DBHA Board.

Executive Director Pamela Davis has spent her career working towards assisting the economically disadvantaged.

A. Before becoming Executive Director in 1989, Pamela Davis had previous jobs assisting the poor in South Florida as an employee of Legal Aid of Broward County and as the Property Manager of the Boca Raton Housing Authority.

B. In 1989, over 21 years ago, the condition of the Housing Authority was a shambles:

- Broward County Health Department had violations against the Housing Authority for rat and insect infestation

- The City had health and safety issues concerning the Housing Authority

- The residents of Stanley Terrace were on a rent strike - The Housing Authority could not pay its current bills - The Housing Authority had no credit

- The Housing Authority had no reserves

- The Housing Authority had over $30,000 in indebtedness to Internal Revenue Service for non-payment of withholding taxes and Social Security taxes

- The renovation at Stanley Terrace was being mismanaged

- The Housing Authority only had 50 Section 8 vouchers that had not even been administered

- The Housing Authority had no resident initiatives
C. In 1989, Pamela Davis accepted the job as Executive Director and the daunting task of turning around the DBHA. Pam Davis has quietly and professionally administered the DBHA in an exemplary manner for the past 21 years with the direction of the DBHA Board of Commissioners and the oversight of HUD. Pam has never been involved in politics and has devoted herself to a career in which she believed that if she did her job satisfactorily, that was sufficient. Decency, hard work and competency by a good governmental administrator like Pam Davis should be valued, rather than having her career attacked by mean, vicious people. Chaz Stevens can lie and misrepresent, but it doesn’t change the truth, and the truth is with Pam Davis. Mayor Noland can believe and parrot the lies she is told by Chaz Stevens, but that does not make them true.
The Deerfield Beach Housing Authority addresses issues raised by Mayor Peggy Noland during her comments at the end of the June 21, 2011 Commission meeting (the DBHA had no idea that the Mayor was going to speak about the DBHA at that meeting, and only found out about the Mayor’s comments after the meeting had occurred):

7. The Deerfield Beach Housing Authority in good faith believes it has submitted to the City of Deerfield Beach those records requested by the City. The following documentation is attached:

A. Attachment “6” - May 28, 2010 letter with attachment from City to DBHA. This request was exceedingly voluminous and would have required review of voluminous records and redaction of information to insure that there was not a violation of Federal and State law concerning the privacy rights of tenants.

B. Attachment “7” – June 23, 2010 letter from City to DBHA. The significance of this letter and attachment is that it clearly states it is a REVISED RECORD REQUEST, thus the attachment to the June 23, 2010 letter became the operative record request, replacing the attachment to the May 28, 2010 letter.

C. Attachment “8” – emails from DBHA to City indicating the records being provided by DBHA to City. Please note the second to last page of Attachment 3 in which the DBHA advises the City that line item 5 that had previously not been provided would be provided on January 7, 2011. Also note that the last page of Attachment 3 indicates that line item 5 was available for pick up January 7, 2011. The DBHA never received anything further from the City indicating that the City desired any additional documents from the DBHA.
Based upon the above documentation, the DBHA in good faith believes that it provided the City with everything that the City requested. The DBHA believes that the Mayor has been misinformed concerning the DBHA not providing records that were requested, and she continues to repeat this misinformation.

The DBHA does not have any record of the City requesting any further documentation after January 7, 2011. The DBHA believes that there is no such documentation. Consequently, the DBHA requests that the City immediately provide the DBHA with what the City claims is written documentation to the DBHA after January 7, 2011 that indicates that the City desired additional documents that were never provided by DBHA. In the event that the City is able to provide such written documentation of such a written request by the City to the DBHA after January 7, 2011, the DBHA will apologize and immediately furnish pursuant to the DBHA’s public request procedures.

8. The City never provided the DBHA with the Kessler Report dated February 28, 2011 and the City never asked the DBHA for any comments concerning the report. After being advised of the Mayor’s comments at the end of the June 21, 2011 Commission meeting, the DBHA later that week obtained a copy of the report. DBHA promptly forwarded that Kessler Report to HUD. HUD and the Executive Director of the DBHA requested to meet with the Mayor, but the Mayor has refused to meet with the DBHA Executive Director and HUD as is discussed in the immediately following paragraph 9.

By the way, the February 28, 2011 Kessler Report contains a blatant lie by Kessler on page 10 of the Report, wherein Kessler states, “Although numerous records were requested by Kessler, DBHA did not supply these documents.” (Attachment “9”) Kessler never requested any records from the DBHA. The DBHA requests that the City demand from Kessler written documentation to back up his false claim that he (Kessler) requested records from the DBHA, because Kessler did not. It will be conclusively shown that Kessler never requested records from the DBHA. It is clearly stated in paragraph 7 immediately above that the City requested records from the DBHA and that history is provided in Attachments “6”, “7” and “8”. But that request was from the City, and those records requested from the City were in good faith provided as discussed in paragraph 7 immediately above. No documents were ever, I repeat: No documents were ever requested by Kessler to the DBHA, so Kessler is blatantly lying when he says he requested records from the DBHA that were not supplied.

Is the Mayor so determined to condemn the DBHA, its Board and its Executive Director that she will rely upon a lie from Kessler falsely claiming Kessler requested records from the DBHA? Will the Mayor accept the fact the DBHA in good faith supplied the City with all documents the City requested of the DBHA and that the City never after January 7th requested additional documents or indicated what, if any, records the City had requested that had not been supplied?

9. DBHA has requested meetings with the Mayor, but the Mayor refuses to meet with the DBHA.

- Executive Director Pam Davis met with City Manager Burgess Hanson on March 31, 2011 and June 29, 2011 in order to improve communication between City and DBHA. The DBHA believes that the City Manager sincerely desires a good relationship between the City and DBHA. However, the City Manager is the Chief Administrator for the City, and not the Mayor or a City Commissioner.

- Attachment “10”: June 2, 2011, DBHA sends an email to City’s scheduling secretary for Mayor and Commissioners requesting opportunity to meet separately with Mayor and Commissioners. DBHA also requests that the Mayor and City Commissioners attend a “meet and greet” with the Board of Commissioners of the DBHA and the DBHA’s desire to provide the City Commission with an overview of the DBHA. The Mayor and City Commissioners never responded to that email.

- Attachment “11”: June 29, 2011 letter with attachments from Chairman of DBHA to the City Manager very briefly addressing the issues that the Mayor raised at the end of the June 21, 2011 Commission meeting, and requesting that the Mayor and Commissioners meet with the DBHA Executive Director. That letter has never been responded to.

- July 6, 2011, the Executive Director contacted the Mayor requesting a meeting with the DBHA Executive Director and HUD. The Mayor refused such a meeting, claiming that she (the Mayor) will not meet since there has been a presently pending request for an Inspector General evaluation. Obviously, the DBHA and HUD cannot force the Mayor to meet.

Kessler’s February 28, 2011 Report is Not an Audit.

10. As pointed out above, the DBHA is overseen by HUD, which provides 88.88% of DBHA’s funding (9.16% funding from Tenant Revenue; 1.78% from other revenue; .18% from interest). The City acknowledges that the City does not have the legal right, power or authority to do an audit of the DBHA.

Yet the City Commission in this time of extreme fiscal constraints wasted taxpayer money in the approximate amount of $30,000 (the exact amount will be known through a public record request by the DBHA general legal counsel to the City of Deerfield Beach) to have Kessler do a report, not an audit, concerning the DBHA, despite the fact that the DBHA is under the supervision of HUD and despite the fact that the HUD has a huge stake in the funding of the DBHA.

The situations involving investigation of the Mango Festival, in which the City spent considerable funds, or an investigation of City departments, which are under the direct authority, supervision and control of the City are far different than the City wasting precious taxpayer dollars on a superficial report from a non-CPA of an independent Housing Authority. The DBHA is overwhelming funded by HUD, overseen by HUD, has inspections and evaluations done by HUD and annually has an audit by a Florida CPA firm that is both experienced in HUD audits and can do HUD audits. It simply made no reasonable economic sense to waste City taxpayer dollars on a private individual’s (Chaz Stevens’ bizarre obsession).

KESSLER DID NOT DO AN AUDIT. Kessler cleverly uses words – he does not purport to do an “audit” yet Kessler freely allows others to mis-describe what he does as an “audit”, knowing that Kessler’s superficial work product is not an “audit.”

Kessler Has Serious Impartiality and Credibility Issues.

11. There are serious impartiality and credibility issues with Kessler. The City Commission has known about Kessler’s serious impartiality and credibility issues since at least as early as June 2010. I provided written documentation to the Mayor and Commissioners concerning the below subparagraphs in June 2010 (except for subparagraph “C” which happened after June 2010, but was predictable in light of Kessler’s lack of impartiality and credibility). And, the City had the opportunity to obtain additional information from its own due diligence. Yet despite this knowledge, the Mayor and City Commission allowed Kessler to continue on his report and paid Kessler Deerfield Beach taxpayer funds in the approximate amount of $30,000 (the exact amount will be known through a public record request of the City of Deerfield Beach) for Kessler’s worthless superficial February 28, 2011 “Report”. The City has never contested, challenged or contradicted the following facts:

A. Kessler is not a CPA. Attachment “12” is information from New York State listing Certified Public Accountants. Michael Kessler’s name is absent. Michael G. Kessler is also not listed as a CPA in Florida. It is the belief of the DBHA that if the City Commission truly wanted an impartial audit, it would have selected one of the many capable Florida CPA firms who do audits or a CPA firm that has experience in auditing Housing Authorities, rather than a destructive small private investigation company located in Long Island, New York.

B. Kessler’s website and self-promotion as it existed at the time Kessler obtained his contract with the City was intentionally misleading. Attachment “13” shows Kessler’s website in June 2010 indicating that “Kessler International” had far sweeping prestigious Office location addresses in Class “A” offices both nationally and internationally. Attachment “14” is a composite Attachment showing how these offices are really a phony façade to give the misleading impression of a large international firm with prestige office locations throughout the country and world. The impressive photographs of Kessler office locations are in reality “mailbox locations” where Kessler does not really conduct regular business. Included in Kessler’s farce of “mail box” locations are Kessler’s alleged “World Headquarters” at Rockefeller Plaza and, of significance to Deerfield Beach, a Brickell Avenue, Miami location.

C. Kessler’s company is so unprofessional and fawning over Chaz Stevens that Kessler further tarnished itself as a credible company by creating a vanity award for Chaz Stevens named “The Chaz Award.” Further substantiation of the serious lack of impartiality and credibility is that in October 2010 Kessler formed a corporation in which both Kessler and Chaz Stevens are on the Board of Directors – this was formed during the same period that Kessler was preparing his report concerning the DBHA that was finalized and issued as the February 28, 2011 Kessler Report. What rational person would believe that Kessler could be impartial and credible when Kessler is so close to Chaz Stevens? The answer is: no one. What credible and impartial company would so intertwine itself with someone like Chaz Stevens while preparing a report involving an Agency in which Chaz Stevens has such an obsessive hatred? Answer: no impartial and credible company.
Do the Mayor and City Commission believe that in light of the above that the public or the DBHA Board of Commissioners were unreasonable in not believing that Kessler would do an unbiased and fair “audit” or report concerning the DBHA?

Chaz Stevens is a Negative Force seeking to destroy the DBHA, its Board and Executive Director.


12. Chaz Stevens is a negative force seeking to destroy the DBHA, its Board of Commissioners and Executive Director. Chaz Stevens’ public writings disqualify him from serving on any public Board:

A. Chaz Stevens has referred to Mayor Noland as a “cunt”, “Twat” and “Twatster” (see Attachments “15” and “16”).

B. Chaz Stevens has referred to Congressman West as, among other things, “Douche nozzle.” (see attachment “17”)

C. Chaz Stevens publicly taunts DBHA Executive Director saying, “Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on your way out.” (see Attachment “18”) and publicly taunts the Executive Director with criminal references like, “DBHA Director Davis Off to Jail?” (see Attachment “19”)

D. Chaz Stevens publicly speaks about Pam Davis in racist and criminal terms. Attached as Attachment “20” is an excerpt from Chaz Stevens’ blog “MOAS (“My Acts of Sedition”) of July 10, 2011, in which Chaz Stevens says the following (emphasis supplied):

Bullshit. Davis has been reading my emails. I hope she took the time to read the Kessler report (though it’s not in eubonic)…

Stevens goes on to reference: “… the clinking sound of handcuffs going around Davis’ wrist.”

Attachment “21” is the Urban Dictionary’s definition of “eubonics”: The supposed way black people speak.

E. Despite knowing the vulgarity of Chaz Stevens, around the same time period as the City Commission was voting to unwisely misuse City taxpayer funds for Kessler to do a report of the DBHA, in a 3-2 vote at the request of Mayor Noland, City Commissioners ratified her appointment of Chaz Stevens as a member of the Board of Commissioners of the DBHA (Vice Mayor Popelsky is commended for his strong opposition against Chaz Stevens being appointed to the DBHA Board of Commissioners).
Any reasonable person would have seen the placing of such a negative person on a public board as an indication by the Mayor and City Commissioners of a disrespect and contempt of the DBHA as well as sending a message to our children and young adults that such behavior is tolerable to the elected officials of Deerfield Beach because such behavior does not disqualify Chaz Stevens from being named to a public Board.

Would any rational person want their daughter, sister or wife working for an entity where this vulgar bully Chaz Stevens was one of her bosses? Of course not.

Would any reasonable person think that it was a responsible exercise of public policy for a Mayor to name and a Commission to ratify placing on a public Board a person to a public board who has such an unhealthy obsession with female genitalia name calling such as “cunt”, “Twat”, “Twatster” and “Douche nozzle” in referring to public officials? Of course not. Yet, knowing the despicable behavior of Chaz Stevens, the Mayor and City Commissioners placed Chaz Stevens on the DBHA Board anyway. Chaz Stevens resigned from the DBHA Board soon after his appointment.

Deerfield Beach Housing Authority will comply with Inspector General evaluation.

13. The Mayor refuses to meet with the Executive Director of the Housing Authority and HUD because she claims she cannot meet because there is an anticipated Inspector General evaluation. Of course, the Deerfield Beach Housing Authority will fully cooperate with the Inspector General. The Inspector General has proper authority and jurisdiction over the DBHA and whatever decisions it determines appropriate concerning the Housing Authority.

Conclusion.

14. It is hoped that since the Mayor refuses to meet with HUD and the Executive Director of the Deerfield Beach Housing Authority while she awaits the results of the Inspector General evaluation, that the Mayor and City Commissioners will not act prematurely in wrongfully judging the DBHA Board and/or Executive Director guilty before the Inspector General’s evaluation, especially in light of the facts presented in this letter and attachments demonstrating the misunderstanding the Mayor has concerning true facts. Of course, the Mayor and City Commissioners have the power to engage in a Stalinist show trial and wrongfully prematurely condemn the entire DBHA Board as the Mayor threatened on June 21st. But, perhaps there might be a glimmer of thought given to the public purpose of such a blatant sham, and the long-term negative consequences to the City of such reckless and imprudent action. Since the Mayor wanted an Inspector General evaluation and she has gotten her wish, she should at least wait for the results of that evaluation.

Thank you for your courtesy in reading this letter and attachments.

Sincerely,

TOM CONNICK

cc: Congressman Allen West
Keith Emery, Chairman of DBHA
Richard Sales, Vice Chairman of DBHA
Caryl Berner, Commissioner of DBHA
Lee Giannino, Commissioner of DBHA
 Ernestine Gray, Commissioner of DBHA
Dr. Alan Leavitt, Commissioner of DBHA
Pamela Davis, Executive Director of DBHA
William G. Crawford, Jr., Esquire, co-counsel for DBHA on this special matter and general legal counsel for DBHA
Burgess Hanson, City Manager
Andy Maurodis, City Attorney
Ada Graham Johnson, City Clerk

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Ouch, that hurt!

I just received a shiny "Water Quality Report" notice from the City of Deerfield Beach, printed in full color on 11x17 glossy paper. According to a quick Google price check it cost well over $1,500 to print and who knows how much to mail to every house. This is a slap in the face to everyone the city laid off and everyone who is now going to have to pay a utility tax because the city needs the money. 

This could be printed on copy paper and included in the water bill. I don’t need to see the smiling faces of our commissioners and a sunset over Deerfield Beach in full color when reading about the fecal coliform contamination of our water supply.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Should Deerfield Beach Fire\Rescue Department go to BSO?

Below are residents’ answers to the questions:

What do you think the pros and cons are of the Deerfield Beach Fire\Rescue Department moving to the Broward County Sheriff (BSO)? Are you in favor of the move or not? (As more answers come in they will be posted)

 • I believe it will be the same employees so that is ok, no one looses their job. AND if it gets rid of the Fire Assessment, that it is a GOOD thing!! D.A.

• YES, it is a great move! It will save Deerfield Beach a lot of money both now and, what's even more important, in the future too. Let’s do it. Thanks for asking. J.H.

• I am very concerned about turning over more than 50% of our budget to BSO. While there are claims of savings for the first few years, these may be eclipsed in the near future by increases in BSO costs we will have virtually no control over. As we know, once you turn your fire or police over to BSO, it is extremely expensive to bring them back as city employees. The only way I would consider doing this is with a 10 year contract that would specify the number of officers we would have per thousand residents and hold the annual increases in our cost to a certain percentage. If my memory serves me right, the police BSO contract we had did have a maximum % increase that was allowed. I think the contract term was three or five years. My concern is also that BSO is under control of the county. If they tell BSO you have to cut the budget as they did last year, we have virtually no say in how BSO determines where to make the cuts. I think we need figure out how to reduce the cost of our fire department and keep them as city employees. The vast majority of our fire fighters do not live in Deerfield. So from their perspective, they probably want to go wherever the pay, working conditions, pension and advancement opportunities are the best. As for getting additional use of high tech equipment if we go to BSO, I believe we can use this now, if we really need it. I cannot really think of any good reason to do this unless we actually save a lot of money over an extended period of time. P.M.

• I have changed my mind several times on this subject. The only thing I feel strongly about is that it should not be "voted on" by the public. We have elected officials for a reason. The big "con" is the lack of home rule and the fact that DB would have all of its "eggs" in the BSO basket. In the middle, is the thing that you always hear me talking about; what are the hard numbers? The savings need to be greater than just turning our equipment into cash. Having spent some time looking into what is happening is other parts of the country I feel that taking an early step towards regionalization is the only thing that makes sense. That is therefore the big "pro". At the end of the day I come down on the side of reducing our budget and going with BSO AS LONG AS THERE ARE SOME VERY SERIOUS SAVINGS. S. P.

• I previously voted to not move forward with the consolidation. My confidence in our City government has diminished to the point that I trust the County more than our elected officials. H.A.

• I support the move to BSO and believe that the die was cast years ago when the commission passed generous pension increases the city can't afford to pay. D.G.

• Sheriff Lamberti was not fair to the FireFighters that are currently employed with BSO. Ask their Union President. K

• In favor S. J.

• I still haven't decided. I still think we are still over staffed. J.Z.

• I am not really in favor of it…And I am concerned about what the Sheriff’s department may try to do and actually do to our parking lot behind the fire station. I doubt they will leave it as is. I highly suspect that they will make changes that diminish our use of our publically owned land. The Broward County Sheriff’s Department has grown so large! We would be just another notch on their gigantic corporate-like bed post. They will almost certainly call for renovations to our existing facility. Who’s going to pay for that? Not the Broward County Sheriff’s Dept. I’m sure. In this initial; round of negotiations, has this been discussed? M.B.

• It depends on the service lose/gain and our cost$$$ up/down. C.M.

• I know at least two firemen and their families who are for the move. I have been told that it will save the city money and they have contracted for the same level of service. That will be proven correct or not as time goes on. I guess that means I am for it.
(However, I am currently working on trying to stop a Detox facility from being located adjacent to the Cove neighborhood. We are looking for support and ideas for the July 7th planning meeting. The neighborhood had a meeting last week at the Old School house which was well attended. Way more people than chairs. Even our Mayor and District 1 Councilman were present, both very last minute additions. Joe Miller says he has proposed banning FUTURE operations from being located in residential areas and has said privately that he did not understand what he was voting for last year when the council amended the zoning to allow this (Unanimous approval, no discussion in minutes). Frankly, I think if it isn’t a good idea for the future, then it isn’t a good idea now either. The proposed location is the building that used to house “Reel Smokers World” on Federal. This property butts up to family residences with no security proposed. I would really like to give you more info, get ideas that your readers would like to share and get the word out to as many people as possible to attend the Zoning and Planning meeting July 7th. Which was moved yesterday to the Old School house. I guess we will have to bring our own chairs. http://www.facebook.com/pages/No-Detox-Facility-in-Our-Neighborhood/227225527305046 ) M. S.
• Don't know enough about it to have an opinion. E. M.

• The City could do a better job and and create a greater cost-savings than a BSO merger ever could. D.C.

• I think turning over more than 50 percent of the City’s Budget is a problem. I also think that this issue should go to referendum so that the Voters will have a say. The Mayor was told by the city attorney that she could vote on the BSO Merger, but I don’t understand why, when there is definitely a conflict of interest on her part. Commissioner Popelsky said that he believes in home rule, but wants to see the figures in the contract before he makes a decision. I think Commissioner Popelsky is correct about seeing the figures and hopefully the contract proposal will be open to the public, so both the commissions and the Public are more enlightened about this possible Merger. M. H.

• PLEASE talk to the Fire Fighters UNION chiefs they have a huge story to tell! Then ask the Fire Fighters that work for the City (all of them) and get their input!  K.

• Great move, this should save the ccity a little more money.  E.J.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Scenic Highway Video

This video is just out, showing the Scenic Highways in Florida, I was on the committee to get A1A in Broward Coundy designated as a Scenic Highway, it took YEARS of documentation and paperwork.  Recently it was accepted by the state.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVw5ouyrFlY

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

It's Working!! The Cove Shopping Center is Lookin' Good!

It’s WORKING!! Redoing the Cove Shopping Center parking lot is attracting upgrades and new businesses exactly as area residents predicted when the parking lot fix-up was first proposed many years ago.

Fixing up the center was a priority for Pam Militello when she was elected to the commission. She worked to make the center what the residents and businesses wanted. After many meetings and workshops and proposals, a plan evolved.

Getting the plan off the ground took much too long, cronyism and politics reared their ugly little heads. It took much too much fighting with the commission to get the peoples’ will done, but finally the Cove is starting to look better. And the predicted is happening.

The Station House Restaurant started things off; their Key West style building set the tone for the rest of the center. A couple of the existing businesses took advantage of the CRA funds for façade upgrades and painted and added some Key West type touches. The 2 Georges Restaurant has applied for a CRA façade improvement incentive with plans to do a really spectacular re-do.

At Tuesday’s CRA meeting a discussion of the problem with new businesses and allotted parking showed the city looking to make things easier for new businesses moving in, and we heard about a proposed new upscale Italian Restaurant.

In spite of the gloom and doom of the naysayers, including our mayor, the Cove Shopping Center will soon not only look better, but it will have businesses that will attract many visitors and will be a “destination” in Deerfield Beach.

Let me say a loud, I TOLD YOU SO!!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Vote on BSO Use

I was wrong when I stated that the intent of the charter provision about a vote on city property was restricted to city property going to developers. The intent is to have voter control over the USE of the property, and having BSO, not the City of Deerfield Beach, use the facilities should trigger a vote. I am strongly in favor of the issue going to the voters. I also think that the voters deserve a complete disclosure of what the BSO proposal will entail now and in future years.

My feeling about the merger has not changed. I am against giving BSO control over what now is 52% of our budget, and who knows to what the percent will grow in future years. The voters of the city have the right to say what should be done with property they own, WE deserve to decide.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

BSO Merger

Seeing Joe Miller forcefully stand up for his position was almost worth the agony of the long drawn out session Tuesday evening. It gave me a glimmer of the person he could be if he continues to think for himself with his constituents in mind, and stops trying so hard to make the commission into one happy family.

Marty Popelsky won the evening with his clear thinking about the BSO proposal. He was absolutely right to question the amount of savings the merger would bring, and to want to move forward with the proposal to see the hard numbers. His reasoning was spot on. We need to see the numbers and get a complete understanding of what a merger would entail. We should know all the pros and cons. No one, neither the commission nor the public, in the event of a vote, can make a decision without seeing the proposal.

I agree with Bill Ganz that voting on the property use (which would be,  in effect,  a vote yes or no to merge with BSO) is a good idea, but I was persuaded by the argument by the city manager and the city attorney that the intent of the original referendum was not to prevent the city from allowing governmental use of the buildings. The intent was to prevent city owned property from being leased or sold to developers without the approval of the voters.

I know the budget crisis calls for innovative fund raising ideas. But, I still think giving the sheriff long term control over 52% of our budget is a mistake. Marty said he is a fan of home rule, again I agree with him.

(To watch the video of the discussion go to: http://deerfieldbeach.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=2
click on June 7, video and scroll down on the agenda items to agenda item #26)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Cheaper Isn't Always Better

Should we merge our fire/rescue with BSO? This proposal worries me. I say NO, NO, a couple of million times NO. This is purely a money saving decision and will prove to be penny wise and pound foolish. We will save money this year and maybe next, and then the upward spiral will start, by the time we realize this was a bad decision, it will be too late and we will be stuck if we want to change anything.

In yesterday’s paper we saw a report of disgraced Sheriff Jenne’s plush office furnishings, part of our police costs went to furnish that palace; do we want to add our fire budget to this kind of abuse? The new sheriff may be better, but what about future sheriffs? What about negotiations for salary, what if we want to go in a different direction with the makeup of the fire department. CONTROL will be out of our hands. What would happen, for example if down the line we want to separate the fire from the rescue, or add trained volunteers to cut down costs? If we are with BSO those possibilities would be impossible. What if we decide we need more coverage and in an improving economy we want to expand, if the sheriff says no, that’s it. We will have lost control.

BUT, the most compelling reason for not merging is if we have BSO for both police and fire, OVER 50% of our yearly budget, EVERY YEAR, will be controlled by the sheriff, we will be handcuffed to whatever budget he comes up with. We will have no control over salaries etc. Will the savings continue? Or, is this a low ball figure which will go higher and higher as the years go by? I heard that Lake Worth is regretting their switch to PBSO and now cannot afford the upfront costs to go back to a city managed force.

When the referendum is on the ballot to vote yes or no to allow the BSO to use our fire/rescue facilities I intend to vote NO.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

RIP Growth Management

Listen closely....I think I hear a bugle playing "Taps" for Florida.

(Graphic thanks to http://eyeonmiami.blogspot.com/2011/05/i-cant-say-how-i-feel-with-words-by.html)



June 3, 2011


An obituary for Florida Growth Management
http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/editorials/an-obituary-for-florida-growth-management/1173456


By Times Wire

Growth management, an imperfect but noble effort to protect Florida from selfishness and greed, died Thursday (June 2, 2011). The cause of death was legislation passed by a Legislature lacking perspective and signed into law by Rick Scott, a new governor ignorant of the state's history and indifferent about its future. . Growth Management was 26 years old. The agency that oversaw it, the now-vanquished Department of Community Affairs, is survived by a handful of relatives not up to carrying on the mission: water management districts decimated by spending cuts; regional planning councils and similar agencies with little authority; and county commissions with neither the will nor the vision to stand up to developers.

Born in 1985, Growth Management was supported in its youth by governors and legislators from both political parties who looked beyond the next election and were determined to keep Florida from strangling itself. The state had been growing wildly for decades, with local governments unwilling to say no to sprawling subdivisions, strip shopping centers and other commercial de-velopments of all shapes and sizes. Huge chunks of undeveloped land disappeared almost over-night, traffic jams became routine, and overcrowded schools became suburban fixtures. Flori-dians feared their slice of paradise was being lost.

Growth Management was an ambitious attempt to bring some sanity to the mad rush to pave over Florida. It required cities and counties to plan for growth, determine where and how much devel-opment would be permitted, and forecast how roads, utilities and other services would be paid for to accommodate it all. Most important, the 1985 law gave the state the authority to approve or reject those plans. And under a concept called concurrency, developers eventually were forced to help pay for new roads, schools and parks to accommodate the growth their projects generat-ed. In the late '80s and early '90s, Growth Management was a given. The question was how to pay for it. Florida never resolved that question, and now the state has given up on the very idea of managing growth.

A proud legacy

Before its demise, Growth Management claimed many successes. Taxpayers did not get stuck with the entire bill for public expenses created by private development. Communities planned better. Many developments moved forward after being redesigned, such as the West¬shore area in Tampa. The state appropriately overruled counties that embraced such shortsighted schemes as allowing development closer to the Everglades in Miami-Dade County, dredging a state aquatic preserve to accommodate a marina and hotel in Taylor County, and building hundreds of condos on a mobile home park site on a barrier island in Palm Beach County.

Yet the empty shopping centers, backlog of housing and clogged roads are clear evidence that Growth Management did not choke off development. In fact, over the last four years the De-partment of Community Affairs approved changes to county plans to allow for more than 1 mil-lion new residential units and 2.7 billion square feet of commercial development. With the eco-nomic recession and the collapse of the housing market, much of that capacity has yet to be built.

Growth Management had powerful enemies: developers who did not want to pay their fair share; legislators who railed against government regulation; local officials who were too cozy with builders and land-use lawyers. Tom Pelham, who served as secretary of the Department of Community Affairs under two Republican governors and deserves a medal for his commitment to saving Florida, was all but hung in effigy. In the final years, Pelham was the first to acknowl-edge regulations could be overhauled to more fairly assess road costs and better steer develop-ment to urban areas. Rather than fix Growth Management, opponents seized on the economic recession as an opportunity to kill it.

The painful end

Growth Management had been on life support for months as legislators, developers and business groups shamefully repackaged a visionary effort to save Florida into a demon to be slain. Gov. Charlie Crist signaled the beginning of the end in 2009 when he signed the precursor to this year's death sentence. Scott demonized Growth Management as he campaigned for governor last year, and he joined state lawmakers this year in claiming less regulation will create more jobs. They said virtually nothing about creating a quality of life - clean water, clear roads, good schools, nice parks - needed to attract and keep businesses and workers.

A last-ditch plea for a reprieve by former Democratic Gov. Bob Graham, who signed the 1985 legislation into law, and Republican environmentalist Nat Reed failed to sway Scott. Now the state has given up virtually all of its oversight of development and its authority to require devel-opers to help pay for roads, schools and parks. Local governments can pretty much do as they please. Florida has turned the clock back three decades.

Growth Management died quietly. There were no bill-signing ceremonies or front-page headlines to mark its passing. But for Floridians who care about the future of their state, the loss is devas-tating.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Corruption Chart


Click on the title above to see which public and Broward County officials are under investigation or serving prison sentences

Monday, May 30, 2011

It's a Mystery

I don’t know Chaz Stevens, but I know what he has done. I also don’t know why he does what he does, it would take a psychotherapist to figure that out; but the results of his actions are clear.

Constructively he is going after corruption; destructively he has disgusting things to say about everyone except himself who tries to do or write anything about Deerfield Beach. On the one hand he excoriates people for not joining him in his jihad (help he doesn’t really want and would reject if offered) and then criticizes them for what they do.

This Timmy-Come-Lately’s brand of “schadenfreude” (It is not enough that I succeed, you must also fail) is damaging in many ways to the people of Deerfield Beach; especially in discouraging anyone who might want to run for office.

Only a few people care enough about the city to go to commission meetings, to run for office, or to write about the goings on. These few voices have kept watch on our Commission for years, reporting and reacting to what they see, they have made a big difference in the transparency of how our city is run. We have come a long way from the days, not so many years ago, of all business being done behind closed doors prior to each meeting.

These people are to be praised and encouraged, not ridiculed and discouraged. Agree with them or not, the brave few, from the raging granny with the guts to speak her mind week after week, the OSOBs who keep a watch on overdevelopment, a passionate young man, David, who is learning by trial and error, how best to stand up for his beliefs, bloggers Wayne and Jeff, to Arnold, Marge, Pam, Jean, Beulah, Kathy, Joan, Tom, Caryl, David, Jerry, and others, as Peggy puts it, “The same 5 people who go to all the meetings” (many more than 5, but not a crowd) now have to put up with accusations developed from a fertile imagination and being called nitwits, turds, fat, ugly, old and much, much worse.

For what sin? What have they done to deserve this treatment? These are private individuals whose only crime was to come to the attention of Stevens by having an opinion or to publically voice that they had never heard of him, or to ignore him, or support someone whom he is going after.

So what? You say. Well for me, nothing, I will continue to watch and report. If I see, what to me are bad projects I will do what I have done for over 12 years, stir the pot. Save some green space here and some trees there. I am not a nitwit and I have never claimed to be a genius but I will stack my IQ against Stevens’ any day of the week, and nothing a sociopath calls me can change my opinion of myself.

But I have heard others say they will never again speak out in public, or write a letter to the editor, or consider running for office or go to or speak up at commission meetings because of him. That is his devastation. That is just wrong.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Dear Deerfield Beach Mayor and Commissioners:

There is no doubt in my mind that if you decide to have BSO take over the fire/rescue department you must hold a referendum to approve their use of the city owned facilities. It is very clear in the Charter.

The Deerfield Beach Charter (Section 7.09.) covers a mandated referendum on public property worth more than $750,000 in the case of: “Sale, gift, trade, transfer or lease”. The wording in the charter that makes a vote necessary if BSO takes over the fire/rescue operations is: “Lease is defined as a contract for possession or use of real property.”
Just in case your thinking is “We’re going to do this anyway and let someone try to stop us.” I must say that is not a wise course of action. Very likely there will be a lawsuit brought if the city tries to allow BSO to use the facilities without following the Charter provision.

I assume that a suit will cost more to defend than an election which could be relatively inexpensive if done by mail. Costs aside, think of the results of entering into a contract with BSO, followed by the inevitable lawsuit. The city would undoubtedly lose the suit, forcing a referendum. Think of the mess if the voters refuse to allow the use after already having a signed contract with BSO.

You already have residents up in arms about the possibility of the Commission making this decision without public input, legally mandated or not. The last time the city was deliberating a move to BSO, following the direction of the charter, a referendum, asking if the voters favored allowing the city owned properties to be used by BSO, was voted down. The important impact of that vote was not just the yes or no vote, but that there was a vote at all. Clearly the legal opinion was that it was needed, as it is in the current case.

If the commission votes that they would like to switch to BSO, let the voters have the information that convinced you. Let’s have the pros and cons, spell out your reasons. And then let us vote. It’s the law, and even more important, it’s the right thing to do.

Bett Willett
Co-president, Original Save Our Beach Committee

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Why We Need a Vote on the Fire/rescue BSO Proposal.

The Deerfield Beach Charter (Section 7.09.) covers a mandated referendum on public property worth more than $750,000 in the case of: “Sale, gift, trade, transfer or lease”. The wording in the charter that makes a vote necessary if BSO takes over our fire/rescue operations is: “Lease is defined as a contract for possession or use of real property.”

That’s pretty clear, if BSO is going to use our firehouses which are surely worth over $750,000 there has to be a referendum vote by the Deerfield Beach voters.

The last time that question was up for a vote a vast majority of voters turned the idea down. Now, the proposal is being considered again and considering the savings to the city, the vote might be different.

Yes or NO? It is certain that the move is only being considered to save money.

Concerns that have been raised are that if both fire and police are handled by BSO, over 52% of our budget will be controlled by the sheriff. We will have no control over salaries etc. Will the savings continue? Or, is this a low ball figure which will go higher and higher as the years go by? At lunch today I heard that Lake Worth is regretting their switch to PBSO and now cannot afford the upfront costs to go back to a city managed force.

So the jury is out, we need to go to the meetings and listen to the presentations by BSO, before we decide. This is a decision that needs more than a knee jerk decision.

Going with BSO will eliminate the possibility of getting creative and coming up with a different style of service with our fire and rescue in the future.

Staying with the city force may cost us millions.