Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Should the Deerfield Beach Commission be in Harmony? Nope.

Harmony? In each of the recent candidates’ forums lately we have heard a lot about harmony. The candidates were quizzed about how they would bring harmony to the dais. I’m pretty sure that is not what people really mean, I don’t think harmony is even a good thing among commissioners.

Let’s think about that a bit. Remember back a few terms ago when we had a commission that was in harmony about everything, votes were taken quickly and unanimously with almost no discussion. We had a commission of bobble-heads. It was a very rare event when the vote was anything other than 5-0. Was that a good thing? I think we can all look around and know it was not. We had to force them by referendum to restore the building codes they eliminated to favor developers. They were the ones who proposed giving the main beach parking lot to developers time after time. Only a lot of hard work by alert residents prevented our beach from becoming Coney Island complete with a massive pier banquet hall.

A commission should discuss issues long and hard; sometimes they need to be loud. They must investigate the ramifications of a proposal, discover who benefits from its passage, make big noise about taxpayers’ money expenditures, cross examine each other’s motives, make sure staff tells the whole story, and make damn sure that anything that is approved is what is good for the quality of life of Deerfield Beach.

Commissioners should NOT always be in harmony. The only harmony the commissioners should aim for is harmony with the desires of the people they represent. Personal cheap shots should be condemned sure, having to sit through meetings that are an hour longer than they need to be because of childish rants and other nonsense is what has people frustrated and calling for “harmony”. Grow up commissioners, it is not all about you, in fact it should not be anything about you, it is about the residents. Check out the dwindling number of people who attend meetings, guess why.

However, arguments about issues should be encouraged; Florida is a Sunshine Law state. The only place that the commissioners are allowed to discuss issues among themselves is on the dais so I say go for it. I look forward to more loud “discussion” about how to better our city.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Friday, February 4, 2011

Note from a Deerfield Beach Resident

Bett:  The last line of your post  should be read and heard all the time:

"The residents are the ones who matter, the residents are the ones who should set the agenda. The residents moved here because of the quality of life in Deerfield Beach and they should not take a back seat to tourists and events."

On the street where I live, we took a backseat to every parade that closed Hillsboro. They would actually detour them down our little street, tractor trailers and all. Finally Pam Militello became a commissioner and listened to me and the road was closed during parades. Now that Pam is gone :( I have to email the sheriff's Office every time there is a parade so they don't forget. It does not make me very happy that I have to do that, but I do.

Residents Redux!

The residents who attended last night’s (Thursday, 2/3) Deerfield Beach CRA public meeting were presented with the identical introduction by Keven Klopp, CRA Director as the previous meeting. (See the third post below)

Then residents spoke (to everyone, but especially to Keven and the commissioners who were in attendance).

People who were not at the last meeting spoke first and also emphasized NO PARKING GARAGE on the Main Beach Parking Lot. As at the first meeting the speakers were loudly applauded.

There were many others who cared enough to attend both meetings, who spoke again about improving the S curve, sprucing up the area, helping businesses in the cove with improvements, adding beach access points, buying Sullivan Park property and improving it, and other ideas, but mostly about the fear of a parking garage.

Generally the theme was enhance what we have, clean up the neighborhoods and put in curbs, sidewalks and landscaping. Improve the infrastructure. A suggestion to use CRA money to buy a show mobile by George Edwards went over very well. Dave Gravell spoke at length about not wanting a garage, and fixing up the side streets and the landscaping at the parking lot.

People did NOT want a permanent band shell. Many said the CRA should buy the old Riverview property at Sullivan Park; one mentioned buying the Chamber building.

Marge Hilton showed her parking lot photos which proved that even at the height of the season on a nice warm sunny day there were parking spots available at the lot. Keven quipped; “You saved the CRA the trouble of doing a parking study”.

Tom Connick asked that the CRA Board/Commission put to rest the fears of any building on the Main Beach Parking Lot, saying that the underlying uneasiness and lack of assurances from the city gets in the way of anyone thinking about other areas of the CRA. He stated that we need an unequivocal statement: “The city will not build on the Main Beach Parking Lot”.

I cannot see how the CRA Board could have missed the message; I look forward to the next CRA Board meeting and a vote not to build on the lot. Ever. Never.

I look forward to their vote to use some of the $5.8 million funds on hand to start on the suggested improvements now, and a plan to use CRA funds for infrastructure items in the CRA that would otherwise be funded by city money, thus freeing up money to benefit the rest of the city.

The residents are the ones who matter, the residents are the ones who should set the agenda. The residents moved here because of the quality of life in Deerfield Beach and they should not take a back seat to tourists and events. As one person said, “Sometimes you just want a quiet time at the beach”.