Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday April 29 is Arbor Day

"God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools."    ~John Muir


Rare Native Trees at Risk

Kathy Maggie writes about the plan to take out over 100 trees from the Hillsboro Boulevard median:
Per the cities landscape architects "Tree Report" there are 206 trees in the median. There are 76 Swietenia mahogani (Mahogany) in that total of which 29 are in good condition and will remain, 34 in good condition will be removed and 13 in poor condition will be removed. I will concede there are a few that do need to be removed. They all range an average height of 25 to 35' tall.

 I must note: having lived in Deerfield since 1960 and being a tree lover, knowing and understanding what they do for us, until I needed to research for this un-noticed to the public project, (editor's note, the project never had any public meetings or unput)  I never knew how rare this tree has become, nor, that Florida is the only place you can find them in the USA and narrowed even more with the fact they are only in Broward, Miami-Dade, Collier and Monroe Counties.

These Mahoganies are saturated throughout Deerfield, due to our prior City Forester, Zeke Landis and his dream of a canopy over our city which he created over 25 years ago. In his planting he was exact in his knowledge of what could take a storm and drought situations. What he planted all went thru the storms of 2004/2005 and today are beautiful again. Mr. Landis retired from the city due to illness and eventually passed away but the legacy he left us with, which is, the oxygen we breath and the shade that cools us, should not and can not be torn down.

Resident Shocked!

I moved to Parkland in '85 from The Keys and then to Deer Creek in '98...I have been on Hillsboro Blvd. virtually everyday for the past 26 years.

When I heard of the city's plan of removing 126 trees I was in shock! I volunteer to be one of 126 individuals to Stand By My Tree when D day comes.

Jack

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Resident Speaks Up.

A lettter to Commissioner Joe Miller, one of the many that the city is receiving about the Hillsboro Blvd. tree slaughter.

Dear Joe:

In the last few days I have been reading, with amazement, the plan to cut down many of the beautiful flowering trees that line Hillsboro Blvd. As you probably already know, these trees were originally selected for planting along the boulevard because (1) they are beautiful, (2) they have maximum resistance to high (i.e. hurricane force) winds, and (3) they are native species. They were planted a long time ago and are now, finally, at maturity and have reached their most beautiful state.

It is a travesty to have the City of Deerfield Beach now propose to cut down these trees. We have one of the most beautiful thoroughfares in the area, and the proposal is to destroy that beauty and replant, once again, with other non-native species that will take years to mature. The Royal Palms that are suggested for re-planting are not native to Florida.

I strongly object to cutting of the flowering trees along Hillsboro Blvd. If the trees require trimming in certain areas to allow for better traffic visibility, then let them be trimmed. Also, traffic signs should be erected stating that no trucks should be allowed to travel in the left lanes unless they will be turning left at the next intersection. This will remove the objection that the trees obstruct the vision of truck drivers who are seated high in their cabs. It will also remove the possibility of semi-tractor-trailer trucks damaging the trees in pursuit of their commercial profits.

I realize that the tree cutting will not take place in your district. However, this is an opportunity to let your voice be heard to keep the entire community of Deerfield Beach beautiful. In the last election you told us how you were going to stand up for keeping Deerfield Beach as the beautiful, desirable place to live. This is your opportunity to do exactly that. Please stand up, be heard on this topic, and support retention of the flowering trees along Hillsboro Blvd.
Sincerely Yours,
Your constituent,
Joseph Dsida

A Glimmer of Hope for the Hillsboro Trees

I talked to Mayor Noland, Commissioner Miller and Commissioner Ganz after the CRA meeting on Tuesday. Those three stay late after the meeting, as during the meeting’s formal agenda we were told we couldn’t address anything not involving the CRA.

All three agreed to delay action on cutting the trees. The thinking seemed to be that no action has been taken since 2008 so a few more months to investigate wouldn’t hurt.

The often cited 2008 agreement, approved by Deerfield Beach’s Commission did not say any-thing about cutting all the trees. It stated the grant would be used for landscaping parts of Hillsboro Boulevard and to remove “DAMAGED” trees. Damaged, not healthy!

I knew it had to be something like that as Pam Militello was on the commission then and as sure as the sun rises over Deerfield Beach I know she would never have agreed to a plan to cut those trees.

On the city’s own spreadsheet, most of the trees are designated in “good” condition.

I have seen the 2008 agreement, and the current plan for the boulevard, but have not seen where that agreement to remove damaged trees turned into cutting down our entire mature tree canopy on the Hillsboro Blvd. median.

Now that we are promised a delay on the chain saw massacre perhaps we can get some right thinking planning which landscapes the median’s low bushes and ground cover, replaces the sick and spindly trees and keeps our healthy trees, including our beautiful oaks, the many majestic (wind resistant) mahoganies and those harbingers of summer, our signature yellow tabs.

My next door snowbird neighbor stopped by last evening and was so mad about the trees that she had called a group of her friends together to a breakfast at the beach this morning to talk about what they could do to save the trees. She especially said that everyone she knows loves the yearly blooming of the yellow tabs. You can be sure they will be calling city hall.

I heard a rumor that County Commissioner Kristin Jacobs has insisted that the plan be stopped pending an investigation. I hope that is true. Go Kristin!!!!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Letter to the Editor

Deerfield Beach is known for its beautiful Hillsboro Boulevard median trees, the canopy is one of the most mentioned features of Deerfield second only to the beach.

121 trees in the median of Hillsboro (the ones marked with yellow tape) are slated to be CUT DOWN. The mahogany and oak trees took decades to mature to their beautiful tall full canopied form.

The city’s rationale for this chain saw massacre is that the trees obstruct the visibility of tractor trailer trucks along Hillsboro Boulevard.

Deerfield Beach wants to cut down 71% of the live oaks, 59% of the mahoganies, and 100% of the geiger trees. Of the 121 trees the City of Deerfield Beach wants to remove, at least 56 or 46% are recommended "Wind Resistant Trees" according to the very publication the City cites as an authority. And all of the "Wind Resistant Trees" that the City wants to remove are also native species.

Yet of the 126 trees the City wants to use as replacements, only 52% are on the "Wind Resistant Tree" list, only if you consider Royal Palms as trees.

In summary, the City is planning to cut down 121 trees, and replace them with 126 trees (includ-ing palms), for a 6% net increase in Wind Resistant Trees.

The question of sight distance is not relevant because virtually all of the trees have canopies 5 feet or more above the sight line datum, which is consistent with DOT standards nor do the branches touch the trucks going by.

What is odd about this is the City says they applied specific criteria to determine which trees to cut and which trees not to cut, but the facts do not support their reasons.

Given this, how, in a county that is built out from ocean to the everglades can anyone justify allowing these majestic beauties fall to the chain saw?

Hillsboro Boulevard Trees Should Not Be Cut!!!

From the President of the Broward Sierra Club, Phil Busey:

The City of Deerfield Beach lists the publication "Assessing damage and restoring trees after a hurricane" by Edward F. Gilman of the University of Florida as an authority for tree removal and replanting.

Let us accept the City of Deerfield's use of that publication, as a recommendation for the following "Wind Resistant Species":
  •  Gumbo limbo, Bursera simaruba
  • Live oak, Quercus virginiana
  • Mahogany, Swietenia mahagoni
  • Geiger tree, Cordia sebestena
 Yet these recommended trees are substantially the tree species the City of Deerfield Beach wants to cut down.

Of the cited "Wind Resistant Trees" on the recommended list, Deerfield Beach wants to cut down 71% of the live oaks, 59% of the mahoganies, and 100% of the geiger trees. Of the 121 trees the City of Deerfield Beach wants to remove, at least 56 or 46% are recommended "Wind Resistant Trees" according to the very publication the City cites. And all of the "Wind Resistant Trees" that the City wants to remove are also native
species.
 
Yet of the 126 trees the City wants to use as replacements, only 52% are on the "Wind Resistant Tree" list, only if you consider Royal Palms as trees.
 
In summary, the City is planning to cut down 121 trees, and replace them with 126 trees (including palms), for a 6% net increase in Wind Resistant Trees.

The trees to be removed did survive the hurricanes of 2004 and 2005, and remain standing upright years later in good health, which is proof that the Gilman publication is correct, and these low wind resistant should be kept.

The question of sight distance is not relevant because virtually all of the trees have canopies 5 feet or more above the sight line datum, which is consistent with DOT standards.

 Repeatedly, the criteria that Deerfield Beach cites for removing trees, when examined, are arguments for not removing the trees.

Since the City indicated that they applied specific criteria to determine which trees to cut and which trees not to cut, you should ask them for the spreadsheet in which they listed the reason(s) on which they intended to cut each tree.



Monday, April 25, 2011

A look at Hillsboro Blvd.

Comment from the Broward Sierra Club Prez. with pictures and a short video link:

"The marked trees were generally in fairly good shape. Those with multiple leaders or with a low crown subject to contact with trucks, were probably pruned incorrectly, something that will not necessarily change with new trees."
Clink the link below, and choose "slide show" from the menu:  (Notice in the video that the tractor trailer has no trouble with the trees)

https://picasaweb.google.com/philipbusey/DeerfieldBeachTreeCutting?authkey=Gv1sRgCLb12ZPN-NTbPQ#

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Trees on Hillsboro Blvd. that will be axed

Just a few of the 120 or so trees that will be cut down.  Look closely and you will see the yellow tape on the trees, some have come partly off and are flapping in the breeze, maybe the axmen will miss those.

CLICK ON THE PICTURE FOR A LARGER VIEW:










Friday, April 22, 2011

Un-tie that YELLOW RIBBON from the old oak tree!!!!

All the trees in the median of Hillsboro that have the yellow tape around them will be CUT DOWN. Most of them are healthy and doing well. The oak trees took decades to mature to their beautiful tall full canopied form. As far as I am concerned there is no justification for this destruction.

A newspaper article by Betsy Roberts said: “During the next few weeks, Deerfield Beach will cut them down, as per a 2008 agreement with the Florida Department of Transportation. The reason, the state said, is that the trees obstruct the visibility of tractor trailer trucks along Hillsboro Boulevard. The trees will eventually be replaced by others that have been approved by the state.”

Let’s undo that agreement. Trim the trees. Restrict the trucks to the middle lane. SOMETHING!!!  The new trees will grow also, duh!!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Who's to Blame for Sylvia's Arrest?

When I heard about Commissioner Poitier’s arrest I thought that it was long past time for her to step down it is just a shame that it has to be this way.

District 2, deserves a representative who is actively involved in the entire city, someone who makes the residents proud of his/her behavior, someone who takes the time and effort to comprehend the agenda items and understand what is going on in the entire city, and who is a role model for residents. Sylvia, unfortunately, has not been that for quite a while. Sylvia has no one to blame but herself if her actions prove to be illegal.

True, until recently, elected officials could almost ignore the laws governing their actions. Capellini’s frequent trips to the boys’ room, when certain votes came up, is a prime example. Because of this lack of oversight, officials had almost no risk of being taken to task. This neglect led to a lot of abuse of power county wide and almost universal complacency among elected officials.

I think a couple of things combined recently to change this attitude of law enforcement neglect. Maybe it was the Feds taking jurisdiction and cracking down on bribery, (the Chait developers in Tamarac e.g.). That made the residents (voters) furious that it took the feds coming in to make arrests, so then County Attorney Satz, seeing the writing on the wall (elections coming up), nabbed some baddies, and started acting like someone who gives a damn.

Whatever it was, the time of winking at lobbyists giving bribes and ignoring commissioners voting for personal gain turned into a time of let’s nail the bastards. Finally residents’ complaints were taken seriously. Unlike a couple of years ago when I filed complaints, which went nowhere, recent filings have been investigated.

So, who’s to blame for Sylvia’s “troubles”? To be sure Chaz Stevens dug deep into transcripts and minutes to discover the most minute whiff of smoke, hoping to find a bonfire. But there should NOT have been anything to find. Not only does the state hand out its ethics code to every elected official, Deerfield Beach holds workshops which detail what may and may not be done. There is no excuse for anyone on our dais not knowing about conflict of interest, or sunshine laws or gifts and bribery laws. No excuse, none.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bribery 101

Today’s local Broward section of the Sun Sentinel had some interestingly juxtaposed articles. In BIG LETTERS on the front page we have an article “CONSULTANT TELLS OF BRIBE CLAIMS” where Beverly Stracher rats out a bunch of elected officials to the Feds, who she said were bribed by the Chait developers to get the golf course land conversion in Tamarac.

She said the Chait boys bragged about how easy it was to bribe elected officials in Broward County. Reminds me of giant developer Terry Stiles who bragged about how easy it was to pave over Broward County and was looking forward to doing the same in Palm Beach County.

Then, on the second page the paper has “BILL SEEKS TO RELAX RULES ON GIFTS FROM LOBBYISTS”; an article about our state legislators who are upset because they aren't allowed to accept gifts from lobbyists and want to change the law so they may.

I am sure I was not the only one who saw the irony in this. Was it deliberate on the part of the paper staff? Naw, that would be too much to hope for.

Elected officials want to legalize their bribes. Imagine how much you could rack up if you were allowed to take $100 at a time from each lobbyist. Never mind how much under the table money you could tack on to that. No wonder the legislators are upset.

 Lobbyists, are very well educated in how to influence people. They take courses such as

  •  Corruption Made Easy 101
  •  Make the Schnook Your Friend 201
  •  Cash in Lunch Bags/Golf bags/Folded newspapers 301
 and also advanced seminars in

  •  Rationalization for Elected Officials,
  •  How to Make Campaign Contributions From Everyone Including the Dog,
 and the most popular one of all,

  •  How to Talk to an Elected Official with a Straight Face (this one is taught by professional poker players to prevent the lobbyist from laughing out loud when the official eagerly agrees to vote in favor of whatever.)
 No official should take anything from someone trying to influence their vote. NOTHING. If the reason they are getting the cup of coffee, the buffet lunch, the ride on the jet is because they are an elected official they should not be allowed to partake. Period.
 
Corruption is subtle, like drug addiction. The eroding of morals and the love of the power of the office go hand in hand. Soon the official, subjected to flattery, kow-towing, and favors from sycophants gets used to being above the common masses and thinks these things are their due. The step from a cup of coffee to $35,000 in a golf bag is not uncommon.

Friday, April 8, 2011

More from Reef Rescue

The latest on the Deerfield Beach/Hillsboro Beach dredging:

Friday April 8, FDEP Enforcement issued a letter to the Town of Hillsboro Beach warning they may be facing fines of hundreds of thousands of dollars for misrepresenting turbidity monitoring data and for damaging coral reefs and shoreline habitat.


Link to FDEP letter of noncompliance: http://www.scribd.com/doc/52607956/WarningLetter-4-8-11

This would not have been possible without the days and nights of tireless effort by Reef Rescue, Cry-of-the-Water, STOP and Vone Research volunteers, local scuba dive boat operators and divers who all helped collect evidence of permit violations.

We hope this is the last beach renourishment project that is allowed to run wild and lay waste to the coastal ecosystem. Because, the only thing different on this dredge and fill project was not the flagrant disregard for the environmental permit requirements it was the number of witnesses who stepped forward to demand enforcement action.

Continue to follow the Hillsboro renourishment saga at the Reef Rescue Coral Reef Blog. 
Thank you to everyone,

Palm Beach County Reef Rescue

PO Box 207 * Boynton Beach, FL 33425 * unsubscribe

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Deerfield Beach and Hillsboro Beach Renourishment Project "Cover Up"

The coral reef is being covered up in more than one way.

The city seems to be seriously downplaying the reason the beach renourishment project has been shut down. The real reason shows a callous disregard by the contractor and precious little over-sight by either Deerfield Beach or Hillsboro Beach.
It looks like the feds only stepped in after private citizens complained about the damage to the coral reef. The city notice gives no reason for the “delay” of the project. HOW COULD THIS BE ALLOWED TO CONTINUE FOR DAYS AND DAYS, AFTER EVEN ONE DAY SHOWED PERMIT VIOLATIONS?

The city posted a notice saying that:
“The renourishment work in Deerfield Beach has been temporarily delayed. As soon as an update is available, it will be posted on this (http://www.deerfield-beach.com/) website.

Turbidity Monitoring

As a condition of environmental agency permits, state, federal and local agencies are required to stringently monitor turbidity in the coastal zone and in the borrow area, at different depths, mul-tiple times a day. If any of these samples reflect a reading greater than 29 NTUs, the contractor is required to cease all operations and make corrective actions.”
This from the Reef Rescue folks is a “bit” more detailed about why they were shut down:

"Feds issue Cease and Desist Order to shut down beach renourishment project


Amid reports of massive silt plumes and coral reef burial the US Corp of Army Engineers, on Friday (April 1, 2011), issued an order to the Town of Hillsboro Beach to immediately cease beach renourishment activities. A copy of the order can be viewed at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/52174475/C-D-ICA-NON  .

Environmental groups have been gathering evidence since the project began in mid-March of daily permit violations that have resulted in silt plumes travelling for miles beyond compliance requirements. Cleanup and mitigation costs for project environmental impacts could exceed many millions of dollars.

On Sunday March 27, beach-goers braved a sea of mud as silt levels measured 10 times the project permitted standards. (Reef Rescue photo)


Palm Beach County Reef Rescue
www.reef-rescue.org
PO Box 207 * Boynton Beach, FL 33425"
I would think the chamber of commerce would be up in arms about this. Oops, we don’t have a functioning chamber of commerce. We have a social club who went bankrupt and now spends all it’s time trying to wheedle money out of big businesses. Any small business or our tourism trade has to go whistle in the wind for any support.

What do you think the Deerfield Beach Chamber of Commerce is? (adapted from a post on the National Chamber by Allison Fisher Outreach Director Public Citizen’s Climate & Energy Program)

(A) A supportive group, representing small businesses like your favorite restaurant or a local car dealership.

(B) Related to the United States Department of Commerce, a federal government agency.

(C) The official voice of the entire business community.

(D) A group, (like their parent organization) made of lobbyists who push damaging policies that benefit big business at the expense of people and businesses on Main Streets across America.

The correct answer, of course, is D.

The Chamber of Commerce does not speak for you or me. It speaks for giant corporations who want to pollute our democracy, our economy and our planet in their never-ending pursuit for profits.

How sad for our Country, how sad for our City, how sad for the coral reefs.