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.

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:
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

June 3, 2011

An obituary for Florida Growth Management

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