Tuesday, December 10, 2013

You think traffic is bad now!!!! Hillsboro Boulevard Boondoggle.

What does allowing an industrial park on the old Deerfield Country Club property mean? This is a done deal, it will happen.  The city and the county have given approval.  This article is the result of my frustration in trying to get this massive development contained, and a set-up for a really big, “I TOLD YOU SO” in the future.

  The property is along Fairway Drive just east of Rt. 95.  The owners had mostly stopped maintaining the golf course and it is in deplorable shape.  This was most likely a tactic to get sympathy for their request for a land use change.

The rationale from the city is that it will bring jobs and business to the city and in doing so increase income to the city in the form of taxes. Never mind what it will do the traffic or quality of life in the city.

The neighbors in the private homes adjacent to the property hated the golf course as it was a very bad neighbor and dumped mulch and trash along their fence line, allowing rodents and snakes to thrive in their backyards.  No matter how much they protested, for years and years, to the owners nothing was done.  The residents said that anything that gets rid of that mess is OK with us.  And, some of us might get jobs out of it. Given all that, what’s the problem? 

The City Commission listened to the neighbors, who bought into what the developers sold them, without considering what the development would really cost.

This is an enormous piece of property.  72 ½ acres.  3,241,773 sq. ft. or 36 football fields. 

Even with the small parcel allowed for a little park and a freebie community center building there will be a whole lot of concrete. 

Environmentalists were horrified that so much open space, in a county as built out as Deerfield Beach would be paved over.

City residents who live west of the area were the ones who saw most clearly what was being done to the city.  They are the ones who have to drive past the location every time they go east, to the beach, or wherever. 

The traffic mitigation offered by the developer will do nothing to improve traffic on Hillsboro Boulevard; it will just keep the status quo which is pretty awful right now.

 Forgotten, or most likely ignored, by the ones who approved this idea is the major development that will be built next to the Tri-rail station.  This location (the old Denny’s lot) also had a land use change which will allow very high density buildings to be crammed onto this plot. 

This, together with the industrial park, will dump so much traffic onto that stretch of Hillsboro that it will surely discourage even the most intrepid resident or tourist from heading east. 

Westbound after work traffic will be at a standstill for hours.  Trying to get to Rt. 95 will be hopeless.

The traffic into an industrial park is not just cars of workers, but giant tractor trailers rumbling off of Rt. 95, making wide turns and going into Fairway Drive all day long.

The Florida East Railroad will be carrying passenger trains in a year or two, no longer will that crossing be only freight trains about 10 times a day, but Hillsboro Boulevard will be closing 30 or more times for the new trains.  Hmmmm, what will that mean for traffic?

OK, so we now have a heavily trafficked road that right now is backed up morning, noon and night.  We are adding car and truck traffic into the new industrial center, car traffic from the new development by the Tri-rail station, many more closings from the new rail line.  What does that add up to?

My predictions: 
  • Irate tourists,
  • irate Century Village residents,
  • irate Deer Creek, Deer Run, Starlight Cove etc. etc. residents, and
  • irate workers every rush hour;
  • 10th Street and 18th in Boca becoming overused and creating more irate residents. (This will be the rationale for the MPO to finally justify a flyover on 10th Street to connect the Sawgrass and Rt. 95.) 
  • We will see snowbirds and tourists second thinking Deerfield Beach as a destination. 

 Response to the above post by a reader:

To bring jobs and business into Deerfield....are you kidding me? 

 Look at the entire Fairway Drive business area.  Half of the office buildings have been unoccupied for several years now and no new business is coming in.  I work at 800 Fairway Drive and our building occupancy is less than half. 

It got even worse after the City approved the utility tax driving many companies out of the area as rentals increased to cover the overhead.  Just to run the A/C with new taxes has become a great burden on management companies in this exact area you are referring to. 

 Complete greed on the part of DB commissioners.  (And what about our taxes, wasn't the utility tax supposed to keep the millage rates the same as last year.  Duh, would like to know where all that revenue is being allocated.) 

They are not creating new business but merely shifting it around for the lowest prices available to rent space.  They are also getting ridiculous in their permit regulations. 

I am President of my condo association and we are always getting hit.  It just cost us several hundred dollars in fines because we slapped a little sealcoat on the entrance of our driveway...no contractor, no permit, just a small improvement to make it look better. 

Something's got to give with the increase in development.  And what is with all the rehab centers and new buildings around St. Andrews being made available to house some of these unfortunate addicts roaming around our neighborhood...Very scary. 

Deerfield is NOT changing for the better, that's for sure.
(Name Withheld)

 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Merry Christmas


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Florida leads the country in CORRUPTION - 781 convicted in 10 years (How many got off or weren't caught?)

September 1, 2013 New York Times

Arrests of 3 Mayors Reinforce Florida’s Notoriety as a Hothouse for Corruption

By NICK MADIGAN
      
On Aug. 6, Manuel L. Maroño, 41, the mayor of Sweetwater and president of the Florida League of Cities, and Michael A. Pizzi, 51, the Miami Lakes mayor, were picked up along with two lobbyists. The United States attorney’s office has accused them of involvement in kickback and bribery schemes concerning federal grants.
      
Prosecutors said Mr. Maroño had received more than $40,000 in bribes and Mr. Pizzi $6,750. The defendants, who were targets of an F.B.I. sting operation, are charged with “conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right” and could face 20 years in prison if convicted.
      
Gov. Rick Scott suspended all three mayors while the criminal cases proceed.
      
“We bought the trifecta,” said Carla Miller, the ethics officer for Jacksonville and a former federal prosecutor. “It’s bad when three mayors get led out in handcuffs. What’s left of the public trust gets ground into little pieces.”
      
Not that such situations are unusual in Florida, which led the country in convictions of public officials — 781 — between 2000 and 2010, according to Department of Justice figures.
      
“Florida has become the corruption capital of America,” said Dan Krassner, the executive director of a watchdog group, Integrity Florida, citing statistics going back to 1976 and the “significant number of public officials arrested this year and last.”
      
Florida, and especially Miami and its environs, has long had a reputation as a place where the odd and the eccentric mix with the furtive and the felonious. Last century, organized crime figures from Chicago and New York set up lucrative gambling, extortion and loan-sharking endeavors in Miami Beach and elsewhere, and beginning in the 1980s, South Florida’s economy, culture and reputation were transformed by drug trafficking.
      
With so much money sloshing about, it was perhaps inevitable that a parade of officials would enrich themselves illicitly at the public trough.
      
One was Alex Daoud, who in 1985 became the mayor of Miami Beach and six years later was indicted on 41 counts of bribery. He served 18 months in prison, and has since written a memoir.
Last year in Miami Beach, City Manager Jorge Gonzalez, who was making $273,000 a year and had been mired in a web of investigations, was forced to step down after seven of his employees were arrested in a federal corruption investigation. His six-figure pension remained intact.
      
The arrests of the three Miami-Dade mayors followed news in July that the Securities and Exchange Commission had charged the City of Miami and one of its former budget directors with securities fraud, only a few years after the commission reprimanded the city for similar behavior. In May, a former mayor of Hialeah, Julio Robaina, and his wife, Raiza, were charged with failing to report income from high-interest loans totaling more than $1 million that they had made under an informal system involving friends and associates. The Robainas said they were innocent.
      
In 2011, in the largest municipal recall election in the country, the mayor of Miami-Dade County, Carlos Alvarez, was removed from office after he gave large pay raises to close aides and then pushed for a significant increase in property taxes.
      
This year, the State Legislature approved two ethics bills and six that focus on government transparency and accountability — the first time in 36 years that state lawmakers had passed ethics legislation. Mr. Krassner and others think legislators could do more. But many people seem resigned to the prevalence of officials who appear oblivious to ethical boundaries.
      
“They get drunk on power,” said Katy Sorenson, who served on the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners for 16 years and runs the Good Government Initiative at the University of Miami, which educates elected officials about ethics and related issues.
      
“There’s a certain psychology to some of the people who run for office here — they don’t think they’re going down the wrong track, but there’s a slippery slope,” she added. “There’s a lack of self-awareness, an immaturity, a brazenness, of feeling like a big shot. So when they’re arrested, they’re very surprised.”
      
The persistence of political malfeasance — often involving the stereotypical envelopes stuffed with cash, delivered with knowing nods — perplexes those for whom public service is a noble calling.
“Maybe it’s the heat,” said Ruth Campbell, 93, a former City Council member here and the curator of the Historic Homestead Town Hall Museum.
      
Mrs. Campbell, who has lived in town since 1942, was sadly aware of Florida’s reputation as a haven for corruption. “We like to be distinguished,” she said, “but not like that.”
      
Prosecutors said Mr. Bateman, among other things, had failed to disclose that the health care company, Community Health of South Florida Inc., secretly agreed to pay him $120,000 over a year to lobby on its behalf. By the time he was arrested, he had accepted $3,625, State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said.
      
After the mayor’s arrest, a City Council member, Judy Waldman, told reporters, “I have zero tolerance for people using their public office to make money.” Ms. Waldman, who referred to Mr. Bateman only as “that individual,” said his activities on behalf of Community Health Care of South Florida were “just the tip of the iceberg,” and encouraged prosecutors to dig deeper.
      
Mr. Bateman’s lawyer, Ben Kuehne, told The Associated Press that his client was “shocked” by his arrest and had “served the community for many years in an honest, dependable manner.”
      
At City Hall on Friday, in a frame that contained photos of city officials, Mr. Bateman’s likeness had been concealed behind a paper copy of the city’s crest. But a day earlier, a group of his supporters rallied a couple blocks away, and Mr. Bateman, out on bond, showed up, shook hands and vowed to fight the charges.
 
A version of this article appears in print on September 2, 2013, on page A9 of the New York edition with the headline: Arrests of 3 Mayors Reinforce Florida’s Notoriety as a Hothouse for Corruption.
 
Highlights and bold print added by me - Bett