Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Pelican Got it Right!

In Deerfield Beach,
Vote for Miller and Preston

The sitting commissioners, Joe Miller and Ben Preston, have shown the ability to work together to bring significant progress to Deerfield Beach. They each deserve another four years on the dais.

Preston, in particular, works overtime bringing initiatives to his district: the beautification of SW 15 Street and creation of a Buck Pride logo, communitywide cleanups, introducing elementary school children to the skills of debate, city-sponsored GED classes for adults, urging FDOT to improve street lighting along W. Hillsboro Blvd. and notching up the Martin Luther King Day celebration.

In fact Commissioner Preston [now serving as vice mayor], is constantly focused on programs and funding that will benefit the residents of District 2.

Preston is very accessible and last year held a series of community meetings bringing the citizens together with the city manager and other department heads.

He is opposed by Gloria Battle, a candidate who could serve her community in many ways.

Miller offers a rational and reasoned approach that brings order to a sometimes chaotic atmosphere. He stays close to his constituents and more than once has admitted to changing his mind because they are on the other side of an issue.

With six years under his belt, Miller has acquired the knowledge to see things judiciously and to take the long view rather than go with knee jerk decisions. He is an advocate of bringing new investment to the city while maintaining smart growth.  He is willing to talk on the issue of beach erosion rather than take a firm stand against trying to improve the damage apparently being caused by the city’s groin system. He favors more parks and green space.

He brings a collegial attitude to the matter of government.

His opponent, Ron Coddington has a totally different style, one that is combative and accusatory. Although he possesses much technical knowledge, he does not exhibit the ability to play well with others. Electing him to this particular city commission would be a mistake and impede the progress the city is making in redevelopment, finance and community imaging.

The Editors

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Fool me once, shame on...

I was told that on Ron Coddington’s Facebook page he has a link to my posts in 2011 when I supported him.  I took the posts down as I no longer can support him.  In 2011 I was fooled by his rhetoric, much as the Sun Sentinel was fooled this year.  Now that I see who the Real Ron is  I would not consider supporting him. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Who’s right, Miller or Coddington? Deerfield Beach's Future is at Stake!

Fact or Fiction?

Who’s right, Miller or Coddington?

The future of Deerfield Beach is at stake in the election coming up on Tuesday, March 10th! 
Whether you vote by mail or at the polls on March 10th, it is very important that you cast your vote for our commissioners who will keep fighting to make a difference! 
Not for a candidate who twists the truth to the breaking point. 
Ron Coddington, in an effort to fool people into voting for him has made statements that are so wrong that they could be easily called lies as with a little fact checking one finds out that:


Coddington is wrong about the Fire Department Merger
The city’s financial position is improving at a rate faster than expected; the recovery is made more impressive by the $17 million deficit the city was facing in 2011.
Tough decisions powered the turnaround.  Especially merging the fire department with the Broward Sheriff’s Office which saved the city money in salaries, health insurance, and pension costs now and in the future.
The utility tax took the burden off of the commercial, industrial and residential land owner. Without it when property values dropped 30 percent, it would have taken years to get this revenue back. 
Because of these difficult decisions the city has successfully hit the fund balance target of 12.7 million, two years ahead of target. 
Joe Miller helped to lead this charge and as a result the city is beginning to see some recovery.

Coddington is wrong about the Fire Department Pension Board
The Pension Board has no control over union contracted fire pensions. 
The defined pension system was put in place many years ago and we are suffering from the results now.
Merging with BSO took that away from future consideration. 
The Pension Board is a body which oversees the pension money investments only.

Coddington is wrong about the Kingfisher and other canals
The water quality of our canals is very important to the commission and city staff. 
New drain pipe inserts trap the solid pollutants and bumpers contain the rest.
The canals are dredged as money is available. 

Coddington is wrong about campaign donations
Joe Miller clearly votes on issues to benefit the quality of life in the city, his track record backs this up as he has voted for and against those who have donated to his campaign. 

Coddington is wrong about city projects
The fact that city money is used to fund a project has nothing to do with how the project was initiated and supported. 
I am sure Mr. Coddington is not planning on using his own money to fund city projects. 
Joe Miller has been a real champion of District 1 projects and we have him to thank for the stunning pier renovation, the beautiful Cove Shopping Center, the Sullivan Park renovation and other improvements.  

Coddington is wrong about Sun Bergeron and the solid waste agreement
The contract for solid waste with Sun Bergeron has saved the city piles of money, especially in recycling. 
Mr. Coddington’s pet company Wheelabrator/Waste Management was ripping off the city for years and got away with it because they had a virtual monopoly in the county.
Then in the new go around of bidding, the price came way down because of competition and in a desperate ploy to keep the contract.
Why now?
They could have lowered the charges sooner but chose not to.
Why would the city trust them?  
A new Sun Bergeron contract saved the city enormous sums and told Waste Management that the city would not be taken advantage of.

Coddington is wrong about sober houses
Ron Codding said the city manager was the cause of Deerfield Beach having a number of sober house residences. 
That is so very wrong. 
A city manager has no control over housing.
  The “cause” is the Americans with Disabilities Act which considers recovering alcoholics and drug addicts to be disabled. 
  It is illegal to deny housing to anyone with a disability so “sober houses” cannot be prohibited in residential areas. 
Cities who have tried this have had to pay millions in legal fees and penalties. 
  This commission, urged by Joe Miller as a result of complaints in his district, has strengthened its policies on this type of residence to the full extent legally allowed.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Smoke and Mirrors for Deerfield Beach

Jeff’s latest memo, if you missed any of the first 7 go to:  
Election Memo #8: Smoke and Mirrors - 02/14/15

The fire department issue, raised by Ron Coddington in his campaign for city commission, is the political equivalent of stage magic. Smoke and mirrors.

The stage magician tricks the mind — that's how he makes the elephant disappear. The rational mind knows the elephant didn't really vanish into thin air, but dammit, I saw it with my own eyes! Likewise, the politician seizes upon the gullibility and trust of voters and, in a sense, also tricks the mind. He creates a problem that doesn't exist, then offers a solution without the specifics, lest it be exposed as an illusion, not real magic.

I learned this from no-less than Richard Nixon when he delivered the C.J. Morrow Lecture on Political Strategy at my undergraduate school. Actually, this isn't true, but some readers might have believed my story — after all, Nixon was known as "Tricky Dick." It's a plausible story, and there was no reason not to believe it. Truthfully, though, there was no such thing as the C.J Morrow Lecture (Mr. Morrow was one of my law professors). The only truth in this is that I did attend a lecture by Nixon, on an entirely different topic, when I was in law school.

The point is that most of us believe what we read, unless we know otherwise, and politicians, especially those running for office, exploit this to get votes. How many times have you heard or read that the U.S. Supreme Court has declared that corporations are people? The Court has never said any such thing. Still, it's been written so many times that it has become a kind of de facto truth (if such is possible). People with a cause are perfectly willing to repeat this myth.

I read in the paper this morning that a key part of Gloria Battle's campaign, who's running against Ben Preston in Dist. 2, is for greater transparency in city government. Since when is Ms. Battle interested in open and honest government? As an interim commissioner, Battle voted against the city ethics code, and as a member of the ethics advisory committee, she missed most of the meetings. She's a strong supporter of Mayor Jean Robb, who is up to her neck right now in charges of unethical and unlawful conduct. And the mayor didn't seem to be too interested in transparency when she tried to hide city business in her personal emails (one of which I will shortly reveal).

Ms. Battle says she wants more economic development in her district. Everybody wants to see improvements in Dist. 2. What magic trick, do you suppose, she has up her sleeve to accomplish this?

Ever since she returned to office two years ago, Mayor Robb has railed against the BSO-fire merger. She wants to bring the fire department back under city control. A close political ally, John Grassi, maintains a Facebook page largely devoted to this subject. Local activists and public officials know Mr. Grassi well, as a person who's never said anything positive about city government since Hoover was in office. Coddington says he has a plan to restore the fire department to the city. No details, but he claims his plan would save the city a whopping $10 million.

For its part, the city administration says that much of the propaganda put out on this issue is misinformation. In fact, it contends, the transfer of the fire department to the BSO has been an important factor in its ability to bring the once nearly depleted city reserve fund to the 2016 target ahead of schedule.

Besides, the question is mostly academic, I believe. Even if Coddington's plan rivals the Pentagon's World War III plans, it's not going to happen. For starters, a seamless transition of the fire and rescue service back to the city would require the full cooperation of the BSO. The sheriff has made it plain as day, he's not about to cooperate in this plan.

What we are really talking about is not a "taking back," but the creation of a whole new department. While the city may own fire stations and some equipment, it doesn't own any firefighters. It would have to recruit and train a new crop of firemen and paramedics. If the goal is a top-notch department — should we want less? — it would have to offer salaries and benefit plans at least equal to the BSO's package. It may have to upgrade its facilities and buy new equipment. This could prove very costly to taxpayers that could far outweigh the benefits. And, dare I ask, what are the benefits?

Is the issue of who provides the services that important to voters? I don't know. Again, it comes down to the gullibility and trust of voters. If Coddington says there's a problem and Mayor Robb says there's a problem, there must be a problem. The bottom line is that voters should be skeptical. Is this really an issue at all?
On another topic: As we all know, the inland canals are distressed. I've written quite a bit on this subject in fact. The "experts" have to find the solutions to the technical problems, but the city commission has to find the money. To this extent, it's a political issue. Mr. Coddington has positioned himself in this election as the "champion" of canal restoration, so the Kingfisher residents might find interesting an email he wrote to Mayor Robb when the canal issue was discussed by the city commission.

When I was a little kid around seven- or eight-years old, I had a terrible temper. If I didn't get my way, I'd throw a tantrum, go to my room, and raise a ruckus. My parent's strategy was to ignore me. Apparently it worked. In the ensuing 63 years, I've come to realize (1) that people don't always agree with me and (2) I don't always get my way. I usually find a way to work with people even if we have a difference of opinion.

Around May 2013, the commission discussed the Kingfisher canal issue in earnest and accepted a ten-point plan suggested by the unofficial leader of the Kingfisher neighborhood. Mr. Coddington, a marine engineer, also proposed a solution to the pollution problem in the canal. Whether it was a good idea or not I'm not qualified to say, but for whatever reason it was not adopted.

Here's what Mr. Coddington wrote to the mayor to her personal email dated May 16, 2013, at 2:08:57 p.m. I'm fairly certain it wasn't supposed to be for public consumption.

These people are smarter than us, let them handle their own problem.
But they should not come back to us for help when Charlie [DaBrusco, the city engineer], Burgis [Burgess Hanson, the city manager] and Joe [Miller] give them the sorry but we couldn't come up with the money and their grand plans die at the table.
As for my help, they did not even include the recommendation for a floating debris barrier that would have trapped all the floating debris at the culverts and made cleanup possible. The only way they get any debris sitting at the end seawall is when the wind keeps it there. A cheap barrier would have made cleanup possible and reasonable.
At any rate, they DO NOT need any of our valuable time or help, and they will not get mine when Charlie ultimately screws this thing up like everything else he touches.
Is Ron Coddington eight-years old? More importantly, what is Coddington's commitment to solving the canal problems if he doesn't get his way? He plainly said that the canal residents won't get his help. Those are his words, not mine.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Founders' Days Parade in Deerfield Beach, Awesome Weather, Awsome OSOBers

The Original Save Our Beach group in the Deerfield Beach Founders' Days Parade

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Deerfield Beach's St. Ambrose Church put at Risk

Ron Coddington’s Illegally Placed Campaign Signs Cause
Headaches to St. Ambrose Church, School and Archdiocese

The folks at St. Ambrose Church say Ron Coddington illegally placed large wooden campaign signs on church and school property without permission.

 This is a big deal, a very big deal with St. Ambrose Church and its Archdiocese as well.  Having a political sign on church property opens up the church to the potential of losing its tax exempt status and creates an embarrassing situation for the church, the school and the archdiocese.  

Father Dalton and the St. Ambrose School principal should not have to scramble to take down political signs from the church and religious school property to protect St. Ambrose Church and school and the Archdiocese.

Local attorney Tom Connick, who graduated from Notre Dame Law School after serving in the military in Vietnam, was concerned about protecting the tax exempt status of the Church, School and Archdiocese.  He spoke with Father Dalton and was told that Coddington did not have permission to put up any signs.  He was also told by the St. Ambrose School Principal that Coddington did not have permission to put signs on the school property or swale and that the school took Coddington’s signs down but the signs were, without permission, put back up again so the school moved the signs to prevent them from being put up yet again.  The St. Ambrose School principal is very familiar with the seriousness of candidates not placing signs on tax exempt property.

 Coddington should know the law about church property and election signs, all candidates receive the candidate’s handbook.  He says he is educated and brags about being an engineer, but his actions are anything but smart.    Ask any resident at random and most would know that churches cannot participate in political activity, and that it is illegal for tax exempt non-profits to campaign.

 Coddington’s behavior towards St. Ambrose Catholic Church and School and the Archdiocese is inexcusable.  If Coddington does not know the basic law of protection of tax exempt status of Churches and religious schools he is too ignorant to be a Deerfield Beach City Commissioner. 

Or, if Coddington does know the basic law of protection of the tax exempt status of Churches and religious schools, but blatantly put his perceived selfish needs ahead of protecting the tax exempt status of St. Ambrose Church and School and the Archdiocese, he is too self-serving to be a Deerfield Beach Commissioner.

 About Coddington’s signs: they even failed to comply with election guidelines by a legally inadequate disclaimer (The Florida Candidate Handbook clearly says disclaimer “language must be verbatim as quoted in s. 106.143, F.S. variations are prohibited by law.”). This shows what kind of sloppy, shoot from the hip commissioner he is likely to be.

Coddington should explain why he would place Campaign signs on tax exempt religious property which exposes the Church and school tax exempt status.  Coddington should explain why he did not get permission to put up the signs on the Church and Catholic School property. Come on Ron, who specifically at St Ambrose Catholic Church and who specifically at the St Ambrose Catholic School told you that you could put campaign signs on the Church and School property? 

We in Deerfield Beach don’t need a commissioner who flaunts the law and thinks he knows best and can’t be bothered to check the regulations. 

We in Deerfield Beach don’t need a commissioner who sends inappropriate off-color emails to city officials and then asks that information in them be redacted. 

We in Deerfield Beach don’t need a commissioner who was removed from the City Marine Advisory Board by a unanimous vote of the entire City Commission.  The entire Commission voted to remove Coddington because of his inappropriate behavior. 

We in Deerfield Beach don’t need this kind of commissioner on our commission, we don’t need Ron Coddington. 

Churches and Political Campaign Activity

 Churches and other non-profits are strictly prohibited from engaging in political campaigning… An organization that qualifies as “tax-exempt” under Section 501(c)(3) is one that devotes its resources to educational, religious, scientific or other charitable activities, and that complies with a number of other rules, including the prohibition on political activity…

  Churches cannot engage in any of the following activities under the federal tax law:

·         Cannot endorse or oppose candidates for public office

·         Cannot make any communication—either from the pulpit, in a newsletter, or church bulletin—which expressly advocates for the election or defeat of a candidate for public office

·         Cannot make expenditures on behalf of a candidate for public office or allow any of their resources to be used indirectly for political purposes (e.g., use their phones for a phone bank)

·         Cannot ask a candidate for public office to sign a pledge or other promise to support a particular issue

·         Cannot distribute partisan campaign literature

·         Cannot display political campaign signs on church property

 A 501(c)(3) entity should not even tacitly express favor or disfavor of a particular candidate.    (Tacitly means: implied but not expressed; understood or implied without being stated openly, such as introducing a candidate during a church service and saying that the candidate is a good friend of the church.) 


Friday, February 6, 2015

Thursday, February 5, 2015