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Broward History

In addition to the State of Florida and the City of Fort Lauderdale, Galt Mile residents are subject to the jurisdictional regulations and standards of Broward County. Nine district County Commissioners take turns exercising Mayoral prerogative for rotating one-year terms. Charles "Chip" LaMarca ably represents the Galt Mile community on the County Commission. County government actions and intentions are monitored, evaluated and revealed here. Of course, a priority concern to Galt Mile residents is the value of their homes. Another county institution, the Broward County Property Appraiser’s office, determines the property values that serve as the basis for our tax obligation as well as our equity access. Appraiser Lori Parrish is hungry for input. She wants to know what’s on your mind. In the B.C.P.A. page, she answers queries by county residents about appraisals, “Save our Homes” amendment concerns and an assortment of important tax exemptions. If the answer to your question isn’t there, just Ask Lori!

Click to Broward County Web Site
BROWARD COUNTY
Comparable to the ecosystems blanketing South Florida, Broward County’s prehistory is remarkably rich. Skeletal remains of big-game hunters who lived 10,000 years ago have been found as near as Vero Beach on the east coast and Charlotte Harbor on the west. Indians designated by archaeologists as “Archaic”, Broward’s first permanent residents, turned to a diversified pattern of hunting and gathering from 4,000 to 2,000 years ago. The major village of Tequesta, near the mouth of Miami River, probably was not more than a couple of centuries old when the Spanish visited it in 1567. While the Tequesta and Calusa Indians successfully resisted European imperialistic agendas, they succumbed to the diseases with which they were “gifted” by the Spanish. When the Spanish ceded Florida to Great Britain at the end of the French and Indian War, the roughly 80 remaining Indians in southeast Florida left for Havana in 1763. Following the American Revolution, the British ceded the area back to Spain in the Treaty of Paris after holding sway for only 20 years.

Ohio Born Frank Stranahan
FRANK STRANAHAN
Enter - from the Bahamas - the Robbinses: Joseph, and his wife and daughter moved to the south side of the New River, possible just above the mouth of Tarpon River. Farming farther upstream were the Lewises: Surlie, Frankee and at least two children who, like Robbins, were British. Although the Spanish feared that they were a fifth column for a possible British reoccupation of the peninsula, in 1793 Spain was too preoccupied with preparing for war with France to evacuate the settlers. The United States obtained Florida from Spain in 1821. Colonel James Gadsden, who conducted the first survey in 1825 of today’s Broward County, was not impressed. A road would be impractical, he wrote, because “the population of the route will probably never be sufficient to contribute to [its maintenance], while the inducements to individuals to keep up the necessary ferries will scarcely ever be adequate.” ...not exactly a visionary.

Railroad Magnate Henry M. Flagler
HENRY M. FLAGLER
Resentful of being pushed southward by settlers who coveted their rich north Florida pastures, Seminole Indians attacked and killed Major Francis L. Dade and 104 of his 107 officers and men in an ambush north of Tampa that set off the Second Seminole War on December 28, 1835. After three years of skirmishes, a force of Tennessee Volunteers and army regulars, commanded by Major William Lauderdale, established a stockade on New river. Not surprisingly, he named it after himself, thus establishing Fort Lauderdale. After the war, Seminoles who had escaped “relocation” (internment) to Oklahoma had the area pretty much to themselves for the next 50 years, where they cultivated gardens in Pine Island, west of present-day Davie, and roamed the Everglades in search of game. By 1891, enough settlers arrived to justify a post office and the Bay Stage Line, operating over a shell-rock road between Hypoluxo at the south end of Lake Worth and Lemon City, now part of Miami. Passengers on the two-day trip stopped overnight at New River, where they stayed at an overnight camp run by an Ohioan named Frank Stranahan.

Former Florida Governor Napoleon Bonaparte Broward
GOVERNOR NAPOLEON
BONAPARTE BROWARD
When Henry M. Flagler learned that Miami was unaffected by the great freeze of February 1895, he decided to extend his railroad south from Palm Beach, reaching the New River by February 22, 1896. Realizing that he needed to lure paying passengers to South Florida, Flagler’s land companies sought immigrants from both North and South. Swedes from the Northeast formed the nucleus of Hallandale, and Danes from the Midwest founded Dania. Southern farmers, lured by better land and milder winters, joined the Danes and Swedes and founded Pompano and Deerfield. Southern and Bahamian blacks did much of the fieldwork. Dania became the area’s first incorporated community in 1904, followed by Pompano in 1908 and Fort Lauderdale in 1911. Formed from portions of Dade and Palm Beach counties in 1915, Broward was named for a former Florida governor who drained the Everglades to open land for development, Napoleon Bonaparte Broward. After World War I, the county’s population went from 5,135 to 14,242 between 1920 and 1925 for a gain of 9,107. This first land boom actualized the area’s value as a tourism destination.

Joseph Young - Architect of the City of Hollywood
JOSEPH W. YOUNG
In the 1920s, Joseph W. Young turned a low-lying tract between Hallandale and Dania into his dream city of Hollywood-by-the-Sea. The lakes, the broad boulevard, the eastern golf course and the traffic circle were all part of Young’s master plan. By 1925, charters were granted to Hollywood, Deerfield, Davie, and Floranada, north of Fort Lauderdale. Early in 1926 Hollywood absorbed both Dania and the unincorporated Hallandale community. To handle the transportation-dependent influx, the Seaboard Coast Line was extended southward toward Miami. Northern newspapers crashed the speculative market by painting a hurricane’s flattening of Hollywood as a world class disaster, predating the Depression by three years. In 1927 Dania regained its independence, Hallandale became a city and Floranada, shorn of much of its territory, was reincorporated as Oakland Park. On December 19, 1939, the British cruiser “Orion” chased the German freighter “Arauca” into Port Everglades, where she remained until 1941 when seized by the United States. As far as Broward’s future was concerned, however, the most significant thing about the war was the plethora of training bases that were established. Every airfield in the county, plus the future site of Broward Community College’s central campus became a World War II training facility.

1926 Hurricane Flattens Hollywood - Crushes Burgeoning Real Estate Market
1926 HURRICANE FLATTENS HOLLYWOOD
In the 30 years from 1940 to 1970, Fort Lauderdale’s population shot from 17,996 to 139,590. Hollywood went from 6,239 to 106,873; Pompano Beach from 4,427 to 38,587; and Hallandale from 1,827 to 23,849. Plantation, which was just getting started in 1950, had grown to 23,523 by 1970. Thousands of servicemen stationed in Broward were permanently infatuated by the fantasy lifestyle they tasted. Hillsboro Beach, Hacienda Village and Wilton Manors were added by 1947. Lauderdale-by-the-Sea was next in 1951, followed by Plantation and Lazy Lake in 1953; Margate and Miramar, 1955; Lighthouse Point, 1956; Pembroke Park, 1957; Lauderhill, Cooper City, Sea Ranch Lakes, and Pembroke Pines, 1959; Sunrise, Davie, and Lauderdale Lakes, 1961; North Lauderdale, Coral Springs, Parkland, and Tamarac, 1963; and Coconut Creek, 1967. In 1974, after the county’s population soared toward a million, the speculator-driven hot South Florida market again became the victim of a recession which swept the nation. In 1976, the market revived and the 50,000 unsold condominium units were finally absorbed. A new county charter gave Broward’s government broad powers to monitor and improve the quality of life and the environment. Passage of the 1977 Land Use Plan limited urban sprawl and helped insure that the area’s natural, economic and social resources would be balanced against growth. Following a twenty-year lull, growth exploded again after the Millenium. Fueled by dollars relocated from the deflated equities market and foreign investment due to the weak dollar, Broward’s current real estate boom has also been superheated by unrestrained speculation. Some industry consultants envision a “best case scenario” as one in which the current overdevelopment is reasonably absorbed in 2006. Some, however, don’t anticipate this “soft landing”. Broward’s 1.7 million residents anxiously await the conclusion of this chapter! So do I.

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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca

Port; FIT Lease; ICTF; Feral Cats; Free Spay/Neuter & Save H2O

Click to Chip LaMarca January 2016 Newsletter
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca Watches Beach Renourishment
COMMISSIONER LAMARCA WATCHING BEACH RENOURISHMENT
January 31, 2016 - In his opening 2016 Newsletter, District 4 County Commissioner Chip LaMarca polishes the economic halo adorning Port Everglades, including a record-breaking number of cruise passengers serviced on December 20, a decision by corporate cash cow Florida International Terminal LLC to renew its lease, and an unprecedented jump in rail freight attributable to the recently completed Intermodal Container Transfer Facility. Given his passionate concern for pets and Broward’s feral fauna, LaMarca reviews three newly approved programs crafted to abate the occupancy rate in the County’s animal shelter, and steers cat-lovers to grant recipient “Stray Aid & Rescue”, a mobile Wilton Manors spay/neuter clinic that will also vaccinate for rabies, clip an identifying ear notch and treat for debilitating feline bugs - for only $2 (a negligible co-pay to subsidize the rabies shot). LaMarca closes with an opportunity for ambitious conservationists to win $1000 for engineering and implementing a local water conservation program.

Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca Hosts Beach Renourishment Meeting
LAMARCA HOSTS BEACH RENOURISHMENT MEETING
Since initially elected to the Broward Board, LaMarca has repeatedly equated the County’s fiscal future with the adequacy of its infrastructure. While most Broward residents view renourishing County beaches as integral to their quality of life, LaMarca’s perception of District 4 beaches as economic engines served as a more effective platform for dismantling regulatory obstacles in Tallahassee and Washington DC. His monthly District 4 Newsletters often update competitive infrastructure enhancements to other fiscal keystones; build-outs for transportation hubs (Port Everglades, Hollywood - Fort Lauderdale International Airport, etc.) and framing the Convention Center with a dedicated Headquarters Hotel.

Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works Review Board approves Port Everglades Dredging
CIVIL WORKS REVIEW BOARD APPROVES DREDGING
To cement its future as a regional economic powerhouse, Port Everglades is racing to implement $600 million in self-funded Master Plan improvements. Last February, the Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works Review Board approved dredging the channel to 48 feet (50 feet with allowable overdepth) and expanding the Southport turning notch (which includes construction of five additional supersized berths), thereby adding Port Everglades to the short list of Gulf and East Coast pit stops for monster post-Panamax vessels that plow across the Panama Canal. The third signature improvement - Florida East Coast Railway’s (FECR) Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF) - was completed in 2014.

Allure of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas at Port Everglades
ALLURE OF THE SEAS & NAVIGATOR OF THE SEAS - PORT EVERGLADES
Actually, the Port’s record 53,485 travelers weren’t exactly unexpected, as eight of the world’s largest cruise ships were simultaneously berthed on December 20. Of the thousands of vacationers who redeemed “Thank You Points” to bootleg a Holiday-at-sea, 6400 oozed from Royal Caribbean International’s big dog - Allure of the Seas (along with a crew of 2394) and another 3200 from Navigator of the Seas (with a crew of 1181). Princess Cruises Royal Princess and Regal Princess each carried 3600 passengers (with crews of 1346 apiece) while Holland America’s MS Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam each hauled 2104 guests and crews of 929. Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Conquest brought in 2974 more cruisers and a crew of 1180 and Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Silhouette added 2850 passengers and 1246 crew members. With these eight floating villages accounting for 37,383 warm bodies, it didn’t take much foot traffic to provide the remaining 16,102 - and crush the five-year old former record by a mere 120 Port patrons.

Click to SAAM
Florida International Terminal LLC at Port Everglades
FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL TERMINAL LLC
Hooking the Florida International Terminal LLC (FIT) for another decade was Holiday cheddar negotiated by Port Officials. Two years after being formed in 2004 by Latin American Port Operators SAAM and Agunza, FIT opened in Broward (2006) to service some of the huge post-Panamax ocean carriers anticipated in the Port’s Master Plan. Initially, FIT was handling 76,170 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units, the standard industry measurement for containers) at its outset. Having grown 105% in the past decade, FIT moved 156,045 TEUs in FY2015 - although much of the growth was realized in the past year - when Port Everglades was selected as the first and last U.S. calls for SeaLand and APL’s North American Express Service (NAE/ACX) to Latin America.

Florida East Coast Railway (FEC) opens an on-site Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF)
FEC OPENS ICTF IN JULY 2014
Click to American President Lines SeaLand - an ocean freight shipping company that recently opened headquarters in Miramar - was acquired in 1999 by Maersk Line, the world’s largest container shipping company (14% global market share). APL (American President Lines Ltd.) - the world’s fifth-largest container transportation and shipping company - is a wholly owned subsidiary of Singapore-based Neptune Orient Lines, a global transportation and logistics company. The joint SeaLand/APL service selected FIT to provide cargo handling and stevedoring service at Port Everglades, and generates more than 20,000 container moves annually.

Click to SeaLand It’s no coincidence that SeaLand/APL moved their business to Port Everglades upon completion of Florida East Coast Railway’s (FECR) Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF). Increasing the intermodal facility’s available capacity from 100,000 to 450,000 lifts a year – and keeping cargo off congested highways – expedited freight to 70% of the U.S. markets within 4 days, fattening bottom lines. As observed by LaMarca, by handling a 26 percent jump in product during its first year of operation, the ICTF also plumped the Port’s containerized cargo volume by 5%. The $millions in new tax revenues funneled from the Port into State and local coffers would otherwise show up on County trim notices. For LaMarca’s January 2016 message in its entirety, Read on – [editor]

 

January 2016 Update

By Commissioner Chip LaMarca

District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER
CHIP LAMARCA
Dear Broward County Residents,

I am honored to serve as a County Commissioner, representing our coastal communities from Deerfield Beach to Fort Lauderdale. Here are some recent highlights from Broward County:

Port Everglades Breaks World Record

Port Everglades
PORT EVERGLADES
Broward County's Port Everglades broke its own world record for the most cruise passengers to embark and disembark in a single day. An astonishing 53,485 guests had the privilege of visiting Port Everglades on December 20th, 2015. The Port's last record was set March 20th, 2010 with 53,365 guests. Broward County's Port Everglades is consistently ranked as one of the top three busiest cruise ports in the world. The Port's widespread fleet of cruise ships provides guests with a range of cruise vacation choices. For details and more information about Port Everglades, please visit www.porteverglades.net or email PortEverglades@broward.org.

FIT Renews 20-year Agreement at Port Everglades

Florida International Terminal LLC at Port Everglades
FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL TERMINAL LLC
Florida International Terminal LLC (FIT) is celebrating its 10th anniversary at Broward County's Port Everglades. Recently, FIT renewed its long-term marine terminal lease, which is projected to generate $57 million over the next 10 years of the agreement. The agreement also includes two five-year renewal options.

Click to Florida International Terminal Website This agreement will support an estimated 400 direct local jobs and 1,060 total jobs statewide that will generate more than $72 million in personal income and nearly $7 million in state and local taxes each year. Construction is expected to begin in early 2017 and be completed by the end of 2019. Ongoing capital improvements and expansion will ensure that Port Everglades can continue to handle future growth in container traffic. Port Everglades is the top ranked container port in the state of Florida.

FEC’s Broward Facility Boosts Rail Freight Traffic

FEC’s Intermodal Container Transfer Facility
FEC INTERMODAL CONTAINER TRANSFER FACILITY
The Florida East Coast Railway’s (FECR) 43-acre intermodal facility in Broward County is bringing more cargo through South Florida. The Intermodal Container Transfer Facility helped boost cargo volume at Port Everglades. There was a 26 percent increase in volume at the facility during its first year of operation.

Click to Florida East Coast Railway Website Containerized cargo volumes at Port Everglades grew by 5 percent during 2014 and it is attributed to the increase in new and expanded cargo service, including the first full operational year of FECR’s intermodal facility. Customers are now provided with faster deliveries and more efficient cargo handling due to less containers having to be trucked through interstate highways.

Broward County Saves Community Cats

Click to Conservation Pays Website In order to reduce the number of unwanted animals entering the County's shelter by lowering the overall birth rate of puppies and kittens and helping our community animals be healthy and safe, the County Commission agreed upon three programs: the Spay, Neuter Incentive Program (SNIP), the Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program, and the Return-to Field (RTF) program.

Click to Conservation Pays Website The SNIP program, which is similar to the county’s Stop Pet Over-population Together (SPOT) program, helps SNIP providers perform pet sterilizations for owned dogs and cats for income-eligible Broward County residents. A co-payment will be established with no co-payment for low-income residents, $10 for median income residents and $70 for a resident earning above the median income. The second program, TNR, consists of humanely trapping, sterilizing, vaccinating, ear notching and returning feral cats to the location they were obtained from. The TNR program service providers will perform sterilizations and additional services as outlined in the agreement at an established reimbursement amount of $50 per cat. The agreement also provides for a trapping reimbursement in the amount of $25 per authorized trapping trip regardless of the number of cats obtained. The RTF program will conduct a similar process to cats that enter the County’s shelter. RTF service providers will perform sterilizations and additional services as outlined in the agreement at an established reimbursement amount of $50 per cat. Shelter staff are also allowed to immediately sterilize, vaccinate and return cats, rather than waiting three days, and authorize their return to the streets where they were living.

Great News from Stray Aid & Rescue Spay/Neuter Clinic

Click to Florida Animal Friend Stray Aid & Rescue operates a mobile spay/neuter clinic in Wilton Manors. Florida Animal Friend awarded the organization $25,000 to spay/neuter 714 cats in zip codes 33304, 33313, and 33441. There will be a $2 co-pay to cover the rabies vaccination. All cats will be spayed/neutered, vaccinated for rabies, ear notched to show that they have been "fixed", and given Ivermectin for ear mites, mange, and intestinal parasites. This program will continue until July 31st, 2016.

Click to Broward Public Library Foundation These cats are not only reproducing, but suffering as well. They are in dire need of help and the organization cannot do all of this alone. Help is needed from residents and business owners to be proactive to trap and bring these cats to the clinic. Kitten season is just around the corner and help is needed to get ahead of it. More information and instructions about this program can be found on the Stray Aid & Rescue website www.strayaid.org.

Broward Water Partnership Launches Neighborhood Water Challenge

Click to Conservation Pays Website Residents in participating Broward Water Partnership communities are eligible to participate in the Neighborhood Water Challenge from April through May 2016. The contest consist of two categories: Water Conservation and Outreach and Education. In the Water Conservation category, neighborhood teams of 2 to 5 can get together to conserve water. Neighbors have to work together over a two month period to save water. Water savings will be determined by comparing 2015 water bills with 2016 water bills. The second category, Outreach and Education challenges contestants to create and implement an outreach program to help their neighbors understand that conservation and reuse are about using all of our water resources wisely.

Each first place winner will receive $1000 cash. Second place winners will receive a water-conserving irrigation system. Contestants must register by March 15, 2016. Program details are available at ConservationPays.com.

Best Regards,


Chip LaMarca
Broward County Commssioner
District 4


Broward County Commission Meetings

Click to Video Central Web Page The Broward County Commission meets generally on Tuesdays at 10:00 am in Room 422 of the Broward County Governmental Center, 115 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale. (Commission Meeting Schedule and Agenda are listed here: broward.org/Commission/Pages/Meetings.aspx) Residents can view live coverage of the Commission meetings on Comcast Cable channels 12 and 77; Advanced Communications channels 64 and 25; AT&T U-verse channel 99, and through the County's website at broward.org/video/ The County Commission meetings are rebroadcast at 5:30 p.m. each Friday following a Tuesday Commission meeting.

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LBTS Gives BCT Route the Boot

Route 72 Bus on Galt Ocean Drive
WHY IS ROUTE 72 BUS BACK ON THE GALT?
January 12, 2016 - After three months of fomenting fear and frustration while chewing up public and private infrastructure, in October,
Broward County Transit (BCT) announced that the layover sites of four Broward bus routes would no longer obstruct Galt Ocean Drive. Buses from three of the four routes were relocated, leaving only those from Route 55 to clog the narrow beachfront artery. Suddenly in December, despite a promise by County officials to mitigate the bus barricade, buses from Route 72 enigmatically reappeared on Galt Ocean Drive. Having worked to purge the buses, Galt Mile officials flashed back to an impromptu remark by BCT Operations Representative Oscar Correa, “You can expect these buses to block your street while the A1A Greenway Project proceeds over the next two to three years.” WOOF!

Regency Tower President Eileen Bendis
REGENCY TOWER PRESIDENT
EILEEN BENDIS
Click to Broward County Transit In contrast with buses that simply thicken local traffic by picking up and discharging passengers along a route, by definition, a layover site acts as an on-street bus depot - where three or four buses serving a particular route are stacked while drivers take a stroll, grab a long lunch, adjust for scheduling glitches, or snooze through their shift. When irate Regency Tower President Eileen Bendis tried to find out why empty BCT buses were blocking her association’s driveways, Broward County Transit Project Manager Arethia Douglas explained that the drivers were following work protocols enumerated in their union contract, although conceding that these don’t include leaving buses unattended for two or three hours.

Since layover sites invariably impede traffic while prompting complaints about pollution and noise, they are expressly located along wide, two to four-lane thoroughfares (like A1A), where motorists can navigate around the blockage – or they are consigned to sparsely populated outlying streets - tactically sequestering their innately adverse impacts. When the resulting traffic plug is loosed on a heavily populated local street, it wreaks havoc.

Havoc on Galt Ocean Drive

Click to FDOT
Galt Mile in 1993
GALT OCEAN MILE IN 1993
To accommodate Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) construction of the Galt Mile A1A Greenway, buses from Routes #36, #55 and #72 that historically laid over on A1A just south of 41st Street, were shifted to Galt Ocean Drive last July. Galt Ocean Drive was already hosting the layover for Route 11 buses. BCT Project Manager Douglas also told Bendis “I knew this was a bad idea,” when FDOT officials asked her to transplant the layovers to a busy residential street that’s technically too narrow to even support a bike lane. Without informing neighborhood officials, tiny Galt Ocean Drive was suddenly burdened with anchoring four of Broward’s busiest bus routes. As Douglas anticipated, the layovers blocked the street and stymied association operations. They also threatened the lives of local residents.

Waste Managenment Pickup at Cutout
Traffic must pass through Playa del Mar Bus Gauntlet
TRAFFIC MUST PASS THROUGH PLAYA DEL MAR BUS GAUNTLET
In 1996, streetside association cutouts were built and paid for by Galt Mile residents participating in a $3.8 Million self-assessed neighborhood improvement project. Despite City assurances that they would only be used by the public as loading zones, County buses left unattended in the cutouts blocked waste removal pickups, moving vans for residents relocating to or from the building, and large-load deliveries. Vacated buses parked in front of association driveways blocked drivers from entering or exiting the property.

BCT Buses Block Regency Tower Driveways and Cutout
BCT BUSES BLOCK BOTH REGENCY TOWER DRIVEWAYS & CUTOUT
The blockade’s threat to residents and property, as detailed in the September 2015 newsletter and summarized elsewhere in this edition, was substantially mitigated when impacted associations funneled additional resources into bulking up security. Since three or four buses abandoned daily in front of Playa del Mar and Regency Tower wholly obstructed a view of the street, scores of accidents were narrowly averted by incremental security staffers assigned to escort pedestrians across the street and guide departing drivers around the buses onto Galt Ocean Drive. Unfortunately, they were less successful when trying to locate the drivers of vacated buses that blocked EMTs responding to emergencies in Galt Mile associations.

Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER CHIP LAMARCA
Repeated pleas for relief by frustrated Board members, managers and residents were ignored by BCT Operations personnel. By late August, angry emails began pouring into the neighborhood association. Having sent Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca pictures of four Broward buses parked in front of Playa del Mar and another three buses blocking both Regency Tower driveways, Galt Mile officials described how the bus barricade blocked traffic, documented damage to both public and association property, and imparted how the buses endangered local residents while crippling association protocols. At a subsequent August 25 discussion arranged by LaMarca with Broward County Transit Director Tim Garling, GMCA President Pio Ieraci exhorted Garling to remove the buses before someone is hurt - or killed.

BCT Flea Circus Moved to LBTS

Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Town Commission Meeting
LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA TOWN COMMISSION MEETING
Broward County Transit Director Tim Garling
BROWARD COUNTY TRANSIT
DIRECTOR TIM GARLING
Conceding that the situation was intolerable, Garling agreed to undo the damage. He crafted a remediation plan for approval at a September BCT administrative transit hearing. While he could re-route buses attached to Routes 11 and 36, given the dearth of local municipal parking lots or other appropriately cloistered locations, finding alternative layovers for Route 55 and 72 buses would prove more difficult. On September 8, Garling approached the Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Town Commission with the prospect of moving the Route 55 and 72 layovers to El Mar Drive between Hibiscus Avenue and Palm Avenue (in front of the old Holiday Inn). Since the former hotel was awaiting planned redevelopment, locating the layover adjacent to a block-long construction site would minimize resident complaints about noise and exhaust emissions.

Layover Site in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea
LAYOVER SITE IN LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA
(THE OLD HOLIDAY INN)
The Town Board agreed to host one of the two routes, rejecting the Route 55 buses while approving the layover for Route 72 - as long as BCT respected the Town’s traffic laws and parking rules. Despite a BCT promise to comply, Commissioners added a loophole: the layover could be terminated by LBTS Town Manager Connie Hoffmann on 30-days’ notice. Two prospective impediments prompted the Caveat; a possible conflict with future construction at the adjacent old hotel site, and the reputed propensity for BCT drivers to ignore rules or laws. On October 11, Garling announced that buses from Routes 11 and 36 would no longer service Galt Ocean Drive, and buses from route 72 would layover in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, leaving only buses from Route 55 on the Galt Mile. The BCT website simultaneously affirmed that the Route 36 and 72 layovers would be discontinued on Galt Ocean Drive.

Route 72 Bus on Galt Ocean Drive
ROUTE 72 BUS ON THE GALT
On December 28, when Galt Mile officials learned that Route 72 buses were once again parking on Galt Ocean Drive, they notified LaMarca, requested an explanation and demanded their removal. When one of the BCT drivers was asked why the Route 72 buses had returned, he said that BCT officials moved the layover back to the Galt Mile because LBTS residents kept pulling down BCT signage. Given the difficulty of finding locally viable layover sites, it seemed unlikely that BCT would desert a location approved by the Town Board because some Yahoos vandalized a sign. After a few days without a response from LaMarca or Garling, Galt Mile officials decided to explore a more credible prospect.

LBTS Boots the Buses

Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Town Manager Connie Hoffmann
LBTS TOWN MANAGER
CONNIE HOFFMANN
BCT didn’t leave El Mar Drive because vandals molested their sign - they were booted out of LBTS by the Town Manager. As provided in the minutes of the LBTS November 10 Town Commission meeting, “Regarding the buses on El Mar Drive, Town Manager Hoffmann noted that the Town is receiving complaints related to noise and exhaust fumes. Buses have been asked not to park on the sidewalk. ...This issue will be brought before the Commission with a recommendation at a later time.” Two weeks later, at the November 24th LBTS Commission meeting, Hoffmann said “I have given the County Mass Transit folks the 30 days’ notice that we promised them - that we are withdrawing our approval of their use of El Mar Drive as a rest layover for their busses. The reasons for this action are excessive noise, documented damage to our property, and their drivers’ failure to follow instructions on where to park the busses. The County will cease to use that area by December 21st and has promised to repair the damage they have done to light fixtures, our sidewalks, and water meters.”

Bent Signpost between Regency Tower and Playa del Mar
DAMAGED SIGNPOST AT REGENCY TOWER & PLAYA DEL MAR
Click to Local 1267 Teamsters Contract When Hoffmann invoiced the Broward Transportation Department (parent agency to Broward County Transit) for infrastructure damaged by reckless drivers, her frustration resonated with Galt Mile officials. A bent signpost between Regency Tower and Playa del Mar serves as a reminder of driver proclivities to play pinball with parked vehicles and sidewalk infrastructure. Since buses parked along both sides of the street often hopped the curb (onto the sidewalk), Galt Mile residents with smart phones texted association officials when BCT drivers broke a curbside sewer drain, cracked aggregate sidewalk panels, collided with a street lamp, cracked cutout pavers and damaged adjacent vehicles.

Neither Garling nor BCT Operations personnel are strangers to neighborhood complaints about layover sites or chronically negligent bus drivers on the County payroll. While most BCT drivers are competent and courteous, provisions in Broward’s agreement with the Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1267, prevent the County from washing out drivers who cause up to four collisions or run 4 red lights - every two years.

Bad Apples and Broken Promises

Journalist Brittany Wallman
JOURNALIST BRITTANY WALLMAN
For years, Sun Sentinel journalist Brittany Wallman has been adding to an ongoing exposé of Broward bus drivers who, despite driving records blemished by dozens of accidents and scores of moving violations, continue to drive for the County. To imbue her articles with statistical credibility, Wallman organized County Records into a 750-page online database of customer complaints filed against drivers employed by Broward County Transit between 2010 and 2013. Accident & incident reports were also compiled into a 1,290-page database.

Click to Local 1267 Teamsters Contract Wallman laments how a termination process mandated by the union contract, when coupled with management’s fear of arbitration, made it nearly impossible to discharge a county bus driver for incompetence behind the wheel. To terminate a driver, management must demonstrate the driver’s involvement in more than 4 preventable accidents or having run more than four red lights during the previous 24 months. In fact, according to Article 10, Section 3 of the contract, “After twenty-four (24) months all materials pertaining to discipline in an employee's file will not be used for disciplinary purposes.” After 2 years, accidents are expunged from the driver’s record as a cause for termination, allowing BCT drivers a virtually unlimited number of preventable accidents without getting canned – as long as they don’t cause more than 4 within a 24-month period.

BCT driver Charles Raymond Smith
BCT DRIVER CHARLES RAYMOND SMITH
Since a five-member Accident Review Board (two of whom are named by the bus driver’s union) decides whether accidents were preventable, nearly 75% of the accidents are exempted from consideration (they don’t count!). Even if the standard for termination is met, when a driver invokes a right to arbitration, BCT management folds like a cheap suit. After a slap on the wrist, the driver is back on the road - and causes more damage.

Click to Brittany Wallman November 20, 2015 Article Nearly half of the 629 County drivers between 2008 and 2013 had clean records (zero preventable accidents). Of the 3,556 reported accidents (and their $7.1 million cost to County taxpayers for bus-related injuries and property damage), the vast majority were attributed to just under ten percent of the drivers (59 - to be exact). In February, Wallman featured the driving antics of 69-year-old Fred Fischer, who - despite rear-ending 13 vehicles and crashing his bus 21 times while enduring 19 suspensions and 32 disciplinary actions - is still driving a County bus. More recently and closer to home, on November 20, 2015, she looked at the driving record of 62-year-old North Lauderdale resident Charles Raymond Smith, whom Wallman credited with 16 accidents, receiving 25 written warning slips, and serving 30 days of unpaid suspension. Wallman also observed that the 21-year County driver is currently plying his trade in a Route 55 bus, placing him at ground zero in the Galt Mile neighborhood.

Click to Route 72 Layover Rider Alert
BCT Bus Accident
BCT BUS ACCIDENT
The LBTS Town Commission evicted the County buses because drivers broke the rules that BCT promised to follow, ignoring repeated warnings against parking on the sidewalk and capriciously destroying town property – just like they did on the Galt Mile. Also, since LBTS wouldn’t tolerate the noise and exhaust fumes at a location that’s largely uninhabited, BCT officials thought it less egregious to move the offending layover to a site smack in the middle of 14,000 Galt Mile residents. As BCT was being tossed out of LBTS, a Rider Alert was posted on the BCT website, announcing that the Route 72 layover was being returned to Galt Ocean Drive on December 20, 2015.

Migraine or Minor Setback?

Armed with the LBTS meeting minutes, on December 30, GMCA President Pio Ieraci sent another message to LaMarca and Garling. Referencing an attached copy of Hoffmann’s rationale for ousting BCT buses, Ieraci inquired “If ‘noise, fumes, drivers who do not follow instructions & damage to property’ is not acceptable to LBTS, why would it be acceptable to the Galt? We were promised that only the #55 bus would layover on the Galt. We formally request that bus #72 be relocated IMMEDIATELY to someplace other than the Galt. I look forward to your prompt attention to this matter. Happy New Year!”

More to come... and a happy and healthy New Year… to you and your family!!!

 


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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca

New BCT Buses; Port Checkpoints; Pet Register & Calendar Photo

Click to Chip LaMarca December 2015 Newsletter
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
COMMISSIONER LAMARCA DECEMBER UPDATE
January 2, 2016 - In his December 2015 message to constituents, District 4 County Commissioner Chip LaMarca applauds Broward County Transit (BCT) for launching full-featured new buses onto local thoroughfares, describes how a burdensome access glitch to the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center will soon be corrected, advises pet owners to protect their furry companions against rabies, wandering off or getting snatched, and cites local photographer Fred Johnson for landing the cover page of the 2016 Florida Association of Counties Calendar.

Click to MyRide Broward In acclaiming the 31 new buses purchased by BCT, LaMarca refers to “MyRide Broward”, a real time bus tracking system that alerts riders to when the next three buses will arrive at any particular bus stop. Deploying Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) technology to locate buses and estimate arrival times, the continuously updated information is instantaneously transmitted to smart phones and other online devices (i.e. tablets, computers, etc.). After the projected launch date in spring of 2016, the real time output will be made available on the Broward County Transit website (Broward.org/BCT).

Luxurious New BCT Express Bus
LUXURIOUS NEW BCT EXPRESS BUS
17 of the new buses are articulated - carrying up to 57 passengers in two attached compartments totaling 60 feet in length. Five others are 40-foot, diesel hybrid-electric powered buses seating 38 customers, fully accessible with a low-floor design and a ramp for wheelchair boarding through the entrance door. Since the last nine 45-foot buses are dedicated to long-distance service (Express routes to Miami, etc.), BCT took a page from the airlines, as their 55 high-back seats have extra hip-to-knee space, and each is equipped with LED reading lights, individually controlled air conditioning vents, 110-volt electrical outlets, Wi-Fi and USB ports.

Click to Local 1267 Teamsters Contract Although overlooked in LaMarca’s newsletter, of far greater relevance to Galt Mile residents was a recent BCT rider alert advising that buses from Route 72 may once again “layover” on Galt Ocean Drive. Unlike buses that pick up and discharge passengers along a route, a layover site serves as an on-street depot, where three or four buses are stacked while drivers stretch their legs, eat lunch, or parse a few hours to achieve enlightenment (as authorized in their union contract). Since they invariably interfere with traffic, layover sites are located along wide, multi-lane thoroughfares, where motorists can skirt around the anticipated blockage – or on largely vacated streets.

Traffic must pass through Playa del Mar Bus Gauntlet
TRAFFIC MUST PASS THROUGH PLAYA DEL MAR BUS GAUNTLET
When construction on the Galt Mile A1A greenway project began in July, BCT officials relocated the layover sites for buses in Routes #36, #55 and #72 from A1A to Galt Ocean Drive, ignoring how Route #11 buses were already laying over on a beachside street too narrow to legally support a bike lane, much less anchor four bus routes. The resulting traffic plug blocked the street, undermined association operations and threatened the lives of residents.

BCT Buses Block Regency Tower Driveways and Cutout
BCT BUSES BLOCK BOTH REGENCY TOWER DRIVEWAYS & CUTOUT
For almost three months, three or four buses regularly left unattended on both sides of the narrow street pinched off traffic, blocked drivers from entering or exiting association driveways, usurped association cutouts ordinarily used for waste removal, move-ins / move-outs and large load deliveries and blocked Fire-Rescue EMTs headed for Galt Mile associations. Since the blockade wholly obstructed a view of the street, daily accidents were narrowly averted by alert association security personnel assigned to escort pedestrians across the street and guide departing drivers around the buses onto Galt Ocean Drive.

Journalist Brittany Wallman
JOURNALIST BRITTANY WALLMAN
Click to Brittany Wallman November 20, 2015 Article Inattentive bus drivers damaged street lamps, signage, trees, sidewalk panels, curbs & association landscaping. In a November 20, 2015 article that capped a 3-year exposé, Sun Sentinel Reporter Brittany Wallman credited a BCT driver on the Galt Mile (Route 55) with 16 collisions, 25 written warning slips and 30 days of unpaid suspension. When shrugged off by BCT operations personnel, angry Galt Mile residents, managers and board members contacted the neighborhood association for help.

Route 55 Bus on Galt Ocean Drive
ROUTE 55 BUS ON THE GALT
Broward County Transit Director Tim Garling
BCT DIRECTOR TIM GARLING
On August 25th, when Galt Mile officials detailed the potentially disastrous repercussions for County Commissioner Chip LaMarca, he brought BCT Director Tim Garling to the table – who agreed to either re-route the buses or find alternative layover sites. Shortly thereafter, LaMarca informed Galt Mile officials that Route 72 buses would layover at El Mar Drive in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea while buses from Routes 11 and 36 would no longer service Galt Ocean Drive, leaving only Route 55 buses to clutter our street. Officially approved at a mid-September BCT administrative transit hearing, the corrective measures were implemented on October 11, returning Galt Ocean Drive to its residents

Route 72 Bus on Galt Ocean Drive
ROUTE 72 BUS ON THE GALT
Click to Broward County Transit On December 28, several Galt Mile residents notified the neighborhood association that Route 72 buses were once again parking on Galt Ocean Drive. Allowing for the prospect of an administrative foul-up, Galt Mile officials shot emails to LaMarca and Garling, asking why the anathematic conveyance was again blighting Galt Ocean Drive while demanding its removal. Given Garling’s promise to relocate the route’s layover to Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, how LaMarca and Garling plan to address this surreptitiously revived threat will be forwarded to the Advisory Board, member associations and neighborhood residents. Stay tuned.

Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center
GREATER FORT LAUDERDALE/BROWARD COUNTY CONVENTION CENTER
For years, the aging Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center has been leaking customers, competitively hampered by the absence of an integrated hotel and an idiotic requirement that optometrists, stamp dealers, crafters, biomolecular researchers and other conventioneers or expo-goers driving to the Center (or its attached garage) show a government issued-ID, undergo vetting for arrest warrants, have their car trunk inspected while asked, “Do you have any weapons?”

Old Port Everglades Security Gate
OLD PORT EVERGLADES SECURITY GATE
Putting Convention Center visitors through a security grinder was an unintended consequence of a poorly planned reaction to 9/11. After the Trade Center went down, former Governor Jeb Bush assigned 141 National Guard reservists from the 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery (who lived from Fort Pierce to Fort Lauderdale) to protect the port, specifically the huge stores of petroleum that supply gas stations in 12 South Florida counties and jet fuel dumps in South Florida Airports. By erecting a temporary security gate (made permanent in 2005) at the nearby 17th Street and Eisenhower Boulevard shared access to the Convention Center, the County serendipitously burdened the Center’s future patrons with invasive security protocols meant instead for visitors to the port.

Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center & Headquarters Hotel
CONVENTION CENTER & HEADQUARTERS HOTEL
Although 3 different plans to improve the center and correct the security gaffe went south during the past decade, Broward officials are finally addressing these competitive impediments. Having eroded longstanding opposition by local hoteliers to building a Headquarters Hotel, the County is crafting plans to enhance and expand the center, and has already begun severing access to the convention center from the port’s security envelope.

The $12.7 million plan to relocate the security gate replaced a planned bypass road that spiraled from $30 million to $93 million before being quashed by the County Board in 2013. The relocation price-tag included revisions to the port’s fiber-optic security infrastructure and navigating costly regulatory dogma with the Coast Guard, the Broward Sheriff and the U.S. Transportation Security Administration. To check out the rest of Commissioner LaMarca’s December 2015 Newsletter – Read on... - [editor]

 

December 2015 Update

By Commissioner Chip LaMarca

District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER
CHIP LAMARCA

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year Wishing you the closeness of friends, the comfort of home and the tranquility of a renewed spirit throughout the Holiday Season and a New Year marked by good health, happiness and prosperity.

Dear Broward County Residents,

I am honored to serve as a County Commissioner, representing our coastal communities from Deerfield Beach to Fort Lauderdale. Here are some recent highlights from Broward County.

New Broward County Buses in Service

Chip LaMarca Rides New Broward Luxury Express Bus
LAMARCA ON NEW BUS
More than 30 new Broward County Transit buses are currently or will soon be on the road serving customers. Those customers will benefit from Broward County's nearly $26 million investment by having a more comfortable ride and more reliable vehicles. All buses will be equipped with updated technology as part of the MyRide Broward real time bus tracking system, coming soon to BCT! The new buses will serve various routes and serve thousands of customers each day. Broward County Transit (BCT) provides safe and economical bus transportation via fixed route, express, community bus and paratransit services to its customers. Annually BCT provides nearly 40 million rides to customers and operates 44 major routes within 410 square miles of Broward County, as well as carrying commuters to Miami and connecting with neighboring transit agencies. For more information about BCT or for help planning your trip, visit their website or call customer service seven days a week at 954.357.8400 or TTY 954-357.8302.

Port Security Checkpoint Demolition Scheduled

Old Port Everglades Security Gate
OLD PORT EVERGLADES SECURITY GATE
Visitors to the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center will enjoy easier access to the Center and the parking garage once demolition of the old checkpoint to enter Port Everglades is completed sometime later this month. In the past, all visitors entering Eisenhower Boulevard from 17th Street Causeway had to clear a security checkpoint, showing a driver's license or passport, before turning into the Center and its attached garage, which also provides access to a Cruise Terminal. The new checkpoint was built south of 20th Street, and south of the Convention Center, eliminating the need to clear security. Cruise passengers will clear security once they enter Terminal 2. The relocation of the new security checkpoint and demolition of the old checkpoint are among the many projects that make up the Seaport and Convention Center Security Improvement Project, which separates the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center from the Port's controlled access area to allow for improved traffic flow in and out of the Convention Center. For more information, visit porteverglades.net.

Animal Care Clinics make it easy to protect and identify pets

Microchips Help Locate Lost Pets
MICROCHIP - FIND LOST PETS
Rabies vaccinations and Pet Registration Tags are required by law, and Animal Care makes it easy to protect your pet by offering a series of monthly events throughout the County so that dogs and cats can be vaccinated, registered and micro-chipped, quickly and conveniently. There is a $300 fine for pet owners who do not have their dog or cat vaccinated against rabies and a $300 fine for pets that are not registered with the County.

Cost for a one-year rabies vaccination and Broward County Pet Registration Tag is:

  • $25 if your pet is spayed or neutered

  • $35 if your pet is not spayed or neutered

Pet Registration Tags Save Lives Microchips, with free registration, are also available at each Rabies Clinic for $15. Micro-chipping is a permanent form of identification. Once the chip is registered, pets are safeguarded in case they become lost or stolen. Each Rabies Clinic takes place from 9AM to 2PM. To attend a Rabies Clinic event, pet owners must be a Broward County resident. No appointment is necessary and customers are taken on a first-come, first-served basis. All dogs must be on a leash and all cats must be in carriers. No cash or checks please; only debit and credit cards will be accepted. For a complete schedule of the 2016 clinics, visit our website.

Broward County Resident Wins Calendar Cover

Sunrise at Fort Lauderdale Beach

 

Click to Florida Association of Counties A photo showing a beautiful morning along Fort Lauderdale Beach is the "awesome weather" photo for the 2016 FAC Calendar. "Sunrise at Fort Lauderdale Beach" in Broward County is the chosen cover photo for the Florida Association of Counties (FAC) 2016 Calendar. The winning cover photo was one of many photos submitted by Broward resident Fred Johnson. The 2016 Florida Association of Counties Calendar is for sale on the FAC website.

Contact Us

Click to Stay Connected The Resident's Guide to Government provides a convenient resource to help people stay connected to their local government. It includes contact information for County officials and Federal, State, and local agencies. Visitors can stay connected by subscribing to E-news and social media sites. Sign up at Broward.org/District4 to receive email updates from our office. If there is anything that we can do to assist you with your vision for a better Broward, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 954-357-7004 or by email at clamarca@broward.org.

As always, it is my honor to serve you.


Chip LaMarca
Broward County Commssioner
District 4


Broward County Commission Meetings

Click to Video Central Web Page The Broward County Commission meets generally on Tuesdays at 10:00 am in Room 422 of the Broward County Governmental Center, 115 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale. (Commission Meeting Schedule and Agenda are listed here: broward.org/Commission/Pages/Meetings.aspx) Residents can view live coverage of the Commission meetings on Comcast Cable channels 12 and 77; Advanced Communications channels 64 and 25; AT&T U-verse channel 99, and through the County's website at broward.org/video/ The County Commission meetings are rebroadcast at 5:30 p.m. each Friday following a Tuesday Commission meeting.

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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca

Beach; Port; TRIM; Save H2O, SolarNow & FastTrac

Click to Chip LaMarca November 2015 Newsletter
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
COMMISSIONER LAMARCA NOVEMBER MESSAGE
December 11, 2015 - In Chip LaMarca's November Update, the District 4 County Commissioner speaks to the need for reclaiming Broward's severely eroded beaches. He observes that the project enjoys universal support by stakeholders, has been granted State and Federal Permits, and will soon be implemented by a recently selected bid-winning contractor. No stranger to either the process or the venue, vendor Eastman Aggregates Enterprises performed an emergency renourishment for Lauderdale-by-the-Sea in 2013, under the Army Corps of Engineers' Flood Control and Coastal Emergency program (FCCE). Click to Eastman Aggregates Enterprises Funded by the Corps, they trucked sand 106 miles from the E.R. Jahan Ortona sand mine in Moore Haven to Pompano and Lauderdale by the Sea beaches, providing the vendor with a virtual preview of the Segment II project.

Lt. General Thomas P. Bostick
LT. GENERAL THOMAS P. BOSTICK
LaMarca reports how Port Everglades has proceeded with its pre-construction, engineering and design (PED) phase after Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick signed the Chief’s Report for the Port Everglades project on June 26, certifying that the project is environmentally sound and economically beneficial. While modifications to the draft mitigation plan should take approximately 2 years, construction planned to begin in 2017 will likely be completed in five years. Moving to our tax bills, LaMarca mentions that TRIM Notices have been mailed to a half million Broward property owners, and encourages constituents to claim the discount for paying early.

Click to Watersense Describing the benefits of participating in the County's "Conservation Pays" program, our District 4 County Commissioner cites a rebate program to replace old fixtures with High Efficiency Toilets (HET’s). To collect the $100 rebate, the new toilet must be WaterSense® certified, use 1.28 gallons per flush or less (Dual Flush Toilets must also use 1.28 gpf for both flush options) and the application must be accompanied by receipts, UPC label and WaterSense® label. You should receive your check in about 4 weeks. In Fort Lauderdale, condo applicants may receive up to two (2) rebates per qualifying water accountholder and must own and reside in the home at which they are replacing the toilet(s).

faucet aerator
FAUCET AERATOR
The City of Fort Lauderdale also participates in the incentive program, and provides free water-saving devices such as showerheads, faucet aerators, and pre-rinse spray valves. Although you must bring us your old showerhead in order to receive a new one (limited to two showerhead exchanges per household), you do not need to bring us your old aerators. The free pre-rinse spray valves are available to qualifying commercial businesses. For more information about the showerhead exchange, please contact the City of Fort Lauderdale 24-hour Customer Service Center at (954) 828-8000 or online at www.fortlauderdale.gov/customerservice. You may also contact Customer Service via LauderServ, the City’s Android application.

Young At Art Museum and Broward County Library
YOUNG AT ART MUSEUM AND BROWARD LIBRARY
At the Young At Art Museum and Broward County Library, LaMarca notes the installation of an interactive display powered by a linked solar canopy inside the museum, the first under FPL's SolarNow Program. The County signed onto FPL's SolarNow program shortly after passing a Community Energy Strategic Plan and a County Operations Renewable Energy Action Plan committing to a 20 percent increase in electricity generated from clean, renewable sources. Since the Young At Art Museum is Gold-LEED® certified and a teaching facility, it was viewed by FPL as a perfect participating program vehicle.

Click to LEEDS Certification LaMarca applauds the Broward County Aviation Department's new Maintenance Facility at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport for earning the LEED® Silver Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. A collaborative effort by architect Walters Zackria Associates; contractor The Morganti Group, Inc.; and the Broward County Aviation Department, the project also recycled over 85 percent of demolition and construction waste and installed low flow water fixtures in bathrooms and break areas. Other benefits include: over 20 percent local/regional materials were utilized, over 20 percent of materials contain recycled content, wood doors and cabinets are formaldehyde free and Forest Stewardship Council certified, glazing includes insulated/laminated glass with high performance coating.

Click to Kaufman Fast Track LaMarca informs budding Broward entrepreneurs about the FastTrac® NewVenture competitive process made available by Kauffman to 15 participants, as completing the course may rate a free business evaluation and potential seed money. To be eligible for FastTrac® NewVenture™ you must bring to the table a well thought-out idea for a new business, two years of work experience, access to a computer to complete assignments, some experience with conducting some market research, and a commitment to attend all sessions (approximately 30 classroom hours) and complete prep work (approximately 15-20 hours per week). Although its free, its not a free ride.

Florida Manatee
FORT LAUDERDALE MANATEE
In closing, LaMarca warns County boaters to keep their eyes pealed for Manatees, as their numbers swell when falling temperatures trigger their instinctive return to Florida waters. During last year's manatee season (November 15th - March 31st), staff from EPCRD counted over 1,200 manatees in the County's waterways, which may represent 20 percent of the entire State population of manatees. Manatees initially migrate to the warm-water refuges of the Lauderdale Power Plant cooling lakes and Port Everglades Power Plant cooling canal and move into the surrounding canals and Intracoastal Waterway to forage as the temperatures warm, where they are at risk for deadly collisions with inattentive boating enthusiasts who ignore the speed limit. Read on for all of Commissioner LaMarca's November 2015 Newsletter – [editor]

 

November 2015 Update

By Commissioner Chip LaMarca

District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER
CHIP LAMARCA
Dear Broward County Residents,

I am honored to serve as a County Commissioner, representing our coastal communities from Deerfield Beach to Fort Lauderdale. Here are some recent highlights from Broward County.

Happy Thanksgiving Wishing that your Thanksgiving is blessed with the bounties of the season and the love and warmth of your family and friends.

Beach Renourishment Project Slated for Broward Beaches

Broward County Beach Renourishment Project Web Site There are approximately 24 miles of sandy beaches along Broward County’s coastline. Broward County’s beach management program was initiated in the 1970’s. To date, over 10 million cubic yards of sand have been placed on our beaches. Maintaining our beaches is vital due to the fact that they protect over $4 billion in upland infrastructure, provide critical habitat to nesting sea turtles and other marine life and provide recreational space for tourists and residents. As beaches are an integral component of the County, it is our goal to maintain healthy, pristine, and wide beaches for tourists, residents, and marine life as our beaches have a $6.6 billion in direct and indirect fiscal impacts

Trucking Sand to Beach Staging Areas
TRUCKING SAND TO BEACH STAGING AREAS
The next planned renourishment event is the Segment II Shore Protection Project, which is located along Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Pompano Beach, and Fort Lauderdale Beaches. The purpose of the Segment II renourishment project is to reconstruct areas of eroded beach and increase storm protection to the upland development along portions of the shoreline. The project will place approximately 750,000 cubic yards of sand along 4.9 miles of shoreline along two reaches of shoreline between Hillsboro Inlet and Port Everglades and construct a small dune will also be constructed along sections of the beach. Sand for the project will be obtained from permitted upland sand mines located in central Florida and the sand will be trucked from the upland mine to Broward County and ultimately placed on the beach.

New Beach Construction at Staging Area
SEGMENT II STAGING AREA
Broward County has currently received a low, responsive and responsible bid from a contractor and construction is anticipated to commence shortly. After many years of dedicated work by our staff and many advocates, Broward County has received permits to construct the project from both the State and Federal resource agencies and has currently received the final greenlight by obtaining the Project Participation Agreement with the Army Corps of Engineers. The project is highly supported and applauded by local governments and environmental stakeholders.

Port Everglades Update

Broward Officials Celebrate Chief of Engineers Report for Port Everglades
BROWARD OFFICIALS APPLAUD CHIEF OF ENGINEERS REPORT
The Port Everglades Deepening & Widening Project is moving to the Preconstruction Engineering & Design (PED) phase. In order to move forward, it is necessary to complete all required engineering and planning before actual commencement of construction and dredging. With the issuance of the Port’s Chief of Engineers’ Report in July, the PED phase should take approximately 18-24 months with construction commencing in 2017. County staff and their advocacy team have worked to ensure the appropriate financial agreements are in place between the County and the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Current efforts are also aimed at ensuring that work completed by Port staff or its consultants are appropriately credited towards the County’s cost obligations for the overall project.

2015 Property Tax Bills Are in the Mail - Taxes Due Beginning November 1st –

Broward County Property Tax Bill
BROWARD COUNTY PROPERTY TAX BILL
Click to Broward Pay Taxes WebsiteMore than 500,000 property tax bills for 2015 will be arriving in property owners' mailboxes soon. Property taxes must be paid no later than March 31, 2016 to avoid penalties and delinquency fees, but may be paid as early as November 1, 2015 to take advantage of discounts. A four percent discount applies to taxes paid in November; a three percent discount applies in December; a two percent discount in January; and a one percent discount in February. The amount shown on tax bills includes the applicable early-payment discount. Property owners without mortgages, or those who do not make use of an escrow arrangement, may pay their taxes in a variety of ways. Visit broward.county-taxes.com

Water Conservation Pays

Click to Conservation Pays Website Broward County and 18 water utility and municipal partners launched the Conservation Pays program to better support our communities and lead in meeting our shared water conservation goals. Through this program, many Broward residents have enjoyed rebates for high efficiency toilets and free water saving fixtures, including showerheads and faucet aerators. Our residents have been great partners, taking advantage of this program to replace more than 7,600 toilets with high-efficiency models, driving down water bills and maximizing water savings. Toilet Rebate The goal is to save water, money, and the environment, and to sustain the quality of life and community we all enjoy. So far, close to 500 rebates have been issued and replaced with High Efficiency Toilets (HET’s) in District 4 from the Conservation Pays rebate program. If you have not yet taken advantage of the Program, see if you are eligible and join your neighbors. You’ll find that the immediate savings are impressive, but the long-term savings are infinite. Not only do you get $100 back for replacing an old toilet with a new HET, but you’ll save money each month on your water bill. Commercial and multifamily properties, nonprofit organizations, homeowners, and business owners are encouraged to apply for rebates. Other water saving devices, including showerheads, faucet aerators, and pre-rinse spray valves for commercial kitchens are also available for FREE in participating areas. To see if your community is participating, visit www.ConservationPays.com. Or, call 1-800-270-9794 for more information.

Broward Starts Construction on New FPL Solar Installation

-Solar canopy to generate clean power and showcase the benefits of renewable energy-

Click to Young At Art Museum and Broward County Library The future for solar energy is getting even brighter in Broward as construction began today on a new solar installation located at Young At Art Museum and Broward County Library. An interactive display linked to the solar canopy inside the museum will educate visitors on the benefits of renewable energy.

Click to Broward Public Library Foundation The project is an innovative partnership between Broward County and Florida Power & Light Company (FPL). It is the first solar installation to be built through the FPL SolarNow™ Program, a voluntary-community based solar pilot partnership program designed to bring more solar into local communities. Broward County was the first to sign a partnership agreement with FPL earlier this year. The solar canopy and interactive display inside Young At Art Museum is expected to be fully functional early next year.

LEED Silver Certification for Maintenance Facility at Broward County's FLL

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Maintenance Facility
FLL MAINTENANCE FACILITY
Broward County Aviation Department's new Maintenance Facility has earned the LEED® Silver Certification. The facility opened in February 2015 and it is located at Broward County's Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. The U.S. Green Building Council determined the project achieved 54 points resulting in a Silver Certification level under the New Construction Rating System. The LEED® building is projected to have a 23 percent reduction of electrical use, 35 percent reduction of water use over conventional buildings, and a reduction of operational cost by $30,000 per year.

Broward County Offers New Program for Aspiring and Early Stage Entrepreneurs

Click to Broward Public Library Foundation Make your business idea a reality! Just because you are an entrepreneur doesn't mean you have to figure everything out on your own. Our free workshop offered in partnership with the Innovation Hub @ Broward College, FastTrac® NewVenture™ can put you on the path to success. With the guidance of successful entrepreneurs and a supportive peer community, FastTrac® NewVenture™ will help you refine your business concept, identify the components of a strong business plan, and access the appropriate resources to complete your launch. The benefits of FastTrac® NewVenture™ will last you long after the workshop has ended and into your role as a start-up business owner.

Click to Broward Public Library Foundation A NewVenture™ Information Session will provide an overview of the program to prospective participants on Thursday, December 3, 6 to 7 p.m., Innovation Hub @ Broward College Cypress Creek Administrative Center, 6400 NW 6th Way, Fort Lauderdale. To attend the Information Session Register Today!

Click to Kaufman Fast Track NewVenture™ is free and open to Broward County residents. Interested participants will need to apply online at http://oesbd.affiliate.fasttrac.org/ during the application period from December 7 - 18 for this competitive process. Please be sure to submit a complete application. Space is limited to 15 participants. New Venture™ courses for accepted applicants ONLY will be held at the Innovation Hub @ Broward College January 7, 2016 through March 31, 2016 from 6 to 9 PM on the following Thursdays: January 7, 14, 21 • February 4, 11, 18, 25 • March 3, 10, 17, 31.

Upon completion of NewVenture™, participants' completed business plans will be evaluated and seed money may be distributed to the top three business plans. All students will receive a bonus prize at the end of the course. For more information on the Kauffman FastTrac® program, contact the Office of Economic and Small Business Development at 954-357-6400, Visit our website. Individuals requiring accommodations in order to participate in a workshop must make a request at least 10 business days prior to the scheduled workshop.

Manatee Season Begins November 15th: Boaters advised to honor protection zones

Click to Manatees on Florida Fish and Wildlife website November 15th marks the beginning of manatee season. As air and water temperatures drop, manatees begin moving south toward warm water refuges, and seasonal speed limits go into effect. Broward County's Environmental Planning and Community Resilience Division (EPCRD) cautions boaters to be on the lookout for greater numbers of manatees moving into the County's waterways. Boaters should be aware that many seasonal manatee protection zones go into effect on November 15th in Broward and throughout the state. For information about manatee protection zones by County, including the seasonal changes and speed zones, visit MyFWC.com/Manatee, and select "Data and Maps". If you see a sick, injured, or dead manatee, call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's (FWC) Wildlife Alert Number at (888) 404-FWCC (3922), *FWC or # FWC on a cell phone or with a text to tip@myfwc.com.

Contact Us

Click to Stay Connected The Resident's Guide to Government provides a convenient resource to help people stay connected to their local government. It includes contact information for County officials and Federal, State, and local agencies. Visitors can stay connected by subscribing to E-news and social media sites. Sign up at Broward.org/District4 to receive email updates from our office. If there is anything that we can do to assist you with your vision for a better Broward, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 954-357-7004 or by email at clamarca@broward.org.

As always, it is my honor to serve you.


Chip LaMarca
Broward County Commssioner
District 4


Broward County Commission Meetings

Click to Video Central Web Page The Broward County Commission meets generally on Tuesdays at 10:00 am in Room 422 of the Broward County Governmental Center, 115 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale. (Commission Meeting Schedule and Agenda are listed here: broward.org/Commission/Pages/Meetings.aspx) Residents can view live coverage of the Commission meetings on Comcast Cable channels 12 and 77; Advanced Communications channels 64 and 25; AT&T U-verse channel 99, and through the County's website at broward.org/video/ The County Commission meetings are rebroadcast at 5:30 p.m. each Friday following a Tuesday Commission meeting.

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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca

Beach Fix; Terminal 4; Turtle Signs; SAT Prep & Holidays

Click to Chip LaMarca October 2015 Newsletter
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
COMMISSIONER LAMARCA OCTOBER MESSAGE
November 24, 2015 - In his October Newsletter, Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca updates his District 4 constituents about the impending Segment II Beach Renourishment, applauds Port Everglades for earning LEEDs (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for energy-efficient improvements to Cruise Terminal 4, welcomes the next generation of informational Sea Turtle signage headed for Broward beaches and announces a series of free ACT and SAT preparation courses offered at seven branch Libraries (although not available at the Galt Mile branch).

Broward Natural Resource Administrator Nicole Sharp
BROWARD NATURAL RESOURCE
ADMINISTRATOR NICOLE SHARP
Galt Mile residents have been repeatedly assured that the Segment II beach renourishment would begin following the November conclusion of Sea Turtle nesting season. After negotiating project terms with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) throughout 2013, Broward beach officials landed State Permit Number 0314535-001-JC on January 31, 2014.

Click to Army Corps of Engineers - Jacksonville District Web Site In 2014, the Federal permit process stumbled when a foot-dragging bureaucrat in NOAA Fisheries withheld an opinion letter required by the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE). With the help of Corps officials from the Palm Beach Gardens Regulatory office, Broward beach boss Nicole Sharp secured the opinion letter and completed the remaining Permit requirements by April of 2015. A few days later, ACOE District Commander Colonel Alan Dodd issued Federal Permit Number SAJ-1999-05545(SP-GGL) in Jacksonville.

Click to Segment II Federal Permit Since County officials were hard-pressed to complete project preparations before the anticipated autumn 2015 start date, they simultaneously entered into cost-sharing talks with the Corps and the three municipal stakeholders. The County began drafting a Project Participation Agreement (PPA) in April, which details project costs and objectives, and specifies how the County will meet environmental and financial benchmarks. The pact also legally obligates the Corps to a negotiated cost-sharing formula. Since vendor agreements are subject to terms spelled out in the PPA, it had to be executed before the County could contract with prospective vendors.

Click to Segment II Beach Costs County PPA negotiations with ACOE would also determine how the County and cities budgeted for the $55.6 million project, although it would proceed whether or not the Feds chipped in the 55% ($30.58 million) reimbursable under a 2014 Limited Reevaluation Report. The State of Florida had already committed $10.43 million to the project, 25% of the non-federal share. Incremental to their regular share, the County also donated $10.1 million recently collected from the City of Hollywood for a previous project. Of that amount, the County credited 33% to help the cities meet their obligations while the remaining 67% was applied to the County’s costs. Since the remaining balance would be shared by the County and the three municipalities (on a 67% - 33% basis) with or without the Federal contribution, in July the County sent each municipality funding estimates for both scenarios.

New Segment II Beach Plan Staging Areas
SOME SEGMENT II STAGING AREAS
Without the $30.58 million in Federal funds, the County’s 67% share would come to $23.76 million, while the 33% due from the three municipalities would total $11.31 million. If the Feds signed the PPA and shouldered 55% of the $55.6 million project cost, the County share would drop to $2.26 million while the cities would collectively pay $2.23 million. The percentage cost to the municipalities is based on the volume of sand added to their respective beaches - 72.4% for Fort Lauderdale, 22.3% for Pompano Beach and 5.3% for Lauderdale-by-the-Sea (LBTS). However, if the LBTS share exceeded $350,000, the County agreed to make up the difference. As such, the projected costs to each municipality (with and without Federal Funds), are $1.61 - $8.38 million for Fort Lauderdale, $500K - $2.58 million for Pompano Beach and $120K - $350K for Lauderdale-by-the-Sea.

Click to Bidsync Web Site As Sharp and ACOE negotiated the PPA cost-sharing terms, each of the three municipalities set about executing Interlocal Agreements (ILA) with the County. The ILAs detailed the parties’ respective financial and regulatory responsibilities. On October 6, the County placed the Segment II project out to bid (on Bidsync), citing November 6 as the closing date for beach fill services and artificial reef construction vendor proposals. By starting the bidding process prior to execution of the PPA, County Beach officials would be ready to roll once the PPA was signed, avoiding delays due to vendor scheduling conflicts.

Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy
ASSISTANT SECRETARY JO-ELLEN DARCY
On October 9, Commissioner LaMarca notified the neighborhood association “The US Army Corps of Engineers has agreed to the financial terms of our project and they are in the process of signing off on the federal participation of 55% of the total project.” Later that day, Broward Beach boss Nicole Sharp cautioned that although the County had completed negotiating the terms of the Project Partnership Agreement (PPA); it still had to be signed by Jo-Ellen Darcy - Assistant Secretary of the Army - a formality projected for early November.

On Monday, November 9, the Corps delivered a signed and executed PPA to exuberant County Beach officials. On November 10, the Pompano Beach City Commission passed a resolution approving their ILA with the County. When Fort Lauderdale City Manager Lee Feldman took exception to several conditions in the draft ILA received from the County, a detailed response was returned by County Administrator Bertha Henry. The City’s share is only $1.61 million, payable in three annual installments of less than $540,000. City and County officials scheduled a meeting to address the City’s concerns. More to come... Read on for Commissioner LaMarca's October 2015 Newsletter – [editor]

 

October 2015 Update

By Commissioner Chip LaMarca

District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER
CHIP LAMARCA
Dear Broward County Residents,

I am honored to serve as a County Commissioner, representing our coastal communities from Deerfield Beach to Fort Lauderdale. Here are some recent highlights from Broward County.

Beach Re-nourishment Project Planned for Broward County Beaches

The next planned beach re-nourishment project will take place along Segment II, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Pompano, and Fort Lauderdale Beaches. The purpose of the Segment II re-nourishment project is to reconstruct areas of eroded beach and increase storm protection to the upland development along portions of the shoreline. The project will place approximately 750,000 cubic yards of sand along 4.9 miles of shoreline between Hillsboro Inlet and Port Everglades. Click to Broward Public Library Foundation The current project schedule anticipates construction commencing in fall 2015. The County has received permits to construct the project from both the State and Federal resource agencies and is currently negotiating the Project Participation Agreement (PPA) with the Army Corps of Engineers. The PPA is a legally binding agreement between the Federal government and the County, and it describes the project and responsibilities of the Federal Government and County in cost-sharing and execution of the work. The project cannot be awarded to a contractor until execution of this agreement, or the Federal share (approximately $30.5M) would be jeopardized.

Port Everglades Receives Its First LEED Certification

LEED Certified Terminal 4 at Port Everglades
LEED CERTIFIED TERMINAL 4 AT PORT EVERGLADES
Broward County's Port Everglades received its first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for Cruise Terminal 4, which underwent many energy-efficient improvements when it was expanded and completely renovated over the past year. Click to Green Marine Website Port Everglades also has a port-wide energy management program that includes most of the Broward County-owned buildings and facilities, so many of the Port's other cruise terminals are also 'energy efficient' buildings. Port Everglades recently became the first deep-water port in Florida to join Green Marine, an environmental certification program for the North American marine industry. This environmental program makes it possible for ports, terminal operators, and shipping companies to voluntarily reduce their environmental footprint through a comprehensive program that addresses key environmental issues and criteria using eleven performance indicators.

County Receives Grant for Informational Sea Turtle Signage

Sea Turtle Sign
SEA TURTLE SIGN
The Sea Turtle Conservancy has awarded Broward County a grant to design, produce, and install permanent informational sea turtle signs at public beach access points throughout the County. Installing educational signs at known nesting sites will help local sea turtle nesting populations by delivering information directly to beach goers informing those who may unknowingly be impacting nests. The signs will also serve as a tool to help reduce human interference with sea turtle nesting sites by promoting safe practices. Municipalities will help identify priority locations based on the amount of pedestrian traffic and nesting activity within the vicinity of the access point. These signs were funded in part by a grant from the Sea Turtle Grants Program. The Sea Turtle Grants Program is funded from proceeds from the sale of the Florida Sea Turtle License Plate. Learn more at www.helpingseaturtles.org, and for more information on how to help create a more sustainable environment for sea turtles, please contact the Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Program at 954-519-1255.

Broward County Libraries Offers Free SAT and ACT Preparation Courses for College-bound Students

Click to Broward Public Library Foundation Broward County Libraries will host a series of free ACT and SAT preparation courses for college-bound students. The sessions, which will be held at seven Broward County Library locations, include practice tests and intensive test-taking strategies. Please pre-register by calling the preferred library location. The workshops are sponsored by the Broward Public Library Foundation. College-bound students can also receive online test preparation assistance from Broward eTutor, a free service that can be accessed with your Broward County Library card. Broward eTutor offers 24/7 access to skills assessments and sample tests as well as live help and test prep for the SAT and ACT. Live assistance, in both English and Spanish, is available every day from 2 to 11PM.

Contact Us

Click to Stay Connected The Resident's Guide to Government provides a convenient resource to help people stay connected to their local government. It includes contact information for County officials and Federal, State, and local agencies. Visitors can stay connected by subscribing to E-news and social media sites. Sign up at Broward.org/District4 to receive email updates from our office. If there is anything that we can do to assist you with your vision for a better Broward, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 954-357-7004 or by email at clamarca@broward.org.

As always, it is my honor to serve you.


Chip LaMarca
Broward County Commssioner
District 4


Broward County Commission Meetings

Click to Video Central Web Page The Broward County Commission meets generally on Tuesdays at 10:00 am in Room 422 of the Broward County Governmental Center, 115 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale. (Commission Meeting Schedule and Agenda are listed here: broward.org/Commission/Pages/Meetings.aspx) Residents can view live coverage of the Commission meetings on Comcast Cable channels 12 and 77; Advanced Communications channels 64 and 25; AT&T U-verse channel 99, and through the County's website at broward.org/video/ The County Commission meetings are rebroadcast at 5:30 p.m. each Friday following a Tuesday Commission meeting.

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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca

The Last Chapter - We Hope

Click to Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca's Website
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
COMMISSIONER LAMARCA - UBER / LYFT ARE BACK
October 23, 2015 - On April 28, the Broward Commission attempted to craft an Ordinance to legalize services provided by transportation network companies (TNCs). Until then, Uber and Lyft had been operating in the shadows, raiding petty cash to fund tens of $thousand in accrued driver citations. Miffed by an Uber corporate policy that encouraged drivers to violate County law, and resentful of the unrelenting pressure by Uber supporters to force their hand, Commissioners grudgingly amended the Motor Carriers Ordinance, adding stiff regulatory requirements for drivers, maintenance standards for their personal vehicles, incremental insurance coverage, even a mandated local business office.

Uber Online Petition
UBER ONLINE PETITION
Click to Broward TNC Ordinance Making good on an oft-repeated threat, on July 31, the TNCs suspended access to their cell phone-based online platform for Broward customers. Simultaneously, the TNCs sponsored an online petition to “Bring Uber Back”, and loosed recruits on reluctant commissioners – launching a truckload of texts and emails rife with abusive complaints and phoning anonymous threats to their homes and offices. Not surprisingly, the campaign yielded a quick dividend, as hardline Commission rhetoric was soon replaced by a white flag and an olive branch.

Click to Broward TNC Ordinance At the County Board’s September 1 public meeting, the Commission diluted the Ordinance requirements and agreed to a sea change. Instead of enforcing regulations governing the drivers, their vehicles and insurance standards, the County would delegate those responsibilities to the taxi companies - whether a TNC or a traditional livery business. To verify corporate compliance with the new law, twice annually, the County will peruse each company’s books - and perform random inspections of drivers and vehicles. When the proposed Ordinance was enacted into law at the October 13th Commission Meeting, Uber and Lyft agreed to clip the padlock on their cell phone apps, and resume service in Broward County.

Taxis at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport
TAXIS AT FT LAUD-HOLLYWOOD AIRPORT
The Commission also approved an agreement under which TNCs could provide passenger services at Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport and Port Everglades. They will be charged $4.50 to pick up a passenger at the Airport and $2 for each fare at the Port.

Ironically, Broward County’s record for enforcing safety measures in its Motor Carriers Ordinance is abysmal. Between 2012 and 2014, 62% of the applicants for a Chauffer Registration who were rejected by staffers for cause - were approved anyway by the County’s Consumer Protection Board. The TNCs have argued that they can do better.

Typically, deregulation is followed by a “Honeymoon Period”, when newly empowered corporate communities seek to underscore their willingness to make the financial sacrifices required for responsible self-governance. As drooling shareholders – or corporate officials – grow impatient, sooner or later, they blink. How these self-regulating taxi companies ultimately respond will come out in the wash. For now, enjoy the ride. To catch LaMarca’s October 2015 Uber / Lyft Update, Read on... – [editor]

 

Uber / Lyft Return

By Commissioner Chip LaMarca

Uber/Lyft Update 2015

District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER
CHIP LAMARCA
I am pleased to report that the ride sharing company, Uber has resumed operations in Broward County as of this morning. As a Broward County Commissioner, I believe that making Broward a better place requires embracing progress and technology. Over the course of the last year, the Broward County Commission has taken steps to regulate Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) such as Uber and Lyft in Broward County. Transportation Network Companies use an internet application to match up passengers with drivers who operate their own vehicles to provide transportation for hire.

Broward County Commission Debates Ordinance
BROWARD COUNTY COMMISSION DEBATES ORDINANCE
The ordinance regulating transportation network companies was designed to accommodate TNCs, expand transportation options and establish measures to protect the public. In April of this year, Broward became the first county in South Florida, and one of the first in the nation to develop an ordinance specifically regulating transportation network companies. Since then, numerous public meetings and discussions have taken place to develop a regulatory framework to accommodate TNCs and provide fair competition for the established taxicab industry. Our laws need to be modernized and updated to reflect the technological advances in the transportation industry.

Click to Broward County’s Transportation Network Company Protocols From my vantage point, TNCs aren’t simply offering convenience, competition and choice to visitors and residents. They are providing jobs, full and part-time, to those looking to make ends meet or create their own schedule. Broward County is now advancing into the 21st century and this ordinance will allow drivers for TNCs to operate legally so that we can meet the transportation needs of our residents and visitors.

2015 Broward Board of County Commissioners
2015 BROWARD BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
I am proud to have supported these services from the beginning and extremely satisfied to see the majority of our commission come together with a final ordinance that provides for public safety and allows these companies to operate in Broward County.

Sign up at Broward.org/District4 to receive email updates from our office. If there is anything that we can do to assist you with your vision for a better Broward, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 954-357-7004 or by email at clamarca@broward.org.

As always, it is my honor to serve you.


Chip LaMarca
Broward County Commssioner
District 4


Broward County Commission Meetings

Click to Video Central Web Page The Broward County Commission meets generally on Tuesdays at 10:00 am in Room 422 of the Broward County Governmental Center, 115 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale. (Commission Meeting Schedule and Agenda are listed here: broward.org/Commission/Pages/Meetings.aspx) Residents can view live coverage of the Commission meetings on Comcast Cable channels 12 and 77; Advanced Communications channels 64 and 25; AT&T U-verse channel 99, and through the County's website at broward.org/video/ The County Commission meetings are rebroadcast at 5:30 p.m. each Friday following a Tuesday Commission meeting.

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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca

Budget; TNCs; HQ Hotel; Port Everglades & Sept. Prepare

Click to Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca's Website
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
COMMISSIONER LAMARCA SEPTEMBER MESSAGE
October 1, 2015 - In his September 2015 Newsletter, Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca probes the 2016 Broward spending plan (later approved by the County Commission), summarizes the most recent chapter of the County’s political tug-of-war with Uber and Lyft, describes how five deep-pocketed developers armed with political capital hope to bag the Convention Center Hotel, welcomes an early taste of the windfall fueled by the competitive improvements to Port Everglades, and underscores September’s designation as National Preparedness Month with events conceived to protect property owners from meteorological mayhem. The following may help fill in some of the blanks.

Galt Mile Budget Impacts

Galt Mile Library Supporter
GALT MILE LIBRARY SUPPORTER BILL CLAIRE
September 10, 2015 Broward Budget Hearing
SEPTEMBER 10 BROWARD BUDGET HEARING
Despite a frozen 5.723 millage rate, the County will reap a $55.4 million tax increase from the average 8.08% jump in Broward property values. Ordinarily, the Galt Mile receives nothing for its huge annual Ad Valorem contribution to County coffers – which instead subsidizes tprojects in neighboring communities. Although historically shortchanged by the County’s skewed budget process, Galt Mile residents had several dogs in the FY 2016 balancing act. Most importantly,he County fleshed out its $18.2 million share of the $55 million Segment II Beach Renourishment. Also, supporters of the Galt Mile Library led a successful campaign to reclaim operational cutbacks mandated by the recession. When the Commission threatened to close 4 branch libraries to save money during the economic downturn (including the Galt Mile Reading Center), the neighborhood association successfully lobbied an alternative measure to keep the doors open – slightly crimping the operational hours at every local branch. Pressuring the Commission to transfuse a $60.5 million Library appropriation from the $1 billion General Fund will enhance depressed salaries and begin adding back the lost hours of operation.

County Commission vs. TNCs: Dodge Ball

Uber Online Petition
UBER ONLINE PETITION
Following its July 31 departure from Broward, Uber unleashed an assiduously choreographed crusade to reclaim the market. As outlined in the Sun-Sentinel, the company uploaded an online petition to “Bring Uber Back” while directing its minions to pressure recalcitrant commissioners, filling their inboxes with abusive complaints and phoning in a steady stream of anonymous threats spiced with invective. Since Uber privately negotiated with Commissioners over the summer hiatus, several disclosed that Uber promised to return if the commission dispensed with fingerprinting its drivers, diluted the insurance requirement and limited County oversight to auditing Company records. A disappointed Chip LaMarca, Uber's most ardent Commission supporter, was aghast when the company broke its promise, admonishing “Its mind boggling to me, I think they should be careful how they run their business.”

Uber public policy director Trevor Theunissen
UBER PUBLIC POLICY DIRECTOR
TREVOR THEUNISSEN
Overnight, Commissioners palpably altered their positions. Those heretofore staunchly committed to public safety were suddenly consumed with nurturing innovation. On September 1, Broward Commissioner Mark Bogen proposed revisions to the County Motor Carrier ordinance that Uber characterized as a non-negotiable prerequisite to servicing Broward customers. When Bogen’s motion was approved by the County Board, Uber public policy director Trevor Theunissen said he was confident that some residual issues could be resolved before the County finalized the law at the September 17 commission meeting.

Broward County Commission Debates Ordinance
BROWARD COUNTY COMMISSION DEBATES ORDINANCE
On September 16, Uber sent a six-page missive to the Commission, objecting to most of the remaining terms in the watered-down law. Surprisingly, they rejected a proposed ban on hiring convicts released from prison in the last seven years, or drivers who “pose a threat to public safety” because they committed crimes of “moral turpitude”. In short, Uber objected to precluding felons who've “paid his or her debt to society.” and opposed empowering a County employee to adjudicate morality (specifically, Director Leonard Vialpando of the Environmental Licensing and Building Permitting Division). That said, Uber conceded that murderers, rapists, pederasts and those convicted of violent crimes against police officers should be barred.

Broward residents attend Commission Meeting
BROWARD RESIDENTS ATTEND COMMISSION MEETING
The Commission switched gears - instead of enforcing regulations governing the drivers, insurance and vehicles, the County would pass that torch to the companies - whether a TNC or a traditional livery business. The County could verify if self-regulating companies were holding up their end of the deal by randomly auditing company records. Uber was adamantly opposed to including its drivers in any public database, since insurers could void standard policies for vehicles performing undisclosed commercial services. Such exposure was also anathematic to a sizable segment of its driver pool, whether or not former felons. Since the TNC business model’s fiscal health is largely dependent on driver availability, regulatory obstacles that diminish the pool threaten their bottom line.

Uber also objected to the County’s proposed random audits, insisting that they be limited to two annually, and that the company be afforded the right to black out names, which would relegate driver verification – and reduce the audit’s credibility to that of a coffee break. After seven hours of debating each of the issues raised by Uber, among those left unresolved were; the inspection of vehicles by county-approved mechanics, 2 annual inspections for vehicles more than five years old, and allowing ex-cons behind the wheel if they did time in the joint during the past seven years. The County Board closed up shop just after midnight, and postponed voting on the proposed ordinance until the October 13th Commission meeting. For another humiliating chapter of this ethically bankrupt soap opera, tune in again next month.

Convention Center Lotto

Click to The Related Group Click to The Matthews Southwest On August 25, the County launched its fourth attempt in 20 years to replace an eclectic patchwork of nearby hotels with a Headquarters resort fully integrated with its Convention Center. The five developers referenced by LaMarca as competing to design, build, finance, operate and maintain an AAA 4-Diamond rated Headquarters hotel (as defined in the official request for qualifications issued by the County in May) are Fort Lauderdale Convention Center Hotel LLC (a partnership between RIDA Development and Ares Management), Click to Hensel-Phelps Construction Hensel Phelps Development LLC (a unit of employee-owned Hensel Phelps Construction), Matthews Southwest Holdings INC. (dba Matthews Southwest), Click to Omni Hotels & Resorts Omni Hotels Management Corporation (dba Omni Hotels and Resorts), and The Related Companies L.P. & PRH Investments, LLC (dba The Related Group). The selection process is projected for completion by October 2016 and each candidate coughed up a $250,000 bond guarantee for a seat at the table. At stake is an opportunity to turn 40 acres of prime municipal waterfront real estate into a printing press for US currency.

Early Dividend at Port Everglades

Click to American President Lines
Port Everglades
PORT EVERGLADES
Having successfully navigated an 18-year regulatory gauntlet hampered by foot-dragging Federal bureaucrats and Congressional gridlock; Port Everglades is racing to realize structural improvements that will cement its future as a regional economic powerhouse. Partnering with the Florida East Coast Railway (FEC), last year the Port opened an on-site Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF) - enabling the seamless transfer of international containers between ship and rail. In January 2015, Port officials completed a $24 million remodeling of Cruise Terminal 4 – critical to the unimpeded traffic flow of cruise passengers. In February, the Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works Review Board approved dredging the channel to 48 feet (50 feet with allowable overdepth) and expanding the Southport turning notch, thereby adding Port Everglades to the short list of East Coast and Gulf pit stops for monster post-Panamax vessels that will soon plow across the Panama Canal.

Click to SeaLand SeaLand - an ocean freight shipping company that recently opened its headquarters in Miramar - was acquired in 1999 by Maersk Line, the world’s largest container shipping company (14% global market share). APL (American President Lines Ltd.) - the world’s fifth-largest container transportation and shipping company - is a wholly owned subsidiary of Singapore-based Neptune Orient Lines, a global transportation and logistics company. Port officials and industry pundits perceive the joint SeaLand/APL service relocation to Port Everglades as an early dividend of the self-funded Master Plan improvements, and a preview of things to come. LaMarca agrees. For the District 4 Commissioner’s September 2015 message, Read on... – [editor]

 

September 2015 Update

By Commissioner Chip LaMarca

District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER
CHIP LAMARCA
Dear Broward County Residents,

I am honored to serve as your County Commissioner, representing our coastal communities from Deerfield Beach to Fort Lauderdale. Here are some of September’s most recent highlights from Broward County:

Public Hearings Set for Broward County Fiscal Year 2016 Budget

Members of the public wishing to comment on the proposed Broward County Fiscal Year 2016 budget will have an opportunity to do so on Thursday, September 10th and Thursday, September 17th. Budget Public Hearings begin at 5:01PM and are held at the Broward Governmental Center, 115 S. Andrews Ave, Room 422 in Fort Lauderdale.

Click to 2016 Broward Budget The FY 2016 recommended total budget, which includes tax supported and non-tax supported funds, is $4.1 billion. The recommended budget continues Broward County's long standing tradition of financial stability, multi-year planning and responsible stewardship. Overall, the total budget increases by $54 million due to an increase in the operating budget and decreases in the capital and debt service budgets. This represents an increase of slightly more than one percent in the total $4.1 billion budget.

Click to 2016 Broward Budget Based on the Broward County Commission's direction, the proposed total millage rate will remain the same as Fiscal Year 2015. The proposed combined millage rate for FY16 is 5.723 per thousand dollars of taxable value. A homestead property with the Save Our Homes differential and an average taxable value of $128,000 will experience an estimated increase in taxes of $6.00. A non-homestead residential property, with an average taxable value of $153,000 will experience an estimated increase of $63.00.

It's important to note that Broward County taxes consist of less than one-quarter of the overall tax bill, which also includes city taxes, school district taxes and special taxing districts. County Commissioners are expected to approve a final budget after the second budget hearing on September 17th. The Fiscal Year 2016 budget takes effect on October 1, 2015.

September 17th Public Hearing Set for New TNC Ordinance

2015 Broward Board of County Commissioners
2015 BROWARD BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
Broward County Commissioners will finalize a new ordinance for transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Uber and Lyft at a public meeting set for September 17th. The new rules include requirements for background checks, vehicle inspections and liability insurance, but shift the procedural responsibility for enforcement to the TNCs with strict County oversight.

Click to 2016 Broward BudgetTNCs use an internet application to match up drivers in private vehicles to customers who are seeking transportation. Commissioners have continued to work toward laws that provide adequate consumer protections and at the same time create a regulatory framework that promotes expanded transportation services to meet public demand.

Click to Broward TNC Ordinance The amended transportation network company ordinance allows TNCs to contract with drivers and certify that safety requirements have been met before allowing the driver onto a company's internet platform. Background checks are required, but can be processed through the County or a third party without the need for fingerprinting. Vehicle inspections will also be required and TNCs will have to accommodate disabled passengers. Fees for dropping off and picking up passengers at Broward County's Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Broward County's Port Everglades will need to be negotiated.

Commissioners also agreed to a proposal that requires TNCs to file a certificate of insurance demonstrating blanket liability coverage that meets state standards. The new law allows the County to audit TNC records to ensure full compliance.

Commissioners approved the proposed ordinance with a majority vote. Commissioners Lois Wexler, Barbara Sharief and Dale V.C. Holness voted against the ordinance.

The Public Hearing, set for Thursday, September 17th takes place at 2 PM at the Broward Governmental Center, 115 S. Andrews Ave., Room 422 in Fort Lauderdale

Broward County Commissioners Choose Qualifying Developers for Convention Center Hotel/Expansion in Broward County

Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center
GREATER FORT LAUDERDALE/BROWARD COUNTY CONVENTION CENTER
Five nationally renowned and highly accomplished developers have been chosen after meeting the qualifications necessary to build a new upscale flagship Convention Center headquarters hotel and expand the current Convention Center in Broward County.

The five developers will compete for the $550 million dollar project to expand the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center by 300,000 square feet and build a hotel ranging in size from 750 to 1,250 rooms. The expansion and new headquarters hotel will create a combined effect with public spaces and waterfront amenities and will bolster the local economy, attract more Convention Center and trade show business, increase tourism and create jobs in Broward County. In September the five developers will introduce their design, build and financial team members as the selection process continues.

Broward County's Port Everglades Selected for Services to Latin America

Florida International Terminal
FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL TERMINAL
Broward County's Port Everglades became the first and last U.S. calls for SeaLand and APL's North American Express Service (NAE/ACX) to Latin America on August 27. SeaLand APL selected Florida International Terminal, LLC (FIT) at Port Everglades to provide cargo handling and stevedoring services. The new service is expected to generate more than 20,000 container moves annually.

Click to Florida International Terminal Port Everglades is investing more than $600 million in waterside improvements, and in the last year celebrated the opening of a 43-acre intermodal rail container transfer facility and a multitude of road improvements. SeaLand/APL's NAE/ACX service will arrive in Port Everglades every Thursday from Manzanillo, Panama, before sailing to other U.S. East Coast ports and returning on Sundays before sailing to Cartagena, Colombia. Port Everglades serves as an ideal point of entry and departure for products shipped around the world.

September is National Preparedness Month

Click to New Broward TNC Law Web Info Broward County is participating in a national awareness campaign throughout September to increase resident and community preparedness for all potential emergencies. The Broward County Board of County Commissioners proclaimed September 2015 "National Preparedness Month" during their September 10th meeting. Broward County recently received another three-year recognition as a Storm Ready Community through the National Weather Service Storm Ready Program. September is the most active month for hurricane activity here in South Florida. Here are a few steps to help residents get prepared:

  • Click to StormReady Know if you live in an evacuation zone

  • Prepare a family/business emergency plan that includes your pets

  • Assemble an emergency supply kit - enough to last 72 hours per person

  • Stay informed about potential hazards and local emergency plans

  • Sign up for Broward County Emergency Updates

Here are upcoming preparedness events:

  • Be Ready Florida presents the BRACE for the Storm Workshop on Monday, September 21st from 7-9PM. This is a FREE internet based workshop designed to provide information to homeowners on disaster mitigation techniques that can reduce damage to their homes from hurricanes and other disasters that threaten Floridians. For more information, contact Be Ready Florida at 850-241-3565.

  • Click to New Broward TNC Law Web Info Residents are encouraged to sign up in September for an upcoming SKYWARN Storm Spotters Training Class, hosted by Broward Emergency Management on October 17th, from 10AM to 2:30PM at the Broward Emergency Operations Center.

L'Shanah Tovah! to our friends of the Jewish faith. We wish you a meaningful high holiday and sweet and happy new year!

Contact Us

Click to Stay Connected The Resident's Guide to Government provides a convenient resource to help people stay connected to their local government. It includes contact information for County officials and Federal, State, and local agencies. Visitors can stay connected by subscribing to E-news and social media sites. Sign up at Broward.org/District4 to receive email updates from our office. If there is anything that we can do to assist you with your vision for a better Broward, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 954-357-7004 or by email at clamarca@broward.org.

As always, it is my honor to serve you. Have a wonderful summer with family and friends.


Chip LaMarca
Broward County Commssioner
District 4


Broward County Commission Meetings

Click to Video Central Web Page The Broward County Commission meets generally on Tuesdays at 10:00 am in Room 422 of the Broward County Governmental Center, 115 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale. (Commission Meeting Schedule and Agenda are listed here: broward.org/Commission/Pages/Meetings.aspx) Residents can view live coverage of the Commission meetings on Comcast Cable channels 12 and 77; Advanced Communications channels 64 and 25; AT&T U-verse channel 99, and through the County's website at broward.org/video/ The County Commission meetings are rebroadcast at 5:30 p.m. each Friday following a Tuesday Commission meeting.

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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
District 4 in August

TNCs; ICTF; Find Rover; Go Solar; FLL; Pure Water & Holidays

Click to New Broward TNC Law Web Info
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
COMMISSIONER LAMARCA AUGUST MESSAGE
August 31, 2015 - In his August 2015 Newsletter, District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca benchmarks a year of speeding cargo to railheads across the US via the Port Everglades Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF) - progeny of the Port and the Florida East Coast Railway (FECR), showcases pet-tracking facial recognition technology by Finding Rover, announces the Third Annual Go SOLAR & Renewable Energy Fest, applauds recognition of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) as Airport of the Year by the Air Line Pilots Association International, celebrates August as Water Quality Month and invites constituents to "Stay Connected" using County social media.

Click to Uber and Lyft Departure Announcement LaMarca opens his update with a painfully predictable tap dance by Uber and the County Commission. Following a year of high-testosterone ring toss for control of a County ordinance, the Broward Board and Uber are crafting an endgame that allows both sides to claim victory – and save face.

Click to Broward TNC Ordinance On April 28, the County Commission approved an amended Motor Carriers Ordinance that enabled Transportation Network Companies (TNC) to operate legally in Broward County. The new law blended statutory requirements with consumer protections recommended by the Federal Trade Commission. The ordinance provides for Level 2 State and national background checks with fingerprinting, 24/7 commercial insurance coverage, county-issued permits for vehicles inspected by county-approved mechanics, chauffer registrations for drivers and a corporate office with a Broward County address. It dispensed with a corporate cap on the number of vehicles deployed for livery services and cleared the way for discretionary rates set by each TNC - except for fares at Port Everglades and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, where the County has historically collected a “taste of the gate”.

Exclaiming an inability to operate under such onerous regulations, on July 9, Uber and Lyft announced their intention to abandon Broward, pulling the plug three weeks later. Since Uber severed access to its cell phone app on July 31, Commissioners who supported the Ordinance affirmed that their email inboxes and voice mails were brimming with invective, presumably an Uber-supported tactic to engineer a revision. Conceding to having been Ubered Out, Commissioners decided to roll out a more productive venue for complainants.

Broward Commission Public Hearing
BROWARD COMMISSION - UBER PUBLIC HEARING
On August 11, the Commission convened a public hearing to explore ordinance revisions cited by Uber as a precondition to reversing its July 31 suspension of services in Broward. The legislative outcome was prefaced by a 4-hour input marathon by 100 speakers who either supported or opposed diluting the current ordinance. The feedback soon became rote, as company officials and drivers for traditional taxi companies and Uber pumped out corporate party lines on both sides of the issue.

Commissioner Barbara Sharief
COMM. BARBARA SHARIEF
Traditional taxi patrons expressed concern about loosening the safety standards for drivers or falling through the insurance gap in Uber’s coverage if involved in a collision. Some Uber advocates expressed intrigue with the new technology while late night Fort Lauderdale bar-hoppers predicted a jump in DUIs and alcohol related accidents if deprived of cell phone access to Uber.

Commissioner Dale Holness
COMMISSIONER DALE HOLNESS
Although unable to agree on a final version, commissioners passed a motion by a vote of 6-to-2 (Dale Holness and Barbara Sharief dissenting) that directs the County Attorney to draft an amended Motor Carrier Ordinance for consideration by the Board in September. Transplanting elements from a similar law in Tallahassee, the new Ordinance would comprise content from parts of two consecutive motions on the August 11 agenda.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Aviation Director Kent George
FLL AVIATION DIRECTOR KENT GEORGE
A motion contained in Agenda item 92 requires the County Administrator to collect all outstanding airport and port pickup fees owed to the County by transportation network companies (TNCs) since their arrival in Broward County. Given the County surcharge of $3 for fares at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Aviation Director Kent George estimated an accrued debt of $450,000 to $500,000. The motion also established a Broward County Accountable Taxi Program. Taking a page from how Uber rates drivers, the program would provide all taxi passengers with the taxi driver’s name, license number, and the taxi number for the purpose of evaluating the service.

Commissioner Mark Bogen
COMMISSIONER MARK BOGEN
Other changes were drawn from Agenda item 93, a seven-part motion by Commissioner Mark Bogen that embodied most of the relief sought by TNCs. Instead of requiring drivers to demonstrate chauffer registrations and approved vehicle permits, TNCs that contract with drivers will certify these regulatory requirements before allowing them to use their online platforms. To ensure compliance, the County will inspect and/or audit TNC records, while protecting rider privacy and any proprietary trade confidences.

Click to PACER Level II background checks will be stepped down, allowing the County or a third party to perform driver background checks based on standards set forth in the Ordinance, which won’t include fingerprinting, but will include vetting via PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records). Instead of requiring TNCs to list each individual vehicle on its insurance certificate, they can purchase a blanket policy for all TNC drivers, approved by Statute and issued by an insurer with an AM Best rating of A- or better.

Of all the Ordinance provisions eschewed by Uber, these cut closest to home. When confronted by the fact that Uber had agreed to comply with fingerprinting requirements in Columbus and Houston, Uber officials admitted to consenting without realizing how deeply the measure would cut into its driver pool, crippling its ability to meet fast-changing demand, a key contributor to its bottom line. Given the spectrum of likely reasons why drivers would risk their jobs to avoid inclusion in a law enforcement identification database, this issue squeaked by despite being hammered.

Uber Miami Office - Brickell City Tower
UBER MIAMI OFFICE - BRICKELL CITY TOWER
Also gone are mandates to place a county-issued permit number on all advertisements or maintain a 24/7-customer service telephone number. Finally, instead of maintaining a physical office in Broward County, TNCs can open an office anywhere in Broward, Palm Beach or Miami-Dade counties.

Uber Florida General Manager Matt Gore
UBER FLORIDA GENERAL MANAGER MATT GORE
The commission decision to revisit the ordinance drew a mixed reaction by Uber officials. Despite optimistic comments by Uber’s regional Public Policy Director Trevor Theunissen, leery Florida General Manager Matt Gore demurred, remarking “I can’t turn the app back on until the law is passed. That will give me certainty.” After vetting the revised Motor Carriers Ordinance at at a September Public Hearing, the Commission will vote on the measure. If they enact the compromise, taxi drivers will be miffed, but weekend bar-hoppers who plan to overindulge in celebration of their victory can use their “Digital Designated Driver” to dodge post-partying DUIs.

A staple in its corporate playbook, Uber marshalled its drivers and riders to help erode Commission resolve. The efficacy of this carrot and stick tactic might have been the object of a quote by Denzel Washington in Remember the Titans, “It’s like Novocain, give it time and it always works.” A staunch supporter of TNCs, District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca was pleased by the outcome, commenting “I think we really need to get to the same place and give people back the option to their own transportation... I don’t think that’s our business.” For the rest of LaMarca’s August 2015 message to constituents, Read on... – [editor]

 

August 2015 Update

By Commissioner Chip LaMarca

District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER
CHIP LAMARCA
Dear Broward County Residents,

I am honored to serve as a County Commissioner, representing our coastal communities from Deerfield Beach to Fort Lauderdale. Here are some recent highlights from Broward County.

Commissioners Propose Laws for Transportation Network Companies

Click to New Broward TNC Law Web Info Broward County Commissioners considered new guidelines for Transportation Network Companies (TNC) such as Uber and Lyft. They listened to comments from more than one Hundred people at a public meeting on Tuesday, August 11th before reaching a tentative agreement on a proposal. The proposed legislation under consideration would require background checks that meet county standards, but could be processed through the County or a third party without fingerprinting. TNCs would be required to provide blanket insurance coverage that complies with state law and the County will audit and inspect TNC records to ensure full compliance with the proposed ordinance. TNC operations at Broward County's Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Port Everglades will also need to be addressed. Commissioners agreed that possible changes made to the current TNC ordinance will apply to taxis as well as for hire transportation services in Broward County. The newly drafted legislation is expected to come back to the Commission for discussion and review in September.

New Florida East Coast Railway Intermodal Facility at Port Everglades

new Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF) at Port Everglades
CONTAINER TRANSFER FACILITY - PORT EVERGLADES
Florida East Coast Railway (FECR) is celebrating its first-year anniversary operating its new Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF) adjacent to Port Everglades with a 26 percent increase in volume. In a model public-private partnership, the FECR built the ICTF on 43 acres provided by Broward County's Port Everglades. Prior to the opening of this facility, containers were transported by truck to and from Port Everglades to off-port rail terminals in Fort Lauderdale and Hialeah. FECR's direct connection to the nation's Class 1 rail network allows for service to 70 percent of the U.S. population within four days. This results in more domestic containers moving north as loads, instead of empty, and increasing the efficiency of the intermodal network. The ICTF will reduce congestion on interstate highways and local roadways because loading and offloading cargo will take place at the Port as opposed to offsite facilities. As a result, air emissions will be reduced by diverting an estimated 180,000 trucks from the roads by 2027.

New Facial Recognition Technology App Will Help Find Lost Pets

Click to Finding Rover Broward's Animal Care and Adoption and the Humane Society of Broward County have joined forces with the Finding Rover mobile app company to bring free, real-time facial recognition technology to pet owners throughout the County to identify a dog or help find their lost dog.

Click to Finding Rover The app features a special, easy-to-use lost and found notification system. If a dog is found, the finder can upload its picture. Once the photo is recognized through Finding Rover's facial recognition software, the finder will receive information on how to contact the pet's owner. As part of the effort, both Animal Care and the Humane Society will automatically upload and integrate information from their database into the Finding Rover system, and every dog that leaves either shelter will already be pre-registered in the Finding Rover database. Once adopted, the new pet owner can download the app and register with Finding Rover and their pets' information will conveniently be transferred to their new account. The Finding Rover app can be downloaded on any Apple or Android device. It can also be accessed at FindingRover.com.

Third Annual Go SOLAR Fest Set for October

Click to Go SOLAR - Florida The Third Annual Go SOLAR & Renewable Energy Fest will be held in October at the Broward County Convention Center. Go SOLAR Florida will sponsor this FREE event, which includes free parking, to educate businesses and residents on solar and renewable energy. The Fest will run from 10 AM - 6 PM Friday, October 9th, and from 10 AM - 4 PM Saturday, October 10th. This year, the exhibit hall will be on the ground floor of the convention center, which will enable alternative fueled vehicles, vans, and trailers to be inside with other exhibitors.

Click to Go SOLAR - Florida The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded the Go SOLAR - Florida team a $1.6 million SunShot Initiative Rooftop Solar Challenge II competitive award to make it easier for Floridians to obtain grid-tied solar installations. Its purpose is to increase the use of solar energy and access among the state's residents and businesses over the next two and a half years. The Go SOLAR Florida team is a partnership of Florida counties, cities, the Florida Solar Energy Center and Florida Atlantic University representing approximately 4 million Floridians. For more information on the partnership, visit the Go SOLAR website.

Broward County's FLL International Airport Named "Airport of the Year"

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport new South Runway
FT LAUD-HOLLYWOOD INT. AIRPORT SOUTH RUNWAY
The Air Line Pilots Association International honored Broward County's Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) as 2014-15 Airport of the Year. The award recognizes FLL's outstanding commitment to engaging with airline pilots during construction of the new South Runway. The elevated runway is part of the airport's improvement program to reduce delays and meet future growth. JetBlue pilots flew the first plane to land on the new 8,000-foot elevated South Runway. The new runway lies on the south side of the airport and runs parallel to an existing 9,000-foot runway. It is built on a bridge-like structure on its eastern end to allow U.S. Route 1 and a freight railway line to pass under it.

Click to Air Line Pilots Association International Website FLL is ranked 21st in the United States in total passenger traffic with about 24.6 million passengers traveling through the airport annually. With more than 300 departure and 300 arrival flights a day, the airport offers nonstop service to more than 100 U.S. cities as well as international destinations.is ranked 21st in the United States in total passenger traffic with about 24.6 million passengers traveling through the airport annually. With more than 300 departure and 300 arrival flights a day, the airport offers nonstop service to more than 100 U.S. cities as well as international destinations.

August is National Water Quality Month

Click to Air Line Pilots Association International Website With current extreme drought conditions in parts of Broward County, practice these tips to protect Broward's natural resource. Best management tips to protect our water include:

  • Walk dogs away from water bodies and remember to pick up after them.

  • Don't use a hose to clean your driveway; use a broom.

  • Inspect your irrigation system regularly for breaks and misaligned sprinkler heads to reduce run-off onto paved areas and overall use of water.

  • Use a rain barrel to collect rainwater to water your plants.

  • Your toilet and sinks are not wastebaskets. Don't flush medications or other trash down the drain.

  • Storm drains are for water, nothing else. Please dispose of chemicals according to manufacturer directions. If you don't know where to dispose of them properly, contact your local Public Works Department.

  • Plant trees! Trees catch rainwater, reducing the amount of water that runs off buildings and roads. Storm water runoff is a major source of pollution in urban areas. Trees such as Bald Cypress and the Florida Red Maple are also great for those wet spots in your yard.

  • Click to Coastal Cleanup Website Volunteer at local water clean-up events or start your own. Broward County participates in the annual International Coastal Cleanup, sponsored by the Ocean Conservancy. The Cleanup takes place in over 104 countries around the world and is typically on the 3rd Saturday of September. The 30th Annual Coastal Cleanup is scheduled for Saturday, September 19, 2015 from 9AM until noon. Email coastalcleanup@broward.org to register for this year's cleanup event.

Contact Us

Click to Stay Connected The Resident's Guide to Government provides a convenient resource to help people stay connected to their local government. It includes contact information for County officials and Federal, State, and local agencies. Visitors can stay connected by subscribing to E-news and social media sites. Sign up at Broward.org/District4 to receive email updates from our office. If there is anything that we can do to assist you with your vision for a better Broward, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 954-357-7004 or by email at clamarca@broward.org.

As always, it is my honor to serve you. Have a wonderful summer with family and friends.


Chip LaMarca
Broward County Commssioner
District 4


Broward County Commission Meetings

Click to Video Central Web Page The Broward County Commission meets generally on Tuesdays at 10:00 am in Room 422 of the Broward County Governmental Center, 115 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale. (Commission Meeting Schedule and Agenda are listed here: broward.org/Commission/Pages/Meetings.aspx) Residents can view live coverage of the Commission meetings on Comcast Cable channels 12 and 77; Advanced Communications channels 64 and 25; AT&T U-verse channel 99, and through the County's website at broward.org/video/ The County Commission meetings are rebroadcast at 5:30 p.m. each Friday following a Tuesday Commission meeting.

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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca

in District 4
Uber Quits; Centenarians; Cool Pets; Drive Safe and Brow Biz

Uber Leaving Broward
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
LAMARCA GIVES JULY 2015 UPDATE
July 22, 2015 - In his July 2015 Newsletter, District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca laments the threatened departure of transportation network companies (TNCs) Uber and Lyft from Broward County, reviews an honorarium for 28 Broward County centenarians, announces newly available online access to Business Tax Receipts required by the County for all Broward businesses, celebrates July as Park and Recreation Month by citing benefits available in Broward parks, promotes a Defensive Driving Course to curb preventable collisions in deference to National Safety Month, seeks to protect pets from the adverse impacts of stressful Independence Day festivities and recommends a Training Course offered by the Office of Economic and Small Business Development that could equip building trades entrepreneurs with a competitive advantage.

Transportation Network Companies – Part III

Uber Leaving Broward On Monday, July 6, Uber announced plans to blow town by the end of the month. Three days later, competitor Lyft announced that it will also bail out of Broward. Their press releases raised no eyebrows among those keeping tabs on the malevolent melodrama starring the transportation network companies (TNCs) and the County Board. Having continuously violated County law since first arriving in Broward, Uber forked over $35,000 for 250 driver and corporate infractions through February, and another $25,000 by May (totaling more than 600 accrued citations), claiming that it’s simply a matchmaking service powered by an online platform, and should not be subject to regulations governing traditional taxicabs and car services. Conceding that existing county law was ill-adapted to this new business model, County Commissioners customized a unique regulatory framework for TNCs.

Click to Broward TNC Ordinance On April 28, the County Commission approved an ordinance featuring consumer protections recommended by the Federal Trade Commission and consistent with State Law. The ordinance provides for level 2 State and national background checks (with fingerprinting to deter identity fraud), 24/7 commercial insurance coverage, county-issued permits for vehicles inspected by county-approved mechanics, chauffer registrations for drivers and a local corporate office. In contrast with the County law governing traditional taxicab & livery companies, the new ordinance accommodated an unlimited number of vehicles and discretionary rates set by each TNC - except for county-regulated fares at Port Everglades and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, where price-gouging vultures would otherwise prey on vulnerable tourists.

Broward Mayor Tim Ryan on TNC Ordinance
BROWARD MAYOR TIM RYAN DISCUSSES TNC ORDINANCE
Describing the ordinance as a compromise that balanced TNC and County concerns, Broward Mayor Tim Ryan exclaimed “We want transportation network companies to be able to operate here along with taxicabs and other for hire vehicle services. We also want to protect the public and do what is in the best interest of Broward County.” Minutes after the ordinance was approved, Uber officials repeated an earlier threat to abandon the County, declaring the regulations terminally onerous. In fact, the company’s reaction wasn’t unique to Broward’s ordinance. Uber responds with comparable rhetoric in every jurisdiction that aspires to regulate its business.

Click to California Public Utilities Commission Following its inception in 2009, the San Francisco-based Uber and other TNCs skated under the regulatory radar until 2011, when the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) fined each company $20,000 for operating an unlicensed limousine dispatch and mandated driver background checks, driver training, drug and alcohol policies, minimum insurance coverage of $1 million, and company licensing by the Commission.

Tangling with CPUC triggered a corporate epiphany. Since laws governing Uber’s traditional competition were inapplicable to a business that neither owned vehicles nor employed drivers, elected officials in new markets would have to craft new regulations to protect consumers. If Uber could influence that process, it could either circumvent or minimize costly consumer protections, and sidestep a significant operational pitfall.

TNC popularity usually derives from a quicker response and lower cost than traditional taxis, but that functionality is largely dependent on an Olympic-size driver pool. When demand ramps up, they need to cycle in more drivers and fewer when demand recedes. Excluding drivers lost to criminal background checks, inadequate insurance or failed inspections would crimp a TNC’s capacity to respond when demand spikes. While reducing the driver pool and constricting competition would benefit the company’s top-rated drivers (TNC customers rate their drivers), the TNC would lose business. Although aware that drivers with rap sheets are probably not the best candidates for driving schoolchildren to class, TNCs are fearful that tainting their eligibility will mangle profits.

Former Obama Senior Advisor David Plouffe is Uber Policy V.P.
FORMER OBAMA ADVISOR DAVID PLOUFFE RUNS UBER POLICY
To help snatch control of its regulatory environment, Uber hired an army of lobbyists credentialed in each of its new markets. In turn, they recruit drivers and customers to pressure local governments into curtailing consumer protections while lobbying State lawmakers to file TNC-friendly bills that would supersede local regulations. In the interim, the company ignores local laws and pays fines accrued by drivers while intermittently levying threats to leave the market. These tactics also marked Uber’s expansion into other countries.

Uber Official Organizes Driver Demonstration against Regulations
UBER DRIVERS DEMONSTRATE AGAINST REGULATIONS
Since similar strategies by corporate predecessors yielded mixed results, Uber put a unique spin on its game plan. In every new market, when officials even whisper their intent to regulate TNCs, Uber mimics a petulant teenager threatening to leave home unless provided with keys to the family car. Blending invective with vitriolic recriminations while repeatedly slamming the bedroom door, the willful juvenile will climb out the window and hide in the garage - before returning in time for dinner. Like the cantankerous child, the company has an abiding appreciation for where its bread is buttered.

Click to Federal Trade Commission Although the strategy was initially surprisingly successful, eventually the need to protect consumers from rapists and murderers driving 4-wheeled death traps - the same concerns that had previously prompted the regulation of traditional livery businesses - caught up with the TNCs. As a result, the protective regulations originally applied by CPUC and later approved by the Federal Trade Commission are being increasingly supported by public officials when TNCs enter their markets.

Click to New Broward TNC Law Web Info Instead of funding compliance with Broward’s new TNC ordinance, Uber used corporate petty cash to pay for infractions by drivers encouraged to ignore the new law. Mistakenly convinced that Uber would reverse its systematic defiance of the new TNC ordinance by upping the price tag for non-compliance, on June 9, the Broward Commission substantially increased civil penalties for violating the ordinance. Following a month of unsuccessfully negotiating for the repeal of various ordinance provisions, like clockwork, Uber has once again threatened to pack its bags and hit the road.

Uber Miami Office - Brickell City Tower
UBER MIAMI OFFICE - BRICKELL CITY TOWER
Uber’s lightning-like evolution into a corporate goliath was founded on a singular premise - follow the money. Uber doesn’t voluntarily leave lucrative markets - and the company’s projected Broward income exponentially exceeds compliance costs. In world-class markets like South Florida, where the company is spending $millions on promoting its arrival, signed a lease at Brickell City Tower for a new Miami office while negotiating for access in Palm Beach (which plans to duplicate Broward’s ordinance.), emotionally charged announcements to leave the region hint at histrionic bluster. If consistent, the company will claim to suspend operations while feverishly working with the county to jointly choreograph its “triumphant” return.

The toughest obstacle isn’t parsing a regulatory framework acceptable to Uber and the county, but spinning the compromise in a way that politically vindicates entrenched antagonists for rolling the dice. Unless all parties can appear to emerge victorious, this dog won’t hunt.

Sun-Sentinel Reporter Daniel Vasquez
SUN-SENTINEL DANIEL VASQUEZ
More than two weeks after Uber’s announced departure, on July 22, the Sun-Sentinel published an article by reporter Daniel Vasquez entitled Uber will not quit Broward, You heard it here first Vasquez asks Broward drivers and customers with a stake in Uber’s future to look past the street theater and focus on financial objectives shaped by Uber’s corporate DNA, admonishing “Even if Uber takes its ball and leaves on July 31, you better believe behind the scenes the company will scramble to find a way back.” For LaMarca’s take on this issue, and the rest of his July 2015 Newsletter, read on... – [editor]

 

July 2015 Update

By Commissioner Chip LaMarca

District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER
CHIP LAMARCA
Dear Broward County Residents,

As your Broward County Commissioner, I would like to update you on the issues facing Broward County.

UBER

Click to Broward County’s Transportation Network Company Protocols In April Broward County Commissioners approved an ordinance that prioritized public safety and allowed transportation network companies (TNCs) to legally operate in Broward County. The action followed months of debate, public comment and input from companies and individuals who provide transportation services. The ordinance requires that TNCs be licensed by Broward County and requires drivers to undergo a national and state background check, carry state mandated insurance and have their vehicles inspected by a licensed mechanic. The Commission did not set limitations on the number of transportation network company vehicles operating in the county or regulate TNC fares.

Click to Uber and Lyft Departure Announcement On Monday, one transportation network company, Uber, issued a media announcement stating that the company would suspend operations as of July 31st in Broward County. Shortly after on July 9th, Lyft, another TNC, announced they would suspend operations in Broward County as well. In June, Broward County Commissioners established fines and civil penalties for all for hire vehicle operators who violate county laws. The fines range from $250 for first time offenders and incrementally increase up to $1,000 for four or more violations. I voted against these over-reaching punitive penalties. Commissioners also authorized the County Attorney to file litigation, as and when appropriate, against TNCs that fail to comply with Broward County's regulations. I voted against taking legal action at this time.

Please read my statement below on the decision by TNCs to suspend operations in Broward County:

I have been supportive of Broward County residents and visitors having the opportunity to utilize all modes of transportation for hire. For me this has never been about politics — only public safety. Both the riders and drivers agreed that we should know who is driving our loved ones around. However, when regulations become so onerous that it appears as if government is looking to exact a punishment against those who look to make their lives better, then I have to break with the majority. I did that by voting against these over-reaching regulations. Our goal should be to bring back this ordinance and make the necessary changes that allow for open competition without jeopardizing public safety.

Residents 100 years or older join Centennial Celebration

Centenarian Birthday
Broward Residents 100 years or older
28 BROWARD CENTENARIANS
Broward County's Centennial Citizens received special recognition from Broward Commissioners as the county celebrates its 100th birthday. Twenty-eight residents, all 100 years old or older attended a special reception and ceremony held in their honor at the Broward Governmental Center as part of the Broward 100 - Celebrating the Art of the Community Centennial celebration.

Online Services for County Tax Receipts Now Available

The County's Records, Taxes and Treasury Division is enhancing services offered to County businesses beginning Wednesday, July 1st. Broward County businesses will now be able to file an application for a new Business Tax Receipt and/or change address information on an existing Business Tax Receipt online. All individuals and business entities that conduct business activities in Broward County are required to obtain a Business Tax Receipt. For the year 2015-16, the renewal period to obtain a Business Tax Receipt that is valid from Oct. 1, 2015 to Sept. 30, 2016 runs through Sept. 30, 2015. On Oct. 1, 2015, unpaid Business Tax Receipts for the 2015-16 year become delinquent and are subject to additional penalties and fees. For additional information and assistance, please call 954-357-6200. For more information on the Records, Taxes and Treasury Division, visit our http://www.broward.org/recordstaxestreasury

July Is Park and Recreation Month

Click to National Recreation and Park Association The National Recreation and Park Association and the Florida Recreation and Park Association (supports the initiative. Among the benefits of parks and recreation:

  • Parks and recreation programs enhance our quality of life by contributing to a healthy lifestyle, increasing communication skills, building self-esteem, teaching life skills, and providing places for enjoyment.

  • Parks and recreation programs boost the economy, enhance property values, attract new business, increase tourism, and reduce crime.

  • Click to Broward County’s Office of Economic and Small Business Development Recreation builds family unity, strengthens neighborhood involvement, offers opportunity for social interaction, enhances education, develops creativity, and promotes cultural diversity.

  • Our parks and trails ensure ecological beauty, provide space to enjoy nature, help maintain clean air and water, and preserve plant and animal wildlife.

  • Recreation, therapeutic recreation, and leisure education are essential to the rehabilitation of individuals who have been ill or disabled.

In other words, “Find It All – At a Broward County Park.” Get out and enjoy. For more information on Broward County Parks, visit Broward.org/Parks

National Safety Month: Car Crashes

Click to Broward County’s Office of Economic and Small Business Development Car crashes are a leading cause of preventable deaths. Nearly 100 people die every day on the nation's roadways in preventable car crashes. Alcohol, speeding, fatigue and distraction are the most common crash factors. Remember to stay alert while driving a vehicle, and always wear your seatbelt. Wearing your seatbelt can reduce your risk of dying in a traffic crash by 45 percent in a car and by as much as 60 percent in a truck or SUV.

Sign-up to take the National Safety Council’s 4-Hour Defensive Driving Course, free to County employees, on the Learning Center’s website. To request additional training information or general information from the Safety & Occupational Health Section of Risk Management Division, contact Consuelo Avila-Ramsey at 954-357-7207.

Keeping Your Pets Cool in the Summertime

Keep Pet Safe in Summer Summertime, and the living is easy, right? Just because you’re enjoying sun and surf, however, don’t neglect your pet’s summer needs. Did you know, for instance, that July 5 is the busiest day for animal shelters? That’s because many pet owners don’t take precautions to prevent Independence Day stress. The fireworks you and friends and family find exciting may provoke confusion and exhaustion in your pet. Dogs, especially, are sometimes upset enough to crash through windows, jump fences, or break chains to escape, and are found the next day miles from home, exhausted and disoriented.

If loud noises disturb your pet – its reactions to thunderstorms should provide a clue – consider leaving the animal behind while you go out for Fourth of July festivities. At home, have someone remain inside with your pet while fireworks go off outside. For particularly sensitive animals, consult a vet about possibly prescribing tranquilizers.

Keep Pet Safe in Summer Another summer hazard, especially in subtropical South Florida, is heat stress. Never take a pet with you in the car if it will be unattended for any length of time. An outdoor temperature of 85 degrees can translate to an interior temperature of 120 degrees in just 30 minutes.

Even at home, supply drinking water and shade if your pet is to be left outside on hot days. And if you “strut your mutt” in one of our parks, remember that early morning and after sundown are easier on the heat-sensitive pads of your dog’s paws.

And remember that well-behaved dogs on six-foot leashes are welcome in our regional and neighborhood parks but not in our nature centers and natural areas.

Growing Successful Businesses in Broward

Click to Broward County’s Office of Economic and Small Business Development Have you identified the perfect solicitation for your firm but need help calculating costs? Register now for Broward County’s Office of Economic and Small Business Development Training Course on How to do Bid Estimating, Wednesday, July 29th, 3 to 5 PM, Broward County Government Center, 115 S. Andrews Avenue, Room A680, Fort Lauderdale. This course will assist business owners in the construction trade with project planning and scheduling, creating an effective cash flow and improving essential business operations. Register online or call the Community Relations and Outreach Section at 954-357-6400. To learn more about this and other business events visit our website.

Contact Us

The Resident's Guide to Government provides a convenient resource to help people stay connected to their local government. It includes contact information for County officials and Federal, State, and local agencies. Visitors can Stay Connected by subscribing to E-news and social media sites. Sign up at Broward.org/District4 to receive email updates from our office. If there is anything that we can do to assist you with your vision for a better Broward, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 954-357-7004 or by email at clamarca@broward.org.

As always, it is my honor to serve you. Have a wonderful summer with family and friends.


Chip LaMarca
Broward County Commssioner
District 4

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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca

TNCs; Pet Luxury Condo; Broward Bridges Pass Muster

Click to New Broward TNC Law Web Info
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER CHIP LAMARCA
June 14, 2015 - In his May - June 2015 Newsletter, Commissioner Chip LaMarca adds another chapter to last month’s missive about legalizing Transportation Network Companies in Broward. The District 4 Broward Commissioner also describes County plans to open a Broward County Animal Care and Adoption Center that will house approximately 400 dogs and cats in a more comfortable environment than many of the homes they might be adopted into. LaMarca closes his message with an infrastructure update, applauding the structural health of county bridges.

Transportation Network Companies – Part II

Click to New Broward TNC Law Web Info Asserting a need to enhance the safety of residents and visitors who use taxis, chauffeured limousines, car services and Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft, last month LaMarca reported that the County Commission was considering a new set of regulatory protections applicable to all for-hire vehicles. Cited in the media as the Commission’s main proponent of enabling TNCs to operate legally in the County, LaMarca advocated establishing a regulatory framework within which drivers could use their personal vehicles to perform livery services for TNCs in Broward.

Uber Supporters and Taxi Industry Proponents at Broward Commission Meeting
UBER SUPPORTERS AND TAXI INDUSTRY PROPONENTS AT MEETING
On April 28, 2015, the County Commission approved an ordinance featuring the consumer protections discussed in LaMarca’s previous and current Newsletters, along with a black eye for the County’s Consumer Protection Board. When an application for a Chauffer Registration is submitted for approval, staffers run a background check to help weed out candidates rendered ineligible by past “indiscretions”. Responding to an April Sun-Sentinel article exposing how 62% of the candidates rejected by staffers for cause (between 2012 and 2014) were later approved by the Board, the Commission amended the ordinance with stringent and specific eligibility criteria for a chauffer’s registration, prospectively ending the abuse by stripping the Board of unfettered discretion in approving applicants. While a step in the right direction, the measure doesn’t clean up the mess. The Board’s sleazy legacy is a battalion of licensees with multi-page yellow sheets - including violent crimes and DUIs – who will continue to cruise Broward streets.

The consumer protections approved by the County Commission were drawn down from a template shaped by the Federal Trade Commission and State Law. It blends level 2 State and national background checks (which require fingerprinting to deter locally epidemic identity fraud) with 24/7 commercial insurance coverage, vehicle inspections by approved mechanics, chauffer registrations for drivers and a local corporate office. Within minutes of enactment, Uber officials repeated an earlier threat to book, disparaging the new regulations as anathematic to the company’s business model.

Taxis at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport
TAXIS AT FT LAUD-HOLLYWOOD AIRPORT
The threat came as no surprise, as several Commissioners observed, “They will either follow the new law or they won’t,” radiating skepticism about Uber intentions. Noting how the Commission had downplayed a company policy that encouraged blatant violations of county law - exemplified by an Uber email instructing drivers how to dodge law enforcement while making illegal pickups at South Florida Airports - LaMarca remarked “If they do the wrong thing and break the law, we come down on them like a ton of bricks, like we would anyone else, That’s it.”

Six-Year Old Sofia Liu and Driver Syed Muzzafar
SIX-YEAR OLD SOFIA LIU AND DRIVER SYED MUZZAFAR
Although TNCs claim that their drivers are already covered by corporate insurance, the coverage is perforated with significant gaps. TNC policies are only in force when the app is turned on and a ride is in service. If involved in a collision while the app is turned on and awaiting a fare, although working for the company, the driver wouldn’t be covered by the company’s insurance. After a San Francisco Uber driver plowed into a family and killed six-year old Sofia Liu on New Year’s Eve, Uber hung the driver – and the family – out to dry, prompting a wrongful death lawsuit and a nationwide spotlight.

Unfortunately, a driver’s personal vehicle insurance doesn’t serve as a safety net. Since standard personal vehicle policies in Florida are precluded for vehicles preforming commercial services, the carrier can terminate a TNC driver’s policy for breach – either after-the-fact or retroactively – stripping any coverage. In several other states, insurance statutes were revised to provide for a slightly more costly “hybrid” policy that dovetails with TNC coverage, effectively closing the gap. If and until Florida lawmakers enable carriers to offer such “hybrid” coverage, only a 24/7 commercial policy – as required in the Broward Ordinance – can fully protect drivers and passengers.

When the company complained that drivers would be “inconvenienced” by requirements for fingerprinting, vehicle registration, or applying for a chauffer’s registration, Broward tailored an online application process and arranged for the full-time recording of fingerprints at Government Center West or by visiting any Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) approved fingerprint provider. County facilitation efforts made little difference. Instead of allocating funds for compliance, the company persisted in snubbing regulations it considered incompatible with operational tenets.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Aviation Director Kent George
FLL AVIATION DIRECTOR KENT GEORGE
This, too, came as no surprise. After months of negotiations failed to convince Uber to legally pick up and discharge fares at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Aviation Director Kent George stated the obvious, “Fines levied by the county don’t appear to be making much of an impression.” It’s no secret that the company reassures drivers that reimbursed fines and legal support will be provided if snagged for violations. A $41 billion privately owned fiscal juggernaut can well afford to throw petty cash at the steady stream of corporate and driver infractions.

Uber Proponents Demonstrate against Regulations
UBER PROPONENTS DEMONSTRATE AGAINST REGULATIONS
Uber drivers who ignored the new law racked up another $25,000 in fines by mid-May - which were systematically reimbursed by the company. Faced with a corporate strategy that functionally neutered their well-publicized consumer protections, Broward officials upped the table stakes. At the June 9, 2015 Public Commission meeting, the Broward Board hiked civil penalties for violating the County Motor Carriers Ordinance. Fines for a first offense were increased to $250, $500 for a second offense and $750 for a third violation. Fourth and subsequent infractions will cost scofflaws $1000. The Ordinance finally approved by the Commission is actually a watered down version of the original measure crafted by Director Leonard Vialpando of the Environmental Licensing and Building Permitting Division, which would have punished third violations with a $1000 fine, and placed a hefty $5000 price tag on all repeat offenses. For a violation deemed irreparable or irreversible, a hearing officer would have been empowered to levy a fine of up to $15,000.

Click to New Broward TNC Law Web Info Also rejected was a schedule of civil penalties proposed by Commissioner Lois Wexler, who sought to cap fines at $500. Since the “Equal Protection” constitutional benchmark precluded the Commission from using the ordinance as a missile with a warhead that sniffed out TNCs, the stiffened civil penalties would apply to all livery companies and their drivers. Although the local livery industry supported Commission efforts to strong-arm TNCs into complying with consumer protections, Commissioners - and licensed operators - grew concerned about tossing the baby with the bathwater. After haggling, the Commission approved the costly schedule of penalties by a vote of 8 Yeas vs. 1 Nay - Commissioner LaMarca the sole opponent.

 Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle
KANSAS SENATE PRESIDENT SUSAN WAGLE
Despite their dog and pony show staged in response to TNC non-compliance, Commissioners remain uncertain about its impact. Unlike Kansas, where Uber hit the road after the State approved TNC regulations, South Florida is one of the world’s most lucrative markets. Any TNC that abandoned Miami, Broward or Palm Beach would create a vacuum soon filled by competitors. Top-tier investors are tripping over one another for a place at Uber’s corporate table largely because the company’s light speed expansion is driven by opening new markets.

The company’s seemingly erratic behavior is less a function of corporate mood swings than a carefully prosecuted political agenda shaped by the local lobbyists it retains upon entering new markets. Like a clever willful child, it will storm off and return as necessary – using drivers and consumers as political pawns (as observed by Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle) – in order to engineer regulatory concessions in each jurisdiction. Given Uber’s 6-year history, there’s little chance that this fast-moving corporate Pac-Man would push brinksmanship past the point of profitability.

Broward Bridgework

Click to Florida Bridge Reports Consistent with his consuming interest in County infrastructure, LaMarca savors how Broward fared in a quarterly bridge report issued by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Office of Maintenance. To assess Florida’s bridge inventory, FDOT uses an arsenal of software tools, including AASHTOWare Bridge Management (formerly Pontis) for storing bridge inventory and inspection data, the Citrix MetaFrame Access Suite (developed by Fort Lauderdale-based Citrix Systems) to provide transportation officials, engineers and lawmakers with a single point of access from any location over any platform (enabling spontaneous real-time assessments), and the Project-Level Analysis Tool (PLAT), which makes routine policy, programming, and budgeting decisions.

Click to New Broward TNC Law Web Info The data is dumped into an Oracle database and vetted against assessment standards in the National Bridge Inventory (NBI), a continuously updated nationwide database that warehouses information about all 607,380 bridges in the country. Every three months, an FDOT bridge maintenance tech flips the crunch switch to generate a status update for Florida’s 11,987 bridges, including the 660 spans that pepper Broward County.

Click to New Broward TNC Law Web Info Prominently featured in the quarterly FDOT reports is the Bridge Health Index (BHI), a rating referenced by LaMarca in his May Newsletter. A bridge performance measure based on the condition of the bridge elements, the BHI is computed as the ratio of remaining value of the bridge structure to the initial value of the structure. Expressed as a percentage, the BHI is not only used by bridge engineers for comparative purposes, but provides an intuitive measure for lawmakers and public officials concerned with infrastructure budgets - like LaMarca.

Commercial Boulevard Bridge
BROWARD BRIDGE REPAIR
Also included in the reports are bridge status fields that reflect whether a structure is Structurally Deficient (SD) or Functionally Obsolete (FO). Primarily used for federal funding purposes, calculations that determine a bridge sufficiency rating are based 55% on structural condition, 30% on the obsolescence of its design, and 15% on its importance to the public. Most states - and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) – view the “bridge sufficiency rating” and the Health Index as inclusive factors, and use them to determine funding candidacy. Generally, a sufficiency rating of 80 or less is required for federal repair funding, and 50 or less for replacement on the federal dime.

Commercial Boulevard Bridge
COMMERCIAL BOULEVARD BRIDGE
Since most Galt Mile residents have a vested interest in the Intracoastal Waterway spans at Oakland Park Boulevard and Commercial Boulevard, a quick peek at the Oakland Park Boulevard Bridge stats revealed a respectable Health Index of 88.22 and a less than sterling “Sufficiency Rating” of 46.2 (yes - out of 100). With a Health Index of 85.61, the Commercial Boulevard Bridge features a similarly mediocre “Sufficiency Rating” of 53.6. Both spans also earned a National Bridge Index (NBI) rating of “Functionally Obsolete” (FO).

Oakland Park Boulevard Bridge
OAKLAND PARK BOULEVARD BRIDGE
Not to worry! A “Functionally Obsolete” NBI rating does not communicate anything of a structural nature. Instead, it describes a bridge that, by design, is no longer functionally adequate for its task. Although perfectly safe and structurally sound, a “Functionally Obsolete” bridge may be the source of traffic jams, blocked emergency vehicles, or - due to insufficient clearance – require a significantly greater number of daily road closures to accommodate underlying marine traffic. Sound familiar??? State policy for replacing “Functionally Obsolete” bridges is opportunistic (i.e. if and when the tooth fairy puts money in the budget). For Commissioner Chip LaMarca’s May – June 2015 constituent message, read on... – [editor]

 

May 2015 Update

By Commissioner Chip LaMarca

District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER
CHIP LAMARCA
Broward County Commissioners Approve Ordinance Regulating Transportation Network Companies

Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) can now legally operate in Broward County under defined rules and regulations as specified in an ordinance approved by the Broward County Commission. TNCs operating in the county, such as Uber and Lyft, use a digital internet application to match up drivers to customers who are seeking transportation. The new ordinance requires TNCs to obtain a company license to operate in Broward County, along with chauffeur registrations for every driver employed by a TNC. There is no limit to the number of vehicles authorized to operate under a transportation network company license. Click to Broward TNC Ordinance Under the new rules, TNC's must also carry insurance consistent with Florida law. Commissioners also approved national and state background checks requiring fingerprinting for transportation network companies, taxicabs and all for hire vehicle drivers. In addition, annual or semiannual inspections must be conducted on all for hire vehicles by a licensed mechanic. The ordinance also states that TNC companies could set their own fares or rates for transportation based on distance travelled or time elapsed during service, a flat prearranged fare, or a suggested donation. However, Broward Commissioners can regulate the fares that TNCs may charge passengers for pickups at Port Everglades and the Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport, the terms of which will be discussed and voted on at a later date.

Broward County Animal Care & Adoption News

Rendering of New Animal Shelter at 2400 SW 42<sup>nd</sup> Street in Fort Lauderdale
RENDERING OF NEW ANIMAL SHELTER IN FORT LAUDERDALE
Broward County Animal Care will soon get a state-of-the-art $15.2 million contemporary animal shelter and adoption center. A new 40,000-square-foot Broward County Animal Care and Adoption Center is being constructed in unincorporated Broward County directly across from the long-term economy airport parking lot. The new shelter will replace the current aging and outdated Adoption Center. The state-of-the-art shelter will feature the latest in sheltering technology and air-conditioning throughout the entire structure. Estimated completion date is Spring 2016. Construction of our new Adoption Center kicked off with a special Ground "Digging" event that I had the pleasure to bring our rescue dog Gibby to dig in. In celebration, residents are invited to “Name Your Price” and pay an amount of their choice to adopt a new pet – from adults dogs and cats to puppies and kittens.

County Maintained Bridges Among the Safest in the State

FDOT Florida Bridge Information County-maintained bridges are structurally sound (with none rated as "structurally deficient") and just received an average Health Index of 92 out of a possible 100, making them among the safest in the State of Florida, according to the recently-released Florida Bridge Information report from the Florida Department of Transportation. Broward County Highway and Bridge Maintenance Division oversees the design, construction and maintenance of the County's bridge inventory which consists of 89 fixed and movable bridges.

Stay connected with by visiting Broward.org/District4 and sign up to receive email updates from our office. If there is anything that we can do to assist you with your vision for a better Broward, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 954-357-7004 or by email at clamarca@broward.org.

As always, it is my honor to serve you.


Chip LaMarca
Broward County Commssioner
District 4

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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca

Beach Fix; Cabbie Clash; Save H2O; and Infrastructure

Click to New Broward TNC Law Web Info
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
LAMARCA PLANS MAYORS SUMMIT
May 10, 2015 - In his April – May 2015 message to constituents, Commissioner Chip LaMarca opens by reporting his receipt of an elusive federal permit for the long-awaited Galt Mile beach renourishment, envisioning a project start immediately after the Sea Turtle nesting season. He also updates the local version of a worldwide simmering conflict between unregulated transportation network companies such as Uber and Lyft and their taxi and limousine industry counterparts. After applauding county measures to conserve water, LaMarca strolls through his adopted political wheelhouse, infrastructure improvements. In short, while citing fiscal hallmarks achieved by two of the County’s lucrative enterprise funds - Port Everglades and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport - LaMarca heralds recently launched Paratransit and Express buses by Broward County Transit and construction of a Biogas Cogeneration Electric facility that will morph organic waste such as Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG) into electrical power for the Wastewater Treatment Plant in Pompano Beach.

County Commission vs. Cash Cow Cabbies

Uber co-founders Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp
TRAVIS KALANICK AND GARRETT CAMP
A transportation network company (TNC) uses an online-enabled platform (typically accessed via a free mobile app on a smart phone) to connect passengers with drivers who use their personal vehicles (i.e. the family car). First conceived in 2009 as UberCab by co-founders Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp, over its brief 5-year lifespan this San Francisco-based TNC raised $2.8 billion to explode into 57 countries and more than 280 cities worldwide.

Click to New Broward TNC Law Web Info While TNCs often refer to their service as “ridesharing”, it isn’t. By reducing the total number of vehicle trips, ridesharing thins traffic congestion, reduces emissions and conserves energy. Since TNC drivers do not share a destination with their passengers, the service doesn’t improve an area’s carbon footprint. The relatively transparent business model that fuels this juicy new cash cow attracted a slew of competitors almost overnight, including Lyft, Haxi, Sidecar, Summon, Wingz, and others. With the exception of London-based Haxi, they are all headquartered in San Francisco.

In most cases, company overhead is limited to the cost of maintaining the online site, verifying that drivers meet standards unilaterally determined by the company (if any), and handling the financial transactions. Unlike regulated taxi and limousine companies that buy and maintain insured & licensed vehicles and hire qualified drivers, TNCs own no vehicles and employ no drivers. With few exceptions, participating drivers and their vehicles are not subject to credible background checks, minimum insurance requirements, driver training, regulated fare schedules, drug testing, vehicular safety standards, etc. Usually, they respond more quickly and charge less than traditional taxis.

Click to New Broward TNC Law Web InfoTo use the service, you download the free app and register with your credit card number. When you need a ride, you enter the relevant pick-up and drop-off data in your smart phone app which spits back a price; then pray that the driver isn’t named in a bench warrant and the car has at least one functioning seat belt. For making the connection and handling the payment, the company splits the fare with the driver. Depending on the city, fares are ordinarily based on time or distance.

However, when demand heats up (during holidays, storms, popular local events, etc.), although some TNCs maintain the regular fare while others allow the driver to make the call, Uber applies an algorithm to hike fares correlative to the increased demand. This tactic, which the company is seeking to patent as “Surge Pricing”, usually precipitates a flood of angry public blowback (In 2011, during New Year’s Eve in New York, Uber passengers were charged 7 times the legal fare). However, if you plan your excursions during off hours, you can save a bundle on dirt cheap rides. Since the company assumes no liability for participating drivers or vehicles, if picked up by a wired meth-head driving an eight-battery lowrider with no bumpers and “touchy” brakes, reasonably predictable orthopedic procedures, hospital stays and monthly convalescent expenses could also wind up on your credit card.

Regulatory Whack-A-Mole

Uber admonishes elected officials in new markets that consumer protections ordinarily mandated for taxis and limousines are toxic to its operations and threaten the savings realized by customers - as well as Uber’s healthy 20% profit margin on an expected $10 billion in revenues. When public officials in jurisdictions across the globe finally wrap their heads around this unsettling aspect of the TNC business model, drivers are ticketed and the company ordered to cease operations. Ignoring local ordinances and livery licensing requirements, Uber officials have responded by paying the fines and tickets while scrambling to negotiate a regulatory compromise with local officials.

Broward Taxis
BROWARD TAXI LINE
In Broward County, Uber has already racked up roughly $35,000 in fines by March while unsuccessfully trying to convince County Commissioners that they are simply a matchmaking tech company, and shouldn’t be subject to regulatory oversight. Broward’s 31 municipalities - including Fort Lauderdale – have been patiently waiting for the County to adopt an ordinance to legalize TNC services while preserving basic consumer safety standards. County officials have shrugged off threats by Uber to leave the County if forced to comply with local regulations.

Click to Email to Uber Airport Drivers Like insurance companies that throw money at blatantly fraudulent slip and fall cases because it’s less costly than going to court, Uber has discovered that it’s less expensive to pay fines and reimburse ticketed drivers than to buy insurance, maintain a license or otherwise open a liability “Pandora’s box.” With negligible overhead and reliable 24/7 revenue streams, unless a jurisdiction exacts outrageous penalties for traffic infractions and licensing violations, Uber can afford to pay the freight while its lobbyists work to change the local law or statute, even if it takes years. On November 4, 2014, Uber Miami sent an email coaching drivers how to “make the pickup and drop off experience more enjoyable” by dodging law enforcement while cruising illegal fares in South Florida airports. They were instructed to hide their Uber cell phone in the cupholder, ask passengers to ride in the front seat and use the lane farthest from the Terminal’s curbside pickup, closing the message with assurances that tickets will be reimbursed and legal support provided by Uber.

Click to California Public Utilities Commission In 2011, TNCs in California were buried under an avalanche of tickets and “desist” notices from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which fined each company $20,000 for operating an unlicensed limousine dispatch. In crafting an interim agreement in 2013 that was later made permanent, CPUC mandated driver background checks, driver training, drug and alcohol policies, minimum insurance coverage of $1 million, and company licensing through the Public Utilities Commission. Despite persistent protests by TNCs, which relentlessly claim they are simply providing a marketplace, not transporting passengers, newly penetrated jurisdictions have used the CPUC agreement as a template for legalizing the service without adulterating existing regulatory standards.

Uber Policy V.P. David Plouffe
UBER POLICY V.P. DAVID PLOUFFE
Legislation regulating TNCs has already been enacted in 8 States, while under consideration in 4 others. To protect the value of their medallions, taxi and limousine industry proponents in every jurisdiction have pressured public officials to either block TNCs or “level the playing field” by imposing a comparable regulatory framework, citing the need to “promote public safety.” Bills filed during the 2015 legislative session in Tallahassee (HB 817 by Fort Walton Beach Statehouse Representative Matt Gaetz) would have precluded local jurisdictions from requiring a TNC to comply with regulations governing taxi and limousine companies. Despite a team of 23 registered lobbyists headed by Uber Policy V.P. David Plouffe – former Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama – the bills tanked, clearing the way for Broward County to drop the hammer. The new Broward law requires a company license, a local business office, driver chauffeur registrations, national and state background checks with fingerprinting, annual or semiannual inspections of vehicles by a licensed mechanic and flexible fares except for pickups at Port Everglades and the Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport.

Broward Board Approves Uber Ordinance
BROWARD BOARD APPROVES UBER ORDINANCE
In addition to hiring regiments of lobbyists in hundreds of markets to fight these battles, Uber recruits riders and drivers to lobby public officials with blitz email petitions (more than 450,000 have signed such petitions) in newly breached markets – such as Broward County – upon receiving an “alert” from the company. While disparaging Broward’s new TNC law, Uber official Bill Gibbons acknowledged that thousands of Uber minions responded to Uber alerts by swamping the Commission with “countless calls and emails,” before he loosed an ultimatum, “We cannot operate in Broward County if such onerous regulations are enforced.”

Openly resentful of Uber attempts to “manage” the Commission by manipulating the public and claiming that basic consumer protections will drive them out of business, Commissioners marginalized the Uber threat. Commissioner Stacy Ritter commented that if a $40 billion corporate juggernaut “can’t pony up a few dollars for insurance, background checks and permits, then shame on them.”

Bad Press and Dirty Tricks

Click to Seoul Central District Prosecutor’s Office
Seoul Central District Prosecutor Kim Jin-Tae
SEOUL CENTRAL DISTRICT PROSECUTOR KIM JIN-TAE
This strategy is rubber-stamped in hundreds of jurisdictions across the planet, as Uber aggressively actualizes the competitive advantages of being the first TNC in new markets. As a consequence, they are besieged by an onslaught of legal actions worldwide while networking or arm wrestling with dozens of national and local foreign governments to circumvent regulatory obstacles. Uber officials and lobbyists crisscross the globe bartering political capital – and investment opportunities – in exchange for access. While some of the countries wherein Uber cherry picked which laws it would obey seemed to interpret this as an invitation to negotiate, others were less accommodating, issuing indictments, impounding vehicles and/or threatening the hoosegow. Uber often pushed the envelope to the breaking point. When the Seoul City Government objected to their flouting regulations, Uber warned the government that it risked being “trapped in the past.” Unimpressed, the Seoul Central District Prosecutor’s Office (comparable to the FBI in the U.S.) issued an indictment against both Uber and Kalanick. Three months later (in March 2015), Uber agreed to comply with the law.

Click to Seoul Central District Prosecutor’s Office Uber’s corporate reputation is less than Sterling. Lawsuits dogging the company include an action by the National Federation of the Blind for denial of service to 30 blind plaintiffs and another by a plaintiff who was raped by a New Delhi Uber driver. On August 4, 2014, a 56-year old epileptic Uber driver hit three parked cars and a man on the sidewalk in San Francisco. Repeatedly nailed for dirty tricks against competitors Lyft and Gett, Uber had its employees order and cancel thousands of rides using fake accounts, as reported in CNN Money last September. While social media feedback cuts both ways, a litany of horror stories prompted a solid “F” from the Better Business Bureau.

PandoDaily Editor Sarah Lacy
PANDODAILY EDITOR SARAH LACY
Uber Senior Vice President Emil Michael
UBER SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT EMIL MICHAEL
On November 19, 2014, Senator Al Franken, Chairman of the United States Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law, sent a letter to Kalanick stating “It appears that on prior occasions your company [Uber] has condoned use of customers’ data for questionable purposes.” Franken disparaged the Uber staff for using a tool called “God Mode” to track the movements of its customers, specifically journalists and politicians. Also in November, Uber Senior Vice President Emil Michael proposed equipping a team of researchers with a $million budget and charge them with investigating the personal lives and backgrounds of media figures who reported negatively about Uber. Michaels targeted Sarah Lacy, editor of the technology website PandoDaily, who had accused Uber of sexism and misogyny. In protest, hundreds of journalists purged the Uber App from their cell phones.

Tweaking the Money Magnet

Google Chief Legal Officer David Drummond
GOOGLE CHIEF LEGAL OFFICER DAVID DRUMMOND
Despite the livery industry’s thin margins, investors are jumping through hoops for a piece of the action. For Google Ventures $258 million investment in 2013, Google Chief Legal Officer David Drummond was seated on Uber’s board of directors. On December 4, 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported that Uber had just raised $1.2 billion via a competitive bidding process that drove the company’s valuation to $41 billion over several weeks – the highest for any private startup backed by venture capitalists – as hedge funds Valiant Capital Partners and Lone Pine Capital joined the Qatar Investment Authority and New Enterprise Associates in buying places at the table. While exploiting the proven success of its business model in its “meat and potatoes” livery arena, the company is initiating a variety of services layered on the same basic formula.

Click to UberEATS Click to UberFRESH In late August 2014, the company began pilot testing UberFRESH, an experiment with online fast food orders in Santa Monica, California. In April 2014, they announced a courier package delivery service called UberRUSH, offering pickup from anywhere in Manhattan. In August they began testing their UberESSENTIALS or Corner Store service in Washington D.C., enabling online purchasing from a list of roughly 100 items that you can have in a matter of minutes. Tweaking their software, they introduced UberPool to the San Francisco Bay Area in August. This carpooling service matches riders who are traveling in the same direction. Click to UberESSENTIALS A rider’s app displays the first name of the other rider and indicates who will be picked up first. If no match is available, riders are consoled with a discounted regular fare. Launche last month in New York, UberEATS offers lunch choices prepared by “iconic restaurants” (i.e. StatSocial, American Cut Steakhouse, Num Pang, Mighty Quinn’s Barbecue, etc.) and delivered on foot or bike within 10 minutes of placing the order. Using their smart phones, diners can watch their lunch travel from the restaurant to their desk.

If successful, fast food restaurants, neighborhood drug stores and other Mom and Pop retail outlets will suddenly be able to provide delivery service without burdening their payrolls. UberPool, which does qualify as a ridesharing service, will help Uber undercut other TNCs and Uber Essentials emulates a virtual 7-11 within spitting distance of your smart phone. While frontloading its corporate armory with lobbyists to help smooth their entry into new markets, Uber is tailoring its Chinese menu of related services to those that flourish below any regulatory radar. Wherever a pool of drivers with jalopies is looking for a few bucks anywhere on earth, investors are convinced that these guys can print money. For the rest of Commissioner LaMarca’s early spring 2015 message to constituents, read on... – [editor]

 

April 2015 Update

By Commissioner Chip LaMarca

District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER
CHIP LAMARCA
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Issue Permit for Beach Re-Nourishment Project

District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
LAMARCA AT A1A BEACH REPAIR
After over 16 years of anxiously waiting to replenish our beaches in Pompano Beach, Lauderdale by the Sea and Fort Lauderdale, Broward County has finally received the permit from the Army Corps of Engineers that will allow us to begin the work after sea turtle season ends on October 31st. We will now secure the Project Participation Agreement that will serve as a promise by the federal government to share in the costs. Concurrently, we have been working to prepare for the procurement process to award the bid to pre-qualified contractors. This was a great deal of work by many, but worth the effort to work together.

Regulation of Transportation Network Companies in Broward County

Click to Uber Taxi Broward Info Broward Commissioners have taken steps to enhance the safety of residents and visitors who use taxis, transportation network companies (TNC) such as Uber, and all for-hire vehicles. The Commission approved more stringent mechanical inspections of for-hire vehicles and more thorough background screening checks for drivers. Under the proposed new terms, for-hire vehicles will have to be inspected by a mechanic and meet requirements as proposed by the County. A checklist will be developed requiring mechanical inspections and aesthetic inspections. Background checks of all for-hire drivers would be expanded to include statewide and national criminal background checks. The background check would be conducted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the FBI and alert the County if a driver committed a crime in the state of Florida. Currently Broward County conducts statewide criminal background checks and a driving record check every two years. The additional cost of the background screenings will be paid for by all for-hire drivers.

Uber App
UBER APP
Click to Ready Broward Web Page The taxi cab companies also told us that they want a fair playing field for all motor carriers for hire. The regulations that would be imposed on TNC and taxi cab companies alike would level the playing field in terms of background checks and vehicle inspections. The breakthrough news was that Uber agreed to work with the taxi cab companies so that they can operate on the Uber app. This way the cab drivers would have the very same opportunities currently provided to the TNC drivers and the free market would decide.

April is Water Conservation Month

Landscaping Irrigation In Florida, the months of March, April and May have the lowest rainfall amounts, coupled with rising temperatures. These seasonal factors can really impact our water demands since the water we use on our landscapes can account for up to 50 percent of our household water usage. County Commissioners passed a number of water conservation initiatives including an ordinance for irrigation practices and a model landscaping code which together with other program efforts including consistent outreach messaging, have helped keep our daily consumption of water down to a ten year low.

Toilet Rebate Click to Ready Broward Web Page Indoor water conservation is just as important. Smart water use indoors includes fixing leaks throughout your home and getting in the habit of not letting the water run while brushing your teeth or shaving. And you may be eligible for High Efficiency Toilet rebates through the Broward Water Partnership’s Conservation Pays program. Residential customers can receive up to two rebates, while rebates for commercial, nonprofit and multi-family establishments are determined on a case-by-case basis. Our ultimate goal is to save 30 million gallons of water per day through our water conservation efforts.

Infrastructure

Click to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Web Site
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport new runway
NEW FLL AIRPORT RUNWAY
The completion of the South Runway at Broward's Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport opened to much fanfare in September 2014, and new terminals are being built to accommodate more flights and passengers. FLL is the 21st busiest airport in the US and is ranked 15th in domestic origin and destination traffic. Recent improvements include new concessions in all terminals and the installation of automated Passport Control Kiosks to expedite inbound all US and Canadian citizens in Terminal 4.

Click to broward County Transit Web Page
Broward County Transit new paratransit vehicles
NEW BCT PARATRANSIT VEHICLE
Broward County Transit is the number one public transportation option for getting around in the County and is rolling out new, modern Wi-Fi enabled I-595 and I-95 Express buses and propane-powered Paratransit buses. The Ravenswood Operations and Maintenance Facility is under construction and will be completed in 2016.

Click to Complete Streets Web Page Public Works' Biogas Cogeneration Electric facility currently under construction will use Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG) to produce electricity for the Wastewater Treatment Plant in Pompano Beach. Public Works is also making the County's roadways safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit user through its Complete Streets and Mast Arm projects.

Click to Port Everglades Web Site Broward's Port Everglades is one of the busiest cruise ports in the world and continues to grow to accommodate larger cruise and cargo ships, enhancing the vacation experience for cruise guests and handling increased amounts of international cargo. The total value of economic activity is $26 billion each year.

Stay connected with by visiting Broward.org/District4 and sign up to receive email updates from our office. If there is anything that we can do to assist you with your vision for a better Broward, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 954-357-7004 or by email at clamarca@broward.org.

As always, it is my honor to serve you.


Chip LaMarca
Broward County Commssioner
District 4

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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
District 4 in March

Port; Airport; Paratransit; Tax Incentives; Solar; Pets & Holidays

Chip LaMarca March 2015 Newsletter
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
LAMARCA PLANS MAYORS SUMMIT
March 5, 2015 - In his March 2015 Newsletter, Broward Commissioner
Chip LaMarca reviews a regulatory benchmark for Port Everglades, record passenger traffic at Fort Lauderdale – Hollywood International Airport, Broward’s environmentally friendly commuter mini-buses, tax incentives for expanding businesses, an FP&L solar energy pilot program, a County adoption program for homeless pets, a Centennial celebration of the 13th Annual Broward Water Matters Day and a County event commemorating Women’s History Month. Given his unrelenting support for Port Everglades, it’s no coincidence that LaMarca’s March message to constituents opens by applauding a long-awaited Federal green light for infrastructure improvements that will cement the Port’s future as a regional economic powerhouse.

Post Panamax MSC Fabiola
POST PANAMAX MSC FABIOLA
Beginning in 1997, Broward officials have been begging the Army Corps of Engineers to approve funding for deepening Port Everglades’ channel to accommodate the anticipated explosion of Post-Panamax vessels from Asia and the Pacific when the $7 billion Panama Canal expansion is completed in 2016. Post-Panamax ships that are 25% longer, 50% wider and have a deeper draft than the largest vessels currently able to navigate the canal – a configuration called “Panamax” – will rebalance the worldwide economy by significantly lowering hemispheric transportation costs.

Click to Port Everglades Web Site Click to Panama Canal Web Site Since faster and cheaper shipping of goods between the East Coast and Asia will enable American farmers and manufacturers to better compete with South American and European counterparts, the economic cascade will guarantee Post-Panamax adapted Gulf and East Coast seaports tax revenue windfalls and thousands of new jobs. The Panama Canal Authority has estimated that five or six operational ports on the U.S. East Coast could handle the resulting tornado of cheaper goods, triggering frenzied construction by East Coast seaports competing for a piece of the Post-Panamax Golden Goose.

Click to  Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Navigational Improvements to the Port Everglades Harbor After 18 years of bumping up against foot-dragging Federal bureaucrats, Congressional gridlock and play for pay politicians while imploring the Army Corps of Engineers to undertake planned improvements, on June 28, 2013, the Corps finally released its Draft Environmental Impact plan for Navigational Improvements to the Port Everglades Harbor, a prerequisite for deepening Port Everglades’ channel from 42 feet to 48 feet (plus two feet of allowable overdepth for a total of 50 feet) and widening the channel entrance to allow entering and departing ships to safely skirt by cargo and cruise ships docked along the Intracoastal Waterway inside the Port.

Click to Turning Notch Info Deepening and widening the channel is one of three major Master Plan improvements. The Southport Turning Notch Expansion will lengthen the existing deepwater turn-around area for large cargo ships from 900 feet to 2,400 feet and allow the Port to berth and service five additional monster vessels. Also, instead of hauling containers to and from off-port rail terminals, or bucking road traffic on the Turnpike or I-95, on July 16, 2014, the Florida East Coast Railway (FEC) opened an on-site Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF) to enable the seamless transfer of international containers between ship and rail, trimming the time required for bringing goods to market - and vesting the port with a significant competitive advantage over other Florida East Coast ports (like Port Miami).

Florida East Coast Railway (FEC) opens an on-site Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF)
FEC OPENS ICTF IN JULY 2014
In August 2014, when the Corps of Engineers announced that it would recommend dredging the channel to 47 feet, instead of the 48 feet needed to insure clearance of post-Panamax vessels, the Corps made a point of declaring that the cost of that last foot would have to be borne by Broward. On August 12, the Broward Commission voted unanimously to pick up the estimated $18 million tab for digging out the extra foot using Port Everglades business revenues from port user fees.

Remodeled Terminal 4 Opens in Port Everglades
REMODELED TERMINAL 4 OPENS IN PORT EVERGLADES
In 2015, the Port’s future brightened considerably. In January, Port officials celebrated the completion of a $24 million remodeling of Cruise Terminal 4 – critical to the unimpeded traffic flow of cruise passengers. In mid-February, 2015, Congresswoman Lois Frankel met in Washington D.C. with staff from the South Florida Congressional Delegation, State and Broward elected officials and Richard Biter, Assistant Secretary for Intermodal Systems Development for the Florida Department of Transportation, to prepare for a make-or-break hearing by the Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works Review Board.

Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works Review Board approves Port Everglades Dredging
CIVIL WORKS REVIEW BOARD APPROVES DREDGING
Convening on February 27, 2015, the Civil Works Review Board unanimously approved the final environmental and economic feasibility studies for dredging the channel to 48 feet (50 feet with allowable overdepth) and expanding the turning notch, triggering a 30-day comment period. After the Corps issues a “Chief of Engineers Report” in May, which will recommend the project to Congress for construction authorization, the pre-construction, engineering and design (PED) phase will be followed by approximately two years of contract procurement and another five years for construction. The $374 million funding feedbag is comprised of $190 million of federal dredging money and $183.1 million in Port revenues, supplemented by State contributions. NO TAX DOLLARS in the mix!!!

Port Everglades Set to Begin Dredging
PORT EVERGLADES READY FOR DREDGING
Admonishing the need to move quickly, Congresswoman Lois Frankel told the Review Board “Any delay to the expansion risks the new larger freight ships contracting with other ports, passing us by and taking thousands of jobs with them”. LaMarca has been bouncing between Broward, Tallahassee and Washington D.C. like a suburban straphanger, carrying the County’s agenda for Beach Renourishment and the Port improvements. If a recently implemented regulatory strategy to unblock the Segment II beach fix also bears fruit, he will be 2 for 2 this March. Not too shabby! Read on for the rest of LaMarca’s March message. – [editor]

 

March 2015 Update

By Commissioner Chip LaMarca

District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER
CHIP LAMARCA
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works Review Board Moves Deepening and Widening Project Forward

Click to US Army Corps of Engineers Web Page Broward County Commissioners are applauding recent action by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works Review Board that moves forward major plans to deepen and widen Port Everglades' channels and turning basin. Port Everglades has been working with the Corps for more than 18 years on this project, designed to enable safe passage of deep draft post-Panamax cargo ships, those too large to fit through today's Panama Canal. The project is anticipated to create an estimated 4,700 total construction jobs and nearly 1,500 permanent direct jobs locally. The estimated cost is $374 million which will be paid with Port Everglades revenue generated through port user fees, federal appropriations and state grants. No local tax dollars will be used for this project because Port Everglades is a self-funded enterprise fund.

FLL Records Highest Passenger Traffic

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport new runway
NEW FLL AIRPORT RUNWAY
2014 was a record year for Broward’s Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) with 24.6 million passengers using the airport, an increase of more than one million compared with 2013. FLL’s spike in passenger travel was attributed to new services and additional flights by its largest domestic carriers JetBlue, Spirit, Delta and Silver. International traffic also increased 26 percent year over year, with more than 4.6 million passengers using FLL. This increase is due in part to new service by Azul, Copa, Norwegian, TAME and Volaris Airlines. The new runway, which opened in September, helped to eliminate delays that previously discouraged the launch of new flights.

Transit Offers New Vehicles for Commuters and Paratransit Customers

LaMarca Rides Broward County paratransit vehicles
LAMARCA ON PARATRANSIT
Broward County Transit new paratransit vehicles
NEW BCT PARATRANSIT VEHICLE
Broward County Transit (BCT) is working to improve comfort, safety and the environment with new state-of-the-art vehicles for commuters and paratransit customers. Transit introduced its cleaner propane-fueled paratransit vehicles in January with seating for 10 passengers and room for up to three wheelchairs, digital security system with cameras, and adjustable temperature controls. New 45-foot Motor Coach Industries buses are slated for operation in the spring and will feature high-back seats with extra hip-to-knee space, Wi-Fi and LED reading lights, A/C vents, electrical outlets and USB ports at each seat. These buses will be used for the 95 Express Service routes from Southwest Broward to destinations in Miami-Dade County.

County Targets New Businesses with Incentive Funding

Click to Office of Economic and Small Business Development The County is offering incentive funds for Qualified Targeted Industries looking to expand operations and create more jobs in Broward. Potential businesses will receive varying amounts of funds from the County depending on the level of expansion, and may qualify for additional funds from the city in which they plan to expand, and from the State. The County’s Office of Economic and Small Business Development has approved two new projects under the Qualified Targeted Incentive Tax Refund Program.

Broward County Signs Agreement for First FPL Community-based Solar Installation

Young at Art Museum and Library gets Solar Energy Panels
YOUNG AT ART MUSEUM GETS SOLAR PANELS
Click to Young At Art Museum and Library Broward is the first location in Florida to sign an agreement with Florida Power & Light (FPL) for installation of a solar photovoltaic system funded by FPL's new Voluntary Community-based Solar Pilot Partnership Program. The installation has the potential to generate over 140,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually. In so doing, it will contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by over 100 metric tons of carbon dioxide supporting the County's commitment to a 20 percent renewable energy usage goal and supporting the regional goal to achieve, by 2050, an 82 percent reduction in regional greenhouse gas emissions.

Broward County Animal Care and Adoption Welcomes and Encourages Donations

Chip LaMarca at Adopt A Sweetheart
CHIP LAMARCA - ADOPT A SWEETHEART
Your generosity will help support our numerous programs and services such as adoptions, behavioral training, and enhancements to medical equipment in our clinics and improvement and expansion to our shelters. More importantly, your support will to save the lives of many homeless dogs and cats. Visit broward.org/animal to find information and photos of animals that are currently available for adoption. There is also information on providing temporary foster care for animals that are too young to adopt or have special needs. If you find that adoption or foster care isn't for you, please consider volunteering, where you will have the unique opportunity to help the shelter dog and cats

Water Matters Day Matters March 14th

Click to Water Matters Day web page “Celebrating Our Centennial” is the theme of the 13th Annual Broward Water Matters Day on Saturday, March 14th from 9AM to 3PM at Tree Tops Park in Davie. This year’s free event is part of the County’s Centennial celebration, Broward 100 - Celebrating the Art of Community. At Water Matters Day, residents can learn about local and regional water resources, how water is managed and protected, and how Broward is planning for future water needs. Click to Broward 100 Web Page Over 45 educational exhibits and booths will be on display to help residents understand the role each of us play in protecting and conserving our water supplies. Participants will also be able to take home a free native plant or tree by visiting at least 12 of the event’s exhibits and obtaining stamps from each on their event program.

March is Women’s History Month

Click to National Women's History Month Events Web Page
African-American Research Library and Cultural Center
AFRICAN-AMERICAN RESEARCH LIB. & CULT. CENTER
The Broward County Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) will observe National Women’s History Month, March 1st - 31st, by hosting A Community Conversation – Women 4 Women – forum to understand the major issues affecting women and their families throughout the county. The free forum is open to the public and takes place Friday, March 27th, 3 - 5 PM, at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center, 2650 Sistrunk Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale.

Stay connected with by visiting Broward.org/District4 and sign up to receive email updates from our office. If there is anything that we can do to assist you with your vision for a better Broward, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 954-357-7004 or by email at clamarca@broward.org.

As always, it is my honor to serve you.


Chip LaMarca
Broward County Commssioner
District 4

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