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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
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
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
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
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
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
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

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

Uber Leaving Broward
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
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
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.
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
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’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
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
Dear Broward County Residents,

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


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
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

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

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 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

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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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 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
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 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

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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Issue Permit for Beach Re-Nourishment Project

District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
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
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.


Click to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Web Site
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport new 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
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 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

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
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
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)
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
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
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
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
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
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
Broward County Transit new paratransit vehicles
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
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
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 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
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 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

As always, it is my honor to serve you.

Chip LaMarca
Broward County Commssioner
District 4

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