GMCA HOME MAIN PAGE Associations Directors Governance Laws & Statutes Issues
Newsletters Calendar Market Page Vendors Forum Report Card Archives Site Map Contact
LINKS PAGE Finance News Weather Government Directions Travel Dining Entertainment Search


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.

Click To Top of Page



ISSUES MENU
Click on buttons below to review an issue.





Issues Home Page



Broward County Business

Bad Blood at BSO

Chip LaMarca's February 2013 Galt Mile Update

Chip LaMarca's April 2013 Galt Mile Update

Chip LaMarca's May 2013 Galt Mile Update

Bad Association Ordinance

Chip LaMarca's September 2013 Galt Mile Update

South Florida Sand Saga

Chip LaMarca's November 2013 Galt Mile Update

Chip LaMarca to Galt Mile

Chip LaMarca's January 2014 Galt Mile Update

Chip LaMarca's March 2014 Galt Mile Update

Chip LaMarca's May 2014 Galt Mile Update

Chip LaMarca's June 2014 Galt Mile Update



New Fire Safety Mandate



Beach Renourishment Project



Cleveland Clinic Emergency Room



City of Fort Lauderdale Page



Budget Crisis Page



Broward County Property Appraiser



Politics & Parlor Tricks in Tallahassee



AEDs - Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)



Calypso Deepwater Port and Pipeline



32nd Street Alley



Fort Lauderdale/Galt Mile Crime Statistics




Search GMCA or the web
powered by FreeFind



Search GMCA Site
Search the Internet


Click to Broward County Web Site
BROWARD COUNTY Web Site

Click to Broward County Property Appraiser Web Site
B.C.Prop Appraiser Web Site


 

 


Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
Weighing a Windfall from Recaptured Room Nights

Convention Center Hotel Back on County Agenda

District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER CHIP LAMARCA
June 30, 2014 - In his June 2014 Newsletter, District 4 Broward County Commissioner
Chip LaMarca advocates stoking one of our County’s key economic engines. Strategically located at Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades tourism nexus, enhancing the County’s aging Convention Center with a dedicated hotel and a facelift will plug a fiscal leak through which the County loses tens of $millions in new business every year.

Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center
GREATER FT LAUD/BROW CNTY CONVENTION CNTR
Warehousing thousands of guests who attend the 280 annual Convention Center events in 50 different local hotels is a marketing nightmare. After recalling several bungled prior initiatives to build an adjacent hotel in his June Newsletter, LaMarca acknowledges, “…we have lost major contracts with clients since these projects have failed.” Specifically, he refers to the loss of 18-year convention center customer ARVO (Association of Vision in Ophthalmology) – which sent their 13,000 guests to the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle in 2013, Orlando in 2014 and will send them to Denver in 2015 and again to Seattle in 2016. Following their annual gathering, Harley-Davidson said in 2012 that they would look elsewhere in the future for a Convention Center with a hotel. Scores of other convention customers, including the 9,000 attendees from an annual Department of Defense contractors’ convention, warned that if Broward couldn’t provide them with fully integrated lodging, they would not return.

Click to Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center Web Site Without an affiliated hotel, the Convention Center is precluded from even bidding on more than one third of the prospective convention opportunities – those that require dedicated lodging. To compete with other second tier convention cities that offer onsite lodging, the Center must offset their lack of a hotel with a laundry list of expensive perks, further squeezing embattled profits. LaMarca mentions three prior attempts by the County Board to correct this competitive shortcoming. In varying proportions, they were squelched by stupidity, turf protection... and greed.

R. Donahue Peebles
R. DONAHUE PEEBLES
When the Greater Fort Lauderdale / Broward County Convention Center opened in 1991, an initial County attempt to build a related hotel abutting an International Trade Mart flopped. When reconsidered in 1997, threats of an African-American tourist boycott prompted the County Commission to exclusively evaluate hotel plans submitted by minority-owned developers. Shortly after real estate magnate R. Donahue Peebles was awarded the hotel contract, the County learned that it had inadvertently agreed to cover any payments defaulted by the developer. When partnering hotel Management Company Wyndham International pulled out along with the National Baptist Convention – another project partner – Peebles threw in the towel and sued the County for development costs. He lost; and the project washed out for the second time.

Click to Hilton Hotels Web Page Click to Marriott Website On November 1, 2007, the Broward Commission selected a bid winner from two world-class hoteliers (and their partner developers), each of which presented plans for a 1,000-room Convention Hotel on 17th Street - next to the Broward Convention Center on Eisenhower Boulevard off Southeast 17th Street at Port Everglades. Rejecting a plan submitted by Marriott and developer Hensel Phelps Construction, a ten-person selection committee chaired by tourism Guru Nicki Grossman that included 8 Broward Commissioners instead awarded the project to Hilton Hotels and their developer FaulknerUSA by a close six to four vote.

Former JP Morgan Banker Chris Romer
FORMER JP MORGAN BANKER CHRIS ROMER
Both bidding teams planned on using hotel revenues to repay $400 million raised from Broward-authorized tax exempt bonds. While Marriott declined any public backing, Hilton wanted an annual $6 million pledge of hotel bed taxes as a guarantee against missed loan payments. Also, if the hotel took a dive, Broward taxpayers would pay down the debt service. Hilton’s ace-in-the-hole was former Executive Director Christopher Romer of JP Morgan Securities, who pledged to purchase all $398 million of Hilton’s bonds, while Marriott would have to patiently hunt for investors in a recessionary credit market.

Since Marriott’s plan was financially self-sufficient while Hilton placed every Broward taxpayer on the hook for their debt, President Mark Schultz of FaulknerUSA, Hilton’s partnering developer, conceded that opponent Marriott’s deal was far better for the County. When informed that the Commissioners ignored the risk to taxpayers and selected his team’s less favorable project, a disbelieving Schultz declared, “I’m shocked!” Most residents were not surprised. Broward Commissioners had achieved nationwide notoriety for pilfering the County cookie jar while throwing taxpayers under a bus. Opting for expedience over prudence, our County Commissioners were primarily driven by enlightened self-interest as Hilton lobbyists offered committee members a more intriguing buffet of personal and political “incentives” than their Marriott peers.

Click to JP Morgan Chase vs FaulknerUSA Lawsuit When word got out that Hilton banking partner JP Morgan Chase was suing FaulknerUSA for $6.1 million in defaulted loans from a similar project in Austin, Texas, the questionable County decision became juicy media fodder. In addition to a $6.6 million court judgment stemming from a hornet’s nest of litigation over flooding problems in the Austin Hilton Convention Center Hotel, FaulknerUSA was facing $millions more in liabilities from 17 lawsuits (and 68 liens) by irate condo owners, unpaid subcontractors and project organizer Austin Convention Enterprises Inc. Despite under-the-table damage control “agreements” between project lobbyists and suspiciously vested public officials, the project began to unravel.

Click to Hensel Phelps Construction Website
Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry
BROWARD ADMINISTRATOR
BERTHA HENRY
After demanding proof of FaulknerUSA’s fiscal health in January of 2008, County Administrator Bertha Henry stoically announced, “There is nothing that says Faulkner is dropping out of this deal, but they have to respond to us that they have the wherewithal to do this project. We will not enter into a development agreement with a company that is not stable.” Seeking to hedge against anticipated County intentions to sever besieged FaulknerUSA from the project, Hilton brought Hensel Phelps Construction – the partner of rival bidder Marriott – to an emergency meeting with County officials. With Commissioners circling the wagons in classic “CYA” formation, Hilton’s frantic eleventh hour attempt to salvage their project by switching dance partners proved futile.

Pork Budget On December 8, 2009, the County Commission officially pulled the plug on the $400 million project, but not before frittering away another $1.6 million in pork payouts to LMN Architects; Hospitality Real Estate Counselors; the law firm of Siegel, Lipman, Dunay, Shepard & Miskel; the engineering firm Craven Thompson & Associates; the urban planning firm Hughes Hughes Inc.; the architectural firm Arch Alliance and the law firm of Squire Sanders - primarily for thinking happy thoughts. To avoid threatened legal action, intimidated Commissioners also refunded FaulknerUSA’s $2 million deposit – with interest. The after-effects of this fiasco lingered for years, as deflated County Commissioners tried to distance themselves from attempts to revive the project.

Broward Workshop President Charles Caulkins
BROWARD WORKSHOP
PRESIDENT CHARLES CAULKINS
Click to Broward Workshop Website They had other reasons for dragging their feet. While a convention center hotel would clearly boost the county’s recovering economy, area hotels that had been lodging conventioneers for decades would lose room night revenues. Since hotel chains reliably contribute to election campaigns, their local avatars were politely obliged by nervous Commissioners, who repeatedly nixed the project. Although hoteliers are still concerned about the competition threatened by a dedicated convention center hotel, lingering fears have annually abated since the County emerged from the recession with a burgeoning tourist economy. Chairman Charles Caulkins of the Broward Workshop, a group of 100 County business leaders, conceded “There’s not the opposition there once was.”

Complementing the plans for a dedicated hotel, a 200,000 square-foot expansion of the existing 600,000 square-foot convention center will include an integrated retail space offering convenient access to nightlife, shops and restaurants. Spooked by this potential source of competition, local businesses and commercial property owners worked behind the scenes to torpedo the project - unless they were afforded input into how participating merchants are selected.

Portside Yachting Center's Mark Ellert
PORTSIDE YACHTING
CENTER'S MARK ELLERT
When a 2013 study by hospitality consultant HVS demonstrated the need for more hotel space and meeting facilities near the Convention Center, it spurred renewed interest in the convention center hotel last year. It also prompted concerns by Mark Ellert, a partner in Portside Yachting Center, which owns buildings next to the convention center. Asserting the need for a Master Plan, which by definition would mandate soliciting input from neighboring businesses, Ellert said “We need a vision for a world-class convention center destination, and it’s best capitalized by collaboration and cooperation among all stakeholders” – a transparent pitch for a seat at the table.

Dr. Harry Moon
DR. HARRY MOON
This year, the scales may have finally tipped in the project’s favor, as even traditional opponents have conceded to the inevitable realization of a one-time infrastructure enhancement that would inject $hundreds of millions into the local economy. Also recommending its development under a Master Plan, last year The Broward Workshop re-ranked the convention center as a top priority. Former Chairman Harry Moon declared “The county commission has kicked this ball around for too many years. It needs immediate attention.”

Convention and Visitors Bureau President Nicki Grossman
CONV. & VISITORS BUREAU
PRES. NICKI GROSSMAN
Ceding that Broward cannot compete with world class convention destinations like Miami or Orlando, President Nicki Grossman of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau aspires to at least be competitive with second-tier cities such as Nashville. If the center were fleshed out and complemented with onsite lodging, Grossman observed “Then we could compete fairly with other tier-two convention sites around the country.”

Click to Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau Website Grossman offered another reason for why the timing is right. When the County built the convention center in 1991, it was funded in part with bonds repaid with the “bed tax” revenues collected from visitors who patronize Broward hotels and motels. When those bonds were finally retired last year, Grossman asserted that it was “the appropriate time to bring up convention center expansion.”

Click to Hensel Phelps Construction Website While reviewing several design concepts at an April 1, 2014 County Commission Workshop, Consultant HVS summarized the project’s envisioned economic impact, projecting an additional 721 permanent jobs and a 20-year economic return of $1.1 billion. The County would snag $21 million of the overall $96 million in additional tax revenues. The local economy would realize an annual benefit of $83.1 million. Conversely, every participating consultant predicted that if none of the improvements were implemented, the Center’s decline would accelerate, hammering revenues.

Click to Port Everglades Web Site Having exclaimed “Let’s do this, let’s get it done,” after the meeting, County Administrator Bertha Henry would next present four suggested design concepts to County Commissioners, who must decide which design options offer the biggest bang for the buck. Almost certainly, these will include partial demolition of a poorly placed parking garage that obstructs a view of the Intracoastal. Another consequence of poor planning, access to the site has long been impeded because of its proximity to Port Everglades. Although currently forced to navigate federally mandated Port Security checkpoints before entering the center, visitors will soon use a planned bypass road to circumvent the bottlenecks and enter directly. “Not to worry,” said tourism Czar Nicki Grossman, “The project is funded and set to be completed by early 2015.”

Urban Design Architect Takeshi Kamiya
URBAN DESIGN ARCHITECT TAKESHI KAMIYA
Adding that the site’s unique waterfront location would distinguish Broward’s offering from tier-two competitors, consultant Takeshi Kamiya of HKS Urban Design Studio insisted, “Make sure this is about the water. It’s a waterfront place.” Kamiya’s mantra evidently resonated with Nicki Grossman, who commented “People have a different expectation when they’re on the Intracoastal in Fort Lauderdale than when they’re in Minneapolis.” Unilaterally advised by every consultant to exploit the waterfront site, other options that Commissioners will consider include a waterfront public park and a pier tricked out for visitors.

Hopefully, the County Commission will avoid the pitfalls that plagued their 3 earlier attempts to fully develop competitive Convention Center infrastructure, especially since LaMarca has repeatedly demonstrated his willingness to expose the nest feathering machinations that earmarked or precipitated those failures. LaMarca has supported Broward infrastructure projects, including this one, since he was first elected to the County board. For his current take on the project, read LaMarca’s June 2014 update below... “Broward County Convention Center Revisited: Version 4.0”. – [editor]

 

Broward County Convention Center Revisited: Version 4.0

By Commissioner Chip LaMarca

District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER
CHIP LAMARCA
As a County Commissioner and a local small business owner, I understand the vital importance of strengthening our local economy in Broward County. Tourism is one of our principal industries that we rely on in South Florida. We can reestablish ourselves as an international and domestic leader in the tourism industry by building a world-class convention center hotel and expanding our existing LEED Gold convention center facility. This has been a goal of mine since being elected in 2010.

Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center
GREATER FT LAUD/BROWARD CNTY CONVENTION CNTR
Broward County has supported the many initiatives that have gone into making our Convention Center the best it can be in order to standout from those of our surrounding neighbors to attract new business. The concept of a Headquarter Convention Center Hotel is not a new idea. As a matter of fact, it has been a recurring project before the Broward County Commission for many years as I have noted before in this newsletter. The concept was put forth in the early 1990’s and has come before the County Commission in various forms a total of three times and never came to fruition. According to Nicki Grossman, the President of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, we have lost major contracts with clients since these projects have failed. Nicki and her team have created a portfolio of hundreds of wonderful hotels in the Greater Fort Lauderdale Area. This portfolio of hotels has kept many large conventions coming back year after year. Unfortunately, we are now learning that some of our convention business cannot commit to returning to our sunny paradise. They cite our lack of a convention center hotel and a need for a larger convention facility, which is another goal of this expansion.

Click to ARVO Web Site We have lost an estimated $61M in 2006, $47M in 2007, $43M in 2008, $54M in 2009, $33M in 2010 and $35M in 2011. One group in particular, ARVO - the Association of Vision in Ophthalmology was a client for dozens of years and booked 20,000 room nights annually. Broward County expects to lose $400 million in business and 960,000 room nights between 2008 and 2016 for lack of a convention center hotel and the expansion needed to compete with sites in other second-tier cities. Additionally, we have lost business due to the size of our convention center. This impact has averaged $8M annually.

Greater Fort Lauderdale / Broward County Convention Center Hotel Rendering
BROWARD COUNTY CONVENTION CENTER HOTEL RENDERING
Broward County is picture perfect destination for business conferences, annual meetings, and international expositions. The missing piece in Broward County being the first choice for many business or trade groups is our lack of a headquartered Convention Center hotel. This hotel in concept should be physically located adjacent to our Broward County Convention Center and be attached so that visitors can come and go from their meetings to their rooms and the amenities of such a facility.

Unemployment Shrinks Projects like a convention center hotel are needed to bring jobs to the local economy. We have seen a steady decline in unemployment numbers, which indicates that we are heading in the right direction. At 5.0% we remain lower than our neighboring counties and our state in this key indicator. This impact has been felt all around our county.

The consultants hired by the county have provided four different conceptual designs and an analysis of the feasibility of expanding the convention center and adding an adjacent hotel. The consultants have held stakeholder meetings with various homeowner associations, government agencies and department officials in the county to receive meaningful feedback and apply those to the master plan. Some of the key input from the community at public forums were utilizing the waterfront view, creating an iconic building and destination, providing entertainment, connection to nearby hotels and retail, including outdoor green space, pedestrian oriented development, accessibility to boats/water taxis, and traffic improvement.

Miami Beach Convention Center
MIAMI BEACH CONVENTION CENTER
Palm Beach Convention Center
PALM BEACH CONVENTION CENTER
We need to move forward with this project now. If we don't take action we will most certainly become an afterthought to our neighbors to the north and south. Palm Beach County has pledged to invest $27 million dollars towards a $100 million project and Miami-Dade County has been in talks to invest nearly $100 million towards a project that has estimates closing in on $650 million. We can do this without leveraging any vital tax dollars because we have the most valuable asset to offer at Port Everglades, waterfront property. I expect to see a creative process like a Public Private Partnership. I will continue to advocate for this project at the County Commission and I hope a Headquarter Convention Hotel will finally become a reality. It is crucial that we work together to bring a Convention Center hotel to Broward County.

As always, it is an honor to serve you.


Chip LaMarca
Broward County Commssioner
District 4


Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
Mayor’s Summit; Early Voting; Beach Debt; Street Projects and...

Click to USS New York Web Page
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca announces Mayors Summit
LAMARCA PLANS MAYORS SUMMIT
May 3, 2014 - In his May 2014 Newsletter, District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca lists agenda items from a District 4 Mayor’s Summit, affirms that an early voting site convenient to the Galt Mile was finally approved, announces receipt of a long-awaited federal reimbursement for the Segment III beach renourishment, discusses in progress transportation projects and recalls Broward Navy Days events during Fleet Week. In this final item, LaMarca refers to the USS New York, a warship fitted with skeletal steel salvaged from “Ground Zero” and named after the State and City where an unfathomable catastrophe unfolded on September 11, 2001.

Former New York Governor George Pataki and then Secretary of the Navy Gordon England Name USS New york in 2002
FORMER NY GOV. GEORGE PATAKI AND THEN SEC. OF
THE NAVY GORDON ENGLAND NAME USS NEW YORK
Less than a year after the insidious 9/11 attacks, in a September 7, 2002 ceremony aboard the USS Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum docked in New York City, former New York Governor George Pataki announced “On September 2001, our nation’s enemies brought their fight to New York... The USS New York will now bring the fight to our nation’s enemies well into the future.”

Click to USS New York Web Page State names are ordinarily reserved for submarines. However, Governor Pataki wrote a letter to then Secretary of the Navy Gordon England, requesting that he break with tradition and name a surface ship after New York to commemorate the victims and heroes of 9/11. The request was granted on Aug. 28, 2002, nine days before the accommodation was announced at the ceremony on the Intrepid. Actually, this would be the sixth time that a ship was named for New York in U.S. Naval history (excluding the USS New York City, a 1979 nuclear powered attack submarine decommissioned in 1997).

Steel from WTC poured into form to create Bow Stem
STEEL FROM WTC POURED INTO FORM FOR BOW STEM
Steel salvaged from the World Trade Center (WTC) wreckage and acquired by Governor Pataki was tested and approved by the Navy for use in constructing an amphibious transport dock ship of the San Antonio class, a new class of warship designed for missions that include anti-terror special operations. After being melted down at a foundry in Amite, Louisiana and sent to Northrop Grumman Ship Systems (NGSS) shipyard in Avondale, LA, 24 tons of scrap steel from the World Trade Center was incorporated into LPD-21, a 684-foot amphibious transport dock ship later christened the USS New York. It carries a crew of 360 sailors and can deliver 800 combat-ready Marines ashore by helicopters and assault craft (along with helicopters, the flight deck can handle the MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft).

USS New York en route to Fort Lauderdale
USS NEW YORK EN ROUTE TO FORT LAUDERDALE FLEET WEEK
Fifth in a series of new LPD-17 San Antonio class warships, others in the series named for places relevant to 9/11 include the USS Arlington, commemorating the site where another hijacked jetliner struck the Pentagon, and the USS Somerset, named for the Pennsylvania county where United Flight 93 crashed as its passengers battled hijackers, thwarting plans to murder countless others at another Washington target.

USS New York Motto on Bow - Never Forget!
USS NEW YORK MOTTO ON BOW - NEVER FORGET!
Captain Kevin Wensing
CAPTAIN KEVIN WENSING
On Sept. 9, 2003, 7.5 tons of WTC scrap steel was specifically smelted for use in the ship’s bow stem, the foremost part of the ship that cuts through the water. Overseeing the event was Navy Capt. Kevin Wensing, who reminisced “Those big rough steelworkers treated it with total reverence. It was a spiritual moment for everybody there.”

Also there when the trade center steel first arrived, foundry operations manager Junior Chavers recalls when he touched it with his hand, “hair on my neck stood up. It had a big meaning to it for all of us.” Chavers described the pervading sentiment at the foundry and the shipyard “They knocked us down. They can’t keep us down. We’re going to be back.” Not surprisingly, the ship’s official motto is “Never Forget.” To see how this tidbit befits Commissioner LaMarca’s May 2014 update, read on... – [editor]

 

May 2014 Update

By Commissioner Chip LaMarca

Commissioner Chip LaMarca hosts District 4 Mayors Summit
COMM. LAMARCA HOSTS MAYORS SUMMIT
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER
CHIP LAMARCA
I was honored to host the mayors and city managers from district 4 for our second Mayors Summit in April to discuss the key issues in our community. Our focus was on beach re-nourishment, economic development, tourism, human services, transportation and the proposed convention center expansion and hotel. These are quality of life issues and it’s of utmost importance that we have an open dialogue about how we can work together to better serve our residents, businesses and visitors.

Coral Ridge Mall Approved for Early Voting
CORAL RIDGE MALL APPROVED FOR EARLY VOTING
I am pleased to report that the Broward County Supervisor of Elections will be adding the Coral Ridge Mall as an additional early vote location for the upcoming elections this year. This site will provide better access to early voting for those living and working near the beach.

More good news! Broward County received a check from the Army Corp of Engineers for $10.1 million, which is the reimbursement for the beach re-nourishment project completed in 2006 in Segment III (Hollywood, Dania Beach and Hallandale Beach). This project added $1.4 billion to county property values along the beach and the beach attracts 13.4 million visitors a year, spending $10.6 billion annually in Broward County.

Click to 595 Express Web Page Broward County has a number of key transportation projects underway. The 595 Express lanes opened in April. I-595 is Broward County's major east-west thoroughfare used by residents and visitors to get to work, shops, entertainment venues, the airport, the Port, the beaches and it is also vital to the shipment of freight and goods around South Florida. Improving mobility along the I-595 corridor isn't just a necessity for residents and visitors, it will have a significant impact in South Florida's economy.

A1A from Sunrise Blvd to 18th Street Click to Broward Navy Days Fleet Week Web Page In addition, the Florida Department of Transportation will be reconstructing A1A from Sunrise Boulevard to NE 18th Street in Fort Lauderdale with one lane in each direction, a dedicated north-bound turning lane and a wide beachfront promenade on the east side with a paver sidewalk and decorative, turtle-friendly lighting and landscaping. They will be adding wide bicycle lanes in both directions and constructing two pedestrian crosswalks. Construction is expected to begin by August 2014 and be completed by March 2016 at a cost of $10.1 million.

LaMarca with Capt. Teets and Captain Boardman - a District 4 Native
LAMARCA WITH CAPTAINS TEETS AND BOARDMAN
Lastly, Broward Navy Days hosted the 24th Annual Fleet Week as Port Everglades welcomed the USS New York, USCGD Dependable, and USCGC Bernard C Webber to Broward County. The USS New York is an amphibious transport dock ship that was forged with recycled steel from the wreckage of the twin towers at the World Trade Center. Hundreds of Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen participated in a week of activities, demonstrations and community service projects. I hope you had the opportunity to meet and talk with some of our great military personnel.

If there is anything that we can do to assist you, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 954.357.7004 or by email at clamarca@broward.org. You can also stay up to date by viewing our website www.broward.org/commission/district4, where you can sign up to receive email updates from our office. I look forward to continuing to make Broward a better place to live, work and play.

As always, it is an honor to serve you.


Chip LaMarca
Broward County Commssioner
District 4


Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
District 4 Doings; Feds Block Beach Fix; Get Out the Vote

NOAA Fisheries holds Beach Renourishment Hostage

Click to District 4 Web Page
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMM. LAMARCA AT BEACH RESCUE MEETING
March 16, 2014 - In his March 2014 Newsletter, District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca opens with a quick tour through a series of March municipal events in Pompano, Lighthouse Point (his hometown) and Deerfield Beach. The Commissioner closes with a plea to get out the vote. Bookended by these District 4 housekeeping pleasantries is an emergency call for constituent help with the long-delayed Segment II beach renourishment.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection - Click to Web Site The Broward Beach Renourishment project demands regulatory-mandated approvals from myriad Federal, State and local agencies. Since late last year, LaMarca and Broward Beach Administrator Eric Myers have been slugging their way through those regulatory minefields that still blocked the Segment II Beach Renourishment. In Tallahassee, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) had laced a draft permit agreement with language that would force Broward taxpayers to assume fiscal responsibility for mitigating adverse marine impacts unrelated to the renourishment effort. By blending acrimony with diplomacy, Myers and LaMarca finally snagged State approval without giving away the store.

Click to National Marine Fisheries Services (NOAA) Web Site By the end of January, one obstacle remained. Despite having diligently submitted mountains of mandated documentation while timely responding to endlessly redundant agency inquiries, the project slammed to a halt. Among the oceans of regulatory minutia required to complete the Federal permit is a boilerplate biological opinion by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Fisheries (NOAA Fisheries). When repeated phone calls, emails and official correspondences went unanswered, Myers and LaMarca learned that the documentation sent to NOAA Fisheries (AKA - National Marine Fisheries Service) - a line office in the Department of Commerce - was sitting UNOPENED on a bureaucrat's desk. A Commerce Department spinmeister explained that the delay resulted from a shortage of Federal resources!!!

Galt Mile Community Association (GMCA) President Pio Ieraci
GMCA PRESIDENT
PIO IERACI
Environmental Protection and Growth Management Department Deputy Director Eric Myers
BROWARD BEACH
BOSS ERIC MYERS
Following discussions with incredulous project stakeholders in Pompano, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea and Fort Lauderdale (including the Galt Mile Community Association), on January 28, 2014, an enraged LaMarca sent an email to GMCA President Pio Ieraci that detailed the problem and suggested a resolution. Since the Federal obstacle is unresponsive to County political efforts, neighborhood residents should instead engage our Congressional representatives, who are better equipped to awaken narcoleptic Commerce Department bureaucrats, request the long-delayed biological opinion and kick-start the Beach Project.

We Need Your Help! In February, notices were sent to Galt Mile member associations for distribution to unit owners. The notices described the dilemma, listed our Congressional officeholders and requested help with conveying the critical need to shake loose the Federal malaise that holds the project hostage. Contact information was included and also posted on the Galt Mile website. Within weeks, scores of letters, phone calls, faxes and emails flooded the local and Washington D.C. offices of Congresswoman Lois Frankel (who represents Galt Mile residents on “The Hill”), Senator Bill Nelson and Senator Marco Rubio. Whatever else may have been included in those correspondences, their central message was a simple request, “Please urge the Secretary of Commerce to ensure that the biological opinion of the Segment II Beach Project is completed as soon as possible.”

Secretary of Commerce Penny Sue Pritzker
COMMERCE SECRETARY PENNY SUE PRITZKER
Congresswoman Frankel and Senators Nelson and Rubio have all since expressed an intention to help circumvent the Federal roadblock and salvage Broward's shrinking beaches. Will they? Not if they believe that we will resume our siesta and quietly nod off. If the correspondences abate, so will their incentive to ask Secretary of Commerce Penny Sue Pritzker (of the Hyatt Hotel "Pritzkers") for her cooperation. SO - if you want the beach fixed, contact Frankel, Nelson and Rubio and ask them to “Please urge the Secretary of Commerce to ensure that the biological opinion of the Segment II Beach Project is completed as soon as possible.” Their contact info is below! Of course, you can always directly urge the Secretary of Commerce to help our community. Call her at 202-482-2112; write her at Penny Pritzker, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Ave, NW, Washington, D.C. 20230; or send her an email at TheSec@doc.gov

Senator Bill Nelson
Senator Bill Nelson [D]
716 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: 202-224-5274,
FAX: 202-228-2183
WEBSITE

BROWARD OFFICE:
3416 S. University Drive
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33328
Phone: 954-693-4851
Fax: 954-693-4862
EMAIL PAGE

Senator Marco Rubio
Senator Marco Rubio [R]
317 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington D.C., 20510
Phone: 202-224-3041
Fax: 202-228-5171
WEBSITE

MIAMI OFFICE:
8669 N.W. 36 Street,
Suite 110
Doral, FL 33166
Phone: 305-418-8553
EMAIL PAGE
Congresswoman Lois Frankel
Cong. Lois Frankel [D]
District 22

1037 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: 202-225-9890
WEBSITE

DISTRICT OFFICE:
2500 N. Military Trail
Suite 490
Boca Raton, FL 33431
Phone: 561-998-9045
EMAIL PAGE
   

LaMarca rounds out his March message with a reminder that certain District 4 voters should set aside time on March 11 to select their municipal leaders. If you live in Hillsboro Beach, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Lighthouse Point, Sea Ranch Lakes or West Park; you should get ready to cast a ballot for your favorite City officials! Lauderdale Lakes residents must answer a ballot question. If you live on the Galt Mile, fire up your email program, get a pen or pick up the phone.

After reading Commissioner LaMarca's message below, please ask our Federal representatives to help quash this last obstacle to restoring the beach. Adding your voice to those of your neighbors will help frame the extent of our resolve - despite the frustrating decades of insupportable delays. For LaMarca’s March 2014 message, read on... – [editor]

 

March 2014 Update

By Commissioner Chip LaMarca

Last Month

District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER
CHIP LAMARCA
February was a very eventful month in District 4. From Pompano’s Unity in the Community, Lighthouse Point’s Keeper Days, Deerfield Beach’s Founders Weekend, to the many celebrations for Black History Month, it was a great month to be out and about in our community. While it was great to see so much civic involvement, an issue that continues to be the forefront of my agenda has been the renourishment of our beautiful beaches.

Hurricane Damage to Fort Lauderdale Beach
HURRICANE DAMAGE TO FORT LAUDERDALE BEACH
(Photo by Art Seitz - The Magic Eye)
Our economy relies heavily on the strength of our beaches and critical time passes each day that we do not have the necessary federal permits in hand. The good news is that we have all of our necessary permits and approvals from the State of Florida. Last year we received nearly TEN BILLION DOLLARS in our local economy from the 13 million visitors who came to Broward for our beautiful beaches. As it currently stands, we are awaiting the biological opinion from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Fisheries (NOAA Fisheries). I traveled to Washington, D.C. earlier this month to advocate for our beaches and returned with renewed hope that they understand the critical nature of our project and are motivated to issue our permit. Persistence is key to our success and I will not stop until I see the trucks hauling sand to our beach. We now need your help by contacting all of our federal elected officials in Washington, DC. Please contact each of their offices and respectfully urge our representatives to do the following:

“Please urge the Secretary of Commerce to ensure that the biological opinion of the Segment II Beach Project is completed as soon as possible.”

You can find your federal representative by visiting house.gov and clicking on Find Your Representative

Coming This Month

Click to Broward County Supervisor of Elections Web Page March is Election month for many of Broward’s municipalities. It is often said that the government closest to the people governs most effectively. For most Broward residents, your local government is comprised of your city and county elected officials that provide the majority of your essential services. This Tuesday is Election Day in many of Broward's municipalities. As a former city commissioner, I know all too well that voter turnout is the key to a successful election. Make your voice heard this Tuesday. Get out and vote for the best candidate to represent you and your family. Do you want to be heard? Will you vote?

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. You can also stay up to date by viewing our website www.broward.org/district4, where you can sign up to receive email updates from our office.

As always, it is my honor to serve you.


Chip LaMarca
Broward County Commssioner
District 4


Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
Bus Pass for Vets; Fleet Week; CRA Projects

Port Everglades; Beach Renourishment; No Texting While Driving

Click to Broward Navy Days Fleet Week Web Page
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMM. CHIP LAMARCA AT NAVAL
AIR STATION MUSEUM FORT LAUDERDALE
January 30, 2014 - In his first Newsletter of 2014, Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca takes us on a 12-month jaunt through the challenges he faced in 2013. Given his personal predilection for the wellbeing of our Veterans, LaMarca opens by radiating satisfaction for having engineered a free Broward County Transit Bus Pass for low-income Vets and his involvement with many of last year’s Fleet Week events by Broward Navy Days - despite the Fleet’s conspicuous absence due to cost-cutting measures in the Military.

Click to Pompano Beach Community Redevelopment Agency Click to Fort Lauderdale Community Redevelopment Agency LaMarca outlines his participation in municipal events across his District 4 domain - including a mid-Summer Resource Fair in Deerfield Beach, the redevelopment of Atlantic Boulevard in Pompano Beach east of US 1 (and reversing the planned departure of its popular Beach Library from the Barrier Island), the evolution of a Culinary Arts District in Oakland Park, a “bridge to Pier” revitalization project along Commercial Boulevard in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, and the reclamation of storm-damaged A1A in Fort Lauderdale.

Click to 2013 Broward Legislative Program Web Page On January 8, 2013, to provide “legislative direction to the County’s staff and contract lobbying team for 2013 state legislative activities,” the Broward Board of County Commissioners approved a 2013 State Legislative Program proposed by the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Professional Standards (OIAPS). The 29-page legislative libretto featured a buffet of proposals with widely varying impacts, including an embarrassingly rich selection of “WTF” concessions to paper-thin local special interests (regulatory requirements for competitive eating contests, standardization of parasailing guidelines, etc.). This Chinese menu of options enabled Commissioners to pick and choose issues that yielded political capitol, including the need to cushion the public from the catastrophic consequences of hot dog eating marathons.

Click to Port Everglades Web Site LaMarca selected those issues with the greatest economic and “Quality of Life” impacts on his constituents, Beach Renourishment and the structural improvements required to guarantee Port Everglades’ future as a regional economic powerhouse. To advance these infrastructure build-outs in his District 4 back yard, LaMarca had to ping pong between Broward, Tallahassee and Washington D.C., where he helped locate and shake out scarce funding while eliciting federal and State regulatory approvals for Beach Renourishment and the competitive enhancements to Port Everglades.

Chip LaMarca Kicks Off Take 5 to Stay Alive Broward Campaign
LAMARCA KICKS OFF TAKE 5 TO STAY ALIVE CAMPAIGN
The 2013 State Legislative Program also contained a “secondary” list of general issues for Commissioner advocacy. Along with Early Voting Site Expansion - an effort to stimulate early voting by increasing the number of convenient local polling sites - LaMarca elected to support efforts to deter Texting While Driving - a fatal practice that claimed 3,331 lives in 2011 and sent another 387,000 victims to the hospital. While recalling County involvement with the nationwide Take 5 to Stay Alive campaign to dissuade drivers from texting while driving, LaMarca makes an enigmatic reference to the Governor signing some “bill into law”.

Senator Nancy Detert
SENATOR NANCY DETERT
Of three bills filed to curtail distracted driving during the 2013 Legislative Session, only one survived. Senate Bill 52 by Senator Nancy Detert (R-Venice) made texting while driving a secondary non-criminal infraction, meaning motorists can be ticketed only if pulled over for some other reason. Violators could suffer a $30 fine – unless they were diddling the device to read a map, check the weather, locate a gas station, or perform other activities loopholed in the Statute.

Lobbyists for telecommunications industry juggernauts who successfully killed scores of similar bills over the past decade reversed course and supported Detert’s less than intimidating legislation. Industry support was forthcoming once the bill was amended with an outrageous provision that inexplicably disallows telephone billing records as evidence - unless a ticketed incident results in injury or death. While its feeble punitive deterrent is little more than a bad joke, LaMarca agrees with most law enforcement officials that the new law (Chapter No. 2013-58) is a step in the right direction. Read on for our Commissioner’s handle on 2013... – [editor]

 

2013 – The Year in Review

By Commissioner Chip LaMarca

A Look at Last Year

Veteran Enabled Transit Pass
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER
CHIP LAMARCA
As your Broward County Commissioner, I was honored to present and pass the V.E.T. Pass, a six month pilot program to provide veterans in need with a free Broward County Transit Bus Pass. This is a project that I have been working on for nearly my entire time in office and I was pleased to pass this meaningful policy that gives back to those who gave so much to our country.

Pearl Harbor Survivors Edward Hammond and Abe Stein
PEARL HARBOR SURVIVORS EDWARD HAMMOND AND ABE STEIN
We continue to recognize those who have served our country through the time honored tradition of Fleet Week with Broward Navy Days. While there was no fleet to be revered, this year there were plenty of community events to attend. The Consul General of France presented the Legion of Honor Award to 11 United States Veterans of World War II who fought at Normandy. In addition to Fleet Week, we were honored to witness nearly 150 Marines, Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen and Coast Guardsmen enlist into our nation’s armed forces at an event sponsored by Our Community Salutes. Throughout the year we've recognized many contributions not only to our community, but to our country. This year we honored Pearl Harbor Survivors Edward Hammond and Abe Stein at the 72nd remembrance anniversary. Locally, we presented Lighthouse Point resident Vincent LaSorsa with a Key to the County for his continued work with the Wounded Warrior Project.

Click to Deerfield Beach Resource Fair Notice I was privileged to host a County Resource Fair at Westside Park in Deerfield Beach with representatives from a variety of county agencies and community resource organizations that provide residents with a vast array of services such as job assistance, health services, housing and assistance for veterans, children and the elderly. In a personal effort to make a positive impact in our community, I was delighted to team up with local leaders in Deerfield Beach to hand out meals to those in need during the holiday season.

Upgrades to Atlantic Boulevard in Pompano Beach
UPGRADES TO ATLANTIC BOULEVARD IN POMPANO BEACH
It is important to invest in the future and revitalization of our community. Through Community Redevelopment Agencies (CRA) and local partnerships, the investment in the overall appearance and use of declining neighborhoods has drastically transformed the economy in many communities by creating jobs and increasing consumer traffic. The City of Pompano Beach took the lead with their East CRA projects along Atlantic Boulevard from US1 to the Atlantic Ocean. The beach projects are still underway, but the boulevard is home to a new look and many new businesses.

Click to Oakland Park Culinary Arts District Web Page The Oakland Park CRA created the Culinary Arts District which has started to come together with the grand opening of the Funky Buddha Brewery and the Urban Farm Park. From the brewery, to future shopping, art and restaurant venues, to kitchen supplies and fresh produce, the Culinary Arts District is becoming a destination.

Revitalization of Commercial Boulevard in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea
NEW PLAZA SCULPTURE IN
LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA
Another example of a successful revitalization project was the investment from the Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea to reface the boulevard from the bridge to the beach, giving a breath of fresh air into its struggling plazas and creating an expanded shopping and dining destination. These, and many more community redevelopment projects around the county, just give tangible reference to the successful economy blooming in Broward County.

Click to Take 5 and Stay Alive Broward Web Page Earlier this year we proclaimed the month of May as Take 5 to Stay Alive – Don’t Text and Drive Month in Broward County. With the Governor signing the bill into law, it further enforces the notion that texting and sending emails while behind the wheel is a deadly practice that is responsible for numerous deaths each day nationwide.

Port Everglades
PORT EVERGLADES
Working in Tallahassee, with the help of local support, we urged the State Legislature to approve a $14.7 million investment for Port Everglades in a parallel effort to make Florida competitive worldwide and to also create more Florida jobs. The Port Everglades expansion is expected to create over 7,000 direct jobs and more than 135,000 jobs around the state of Florida.

New 42-foot deep Steel A1A Sea Wall
NEW 42-FOOT DEEP STEEL SEA WALL
We had great success with the emergency beach re-nourishment after Super Storm Sandy on Fort Lauderdale Beach and Broward County has been able to compile some best practices to use in our overall beach restoration efforts. Through the completion of the emergency repairs, we now move into the long-term portions of the project - with the redesign of A1A. This project will be coordinated with the State of Florida, Broward County and the City of Fort Lauderdale.

Click to Pompano's Beach Branch Library Proposal We are pleased that through working with city officials, we were able to keep the Pompano Beach Branch Library located on the barrier island. It is vital to have free and easy access to a wide range of library resources and experiences to keep our community engaged and learning. Residents can now access online databases, eBooks, and movies.

Click to Leadership Florida Class ProgramThis past year, I was privileged to be accepted to the 32nd Class of Leadership Florida on a full scholarship from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) Program. Good governance begins with good leadership. As an elected official who is honored to have the public’s trust, I am always working to learn more, to do more in order to best serve the people I represent.

I look forward to a successful 2014 and making Broward County the best place to live, work and raise a family!

Best Regards,


Chip LaMarca
Broward County Commssioner
District 4


President/CEO John Newstreet of the Kissimmee/Osceola County Chamber of Commerce
JOHN NEWSTREET
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER
CHIP LAMARCA
December 30, 2013 - In the spring of 2012, District 4 Broward Commissioner
Chip LaMarca hired John Newstreet as his new District Director. The eloquent bureaucrat was a more than adequate avatar for LaMarca at hundreds of meetings, celebrations and assorted neighborhood events during the past year, enabling our County representative to effectively double his community outreach. Newstreet just took a new position as President/CEO of the Kissimmee/Osceola County Chamber of Commerce, a testament to his skills as a political gymnast.

Legislative Aide Ryan Reiter
RYAN REITER
Legislative Aide Kate Wesner
KATE WESNER
With the departure of Newstreet, LaMarca recently added two new Legislative Aides, Ryan Reiter (a loquacious Marine veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom) and Kate Wesner (a realtor who served as former Congressman Alan West’s District Director and worked for the ill-fated Romney and McCollum campaigns). Wesner also served as campaign liaison for the Galt Mile's former State Senator (now Florida CFO) Jeffrey Atwater. Until they are fully conversant with their boss’s local agenda, LaMarca is personally attending an expanded lineup of regular community events - including those on the Galt Mile.

Broward Battles Back

Click to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance Web Site At the December 19 GMCA Advisory Board meeting, our County Commissioner scrutinized the economic engines stoking Broward’s recovery. While applauding a slide in the State’s unemployment rate to 6.4% (in contrast with the national rate of 7%), LaMarca noted that the jobless rate in Broward County had dropped to 5.3%. He attributed the promising job stats to new construction fueled by the rebounding real estate market and 49 consecutive months of increasing tourism. LaMarca observed “For every 85 visitors to Broward County, one job is created. If you take into consideration the 12 million visitors in 2012, that’s a lot of jobs. Those same visitors spent roughly $10 billion here.” To best exploit regional and county economic resources, LaMarca has long advocated enhancing the County’s critical infrastructure, including transportation hubs, a convention center and our shrinking beaches.

Citrix Broward Operational Headquarters
CITRIX BROWARD HEADQUARTERS
Click to the Citrix Systems Web Site LaMarca is the County Commission’s liaison to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, a countywide Public-Private economic development panel. A mission priority is the attraction of new business while retaining existing companies. Having recently developed a uniquely effective seamless cloud system that enables corporate employees to wirelessly access networked data on mobile devices, Citrix Systems is actively courted by technology parks across the country. LaMarca credited the Alliance with incentivizing the tech enterprise to remain in Broward, “instead of heading to the North Carolina Research Triangle.” With their Strategic Headquarters in Santa Clara, California and Operational Headquarters at 851 West Cypress Creek Road in Fort Lauderdale, Citrix was recently recognized as a Best Place to Work for 2014, a Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Award. A classic South Florida lifestyle contributed to their fourth straight year on this iconic list.

Beach Fix & Dirty Tricks

Florida Department of Environmental Protection - Click to Web Site
Environmental Protection and Growth Management Department Deputy Director Eric Myers
BROWARD BEACH
ADMINISTRATOR ERIC MYERS
LaMarca enshrines our beaches as Broward’s most important natural resource, crediting them for “protecting lives and property while anchoring a vital tourist economy.” He observed that 61% of the $10 billion generated by local tourist activity takes place in his coastal District 4 - from Deerfield Beach to Port Everglades, and 51% within the City of Fort Lauderdale. Updating the status of the long awaited Segment II beach renourishment, LaMarca said that the County is currently working through permitting obstacles in Tallahassee. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) baited a draft permit agreement with language that would box Broward into assuming responsibility for unanticipated problems that are unrelated to the renourishment effort.

Director Mark Thomasson of Florida’s Division of Water Resource Management
DIRECTOR MARK THOMASSON
WATER RESOURCE MNGT
Bumping Heads FDEP Division of Water Resource Management Director Mark Thomasson laced the Draft Permit with “31 d. In the event additional impact from the project is documented, the Applicant shall be required to mitigate for the impacts, through compliance and enforcement action, with the amount of mitigation determined according to the Department’s Uniform Mitigation Assessment Method (UMAM).” Tantamount to demanding a taxpayer-funded blank check, the regulatory spin would force Broward to mitigate impacts outside the scope of the project and – absent any time constraint – until the sun went red giant. Unwilling to empower FDEP as judge, jury and executioner, on December 19, Broward Beach Boss Eric Myers diplomatically answered Thomasson, “Following issuance of the permit we would apply for a modification to address the quantification of liability which the County believes should have been a part of the original permit. Specifically, we are requesting that Specific Condition 31 d. be struck in its entirety.”

Click to Florida Fish and Wildlife Web Site Throughout the permit process, FDEP (and Florida Fish and Wildlife) have held the Segment II beach renourishment hostage, threatening endless regulatory roadblocks if the County or its coastal cities pursued local policies that rankled agency officials. As such, City and County officials have been walking on eggshells, quietly moving potentially contentious issues to a back burner. However, once the beach is fixed, the State “hammer” will disappear - unless FDEP can plant some post-project “leverage” in the permit agreement. After citing Eric Myers for repelling a surreptitious attempt to saddle Broward with virtually unlimited liability, LaMarca assured Advisory Board members that the remaining permitting ripples would soon be resolved.

Bagging the Big Jets

Click to Port Everglades Web Site Click to Hollywood/Fort Lauderdale International Airport (FLL) Web Site Turning his attention to the critical transportation hubs that deliver tourists to county beaches, hotels and restaurants, LaMarca reviewed both planned and in progress improvements to Hollywood/Fort Lauderdale International Airport (FLL) and Port Everglades. Finally supported by noise-leery neighborhood residents, the Airport expansion will reduce delays and facilitate services to visiting tourists and business travelers. Although the airport currently has a long runway to accommodate larger jets, its two alternative runways are significantly shorter, creating delays when several Dreamliners descend simultaneously. In addition to correcting the airport’s stunted functionality, provisions in the airport’s Master Plan would fast forward a 1980s facility into an aesthetic and architectural monument.

Planned FLL Extended Runway Vaulting over US 1 and FEC Tracks
PLANNED FLL RUNWAY VAULTS OVER US 1 AND FEC TRACKS
In 2003, planners decided to lengthen one of the short runways and decommission the other small intersecting “crosswind” strip (Runway 13-31). Unfortunately, since highways and rail tracks that encircle the grounds would block an 8000 foot strip required for larger aircraft, engineers drafted a “work around”. They selected the 5300-foot landing strip (Runway 9R-27L) located just south of the existing long runway that runs parallel to Griffin Road. At roughly 2400 feet from its western end, the runway will gently tilt upwards and over US 1 and the Florida East Coast (FEC) Railway tracks, slowly rising over a distance of nearly twenty football fields before terminating at a 60-foot high man-made embankment at its new easternmost end.

Noise Mitigation in Dania Beach
NOISE MITIGATION IN DANIA BEACH
The $791 million project would accompany a $250 million bailout for neighborhood residents driven nuts by living with scores of daily brain rattling landings and takeoffs - for decades. As ever-larger jets landed and disembarked at an annually accelerating pace, residents living in the adjacent Dania Beach community increasingly complained about noise impacts that exceeded levels medically verified as hazardous. To protect homeowners incrementally endangered by the anticipated increased air traffic, 2073 nearby Dania residences will be fitted with sound-cancelling new roofs, heavily insulated impact glass windows, extensive weather stripping and central air/ventilation systems to achieve an interior noise level of 45 DNL (Day-Night Sound Level - a weighted decibel-based noise metric used by the FAA to describe 24-hour average sound levels).

Terminal 4 Rendering
TERMINAL 4 RENDERING
“The terminals will also be modernized,” said LaMarca “as new restaurants and shops will reflect local flavor.” A second $800 million rehabilitation of the airport’s 4 terminals was planned in tandem with the runway expansion. Terminal 4, which is already being rebuilt, will double in size as the number of gates will be increased from 10 to 14, 12 of which will be able to handle both domestic and international flights. While the other three terminals will be refurbished, terminal 4 is being redesigned as a facility centerpiece to stimulate more international flights, both to and from Fort Lauderdale.

Norwegian Air 787 Dreamliner
NORWEGIAN AIR DREAMLINER
Click to Norwegian Air Web Site LaMarca said “While currently ranked the 21st busiest airport in the United States, once fitted with two runways capable of managing the big Boeing 777s and 787s, FLL will become one of the nation’s top air hubs.” To illustrate how the improvements impact growth, he added “An agreement was recently signed with Norwegian Air, which has already added 8 of the large 787 Dreamliners to their fleet.” Europe’s third largest budget airline after Ryannair and easyJet, fast-growing Norwegian Air is the only budget airline flying transatlantic routes. As if to punctuate LaMarca’s illustration, on December 13, Southwest Airlines announced that FLL would serve as its new hub for international flights.

Click to Southwest Air Web Site When the vaulted runway is completed in September 2014, motorists, trains and pedestrians will pass underneath through a series of tunnels. The projected 50% increase in capacity will enable the airport to accommodate about 450,000 landings and takeoffs annually. LaMarca summarized the immediate and long term benefits, “This will add 11,000 temporary jobs and a $1.4 billion boost to the regional economy.”

Port Preps for Panamax

Port Everglades
PORT EVERGLADES
Click to  Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Navigational Improvements to the Port Everglades Harbor Recently named the world’s number 1 cruise port, Port Everglades annually hovers between 1st and 3rd (along with Port Miami and Port Canaveral) in the number of passengers that use the Port, at almost 4 million a year. LaMarca observed “We have the 2 largest cruise ships in the world and will be getting another very soon,” referring to when the two giant Royal Caribbean sister ships Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas will be joined in 2015 by the company’s newest Quantum-class vessel, Anthem of the Seas. After a 16-year bureaucratic rain dance by Federal and State regulators, when the Army Corps of Engineers approved the Port’s Draft Environmental Impact plan in June followed by the October passage of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRDA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, it kick-started a series of Master Plan improvements that eluded Port officials for decades.

Click to Turning Notch Info Noting that Miami is also racing to improve its Port facilities, LaMarca told Advisory Board members, “Along with widening and deepening the seaport’s navigational channels to handle deep-draft Post-Panamax ships, other improvements will set us apart from ports to the south and north.” He explained that the additional cargo managing capabilities created by enlarging the turning notch will allow the Port to simultaneously berth and service five more cargo ships, not just accommodate the larger next generation monster vessels. The Port’s most significant competitive advantage will be an Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF). LaMarca clarified “This rail project will get containerized cargo right off the ships onto rail - and out of Port Everglades without ever coming into contact with our South Florida traffic issues.”

Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF)
INTERMODAL CONTAINER TRANSFER FACILITY (ICTF)
With funding seeded by Federal tax dollars, Miami is building a $1.1 billion Port Tunnel to inject Port cargo into the highway system. Since Port Everglades’ onsite rail system will be faster and safer, it’s a less expensive cargo management option, the single most important factor when shipping commodities. LaMarca added that the ICTF doesn’t burden taxpayers, unlike the Miami project. The Port is contributing the 42.5 acres of land and Florida East Coast Rail (FEC) is paying the bill – drawing on a grant, an FDOT bank loan and their corporate coffers. Annually, the Port generates nearly $26 billion in business activity statewide, supports 11,700 jobs locally and over 200,000 statewide, and is responsible for producing $730 million in state and local taxes.

Panthers with Nine Lives

Stanley Cup
BB&T Center
BB&T CENTER
When asked about the long troubled BB&T Center - a County-owned sports arena that houses the cash-strapped Florida Panthers, LaMarca said that New York businessman Vincent “Vinnie” Viola recently purchased the Florida Panthers from a loose-knit conglomerate headed by Cliff Viner with minor pieces held by local heavyweights H. Wayne Huizenga, Alan Cohen, Mike Maroone and Jordan Zimmerman. As if scripted by an old school Hollywood screenwriter, after securing National Hockey League (NHL) approval and buying the team from these dispirited “Masters of the Universe”, Viola announced on Friday, September 27, that he was committed to giving the Panthers “the resources needed to win the Stanley Cup.”

Douglas Cifu and Vincent Viola
DOUGLAS CIFU AND VINCENT VIOLA
Click to BB&T Center Web Site A West Point graduate who served in the 101st Airborne Division and rooted for the New York Rangers while growing up in the pre-gentrified Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, the 57-year old Viola is a former chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange and CEO of his high-frequency electronic trading firm Virtu Financial. Along with sole minority owner and longtime associate Douglas Cifu - who is also the new Vice Chairman and Alternate Governor of the Panthers - Viola shunned a traditionally luxurious owner’s box in favor of watching games a few rows up from the glass near the red line (the ice hockey equivalent of a mid-court sideline seat).

Vincent Viola, wife Teresa, sons Travis, Michael, John
VINCENT VIOLA, WIFE TERESA, SONS TRAVIS, MICHAEL, JOHN
LaMarca’s confidence in the new owner’s credibility was bolstered by plans to empower sons John, Michael and Travis with key roles in a new family business (25-year old Travis is already working as a Panthers executive). Viola will buy a house in Broward (wife Teresa spent premarital summers in her grandparents’ Pompano home), commute to business interests in New York and Texas, and keep the team here. “We are firmly committed to South Florida,” said Viola. “My wife has commanded we move here, so we are moving here.” The $250 million purchase price includes the whole Florida Panthers dog and pony show, including: the NHL team; Sunrise Sports & Entertainment; an operating agreement with the Broward County-owned BB&T Center that extends through 2028; the three-rink Saveology Iceplex in Coral Springs; and the rights to develop acreage surrounding the arena.

Panther CEO Michael Yormark
PANTHER CEO MICHAEL YORMARK
Click to Florida Panthers Web Site Delighted that Viola dispelled rumors about relocating the arena’s primary tenant, LaMarca surmised that Viola sought to offer some upgraded shopping venues with ties to Sawgrass Mills - the 2nd most visited destination site in Florida (after the Disney Cosmos). In fact, Michael Yormark, who oversees business operations and was promoted from Team President to CEO by Viola, is maneuvering to land a “destination” casino on the arena grounds. The team had previously announced a partnership with Boyd Gaming to mutually lobby for relaxed Florida gaming laws. When asked about a prospective casino windfall that could substantially outpace the fiscal expectations of a borderline sports franchise, Viola dodged the issue like a Federal bureaucrat with a corporate marker in his back pocket, exclaiming “We’re all about hockey and are very singularly focused people. That’s what we’re about, the Florida Panthers. We will do everything we can and we will win here. We’re excited about that.” Hhhmmm... Anyway, if a Casino Resort somehow emerges adjacent to the arena, no one will complain if the County snags a taste of the gate.

Bus Pass for Vets

Click to Broward County Transit Web Site Dumping Sand LaMarca wrapped up his report with good news about a pet project. Expanding on an item in his November 2013 Newsletter, LaMarca reiterated that the County Commission finally approved his long-planned pilot program to equip Veterans who meet low-income criteria with a free 30-day bus pass renewable on a month to month basis for six months (Commission peers Kiar and Holness were granted a request to co-sponsor the measure during the November 12th Commission Meeting).

Soldier Despite efforts by the United Way and Broward’s Elderly and Veteran Services Department to match Veterans with available programs and services, LaMarca lamented a lack of public transportation options that creates barriers to Veterans seeking employment, medical services, and the ability to successfully reintegrate with the community.

Veteran Enabled Transit Pass Since 184 Veterans currently enrolled in Elderly and Veteran Services have incomes that fall below the $26,000 program cap and no reliable means of transportation, data on usage and need captured by his Veteran Enabled Transportation Pass (VET Pass) pilot program could justify supporting a more permanent version of this benefit, both here and in other jurisdictions. LaMarca believes that the $32,000 to $64,000 fiscal impact projected by the Broward Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is dwarfed by “our debt to those who gave so much to our country.”

LaMarca’s Footprint in the Sand

Dumping Sand Following a Q & A that further probed the issues he addressed, Advisory Board members and officials thanked LaMarca for closing the year with an impressively comprehensive report. In the next few days, LaMarca forwarded documentation supporting his beach renourishment disclosures, including hard evidence of the war of nerves playing out between FDEP and the County. If Myers and LaMarca can ring in a regulatory catharsis without letting the wolf into the henhouse, Broward’s beaches will be fixed – and its beach-based economy will flourish. Given the myriad excuses throughout decades wasted on bureaucratic dogma, some Galt Mile residents have reasonably questioned whether their County officials have the stones to go the distance. As such, this message accompanied the Commissioner’s post-meeting correspondence, “I make this commitment that I am dedicated to getting this project done, no matter where I have to go to advocate or sell our story.” More to come...

Click To Top of Page


Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
WRDA; Bus Pass for Vets; County Workshops

New Water Bill Frees Resources for Port Everglades

Click to  2014 Business Development Workshop Series Web Page
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMM. CHIP LAMARCA
November 20, 2013 - Along with promoting beach renourishment, salvaging the Galt Mile Library and lobbying projects that enhance Broward’s competitive infrastructure, District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca has passionately advocated on behalf of Port Everglades. While announcing a follow-up series of “how to” workshops for vendors stalking county business and celebrating approval of his pilot program to provide a free bus pass to eligible veterans, LaMarca’s November 2013 constituent update applauds Congress for throwing Port Everglades the key to its future as a regional economic powerhouse.

Click to 'Water Resources Development Act After 17 years of bumping up against foot-dragging Federal bureaucrats, Congressional gridlock and play for pay politicians while waiting for the Army Corps of Engineers to pop the clutch on deepening Port Everglades, Port officials were recently handed an early holiday gift by Congress. On October 23, 2013, the U.S. House of Representatives convincingly slam dunked the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRDA) by a vote of 417-3, setting the stage for appointment of a conference committee to mitigate differences between the Senate and House versions of the legislation. The bill will authorize Broward County to fund the groundwork necessary to widen and deepen Port Everglades while awaiting federal reimbursement contingent on future Congressional approval.

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 $5.25 billion Panama Canal expansion is completed in 2015. 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 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.

Port Director Steve Cernak
PORT DIRECTOR STEVE CERNAK
For years, whenever Port Everglades officials satisfied operational, environmental and/or financial reporting requirements, the Corps altered them, burying Port officials in a seemingly endless regulatory rat race. Understandably frustrated, Port Everglades Director Steven Cernak complained to Florida members of Congress last March “This is how Port Everglades was rewarded for playing by the rules for the past 16 years. The rules change, and we start all over again. Is it any wonder why the study is now more than 14 times the original cost estimates?”

Click to  Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Navigational Improvements to the Port Everglades Harbor On June 28, 2013, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finally released its Draft Environmental Impact Statement for “Navigational Improvements to the Port Everglades Harbor,” the inexplicably elusive regulatory prerequisite for hosting Post-Panamax ships. The project will ultimately deepen Port Everglades’ channel from 42 feet to 48 feet (plus two feet of allowable overdepth for a total of 50 feet). Widening the channel entrance will allow entering and departing ships to safely pass cargo and cruise ships docked along the Intracoastal Waterway inside the Port. The cost of the expansion project is estimated at $313 million, which will be paid for through a combination of federal funds, port user fees and – if fate smiles – state funds. As with expansion of the Southport Turning Notch and completion of the Intermodal Container Transfer Facility, not one cent will be drained from the necks of taxpayers.

Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Surplus
HARBOR MAINTENANCE TRUST FUND SURPLUS
Until last month, the federal resources needed to catalyze the improvements were on deep lockdown. For more than seven years, Congress has been unable to pass legislation authorizing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ civil works program, which constructs critical navigation and water infrastructure projects across the nation. Specifically, enacting the WRDA will provide long-awaited access to roughly $7 billion squirrelled away and collecting dust in a Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund. As long as Congressional savants appointed to the WRDA Conference Committee don’t succumb to the popular Washington whimsy of stewing gridlock while speaking “in tongues”, funding the Corps’ newly cited competitive improvements to the Port will insure its future as a regional economic powerhouse.

Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca Thanks Broward Public Officials and Civic Leaders for lobbying WRDA
COMMISSIONER CHIP LAMARCA THANKS BROWARD PUBLIC
OFFICIALS AND CIVIC LEADERS FOR LOBBYING WRDA
Port Everglades is one of the world’s busiest cruise ports, one of the nation’s leading container ports and South Florida’s main gateway for an international litany of critical commodities, fossil and alternative fuels, and consumer goods. A self-supporting Enterprise Fund of Broward County government, the Port Everglades Department featured operating revenues of approximately $143 million in Fiscal Year 2012. Fueling annual economic activity currently valued at roughly $26 billion, Port Everglades generates more than 201,000 Florida jobs.

While meeting with lawmakers during the 2013 Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce Washington DC Summit, Commissioner LaMarca commented “What we’re looking at today is 2,197 acres of pure Port power. The push is on in Broward County. Our delegation, business representatives, and lobbyists drove home the message that we need to move this project forward to create jobs and prepare Port Everglades for the future. It was a collaborative effort focusing on what’s best for Broward County, the region and South Florida and together we got the job done.” On balance, LaMarca’s exuberance was justified. For LaMarca’s November 2013 message, read on... – [editor]

 

November 2013 Update

By Commissioner Chip LaMarca

Current Events

District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER
CHIP LAMARCA
The United States House of Representatives passed H.R. 3080, The Water Resources Reform & Development Act (WRRDA), which authorized Broward County to prefund the preliminary activities necessary to deepen and widen Port Everglades with federal reimbursement. Our Members of Congress; Lois Frankel, Mario Diaz Balart, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Ted Deutch, Alcee Hastings, and Frederica Wilson were among the nation’s lawmakers pushing for passage of the amended WRRDA bill.

(Left to Right:) Broward Commissioners Sue Gunzburger, Tim Ryan, Vice Mayor Barbara Sharief, Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, Congresswoman Lois Frankel, Commissioner Chip LaMarca. (In back:) Port Everglades CEO Steve Cernak, Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance CEO Bob Swindell
BROWARD COMMS. SUE GUNZBURGER, TIM RYAN, BARBARA
SHARIEF, CONGRESSWOMEN FREDERICA WILSON, LOIS FRANKEL
COMM. CHIP LAMARCA. (In back:) PORT EVERGLADES CEO STEVE
CERNAK, GREATER FT LAUD ALLIANCE CEO BOB SWINDELL
In Tallahassee, Governor Scott urged the State Legislature to approve a $14.7 million investment for Port Everglades in a parallel effort to make Florida competitive worldwide and to also create more Florida jobs. The Port Everglades expansion is expected to create over 7,000 direct jobs and more than 135,000 jobs around the State of Florida.

At the November 12th county commission meeting, I was honored to present and pass the V.E.T. Pass, a 6 month pilot program to provide Veterans in need with a free BCT Bus Pass. This is a project that I have been working on for nearly my entire time in office and I am always pleased to pass meaningful policy that gives back to those who gave so much to our country.

Coming This Month

Click to  2014 Business Development Workshop Series Web Page The Broward County Office of Economic and Small Business Development (OESBD) will begin the new year by launching a 2014 Business Development Workshop Series, an update to the annual 12-part “How to Do Business with Broward County” series. These events are designed to expound on accessing opportunities with county government procurement and contracts. To better accommodate busy schedules, the workshops will be held at varying time and locations every month on Thursdays and Saturdays throughout the county. For additional information, contact OESBD at 954-357-6400 or visit Broward.org/EconDev

My main goal is to help you foster your American Dream. 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. You can also stay up to date by viewing our website www.broward.org/district4, where you can sign up to receive email updates from our office.

As always, it is my honor to serve you.


Chip LaMarca
Broward County Commssioner
District 4


Dumping Sand
New Beach Construction Plan
NEW BEACH CONSTRUCTION PLAN
November 2, 2013 - In May of 2007, former Broward Beach Administrator Stephen Higgins issued a report that 1) announced the conclusion of the 18-month Segment III Monitoring period, 2) summarized the financial status of the completed South County Segment III beach renourishment, and 3) announced an erosion control study in support of the Port Everglades sand bypass.

The Search for Sand

Former Broward Beach Administrator Stephen Higgins
FORMER BEACH BOSS
STEPHEN HIGGINS
Buried in the report was the
seemingly innocuous statement, “The County will be investigating the use of sand from other locations, including locations outside of the United States, for future nourishment of Segment II.” Responding to a frenzied email from the neighborhood association asking whether he was spinning another delay for the Segment II project, Higgins wrote “We are close to executing an amendment with our consultants to undertake several tasks in preparation for resuming the Segment II engineering/design/permitting. One important task is to find sand.”

Click to Final Environtal Impact Statement Website Although Broward reserves were heavily depleted by past projects, every scrap of relevant documentation, from the Final Environmental Impact Statement to the plan approved by the State, targets the waters off Deerfield Beach as a sand “borrow site” adequate for both Segment III and Segment II renourishments. Why scavenge for sand in other locations? Was Higgins overreacting? KABOOM – The other shoe dropped!

Sand Borrow Sites He answered “Borrow area No. 1, which has enough material with which to construct Segment II, now has a higher percentage of rock in it after removing sand for Segment III. We’ll need to investigate that. We’ll also look for additional sand offshore, but I’m not confident that we’ll find any significant new deposits. Accordingly, we will also be looking for more remote sources of domestic sand (e.g. offshore central FL and in the Gulf of Mexico) and for non-domestic sand, with emphasis on Bahamian aragonite. When we find the sand we’re going to use, if it’s different from the sand we had proposed to use in our previous plans, we will have to do some re-engineering of the project and redo some of the permitting.”

Click to Coastal Planning and Engineering, Inc. (CPE) Glass Sand report As decades of delays engineered by radical pseudo-environmentalists exponentially skyrocketed project costs, 2004 and 2005 serial hurricanes claimed huge incremental sections of beach from the county’s vulnerable coast - fueling the need for additional sand. The shortage was real. Higgins began investigating alternative sources of sand for use in Segment II, including the possible utilization of recycled “glass sand” since glass and sand are both composed primarily of silicon dioxide. The County hired Coastal Planning and Engineering, Inc. (CPE) to compile a report about the advantages and disadvantages of artificial sand.

Search for Sand includes the Ortona Mine, Tom's Hill, Canaveral Shoals, the Bahamas, etc
WIDESPREAD SEARCH FOR SAND
On November 13, 2008, the Broward County Commission meeting agenda included this update, “A sand search is being conducted to discover new sources of beach-compatible sand for placement onto Broward County beaches, including those of the City of Fort Lauderdale, the Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, and the City of Pompano Beach. These beaches comprise Segment II of the Broward County Shore Protection Project. The search for sand will include not only the seafloor offshore of Broward County, but also areas offshore of other Florida counties and areas outside of US waters. In addition to finding new sand sources for Segment II, the County will reevaluate the Segment II project in the context of current economic and environmental conditions, and will propose a project appropriate to those updated conditions. Finally, a high-resolution study is being undertaken to ascertain whether erosion control structures can be employed along the County’s shoreline to reduce the rates of erosion and help sustain our beach nourishment projects.”

80 - 85% of the beach sand lost to tidal erosion occurs at inlets - such as Port Everglades and Hillsboro. By capturing sand that would otherwise be sucked into the lagoon or washed out to sea where the coast “breaks”, and transferring it from the north to south side of the inlet, a sand bypass reinstates the natural southerly migration of sand down the coast - to Hollywood, Hallandale, Dania - and ultimately, Miami.

The Battle for Broward Sand

Hollywood Hotels WANT More Sand
HOLLYWOOD HOTELS COVET SAND
In the preceding months, hoteliers, politicians and realtors in Hollywood, Hallandale and Dania repeatedly met privately with Higgins, insisting that he redeploy the sand planned for Segment II to “shore up” faltering South County beaches renourished two years earlier - at least until a Port Everglades sand bypass could diminish the sand lost to tidal erosion. Denying that the Segment II sand was under siege and that Hollywood is not looking to make a sand grab, South Broward politicians asserted that “hot spots” in Hollywood and Hallandale Beach could be addressed with “Sands of Opportunity” pending installation of a sand bypass. Of course, there were no “Sands of Opportunity.” Any sand used to address erosion-based shortages in Segment III would have to be hijacked from Segment II.

Click to Fort Lauderdale No Bypass Resolution Galt Mile officials and Fort Lauderdale City Commissioners were livid. On January 6, 2009, an outraged City Commission approved City Resolution No. 09-11, withdrawing City approval to build a Port Everglades sand bypass until the Segment II project was completed. The City posted a page on its web site entitled Help Save Fort Lauderdale Beach, which provided the email addresses of the County Commissioners and stated “The Fort Lauderdale City Commissioners need your help to make sure that Fort Lauderdale is not pushed to the back of the line. Let Broward County know that you oppose the proposed Port Everglades Sand Bypass Project and that you want them to implement the Segment II Beach Renourishment Project as promised.”

FDEP Secretary Michael W. Sole
FORMER FDEP SECRETARY
MICHAEL W. SOLE
After decades of slugging his way through scores of scientific and regulatory bear traps, Higgins was caught in political quicksand. When asked by Galt Mile officials about the Segment II project, officials in Higgins’ Biological Resources Division responded with nondescript delays throughout 2008 and 2009. Concerned about the lack of progress, the Galt Mile Community Association (GMCA) contacted Michael Sole, who served as Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) Secretary under former Governor Charlie Crist. Sole informed GMCA President Pio Ieraci that Broward Beach officials hadn’t responded to Departmental inquiries for more than a year. While the two agencies were locked in this dilatory two-step, the Federal and State permits authorizing the project expired. Broward County dropped the ball.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection - Click to Web Site Prior to proceeding with the Segment II beach fix, Broward beach officials would first have to repeat the environmental testing required for a new federal permit. Since Michael Sole worked with Higgins as a Marine Biologist in Broward County before his appointment to FDEP, he was conversant with the project’s scientific and engineering parameters. While a painful repetition of the federal permit process was unavoidable, Sole granted Higgins a 5-year State permit extension through June 4, 2014, saving his former Broward colleague months of bureaucratic tedium. The extension proved to be a parting gift. A year later, Sole stepped down as FDEP Secretary after overseeing the State’s response to the Deepwater Horizon fiasco and accepted an offer from Florida Power & Light to serve as Vice President of their Governmental Affairs Department.

Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry
BROWARD Administrator
BERTHA HENRY
Hoping to quell the simmering animosity between its northern and southern coastal municipalities, Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry sent a beach renourishment update to former Fort Lauderdale City Manager George Gretsas on May 27, 2010. She concluded her summary of beach project issues with a pipe dream cloaked in a political olive branch “Broward County-conducted beach construction in Segment II is targeted for November of 2011, pending completion of the engineering/design and permitting processes in a timely fashion.” Shortly afterwards, Beach Administrator Higgins announced that he would retire in 2011. He could no longer stomach being treated like a bureaucratic piñata. Although he would continue as a consultant, his duties would be assumed by Deputy Director Eric Myers of Broward’s Environmental Protection and Growth Management Department. Myers was Higgins’ boss. In contrast with Higgins, Myers couches an impressive understanding of the underlying science in a bottomless inventory of country parables.

Enter Eric Myers

Environmental Protection and Growth Management Department Deputy Director Eric Myers
BROWARD BEACH
ADMINISTRATOR ERIC MYERS
On February 3, 2011, Myers asked Galt Mile officials to help reboot the dormant beach project. At subsequent meetings with the City of Fort Lauderdale and association officials, Myers presented an updated plan to repair disappearing north county beaches. Having re-engaged the primary stakeholders, Myers initiated an accelerated permitting process and eliminated many of the plan’s regulatory roadblocks by revising the sand source. By purchasing perfectly matched sand from inland mines instead of dredging scarce and less compatible offshore sediment, Myers allayed regulatory concerns about reef damage and heightened levels of turbidity.

Post Sandy Fort Lauderdale Beach Fill
POST SANDY FORT LAUDERDALE BEACH FILL
As Federal and State beach renourishment resources waned, the initial financing burden for salvaging and/or stabilizing shrinking beaches would fall to local jurisdictions. For the past several years, Broward County has been desperately trying to cash in past due renourishment markers from Tallahassee and Washington.

Florida Continental Shelf
FLORIDA CONTINENTAL SHELF
When Hurricane Sandy dismantled several blocks of State Road A1A and the adjacent beach, it became obvious that a reliable and financially reasonable sand source was critical to future renourishments, whether to rehabilitate an entire coastal system or to repair “hot spots” prone to accelerated erosion. As observed by FDEP’s late Lonnie Ryder “Beaches are the backbone of tourism in the state of Florida. As your beaches go, so goes your economy.” The future health of Broward’s beaches - and its beach-based economy - will depend on the cost of getting compatible sand to the beach and fitting inlets with the beach erosion architecture that will help keep it there.

Click to Florida Shelf System The underlying problem is geography. Sand snatched from the seabed adjacent to an eroded beach is the safest, most convenient and least expensive alternative. Where the ocean floor plummets past the continental shelf, the seabed is too deep to frugally harvest sand. As the continental shelf passes south of Palm Beach, it narrows to a thin band, leaving Broward and Miami-Dade Counties with significantly smaller “borrow areas” than their neighbors to the north. To avoid damage to some of the state’s few active reef systems, Broward “borrow sites” are further limited to north county waters, near Deerfield Beach.

After decades of repeated renourishments, Miami-Dade is about to exhaust its offshore sand supply in February, when the last granules will go to repair a beach in the affluent village of Bal Harbour. Broward isn’t much better off, as its few remaining “borrow sites” are miniscule and their proximity to delicate reef systems makes them difficult to dredge. “Here we have coral reef systems that constrict the areas where we can go to retrieve sand,” said Tom Martin, a senior coastal engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Treasure Coast Sand - Regionalization

Director Mark Thomasson of Florida’s Division of Water Resource Management
DIRECTOR MARK THOMASSON
WATER RESOURCE MNGT
In considering sand sources for a Miami-Dade Federal Project, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the FDEP explored sites in federal designated waters off Martin, St. Lucie, Palm Beach and Broward counties in addition to deep water sites off Miami-Dade. Encouraging news about huge sand deposits along the Treasure Coast prompted Director Mark Thomasson of Florida’s Division of Water Resource Management to comment “I would characterize it as a source of sand that meets our needs in the foreseeable future.”

Click to Southeast Florida Sediment Assessment and Needs Determination (SAND) study Given the catastrophic consequences threatened by the impending loss of Miami-Dade and Broward beaches - as protection for people and property against storm damage and their local and Statewide value as economic engines, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) conducted the Southeast Florida Sediment Assessment and Needs Determination (SAND) study. The SAND study’s primary purpose was to calculate the volume of sand needed to continually renourish all beaches in St. Lucie, Martin, Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade Counties for a time frame of 50 years (2012 - 2062) and measure the volume of offshore sand available to these 5 counties. Prepared in partnership with the State, the Corps and the 5 participating Counties, a draft report completed in November 2012 was subsequently vetted by the FDEP.

Click to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers The FDEP retained Boca Raton-based Coastal Planning and Engineering, Inc. (CPE) to perform a technical review of both the Sediment Assessment and Needs Determination portions of the SAND study. On May 31, 2013, a memorandum of record summarized how criteria imposed by FDEP on the draft SAND study reduced the USACE’s initially estimated volume of available sediment by approximately 26% - or 100 million cubic yards (Mcy). The final SAND study concluded that “174,101,870 cubic yards of sediment are needed to support placement of planned, full-sized beach nourishment projects through 2062. With contingencies and confidence levels applied, it was found that 280,037,956 cubic yards exist offshore of Southeast Florida that meet the criteria for this study established for sand placement on Florida beaches. Therefore, currently known sediment resources for St. Lucie, Martin, Palm Beach, Broward and Miami–Dade Counties exceed sediment needs by 100,000,000 cubic yards.” The actual residual excess is stated as 105,936,086 cubic yards.

Click to Florida Shelf System In short, after examining the Treasure Coast sand deposits along the adjacent seabed and in federal waters past the three nautical mile State limit, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the FDEP concluded that St. Lucie, Martin and Palm Beach counties have enough offshore sand reserves to address every renourishment project from Miami Beach to Port St. Lucie for at least 50 years, with more than 100 million cubic yards to spare. To immunize the study against accusations of massaging the data to benefit recipient counties, the Needs Determination was fitted with a 55% contingency cushion (30% - sand dropped in borrow area; 15% - other dredging losses; 10% - future performance impacts i.e. sea-level rise). Like a gift that keeps on giving, the memorandum also noted “This volume estimate will increase as potential and unverified sediment sources identified in the study area are further developed.”

Sun-Sentinel's Washington bureau chief William E. Gibson
SUN-SENTINEL REPORTER
WILLIAM E. GIBSON
In a recent Sun-Sentinel article, Washington-based Tribune reporter William E. Gibson sought to place the enormous volume of Treasure Coast sand into perspective by pointing out “Broward County’s eight major beach restoration projects since the 1970s have used about 10 million cubic yards of sand.” While the study verified available sediment volumes upwards of 280 million cubic yards, if the “contingency” criteria were stripped from the findings, the amount of available sand jumps to 475,392,915 cubic yards (475 million cubic yards) - upping the amount of sand left over after 50 years of renourishments to 300 million cubic yards. YIKES!

Environmental Protection and Growth Management Department Deputy Director Eric Myers and Beach Administrator Stephen Higgins
ERIC MYERS AND STEVE HIGGINS
The study advocates the creation of a regional approach to managing sand resources. Steve Higgins and Eric Myers have always maintained that since the health of renourished beach segments depends on the stability of adjacent segments to the north and south, the Broward Shore Preservation Project is only sustainable if addressed in its entirety. Since this holds true for the entire coast, the sustainability of all renourishment projects would be more effectively managed on a regional basis. To achieve this, Federal and State authorities must mitigate the “Sandbox” mentality that permeates coastal counties.

Click to Miami-Dade’s Department of Environmental Resources Management Web Site With the survival of critical coastal infrastructure in Broward and Miami-Dade at stake, implementing a regional authority has become a State and Federal imperative. “If we get hit by a large storm, unlike in the past where we knew we had resources right off our coast, those simply don’t exist now,” said Stephen Blair, chief of restoration and enhancement in Miami-Dade’s Department of Environmental Resources Management. “That vulnerability is very real.” The study additionally asserts that after a Regional Sediment Management Plan was created for all of the included sand sources, the FDEP and the US Department of Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management could draft a lease agreement for the sediment sources that fall under Federal jurisdiction.

Former Senate President Ken Pruitt
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT KEN PRUITT
Many Public Officials in St. Lucie and Martin Counties view attempts to regionalize coastal management as a veil for aggressive “panhandling” by neighbors with designs on their reserves. They are understandably leery about providing unfettered access to their coastal bonanza. Attempts by Miami to purloin their offshore sand in 2006 were met with such local rage that they were dropped, especially after former Senate President Ken Pruitt characterized it as almost a criminal act, and starred in television commercials exclaiming “We will fight to the death to make sure you don’t take one grain of sand.”

Since the reserves being considered are in State and Federal Waters, jurisdictions that plan to use them must first elicit approval of the same State and Federal agencies that support the creation of a regional plan. Whether in Miami-Dade, St. Lucie or Martin Counties, beach projects must pass muster with FDEP and the Corps. As such, disgruntled county officials are reluctantly exploring a process in which stakeholders, counties, and the State and Federal agencies allocate sand resources on a regional level.

St. Lucie County Commissioner Frannie Hutchinson
ST. LUCIE COUNTY COMM.
FRANNIE HUTCHINSON
Since calculating the adequacy of an exhaustible resource begs the question “how much is enough,” petulant officials in donor counties hope to drown the process in dogma. For instance, St. Lucie County Commissioner Frannie Hutchinson asked, “What happens in 50 years when all that sand is gone? Where are we supposed to go then? I told them to take their sand shovels and sand buckets and go home and come up with a better plan.”

Palm Beach County Environmental Program Supervisor Leanne Welch
PALM BEACH COUNTY ENVIRONMENTAL
PROGRAM SUPERVISOR LEANNE WELCH
Despite objections by angry Treasure Coast public officials, Federal and State authorities are seeking to hammer out an agreement that the five South Florida Counties can live with. Since Miami and Broward are clearly the beneficiaries, officials in St. Lucie and Martin Counties are driven by enlightened self-interest to subvert the process or at least minimize its impact. With impressive reserves of its own, Palm Beach’s participation in this negotiation is largely a function of its location, as it buffers the donor and recipient members of this 5-county coastal block. According to Palm Beach Environmental Program Supervisor Leanne Welch, “We have enough near-shore sand for the next 30 or 40 years.”

The Corps hosted public hearings in each of the 5 counties this past August. As participants entered the Martin County meeting, they filed past a lime-green neon poster board inscribed with the message “No! You may not have our sand! Do not destroy our beaches too!” The bad blood wasn’t lost on Eric Myers “The locals didn’t take too kindly to us South Florida folks coming up there to try to steal their sand.”

Until the regulatory approval process is formulated, and a regional agreement is reached, Treasure Coast sand will not be available to Miami-Dade or any other planned renourishment projects. Corps Officials are hoping to begin dredging for the Miami project by December 2015. Unless the process bears fruit, jurisdictions will have to rely on other sand sources.

Sand from Inland Mines

Trucking Sand to Beach Staging Areas
TRUCKING SAND TO BEACH STAGING AREAS
Although structurally and aesthetically ideal - and a regulatory no-brainer, sand trucked in from inland mines is expensive. Even if conducted with military precision, moving 20,000 truckloads of sand through local communities to coastal distribution sites could prove a strategic nightmare. Broward beach boss Eric Myers is currently planning such a campaign for our long delayed $45 million Segment II renourishment. 750,000 cubic yards of sand will be trucked from three upstate mines to beachfront staging areas in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, the Galt Mile and Lauderdale Beach. Since local residents have been passionately fighting to realize this beach fix for decades, it is likely that the trucks will be met with more cheers than complaints.

Glass Sand

Variable sea urchin, Lytechinus variegates, on a recycled glass cullet substrate
VARIABLE SEA URCHIN ON RECYCLED GLASS SUBSTRATE
While recycling beer bottles into sand may soon kill two environmental birds with one stone, the converted glass must first be approved as an adequate replacement for Broward beach sand. Initially proposed as a fill for small beach gaps, glass cullet is undergoing regulatory testing. Given the excellent results to date, Broward Mayor Kristen Jacobs is seeking to revive a stalled $1.5 million plan to complete the final phase of a county environmental study. In 2008, a $1,447,000 Broward plan to dump 3,000 tons of recycled glass on a Hollywood Beach was waxed by budget cuts.

Glass sand tested on beach
GLASS SAND TESTED ON BEACH
Since there is no local facility capable of recycling glass into sand, production costs are unclear. Myers noted, “It’s environmentally feasible, you have to make it economically feasible.” If determined cost effective, Broward’s entry in this new industry could flourish, given the built-in South Florida customer base. Among the project’s ardent supporters, Mayor Jacobs said, “If we could generate our own sand, it would be fantastic.” However, fellow Commissioner Tim Ryan is skeptical, “My sense of it is, if it was economically feasible, currently there would be some private entity that would have stepped in and would have acquired some site to convert this glass into glass sand.”

Bahamian Aragonite

Ocean Cay, Bahamas Aragonite Mining
OCEAN CAY, BAHAMAS ARAGONITE MINING
Bahamian sand, while convenient, plentiful, aesthetically pleasing and relatively inexpensive, may as well be on Mars. Under United States law, the Army Corps of Engineers must be convinced that domestic sand is not available for economic or environmental reasons before it can authorize the use of foreign sand. Bahamian sand is a good fit for Broward beaches. If the grain size of imported sand is too fine, it can easily be washed away. Because Bahamian aragonite sand contains more shell fragments, it’s coarser, and stacks into a steeper slope on the beach, which slows tidal erosion. Sand from other Caribbean or Gulf sources like the Dominican Republic, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Mexico lacks the appeal of nearby Bahamian aragonite, given the exorbitant cost of transporting the sediment a much greater distance.

In July of 2007, Miami-Dade asked the federal government for permission to buy cheaper foreign sand from the Bahamas. After denying the request because Miami's application failed to state whether or not domestic sand was available for purchase, the Army Corp. of Engineers added that if the county’s report were revised and resubmitted with proof that no domestic sand is available, the request would be reconsidered. If the Treasure Coast counties thwart State and Federal attempts to regionalize sand management, it will provide the Corps with evidence of no suitable domestic source, enabling access to Bahamian aragonite for approved federal projects in sand-challenged counties. It would provide Miami-Dade and Broward with a viable alternative to buying sand from inland mines or sun bathing on empty Heinekens.

Treasure Coast SAND Stats

Click To Top of Page


Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
Picks up the Pace

Broward Commission Blasts Associations

District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER CHIP LAMARCA
September 23, 2013 - In his September 2013 message to constituents, Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca seeks to honor the heroes of Patriot Day (changed in 2012 to the
National Day of Service and Remembrance) with a plan to provide disabled veterans with free transportation. The “Patriot Pass” he describes is remarkably similar to the Patriot Passport distributed by Miami-Dade Transit to honorably discharged veterans who are permanent residents of Miami-Dade and whose annual income is $22,000 or less. To evidence the County’s fiscal stability, LaMarca cites Broward’s unemployment rate, which remains below those of the State and Nation. He conveys the Commission’s intention to minimally maintain reserves at two months of general fund operating revenues or expenditures. Finally, our District 4 County Commissioner thanks Galt Mile residents for participating in an eerie public hearing during which the Commissioners approved a law intimating that ordinary people are morally ill-equipped to govern themselves.

Click to Miami Transport Passport Website
County Commissioner Lois Wexler
COUNTY COMMISSIONER LOIS WEXLER
When Broward Commissioners Lois Wexler and Dale Holness quietly slipped an anti-association entry into the September 10, 2013 Broward Commission meeting agenda, association attorneys throughout Florida warned Condo, Co-op and HOA clients. Ostensibly, the Broward County Commission was considering an ordinance purported to insure that people applying for membership in a common interest community are not rejected by reason of a discriminatory classification. When Galt Mile residents learned that Commissioner Lois Wexler engineered the ordinance, many suspected that the measure was less about human rights than about passing a law that uniquely punished association residents. Lois Wexler spent the last four years trying to close the Galt Mile Library.

Click to Broward Association Ordinance To comply with the new Broward ordinance, within ten (10) days (changed to 15 when Commissioner Dale Holness mistakenly believed it would buy some points with angry association residents) of receiving an application for purchase or rent, an association must send the applicant written acknowledgement of its receipt. If the application is not complete or is completed incorrectly, the information to correct this must be included in the acknowledgement. It requires the association to approve or deny a completed application within forty-five (45) days of receipt of the application. If the applicant is denied, it further requires the association to send written notice to the applicant setting forth the reasons for the denial.

County Commissioner Dale Holness
COUNTY COMMISSIONER DALE HOLNESS
Condominiums, Cooperatives and Homeowner Associations are empowered to create legal eligibility criteria and screening procedures to protect the association, its members and owners of units for sale or rent. Federal Law prohibits fashioning eligibility standards subject to race (color), religion, national origin, familial status, disability, and/or sex (includes pregnancy). The State of Florida precludes Marital Status as an eligibility consideration. Additional discriminatory classifications applicable in Broward County include Age (under 40), Sexual Orientation, Political Affiliation, Gender Identity/Expression, and Retaliation. As required by Federal, State and County law, once adopted, the procedures must be applied equally to every applicant.

Brian Krebs After Stabbing Incident
BRIAN KREBS AFTER MURDEROUS
GALT MILE RAMPAGE
The screening process exists for one purpose, to protect association members, their families, visitors and association employees from sociopaths, grifters, career criminals, deadbeats and other prospective “neighbors” with fully indexed multi-page rap sheets. It is a critically important security protocol. A few years ago, a Galt Mile tenant threw a lamp through a window; raining shards of glass onto a swimming pool filled with children, and slammed a butcher knife into a wall while destroying his rented unit’s furnishings and fixtures. A few days after this rampage, he stabbed to death a musician working in Fishtales, a tavern across the street. This shocking wake-up call drove home that inadequately enforcing the process imperils everyone who lives, works or visits an association.

It is also indispensable to the financial well-being of the association and its members. Owners who place their units on the market cannot afford to consider tenants or buyers who are unable or unwilling to fulfill their obligations under a lease or contract. Neither can the association. Many associations are just now clawing their way back to solvency after weathering years of involuntarily subsidizing non-contributing units. Since it represents the final and only legal opportunity to protect the association and its members from dangerous security threats and costly financial missteps, the screening process exists solely for that purpose, not to benefit potential tenants, buyers or speculators – until now.

Prior to Broward’s new ordinance, the unit/parcel owner appropriately served as clearinghouse for information developed by the screening process, and decided what is conveyed to his or her applicants. Also, each association could decide whether to embrace a policy that only reveals the outcome of the screening process or a policy that discloses details impacting the outcome. To safeguard the confidentiality of sensitive personal information and diminish the prospect of legal repercussions by disappointed or opportunistic rejected applicants, most association attorneys believe it legally prudent to only report whether an application was accepted or denied. By reviewing a provided copy of the association’s eligibility requirements, applicants could easily extrapolate the exact reason for a denial (unless they were oblivious to their own credit rating or yellow sheet).

Click to Broward Human Rights Section Notwithstanding the advice of their association’s legal counsel, certain association boards believe that explicit transparency offers the best protection against legal challenges and opt to inform the applicant about the reasons for a denial. In any case, the association’s members - whose decision would prospectively impact future association legal exposure - could choose the policy that best served their interests - as long as it complied with Federal, State and local Laws. Federal law has long provided applicants with a legal venue for investigating or challenging a denial. So has the Broward County Human Rights Section. In fact, anyone can fill out and file a housing complaint on the Broward County website from any online computer or tablet.

The ordinance divests association members of their right to create the terms of their community’s screening process. Specifically, it elevates the rights of applicants above those of the association, its members and strangely enough, the owner of the unit for sale or rent - who is stripped of the right to decide what information is passed to applicants.

Broward Board of County Commissioners
BROWARD BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
At the Public Hearing, association officials queried Broward Commissioners about legal inconsistencies and inequitable provisions in the new law. One asked why the ordinance offers a 45-day response deadline when State Law requires a response within 30 days. Since applicants are already protected by Federal, State & County Laws against denial due to a discriminatory classification, several asked what public purpose is served by Broward’s new ordinance. Association Officials also asked why the Broward Board felt compelled to adopt a law that uniquely targeted associations, ignoring all other forms of homeownership.

Dozens of association members and officials testified against implementing the ordinance, asserting that it far exceeds its stated purpose of informing applicants about the reasons for a denial. Several association officials explained how their associations screen applicants within days of receiving an offer. They asked how the law’s purpose is served by forcing associations to send boilerplate acknowledgement receipts to applicants that are already approved.

Click to Century Village Website The President of a huge Century Village complex explained that hundreds of monthly applicants are scrupulously screened by association members who volunteer their time and effort to protect their home. He complained to Commissioners that the law would unfairly burden them with writing hundreds of “receipt acknowledgements” followed by dozens of explanations - instead of simply informing the owner of the unit about the screening results – in compliance with State and Federal Law. He accused the Commission of singling out associations for an unfunded mandate.

Broward County Commission Public Hearing
BROWARD COUNTY COMMISSION PUBLIC HEARING
In addition to forcing association business offices to draft and mail hundreds of additional correspondences, if challenged by a disgruntled applicant, the only way that associations will be able to prove that they complied with the terms of the ordinance is by sending the required correspondences using certified mail – return receipt requested. As the law is currently structured, every Broward association will have to send every applicant between one and three pieces of certified mail - a written acknowledgement to every applicant of having received their application, another correspondence to fix incomplete or incorrect applications and a final correspondence - if needed - to an explain a denial. Broward associations that screen a modest two hundred applicants annually will be forced to additionally assess its homeowners between $1300 and $4000 for Certified postage (along with the administrative costs for drafting correspondences and maintaining records for a County bureaucracy). For large associations like Century Village, the financial blowback is closer to $30,000.

Broward County Mayor Kristen Jacobs
BROWARD MAYOR KRISTEN JACOBS
Attempting to refute the contention that the law discriminates against condos, co-ops and HOAs, Broward Mayor Kristen Jacobs said that the new Broward law applies to all forms of homeownership, not only associations. When Commissioners Tim Ryan and Marty Kiar pointed out that it doesn’t - and asked why it only applies to associations. It soon became clear that the Commissioners knew little about the ordinance they were passing and even less about its impact on tens of thousands Broward association members.

Broward County Commissioner Martin Kiar
BROWARD COUNTY COMMISSIONER MARTIN KIAR
Endeavoring to rehabilitate the Mayor’s inference that she hadn’t even read the ordinance, one of the proposed law’s two sponsors, Commissioner Dale Holness jumped in, proclaiming that any measures deterring discrimination are worthwhile. Without explaining why the law only targets associations, Holness added “The associations represented by those of you participating in today’s process are examples of Broward’s best.”

Wexler suddenly blurted, “I know all about condominiums!” Turning to Jacobs, she theatrically winced while commenting “I lived in a condominium for eight years, and I have no idea what they do with the hundreds of dollars they collect from each applicant.” As Jacobs nodded sympathetically, stunned association officials, realtors and attorneys in the audience went mute. Since State law has long mandated a maximum fee of $100 to process an application, Wexler’s outburst belied her claimed familiarity with condominiums while demonstrating an unprovoked disdain for association homeowners. Since $100 barely covers the cost of a professional background check (not the $29.95 internet special that occasionally reveals an unlisted cell number), it is often subsidized by associations to insure a fair and comprehensive eligibility assessment.

Association Attorney Lisa Magill
ASSOCIATION ATTORNEY
LISA MAGIL
In a commentary about the inherent inequity, Association Attorney Lisa Magill of Becker & Poliakoff observed, “A professionally managed for-profit rental complex will not be subject to this requirement. Why should community associations have burdens not placed upon other sellers or landlords in Broward County?” Since the need for targeting associations was not established by statistical evidence amassed by the Broward County Human Rights Section or ratified at public hearings, some Commissioners appeared to grow increasingly concerned that they were about to pass a discriminatory law based only on its sponsors’ personal prejudices.

Broward County Commissioner Tim Ryan
BROWARD COUNTY
COMMISSIONER TIM RYAN
Having previously served in the Florida Statehouse, Commissioners Tim Ryan and Marty Kiar were understandably leery of enacting a fellow lawmaker’s personal agenda. Uncomfortable with pre-emptively punishing a single class of homeowner, they began to ask questions. Commissioner Tim Ryan voiced concern about an ordinance that “places all the responsibility on associations and absolutely none on the applicant,” commenting that the applicant should at least have to request the information.

Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief
BROWARD COUNTY COMMISSIONER
BARBARA SHARIEF
Kiar turned to Commissioner Barbara Sharief, exclaiming, “When you faced a similar situation recently, you brought the stakeholders together to insure that the outcome was fair. We have association representatives right here that Commissioner Holness characterized as Broward’s best. Why don’t we do the same thing? That way, we can create a law that everyone can live with.”

Kiar made a motion to postpone any action until the Commission could meet with association officials to solicit their input. Although Kiar, Ryan and LaMarca voted affirmatively, Wexler, Jacobs, Holness, Sharief and Gunzburger mechanically quashed the motion and ignoring association concerns, passed the ordinance by a vote of 6 to 1. LaMarca and Ritter were not present and Tim Ryan stood opposed to openly discriminating against associations and their members.

After the hearing, attendees learned that Wexler had slipped another section into the law just prior to the meeting, stating “If the condominium association, homeowners’ association, or cooperative association fails to comply with the provisions of Subsection 161/2-35.6 (a) and (b), the Human Rights Section may send a demand letter requesting that the condominium association, homeowners’ association, or cooperative association provide to the applicant and the Human Rights Section a written acknowledgement of application receipt, notice of approval or rejection of the application, and notice specifying each reason for the rejection (if applicable) within ten (10) days of the demand letter. The failure of the condominium association, homeowners’ association, or cooperative association to timely comply with this provision may be considered in determining whether reasonable cause exists to believe that the association’s decision or action was discriminatory.”

As observed by an attending association attorney, Wexler covertly greased an amendment encouraging the Human Rights Section to indict associations for discrimination “for approving applicants without first mailing them receipts for their applications.” Its small wonder why Federal prosecutors view the Broward County Board as one of the State’s most fertile sources of criminal ethics violations. - Present company excepted, Chip! Tune in next month for “The Witch Hunt”. For our County Commissioner's September update, read on... – [editor]

 

Back to Work!

By Commissioner Chip LaMarca

District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER
CHIP LAMARCA
Last month we got back into the swing of things with the first meeting since June when we broke for Summer Recess. A great deal was accomplished over the summer to help us complete another banner year at Broward County. With unemployment rates lower than the state and national rates, a seaport that makes us a relevant force in the global community, and with investments into county assets that draw tourism and create even more economic growth; Broward County is hard at work for you, and it is indeed working.

As we observe the anniversary of 9/11 this month, we are reminded once more of the lives that were lost on that dreadful day, and the heroic actions of so many to answer the call to duty. We recently passed a county resolution that will allow our disabled veterans free access to county parks starting October 1, 2013. It is a minimal cost for all that they have sacrificed and endured for a grateful nation. We will always look for new and creative ways to give back to those who gave so much. Since being elected, I have been developing a plan to incorporate a program called the “Patriot Pass” here in Broward County, which will assist military veterans in need with transportation by including various entities to create a more cost effective service.

Click to Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) Web Page We are approaching that time of year where we plan the future use of your tax dollars. In a series of two budget hearings on the 10th and 24th of September, the Board of County Commissioners will discuss and vote on the Fiscal Year 2014 Broward County Budget. The County’s general fund reserves are in a healthy state and have received favorable ratings from multiple credit reporting agencies. In fact, Standard and Poor’s (S&P) has revised their Financial Management Assessment (FMA) from “good” to “strong” based on the county’s financial management practices. The common theme from all the reporting agencies is that local governments are strongly discouraged from utilizing one time funds, such as reserves, to fund recurring expenses such as personnel salaries and benefits for other constitutional officers in the county. The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) recommends that regardless of a county’s size, at a minimum, their reserves should maintain no less than two months of general fund operating revenues or general fund operating expenditures. The informal policy of the Board of County Commissioners has been to not expend funds from the reserves unless there is a dire emergency. This practice negates the need for short term borrowing during the first two months of the fiscal year before property taxes are received.

Click to FEMA Website Our responsible budgeting leaves us in a stable position to handle any and all situations we may face here in South Florida with the threat of disastrous hurricanes such as Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. We’re still waiting on reimbursements from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) related to Hurricane Wilma, and despite that we still thrive in the economic climate the rest of the nation is facing.

We owe it to the residents of Broward County to continue being responsible with county’s millage rates, even during an economic uptick. The real economic stimulus is when tax payers get to keep more of their hard earned money and spend it how it best suits their needs. This is what really helps to make Broward County a better place to live, work, play and raise a family.

I want to thank the residents of The Galt Mile in particular for attending the public hearing on September 10th in order to speak out against the so-called Human Rights Ordinance. I believe that this was an unnecessary government intrusion into your private lives as residents of our community who has chosen to live in a condominium instead of another type of residence. It is the very thing that I am fighting each day as your County Commissioner.

If there is anything that we can do to assist you, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 954.357.7004 or by email at clamarca@broward.org. You can also stay up to date by viewing our website www.broward.org/commission/district4, where you can sign up to receive email updates from our office.

As always, it is an honor to serve you.


Chip LaMarca
Broward County Commssioner
District 4


Broward Board of County Commissioners
Bad Broward Ordinance
Ordinance Seeks to Strip Associations of Screening Rights

Executive Director Donna Berger of the Community Advocacy Network (CAN)
ASSOCIATION ATTORNEY DONNA BERGER
September 8, 2013 - On August 30, 2013, Executive Director
Donna Berger of the Community Advocacy Network (CAN) issued an alert to association officials. She was concerned about an ordinance under consideration by the Broward Board of County Commissioners, admonishing “This proposed ordinance may have far-reaching impact on all types of community associations in Broward County – and possibly the rest of the state if other counties follow Broward’s lead.” Berger explains that the proposed ordinance would affect an association’s authority under its governing documents to scrutinize proposed leasing and sales transactions and to issue an approval or denial in connection with same.

Click to Community Advocacy Network (CAN) Web Site Condominiums, Cooperatives and Homeowner Associations are empowered to create legal eligibility criteria and screening procedures to protect the association, its members and owners of units for sale or rent. As required by Federal and State law, once adopted, the procedures must be applied equally to every applicant. Each association can decide whether to embrace a policy that only reveals the outcome of the screening process or a policy that discloses details impacting the outcome. To diminish the prospect of legal repercussions by disappointed or opportunistic rejected applicants, most association attorneys believe it legally prudent to only report whether an application was accepted or denied. Others believe that total transparency offers the best protection against legal challenges. In any case, the association’s members - who must live with their decision - can choose the policy that best serves their interests - as long as it complies with State and Federal Laws.

County Commissioner Lois Wexler
COUNTY COMMISSIONER LOIS WEXLER
When association representative(s) screen prospective buyers or tenants, current law mandates a response to the unit owner. Since the titleholder is not only an association member, but the only one in the process with an asset at stake, the unit owner appropriately serves as clearinghouse for information developed by the screening process. Whether given a simple yes or no answer about the applicant or specific reasons for a rejection, the unit owner decides what is conveyed to his or her applicant.

If Ordinance sponsors Broward Commissioners Dale V.C. Holness and Lois Wexler have their way, the following changes will become law (BTW – Lois Wexler was the County Commissioner who tried to close the Galt Library):

  • The Ordinance makes it unlawful for an association to deny an applicant for rent or purchase because of a discriminatory classification (already a Federal Law).

  • Requires the association to send written acknowledgement of its receipt of an application for purchase or rent within ten (10) days of receipt of the application.

  • If the application is not complete or is completed incorrectly, the information to correct this must be included in the acknowledgement.

  • Requires the association to approve or deny a completed application within forty-five (45) days of receipt of the application.

  • If the applicant is denied, it further requires the association to send written notice to the applicant setting forth the reasons for the denial.

County Commissioner Dale Holness
COUNTY COMMISSIONER DALE HOLNESS
This is a bald-faced attempt to disenfranchise tens of thousands of association members. Reminiscent of the Condo Killer bills that floated through Tallahassee from 2004 to 2006, the County Board is attempting to usurp the right of Broward’s Condo, Co-op and HOA members to govern themselves.

The screening process is not work-a-day association housekeeping. Created to protect association members, their families, visitors and association employees from sociopaths, grifters, career criminals, deadbeats and other prospective neighbors with multi-page rap sheets, it is a critically important security protocol. A few years ago, a Galt Mile tenant threw a lamp through a window, raining shards of glass onto a swimming pool filled with children and threatened several employees before stabbing to death a musician working in a tavern across the street. Inadequately enforcing the process imperils everyone who lives, works or visits an association.

Click to Broward Association Ordinance It is also critical to the financial well-being of the unit’s owner and the association. Owners who place their units on the market cannot afford to consider tenants or buyers who are unable or unwilling to fulfill their obligations under a lease or contract. Neither can the association. Since it represents the final and only legal opportunity to protect the association and its members, the screening process exists solely for that purpose, not to benefit potential tenants or buyers.

Association Attorney Lisa Magill
ASSOCIATION ATTORNEY
LISA MAGILL
The proposed ordinance would divest association members of their right to create the terms of their community’s screening process. Secondly, it elevates the rights of applicants above those of the association, its members and strangely enough, the owner of the unit - who is stripped of the right to decide what information is passed to applicants - as occurs under current law. Since applicants are already protected by Federal & State Law against denial due to a discriminatory classification, there is seemingly no public purpose for trampling the right of association homeowners to tailor the screening process to protect their interests - not those of applicants.

Virtually every association attorney has alerted clients about the County’s intention to play fast and loose with self-governance by quietly slipping this issue into a meeting agenda. Fortunately, Broward association members have an eleventh hour opportunity to fend off this assault on their rights. Association Attorney Lisa Magill of Becker & Poliakoff noted, “We believe many of you will find this proposal problematic for a number of reasons. A professionally managed for-profit rental complex will not be subject to this requirement. Why should community associations have burdens not placed upon other sellers or landlords in Broward County?”

The County Commission scheduled a public hearing Tuesday, September 10, 2013, at 2:00 pm in the Commission Chambers on the 4th Floor of the Governmental Center located at 115 S. Andrews Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL. If you can find the time to attend the public hearing, please join your neighbors to help preserve self-determination and home rule for associations - simply by showing up!!!

To help clarify the adverse legal impacts on associations, Robert L. Kaye, Esq., Managing member of well-known association law firm of Kaye Bender Rembaum, authored the following legal opinion.

 

Broward County Considering New Ordinance Which Negatively Affects Associations

By Robert L. Kaye, Esq.

Association Attorney Robert Kaye
ASSOCIATION ATTORNEY
ROBERT KAYE
The Board of County Commissioners for Broward County will be holding a public hearing on Tuesday, September 10, 2013, at 2:00 p.m., in Room 422 of the Governmental Center, to consider a proposal to revise Section 16 ½ and add a new Section 16 ½ – 35.6, purportedly regarding restrictions on discrimination in housing. This issue is of significant importance to community associations in Broward County and needs your attention.

Association Attorney Michael Bender
ASSOCIATION ATTORNEY
MICHAEL BENDER
Under the proposal, condominium, homeowner and cooperative associations that undertake review and approval/disapproval of proposed sales and leases in Broward County will be required first to provide a written receipt of an application to the applicant within 10 days of its receipt. If the application is incomplete or completed incorrectly, the acknowledgment must specifically identify each item that needs to be completed or corrected. It further provides that within 45 days after receipt of a complete application, the association must either reject or approve the application and provide the applicant with a written notice of the decision. If the application is rejected, the written notice must state with specificity each reason for the rejection.

Broward Board of County Commissioners
BROWARD BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
It is the opinion of this Firm that this proposal is not in the best interest of community associations nor appropriate for the County Commission to be incorporating into the restrictions on discrimination within the County Ordinances. Additionally, it will impose on community associations burdens that are far greater than currently exists under present State and Federal laws. The legal standard in place currently is for all communication regarding proposed sales and leases to be through the current owner, not the applicant. Further, if a transaction is rejected, and the rejection complies with present Florida law, the notice of rejection is sent to the current owner. Most importantly is that specific reasons for the disapproval are to be kept confidential and a disapproval should only contain a statement that the applicant fails to qualify under the governing documents for the community.

The proposed Ordinance is creating requirements on associations that are well beyond the scope of anti-discrimination and are not needed in this regard. Associations already may not reject sales or leases for reasons that fall within protected classifications. It is the opinion of this Firm that the proposed Ordinance will add significant administrative burdens on community associations in Broward County and require the disclosure of information that is currently protected under State and Federal laws.

For any association within Broward County that has a review and approval process in place, it is recommended that you attend this Public Hearing, if possible, and voice your opposition to it being passed by the Commission. The more opposition that is heard by the Commissioners, the better the possibility that this faulty proposal does not pass.

Click to Kaye Bender Rembaum website


Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
Transportation Hubs and Tourism Stoke Broward’s Economy

Port Everglades, the International Airport & Healthy Beaches = Jobs

Old Blue Eyes
OLD BLUE EYES
District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER CHIP LAMARCA
June 8, 2013 - Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca opens his late May 2013 Newsletter for District 4 constituents by shaping an “Old Blue Eyes” seasonal classic into a metaphor for Broward’s recovering economy. Not only are Port Everglades and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport gateways for growing tourism revenues that flood into Broward “from across the sea”, their development as economic engines has deflated the ominous
2010 10.1% unemployment rate to a much less intimidating 5.7% by March of 2013.

Click to 2013 Broward Legislative Program Web Page When the Broward Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Professional Standards (OIAPS) released their 29-page 2013 State Legislative Program on January 8, 2013, Broward Commissioners lined up behind issues that appealed to them personally or politically. Among LaMarca’s priorities were enhancements to Broward’s economic infrastructure. Along with competitive improvements to transportation hubs like the Port and the Airport, LaMarca stepped up to spearhead Beach Renourishment, an issue that has long resonated with Galt Mile residents.

Click to Take 5 and Stay Alive Broward Web Page LaMarca’s decision to support legislative proposals that deter texting while driving – an activity that the CDC blames for 3,331 deaths in 2011 – was rewarded when Venice Senator Nancy Detert’s Senate Bill 52 was signed into law on May 28. Beginning on October 1, 2013, texting while driving becomes a secondary non-criminal infraction, meaning motorists could be ticketed ($30 fine - $60 for second offense) only if pulled over for some other reason. Since the powerful Tallahassee Communications Lobby had succeeded in marooning every Florida anti-texting bill on the calendar until now – it’s a credible start.

Post Panamax MSC Fabiola
POST PANAMAX MSC FABIOLA
In addition to churning out thousands of badly needed jobs, the Port projects reviewed in LaMarca’s newsletter are also key to harvesting a reasonable share of the Post-Panamax Golden Goose. The largest vessels currently able to navigate the Panama Canal are up to 965 feet long and 106 feet wide, a configuration called “Panamax”. Within two years, a $5.25 billion expansion of the Panama Canal will allow Post-Panamax ships that are 25% longer and 50% wider – including enormous container ships from Asia and the Pacific – to use U.S. East Coast and Gulf Coast ports. 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 participating seaports tax revenue windfalls and thousands of new jobs.

Click to 'U.S. Port and Inland Waterways Modernization: Preparing for Post-Panamax Vessels' Report In June of 2012, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers submitted a report to Congress – U.S. Port and Inland Waterways Modernization: Preparing for Post-Panamax Vessels – which examined options for future modernization of U.S. ports and inland waterways. Major General Michael J. Walsh, the Corps’ deputy commanding general for Civil Works and Emergency Operations, summarized the economic stakes: “Post-Panamax vessels today make up 16 percent of the world’s container fleet but account for 45 percent of the fleet’s capacity. Those numbers are projected to grow significantly over the next 20 years.” The report concludes that by 2030, Post-Panamax vessels will comprise 62 percent of the world’s container fleet capacity. The Panama Canal Authority has estimated that five or six operational ports on the U.S. East Coast could handle the resulting explosion of cheaper goods.

Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF)
INTERMODAL CONTAINER TRANSFER FACILITY (ICTF)
After evaluating Port Everglades’ competitive shortcomings, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers added a three-part construction strategy to the port’s Master Plan. The Southport Turning Notch Expansion will lengthen the existing deepwater turn-around area for cargo ships from 900 feet to 2,400 feet. Secondly, instead of hauling containers to and from off-port rail terminals, building an on-site Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF) will enable the seamless transfer of international containers between ship and rail. Lastly, the Port’s 42-foot deep channel must be widened and dredged to 50 feet to manage the larger ships with heavier loads that will soon transit the Panama Canal.

Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Surplus
HARBOR MAINTENANCE TRUST FUND SURPLUS
Other East Coast and Gulf port cities preparing for the expansion include Savannah GA, Miami FL, New York NY, Norfolk VA, Baltimore MD, Jacksonville FL and Houston TX. Every competitor in this race is dogged by two problems. The first is a regulatory maze that can only be circumvented by raw political muscle in Washington. Secondly, seaports have spent years struggling with foot-dragging federal bureaucrats and congressional gridlock over access to funds for dredging projects. Specifically, roughly $7 billion squirrelled away and collecting dust in a Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund.

Click to 'Water Resources Development Act If and when the House of Representatives passes the Water Resources Development Act – approved by the Senate on May 15, 2013 – dredging funds would become available for port projects. Last July, the Obama Administration issued a Presidential Executive Order to expedite the permitting and review process for five major port projects in Jacksonville, Miami, Savannah, New York, and Charleston; exempting these favored sites from the regulatory rat race. Other competing ports must painfully navigate the regulatory labyrinth and cough up local resources.

Port of Miami Tunnel Project
PORT OF MIAMI TUNNEL PROJECT
In President Obama’s State of the Union address, he stressed the importance of building public – private partnerships to stoke the economy. When Obama visited Miami in March, he touted a $1.1 billion Miami port tunnel project financed by such a public - private partnership built around federal dollars (other participants include the state, regional banks and insider Master of the Universe private financiers) that will link the Port of Miami to the MacArthur Causeway and I-395 (i.e. the interstate thruway system). Governor Rick Scott also staked $77 million towards Miami’s $180 million project to dredge the port to Post-Panamax depth. While Port Everglades is further along in its preparations, Miami is the closest American port to the Canal Zone, Senator Marco Rubio’s hometown and Senator Bill Nelson’s birthplace. Earlier, Scott funneled $36 million to the Jacksonville Port Authority (AKA JAXPORT), the other Florida seaport gifted with a federal regulatory fast-track.

Click to Port Everglades Web Site Since 1997, Broward officials have been begging the Army Corps of Engineers to approve funding for deepening Port Everglades’ channel to better accommodate Post-Panamax vessels. As soon as port officials satisfy operational, environmental and/or financial reporting requirements, the Corps alters them, repeatedly blistering Broward’s competitive aspirations. Continually undermined by the Corps’ regulatory rain dance, the latest bureaucratic dredging impediment is over how a cost-effectiveness study should be conducted.

Port Director Steve Cernak
PORT DIRECTOR STEVE CERNAK
Understandably frustrated, Port Everglades Director Steven Cernak complained to Florida members of Congress “This is how Port Everglades was rewarded for playing by the rules for the past 16 years. The rules change, and we start all over again. Is it any wonder why the study is now more than 14 times the original cost estimates?”

Click to Turning Notch Info The only help made available to Port Everglades is a $13 million taste of the $288 million budgeted by the State Legislature for Florida seaports in the coming year. The Port’s Southport Turning Notch Expansion is one of 26 specific port projects for which dedicated State funds were appropriated. Although the Federal government and our illustrious Governor are treating Port Everglades like a red headed stepchild, LaMarca knows that if Port Everglades sticks to its Master Plan, it will share in the Post-Panamax windfall – by its own bootstraps.

L’Hermitage I resident Frances Konstance
FRANCES KONSTANCE
OF L’HERMITAGE I
Click to Restore A1A web page At the June 3 Galt Mile Presidents Council meeting, one of the neighborhood’s most outspoken Beach Renourishment proponents, Frances Konstance of L’Hermitage I, thanked LaMarca for keeping his promise to help actualize the long-delayed Segment II beach fix. After chewing up South Florida’s east coast, a serendipitous impact of Superstorm Sandy was a primer outlining how State, County and City officials should play together. The post-storm emergency repairs to A1A and the adjacent beach served as a test run for the Segment II renourishment, yielding a new sand source and improved staging techniques that could facilitate the planned expansion of Galt Mile beaches while capping costs.

Those of us who worked with him for years are going to miss Ryan Saunders. He added honor to a process ordinarily smothered by spin and always kept his word. Given the depth of his integrity, his transition to the Seminary should be seamless. For LaMarca’s take on the above issues, read on... – [editor]

 

The Summer Wind

By Commissioner Chip LaMarca

District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER
CHIP LAMARCA
As that classic song goes: “The summer wind came blowing in, from across the sea.” With the summer winds coming in, the kids getting out of school and our families planning vacations, we in District 4 are continuing to work for you. We continue to receive phone calls, emails and requests for information, and continue to monitor the major projects taking place in the heart of the district as well as at Port Everglades and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. A key factor in the continued steady decline in the rate of unemployment is the robust construction activity that is happening throughout Broward County. The newest unemployment number is 5.7%, which is lower than both the state and national rate.

Chip LaMarca Kicks Off Take 5 to Stay Alive Broward Campaign
LAMARCA KICKS OFF TAKE 5 TO STAY ALIVE CAMPAIGN
With school breaking for the summer, more drivers will be on the roads. We recently proclaimed the month of May as Take 5 to Stay Alive – Don’t Text and Drive Month in Broward County. With the passage of Florida House and Senate Bills, it furthers enforces the notion that texting and sending e-mails while behind the wheel is a deadly practice that is responsible for numerous deaths each day nationwide. “Take 5 to Stay Alive” is a campaign that was created through the Regional EMS Council of which I am a member and is sponsored by the Board of County Commissioners and the Broward League of Cities.

Eller Drive Overpass Project
ELLER DRIVE OVERPASS PROJECT
Construction and development rears production and growth. The Florida Department of Transportation’s Eller Drive Overpass project that leads you into Port Everglades at I-595 is expected to be completed in late summer 2014 just as the Florida East Coast (FEC) Railway completes construction of an Intermodal Container Transfer Facility in Southport. A true public/private partnership that will change the way goods are transported out of Port Everglades. The Southport Turning Notch extension, which will add up to five new berths in Southport, is moving forward.

Port Everglades
PORT EVERGLADES
Annually, the Port generates nearly $26 billion in business activity statewide, supports 11,700 jobs locally and over 200,000 statewide, and is responsible for producing $730 million in state and local taxes. We are also one of the few ports in the country with a trade surplus, totaling $3.6 billion in 2012. Port Everglades also drives international trade and tourism in Broward County through a robust cruise industry. With more than 3.7 million cruise passengers annually it is one of the busiest cruise ports in the world, supporting almost 12,400 total cruise, airport and tourism related jobs. Port Everglades is truly a powerhouse cruise port.

Fifth Annual Economic Engine Report at the Broward County/Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention Center
ECONOMIC ENGINE REPORT AT CONVENTION CENTER
For every 85 visitors to Broward County, one job is created. If you take into consideration the 12 million visitors in 2012, that’s a lot of jobs. Those same visitors spent roughly $10 million here. All economic indicators point to a banner year, with 39 consecutive months of continued growth. However, none of this would be possible without our greatest natural resource in Broward County - our beaches. The beach renourishment project is nearly fully permitted and we expect to begin putting sand on the beaches by the end of the year. We had great success with the emergency renourishment on Fort Lauderdale Beach and have been able to compile some best practices to use in our overall Segment II Project. As the emergency repairs resulting from the effects of Super Storm Sandy come to a close, we move into the long-term portions of the project-with the redesign of A1A. This project will be coordinated through the Florida Department of Transportation and the City of Fort Lauderdale.

Click to Broward Navy Days Fleet Week Web Page In continuing our mission to recognize those who have served, are serving, and will serve; last week we celebrated our time honored tradition of Fleet Week with Broward Navy Days. While there was no fleet to be revered, there were plenty of events to attend. On May 5th we recognized twelve Broward County appointments to the US Naval Academy’s class of 2017 and the Consul General of France presented the Legion of Honor Award to eleven United States Veterans of World War II who fought at Normandy. In addition to Fleet Week, we were honored to witness nearly 150 Marines, Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen and Coast Guardsmen enlist into our nation’s armed forces with Our Community Salutes on Saturday May 4th, an event that was hosted by Broward College.

Commission Aide Ryan Saunders
COMMISSION AIDE RYAN SAUNDERS
Lastly, please join me in saying goodbye to a dedicated employee and friend of District 4, Ryan Saunders. Ryan has made a decision to follow his calling to enter into the seminary to become a Catholic Priest. Ryan has been with me since my first day in this office and he will be greatly missed. I would also like to welcome our new addition to the office, Mr. Ryan Reiter. Ryan will serve as Commission Aide for my office and his role will be working in the office at the Governmental Center. We are very lucky to have Ryan’s experience and knowledge on the team, having served our Country in the United States Marine Corp and most recently for Workforce One, working to find employment for our returning veterans. You can contact Ryan at 954-357-7004 or by email at rreiter@broward.org. With the addition of Ryan, veterans now make up 66% of the District 4 Staff.

If there is anything that we can do to assist you, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 954.357.7004 or by email at clamarca@broward.org. You can also stay up to date by viewing our website www.broward.org/commission/district4, where you can sign up to receive email updates from our office.

As always, it is an honor to serve you.


Chip LaMarca
Broward County Commssioner
District 4


Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
Pressing the County’s Agenda

Connecting and Collecting in the Federal and State Capitols

District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER CHIP LAMARCA
April 8, 2013 - Between the winter and spring holiday seasons, District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca keeps his boots strapped as he shuttles between our national and state capitols. The sole Republican on the Broward Board of County Commissioners, he is uniquely qualified to open doors in Republican Tallahassee. Armed with the Broward Commission’s
29-page legislative agenda, on March 13th and 14th, LaMarca joined the Broward Legislative Delegation in their annual Broward Days promotion of County interests in the State Capitol. After pressing the County wish list in Tallahassee, LaMarca headed to Washington D.C. to shake the Federal money tree.

Advanced Global Network CEO Eve-Iris Wittmann
ADVANCED GLOBAL NETWORK
CEO EVE-IRIS WITTMANN
LaMarca is one of three Team Leaders of the Broward Days’ International Business and Trade Committee, along with Asian Pacific Development Corp. CEO Randy Avon and Advanced Global Network CEO Eve-Iris Wittmann. Stacked with corporate heavyweights and high profile public officials, the committee also includes Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler, former Mayor Jim Naugle, Port Everglades Director Steven Cernak and Florida CFO Jeff Atwater. The panel’s Tallahassee agenda is dominated by a hunt for resources to enhance Port Everglades’ competitive infrastructure.

Asian Pacific Development Corp CEO Randy Avon
ASIAN PACIFIC DEVELOPMENT
CORP CEO RANDY AVON
By vehemently supporting the preservation of tools used by local governments to seed economic development, LaMarca has become annually embroiled in a home rule controversy with State lawmakers. As described in the County Legislative Program, he defended the ongoing need for a local business tax (LBT). Originally authorized by the legislature in 1995 as the occupational license tax and dedicated primarily to subsidizing public safety and economic development, the Florida Statutes provide for counties (s. 205.032, F.S.) and municipalities (s. 205.042, F.S.) to levy local business taxes.

Statehouse Representative Marlene O'Toole
REPRESENTATIVE MARLENE O'TOOLE
WHACK ANTI-LBT BILL SPONSOR
Each year, lawmakers catering to constituencies rife with anti-tax zealots file bills to repeal or unnecessarily encumber this statutory revenue option. In 2012, Statehouse Representative Marlene O'Toole (R - The Villages) introduced House Bills 1063 and 4025 as Republican Lake County Senator Alan Hays filed Senate Bill 760, legislation designed to kill the LBT and saddle statewide city and county budgets with a $156.4 million revenue shortfall, as calculated by the Legislature’s Revenue Estimating Conference.

Lake County Senator Alan Hays
LAKE COUNTY SENATOR ALAN HAYS
In counties and municipalities where the local business tax is a funding source for debt repayment, its loss would negatively impact the municipal bond market and result in downgraded credit ratings, sharply increasing the debt. Although the LBT “business” contribution is capped at $150 per year, in Broward County LBT revenues administered by the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance (Alliance) and the Office of Economic & Small Business Development (OESBD) assisted more than 700 targeted industry companies directly create 8,668 jobs, of which 5,447 were retained.

Martin County Business Development Board Director Crystal Stiles
MARTIN COUNTY BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
BOARD DIRECTOR CRYSTAL STILES
Although identified as an unfunded mandate in each bill’s legislative staff analyses (triggering the Constitutionally required approval by two-thirds of the membership in each house), O’Toole and Hays never addressed the adverse fiscal impacts from the anticipated budget shortfalls. Since taxes, debt, fees and public services are balanced in a zero sum economic arena, the resulting budget gaps would force an increase in local millage rates, passing the fiscal burden to property owners. When LaMarca and Martin County Business Development Board Director Crystal Stiles brought focus to the legislation’s implicit defects – stifling job creation while shifting a tax burden from businesses to homeowners - vetting committees consigned the bills to death on the calendar.

Click to 2013 Broward Legislative Program Web Page In pursuing beach renourishment funding in Tallahassee and Washington D.C., LaMarca was fulfilling a commitment to constituents while dunning a County debtor. Although it was completed six years ago, our deadbeat Federal government still hasn’t fully reimbursed Broward County for its shared obligation in the $44 million Segment III renourishment of south county beaches. The State has typically contributed 25% of the costs for Broward’s projects that are eligible for Federal reimbursement (which historically equates to 50% to 60% of total project cost), with the remainder falling to local governments. The Segment III final funding formula tagged the Federal share at $26 million, the State picked up $10.1 million, while $8.4 million was coughed up locally. In Washington, LaMarca asked Broward Congressional Representatives to help recover the remaining $12 million Federal delinquency. While in Tallahassee, LaMarca applied for a $20,810,000 federally reimbursable appropriation to help offset the impending $40 million Segment II project cost.

Last year, LaMarca succeeded in lining up a partial reimbursement by diverting renourishment resources unused by the coastal communities for which they were originally allocated. Unfortunately, the funds were commandeered and reappropriated to address emergencies in other jurisdictions. At the April 1st President Council meeting in The Commodore, after acknowledging that current Federal political and economic policies bode diminished future Federal contributions, LaMarca assured neighborhood officials that funding would not be an obstacle to the impending Segment II renourishment along the Galt Mile, as FDOT and Broward County have already budgeted sufficient resources to complete the long-awaited beach fix.

The Woodstock era title of his spring newsletter speaks to the relief afforded LaMarca by the Holiday layovers in Broward County that helped pace his high pressure commutes between two of the planet’s most mind-numbing behavioral slop sinks. For a firsthand account of his progress in furtherance of the County agenda, read on... – [editor]

 

Springtime in Paradise!

By Commissioner Chip LaMarca

District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER
CHIP LAMARCA
I hope that you had a wonderful Passover or Easter! This is a time filled with the many blessings of renewal and rebirth. I am deeply grateful for all the goodness in my life and for the privilege of serving the people of our county.

Click to Broward Days Tallahassee Schedule Web Page As I write this I am traveling on your behalf as residents of Broward County between Washington D.C. and Tallahassee. I have spent my time in Washington D.C. meeting with our Congressional Delegation regarding funding and permitting for our projects at Port Everglades and beach renourishment. I am happy to report that these meetings were productive and I look forward to continuing this dialogue.

Click to 'Local Government Economic Development Tools: Creating Jobs and Growing Our Economy' presentation Additionally, I have been in Tallahassee for Broward Days at the Capitol, meeting with our Legislative leaders on topics of funding and permitting for Port Everglades projects and beach renourishment. I also spent a good deal of time advocating for our economic development issues. As I reported to you last year I testified before the House Community and Military Affairs Subcommittee. The presentation, "Local Government Economic Development Tools: Creating Jobs and Growing Our Economy," focused on the County’s collaboration with the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance. The committee was taking up this issue again, focused on eliminating valuable tools for economic development which we use to create new targeted industry jobs, attract new companies to the county and serve local companies with retention and expansion efforts. We were successful in getting the committee to agree to not repeal this tool last year, but it is back on the table again this year. I am committed to working with the Committee Chairman, Representative Workman from Brevard County to make sure we are successful again this year.

Committee Chair Representative Ritch Workman
COMMITTEE CHAIR REPRESENTATIVE RITCH WORKMAN
As part of my meetings in Tallahassee I have learned that there is a very good possibility we will receive a portion of Hurricane Sandy dollars to help address our beach renourishment. These funds will be in addition to the money the county already has committed to the project. As you know we are moving forward with the project as a federally reimbursable project, yet Broward County would be required to front that portion of the cost - this equates to 50 percent of the total cost of the $40 million project. The additional funds would go a long way to sustain and replenish funding for future county renourishment projects.

Fort Lauderdale Citizen of the Year - Betty Shelley
BETTY SHELLEY
I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the Fort Lauderdale Citizen of the Year – Betty Shelley. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this honor, and to say that it is long overdue. Betty serves as President of the Imperial Point Homeowners Association, and works tirelessly for the residents of northeast Fort Lauderdale. Betty, on behalf of Broward County, I would like to congratulate you for this tremendous honor!

I never lose sight of what is important. That is you the residents of our beautiful district. If there is anything that we can do to assist you, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 954.357.7004 or by email at clamarca@broward.org. You can also stay updated by viewing our website www.broward.org/commission/district4, as well as signup to receive email updates from us.

Happy Spring to all and as always, it is an honor to serve you.


Chip LaMarca
Broward County Commssioner
District 4


Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
The County’s Key to the Capitol

LaMarca’s Annual Wish List Delivery

District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER
CHIP LAMARCA
February 8, 2013 - Prior to the March 5 opening of the 2013 legislative session, jurisdictions will equip their Legislative Delegations with a list of local legislative priorities. Matching the strengths of each member to the Delegation’s assorted objectives, members of the local cadre will meet with key lawmakers and bureaucrats in the State Capitol in hopes of actualizing the legislative elements of their collective agenda.

Representative George Moraitis
REPRESENTATIVE
GEORGE MORAITIS
Broward voters shaped the County’s statewide reputation as a bastion of Democratic politics. The 2010 decennial redistricting process provided Broward County with 19 State lawmakers. Many of the County’s five Senate members and fourteen House members serve in Districts that also contain voters in Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Collier Counties. Except for Miami-Dade Representative
Carlos Trujillo, whose District 105 constituency includes a tiny snippet of Miramar with a handful of Broward residents, Broward’s sole Statehouse Republican is District 93’s (formerly District 91) Representative George Moraitis.

Ellyn Bogdanoff and Maria Sachs
ELLYN BOGDANOFF VS. MARIA SACHS
Former Republican Senator Ellyn Bogdanoff's 2012 Election Day loss to Democrat Maria Sachs in Senate District 34, the only reconfigured Senate venue in the state that pitted incumbents (with smaller and larger prior constituencies) against one another (a concession to quell Florida Supreme Court ire about improperly drawn Senate Districts all over the State), left Broward with no Republicans in the Florida Senate.

Click to Broward Legislative Delegation Web Page Here’s the math. 26 of the Senate’s 40 members (65%) are Republicans. Republicans also hold 76 of the 120 seats (63%) in the Statehouse. A Republican inhabits the Governor’s mansion. Although the 2012 election cycle deprived them of a 68% veto-proof majority, Republicans will decide the fate of every bill filed in 2013. While Senator Eleanor Sobel (D - Hollywood) and Representative Jim Waldman (D - Coconut Creek) will lead the Broward Legislative Delegation, the fate of their local legislative objectives will functionally depend on Representative George Moraitis (R - Fort Lauderdale).

Given the County’s Democrat voting plurality, it’s no surprise that Republican Tallahassee refers to Broward County as “The Killing Fields”. Of the County’s nine governing Commissioners, eight are Democrats. As the sole Republican on the Broward Board of County Commissioners, Chip LaMarca’s stock goes up every January, when he is tagged to carry Broward’s wish list to the State Capitol.

Click to 2013 Broward Legislative Program Web Page On January 8, 2013, to provide “legislative direction to the County’s staff and contract lobbying team for 2013 state legislative activities,” the Broward Board of County Commissioners approved a 2013 State Legislative Program proposed by the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Professional Standards (OIAPS). The 29-page legislative libretto features a buffet of proposals with widely varying impacts, including an embarrassingly rich selection of concessions to paper-thin local special interests (regulatory requirements for competitive eating contests, standardized parasailing guidelines, etc.). The Chinese menu of options enables Commissioners to pick and choose those issues that resonate with District constituents, whether or not haunted by the potentially catastrophic consequences of hot-dog eating marathons.

Commissioner Chip LaMarca Addresses Galt Mile Audience at Beach Community Center
LAMARCA DISCUSSES BEACH RENOURISHMENT
In his 2013 pre-session Newsletter, LaMarca reviews some of those issues he extracted from the Legislative Program to broker in Tallahassee. His support for Beach Renourishment augers to a campaign promise to District 4 constituents that he has since repeatedly reconfirmed to the GMCA Presidents Council and Advisory Board. One month before the County approved its 2013 State Legislative Program – at a December 10, 2012 Town Hall meeting convened to address the storm surge damage to A1A and the beach – LaMarca told more than 300 local residents at the Beach Community Center that loosening renourishment funds in Tallahassee would provide the least expensive and most effective protection for $billions of upland property and thousands of lives. In addition to pressing the state for a $20,810,000 County-requested appropriation to facilitate the Segment II renourishment, Broward wants documentary stamp revenues dedicated to beach erosion programs and sand bypass projects restored to previous levels and shielded from budget-balancing raids.

Click to Port Everglades Web Site His 2013 selection of Port Everglades, a centerpiece in his 2012 Tallahassee wish list, comes as no surprise. A staunch advocate of stoking the County’s economic engines, LaMarca has stumped tirelessly to insure that Port Everglades is equipped to compete with ports on the South Atlantic and Gulf coasts – by an immutable 2015 deadline.

Click to Panama Canal Web Site The Panama Canal Authority is managing a $5.25 billion expansion project that will double the annual volume of cargo through the century-old 51-mile shortcut connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. A new third lane under construction will accommodate vessels that are 25% longer, 50% wider and with a deeper draft than the largest ships currently navigating the canal (known as Panamax). When the Panama Canal is reconfigured to cradle supersized transports, tankers and cruise ships (referred to as “post-Panamax”) in about two years, plummeting shipping costs will significantly pump up international patterns of commerce.

Post Panamax MSC Fabiola
POST PANAMAX MSC FABIOLA
By providing faster and cheaper shipping of goods between the United States and Asia, it will allow American farmers and manufacturers to better compete with South American and European counterparts, including providers that currently benefit from cheap labor and primitive, low-maintenance infrastructure. However, before the United States can actualize this trade advantage, U.S. ports in the Gulf and along the east coast must first deepen their harbors and expand their cargo handling facilities if they hope to compete.

Port Everglades
PORT EVERGLADES
In preparation for the projected 2015 completion of the canal’s expansion, Port Everglades is racing with ports in Miami, Savannah, New Orleans, Norfolk, Baltimore, Houston, Brownsville, Charleston, and the Port of South Louisiana – tonnage king of U.S. Gulf and East Coast ports – to adapt their infrastructure for post Panamax shipping. The construction required in each competing port will generate thousands of local jobs. The municipal winners of this marathon effort will realize a significant boost to the local economy, huge local and statewide tax windfalls, and a palpable drop in unemployment.

Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF)
INTERMODAL CONTAINER TRANSFER FACILITY (ICTF)
A study of the Port’s competitive shortcomings by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers added a three-part construction strategy to the Port Everglades Master Plan. The Southport Turning Notch Expansion will lengthen the existing deepwater turn-around area for cargo ships from 900 feet to 2,400 feet. Secondly, the Port’s channel must be widened and deepened to manage the larger ships with heavier loads that will soon transit the Panama Canal. Lastly, instead of hauling containers to and from off-port rail terminals, building an on-site Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF) will enable the seamless transfer of international containers between ship and rail. Like economically motivated public officials in every competing port city, LaMarca is intently focused on aggressively moving the three projects to completion. The ICTF is scheduled to open in 2014 while the Turning Notch and widening and deepening projects are targeted for 2017.

Beach Community Center
BEACH COMMUNITY CENTER
Given the plethora of narrowly beneficial and borderline inane objectives available in the Legislative Program, LaMarca’s selection of Early Voting Site Expansion and Texting While Driving are both laudable and locally relevant. If successful in his attempt to expand early voting site options, Galt Mile residents will be able to vote early at the Beach Community Center instead of being forced to travel north to Pompano Beach City Hall, west to Wilton Manors City Hall or south to either the Artserve or Main Libraries in Fort Lauderdale.

Deterring people from Texting While Driving is a no-brainer, as even hands-free adaptations will not compensate for driver distractions that statistically invite disaster. Multitasking is not a skill best exercised while steering two tons of accelerating steel. Florida is one of only four states (i.e. South Carolina, South Dakota, Montana) with no restrictions on cell phone use or texting while driving – even for school bus drivers.

Former Statehouse Speaker Dean Cannon
FORMER SPEAKER
DEAN CANNON
Click to  National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Texting Alert Citing the 3000 deaths due to driver distracted accidents in 2011, the National Transportation Safety Board issued a December 13, 2011 alert directing all states to enact restrictions on the nonemergency use of portable electronic devices while driving. House Speaker Dean Cannon (whose campaign contributors included AT&T and T-Mobile) announced that he would not tolerate “government regulating private behavior” and systematically dispatched such bills filed during the 2012 session. One popular bill, HB 299, was kidnapped in the Transportation and Highway Safety Subcommittee and held through Sine Die, ostensibly because it infringed on personal freedom. When asked why they would protect such a dangerous activity, the hostage-takers flipped the script and suddenly took refuge in constitutional equanimity, complaining that it unfairly singled out “Texting While Driving” for criminalization while ignoring comparable distractions such as using a cell phone.

Senator Nancy Detert
SENATOR NANCY DETERT
Representative Irv Slosberg
REP. IRV SLOSBERG
Even with Cannon now term-limited out of office, lawmakers are treading lightly when drafting restrictions for the 2013 session. Senate Bill 52 by Senator Nancy Detert, R-Venice, would make texting while driving a secondary non-criminal infraction, meaning motorists could be ticketed only if pulled over for another reason. Violators would pay a $30 fine – unless they were checking a map or the weather (one of several exemptions). Representative Irv Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, filed House Bill 61, which precludes anyone under 18 from using a cellphone while driving. The state’s seat belt law is named for his daughter, Dori, who was killed in a 1996 collision on Boca Raton’s Palmetto Park Road at the age of 14.

The teeth in Senate Bill 74 by Senator Maria Sachs are somewhat sharper, as texting or using a cell phone would be a primary offense eliciting a $100 fine for committing a non-moving violation. Detert’s Bill restricts texting, Slosberg’s bill is limited to kids while Sachs’ bill prohibits any non-hands-free cell phone use. Since Florida is also one of seven states that prohibits jurisdictions from enacting local distracted driving laws, it’s not surprising that LaMarca feels it’s time to get one of these on the books. Read on for the Commissioner’s 2013 Tallahassee agenda... – [editor]

 

Tallahassee Bound

By Commissioner Chip LaMarca

District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER
CHIP LAMARCA
As you may know we are fast approaching the beginning of a new Legislative Session in Tallahassee, which means I will be traveling to Tallahassee on your behalf to advocate for many of the issues the Board of County Commissioners has identified in our 2013 State Legislative Program. Last year I reported to you on my activities in Tallahassee, which included presenting during the opening week of the Legislative Session in a panel discussion before the House Community and Military Affairs Subcommittee. The presentation, "Local Government Economic Development Tools: Creating Jobs and Growing Our Economy," focused on the County’s collaboration with the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance. I was also pleased to meet with Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, members of both the House and Senate Leadership, and the members of our Broward Legislative Delegation to discuss beach renourishment funding, as well as funding for Port Everglades.

Click to 'Local Government Economic Development Tools: Creating Jobs and Growing Our Economy' presentation My priorities for the 2013 Legislative Session have changed little – our beaches continue to be a critical part of our travel and tourism industry, generating jobs and revenues; they continue to remain our first line of defense against hurricanes and storm surge threats to life and property (as we all know too well with the recent damage to A1A and the beach in Fort Lauderdale; additionally, the damage at both the Deerfield Beach and Pompano Beach Piers’). The Florida Department of Environmental Protection estimates that more than one-third of Florida’s 787 miles of beaches are in a state of critical erosion. With that said the Board has identified our support for a $20.8 million state appropriation request submitted by Broward County to support mitigation construction, sand and monitoring of the Segment II Beach Renourishment Project as a federally-reimbursable project.

Click to Turning Notch Info Additionally, as one of South Florida’s leading economic powerhouses, Port Everglades is the gateway for international trade and cruise vacations. Already the second busiest cruise port in the world, Port Everglades is also one of the nation’s leading container ports and south Florida’s main seaport for receiving petroleum products including gasoline, jet fuel, and alternative fuels. The total economic activity at Port Everglades is approximately $15.3 billion. Port Everglades, including 11,400 people who work for companies that provide direct services, impact more than 160,000 Florida jobs – these jobs generate $532 million in state and local taxes. The Board is supporting a $34.5 million appropriation request for funds for preliminary engineering, design, permitting and construction for projects associated with the Southport Turning Notch which will create 2,227 temporary construction jobs, 5,529 new regional permanent jobs, and $252.2 million in local and state revenue.

Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes
SUPERVISOR OF ELECTIONS BRENDA SNIPES
Likewise, I have also identified two additional priorities that I plan to advocate for on your behalf: Early Voting Site Expansion, and Texting While Driving. For those of use that live in eastern Broward County from county line to county line, there were very few to no early voting sites located near our homes or places of business. I worked very closely with the staff in the Supervisor of Elections Office to identify many different possible locations, however, due to state statutes; Dr. Snipes is limited in the type of locations she can use. The Board at my urging is supporting legislation amending state law to allow Supervisors of Elections to designate municipal community centers as early voting sites in addition to the current locations (city halls, SOE branch offices, and public library facilities).

It is documented that texting while driving causes 1,600,000 accidents per year; 330,000 injuries per year; 11 teen deaths every day; nearly 25% of all car accidents; and, makes you 23 times more likely to crash; and sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent of driving the length of a football field at 55 mph blindfolded. For all of these reasons the Board is supporting legislation prohibiting the operation of a motor vehicle manually typing in a wireless communications device.

These are just a few of the items I will be advocating for on your behalf in Tallahassee, as always each Commissioner identifies his/her own priorities and focuses on those issues, and together we work to advocate on behalf of all of Broward County. You can view the County’s 2013 State Legislative Program in its entirety on our website by visiting www.broward.org and searching under the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs page.

I never lose sight of what is important. That is you the residents of our beautiful district. If there is anything that we can do to assist you, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 954.357.7004 or by email at clamarca@broward.org. You can also stay updated by viewing our website www.broward.org/commission/district4, as well as signup to receive email updates from us.

As always, it is an honor to serve you.


Chip LaMarca
Broward County Commssioner
District 4



The Bad Blood at BSO

Enter: Sheriff Scott Israel

Broward Sheriff Scott Israel
BROWARD SHERIFF SCOTT ISRAEL
January 7, 2013 - Galt Mile residents have a cloudy relationship with the Broward Sheriff. Every year, we send untold $millions in assessed revenues to Broward County, half of which is funneled to the
Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO). Since our public safety needs are wholly addressed by the City of Fort Lauderdale Police Department, funded by our municipal taxes, much of our supersized County contribution subsidizes BSO operations in 13 of Broward’s 31 cities. Although we derive an indirect benefit from the Sheriff’s protection of shared infrastructure at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Port Everglades, our money pays for BSO police and fire services in Pompano, Deerfield, Dania, Oakland Park and other Broward municipalities.

Former Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti
FORMER BROWARD SHERIFF
AL LAMBERTI
The Broward Sheriff’s Office is an Oligarchy, an agency where every scrap of power resides with the Sheriff. As such, it was generally assumed that the agency’s integrity depended on the Sheriff’s character. In the past decade, BSO has struggled to shed its reputation as an ethical sewer. Five years ago, Al Lamberti promised to restore confidence in the agency’s integrity. Last November, newly elected Sheriff Scott Israel made the same promise. In recent years, it has come to light that the problems plaguing BSO have less to do with the Sheriff than the political culture that drives the institution. Whether Israel can overcome BSO’s pathological susceptibility to corruption remains to be seen. Here’s the playing field.

Disgraced Broward Sheriff Ken Jenne
DISGRACED BROWARD SHERIFF KEN JENNE
After working as a prosecutor in the Broward County State Attorney’s Office, Ken Jenne was elected to the Broward Board of County Commissioners in 1976. Starting in 1978, he spent 10 years in the Florida Senate representing District 32. Beginning in 1990, he spent another 8 years in the Senate representing constituents in District 29. When Broward Sheriff Ron Cochran lost his battle with cancer in 1997, Governor Lawton Chiles appointed a fellow Democrat – State Senator Ken Jenne – to run the state’s largest Sheriff's Office. Jenne survived three elections while expanding the Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) into the nation’s largest fully accredited sheriff’s department before succumbing to an epidemic for which Broward has become infamous. When a Federal corruption investigation uncovered $80,000 in hidden vendor’s payments funneled by Jenne through two secretaries, he resigned and quickly cut a plea deal with prosecutors to dodge a looming grand jury indictment for money laundering. Pleading guilty to less serious charges – three counts of tax evasion and one count of mail fraud conspiracy – bought Jenne a year and a day in federal prison and left BSO without a rudder.

Former Governer Charlie Crist and Former Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti
FORMER GOVERNER CHARLIE CRIST & AL LAMBERTI
Former Governor Charlie Crist filled the vacancy on October 26, 2007 with fellow Republican Al Lamberti, who first joined the Broward County Sheriff's Office as a Detention Deputy in 1977 and carefully tip-toed his way up through the ranks in a Democratic County known to Tallahassee Republicans as “The Killing Fields”. During the 2008 Presidential Election, he narrowly kept his job when 50,000 Broward voters skipped voting in the Sheriff's race, diluting the benefit of Obama’s then powerful coattails for his Democrat opponent - just enough to leave Scott Israel short by a paper thin 15,375 vote margin (less than 1%).

Former Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti and Felon Attorney Scott Rothstein
FORMER BROWARD SHERIFF AL LAMBERTI
& FELON ATTORNEY SCOTT ROTHSTEIN
Israel, a 25-year veteran of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department who retired as Captain before spending 5 years as the North Bay Village Police Chief, was not an empathic “nice guy” political candidate. Many of his closest friends don’t like him. Aware that he could never survive an election bid framed as a popularity contest, his 2012 challenge to Lamberti would have to be a mudfest. From the outset, Israel tied jailbird Scott Rothstein to Lamberti’s tail, focusing on the felon attorney’s cozy ties to Lamberti and his leadership team. He also painted Lamberti as a capricious spendthrift, burning taxpayer dollars on personal agendas.

Mystery Actress on YouTube
MYSTERY ACTRESS ON YOUTUBE
No stranger to mudslinging, Lamberti cast Israel as a philandering adulterer and a corrupt cop. In a mysterious YouTube video, an unidentified young woman claimed to have aborted Israel’s prospective progeny following a sordid affair. Incredibly, Susan Israel made a “counter-video” defending her husband's fidelity and released a statement in which she called the woman a “whore”. Anyone who claims that character or decency played a deciding role in how they voted is either lying or settling unfinished business with their inner child.

Former Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti in 2009 Budget Face-Off with Broward County Commission
LAMBERTI 2009 BUDGET FACE-OFF WITH BROWARD COMMISSION
Israel won for two reasons. Obviously, the overwhelming 2 to 1 majority that registered Democrats hold over Republicans in Broward County would provide an almost insurmountable advantage to anyone other than an axe murdering pederast. Ironically, Israel made a futile attempt to exploit the partisan advantage when he strategically morphed into a Democrat shortly before the 2008 race. Lamberti also considered changing his party affiliation after 2008. When engaged in a 2009 face-off with the all-Democrat County Commission over their demands that he eviscerate his then $720 million budget to help head off service cuts or a tax increase, his threat to place the decision in the Republican Governor’s hands induced a Commission retreat. Since switching parties would have relieved him of his Tallahassee “nuclear option”, he stayed put.

Democratic Primary Sheriff Candidate Louis Granteed
ISRAEL PRIMARY OPPONENT LOUIS GRANTEED
Given his own political baggage and Lamberti’s incumbency, Israel avoided repeating his 2008 mistake of relying on less than credible Democrat credentials to deliver a victory. Israel’s campaign treasury, which was substantially less endowed than Lamberti’s, was virtually emptied during a tough primary win against Louis Granteed. Instead, Israel was put over the top by the unconventional tactics of outside interests whose actions lent weight to the old chestnut “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

Broward County Commissioner Sue Gunzburger
BROWARD COMMISSIONER
SUE GUNZBURGER
Broward County Commissioner Sue Gunzburger and Lamberti have long been political foes. In 2010, when Gunzburger was in a tough fight with former State Senator Steve Geller for her District 6 Commission seat, Lamberti launched a corruption investigation into her late husband’s sweetheart contracts to supply outdoor furnishings in County Parks, citing conflict violations alleged to have transpired more than a decade earlier. Having watched Lamberti deepen the stress lines across his mother’s face, her son Ron sharpened his teeth on tax cheats while working for Property Appraiser and family friend Lori Parrish. Gunzburger wove his mother’s abuse into a description of his political objectives, explaining, “The bogus investigation of Mom, which was purely something he trumped up... to hurt her during her campaign showed me such an abuse of power and an arrogance that it motivated me to say we need a change at BSO.” Gunzburger had blood in his eyes. He wanted his pound of flesh.

Israel Campaign Manager Amy Rose
CAMPAIGN MANAGER AMY ROSE
BSO GOV RELATIONS LOBBYIST
Former Richard Nixon political operative and dirty tricks Guru Roger Stone
POLITICAL TRICKSTER ROGER STONE
Proponent to the notion that “revenge is a dish best served cold,” while awaiting the next Sheriff’s race, Junior Gunzburger did some political networking. Reaching out to others alienated by Lamberti, he bonded with former Sheriff Ken Jenne - who Lamberti dethroned - and former Richard Nixon political operative and dirty tricks Guru Roger Stone. Leaving the Property Appraiser’s office to devote full time to deposing Lamberti, Ron Gunzburger teamed with Israel’s Campaign Manager Amy Rose - trained in flesh eating by Broward Judgemaker Barbara Miller - and assembled a brigade of disaffected deputies who had been abused, reduced in rank, humiliated or fired by Lamberti.

Israel’s campaign strategist and architect of the negative attacks Ron Gunzburger named General Counsel
CAMPAIGN WIZ RON GUNZBURGER
NAMED GENERAL COUNSEL
Drawing on this near bottomless source of rumored infractions, ethical missteps and implied culpability, Gunzburger loosed his cauldron of damning anecdotes into the land of blogs, where potential penalties for campaign finance violations are trumped by First Amendment protections. Admittedly spinning numerous anonymous attack pieces, after cooking the tripe, Gunzburger would email it to blogs that scrambled Lamberti like an egg. These seemingly puerile albeit vicious tidbits weren’t the work of some disenfranchised adolescent playing with his iPod, but carefully scripted torpedoes that repeatedly hit their mark. Gunzburger explains “When you have no money, you have to do guerilla tactics. The hyperbole sometimes was a little colorful, but the substance I think was correct.” Since neither cost nor value are factors when sending emails to an online blog, Gunzburger’s hijinks flew below the electioneering regulatory radar.

Click to Scott Israel Web Page Israel promised that there would be no post-election political bloodbath among BSO’s more than 6300 employees. However, the standard teambuilding fallout that accompanies any new administration began one week before Christmas. On December 18th, Israel sent 28 emails to high-ranking BSO employees, stating “Note, if you are still employed by BSO on January 8, 2013, you will receive formal written notice during that day setting forth that your employment with the agency is terminated.” By replacing Lamberti’s insiders with his own top staffers, Israel could reward those in the trenches with spots on the payroll. The next day (December 19), he issued a press release naming the new BSO Command Staff Leadership. Among them are key members of his election campaign team, former colleagues scavenged from the upper ranks of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department (FLPD) and BSO deputies who were demoted, abused or canned by Lamberti for reasons that were - at least in part - political.

Chief of Staff Lisa (and Angelo) Castillo
CHIEF OF STAFF LISA
(AND ANGELO) CASTILLO
The chief strategist of Israel’s campaign and architect of the negative attacks against Lamberti, Ron Gunzburger, will replace Judith Levine as BSO’s new general counsel. Campaign Manager Amy Rose will draw a paycheck for lobbying responsibilities in the BSO’s governmental relations unit. Longtime Galt Mile residents will recall former District 4 County Commissioner Jim Scott and his aide Lisa Yagid-Castillo (who was previously Legislative Assistant to former New York City Mayor Ed Koch and married to Pembroke Pines City Commissioner Angelo Castillo). When Scott lost his seat to Ken Keechl, Castillo landed a job with Broward lobbyist and political meat grinder Judy Stern. While with Stern, she worked on Israel’s failed 2008 campaign. Castillo will be Israel’s chief of staff. Although the Sheriff-elect hasn’t as yet defined a job title for him, husband Angelo will also land a high-ranking administrative post.

2008 Campaign Manager Judy Stern and Candidate Scott Israel
ISRAEL & 2008 CAMPAIGN MANAGER JUDY STERN
Filling the position of Israel’s Executive Assistant will be Mary Jo Mastrodonato, who worked in the Fort Lauderdale Police Department for 11 years before following Israel to the North Bay Village Police Department where she served as his assistant. After swapping out Lamberti’s nepots with his own, Israel still needed to hire some key law enforcement staffers. After all, it is the Sheriff’s Office.

Former Miami Dolphins defensive end Phillip Merling
EX-DOLPHIN DEFENSIVE END
PHILLIP MERLING MUG SHOT
On May 27, 2010, when Miami Dolphins defensive end Phillip Merling was arrested for domestic battery after hitting his pregnant girlfriend, director of Miami Dolphins security Stuart Weinstein called BSO Commander Alvin Pollock to inquire about Merling’s release status from the Main Jail. For more than 10 years, Pollock moonlighted for the Dolphin’s Security Detail. When Merling was released, Pollock waited until he was off duty before picking him up at the Jail and driving him to the Dolphins training camp in Davie, a stone’s throw from Pollock’s home.

Broward County Courthouse Complex
BROWARD COUNTY COURTHOUSE COMPLEX
Verging on apoplexy, Lamberti dedicated a press conference to humiliating Pollock for driving the Dolphin player in a County vehicle. Despite a 35-year clean record, Pollock was stripped of his badge, gun, and squad car and reassigned to car wash duty in the fleet division while Lamberti launched an investigation. After the probe, Pollock was removed as commander in charge of the Broward County Courthouse complex and reassigned as a road patrol watch commander on the midnight shift. He was also given a 15-day suspension without pay, prohibited from working any off-duty details and banned from working or volunteering for the Miami Dolphins. Since he’d administered discrete wrist slaps to officers who committed far more egregious infractions than driving someone while off-duty, Lamberti’s histrionics veiled an underlying political motive.

Alvin Pollock Promoted by Former Sheriff Ken Jenne
ALVIN POLLOCK
PROMOTED BY KEN JENNE
Predecessor Ken Jenne – long viewed by Lamberti as a political threat despite his public disgrace and incarceration – originally promoted Pollock to Commander in charge of the Courthouse, a position that had since earned him substantial credibility with Judges and attorneys in the Courthouse community. Since Israel had already announced his intention to take another run at BSO, Lamberti exploited an opportunity to neuter Pollock of the influence that accompanied his position. Jailhouse Politics 101.

Former Executive Officer Lt. David Benjamin
FORMER EXECUTIVE OFFICER
LT. DAVID BENJAMIN
What goes around comes around. Israel promoted Pollock to Colonel in charge of the BSO Department of Law Enforcement. One of the many deputies fired by Lamberti for supporting Israel in 2008, Russell Di Perna, will return to BSO once recertified. Prior to being pink-slipped, when Di Perna met with Lamberti’s Executive Officer Lt. David Benjamin after the 2008 election, Benjamin named several deputies who supported Israel and said, “They had cushy positions, they shouldn’t have gotten involved in the campaign, and now they’re going to lose their cushy positions.” Homing in on Di Perna, Benjamin admonished, “You made it personal, and now you’re going to suffer the consequences.” Di Perna got the boot.

Scott Rothstein and Undersheriff Tom Wheeler
SCOTT ROTHSTEIN AND UNDERSHERIFF TOM WHEELER
In addition to aggressively purging BSO personnel perceived by Lamberti as a threat, Benjamin and Undersheriff Tom Wheeler were full partners in the Sheriff’s less wholesome relationships. On Dec. 22, 2008, Lamberti wrote a letter to felon attorney Scott Rothstein on official BSO letterhead stating “If I may be of any assistance to you whatsoever, either professionally or personally, please feel free to call upon me.” In response, Rothstein paid Benjamin, who also headed BSO Internal Affairs, $50,000 for BSO services and ongoing preferential treatment. Rothstein regularly used BSO patrol cars to transport large amounts of cash to and from clients as BSO personnel often provided security for the crooked lawyer’s cash transactions. Rothstein also invested $30,000 in DWB Consulting, a Sunrise corporation Benjamin created in 2004. When his Ponzi empire began imploding, Benjamin drove Scott Rothstein and a duffle bag stuffed with several $million to his getaway plane at Executive Airport before escaping to Morocco; where he could negotiate surrender terms with Federal authorities. Apparently, they included a sting to serve Benjamin’s head on a platter for acting as a bag man. When the story broke, Lamberti quietly shifted Benjamin to youth services in countywide operations with his $106,000 annual salary intact.

Fire Chief Anthony Stravino
FIRE CHIEF ANTHONY STRAVINO
Among the Christmas casualties at BSO was top staff at the Fire Division, including Fire Chief and Executive Director Neal de Jesus, fire marshal and Division Chief Robert Arrighetti, and Division Chief John Holgerson, who was in charge of fire and rescue training. De Jesus is being replaced by Margate Fire Chief Anthony Stravino, who had previously served as Fire Chief in Deerfield Beach and Longwood. Stravino and Israel were childhood friends while growing up in Long Island.

Robert Pusins - Executive Director of Community Outreach
RET MAJOR ROBERT PUSINS
COMMUNITY OUTREACH
Israel tried to recruit Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Frank Adderley, who decided to stay with the City. Israel had better luck with FLPD Captain Jack Dale, who will head BSO Professional Standards Department, and FLPD Assistant Chief Steve Kinsey, who will run the BSO Department of Investigations. Retired FLPD Major Robert Pusins, who addressed the GMCA Advisory Board several times prior to entering the private sector as a law enforcement consultant and expert witness, will become the BSO Executive Director of Community Outreach.

Journalist Elgin Jones
JOURNALIST ELGIN JONES
At some point, Israel hopes that Pusins will be joined at Community Outreach by Elgin Jones, a reporter whose coverage of Lamberti was singularly scathing. A former City of Fort Lauderdale engineering inspector and union leader, after prevailing in a racial discrimination lawsuit against the city, Jones reinvented himself as a journalist, ultimately becoming a leading muckraker for the South Florida Times. Since he and Israel had worked together during their respective tenures with the City, Lamberti has long been one of Jones’ favorite dartboards.

Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr
JEAN-BAPTISTE ALPHONSE KARR
As exclaimed by Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, 1849 editor of Le Figaro in Paris, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Lamberti’s drones have been replaced by Israel’s drones. As long as the officials charged with protecting the lives of Broward citizens are selected primarily for their political predilections instead of their Law Enforcement or Fire-Rescue credentials, the nation’s largest Sheriff’s Office will remain a behavioral slop sink. The truth is we have no business electing a Sheriff. Like any skilled professional, a Sheriff should be hired for his or her specialized capabilities, much like a Civil Engineer hired to run a municipal Public Works Department or a specialist in governmental finances is hired as a Director of Management and Budget. Fort Lauderdale residents are fortunate. Instead of BSO, their public safety is managed by a skilled and committed Police Chief. Frank Adderley is accountable to City Manager Lee Feldman, whose training and experience enable him to accurately measure FLPD’s effectiveness, shield Adderley from politics and insure the adequacy of his resources. In turn, both Feldman and Adderley answer to a a non-partisan City Commission that includes a former Police Chief.

Fort Lauderdale City Manager Lee Feldman
FT LAUD CITY MANAGER
LEE FELDMAN
Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Frank Adderley
FLPD POLICE CHIEF
FRANK ADDERLEY
In contrast, the Broward Sheriff’s Office persists in a vacuum. During his term as Broward Sheriff, one man will unilaterally decide how to spend the $700 million annually allocated to BSO, who will populate BSO’s 6,300-employee roll, which vendors get lucrative contracts, what the public is and is not told – all while tailoring the limits of his own mandate to evolving circumstances. When evidence of wrongdoing is inadvertently exposed, he will investigate himself. BSO exists outside the checks and balances that ethically anchor most governmental entities. The Broward Sheriff is not answerable to the Broward County Commission. As a Constitutional Officer, he or she is only accountable to the Governor and Broward voters, who are largely clueless about what goes on inside BSO.

Click to Broward Sheriff's Office Web Page Every four years, voters are expected to choose a Sheriff - a task for which they are woefully ill equipped. As demonstrated by both campaign teams in the recent election, voters who don’t party line their ballots select a Sheriff based on the ability to dodge or shed mud. The only reliable guidance otherwise available to voters heralds from the fallout of Federal or State investigations or the dwindling number of investigative reporters who still have a media voice. Competence and character rarely enter the equation. We’d do as well by flipping a coin.

As long as the Broward Sheriff remains a partisan Constitutional Officer, the culture at BSO will focus on politics, with reelection as its Holy Grail and public safety relegated to an afterthought. For every scandal, purge or rip-off uncovered by some media muckraker or governmental investigator, twenty will pass unnoticed. Until the people of Broward County demand a non-partisan appointed Sheriff, BSO will remain a self-governing fiefdom answerable to no one – not the most productive environment for an agency wherein everyone is strapped.

Click To Top of Page



To GMCA HOME

To ISSUES INDEX

To FIRE SAFETY PAGE

To SHORE PROTECTION PAGE

To EMERGENCY ROOM PAGE

To CITY OF FORT LAUDERDALE PAGE

To FORT LAUDERDALE BUDGET CRISIS PAGE

To BROWARD COUNTY PROPERTY APPRAISER PAGE

To TALLAHASSEE POLITICS PAGE

To AUTOMATED EXTERNAL DEFIBRILLATOR PAGE

To CALYPSO GASWORKS PAGE

To 32nd STREET ALLEY PAGE

To FLPD CRIME STATISTICS

To MAIN PAGE

To GOVERNANCE

To REPORT CARD

To LAWS & STATUTES

To GOVERNMENT LINKS

Click To Top of Page


GMCA HOME MAIN PAGE Associations Directors Governance Laws & Statutes Issues
Newsletters Calendar Market Page Vendors Forum Report Card Archives Site Map Contact
LINKS PAGE Finance News Weather Government Directions Travel Dining Entertainment Search
Webmaster EPB