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The historical content of the Galt Mile Community Association’s Web Site is catalogued and chronicled in these archives. This content is comprised of articles and anecdotes that are no longer current, but may be useful from a historical perspective. The categories are chronological. Scrolling down delves deeper into the past. If you encounter any difficulty locating a particular story, report, or graphic, feel free to Contact us with your dilemma and assistance will be forthcoming.

Please Note - Many of the links included in these articles from the past are no longer active.


2015



Construction pitfalls on the Galt Mile
Galt Ocean Mile
GALT OCEAN MILE
January 19, 2015 - Throughout 2013 and 2014, the Galt Mile was bubbling with construction. Weeks or months after attending Special Assessment meetings convened to fund the improvements, unit owners watched engineers and contractors reincarnate badly eroded building features - preserving the value of their homes and their quality of life. Coincidentally, about half of the neighborhood’s largest associations underwent comprehensive concrete restorations, insuring that Plaza South, SouthPoint and Plaza East remain among the City’s most important properties. The neighborhood association monitors these projects’ progress, watching for unanticipated or abusive regulatory obstacles that might unfairly burden assessed unit owners and impede improvements in every association.

Former Plaza South President Andrew Surdovel
FORMER PLAZA SOUTH
PRESIDENT ANDREW SURDOVEL
In mid-2013, former Plaza South President Andy Surdovel watched his association’s concrete rehabilitation sputter to a halt. Under a City-issued permit, Plaza South was completing extensive upgrades to its pool deck. Although their landscape architect designed a deck lighting plan with fixtures featured as turtle-friendly on the Florida Fish and Wildlife website, the City rejected a permit application for the lighting plan - with an enigmatic turtle graphic stamped on their response. Upon contacting the City to learn why the Building Department answered their application with a marine glyph, the project engineer was told that since planned improvements extend east of the Coastal Construction Control Line (CCCL), they must also be approved by the State. Specifically, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Sea Turtle Program - Click to Web Site To protect Florida beaches from “imprudent construction”, the 1971 State Legislature enacted s. 161.053, Florida Statutes, creating a Coastal Construction Control Line to define coastal areas “within which special structural design consideration is required to insure protection of the beach-dune system, any proposed structure, and adjacent properties, rather than to define a seaward limit for upland structures.” In short, any permit application for construction that penetrates the CCCL triggers scrutiny of potential adverse impacts to the coastal ecosystem as a condition for approval. Many Galt Mile residents mistakenly perceive the CCCL as a mystical paradigm hovering somewhere over the beach like other reference elevation benchmarks (i.e. Mean High Water Line, etc.), it doesn’t. In fact, it cuts right through the superstructure of many Galt Mile properties.

Click to Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Web Site A few years earlier, when a code official approved a turtle-safe lighting plan for a Galt Mile Association (a procedure recommended by the former Code Enforcement Manager), after it was permitted and installed, a different code officer issued a violation, asserting that he wasn’t bound by another officer’s approval - or a permit issued by the Building Department. In a subsequent meeting arranged by City Commissioner Bruce Roberts to investigate this contradictory policy, the City’s former Code Enforcement Manager disclosed the underlying source of this departmental dogma to Galt Mile officials.

Nova Team Collects Data When Building Services considered a beachfront lighting permit application, plan reviews were limited to compliance with the building code’s electrical, mechanical, plumbing, structural and fire safety regulations. Since the poorly drafted 2003 beach lighting ordinance (C-03-9, § 1, 2-18-03) was loosely based on a set of State guidelines (62B-55, Florida Administrative Code) crafted by Florida Fish and Wildlife environmentalists, and lacked specificity sufficient for incorporation into the building code, it was never included in the City’s approval process. Since Code Enforcement was charged with enforcing the City’s controversial beach lighting ordinance, lighting plans that fully conformed to permits issued by the Building Department were regularly violated shortly after implementation - by code officers who worked for the same Building Department.

Assistant City Manager & sustainability liaison Susan Torriente
ASSISTANT CITY MANAGER
SUSAN TORRIENTE
When asked how an association can avoid being ensnared by this Catch-22 regulatory bear trap, the code manager “unofficially” leaked, “Ask Florida Fish and Wildlife; our officers won’t violate a plan approved by the State.” To “unofficially” avoid an endless string of lighting infractions, Associations would have to secure plan approval from both the City and the State. Since this additional regulatory requirement was unilaterally conceived by Code Officials, it hadn’t been approved by the Administration or disclosed to the public. Instead, Building Services Code Officers would continue to violate lighting plans approved by Building Services Plan Review. Finally, City Manager Lee Feldman and sustainability liaison Susan Torriente stepped in to clean up this mess. Instead of tossing homeowners into a fiscal grinder, Building Services began slapping turtle graphics on permit applications for beachfront lighting plans, signifying a requirement for State approval.

Plaza South
PLAZA SOUTH
In a meeting arranged by Galt Mile officials with Florida Fish and Wildlife, a simple procedure was hammered out with the FWC specialist for coastal lighting, enabling Galt Mile associations planning exterior improvements to snag State approval by complying with Agency guidance. When an association seeks a building permit for onsite lighting improvements near the ocean, the State’s environmental interest is largely limited to insuring that the lighting plan doesn’t disrupt nesting turtle and hatchling behavior (i.e. the turtle glyph) by unnecessarily illuminating the adjacent beach. When Plaza South’s engineer, landscape architect and contractor admitted to being perplexed about how to proceed, Surdovel explained the dilemma to GMCA V.P. Eric Berkowitz, who contacted FWC Imperiled Species lighting expert Karen Schanzle.

Environmental Specialist II Karen Schanzle with the Marine Turtle subsection of Imperiled Species Management at Florida FWC
LIGHTING GURU
KAREN SCHANZLE
On August 1, 2013, Schanzle flew down to Fort Lauderdale from her office in Tallahassee and met with Surdovel, the project engineer, the contractor and other Plaza South officials. Within an hour, she addressed their collective concerns, carefully explaining the reasons for each of her recommendations. Over the next week, she provided Surdovel with a regulatory roadmap, enabling him to circumvent FDEP and hand the City a State-approved plan. By November, Plaza South completed a unique and elegant beachfront remodel.

Concerned about receiving the same daunting turtle graphic upon applying for a similar City permit, Plaza East President Glenn Rollo contacted the neighborhood association on November 20, 2013, and asked how Plaza East could land State approval for a planned concrete rehabilitation. Aware of the confusion that initially hampered Plaza South, Rollo and Plaza East Vice President Terry Marcum were rightfully leery of bureaucratic roadblocks skyrocketing project costs. When extensive construction projects become mired in regulatory dogma, the cost of sitting and waiting while code officials play “Where's Waldo” with the Florida Building Code can shred the association budget.


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Plaza East President Glenn Rollo
PLAZA EAST PRESIDENT
GLENN ROLLO
To avoid costly project delays, Rollo and Marcum held a telephone conference with Schanzle on Tuesday, November 26, 2013. Within 30 minutes, Schanzle told the association officials how to light their pool deck without adversely impacting the adjacent beach. Schanzle’s footpath through the State’s CCCL regulatory labyrinth enabled Plaza East engineer Henry Hillman to dispel Building Department concerns about planned illumination of the pool deck. As the project unfolded over the next 12 months, Plaza East closed in on a result that functionally and aesthetically rivaled that of next door neighbor Plaza South. As unit owners anxiously awaited completion of a long and costly improvement plan, a mid-level City code official suddenly tossed Rollo and Marcum an eleventh hour fiscal hand grenade.

Plaza East Concrete Rehabilitation
PLAZA EAST CONCRETE REHABILITATION
With State approval, on March 6, 2014, Plaza East’s Pompano-based general contractor Structural Preservation Systems (AKA “STRUCTURAL”) filed a master permit application with the City of Fort Lauderdale Building Department. The application covered repairs to the association swimming pool, resurfacing and waterproofing the surrounding pool deck, a redesign of deck walls and planters, and building a common area bathroom to service the pool area. During the plan review process, STRUCTURAL and Hillman Engineering answered 19 questions about structural issues, 5 questions related to fire safety, 68 inquiries about planned ventilation (classified as “mechanical”) and addressed 163 notes from Fort Lauderdale plumbing examiner Joe Croasdale. Four and a half months later, the City finally approved the association’s construction plan on July 18, 2014 (Permit Number 14030416).

Waterproofing Plaza East Rear Deck
WATERPROOFING PLAZA EAST REAR DECK
Having previously completed major concrete rehabilitation projects for Regency Tower, Playa del Sol and other Galt Mile associations, STRUCTURAL was intimately familiar with the neighborhood, the City’s code requirements and association construction issues – as was project engineer Henry Hillman. Both Hillman and STRUCTURAL Project Manager Cale Delaney had productively worked with City building inspectors and code officials on many complex projects. Under permits issued by Building Services, the $5 million Plaza East concrete rehabilitation progressed apace through the late summer and fall. Since Rollo is an engineer, his authoritative oversight insured that the construction team remained focused on the unit owners’ vision for their shared home. By November, the project was substantially complete.

Click to 2010 ADA Standards for Accesible Design Among the remaining items under contract were restrooms servicing the pool area. At a bathroom plumbing rough inspection scheduled for November 24, 2014, the inspector refused to check the work. Although built to specifications approved by the City, the inspector suddenly claimed that City code (i.e. the Florida Building Code) mandates that the path to the bathrooms meet ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements. The inspector also knew that his refusal to inspect the bathrooms would freeze the project.

Click to ADA Web Site In short, the inspector’s claim was patently false. Common interest communities are private residences, not public venues. As such, unless recipient to Federal subsidies or government sponsorship, condominiums and cooperatives are largely exempt from complying with Federal Accessibility Laws. An association common area is only subject to ADA structural specifications if defined as a “place of public accommodation” or a “commercial facility,” such as a sales, rental or business office, where a community association interfaces with the general public. If nearby restrooms or parking spaces are presumed available to those using that office, these structures could also warrant compliance (along with the accessible route that connects these elements). However, the presumption doesn’t extend to bathrooms servicing the association’s pool deck. In short, the code officer arbitrarily twisted Federal Law to bring the project to a standstill.

Chief Building Inspector John Madden
CHIEF BUILDING INSPECTOR
JOHN MADDEN
Hoping to resolve this dilemma, on November 26, Rollo and engineer Hillman met with Chief Building Inspector John Madden and Chief Plumbing Inspector Joe DeMaio. In the ensuing discussion, it was suggested that Rollo and Hillman install a mechanical lift to assist disabled owners navigate the path to the bathroom. Sensing that further dialogue would be used by the inspectors to pile on additional structural requirements that were neither in the approved plans nor required by the Building Code, Rollo asked Madden “What has Plaza East, its contractor or Engineer of record done wrong to warrant this treatment?”

Click to Hillman Engineering Web Site Exclaiming that he wasn’t involved in the City’s original approval of the project, Madden told Rollo that he felt compelled to change the project requirements to protect the City from liability. When Rollo and Hillman repeatedly insisted that changing the plans after the fact would skyrocket the cost, Madden offered what proved to be a disingenuous compromise.

Click to RSMeans Web Site As Rollo later described to City Manager Lee Feldman and Commissioner Roberts, “The city (inspectors) requested that our Engineer show that installing vertical access to the remodeled bathrooms would be unfeasible and create a disproportionate cost burden when compared to the entire project cost. If the explanation and engineering costs estimate met the criteria for “disproportionate cost” THEN both inspectors would be on site on Monday to inspect.” Specifically, if Hillman could demonstrate that the expense for providing handicap access would exceed 20% of the cost (28 CFR 36.403 (f)(1)) for rebuilding the restrooms to ADA specifications – according to RSMeans (a North American industry standard for estimating construction costs) – the inspectors would allow the project to go forward. Although Hillman was well aware that private residences are not required to install an ADA compliant pathway to poolside restrooms, if meeting this request would get the project moving, he would prepare the documentation.

STRUCTURAL Project Manager Cale Delaney
STRUCTURAL PROJECT MANAGER
CALE DELANEY
On November 28, Hillman’s Director of Engineering Andrew DiCesare sent a letter and architectural drawings documenting how the belated ruling would require reconfiguring the bathroom access at great expense, concomitantly placing an undue fiscal strain on Plaza East residents. In a response sent to STRUCTURAL Project Manager Cale Delaney, Madden casually dismissed Hillman’s evidentiary cost estimates for rebuilding the restroom pathway. As if to punctuate the consequences of questioning his inviolate rulings, Madden added “Therefore, we ask that full compliance with the requirements of Florida Building Code Accessibility section 202.4 be made,” capriciously piling on the cost of rebuilding the bathrooms in compliance with ADA specifications.

Click to STRUCTURAL Web Site It finally dawned on Rollo and Hillman that they faced two possibilities. Either they were the hapless victims of a megalomaniacal code official obsessed with exacting a pound of flesh from those subject to his judgment, or the City’s Chief Building Inspector was strangely unfamiliar with Federal regulations that govern applicability for ADA code requirements. Since the endgame for either scenario seemed a recipe for disaster, Rollo realized he needed help. As a member of the Galt Mile Advisory Board, he was also Plaza East’s liaison to every Galt Mile elected official, including City Commissioner Bruce Roberts.

Fort Lauderdale City Manager Lee Feldman
CITY MANAGER LEE FELDMAN
At the December 1st Galt Mile Presidents Council meeting at Plaza South, Rollo outlined his quandary for Roberts, who invited the Plaza East Board President to send the relevant documentation to Commission Aide Robbi Uptegrove. The next day, Uptegrove notified City Manager Lee Feldman and his Neighborhood Support Coordinator David Soloman, observing that Plaza East was getting a “runaround” by building officials. To investigate the disputed ruling, Soloman forwarded the documentation to Chief Mechanical Inspector Alex Hernandez, who also serves as the City’s Assistant Building Official (the 2nd most influential position in Building Services). By December 3rd, Hernandez had apprised Fort Lauderdale Building Official John Travers, who administers the Building Services Division. In a resounding anti-climax, Travers informed Madden that “unsubsidized” condominium bathrooms (unless they service the building office) are exempt from ADA Accessibility standards.

Fort Lauderdale Building Official John Travers
FORT LAUDERDALE BUILDING
OFFICIAL JOHN TRAVERS
Instead of popping his decision into a memo for Madden, Travers drafted a fully annotated official response, beginning with a summary of the conflict, “In response to the recent concern over the alterations occurring in the downstairs bathrooms related to this project, I have reviewed the approved plans, the applicability of accessibility requirements and the overall scope of the project.”

Click to Declaratory Statement (DS 2013-011) Citing a petitioned March 29, 2013 Declaratory Statement (DS 2013-011) that was unanimously approved by the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of the Florida Building Commission, Travers decided “Since there is no requirement to install an accessible lift for entry into and exit from the pool, and since the path of travel to the downstairs bathrooms is not being altered, then I do not see the need to create an accessible path to those bathrooms. Further, this is a private residence condominium that currently has no accessible units. While accessibility is afforded to the ground floor sales manager’s office and an accessible restroom is located immediately adjacent to that office, a DEC (Declaratory) Statement from the Florida Building Commission was issued on a similar case in Coconut Creek, exempting the pool area from accessibility requirements, because this is a private residence facility and the pool is for use only by the owners and their guests. Additionally, creating an accessible path to the restrooms and the beach would place extreme financial burden on project.” In relieving Plaza East of compliance with unwarranted ADA specifications, Travers’ observation that “creating an accessible path to the restrooms and the beach would place extreme financial burden on project,” also supports the cost estimates submitted by Hillman, which Madden had blown off as irrelevant, darkening the cloud over his motives.

Click to Florida Building Commission Web Site At the end of the day, Travers diffused a volatile situation that might have otherwise played out in Circuit Court. Plaza East has a long and laudable history of fighting against unfair regulatory assaults and defending unit owner rights. The State Attorney General’s website houses an impressive list of favorable Declaratory Statements for the Galt Mile condominium. While the delays will cost Plaza East unit owners an additional $21,000, Rollo is primarily concerned with completing the project.

Fort Lauderdale Code Enforcement Manager Sharon Ragoonan
FORT LAUD. CODE ENFORCEMENT
MANAGER SHARON RAGOONAN
Rollo immediately shot off an email thanking Roberts and Travers, copying the involved Building Services officials, Plaza East Board members and the neighborhood association. As GMCA officials learned about the outcome, they added their gratitude to that expressed by Rollo, and also thanked City Manager Lee Feldman for expeditiously curing the problem. In his response, Roberts also credited Feldman with having successfully reconfigured Building Services.

Last year, the top management in Building Services underwent an overhaul, as Sharon Ragoonan stepped in as Code Enforcement Manager (replacing Skip Margerum) and John Travers replaced Terry Burgess as the City’s Building Official. Both new officials bring sterling credentials to the table. Advisory Board members contrasted how the Plaza East dilemma was managed with similar issues confronted by previous administrations; when building officials might have automatically closed ranks in support of an insufferable decision and buried the problem. In his debut on the Galt Mile, John Travers proved himself competent and knowledgeable, and most importantly, had the courage to do the right thing. As such, it appears that Roberts’ assessment was correct – that Feldman picked the right person for the job.

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Year Three!

Click to Galt Mile Wine and Food Festival website January 30, 2015 - On Saturday, March 7, 2015, the 3rd Annual Galt Mile Wine & Food Festival will unfold in our back yard, resurrecting last year’s sequel to the 2013 inaugural event, when thousands of local residents and visitors were rewarded with a delightfully entrancing weekend afternoon – right across the street. The festival is produced by BocaRaton.Com and The Bites! Network – in partnership with the Galt Mile Community Association.

From 4 to 8 PM, attendees will choose from scores of fine artisan wines, craft beers & spirits while enjoying distinctive food tastings; live cooking demonstrations; and authoritative insight into pairing each dish with the perfect libation - as suggested by some of South Florida’s most experienced sommeliers and renowned Top Chefs.

When navigating the festival’s many offerings; allow your senses to guide you through the labyrinth of sumptuous stations. Aromas will draw you to your next stop, and your palate will dictate whether to request “seconds” or move on. In its third consecutive year, the festival is once again anchored by the culinary professionals who’ve built their lives around their craft. As enumerated on the promoter’s website, returning participants in the prior years’ events will be joined by additional epicurean luminaries in 2015.

South Florida’s Top Chefs!

Chef Mai Ponrathorn at Tokyo Blue in the Ocean Manor Hotel
CHEF MAI PONRATHORN
Among the noteworthy Chefs in this year’s lineup is Executive Chef Mai Ponrathorn of Tokyo Blue (formerly of the Miami Beach hot spot Nobu), who nurtures Asian Fusion nightly at the Galt Mile’s Ocean Manor Resort. While under Executive Chef Hector Lopez’ tutelage at Events by Grateful Palate, Chef Freddy Kunkel envisioned opening The Roasted Fig, which now exports Kunkel’s unique creations to devotees all over South Florida, provisioning patrons with inspired culinary fare. Having morphed a sports bar into an art form, chefs at the Galt Mile Bokampers will once again offer mainstays from their quintessential sportsfare. Click to Tokyo Blue website Executive Chef Remon Choi from BAO Las Olas harmonizes complex flavors in creating Asian inspired cuisine that ranges from authentic to fusion. Having emerged victorious over Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto in the Food Network episode dedicated to calamari, Executive Chef Claudio Sandri from Pronto by the Sea in L-B-T-S is another first time festival headliner.

Chef Freddy Kunkel at The Roasted Fig
CHEF FREDDY KUNKEL OF THE ROASTED FIG
The culinary wizardry of Executive Chef Dane Iacangelo built Potions in Motion into a Boca Raton catering benchmark. Hilary Saporta’s online dessert Mecca “A Flair For Fudge” is a magnet for corporate clients with a sweet tooth. From the Galt Mile, Martin Barrett’s iconic “Olde Irish Pub” Sly Fox and Ocean Manor’s beachside Bamboo Beach Tiki Bar pump out South Florida comfort food. Click to The Roasted Fig website Committed to making wellness savory, this year’s impressive crop of participating health conscious eateries includes chef inspired food for the soul from the Green Spot Kitchen, a menu laden with gluten-free grains and bakery items from the Green Bar & Kitchen (which is planning a second outlet on the Galt Mile), Dr. Juice turns raw, organic, unpasteurized ingredients from local farms into liquid bliss while the Living Green Fresh Market trades in the antioxidants hinted in its namesake.

Chef Hector Lopez of Sidecar mobile kitchen
CHEF HECTOR LOPEZ OF SIDECAR MOBILE KITCHEN
On East Commercial Boulevard in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea is the Basilic Vietnamese Grill - a study in Asian spice. Nurturing Japanese Thai specialties, Beg for More blends fusion Thai dishes with sushi and tapas. Specializing in fresh New England and local seafood are Kelly’s Landing and Joe’s Crab Shack - both in Fort Lauderdale. Featuring dishes like Cinnamon Roll French Toast or Shrimp ‘n Grits, Boca brunchery Another Broken Egg injects artisan flair into a weekend afternoon spread. Click to Sidecar Kitchen website Merging a nightclub, boutique and restaurant, ROC Resto-Lounge & Fashion tweaks gourmet American fare with Asian and Latin flavors. Renowned Chef Hector Lopez’ latest enterprise, Sidecar Mobile Kitchen turns out dishes like crab cake sandwiches and truffle parmesan fries while rolling between chic private events and packed festivals. Outback Steakhouse Co-Founders Tim Gannon and Bob Basham conceived PDQ (People Dedicated to Quality), proof that fast and good aren’t a culinary anathema. Also in the mix are Giorgio’s 17th Street Italian Specialty Restaurant and Caterer, The Garlic Knot pizza & pasta, Rated M Wines (and infused desserts), 100% grass-fed Arrowhead Beef, steak and seafood staples from the Chart House, Chef Mauro Petrini’s matchless gelati and sorbetti from Gelato Petrini and more added each day.

Wine, Beer & Spirits

Click to WineEvents.Com If tantalized by a luscious libation, you can purchase the potable from onsite Boca Raton based wine retailer WineEvents.Com. Participating purveyors of Wine, Beer and Spirits include Phelps Creek Vineyards of Oregon, natural wines from Organic Cellar Plus, Click to Love It Or Leave It Wines website limited production Premium wines from Strategic Importers, Ideal Drinks, New York offerings like Tug Boat Red and Call Me a Cab from Love It or Leave It Wines, Constellation Brands (like Mondavi and Svedka), GOS Wines from family owned vineyards, California’s The Naked Grape, Bonacchi and Sassolino of Pompano-based Tuscany Imports & Beverage International Group, Click to Holy Mackerel Beers website products from the California and North Pacific vineyards of Bulletproof Wine & Spirits, international offerings of Southern Wine & Spirits, craft and estate wines from The Winebow Group, Toscano Wine Group, Wicked Wines, Florida small batch beers from Holy Mackerel, the mountain brews of Sierra Nevada, America’s largest family-owned distilled spirits marketer and producer Heaven Hill Distilleries, Leblon Natural Cane Brazilian Cachaga, Texas native Tito’s Handmade Vodka, the Latin Flavor of Cuba Libre rum and cola and Fort Lauderdale’s Shot Girlz.

2015 Changes: Ups & Downs

Click to The Castle Group website
Galt Mile Glass and Tray from 2014 Event
GALT MILE GLASS AND TRAY FROM 2014 EVENT
In 2015, the festival will explore an international hospitality hypothesis debated by sommeliers and gourmets throughout history. Since food aficionados and vintners worldwide are eternally matching their local wines to the perfect light fare, “Wine & Cheese” is footnoted in every menu on earth. The festival will probe this elusive balance, as Artisan Cheeses and Specialty Foods are properly paired with our local libations. Mirroring last year, a grouping of thick, comfortable couches and chairs will be centrally accessible. Following gastronomic immersion in food, wine, beer and spirits, satiated attendees can relax and reboot in the “Chill-Out Lounge”.

Click to Schindler website Click to BB&T website Less apparent is a change to the lineup of event sponsors. First Service Residential (AKA Continental Management), which served as a sponsor for the past two years, took a powder. Since the 28 condominiums and cooperatives that border the event provide fertile grazing for an association management vendor, the vacancy was filled by Castle Management. J.M. Lexus also bugged out. Given their status as an authorized event vendor, WineEvents.Com will continue as a sponsor.
KG&B Name Partner Donna Berger
DONNA BERGER
Until a few weeks before the event date, the list of sponsors and the extent of their involvement remains fluid. According to GMCA President Pio Ieraci, it is unclear whether Becker & Poliakoff (Ken Direktor & Donna Berger) will feature a presence at the event. As of five weeks before March 7, 2015 festival, potential sponsors include The Schindler Group (manufactures, installs, services and modernizes Galt Mile elevators), BB&T (provides local banking, insurance, investment services), the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce (they talk - a lot), and a half dozen other prospects.

Where do I Go?

Festival Parking at the Tides at Bridgeside Square
FESTIVAL PARKING - THE TIDES AT BRIDGESIDE SQUARE
The Festival takes place in the commercial parking lots (serving the strip malls) on the west side of Galt Ocean Drive. Bordered by NE 36th Street on the North (across from Ocean Riviera) and the Greek Islands Taverna on the South (across from Southpoint), the Festival's Main Entrance is at the corner of Galt Ocean Drive and NE 35th Street (across from Playa del Sol). Additional parking is available at The Tides at Bridgeside Square (the newest member of the Galt Mile Community Association) at 3020 NE 32nd Avenue, Fort Lauderdale (just South of Oakland Park Boulevard near the Intracoastal). Valet parking west of their garage is $5 or self-park on the east side for $1.25 per hour. The Sun Trolley will transport guests to and from the festival for FREE. Of course, a brisk walk to or from the event will offset calories accumulated at the tasting tables!

Click to Galt Mile Wine & Food Festival Site Maps
Galt Mile Wine & Food Festival Site (Click Graphic for More Maps)

What’s in it for Me?

For 4 decadent hours, chefs and sommeliers from many of South Florida’s most acclaimed culinary venues will lavish you with those dishes that placed their establishments on the map. To otherwise sample these extraordinary trademark offerings, restaurant patrons would have to visit each establishment and order its iconic fare - an exercise that would take months and cost a fortune. Instead, you can spend a single lazy Saturday afternoon trying them all, one masterpiece after the other, while strolling across the street from your home.

An Added Benefit

Galt Mile residents have another stake in the annual festival. Prior to the 2013 inaugural event, the Galt Mile Community Association negotiated an understanding with the event’s promoter and sponsors. If well attended, an annual Galt Mile Wine & Food Festival stands to become a neighborhood signature event. Its potential for enriching neighborhood appeal will translate into higher unit values. Additionally, if the event continues to be successful, a modest percent of the income will be cached into a firewalled community reserve fund. The dedicated resources will be used by the Advisory Board for critical neighborhood improvements not funded by the City or County.

Raise Home Values However, the Festival must be successfully established to merit the contribution. If enough people buy tickets and attend the event in these early years, momentum will guarantee its evolution into an annual event, triggering the opportunity to subsidize neighborhood improvements that will enhance the value of every home on the Galt Mile.

Ticket Trivia

Galt Mile Residents click to buy special Discount Ticket A few important parting shots - Tickets are limited to prevent overcrowding. Last Year, roughly 1,800 event-goers meandered past the tasting tables, as food fanciers from Palm Beach to the Keys joined with residents from all over Fort Lauderdale and Broward. To date, ticket sales are far outpacing last year’s packed event. If you don't want to stand on a line behind hundreds of others while hoping that a ticket will still be available by the time you reach the entrance gate, buy your ticket now. Compared with similar festivals, this one is dirt cheap. Far less convenient events in Boca, South Beach and Las Olas offering a comparable experience cost three to four times as much - and often cloak “elective” costs. A ticket to the Galt Mile Wine & Food Festival is all inclusive. Also, by special arrangement with the neighborhood association, tickets purchased by Galt Mile residents prior to February 28 will subject to a 60% discount (Galt Mile Residents Click Here for special discount; others Click Here for standard discount).

SO – Buy a ticket. Enjoy the soft seaside winds wafting off the Atlantic and all the other syrupy trappings of paradise punch-listed by the promoter. Let tasty tidbits titillate your palate as you drink your way to a late Saturday buzz. Most of all, revel in the prospect that you may have added a healthy footnote to the value of your home!!!

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Commissioner Bruce Roberts

Lobby List|| FireHouse || King Tide

Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
COMMISSIONER BRUCE ROBERTS
February 8, 2015 - After opening his January/February 2015 newsletter with an outpouring of gratitude for the absence of an opponent in the municipal primary - and a plea to support his fellow incumbent Commission candidates - District 1 City Commissioner Bruce Roberts enumerates the City’s stand on issues soon to be undertaken by the Legislature. In short, the Commission will support bills that empower home rule, oppose measures that neuter or dilute municipal self-governance, and support legislation that bolsters funding for local policies and programs.

Fort Lauderdale Fire Station #54
RENDERING OF NEW FORT LAUDERDALE FIRE STATION #54
The Commissioner announced the completion of an interim facility that will temporarily house Fire Station #54 until the permanent structure is erected (City Project #P10914) at 3201 Northeast 32nd Street. Roberts outlines how recently implemented infrastructure improvements diminish the adverse impacts of Global Warming - as addressed in the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Leadership Summit - and exemplified by newly installed subsurface tidal valves that help control flooding. Before closing with an offer to help constituents address their municipal concerns, Roberts welcomes Jenni Morejon as the new Director of the Department of Sustainable Development, which oversees Building Services, Code Compliance, Economic and Community Reinvestment, Community Redevelopment Agency, Housing and Community Development and Urban Design and Planning.

Lobbyist Dave Ericks
LOBBYIST DAVE ERICKS
Lobbyist Ron Book
LOBBYIST RON BOOK
Having been hired by the City Commission to plant Fort Lauderdale’s footprint on the upcoming 2015 legislative session in Tallahassee, lobbyists Dave Ericks (Ericks Consultants, Inc.) and Ron Book (Ronald L. Book, PA) were equipped with a summary of the City’s legislative priorities. Compiled by City Manager Lee Feldman, the included issues were drawn from the City’s FY 2015 Commission Annual Action Plan and conform to the Press Play Fort Lauderdale Strategic Plan 2018 initiative. The list of legislative priorities and funding requests was submitted to the Commission for discussion on October 21, 2014.

City Manager Lee Feldman
CITY MANAGER LEE FELDMAN
At the November 4 Commission meeting, the list was rolled into City Resolution 14-185 and unanimously approved. In an attached agenda memo to the commission, Feldman announced that City staff would seek funding for the listed priorities. Noting that additional funding for lobbying federal lawmakers was included in the Fiscal Year 2015 budget, Feldman advised “Separate federal priorities will be presented to the Commission for discussion once a federal lobbyist is retained,” foretelling his intention to generate a comparable Federal wish list.

Click to 6th Annual Southeast Florida Regional Climate Leadership Summit Web Page Following the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Leadership Summit, United States Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D - Rhode Island) asked Mayor Jack Seiler for a tour of low-lying Fort Lauderdale neighborhoods most at risk for flooding by a seasonal phenomenon known as “king tides.” Since Whitehouse serves as co-chair of the congressional Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change, Seiler hoped that his standing as the Senate’s preeminent advocate for climate issues would help convince Washington lawmakers to loosen federal funding for the protection of coastal regions besieged by rising sea levels.

Click to King Tide Web Page King tides occur twice annually when the earth reaches a point in its rotation that aligns with the gravitational fields of the moon and sun to maximize gravitational pressure on the oceans, yielding monstrous high tides and lower low tides. Over the last several decades, these tidal extremes have grown increasingly severe - exacerbated by rising sea levels, and the rate of rise is accelerating. In effect, these king tides provide us with a snapshot of daily coastal conditions in a few decades. At a recent UN Climate Change summit, President Barack Obama identified the South Florida coast as among the nation’s regions most vulnerable to flooding.

Click to Aquifer Florida’s vulnerability to tidal flooding is inflamed by its geological architecture. Since a thick layer of porous limestone sits under the Sunshine State, climate scientists and advocates have likened their challenge to “trying to control water with a wall of marbles.” During king tide flooding, saltwater can overrun seawalls or simply seep through the ground adjacent to canals, rivers or the ocean. By backing up through the pipes that ordinarily discharge stormwater to the ocean, king tides regularly flood inland areas.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Mayor Jack Seiler at Riverwalk
SENATOR SHELDON WHITEHOUSE AND MAYOR JACK SEILER
During the walking tour, as Whitehouse witnessed water percolating up through a storm drain, Seiler remarked “This is an environmental issue but it’s also an economic issue, and the US government needs to recognize that – just like the local government has recognized that.” Concurring with Seiler’s observation that evolving building codes are going to mandate stronger and more expensive protective infrastructure, Whitehouse admonished “We all are going to need to prepare for that. We need to have the resources available to invest in that infrastructure, build those protections and make sure that we can keep living life the way we want to.”

Riviera Isles Flooding
RIVIERA ISLES FLOODING
Click To Tideflex website The tidal valves mentioned by Roberts were actually the brainchild of a local neighborhood association. Since high tides usually morphed Riviera Isles into a slop sink, in 2010, the Riviera Isles Homeowner's Association cut a deal with the City to test one-way tidal control valves manufactured by Tideflex. Having fronted the city most of the $176,000 cost for installing 17 valves as part of a pilot project, the City returned $144,399 in 2012, when staff confirmed that the valves kept the streets dry. By adding $541,600 to a $700,000 grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the program was expanded to Las Olas Isles, Venice Isles and Rio Vista Isles in 2014; as the City has installed 44 tidal control valves to date.

Tidal Control Valves
TIDAL CONTROL VALVES
The valves serve as backflow preventers, allowing stormwater to flow through the drains, but slam shut as the water level rises, preventing seawater from entering the sewer system. Other tools in the anti-flooding arsenal are Recharge Drainage Wells (which collect water from the stormwater system and pipes it directly to the aquifer), exfiltration trenches (sixteen miles of perforated pipes – French Drains – through which water soaks into the subsoil and the aquifer) and pervious pavers (water seeps through pavered sidewalks into the soil and the aquifer instead of ponding and burdening stormdrains).

Recharge Drainage Well
RECHARGE DRAINAGE WELL
Fort Lauderdale and Broward County have also recently completed a pilot project that could entitle them to funding designated by statute for Adaptation Action Areas, sites subject to coastal flooding and/or adverse impacts from rising sea levels. However, since State and local funding opportunities lack the scope and outreach required to roll back the dilemma’s worldwide root cause, absent federal resources, local governments are constrained to playing catch-up against Mother Nature.

Chip LaMarca
CHIP LAMARCA
Accompanying Seiler and Whitehouse were Broward Commissioners Chip LaMarca and Tim Ryan, whose County districts include 80% of the Broward coast. Expanding on Seiler’s exhortation, District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca commented, “Investing in infrastructure to protect residents and businesses will be far cheaper in the long run than repairing the damage from flood after flood.”

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, City Commissioner Romney Rogers, Mayor Jack Seiler and Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca listening to Broward Commissioner Tim Ryan
SEN SHELDON WHITEHOUSE, COMM ROMNEY ROGERS, MAYOR JACK
SEILER AND BROWARD COMMS CHIP LAMARCA AND TIM RYAN
Also joining the early evening environmental expedition were City Commissioner Romney Rogers, City Manager Lee Feldman and Assistant City Manager Susan Torriente (Feldman’s sustainability liaison), Dr. Jennifer Jurado (Director of the Broward County Environmental Planning and Community Resilience Division), the Nature Conservancy’s South Florida Conservation Director Chris Bergh – and a phalanx of other City and County officials and staffers.

Will it work? Senate Republicans beholding to Tea Party constituents cherry pick revelations from their ideological junkyard. While dabbling in their hypothesis that global warming is a Commie scam, they stop short of wailing that South Florida flooding is Biblical retribution for a sinful and decadent lifestyle. Even Marco Rubio, who used to promise his hometown Miami constituents that he would fight against the global warming that left them ankle-deep in sewer sludge, has since traded in science for a Tea Party fan base.

Unless Whitehouse is successful in lining up bipartisan support for a realistic federal climate change policy, consider investing in sludge-resistant boots. For the balance of Commissioner Roberts’ early 2015 update, Read on... – [editor]

From The Desk of
Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts

Click To Fort Lauderdale Election Info
Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
DISTRICT 1 COMMISSIONER
& V.M. BRUCE G. ROBERTS
2015 Fort Lauderdale Elections: I want to take this occasion to thank everyone for the vote of confidence by giving me another opportunity to continue to serve our great community. At the closing of the qualification period at noon on January 9th, no opponent filed to run for election in District 1. Commissioner Romney Rogers also ran unopposed. As a result, the upcoming elections will not feature a District 1 or District 4 race. However, the Mayoral and District 3 races will have a primary on February 10th among the three candidates in each contest. Anyone who gathers more than 50% of the votes in the primary is elected; otherwise, the top two move on to a final election on March 10th. With just two candidates, the District 2 race will have to be decided on March 10th. Please mark your calendars and get out to VOTE ON FEBRUARY 10th.

Click to Fast Forward Fort Lauderdale At your direction, the current Commission has guided the City through the Great Recession without diminishing vital services such as public safety; we have been fiscally conservative and maintained the same millage rate; we have nurtured a measured economic development which protects the quality of life in our neighborhoods; and we continue to budget for implementing your 2035 Vision through an interactive Five Year Strategic Plan, an Annual Action Plan, Neighborhood Surveys and Advisory Board recommendations. Let’s continue that momentum.

Click To Fort Lauderdale 2015 Legislative Resolution 2015 STATE LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES AND FUNDING REQUESTS: The following list reflects the official position of the City of Fort Lauderdale regarding State of Florida issues and pending legislation that would impact the operation of local government. It also provides priorities for the pursuit of funding for various City initiatives.

The City of Fort Lauderdale will ENDORSE and SUPPORT legislation that will:

  1. Permit municipal government to make necessary changes to local law pension plans
  2. Support expansion of passenger rail options
  3. Promote improved water quality and quantity
  4. Provide for local regulation of short term rental properties and remove the state's preemption of local regulations on vacation rentals
  5. Preserve and/or enhance municipal home rule
  6. Support municipal government initiatives to curb homelessness
  7. Enhance municipal participation in state environmental permitting processes
  8. Encourage energy development and conservation and the development and implementation of alternative energy sources
  9. Remove the state's preemption of local regulations on vacation rentals
  10. Clarify existing laws regarding community redevelopment agencies (CRA’s) in order to further redevelopment within established community redevelopment areas
  11. Support the transfer of spending authority for the Tourism Development Tax to cities based on tourism activity
  12. Change the allocation of Florida Department of Emergency Management and Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) funding to cities to be based on each city’s risk profile assessment
  13. Enact Complete Street Design Initiatives and legislation that will provide cities with the ability to regulate traffic flow within their city limits (i.e. setting speed limits and use of stop signs for traffic calming)
  14. Strengthen and expand environmental education, physical activity, and healthy lifestyles for Fort Lauderdale youth while ensuring that they are as protected as possible while participating in parks and recreation programs
  15. Regulate anchoring of vessels in waterways adjacent to residential properties
  16. Address repeat juvenile offenders and other juvenile justice issues
  17. Create smoke-free zones on Fort Lauderdale beaches

The City of Fort Lauderdale will OPPOSE any legislation that will:

  1. Restrict Home rule
  2. Create unfunded mandates
  3. Restrict or decrease any revenue allocations to local governments
  4. Decrease the City’s tax base through manipulation of tax exemptions on properties
  5. Modify, restrict or eliminate the City’s ability to levy, collect or spend franchise fees, communications service taxes or local business taxes
  6. Restrict or decrease allocation of red light camera revenues to local governments

The City of Fort Lauderdale will SEEK FINANCIAL SUPPORT for the following initiatives:

  1. Crime reduction
  2. WAVE development
  3. Transportation enhancements specifically focused on greenways, complete street initiatives and pedestrian safety
  4. Flood prevention and hazard mitigation
  5. Riverwalk enhancement and activation
  6. Comprehensive homelessness strategy
  7. Climate change and sea level rise mitigation
  8. Promotion of Fort Lauderdale’s marine industry
  9. Water, sewer, and stormwater infrastructure improvements
  10. Fort Lauderdale Beach re-nourishment, revitalization, and enhancement
  11. Additional parks and recreational programs and facilities, including athletic fields

Fort Lauderdale Fire Station #54
FORT LAUDERDALE FIRE STATION #54
FIRE STATION #54: The new Fire Station #54 is currently designed to be located at 3201 Northeast 32nd Street (across the street and slightly east of the current location). The station will be a 10,000 square foot, two-story satellite facility and have two back-in apparatus bays, seven bunk rooms, a full kitchen and dining room, small exterior patio, a day room, two offices, a laundry room, gymnasium, and community meeting room. The 90% design of the Fire Station was carried out by in-house engineers and architects, while an outside consultant completed mechanical, electrical, plumbing (MEP) and structural design. A new consultant will be selected through a Consultants Competitive Negotiation Act (CCNA) Process for which proposals were received on December 15, 2014. Next steps will include the review of proposals, panel ratings, presentations, staff recommendations, negotiations and award. The construction of a temporary Fire Station #54, located on the south side of the Oakland Park Bridge, was finished and the Certificate of Occupancy (CO) was issued on December 12, 2014. The Fire Department is expected to occupy the temporary station very soon. The Information Technology Department is coordinating the transfer of communications from the existing facility to the temporary facility to enable the move.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Mayor Jack Seiler at Riverwalk
SENATOR SHELDON WHITEHOUSE AND MAYOR JACK SEILER
SOUTHEAST FLORIDA REGIONAL CLIMATE: Building upon the success of the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Leadership Summit, we were honored to recently host United States Senator Sheldon Whitehouse from Rhode Island. Senator Whitehouse joined Mayor Seiler and City and County staff on a walking tour of the downtown Riverwalk area to obtain a firsthand look at the effects of rising sea levels and seasonal high tides. Earlier that same morning, a cross-department team of City staff took a similar tour, visiting several areas affected by the high tides. They discussed the City’s extensive stormwater master plan, as well as aggressive maintenance procedures and innovative adaptation solutions to improve drainage in areas that are susceptible to flooding. Click to Fort Lauderdale Stormwater Master Plan During the tour, staff learned about tidal valves which have been found to effectively reduce the impacts of flooding in low-lying neighborhoods. Tidal valves are just one example of the proactive measures we are exploring to strengthen our resilience and build a stronger community, which neighbors identified as a top priority during the citywide Visioning process. To learn more about our ongoing efforts to build a resilient and safe coastal community, visit the Sustainability Division page on the City website. www.fortlauderdale.gov/departments/sustainability

New Sustainable Development Director Jenni Morejon
NEW SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
DIRECTOR JENNI MOREJON
NEW DIRECTOR FOR SUSTAINABILITY DEVELOPMENT: Jenni Morejon is the new Director of the Department of Sustainable Development. After years of progressively moving up the ranks of our organization, Jenni is now the go-to person for all things in development. As Director, she will oversee the day-to-day operations of the entire Department which includes: Building Services, Code Compliance, Economic and Community Reinvestment/ Community Redevelopment Agency, Housing and Community Development and Urban Design and Planning. Jenni began her career at the City in 2000, serving in urban design and community planning positions with a focus on managing projects and programs that encourage high quality development to meet the economic and livability objectives of a growing South Florida urban coastal community. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado, where she received a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design. Jenni serves on the board of directors of Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale and is a member of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce Downtown Council. She is also a member of the Leadership Fort Lauderdale Class, writes a monthly column for the Go Riverwalk magazine, and is an active member in the Urban Land Institute’s Southeast Florida/Caribbean Council. Greg Brewton, past director, retired from the City last year..

Fort Lauderdale Commission Assistant Robbi Uptegrove
ROBBI
UPTEGROVE
Office Contact: Robbi Uptegrove – 954-828-5033; email: ruptegrove@fortlauderdale.gov. In addition to hosting the pre-agenda meetings twice a month, I am also available to attend your HOA meetings to update your neighborhood on what is going on in the City as well as answer any questions/concerns you may have. Please contact Robbi to schedule.

Click To Commissioner Roberts' web page EMAIL LIST: If you would like to be on our email list so that you receive information pertaining to the City – especially District 1 (i.e. news releases, meeting notices, events), please let Robbi know and she will add you.

Bruce G. Roberts                

If you need to reach Commissioner Bruce Roberts, please contact his assistant Robbi Uptegrove at 954-828-5033 or by e-mail at RUptegrove@fortlauderdale.gov. To access the City Commission Meeting Agendas and Minutes, Click Here. To actually watch the meetings recorded and archived on the Commission Meetings Video Webcast and Archives web site, Click Here.

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Commodore Resident José “Chepo” Vega
COMMODORE RESIDENT
JOSÉ “CHEPO” VEGA
February 20, 2015 - In early November, 2008, Commodore resident José “Chepo” Vega emailed a complaint to the Galt Mile Community Association about the “precarious” state of landscaping along Galt Ocean Drive. A few days later, he followed it up with a call to GMCA Vice President Eric Berkowitz, exclaiming “While I was walking in front of my building, I saw someone walk into a low hanging tree limb. It could have blinded him. Why doesn’t the City pay attention to the landscaping on our block?” Chepo argued that if he knew who to contact about addressing this issue, he would gladly volunteer his time and horticultural acumen. He was invited to apprise
Advisory Board members and attending association officials about his concerns at the next Galt Mile Presidents Council meeting.

Galt Mile Block Maintenance Liaison

2008 GMCA Advisory Board Meeting
2008 GMCA ADVISORY BOARD MEETING
At the December 1, 2008 meeting, while participants discussed the now defunct Calypso Project, Beach Renourishment, monkey business in the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation and the impact of deliberately dilatory foreclosures on Association budgets, Chepo cornered former Commissioner Christine Teel, detailing his concerns. Offering to contact the Parks Department and investigate the problem, she requested that he contact her office the following day.

Click to City of Fort Lauderdale Parks Department Excited about the prospect of finally making headway, the next day Chepo emailed GMCA officials Pio Ieraci and Eric Berkowitz “I spoke briefly to Commissioner Teel at the Monday meeting then called her subsequently at her suggestion. In our conversation I mentioned our concerns about the problems we are having with the sidewalk trees. I told her that the trees are growing bent due to the strong ocean winds and the use of the wrong stakes to prop the trees. I mentioned to her that somebody can injure their eyes with the low branches, etc. I volunteered to meet with anybody from the city that can help solve this problem. Teel told me that she is going to call the persons in charge of the planting and if I did not hear from them in a week, to call her and let her know.”

Poorly Staked Leaning Tree
POORLY STAKED LEANING TREE
As directed by Teel, her commission assistant Eve Bazar sent an email to Julie Richards in the City Manager’s office, explaining, “José Vega resides at the Commodore condo on the Galt. He feels that the trees on the Galt aren’t being pruned properly, and in some cases may cause harm to people since the branches are too low. Mr. Vega talked with the commissioner and would like to meet with someone from P&R (sic - Parks and Recreation) who is responsible for the trees so he can alert them to the problems. Would you please have someone from P&R contact Mr. Vega to discuss this matter? Thanks.”

José and Brian Hopper discuss landscape maintenance
JOSÉ AND BRIAN HOPPER DISCUSS LANDSCAPING
A week later, Parks Department Operations Superintendent Brian Hopper met with Chepo. On December 13th, shortly after their meeting, Hopper notified former Assistant Director Terry Rynard of Parks and Recreation, “I have met with Mr. Vega and we have begun trimming and restaking the trees. We will continue this work over the next week or two. Mr. Vega is pleased with our response thus far and was very complimentary of staff. I will follow up when work is 100 prct complete.”

GMCA President Pio Ieraci
PIO IERACI
To muster support from the neighborhood’s 27 member associations, Chepo attended the December 18, 2008 GMCA Advisory Board meeting at Nick’s Italian Restaurant. Following reports from our City and County Commissioners and several agenda discussions, GMCA President Ieraci turned to Chepo, thanking him for following his original complaint with active pursuit of redress. Landscaping and block maintenance had long been stones in Ieraci’s shoe, and a source of frustration for most veteran neighborhood officials.

Galt Ocean Drive in 1993
GALT OCEAN DRIVE IN 1993
When Galt Ocean Drive residents voluntarily assessed themselves to fund the broad range of civic upgrades known as the Galt Mile Improvement Project in 1995 (pink aggregate sidewalks, new traffic signals and signage, interred utility lines, pavered crosswalks, new landscaping, etc.), the City agreed to maintain the many improvements in “a Disney-like manner.” Whenever the Parks Department dropped the ball, Galt Mile association officials would meet with the District 1 City Commissioner and Parks Department Director Phil Thornburg to elicit assurances that civic maintenance would improve. Such promises had a half-life of three to six months, and turned to vapor when the bureaucrats’ feet were no longer in the fire. By 2008, frustrated residents had watched their landscaping cycle through 12 years of intermittent green periods and brownouts.

Parks Director Phil Thornburg
PARKS DIRECTOR
PHIL THORNBURG
Vice Mayor Bruce Roberts
VICE MAYOR BRUCE ROBERTS
After announcing, “Chepo is working with the City to address the landscaping problems along Galt Ocean Drive,” Ieraci proposed that Chepo be officially vested to represent the Neighborhood Association in this effort. A quick vote affirmed Chepo’s status. After indicating that she would notify the Parks Department about the Advisory Board’s action, Teel said that Chepo would “probably hear from them after the Holidays.” For the first time, the neighborhood association had a permanent block maintenance liaison to the City.

Greek Islands Taverna
GREEK ISLANDS TAVERNA
In April of 2009, after taking the District 1 cockpit from Christine Teel, newly elected Commissioner Bruce Roberts seamlessly stepped in as Chepo’s “Rabbi” in City Hall. At his first Galt Mile Landscaping evaluation on June 22, 2009, Roberts met with Parks Department Superintendent Brian Hopper, Beach Foreman Mark Almy, GMCA President Pio Ieraci and Chepo at the Greek Islands Taverna, the starting gate for a 10 AM Community Walk-through. After identifying the neighborhood’s landscaping deficiencies, their report became the official maintenance syllabus for Parks Department crews working along the Galt Mile.

June 22, 2009 Galt Mile Walk-Through - Beach Foreman Mark Almy, GMCA President Pio Ieraci, José “Chepo” Vega, Vice Mayor Bruce Roberts and Park Operations Superintendent Brian Hopper
MARK ALMY, PIO IERACI, CHEPO, BRUCE ROBERTS AND BRIAN HOPPER INSPECT GALT
Chepo and Brian Hopper got down to business. In his first report to the neighborhood association, Chepo summarized a recently completed two week project. Following another walk-through with Hopper and landscaping personnel, crews assigned to the project trimmed more than three dozen trees, cutting branches deemed dangerous to marginally attentive pedestrians and passing cyclists. Sizing stakes were installed to better control future growth and broken metal grates framing the block’s trees were repaired and/or properly reinstalled.

Over the next seven years, this scenario was annually adapted to the neighborhood’s evolving needs. Whenever the City slacked off, our block maintenance gadfly would politely raise hell. Two issues were at or near the top of an annual mantra of landscaping complaints, queries and suggestions from Galt Mile residents. The first mirrored Chepo’s admonition to address trees along Galt Ocean Drive identified and marked as “severely bent towards the street,” characterizing the eye-level low hanging branches as pedestrian threats. Secondly, Galt Mile residents questioned why trees along the Galt appear strangely distorted, frail and congenitally puny - as if on life support.

Mysterious Runt Trees

Urban Forrestor Gene Dempsey
URBAN FORRESTOR GENE DEMPSEY
The trees planted along Galt Ocean Drive have two strikes against them. When Urban Forester Gene Dempsey addressed a 2005 Presidents Council meeting, he explained that a newly hired city horticulturist would supervise the planting of all new “environmentally compatible” flora along the block. The plan went awry in 2007 when Parks personnel discovered that the Green Buttonwoods planted years earlier had grown massive root systems, irreversibly entangling utility lines, communication cables and drain lines. Were they simply torn out, residents in the adjacent buildings would taste life in the 17th century. Having failed to pry out the roots, cut them away or selectively poison certain offshoots, former Parks Department Assistant Director Terry Rynard - who has since returned to hometown Kansas City - conceded that the Department’s plans were in trouble. They would have to try rooting smaller trees in areas filled with irretrievable root balls.

Braced Silver Buttonwoods
BRACED SILVER BUTTONWOODS AND COCONUT PALMS
During a June 2007 landscaping walk through with Rynard and Parks Foreman Tim Southby, GMCA President Pio Ieraci learned why hurricane-damaged trees were deliberately replaced with undersized trees plagued by abbreviated life spans. “The silver buttonwoods that we have planted on the walkway were chosen for their size for many reasons,” exclaimed Southby. “The openings in the sidewalk are only so big. Many of the old root systems are still in the ground from the old trees and from other trees along the sidewalk. Electrical and irrigation for these trees runs through these openings, causing us to use smaller and not as mature specimens as we would like to have used.” Southby elaborated, “For this reason we have had to stake and strap the trees in ways we normally would not like to have to use. We know that it isn’t the most attractive method but it is working.”

Green Buttonwood Rootball Raises Grate
GREEN BUTTONWOOD
ROOTBALL RAISES GRATE
City officials had to find a way to plant new trees without first having to remove the stifling remnant root balls. Initially, unsupported trees were planted in whatever space was available amid the overcrowded root remnants. As often as not, they died. If they could have somehow been sustained following their initial implantation, the replacements’ chances for survival would have increased substantially. Tim Southby explained steps taken by the Parks Department to accomplish this objective, “We are also currently topping off most of the buttonwoods to stop adding more stress to the lower trunk and the root system. This will allow the trunk to thicken up and give it the strength that we need to allow the strapping to come off and make the sidewalk area more appealing.”

Green Buttonwood Rootballs Damage Galt Sidewalk
GREEN BUTTONWOOD ROOTBALLS DAMAGE GALT SIDEWALK
By initially keeping the trees small, their growth resources would be directed towards bulking up their trunks, enhancing their prospects for survival. Southby theorized that this strategy, in conjunction with concentrated fertilization, would shorten the period that the trees appeared undersized. Ieraci asked Southby how long the small silver buttonwoods would have to remain staked and strapped. “We hope by June of 2008 the strapping will come off most of the trees except for the ones that we have had to replace in the last few weeks,” predicted Southby. Unfortunately, his plan hit a wall.

Dislodged Aggregate Panel Raised by Roots
DISLODGED AGGREGATE PANEL RAISED BY ROOTS
Former Assistant Parks Director Terry Rynard
FORMER PARKS DEPARTMENT
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR TERRY RYNARD
At the time, Rynard agreed with Southby’s assessment, exclaiming “You won’t have to wait ten years to see substantial growth. We’re making the best out of a bad situation. We plan to intensively fertilize the new trees. Once they are firmly rooted, we should see some rapid growth.” Southby also blamed the old root balls for damage sustained by the aggregate sidewalks originally installed as part of the Galt Mile Improvement Project. He explained “The root systems spread under the entire area. We found them wrapped around the tree cover grates and they dislodged sidewalks.”

Commodore Resident José “Chepo” Vega restraps tree
COMMODORE RESIDENT JOSÉ “CHEPO” VEGA RESTRAPS TREE
Green Buttonwood is twisted, gnarled with roots entangled around grate
TWISTED, GNARLED - ROOTS
ENTANGLED IN GRATE
To successfully fulfill the City’s contractual obligation to maintain the block “in a Disney like fashion,” Parks personnel admittedly should have meticulously micromanaged the immature plantings through their initial growth period. They didn’t. When most of the trees succumbed to the Department’s maintenance lapses, their replacements were also staked. Of those that ultimately survived, when the stakes were removed, growth spurts sent their crowns lunging toward or away from the street. In danger of toppling, they were restaked. By the time these trees were stabilized, many had become severely gnarled – strangely reminiscent of the contorted iconic specimen gracing the front yard of Carlos and Morticia Addams.

Chepo and Parks Department Crew
CHEPO AND PARKS DEPARTMENT CREW
On the bright side, nature is reliably unpredictable. Once Chepo’s oversight marshalled a sustained effort by the Parks Department, the City’s recipe for mutant trees was retired. While the damage could not be undone, at least it would not be repeated. When trees unable to survive in beds compromised with rotting root balls were replaced by a new crop of undersized trees – anticipating that their smaller root systems would better tolerate the cramped rooting environment – Chepo insured they were nurtured – as originally prescribed years earlier by Rynard and Southby. After seven years of managing this mass rotation of browned out Buttonwoods, City crews finally filled every Galt Mile sidewalk grate with a tree – small, twisted – but alive.

Strolling Safe Sidewalks

City Manager Lee Feldman
CITY MANAGER LEE FELDMAN
Chepo and Beach Foreman Mark Almy spent 2014 addressing landscaping issues observed during the annual walk-through. While identifying trees along the public right-of-way with threatening branches, Chepo added those on association property with low branches that overhang the sidewalk and/or street. Since City crews applied a “hands-off” policy to association landscaping, an Advisory Board member reported Chepo’s dilemma to City Manager Lee Feldman. If informed about a tree on its property that poses a danger to pedestrians on the public sidewalk, and an association fails to correct the threat, Feldman clarified “Once I know the location, I can have our code compliance staff handle it.”

Chepo, Supervisor Brian Hopper and Beach Foreman Mark Almy
CHEPO, BRIAN HOPPER AND FOREMAN MARK ALMY
On February 4, 2014, Almy emailed Commissioner Roberts, GMCA President Ieraci and Chepo, announcing “We are scheduling the trimming of the Silver Buttonwood trees along the sidewalk to begin in the next few weeks.” City crews then set about filling in open spaces with Silver Buttonwood hedges and Indian Hawthorne, sodding irrigation boxes and treating sidewalk beds with “Weed and Feed”. Responding to complaints from association managers, they trimmed trees and hedges that blocked the view of drivers pulling into the street from association driveways. However, many of the block’s low-hanging branches remained unattended. Protests lodged by Chepo were buttressed by complaints emailed to the neighborhood association by Galt Mile pedestrians.

José “Chepo” Vega ties off tree
CHEPO MEASURES TREE
With the seasonal influx of vulnerable elderly snowbirds exacerbated by the horrific weather in Northern cities, by December, Chepo decided to reach out to Commissioner Roberts, explaining that the untrimmed trees were an accident in the making. It worked. On January 27, 2015, a jubilant Chepo popped off an email to the neighborhood association entitled “Good News is coming in,” and referred to an attached message from Mark Almy:

Trees Trimmed - made safe for pedestrians
TREES TRIMMED - MADE
SAFE FOR PEDESTRIANS
“Hi Chepo. We did some extensive trimming today on the trees over the sidewalk. The brush is moved to the side and will be picked up by a truck. We went from 3550 to 3900 (sic - Ocean Riviera to Playa del Mar) today. We skipped one small area due to a moving truck being in the way and the most northerly part still has to be done as well. These areas will be done soon. Just wanted to give you a heads up that we were back on it. Thanks”

Chepo Discusses Project with Maria
CHEPO DISCUSSES PROJECT WITH MARIA
Since Chepo’s Advisory Board appointment, this low profile volunteer has pressed, pushed, pulled and prodded City, County and association officials to elicit their cooperation. He works side-by-side with Park maintenance crews, personally oversees hard scape upgrades and continually bird dogs City officials. If you see Chepo strapping a tree or swimming in wood chips, and like the way your neighborhood looks, you might want to “pay it forward.” A simple “thank you” should do the trick.

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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
District 4 in March

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

March 2015 Update

By Commissioner Chip LaMarca

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

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

FLL Records Highest Passenger Traffic

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

Transit Offers New Vehicles for Commuters and Paratransit Customers

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

County Targets New Businesses with Incentive Funding

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

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

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

Broward County Animal Care and Adoption Welcomes and Encourages Donations

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

Water Matters Day Matters March 14th

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

March is Women’s History Month

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

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

As always, it is my honor to serve you.


Chip LaMarca
Broward County Commssioner
District 4

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Launching 2015 with a Bang

First 2015 Presidents Council
Fountainhead Condominium
FOUNTAINHEAD CONDOMINIUM
March 18, 2015 - On February 2, the Galt Mile Presidents Council convened its first 2015 meeting at Fountainhead Condominium. The agenda, traditionally packed for the year’s inaugural meeting, addressed a threat to the Galt Mile Sun Trolley, a media driven controversy over the City’s Homeless policy, and a predictable outburst during a Beach Renourishment update. Ordinarily, Presidents Council meetings are kept confidential, ostensibly to promote a free exchange of ideas. Since some of the issues undertaken at the February meeting are of critical concern to all Galt Mile residents, traditional “discretion” will be set aside.


Honorarium

The agenda also featured an honorarium for three Galt Mile residents whose lives have been devoted to improving yours. Coral Ridge Tower’s Francis Casier, Leah Glickfield of Regency South and Commodore’s George Mayer collectively invested almost a century either defending our rights or scrapping for new ones. The three veteran activists were vested as Honorary Permanent Members of the Galt Mile Community Association, joining Earl Lifshey (as in Earl Lifshey Park) and a handful of other neighborhood forebears.


The Galt Mile Sun Trolley

Click to Sun TrolleyAt the December 1, 2014 Presidents Council meeting in Plaza South, Commissioner Bruce Roberts disclosed a threat to the Sun Trolley’s Galt Mile route. Roberts and Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca sit on the Board of the Downtown Fort Lauderdale Transportation Management Association (DFLTMA), the Sun Trolley’s parent agency. Roberts recently learned about an inexplicable decline in ridership on the Galt Mile route segment along Oakland Park Boulevard to Federal Highway, which services the Coral Ridge Mall as well as Holy Cross and Imperial Point Hospitals. Since ridership was unaffected on the Galt Mile route section along A1A south to Sunrise, Roberts suspected a data collection glitch, and proposed to further investigate. A drop in ridership could be used to cut back or end the neighborhood’s local bus service. Having worked long and hard to preserve the Galt Mile Sun Trolley, Roberts and Galt Mile officials couldn’t allow that to happen.

Former Sun Trolley Managing Director Patricia Zeiler
FORMER SUN TROLLEY
DIRECTOR PATRICIA ZEILER
When the Sun Trolley was facing termination in 2008, former DFLTMA Executive Director Christopher Wren (who runs the City's Downtown Development Authority) brought in Patricia Zeiler to help turn it around. A personable and well-organized ball of fire, Zeiler rebuilt the City’s nearly insolvent Community Bus Service into a thriving vibrant enterprise. Her system-wide improvements were exemplified by the Galt Mile route, where she cultivated a loyal and stable ridership.

Click to NPO Awards Named the 2014 Nonprofit Leader of the Year at the Annual 211 Broward Academy Awards in March 2014, Zeiler decided to cash in on her remarkable self-made success - and accepted an offer to run the prestigious Fort Lauderdale Historical Society. After a frantic search for a management Guru to fill Zeiler's mythic pumps, on December 2, 2014, Wren and DFLTMA Chair Alan Hooper announced the appointment of Robyn Chiarelli – an FDOT prodigy whose sterling resume framed a brilliant career in public transportation.

Newly Appointed DFLTMA Executive Director Robyn Chiarelli
NEWLY APPOINTED DFLTMA
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ROBYN CHIARELLI
Roberts escorted Chiarelli to the January 15, 2015 Galt Mile Advisory Board meeting, where she took questions from association representatives. In a post-meeting discussion with the new Sun Trolley Executive Director, Roberts and Galt Mile officials raised doubts about the enigmatic ridership statistics, questioning their accuracy and emphasizing the need to maintain the neighborhood bus service - citing its importance to elderly hospital patients, Library and Community Center patrons and others for whom the Trolley is a primary source of transportation. Chiarelli agreed to attend the February 2 Presidents Council meeting, where she could formally introduce herself to the neighborhood, and either confirm or assuage concerns about the threat to the Galt Mile Sun Trolley.

At the February 2nd meeting, Chiarelli assured attendees that the route was not in immediate danger. Given Roberts’ suspicions about how the ridership statistics were gathered, she had since verified their accuracy. Explaining that the Galt Mile Route still exceeded the County’s contractual survival standard of 7.1 riders per hour, Chiarelli promised to further explore the sudden drop in bus patrons, and do whatever was necessary to rebuild ridership. After inviting suggestions and other input from Galt Mile residents, especially those who ride the Trolley, Chiarelli closed with a promise to update her progress at future meetings.


The Homeless: Prey and Predators

Televised Discussion with Mayor Jack Seiler and Arnold Abbott
MAYOR JACK SEILER AND ARNOLD ABBOTT
Chiarelli was followed by Commissioner Roberts’ monthly municipal report, which reviewed the recent controversy surrounding the City’s treatment of its Homeless population. In fact, Fort Lauderdale maintains one of the most progressive homeless programs in the State. While the administration was being crucified for enforcing an ordinance that placed the City at odds with a 92-year old homeless advocate who was deified in the media, reporters were far more concerned about maintaining a hormonal “hot button” issue than fairly assessing the City’s homeless policy. As City officials had been repeating for months, feeding the homeless is not illegal in Fort Lauderdale. However, it is illegal to feed several hundred people in front of your house without your consent - or doing so without providing for access to basic sanitation and lavatory facilities.

Click to 100,000 Homes Campaign Having joined the meeting in progress, Mayor Jack Seiler affirmed that Fort Lauderdale maintains one of the State’s most effective homeless safety nets, as roving teams of Homeless Advocates and FLPD officers annually make roughly 8,000 referrals to critical services for anyone who stumbles over the question “Where did you sleep last night?” Along with subsidizing comprehensive recovery resources for homeless men, women and families (including the 220-bed Homeless Assistance Center), the City funnels HUD grant funds into a program (100,000 Homes Campaign) to permanently house – and otherwise assist – those chronic homeless deemed most “at risk”

Broward Partnership for the Homeless - Homeless Assistance Center
BROWARD PARTNERSHIP HOMELESS
ASSISTANCE CENTER
A few members inquired as to why the City didn’t more aggressively publicize its efforts on behalf of the homeless while undergoing a withering attack in the media. Seiler remarked, “Homelessness is a serious problem, not only for Homeless individuals and municipalities, but also for visitors, businesses and City residents.” Seiler explained that the City’s homeless program is designed to help people transition from homelessness into productive self-sufficiency. For those chronic homeless persons who are unable to adapt, the City works to provide homes and sustenance. To answer the question, Seiler added “While implementing this critical safety net to assist our homeless population, we don’t want Fort Lauderdale to become the target destination for homeless persons across the Country.”

Sleeping on the Sidewalk
SIDEWALK SNOOZING NO LONGER LEGAL
Seiler explained how the City’s other new ordinances make it illegal to sleep on the street, panhandle on dangerous high-traffic street corners, carve out living quarters in public parks by planting a bag of possessions in the nearby bushes, or solicit money using implied or overt threats. However, he also recognized the futility of scooping up scofflaws who would be recycled back to the street in 24 hours. Seiler explained how the County’s processing protocols add to the City’s burden. When homeless persons are arrested in any of Broward’s 31 municipalities, they are taken to the County jail in downtown Fort Lauderdale to await arraignment. Unless they are referred to a hospital or remanded, after a few minutes in court, they are discharged into the local downtown area, where they generally stake out a bench or stretch of sidewalk.

Panhandlers Intimidate L'Hermitage Residents
PANHANDLERS INTIMIDATE L'HERMITAGE RESIDENTS
Not surprisingly, attendees were far more concerned about the roving groups of “homeless thugs” who aggressively extort money from passers-by or otherwise threaten vulnerable Galt Mile residents. Members described how these “wannabe gangster types” congregate at the Hess gas station across A1A from L’Hermitage and at the Oakland Park Boulevard beach access – where they regularly threatened elderly L’Hermitage and Southpoint residents. They also hang out in front of the Library, by the Winn Dixie dumpsters, and other neighborhood sites that have degenerated into gauntlets.

Assistant Chief Mike Gregory
ASST CHIEF MIKE GREGORY
Commissioner Roberts – the City’s former Police Chief – was familiar with their concerns, having accompanied a half dozen Police District 1 Commanders to scores of Galt Mile Advisory Board meetings. These high-ranking FLPD officials uniformly admonished that when a community is reputed as lucrative for panhandlers; along with the additional homeless persons attracted by the easy money are cadres of those who prey on them. Drug addicts, muggers and other street punks that seek out and victimize defenseless homeless people threaten every neighborhood resident. Differentiating the survival pitfalls caused by homelessness from the far more dangerous predatory criminal activity that follows in its wake, former Police District 1 acting Commander Mike Gregory (since promoted to Assistant Chief) told the Advisory Board “People confuse members of the homeless community with the predators who exploit them. Those that prey on the homeless won’t hesitate to prey on your families.”

Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
COMMISSIONER BRUCE ROBERTS
Click To Broward Partnership for the Homeless Roberts offered two suggestions. If you witness - or experience - an intimidating solicitation or otherwise suspicious behavior, don’t intervene, call the police. Secondly, he implored GMCA members and association officials to educate neighbors about the danger of tossing money at whoever occupies the nearest sidewalk bench, and recommend instead that they redirect their generosity to organizations that address the root causes of homelessness (i.e. the Broward Partnership for the Homeless, etc.). While these street punks are a monster of our own making, we can begin to reverse the current problem by exercising good judgment about where we throw money. As always, it’s your call.


Beach Renourishment Pot Shots

Broward Natural Resource Administrator Nicole Sharp
BROWARD NATURAL RESOURCE
ADMINISTRATOR NICOLE SHARP
Ieraci then turned to District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca. In tow with LaMarca were County and Federal officials focused on the long overdue Segment II Beach Renourishment. After recounting the past year’s regulatory obstacles, LaMarca stated that Broward Beach officials finally had the State permit in hand. Confirming this project milestone, Broward Natural Resource Administrator Nicole Sharp (who replaced the retired Eric Myers) remarked “We worked with our engineers and we put forward a very environmentally sensitive project.”

Click to NOAA Fisheries Web Site Moving on to the current quagmire, LaMarca announced “We are still working with NOAA Fisheries to elicit their approval.” In short, among the reams of regulatory documentation required for the Federal Permit is a biological opinion letter from NOAA Fisheries (AKA the National Marine Fisheries Service). For months, this agency in the Commerce Department delayed consideration of the County’s Federal permit application. To awaken this sprawling narcoleptic bureaucracy, the neighborhood association spearheaded an effort to enlist our Federal Representatives to break the Federal malaise that held the project hostage.

(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
CHIP LAMARCA AND BROWARD POLS LOBBY FOR BEACH & PORT
After hundreds 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, all three prodded the agency to move the project forward. By June 2014, LaMarca announced “With regard to the beach renourishment project... The biological opinion has been transmitted from the scientific study to legal review at the National Marine Fisheries office. We expect that this legal review will be short and then the final opinion will be sent back to the US Army Corps of Engineers for the final permit. We are gearing up with the three cities to be ready for the procurement process so that we have a contractor and we are ready for November.”

November passed without word, and December, and January. By the February meeting, the pot boiled over. Enraged by decades of frustrating delays, attending officials from every Galt Mile association exploded, blasting restrained invective while venting heated suggestions for another email campaign – either to target and torture the responsible bureaucrats, or threaten an eclectic lineup of elected officials.

Click to Army Corps of Engineers - Jacksonville District Web Site Joining LaMarca were two representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) Palm Beach Gardens Regulatory office. Since the Army Corps of Engineers is the Federal Agency responsible for issuing the Federal permit, all South Florida beach renourishment applications must be filed in the Corps’ Jacksonville District. However, ACOE regulators in a nearby local office help County or City applicants meet the Federal permit requirements. The ACOE Palm Beach Gardens Supervisory Biologist and office chief Susan Kaynor and Project Manager Garett Lips had been working with LaMarca to push the Broward project to fruition.

Click to Public Law 89-298 Web Page Surprised by the epidemic rancor, the two officials assured the audience that a resolution was imminent. Noticing that they appeared perplexed by the neighborhood’s extreme reaction, Ieraci asked if they were familiar with the project history, and that a County plan to offset tidal erosion – starting with repairs to the Hillsboro Inlet – was first recorded in the federal register in 1965. “We have been fighting to save our beach for more than a decade,” said Ieraci. Initially filed at the turn of the Century, the Broward plan to fix North County beaches evolved to meet ever-changing regulatory requirements, standards that far exceeded those imposed on any other beach in the State.

GMCA President Pio Ieraci and V.P. Eric Berkowitz
GMCA's IERACI AND BERKOWITZ
GMCA Officials Ieraci and Berkowitz summarized project stumbling blocks that Galt Mile residents helped overcome, including a 2002 meeting in Hollywood, when two busloads of Galt Milers salvaged the South County Renourishment (Segment III was completed in 2006), a 2003 cabinet meeting in Tallahassee wherein testimony from Galt Mile officials won Cabinet approval for the State permit, and countless meetings with former Broward Beach Administrators Stephen Higgins and Eric Myers – and every District 4 County Commissioner – all of which yielded unmet promises of an imminent North County (Segment II) beach fix. Ieraci commented “It’s not difficult to understand why residents in Broward beachfront communities are angry.”

Mayor Jack Seiler Asks about Beach Fix
MAYOR JACK SEILER ASKS ABOUT BEACH FIX
Mayor Seiler asked the local Corps officials why the project was frozen in NOAA Fisheries. Evidently, a complaint from the head of a small environmental group immobilized the project, despite its endorsement by every major environmental group and agency in the State. Incredulous that a handful of radicals could thwart the will of 300,000 people in three Florida Cites and 1.9 million Broward residents, Seiler asked “What can the City of Fort Lauderdale do to unblock the stalled beach renourishment?” Citing how bureaucratic footdragging is not only undermining the region’s beach economy, but since a healthy beach is the only real protection against cyclonic storm surge, the Mayor complained about delays endangering $billions in upland property while risking the lives of thousands of beachfront homeowners.

Jacksonville District Commander Colonel Alan M. Dodd, Army Corps of Engineers
COMMANDER COL. ALAN M. DODD
County officials feared another dilemma. Colonel Alan M. Dodd, the District Commander of the Army Corps of Engineers in Jacksonville, is about to retire. If he retires before a permit is granted, the County could conceivably be forced to revisit either all or part of the process, prospectively adding years to this debacle.

Seiler asked the Corps regulators if they knew who it was that broke NOAA Fisheries’ prolonged delay in considering the County application. Garett Lips answered “It was me.” The room went silent. Seiler asked Lips “What happens next?” Explaining that NOAA Fisheries had until February 28 to complete its project review, Lips said that he will meet with agency bureaucrats to resolve the impasse amicably. If they fail to respond, he will submit a letter that will force the agency to either rescind their objection or take it to the next level, thereby extracting the issue from its bureaucratic black hole and exposing it to redress. Although still flustered by the decades of insupportable delays, upon hearing a promising strategy from one of the few regulatory officials able to penetrate the heavily cloistered agency protocols, Galt Mile and City officials asked LaMarca for updates as Lips implemented his plan.


A Soft Landing

Galt Towers
GALT TOWERS
On opening the March 2 Presidents Council meeting in Galt Towers, Ieraci said he anticipates a project update from LaMarca, who was in Washington D.C. for a Port Everglades regulatory hearing. Given the passions inflamed by this issue, Ieraci promised to email members any news upon receipt. Two days later, a message arrived in the form of an email string between LaMarca and Commission Aide Kate Wesner.

Galt Mile Community Association (GMCA) President Pio Ieraci
GMCA PRESIDENT
PIO IERACI
Since the Corps was unable to negotiate an understanding with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), Lips issued a “3c letter” on February 20th. As explained by LaMarca, “This requires NMFS to rescind or elevate their objections by March 9, and based upon conversations, they do not intend on elevating their objection. Once rescinded, the Corps has stated they can issue a permit by end of week (March 13).” LaMarca concluded with a promise to notify the neighborhood association when he receives the final resolution.

Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER CHIP LAMARCA
In a separate message to Ieraci, Lamarca commented “It looks like I will get an Army Corps permit for Segment II on March 13th as an early birthday present (March 16th). I will reach out to procurement and capital projects to get the proposed construction schedule for the project. Thank you.” On March 9th, LaMarca got a sneak peek at his birthday present, and sent the following message to the neighborhood association:.

OK Permit “The County received confirmation from the Corps of Engineers that National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has officially rescinded their objections in regards to Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) for the Segment II Beach Renourishment Project. Now that objections have been lifted, the Corps of Engineers is able to issue the Federal permit, which could occur by end of week.

New Beach Construction Plan
NEW BEACH CONSTRUCTION PLAN
Once we have permit in hand, the next milestone is to continue our efforts on the Project Participation Agreement (PPA). The PPA is currently still being reviewed and revised by the various levels of the Corps of Engineers. Without this document, we cannot award the project, or we would jeopardize the Corps’ funding. We have been coordinating with Intergov to expedite this review, but we are still awaiting the draft version of the document for initial review.

Happy Birthday Chip We will keep you posted as to our progress, but please do not hesitate to contact Nicole Sharp or Dr. Jurado with any questions.”

Galt Mile Celebration After decades of being shredded in a regulatory Cuisinart, it appears that the Segment II beach renourishment will materialize (after sea turtle nesting season ends in November). Scoring the Federal Permit will mark one of LaMarca’s more memorable birthdays, and send a wave of cautious optimism through the Galt Mile – and City Hall.

However, since 20 years of chronic disappointment has cultivated deep-seeded suspicions, many Galt Mile residents will understandably postpone celebrating until they feel the new sand between their toes. Stay tuned.

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Commissioner Bruce Roberts

Bike Plan || Quiet Zones || Bridge Fix

Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
COMMISSIONER BRUCE ROBERTS
April 4, 2015 - In his March - April 2015 Newsletter, City Commissioner Bruce Roberts introduces Lewis Landing as the City’s newest Park, notes technological improvements to Fort Lauderdale’s online Property Information Reporter, applauds the City’s participation in the League of American Bicyclists’ Bicycle Friendly America program, expresses his intention to serialize planned infrastructure improvements in his newsletters - beginning with the Bridge Master Plan and recognizes the Transportation and Mobility Department for having snagged the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization’s prestigious Transit Priority Award. The Commissioner opens his message to constituents with an enigmatic heads-up for those disturbed by paralyzing noise – either from heightened seasonal air traffic at Executive Airport or federally mandated train horns. Ironically, their respective endgames differ as night and day.

Dead End at Executive Airport

Noise Mitigation in Dania Beach
NOISE MITIGATION IN DANIA BEACH
When planners spent $791 million to lengthen a runway at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport (FLL), and another $650 million to rehabilitate the airport’s terminals, the expenditures were abetted by a $250 million settlement for neighborhood residents living in the adjacent Dania Beach community. Driven nuts by living for decades with scores of daily brain rattling landings and takeoffs – the funds would equip their homes with new sound-cancelling roofs, heavily insulated impact glass windows, extensive weather stripping and central air/ventilation systems. Operating as a self-sustaining Enterprise Fund, FLL is one of South Florida’s most lucrative economic engines.

New FXE Control Tower
NEW FXE CONTROL TOWER
While clocking in a respectable 500 daily flights (182,237 in 2014), Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE) is a fiscal pipsqueak juxtaposed to Broward’s big dog air hub. The $16.4 million recently spent on replacing its ancient control tower tested the limits of the City Commission’s support for the facility. Residents living or working near the airport have no illusions about a regulatory windfall mitigating their homes.

Click to Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport website Instead, a multi-faceted Noise Compatibility Program (NCP) was cobbled together (and approved by the FAA) for Executive Airport. The City deployed an advanced version of the Airport Noise and Operations Monitoring System (ANOMS), initiated 24/7 monitoring and enforcement of Noise Abatement procedures for aircraft and organized noise control workshops for pilots. By restricting the use of certain runways at night, controlling the timing and direction of neighborhood overflights, prohibiting engine run-ups on ramps and curbing repetitive landing and practice approach operations, the City delivered modest short term relief to local residents.

Control FXE Perimeter Development
CONTROL FXE PERIMETER DEVELOPMENT
To more permanently remediate debilitating airport noise, City planners propose a joint City / County revision of land use regulations to control development around the airport. In addition to rezoning non-compatible properties – if and when the opportunity arises (i.e. by attrition) - incorporating noise requirements into the Design Review (DRC) process for new development would promote sound-cushioning structural mitigations, ultimately morphing the airport perimeter into a noise-resistant zone.

Absent these costly structural improvements, noise problems at Executive Airport will remain a persistent dilemma in nearby residential and commercial neighborhoods, and inoculating the community against airport noise by leveraging the DRC review process could take decades to bear fruit. While Roberts’ invitation to report noise incidents may deter future abuse by flying scofflaws, there is no antidote for seasonally heavy air traffic.

County-wide Quiet Zone to Cut Cacophony

Click To Florida East Coast Industries website Roberts’ summary of the train horn issue is a post script to a February 25 memo drafted by City Manager Lee Feldman. Responding to complaints that the shattering blasts of train horns mounted on newly purchased locomotives seem more ferocious than those emitted by their predecessors, Feldman notes that a planned investigation by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) will ascertain whether the new train horns comply with federal law. Since Broward will soon benefit from a county-wide Quiet Zone, the issue may be moot.

Click To All Aboard Florida website All Aboard Florida (AAF) - a subsidiary of Florida East Coast Industries (FECI) - is a planned high-speed passenger-rail service connecting Miami and Orlando with stops in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. In addition to the significant new stream of tourism revenue, the State and regional economies will benefit from major infrastructure improvements along the route and myriad new construction jobs. However, a daunting drawback dogged the project. People who live or work in neighborhoods where local streets intersect the tracks feared a relentless auditory assault by brain-numbing train horns.

Click To Centers for Disease Control & Prevention website Click To All Aboard Florida website In 2011, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) implemented a requirement that locomotive horns issue 15 - 20 second blasts as a warning to drivers at public highway-rail crossings. This FRA Train Horn Rule (49 CFR Part 222) mandates a blast volume between 96 and 110 dB (decibels). Physicians and research scientists at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) consider sound levels above 85 dB hazardous. While a 9 second blast at 120 dB can turn your ears into broccoli, repeated exposure to slightly lower volumes can cause Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL).

Click To Federal Rail Administration website Fortunately, Federal Law also provides for the designation of “Quiet Zones”, sections of rail line, at least a half-mile in length, that include one or more public rail crossings at which approaching locomotives are not required to sound their horns - subject to the Locomotive Engineer’s discretion. To offset the increased risk of omitting the warning blast, federally approved Quiet Zones require supplemental safety measures (SSM) by local jurisdictions.

Click To Florida East Coast Industries website
Locomotive Horns
LOCOMOTIVE HORNS
Ordinarily, railroad crossings have a set of two gate arms, each of which blocks traffic on one side of the tracks. When a train approaches, the arms swing down across their respective oncoming traffic lanes. Unfortunately, it doesn’t prevent self-medicating motorists from playing “Chicken” by jumping into the adjacent unblocked lane to skirt the lowered gate and beat the train. To secure a “Quiet Zone” designation, a city or county must make the crossing idiot-proof via one of 5 optional FRA-approved SSMs.

4 Quadrant Gate System
4 QUADRANT GATE SYSTEM
They can create a 4-gate quadrant system by adding two more gates, thereby blocking all lanes in either direction on both sides of the track. A consulting traffic engineer might alternatively recommend installing raised concrete mediums to block lane-jumpers. To save the cost of additional equipment, a more drastic accommodation would alter crossing sites into one-way venues, with both standard gates placed on the same side of the track to block all lanes of oncoming traffic. Finally, intersecting thoroughfares can be temporarily or permanently closed, obviating the need for a nerve-frying warning blast.

Raised Median
RAISED MEDIAN
Depending on the number of crossings and the types of safety features, the Federal Rail Administration has estimated that site enhancement costs for a city or county would minimally average $30,000 apiece. However, if intersecting crossing sites are wider than two lanes, fully fleshed out Quiet Zone SSMs can cost local governments between $150,000 and $250,000 per rail crossing.

Click To TIGER Discretionary Grants website Since AAF initially refused to spend more than the $1.5 billion already committed by FECI, and the State typically offers no grant opportunities for Quiet Zone improvements, to avoid force feeding the entire nut to local taxpayers, last April, Commissioner Roberts informed the Galt Mile Advisory Board that Broward and Palm Beach County MPOs were stalking a Federal TIGER grant (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) to defray costs. If they hit pay dirt, the $22 million they asked for would substantially lower the taxpayer bite for modifying the 65 crossing sites in Broward and 115 in Palm Beach County with SSMs (supplemental safety measures).

Click To Broward MPO website Click To U.S.DOT website As fate would have it, before the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) rejected the TIGER grant application on September 12, 2014, at Quiet Zone workshops held in July and August, the Broward MPO learned about a loophole in the FRA Train Horn Rule that would enable county-wide Quiet Zones without installing 65 SSMs (quadrant gates or raised medians) at $30,000 - $250,000 a pop. Armed with an extra $60 million from AAF for safety features at every grade crossing, and a gander at their lobbyists’ FRA regulatory playbook, Broward would only need to incrementally modify some of its 65 crossing sites to qualify for a county-wide exemption.

Quiet Zone Signage - No Train Horns
QUIET ZONE SIGNAGE - NO TRAIN HORNS
The FRA maintains a nationwide Quiet Zone Risk Index (QZRI) for every U.S. crossing site as well as a Nationwide Significant Risk Threshold (NSRT) – a national average risk statistic subject to annual FRA review. By compiling accident statistics at crossing sites with and without train horns into an algorithm, each individual risk index can be adapted to reflect the impact of those train horns (RIWH). If the risk index of a crossing site is lower than the NSRT or the RIWH, the site becomes eligible for Quiet Zone designation. By using the average QZRI of all 65 Broward crossing sites as the basis for eligibility, and comparing it to the RIWH for each site, the Broward MPO was able to calculate a county-wide RIWH threshold. By applying SSMs to those sites most at risk, MPO officials reduced the county-wide risk index below the RIWH threshold, thereby qualifying all 65 crossing sites for quiet zone status. Although Broward MPO budgeted $4.2 million for quiet zones, they may only spend a total of roughly $1 million, freeing any unused funds for reallocation.

Broward MPO Executive Director Gregory Stuart
BROWARD MPO EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR GREGORY STUART
In a September 18, 2014 letter to MPO Board members and City Managers, Broward MPO Executive Director Gregory Stuart spelled out how they would accomplish this. By eliminating the crossing at NW 2nd Street in Fort Lauderdale (near the new rail station), and adding quadrant gates or raised medians to high risk crossings listed in the letter, they would bring the countywide index below the RIWH threshold. Crediting AAF for this Machiavellian work-around, Stuart said “This partnership allows us to further enhance the corridor above and beyond what is needed for a county-wide quiet zone.” With the cat out of the bag, Miami and Palm Beach MPOs also partnered with AAF to mute train horns along the AAF route in their respective counties.

One Up, One Down

Click To Fortress Investment Group acquires FECI Unlike the noise problems at Executive Airport, where a shoestring plan for marginal improvement is subject to development and market vagaries over the next decade (or longer), Broward’s train horn cacophony will desist when AAF lays the new Broward track and installs the SSMs; shortly after a chorus of drooling shareholders in FECI parent company Fortress Investment Group incant “Show me the money!” Read on for Commissioner Roberts' April 2015 message to constituents... – [editor]

From The Desk of
Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts

Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
DISTRICT 1 COMMISSIONER
BRUCE G. ROBERTS
NOISE CONCERNS:

  • WORKING TO MINIMIZE THE IMPACTS OF SEASONAL AIR TRAFFIC: During winter months, from November through April, seasonal air traffic can increase significantly at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE). Click to Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport web page This time of year is also when neighbors like to save energy by turning off their air conditioners and opening their windows, which makes aircraft noise more noticeable. The City would like to remind neighbors that we are aware of the potential increase in noise that season air travel may have on our neighbors. As a result, the Noise Abatement Office distributes notices and contacts aircraft operators to remind them of the program's guidelines to help lessen aircraft noise that may occur in neighborhoods during this time. To report excessively loud aircraft you may do so by calling FXE's Noise Abatement Hotline at 954-828-6666 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Also, in the near future we will set a neighbor meeting with our City staff and FAA officials to discuss this issue.

  • Click to City Manager Lee Feldman Train Horn Memo REPORTING TRAIN NOISE 850-414-4500 : Many people have called to report that the train horns have gotten louder. Our staff spoke with the FDOT Rail Office who stated that when individuals call they should have the following information for follow up: which track the train is using – FEC (East-railroad tracks along Dixie Highway) or TriRail/CSX (West-railroad tracks along I-95); which train is causing the noise (cargo train or TriRail); the date/time and travelling northbound or southbound. If the noise is late at night or early morning so that you are not observing, just call with date/time/approximate location. We hope this helps. Transportation officials are investigating the matter. If you would like a copy of City Manager Lee Feldman’s memorandum regarding this issue, please let me know and I can email it to you.

TECNOLOGY:

  • Click to Property Reporter ENHANCED ONLINE NEIGHBOR RESOURCE: The City is continually trying to expand online services for our neighbors to promote an informed and engaged community. We are proud to announce the release of the new Property Reporter. Formerly known as the Property Information Reporter, this enhanced tool features a modern interface, is mobile-friendly, and provides access to more information than the previous version. The upgraded version provides access to Public Works First Responder crews, FEMA Flood Zones, property tax assessments and aerial or topography maps. And, you can still use the Property Reporter to look up neighborhoods, Commission Districts and sanitation schedules. We invite you to explore the Property Reporter today. HTTP://gis.fortlauderdale.gov/propertyreporter/

Artist Nilda Comas Unveils Bronze Tribute to the Tequesta Indians
ARTIST NILDA COMAS UNVEILS BRONZE TRIBUTE TO THE TEQUESTAS
LEWIS LANDING: As a City, we are committed to protecting, preserving, and enhancing our green space. This commitment was echoed by our neighbors during our citywide Visioning process when they identified expanding parks and green space, developing unique and inviting gathering places, and creating active healthy lifestyles, as key priorities for the future of Fort Lauderdale. On January 24th, we took another step toward fulfilling this shared Vision when we opened Lewis Landing, our newest City Park. Located at 630 NW 9th Avenue, the 1.3-acre property is situated on the south bank of the New River in the Tarpon River neighborhood. The park features a pavilion, walking path, boat dock, benches and picnic tables. As part of the grand opening ceremony, a plaque was unveiled dedicated to Surles and Frankee Lewis, the first permanent non-native residents of our area who arrived here in 1792. In addition, award-winning sculptor Nilda Comas unveiled an original commissioned statue of a Tequesta Indian, which proudly stands atop a five foot base near the park’s entrance. The bronze sculpture was created as a tribute to the Tequestas, Fort Lauderdale’s first inhabitants whom historians believe lived on the park property from approximately 800 - 1200 AD. If you have an opportunity, please stop by Lewis Landing. It is one of our City’s most picturesque parks and a place filled with a fascinating history dating back centuries!

Click to Bicycle Friendly America program BICYCLE FRIENDLY AMERICA PROGRAM: As part of the League of American Bicyclists Bicycle Friendly America program, representatives from the League, Broward County, Florida Department of Transportation, Broward B-cycle, Neighborhoods, and the City’s Parks and Recreation, Police, Public Works, and Transportation and Mobility Departments joined together to discuss best practices for improving bicycling conditions in our City. The meeting focused on educating neighbors on bike safety, encouraging more bicycling, and also included a group ride around Fort Lauderdale to assess the City’s biking infrastructure and the challenges bicyclists face. The League will now provide the City with a Bicycle Friendly Community Report Card and an action plan that identifies priorities that will have the greatest impact on helping us become a safer, more comfortable bicycle community.

PROJECT ASSESSMENTS: In order to better assess, prioritize and finance major infrastructure and capital improvements, your City has evaluated several areas of concern. To keep our neighbors informed of that process which has been ongoing for several years, we will introduce a series of reports over the course of our next newsletters.

  • Click to TranSystems Website BRIDGE MASTER PLAN: In an effort to develop a Comprehensive Bridge Master Plan and to identify funding needs, on July 1, 2014, the City Commission approved the finalized agreement between the City and TranSystems to begin the inspection, evaluation and documentation of the 46 roadway bridges identified for the study. Five City owned bridges were not included in this study because they are currently being replaced by the FDOT. On November 17, 2014, TranSystems submitted a comprehensive bridge assessment plan, outlining the conditions of the 46 bridges and recommending a repair and replacement schedule. These recommendations are based on bridge deficiencies which are broken into six categories: concrete pile deterioration; deteriorated beam concrete superstructure; concrete delamination with exposed reinforcement; concrete delamination with non-exposed reinforcement; expansion joint deterioration; and non-compliance functionally obsolete. Based on the findings, TranSystems has provided both short term and long term recommendations. Short term recommendations are meant to address minor structural issues this year which, if unaddressed, will result in additional structural damage to the bridge. Short term repairs have been recommended for seven bridges at a total of $86,000. Long term, to be completed over the course of the next 20 years, in five year increments, fall into two categories: repair: significant structural repairs intended to extend the service life of the bridge over 20 years; and replacement: if necessary repairs cannot extend the service life of the bridge over 20 years, the bridge will be demolished and replaced. Long term repairs have been recommended for 25 bridges and replacement has been recommended for 17 bridges at a total cost of $35,136,308. Considering the short and long term recommendations for the initial five years of the master plan, 19 bridges have been identified for repair and two for replacement at a total cost of $4,152,600. Currently, $5,747,741 has been included in the Community Investment Plan (CIP) for bridge repair and replacement for Fiscal Years 2015-2019. As such, staff intends to move forward following the schedule outlined by TranSystems.

Broward MPO Executive Director Gregory Stuart awards Fort Lauderdale Transportation and Mobility Director Diane Alarcon
FORT LAUDERDALE TRANSPORTATION AND MOBILITY
DIRECTOR DIANE ALARCON SNAGS AWARD
AWARD:

  • CONGRATULATIONS TO THE TRANSPORTATION AND MOBILITY DEPARTMENT for its recent Transit Priority Award presented at the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (Broward MPO) Safe Streets Summit on January 22nd. Click to Uptown Link The City was selected for the award by peers from other municipalities, transportation organizations, boards, and our neighbors for its close work with partner agencies to prioritize access to transit within our community. Voting for this award was an open process that enabled anyone to nominate and vote for the City on the Safe Streets Summit website. With the Water Trolley, Sun Trolley, Uptown Link, Tri-Rail, and the upcoming Wave Streetcar and All Aboard Florida high speed rail, Fort Lauderdale is working with all of our stakeholders to connect people to our City through alternative modes of transportation to achieve our goal of being a fully connected, multimodal community that offers safe access for all users of all ages and abilities.

Fort Lauderdale Commission Assistant Robbi Uptegrove
ROBBI
UPTEGROVE
Office Contact: Robbi Uptegrove – 954-828-5033; email: ruptegrove@fortlauderdale.gov. In addition to hosting the pre-agenda meetings twice a month, I am also available to attend your HOA meetings to update your neighborhood on what is going on in the City as well as answer any questions/concerns you may have. Please contact Robbi to schedule.

Click To Commissioner Roberts' web page EMAIL LIST: If you would like to be on our email list so that you receive information pertaining to the City – especially District 1 (i.e. news releases, meeting notices, events), please let Robbi know and she will add you.

Bruce G. Roberts                

If you need to reach Commissioner Bruce Roberts, please contact his assistant Robbi Uptegrove at 954-828-5033 or by e-mail at RUptegrove@fortlauderdale.gov. To access the City Commission Meeting Agendas and Minutes, Click Here. To actually watch the meetings recorded and archived on the Commission Meetings Video Webcast and Archives web site, Click Here.

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April 26, 2015 - On your way out of the supermarket, while juggling groceries earmarked for the trunk, some guy parked next to you points out a dent in your car. Inveighing that this is your lucky day, he holds out a business card and mentions that he is an auto body repair technician who just got home from a long day at the service garage.

What might ordinarily cost you $700 - $900 at the auto body shop, he will do for a mere $250. What’s more, you can watch as he restores your vehicle’s former glory. How can you go wrong? After carefully eyeballing his embossed laser-cut business card, you agree.

Scammer Probes Dent
SCAMMER PROBES DENT
In a flash, his trunk pops open, revealing an impressive array of tools. You even recognize some of them from when you had an earlier dent repaired at a reputable collision center. The “mechanic” begins probing an area around the dent, gently tapping with a mallet he slipped from his trunk after placing a can of
Bondo Body Filler next to the car, along with two sanding boards and a vice grip.

Click to Bondo Body Filler He begins sanding the dent when your iPhone ring tones. After talking for a few minutes, you notice your new-found auto body wizard wiping some white goo from his hands. Apparently, it’s the same stuff that now completely covers the dent. Seemingly satisfied with his efforts, the off-duty mechanic authoritatively explains how the compound will protect the new finish from rain or heat as it cures over the next 24 hours. He collects your money and heads into the sunset, assuring you that your car will look as good as new tomorrow.

Compound Covered Bogus Repair - Dent Remains
DENT REMAINS
Early next morning, you get dressed and head to the garage. Still relishing your impromptu financial mini-coup, as you strip off the compound, the building falls on you. There’s the dent, large as life – only now it’s surrounded by three more dents and a swath of missing paint.

New Galt Winn-Dixie
WINN DIXIE HUNTING GROUND
The number printed on the business card is disconnected and the address doesn’t exist. Neither does the website nor the email address. As the totality of your failure sinks in, you weigh whether filing a police report is worth the humiliation, given the paper-thin likelihood of recovering the funds or even finding the scoundrel. You aren’t used to feeling like a stooge. Following a brief unsettling internal struggle, you decide to put the event behind you. Case closed.

New Galt Winn-Dixie
GALT OCEAN MARKETPLACE PARKING LOT
Although it sounds suspiciously like an anecdotal exhortation lifted from “Snopes” (a hoax reporting website), this embarrassing incident recently took place in the Winn-Dixie parking lot, and the victim is an intelligent, well-informed Galt Ocean Mile resident. He later learned that he was snookered by a long-running dog and pony show known as the Gypsy Dent Scam.

Gypsy Till Tap
GYPSY TILL TAP
Although the etymology is in dispute, when the scam first surfaced, this debasing Romani racial slur was used to describe either the activity’s moral bankruptcy or a predisposition to dodge retribution by traveling from town to town. That said, many South Florida Police Departments with special units devoted to Gypsy crime families identify the dent scam, along with “Till Taps” and distraction thefts, as trademark frauds.

Galt Mile Advisory Board
GALT MILE ADVISORY BOARD
On April 16, 2015, Fort Lauderdale Police Department (FLPD) Officer George Brandner was filling in for his partner – FLPD’s Galt Mile liaison Officer Thomas Gestal – at a luncheon meeting of the Galt Mile Advisory Board. While delivering the monthly crime report, Brandner warned Board members that the Gypsy Dent Scam had epidemically grown legs along the Galt Mile, as victim reports became standard fare at patrol briefings.

Gypsy Dent Prop Van
GYPSY DENT PROP VAN
Brandner explained that the hustle is a multiple version legacy scam, as perpetrators hunt unsuspecting quarry in parking lots or driving along local streets. He reported that some of the local scammers were eloquent, highly polished and well-practiced, having successfully turned self-proclaimed “diehard skeptics” into hapless victims. In one incident described by the officer, a commercial auto body van was used as a prop, and the scammer was convincingly familiar with automotive repair procedures and specialty equipment used by collision repair technicians.

Noting that several variations of the scam had been reported, Brandner characterized a bare bones version as most locally prevalent. When one of two perpetrators asks about fixing a dent (that he may have placed there earlier), as the mark exits the vehicle to inspect the damage, his partner snatches whatever looks valuable from inside the car – simple, fast, and effective.

Gypsy Dent Scammers Cruise A1A for Victims
SCAMMERS CRUISE A1A FOR VICTIMS
The hunting ground isn’t confined to parking lots. Scammers cruise Oakland Park Boulevard, Sunrise Boulevard, Federal Highway, Commercial Boulevard and A1A, where they pull up next to a car stopped at a light and offer to fix dents they observe on the body or bumper. Whenever a mark takes the bait, the endgame always plays out the same way. Whether entranced by a huckster with the gift of gab or intimidated by a matched pair of gorillas, instead of saving a few dollars, the victim shells out money to crooks who invariably add to the damage.

As Brandner further expounded scam details, the low-key background banter usual to these meetings dropped off to a murmur. Breaking the silence, an Advisory Board member admitted that he’d been duped. With the flood-gates open, others felt compelled to jump in, in turn describing how they were also bilked by Gypsy Dent con artists. Given the plurality of hard-nosed skeptics on the Advisory Board, these spontaneous admissions suggested that Brandner’s police reports barely scratch the surface of the actual victim pool.

A retired Galt Mile health care consultant was stung by a more elaborate variation. Using an electric grinder powered by the car’s battery, a pair of scammers stripped the paint around a dent and cut deep into the substrate. After building out the depression with wax and spray paint, they covered the mess with gray putty. “I was skeptical when they first offered to fix the dent in a half hour, but watching them work, I became convinced that they knew what they were doing.”

Victim is told to leave the compound or putty until the scammer is long gone
DELAYING REMOVAL OF THE COMPOUND LETS THE SCAMMER SCRAM
Steeled by myriad previous performances, they had plausible answers for anything she threw their way. When she asked how they could match the vehicle’s exact color, one of the scammers replied “No problem, we formulate the color from the VIN number on the registration sticker in your window.” Once paid, they left her with detailed instructions, “In 48 hours, have the car washed and hot waxed. It will remove all traces of wax and compound and restore the car to its former finish and color.” In fact, they turned a small dent into major damage. “I spent more than $3700 to fix the original dent plus the damage caused by grinding;” angrily adding “they also damaged my battery.”

Investigative Reporter Carmel Cafiero
INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER CARMEL CAFIERO
Gypsy Dent Scamm Damage to Vehicle owned by Coral Springs Victim
DENT SCAM DAMAGE TO VEHICLE IN CORAL SPRINGS
In 2010, Channel 7 (WSVN) investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero did a segment about scammed residents in Coral Springs and Delray. The crooks claimed they were employees of a legitimate Boca Raton repair shop called Dent King, and invited prospective marks to check the shop’s website. With their fears dispelled, the hoodwinked targets agreed to let the thieves fix their damaged vehicles.

Dent King Proprietor Kevin Kurlowski
DENT KING PROPRIETOR KEVIN KURLOWSKI
Click to Dent King After covering up the non-existent repairs, and admonishing that they would cure overnight – the standard delay tactic – the scammers disappeared with the cash. Subsequent calls to Dent King by each of the burned victims elicited the same response from proprietor Kevin Kurlowski, “No one by that name ever worked here!” Lamenting the large number of victims who visit to his shop to repair damage caused by the scammers, Kurlowski told Cafiero that because the material used by the crooks to cover their handiwork isn’t properly applied, it adds to the damage when removed.

Scammers Santino Mitchell and Vinny Uwich
SCAMMERS SANTINO MITCHELL AND VINNY UWICH
Scammers yank Lexus hood out of alignment
SCAMMERS YANK HOOD OUT OF ALIGNMENT
More recently, Local 10 investigative reporter Jeff Weinsier filmed two scammers yanking the hood of a Lexus out of alignment with a pulley they had affixed to a light pole with a metal cable. Claiming they were Lexus employees, 24-year old Santino Mitchell and Vinny Uwich convinced an elderly Lexus owner in a gas station parking lot to fork over $400 to remove a dent in his hood that he had never seen before. When the camera began rolling, Uwich said he would slap Weinseir and Mitchell, who was arrested in Clarkstown, New York a few years earlier for pulling the same scam, threatened to break the camera. Although they took off before the police arrived, the victim later learned that they did damage estimated at $1300.

Weinseir Films Scammer Anthony Mitchell
WEINSEIR FILMS SCAMMER ANTHONY MITCHELL
Shoe Polish Covers Dent on BMW
SHOE POLISH COVERS DENT ON BMW
A few months later, Weinsier filmed Mitchell’s brother Anthony working the same scam on BMW owner Sagi Danon in a mall parking plaza, masquerading as a BMW employee. For $200, Mitchell covered a dent with shoe polish and assured Danon that the finish would look new when he wiped it off in a few days. In contrast with the threats leveled by his brother, Anthony grabbed Weinseir by the throat while trying to pry away the camera before beating a hasty retreat when he learned the police were en route. Frustrated because the only infraction for which most scammers are legally answerable is a licensing violation, an undercover detective estimated that these puss buckets clear about $3000 a day.

Local 10 investigative reporter Jeff Weinsier
LOCAL 10 INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER JEFF WEINSIER
If you drive a car, there’s a significant probability that you will run into one of these sleaze bags. Besides the Galt Ocean Marketplace, other local parking lots where Gypsy Dent scammers thrive include the Coral Ridge Mall, Lowes, Publix, Home Depot, Whole Foods, Best Buy, Pier 1 Imports, Galt Ocean Shoppes (32nd – 34th St.), Office Depot, and the larger furniture stores along Federal Highway. Here are a few tips. If while driving you are approached by someone offering to fix a dent in your car, close the windows and lock the doors before you answer, thereby deterring a light-fingered partner from exploiting what is likely a deliberate distraction.

Gypsy Dent Scammers work fast and disappear
COVER THE DAMAGE AND DISAPPEAR
If you run into a “lot lizard” in a commercial auto repair van while parked at a mall shopping plaza, and the money-saving deal sounds tempting, explain that you’ll meet him later at his repair shop. If he tells you that he can only offer you this discount because he just came from fixing another car using the company’s equipment, but back at the shop, you would be charged full price – scram – that jargon is a traditional Gypsy Dent Trademark!

However, if your “lizard” is only holding a rag and a spray can, imagine he is an unemployed dentist who asked if you wanted a $50 root canal performed in the median, and react accordingly.

If you view their street-honed skills as no match for your uncanny prowess in sniffing out fraud or your arsenal of common sense, you’re already in trouble. They are relentlessly persistent and make a living by successfully negotiating for credibility with people from every social stratum. If you go toe to toe with these reprobates on their home turf, you will lose. There is only one way to win, walk away. If you also want to turn the tables on these bums while helping to protect the rest of us, call the police (staunchly recommended by Officer Brandner)! That night, you’ll sleep like a baby.

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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca

Beach Fix; Cabbie Clash; Save H2O; and Infrastructure

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

County Commission vs. Cash Cow Cabbies

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

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

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

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

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

Regulatory Whack-A-Mole

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bad Press and Dirty Tricks

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

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

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

Tweaking the Money Magnet

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

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

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

 

April 2015 Update

By Commissioner Chip LaMarca

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

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

Regulation of Transportation Network Companies in Broward County

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

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

April is Water Conservation Month

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

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

Infrastructure

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

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

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

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

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

As always, it is my honor to serve you.


Chip LaMarca
Broward County Commssioner
District 4

Click To Top of Page



Commissioner Bruce Roberts

Vision Zero || Code RED || Road Fix

Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
COMMISSIONER BRUCE ROBERTS
May 20, 2015 - In his May 2015 Newsletter, District 1 City Commissioner Bruce Roberts explains a City plan for using the Vision Zero Initiative to reverse the City’s astronomical pedestrian fatality rate while enhancing bike safety, offers contact information for reporting a variety of municipal concerns, lists dates when anticipated high tides may spur seasonal flooding in low-lying areas, spells out registration protocols for the CodeRED notification system, applauds Fort Lauderdale’s recent recognition by NerdWallet as the 11th Greenest City in America, outlines how microsurfacing will cushion the budget by extending the useful life of roads in fair condition and reviews the Advisory Board seats currently available to prospective District 1 volunteers.

Fixing Roads and the Tax Bite

When the current municipal administration crafted a roadmap for climbing out of a recessionary economic downturn, a Commission decision to annually lock down the millage rate triggered a hunt for opportunities to cut the budget without sacrificing services or neglecting infrastructure. After the Commission and the Budget Advisory Board plucked the low-hanging fruit by tightening in-house fiscal efficiencies, they explored less obvious and untested money saving methodologies. Among these was a process that could relieve the annual pressure on one of the spending plan’s costliest line items – infrastructure and capital improvements.

In his Newsletter’s current project assessment, Roberts reviews how microsurfacing is being used to cushion our tax bite. Developed in Germany in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and introduced to the United states in 1980 after Dr. Frederick Raschig presented his Ralumac slurry system at the International Slurry Surfacing Association (ISSA) convention, this polymer-modified, cold mix paving system is increasingly being used by Florida cities to remedy a broad range of problems on their streets, bridges, highways and airfields.

Click To Pavement Condition Index (PCI) In 2013, the City deployed MicroPAVER technology to assess the condition of every city thoroughfare and rank them in a database using the Pavement Condition Index (PCI) - an industry standard. While newly constructed streets are ascribed a PCI of 100, impacts from traffic volume, weather and soil conditions, the road’s age and invasive utility excavations determine how the PCI declines over time. As roads deteriorate from ‘Good’ (PCI 86 to 100) to ‘Fair’ (PCI 56 to 70) or ‘Poor’ (PCI 41 to 55), repairs grow exponentially more expensive.

Most government road maintenance programs formalize a race to replace heavily eroded streets marred by major defects, forcing public works departments into an accelerating game of “catch-up” fueled by an ever-increasing drain on tax revenues. However, if microsurfacing is performed early in a road’s life cycle, by extending the life of a roadway by seven to ten years, every preventive dollar allocated saves $6 to $10 in future rehabilitation costs, reining in the need for runaway budget appropriations.

Click To Microsurfacing Microsurfacing can be done at a much lower cost ($5 per square yard) than is required for conventional 3-inch milling and paving ($27 per square yard). For example, it may cost about $60,000 to microsurface a 21-foot-wide mile of low-volume road with a 10-year lifespan, projecting an annual budgetary footprint of $6,000. By comparison, adding 3 inches of material at roughly $330,000 per mile is more than five times the cost, and its 30-year lifespan mandates an annual budgetary allocation of $11,000. Also, while the microsurfaced road is virtually maintenance free, as the untreated road’s condition declines, incremental annual maintenance costs explode, along with budgetary revenue demands.

Click To Fort Lauderdale Pavement Condition Index (PCI) Since 20% of Fort Lauderdale's streets are in fair condition, while less than 5% are rated “poor” (and warrant immediate replacement), treating that 20% would postpone for a decade their decline into the poor category, when repairs will cost more than 5 times as much. Although the project was originally conceived to treat 333,000 square yards - or 25 miles – of city streets in fair condition, when staff discovered that the bids were much lower than anticipated, they reconfigured the project to exploit the windfall pricing, and expanded its scope to treat 465,000 square yards - approximately 36 miles – of moderately eroded roadway. To avoid the bear trap of feeding Peter by starving Paul, City staff also developed plans to rebuild the 5% of roadways rated “poor” or worse – some of which are nearly fish tank rubble.

Click To Poinsettia Heights Civic Association Celebrating the therapeutic impact this technology might have on the city budget, last June the City Commission handed bid-winning vendor Asphalt Paving Systems (APS) a $2.245 million contract to microsurface selected city streets in 2014. Another $1.355 million was set aside for additional repairs in 2015 and 2016. By the end of the summer, their optimism hit a wall when residents of Poinsettia Heights uncovered pitfalls in the City plan.

Sloppy Work and Unmet Expectations

Microsurfacing - Before
FORT LAUDERDALE ROAD IN FAIR CONDITION
Shortly after the work commenced, residents who were initially delighted by the planned repairs went ballistic after watching the project roll out. Laying siege to City Hall, they complained about divots and long drag marks on the street, newly formed stagnant puddles from post-treatment ponding, permanent tire marks along parking lanes, a patchwork quilt of treated and untreated adjacent sections of road, roadway ridges made more prominent by the treatment, stains on driveways abutting the street, and a failure to repair many of the street’s observable defects, including rut ridges and alligator cracks. Couched in the complaints were concerns about how the treated streets might undermine property values.

Microsurfacing - After
SAME ROAD AFTER MICROSURFACING
The reaction at City Hall was summarized by Mayor Jack Seiler, who remarked, “I have not had a single person tell me they are pleased with the work being done.” An expedited investigation turned up two distinct problems. The first was a drawback ordinarily endemic to County projects – sloppy work and insufficient oversight. The second was a firestorm fanned by unmet expectations.

Mayor Jack Seiler
FORT LAUDERDALE MAYOR JACK SEILER
Microsurfacing would only yield the desired results if properly applied. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. Some of the cracks that should have been sealed prior to the treatment were neglected by the contractor and the road wasn’t properly cleared of debris, enmeshing leaves and twigs into the new surface. When confronted about these and other complaints, contractor APS addressed the deficiencies. To avoid a repeat performance, the City assigned a battery of staffers to ride herd on APS going forward.

Click To Ny-Mac Enterprises, Inc. website In fact, APS had submitted the second lowest bid in a field of five competing vendors, behind low bidder Ny-Mac Enterprises, Inc., a Michigan corporation that was rejected when city staff discovered that the Palm Beach license the company claimed was issued on April 15, 2014 had actually expired on March 28, 2012.

Click to Asphalt Paving Systems With a business office in Zephyrhills, Florida and headquartered in Hammonton, New Jersey, Asphalt Paving Systems provided sterling municipal references from Tampa, West Palm Beach, Lake Worth, Lakeland, and Largo. APS was also awarded a contract by the New Jersey Department of the Treasury covering municipalities, school districts and non-profit organizations anywhere in the state. Unlike the scammer they bumped from the top spot, their credentials panned out.

City Manager Lee Feldman
CITY MANAGER LEE FELDMAN
The Poinsettia Heights incident brought focus to a more pervasive problem. When local residents were informed about the project, the City failed to adequately clarify its value as a budget measure implemented to deflate their tax nut. Unfamiliar with the process and its purpose, residents who mistakenly expected the City to morph mottled aging roads into shiny new boulevards became skull-blocked upon realizing that the project would instead saddle them with those mottled roads for the next decade. As observed by City Manager Lee Feldman “This is not pick up the pavement, put some new pavement down. Major imperfections are still going to be there.”

Click to Fort Lauderdale Microsurfacing Notice In a notice sent to local residents requesting their cooperation, it warns about a systemic idiosyncrasy called tire picking, a reference to permanent scuff marks created when the tires are turned by a parked vehicle on a treated street. While providing assurances of no long-term performance damage, the notice concedes that “it affects the finished look of the paving,” marginalizing the fact that it looks like additional defects.

If City officials continue to spin this project’s purpose as Roadway Maintenance (instead of saving tax dollars) in other city neighborhoods scheduled for microsurfacing, local residents are likely to mirror the disappointment encountered in Poinsettia Heights. Unless the City forges a more palpable connection between this project and our TRIM Notices, city officials may field a good deal more angry blowback than gratitude. To that end, the City is using email blasts and social media vehicles Nextdoor, Twitter and Instagram to quell concerns while reaching out to neighborhood and community associations for both output and feedback. Despite an impressive arsenal of outreach tools, whether or not they deliver the right message will come out in the wash. Read on for Commissioner Roberts’ May 2015 Newsletter... – [editor]

From The Desk of
Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts

Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
DISTRICT 1 COMMISSIONER
BRUCE G. ROBERTS
CITY-WIDE INFORMATION:

  • STRATEGIC TRANSPORTATION EFFORTS FOR PUBLIC SAFETY (S.T.E.P.S.) TO VISION ZERO: Transportation and Mobility Department (TAM) is leading the development of a Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, the objective of which is to improve safety for bicycles and pedestrians on City Streets. Click to Vision Zero Initiative STEPS to Vision Zero is being modeled after a global initiative adopted in Sweden in 1997 that focuses on the value of human life and is based on the premise that fatalities from pedestrian and bicycle accidents are not acceptable. The initiative is currently being championed in the US by New York City and San Francisco. In a report conducted by the US Department of Transportation Fatality Analysis Report System, Ft. Lauderdale had the second highest pedestrian fatality rate per capita and the fifth highest traffic fatality rate per capita in the nation for 2014. STEPS to Vision Zero is being developed in collaboration with City departments, our neighbors, Broward County, the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization, FDOT and other supporting agencies. Partners are working together to identify the challenges, actionable initiatives and performance measures to improve safety for all users of our streets. The final product will include an identification of problem areas with a high number of accidents, areas with limited sidewalks surrounding schools, the need for education on safe walking and biking practices, Click to Fort Lauderdale Redestrian Fatality Rate and the high rate of speeding. It will then provide action strategies for all partners to implement including things such as altering the way projects are designed, developing education campaigns, working with schools on education and infrastructure improvements, conducting targeted enforcement in high accident areas, and policy and legislative changes. This plan complements the Connecting the Blocks Program, a multimodal infrastructure improvement program, which is an implementation tool for our Complete Streets Policy and gives us a running start in achieving the objectives of the Mayor’s Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets. This will be presented to the Commission at an upcoming meeting.

  • WHEN YOU NEED TO REPORT:

    • Pothole: If you notice a pothole that needs to be filled in call 954-828-8000 to report.

    • Flooding: If you notice flooding on your street or around the City call 954-828-8000 to report.

    • Code issues: If you notice a code issue (i.e. trash, work being done w/out permit, cars blocking driveway, neighbors neglecting their home/property, illegally parked cars, etc.) call 954-828-5207 to report.

      **All of the above can also be done on line where you can log in a concern and track. http://www.fortlauderdale.gov/departments-/city-manager-s-office/public-affairs-office/lauderserv

    • Suspicious Activity: If you notice something that is just not right (cars slowly driving up and down the street checking out property, people going door to door, strangers lurking in backyards or strolling your neighborhood) call the non-emergency number to report possible criminal activity – 954-764-4357

  • Seasonal Street Flooding in Fort Lauderdale
    SEASONAL STREET FLOODING
    2015 HIGH TIDES: Flooding in low-lying areas is more likely when the close proximity of the moon, high tides, rising sea levels and inclement weather conditions combine to exacerbate flooding risks. As a coastal community with numerous low-lying areas and 300 miles of canal coastline, Fort Lauderdale neighbors are advised to be especially vigilant during the months of September, October and November. The City of Fort Lauderdale anticipates above-average high tides on the following dates in 2015, please note that these dates are not limited to the fall months:

    • April 17 - 18

    • August 29 - September 2

    • September 26 - October 2

    • October 24 - 31

    • November 24 – 27

    Click To Fort Lauderdale Flood Guide While the City maintains an extensive stormwater master plan and is instituting both aggressive maintenance and innovative adaptation solutions to address drainage, the location and natural geography of the City makes neighborhoods susceptible to flooding. Please take the time to evaluate your property's readiness, review your insurance policy and create an emergency plan.

  • Click to CodeRED STAY INFORMED! SIGN UP FOR CodeRED: The City of Fort Lauderdale uses CodeRed, a high-speed telephone notification system, to send mass notifications by phone, email and text to keep citizens informed. In the event of an evacuation, utility outage, water main break, fire or flood, chemical spill, or other emergency situations, the City may activate CodeRED to send emergency notifications to registered subscribers. The City may also use CodeRED to communicate non-life safety matters, such as planned road closures, water main repairs, water service interruptions, etc. There is no charge to register for or use CodeRED, and personal information is kept confidential. Registering for CodeRED is quick and easy and can be done by going online on our webpage, or by calling the 24-hour Customer Service Center at 954-828-8000. Code RED delivers notifications by phone, email and/or text. Please note the following:

    • Click to Google Play CodeRED is compatible with TDD/TTY devices for those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

    • When the City issues a CodeRED notification, the 24-hour Customer Service Center phone number, 954-828-8000, will appear on the caller ID.

    • Notifications cannot be delivered to phone numbers with a privacy lock feature. To ensure notifications are received, subscribers should either turn off the privacy lock feature during emergencies, enter 954-828-8000 on their “safe list” of phone numbers, or enter a cell phone number when registering for the service.

    • Click to iTunes Store Individuals who have already registered for the service but would like to update their phone number or add a cell phone number to the database may do so by re-registering.

    • The CodeRED Mobile Alert app sends geographically-based messages to subscribers nationwide.

    To download the free CodeRED Mobile Alert app for your smart phone, visit the Google Play or iTunes store.

  • Click to Nerdwallet Article about America’s Greenest Cities FORT LAUDERDALE NAMED AMONG “AMERICA’S GREENEST CITIES”: Among the nation’s 150 largest cities, Fort Lauderdale ranks as the 11th “Greenest City in the U.S.” according to a national study released on 4/21/15. The study lauded the City for earning high rankings based on the analysis of four key environmental factors: housing density, environmental quality, transportation and energy sources. Fort Lauderdale scored the highest marks for the percentage of occupied buildings with 10 or more residences. The City also scored strongly for good air quality, transportation options and the percentage of residential buildings with solar energy.

DISTRICT 1 INFORMATION:

  • Click to Executive Airport Meeting Notice FAA COMMUNITY MEETING: On Thursday, April 23, 2015, a community meeting was held with neighborhoods concerned about aircraft noise and safety from flights at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE). FAA representatives and City staff were in attendance. It was an educational process, which developed several ideas for follow-up. We will report on that progress in the future.

  • PROJECT ASSESSMENTS: In our last newsletter, we mentioned that we would present an information series related to the City’s program to evaluate, prioritize and finance major infrastructure and capital improvements. Our last newsletter described the bridge master plan which will repair or replace 46 city bridges over the next 20 years. This edition will address the City’s plan to resurface our roads.

    • Micropaving Deteriorating Fort Lauderdale Street
      MICROSURFACING CITY STREET
      Roadway Maintenance: The City is using MicroSurfacing to address “Fair” roads. Microsurfacing is a sustainable product, consisting of recycled material that uses a 5/8-inch asphalt polymer-modified cold mix aggregate sealant to extend the life of a roadway by seven to ten years. Microsurfacing can also be done at a much lower cost than conventional asphalt overlays. This process allows the City to maximize available funding to resurface the greatest number of linear miles of roadway.

    • Click to Asphalt Paving Systems Maintenance Schedule: In May 2015, Asphalt Paving Systems will begin applying crack seal to the roadways scheduled to be resurfaced this year. Approximately 30-45 days after the crack seal is applied, Asphalt Systems will begin micro-surfacing streets in our community. Fort Lauderdale successfully resurfaced numerous roads in 2014. Moving forward, the City will continue to improve road conditions, reduce long-term costs and make our roads better for our neighbors. The plan is to start at the northern most roadways and progress south. A completed map of the streets to be microsurfaced will be available at a later time and will be posted on our web page.

  • The Fort Lauderdale Development Review Committee
    THE DEVELOPMENT REVIEW COMMITTEE
    ADVISORY BOARD VACANCIES: If you are interested in serving on a board or committee, please let us know! We have vacancies on: Community Appearance Board (2), Education Advisory Board (2) and the Historic Preservation Board (1). You can always check on-line or let me know and I will send you the information. You are not required to live within District 1 though it would be nice! Therefore, you can see what other openings there are in other Districts. http://fortlauderdale.gov/departments/city-clerk-s-office/board-and-committee-information

Fort Lauderdale Commission Assistant Robbi Uptegrove
ROBBI
UPTEGROVE
Office Contact: Robbi Uptegrove – 954-828-5033; email: ruptegrove@fortlauderdale.gov. In addition to hosting the pre-agenda meetings twice a month, I am also available to attend your HOA meetings to update your neighborhood on what is going on in the City as well as answer any questions/concerns you may have. Please contact Robbi to schedule.

Click To Commissioner Roberts' web page EMAIL LIST: If you would like to be on our email list so that you receive information pertaining to the City – especially District 1 (i.e. news releases, meeting notices, events), please let Robbi know and she will add you.

Bruce G. Roberts                

If you need to reach Commissioner Bruce Roberts, please contact his assistant Robbi Uptegrove at 954-828-5033 or by e-mail at RUptegrove@fortlauderdale.gov. To access the City Commission Meeting Agendas and Minutes, Click Here. To actually watch the meetings recorded and archived on the Commission Meetings Video Webcast and Archives web site, Click Here.

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Broward Beach Bags Federal Permit

New Beach Construction Plan
NEW SEGMENT II BROWARD BEACH PLAN
Environmental Protection and Growth Management Department Deputy Director Eric Myers
BROWARD BEACH
ADMINISTRATOR ERIC MYERS
June 1, 2015 - After reviving the dormant Segment II beach project in 2011, former Broward Beach Administrator Eric Myers spent the next 3 years chasing the required State and Federal permits. When he retired after a bitter, yet successful struggle for the State permit, Broward Natural Resource Administrator
Nicole Sharp donned Myers’ mantle as beach boss. Joined by District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca, Sharp hunted the remaining regulatory brass ring – a Federal Permit to reclaim vanishing Segment II beaches – until she ran into a bureaucratic brick wall.

NOAA Fisheries Shell Game

Click to U.S. Department of Commerce Web Site
Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER CHIP LAMARCA
Last year, LaMarca asked his District 4 constituents for help circumventing a federal beach renourishment roadblock. NOAA Fisheries (AKA the National Marine Fisheries Service - or NMFS), an agency in Penny Pritzker’s Commerce Department, was intransigently sitting on a key puzzle piece required for a Federal Permit – an “opinion letter” featuring recommendations to minimize collateral damage to the marine environment.

Click to Endangered Species Act For more than a year, agency bureaucrats ignored County requests for the opinion letter, although every other major State and Federal environmental watchdog agency endorsed the beach project as critically important to salvaging fast-diminishing nesting and foraging habitat for a laundry list of species deemed endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). As cited in the Army Corps of Engineers’ original Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), Leatherback, Green, Kemp’s Ridley, Hawksbill and Loggerhead Sea Turtles, the Piping Plover and scores of other threatened species rely on the shrinking beach ecosystem for their survival. Ironically, NMFS bureaucrats blew off as “irrelevant” the Corps conclusion that a fortified beach will also save thousands of lives at risk from cyclonic storm surge while shielding more than $4 billion in upland property. As spun by an arrogant NMFS policy wonk in St. Petersburg, “Human survival is not our problem.”

Click to NOAA Fisheries Web Site While shrugging off public officials from Broward County, Fort Lauderdale, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea and Pompano Beach, the agency also ignored supplications by Statehouse Representative George Moraitis, Florida Senator Jeremy Ring and other members of the Broward Legislative Delegation. Anticipating that our Federal representatives might more effectively access a heavily cloistered federal agency, LaMarca and the Galt Mile Community Association recruited Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio along with Congresswoman Lois Frankel to help pierce the seemingly impenetrable bureaucratic membrane. When the agency finally responded with an enigmatic claim that they lacked the resources to meet the County request (i.e. write an opinion letter), an incredulous Chip LaMarca visited the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional office in St. Petersburg, where he found the Broward request under a pile of unopened documents collecting dust at an empty desk.

Running the Roadblock

Click to Army Corps of Engineers - Jacksonville District Web Site Since the agency is openly disdainful of local politicians and only marginally more responsive to members of Congress (unless, of course, they sit on a budget committee charged with pulling agency purse strings), Broward officials realized they were spitting into the wind. Reconsidering their options, County officials turned to another federal agency for help. To further its agenda, NOAA Fisheries needs a functional relationship with the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE). Also, nobody can navigate the federal regulatory labyrinth like local Corps personnel, who consider it their back yard. LaMarca contacted the Army Corps of Engineers Palm Beach Gardens Regulatory office, where Supervisory Biologist and office chief Susan Kaynor and Project Manager Garett Lips agreed to help pinwheel NOAA Fisheries – and push the beach project to fruition.

Under Secretary Kathryn D. Sullivan
UNDER SECRETARY KATHRYN D. SULLIVAN
Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy
ASSISTANT SECRETARY JO-ELLEN DARCY
NOAA Fisheries could have milked their dilatory tactics for years; fortunately, this wasn’t the first dance for ACOE Project Manager Garett Lips. When a NOAA Fisheries bureaucrat continued stonewalling the project after the February 20th response deadline mandated by federal law, Lips drew down on his intimate familiarity with the Federal playbook. A 1992 Memorandum of Agreement between the Department of Commerce and the Department of the Army spells out a procedure for breaking an impasse created when NMFS casually blocks a permit approved by the Corps; specifically, it kicks the problem upstairs to the Under Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere (USOA - former astronaut Dr. Kathryn D. Sullivan - the first woman to walk in space) and the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works (ASA/CW - currently Jo-Ellen Darcy), a forum reserved for aquatic resources of national importance.

Click to Army Corps of Engineers - Jacksonville District Web Site
ACE Project Manager Garett Lips
PROJECT MANAGER GARETT LIPS
Lips sent a “3c” letter, forcing the agency bureaucrat to either rescind or elevate the objections by March 9. Since elevating borderline specious objections would expose the agency to crushing public and internal criticism for its willingness to arbitrarily eviscerate one of the world’s major Sea Turtle nesting habitats, scuttle a regional economy, and leave the entire beachfront population unprotected from cataclysmic storm surge, they threw in the towel. Having finally fleshed out the Corps’ regulatory dance card with the NOAA Fisheries opinion letter, ACOE District Commander Colonel Alan Dodd issued Permit Number SAJ-1999-05545(SP-GGL) in Jacksonville a few days later.

Jacksonville ACOE District Commander Colonel Alan M. Dodd
JACKSONVILLE DISTRICT COMMANDER COL. ALAN M. DODD
Lips’ timing was providential. After 3 years as District Commander of the of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, and 32 years in scores of domestic and overseas commands (including combat commends in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan) where he earned countless citations and awards, West Point graduate Colonel Alan M. Dodd is preparing to retire from active service. Had he done so before signing off on the Broward permit, a new Commander might have required the County to revisit specific regulatory issues or re-navigate the entire gauntlet, prospectively adding years of additional delays. Before officials in Fort Lauderdale and the Galt Mile had an opportunity to thank Lips for sewing up the big win, the 45-year old biologist suddenly passed away on April 28.

As a parting shot, NOAA Fisheries salted the permit with a conditional requirement. The permit does not authorize the “taking” of an endangered species, in particular Acropora and other listed corals. Buried in their opinion letter, NOAA Fisheries specifies a set of “reasonable and prudent measures” when navigating the hardbottom environment. If implemented, responsibility for an “incidental taking” would be mitigated, leaving Broward off the hook.

Debunking Permit Myths – What Really Happened?

L'Hermitage I Condominium
L'HERMITAGE I CONDOMINIUM
When news of the Federal authorization spread through the neighborhood, pool talk fueled speculative misconceptions about the State and Federal permits. At a recent Presidents Council Meeting in L’Hermitage I, a veteran GMCA Advisory Board member – understandably angered by years of frustrating delays – took a potshot at those who worked to secure the Federal Permit, contending that a federal permit issued in 2004 was blown when irresponsible County officials sat on their thumbs - and allowed it to expire on July, 16, 2009. Another official held that the original permit hadn’t expired, obviating the need for a new permit. Like most urban legends, these myths were built on grains of truth. A Federal permit was received 11 years ago, although it did not authorize a Segment II beach fix.

Dredged Sand Pumped onto Hollywood Beach
DREDGED SAND PUMPED ONTO HOLLYWOOD BEACH
Issued on July 16, 2004, Federal Permit No. SAJ-1999-5545(IP-SLN) was limited to bulking south county Segment III beaches in Hollywood, Hallandale and Dania Beach. Since Galt Mile officials have been playing “Where’s Waldo” with State and Federal Beach Permits for almost two decades, the mix-up comes as no surprise, especially since a State permit that expired during a prolonged episode of bureaucratic foot-dragging fell prey to a countywide battle over replacement sand.

Initially issued by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), State Permit No. 0163435-001-JC authorizing Segment II on May 12, 2003 was reissued a year later (June 4, 2004) as Permit No. 0163435-005-JC following an administrative hearing convened to address a project challenge by a longtime local beach renourishment opponent.

Environmentalist Roy Rogers
ENVIRONMENTALIST
ROY ROGERS
2004 Florida Cabinet
2003 - 2004 FLORIDA CABINET
A few months earlier, scientists from the County’s Biological Resources Division addressed the Florida Cabinet at a May 13, 2003 Tallahassee public hearing, along with officials from Broward beachfront municipalities, renowned environmentalist (and former head of the Nature Conservancy, the Audubon Society and Florida Ethics Commission panelist) Roy Rogers and a contingent of Galt Mile residents. When project opponents – many funded by the scuba industry – informed former Governor Jeb Bush’s Cabinet members that Broward’s beachfront homeowners opposed the beach renourishment, the baseless spin was refuted by beachfront residents from the Galt Mile, whose testimony convinced the Cabinet to approve the project.

Threatened Elkhorn and Staghorn Corals
ELKHORN AND STAGHORN CORALS
Click to 18 Month Segment III Monitoring Report To avoid the appearance of environmental impropriety, the Cabinet added a permit provision requiring an 18-month monitoring period following the Segment III renourishment. Data collected about environmental impacts would be used to enhance safety mitigations applied to the Segment II project. When monitors from Nova Southeast University Oceanographic Center and a coalition of outside engineers (Olsen Associates, Inc., Coastal Planning and Engineering, Inc. - absorbed by CB&I in 2013, CECOS Environmental Consulting Services, Milian, Swain & Associates, Inc., etc.) joined county scientists in submitting the anticipated report in early 2008, among the scores of coral species listed in their findings were small colonies of endangered Staghorn (Acropora cervicornis) and Elkhorn (Acropora palmata) coral.

Former FDEP Secretary Michael Sole and Former Governor Charlie Crist
FORMER FDEP SECRETARY MICHAEL SOLE
AND FORMER GOVERNOR CHARLIE CRIST
A few years after the 2008 monitoring report was submitted – just before the State permit expired – former Broward Beach boss Steve Higgins sent a letter to former FDEP Secretary Michael Sole on April 3, 2009, requesting that Sole extend State authorization of Segment II for another 5 years – through June 4, 2014. Sole had roots in Broward. When he was recruited by former Governor Charlie Crist to run the FDEP, Sole was working as a Marine Biologist for Broward County – arms akimbo with Steve Higgins and Eric Myers.

After indicating his intention to extend the State permit, and providing Higgins with a Notice of Completeness for his application, Sole informed Higgins that a Notice to Proceed would not be forthcoming until he received a Segment II mitigation plan protecting the endangered species of coral, in compliance with the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Sand Civil War

Observing that the Broward project was “The most heavily regulated Beach reourishment in the history of Florida,” Higgins began fashioning an Acropora addendum that would pass muster with Sole’s FDEP and ESA regulations. When the project’s State permit expired on June 4, 2009, all hell broke loose.

Hollywood Hotels WANT More Sand
HOLLYWOOD HOTELS COVET SEG II SAND
Despite that testimony from Galt Mile residents and Fort Lauderdale City officials were the deciding factors in winning Cabinet approval for the south county’s Segment III renourishment, when Segment II approval lapsed, Hollywood and Hallandale hoteliers and politicians colluded in launching a stealth campaign to hijack the sand earmarked for Fort Lauderdale’s beaches.

Click to Fort Lauderdale No Bypass Resolution Enraged by the south county attempt to usurp Segment II renourishment resources, incredulous north county municipal officials went ballistic. The Fort Lauderdale City Commission immediately passed City Resolution No. 09-11, “strongly opposing” a sand bypass at Port Everglades that would replenish sand stripped from south county beaches by tidal erosion. A page was posted on the City web site entitled “Help Save Fort Lauderdale Beach,” which provided the email addresses of the County Commissioners and asked that residents “Help to make sure that Fort Lauderdale is not pushed to the back of the line” by demanding that Broward first complete the promised Segment II renourishment of Fort Lauderdale’s beaches. Waves of invective for south county politicians were echoed in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea and Pompano Beach.

Former Broward Beach Administrator Steve Higgins
FORMER BROWARD BEACH ADMINISTRATOR STEVE HIGGINS
Higgins is a scientist, not a politician. Caught in a political dogfight between north county City officials who were promised the sand, and south county politicians who coveted the Segment II sand to bulk up their newly fattened Segment III beaches, Higgins was relentlessly pummeled by both sides. Stupefied by this deteriorating political rats’ nest, the County’s unique environmental wizard “closed down,” dropping the beach project into a black hole.

Hollywood Mayor Peter Bober
HOLLYWOOD MAYOR PETER BOBER
Until Higgins announced that he would retire in 2011, the beach project remained dormant. Although he would continue as a consultant, his primary duties would be assumed by his boss, Deputy Director Eric Myers of Broward’s Environmental Protection and Growth Management Department. With Broward back in the business of fixing beaches, Hollywood Mayor Peter Bober wanted in. Extending an olive branch to Fort Lauderdale, Bober announced “Hollywood is not interested in doing anything that would give us any unfair advantage or cause any detriment to Fort Lauderdale residents or the City’s reputation.”

Trucking Sand to Beach Staging Areas
TRUCKING SAND TO BEACH STAGING AREAS
At a February 7, 2011 Presidents Council meeting in Coral Ridge Towers (Original), Myers announced that the project’s revival hinged on two contingent benchmarks, crafting a new plan that eliminated the most egregious regulatory obstacles and unilateral cooperation by coastal jurisdictions and beachfront homeowners. Myers’ redesigned project no longer called for using sand dredged from the ocean floor by vessels dragging pipes and hoses across the hardbottom. By truncating prospective damage to the marine ecosystem, he also quashed the project’s greatest source of environmental blowback.

Broward Natural Resource Administrator Nicole Sharp
BROWARD NATURAL RESOURCE
ADMINISTRATOR NICOLE SHARP
Golden Sand Dredged from Ortona's Man-Made Lake
MINED STOCKPILES OF COMPATIBLE BEACH SAND
Instead, sand from upstate mines will be trucked to beachfront staging areas via a route approved by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) before being spread across each Segment II beach. To authorize this revised Segment II project, FDEP issued Permit Number 0314535-001-JC on January 31, 2014. In contrast with the 5-year lifespan of previous State Permits, the current authorization expires on January 31, 2029. As explained by Broward Natural Resource Administrator Nicole Sharp, the extended authorization will enable the County to expeditiously fill “hot spots” carved by coastal storms, without spending years wandering through another regulatory House of Horrors. Thanks to the late Garett Lips, federal authorities are also on board.

Final Preparations

Sea Turtle Nesting Season
New Segment II Beach Plan Staging Areas
SOME SEGMENT II STAGING AREAS
With the State and Federal permits in hand, the County began drafting a Project Participation Agreement (PPA), which will serve as a Federal reimbursement blueprint once the project is fully farmed out. Truckloads of sand will begin arriving after the staging areas are prepared in November, 2015, following Sea Turtle nesting season. Given the abbreviated construction window annually imposed by the eight-month nesting season (March – October), project duration was initially projected at two to three years.

However, at the February 2, 2015 Presidents Council meeting in Fountainhead Condominium, LaMarca agreed to explore an alternative timetable suggested by association officials. Instead of selecting an initial staging site and sending the construction crew either up or down the coast, attending GMCA officials proposed coordinating a project launch from several beachfront staging areas, with multiple construction teams operating simultaneously. This expedited plan would abandon the multi-year timetable in favor of a single season completion. Nicole Sharp gave assurances that each association will be notified about when its respective beach will be closed in order to receive sand.

Building New Beach At several subsequent GMCA Advisory Board meetings, officials stressed the importance of conveying the construction schedule to Galt Mile residents as soon as possible. Unit owners who expect visiting friends and family after the project begins need to know when beach access will be restricted by construction. As such, county and/or FDOT beach updates will be immediately forwarded to member associations by email blast, posted on the Galt Mile website and detailed in the monthly Galt Mile News. For expanded status reports, unit owners can also check with their association's Advisory Board Representatives. More to come...

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President Barack Obama gives 2011 State of the Union Address
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: 2011 STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS
June 12, 2014 - In his 2011 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama set the goal for the U.S. to become the first country to have 1 million electric vehicles (EVs) on the road by 2015. Relying on forecasts made by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Obama’s ambitious goal was an unfortunate example of a corporate bureaucracy believing its own BS. Filching overly optimistic manufacturer production targets from media reports laced with sunshine, the DOE surmised that 1,222,200 plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) would pepper American streets by 2015. A July 2012 study by Pike Research concluded that cumulative sales will reach the President’s goal sometime in 2018.

As practiced by elected officials since the anthropological dawn of government, Obama backed his oratory with our money, pledging $2.4 billion in federal grants to support the development of next-generation electric vehicles and batteries. $1.5 billion of the grant money was made available to any U.S. based manufacturers willing to produce highly efficient batteries and their components. Another $500 million went to U.S. based manufacturers to produce electric motors and other components needed for electric vehicles. The remaining $400 million was reserved for a mixed bag of electric infrastructure concepts – like plug-in hybrids, truck stop charging stations, electric rails, and training for technicians to build and repair electric vehicles (AKA “green collar” jobs).

Click To American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 Two years earlier, Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) into law on February 17, 2009. A Keynesian response to the recessionary tar pit in which the previous administration couched our economy, the stimulus package sought to offset the loss of private spending with government spending, albeit at a more modest level. The Recovery Act would feed $831 billion back into an economy that lost $2.9 trillion, just enough to keep people working. By preserving 1.6 million jobs annually between 2009 and 2012, the fiscal gambit helped avert a looming depression.

Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell
DEMOCRAT SENATOR
MARIA CANTWELL
Republican Senator Orrin Hatch
REPUBLICAN SENATOR ORRIN HATCH
No House Republicans and only three Senate Republicans joined the Democrats who passed the bill – despite a partisan attempt to deter economic recovery on Obama’s watch. Privately disparaging an unpopular party policy designed to undermine the Administration by keeping the national economy submerged, many Republicans not only supported the bill, but thought it should have been expanded, citing Nobel laureate Paul Krugman, a bill supporter who remarked that the law didn’t “even cover one third of the (spending) gap”. Drafted primarily by Democratic Congressional committee leaders and their staffs before Obama took office on January 20, 2009, individual Republicans placed Country above party and joined with Democrats in amending the bill. Republican Senator Orrin Hatch teamed with fellow Senate Finance Committee member Democrat Maria Cantwell to file an amendment entitled “The Freedom Act of 2009”, which included tax incentives for plug-in electric vehicles.

Click To U.S. Department of Energy With funding made available by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the U.S. Department of Energy began actualizing Obama’s plan. The DOE announced the release of two competitive solicitations for up to $2 billion in federal funding for competitively awarded cost-shared agreements for manufacturing of advanced batteries and related drive components. It would also dole out up to $400 million for transportation electrification demonstration and deployment projects. Since the ensuing national energy policy updates were tantamount to political chloral hydrate for all but the applicant beneficiaries of the grant windfalls, most Americans snoozed through the news.

Fort Lauderdale City Manager Lee Feldman
FORT LAUDERDALE CITY MANAGER LEE FELDMAN
Fortunately, our gatekeepers in City Hall weren’t among them. Still slugging its way through a recessionary cash shortfall in 2009, Mayor Jack Seiler’s new administration applied for a $2 million energy efficiency and conservation block grant. With the money on tap, in June 2011, Fort Lauderdale City Manager Lee Feldman plucked Susanne Torriente from a politically imploding Miami-Dade following the election of a new County Mayor. Four years earlier – in 2007 – Torriente and 8-year Assistant Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry were the surviving finalists in a selection process to fill the open seat of Broward County Administrator vacated by Pam Brangaccio. Although Henry and Torriente held comparable positions in adjacent counties, Henry’s home field advantage neutralized Torriente’s support on the Broward Commission. Henry was tagged as Broward County Administrator and Susanne Torriente headed back to Dade County, where her political capital as a public service asset continued to skyrocket.

Fort Lauderdale Assistant City Manager Susanne Torriente
ASSISTANT CITY MANAGER
SUSANNE TORRIENTE
Click To Champions of Change Formerly the head of Miami-Dade’s Office of Sustainability, Torriente would now assist Feldman with running tech-driven city departments and projects, infusing management systems with operational sustainability, and lock in Fort Lauderdale as a regional anchor for high technology. Having consolidated City Departments to enhance operational efficiency, Feldman placed newly appointed Assistant City Manager Torriente atop a hierarchy that includes Sustainable Development, Transportation & Mobility, Public Works and Parks & Recreation. No stranger to federal green energy policy, shortly after bumping heads with Henry, Torriente was recognized by the White House as a Champion of Change in 2008. Feldman and Torriente would use the Federal grant resources to fund improvements that benefit the City and its residents while advancing the DOE initiative.

Click To Navigant Research website According to a recent report from Navigant Research, the number of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) on roads in the United States will grow from nearly 296,000 in 2014 to more than 2.7 million in 2023. In 2012, Navigant forecast that Florida’s cumulative PEV sales will grow to 102,517 vehicles between 2013 and 2022, and place roughly 50,000 PEVs on South Florida streets. In 2013, a report prepared by the South Florida Regional Planning Council showed about 1,000 plug-in vehicles sold in the three-county area. Confirming Navigant projections, it anticipates an increase to roughly 15,000 by 2017 and about 51,000 by 2022. Some major obstacles must be addressed before PEVs, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs); or other low or zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) become economically viable and meet their environmental promise.

Former Energy Secretary Steven Chu
FORMER ENERGY SECRETARY STEVEN CHU
On March 7, 2012, President Barack Obama announced the EV Everywhere Challenge, the second in a series of U.S. Department of Energy Clean Energy Grand Challenges organized to make clean energy technologies affordable and accessible to the vast majority of American households and businesses by resolving key technological obstacles. Following the $1/watt SunShot Challenge, which seeks to make solar power cost-competitive with electricity from fossil fuels by the end of the decade, in launching the EV Everywhere Challenge, Obama set 2022 as the deadline for creation of a five-passenger electric vehicle that could economically and functionally compete with internal combustion engine vehicles while recharging quickly enough to meet the range requirements of a typical American driver.

Click To DOE SunShot Grand Challenge In January 2013 the Department of Energy (DOE) published the EV Everywhere Grand Challenge Blueprint, which set technical targets for Obama’s EV Everywhere Challenge. Developed under former Energy Secretary (and Nobel Prize winner) Steven Chu, the DOE EV blueprint encompasses four areas: battery research and development; electric drive system research and development; vehicle lightweighting; and advanced climate control technologies. For EVs to compete with conventional fossil fuel vehicles, the DOE set the following specific technological goals to be met in the ensuing 5 years:

  • Click To U.S. EV Everywhere Grand Challenge Blueprint Cutting battery costs from their current $500/kWh to $125/kWh

  • Eliminating almost 30% of vehicle weight through lightweighting

  • Reducing the cost of electric drive systems from $30/kW to $8/kW

President Obama Announces EV Everywhere Grand Challenge
OBAMA LAUNCHES EV EVERYWHERE
Hitting these marks would result in an automotive propulsion battery with five-times the present range capacity, at one-fifth the cost of today’s lithium-ion batteries. More to the point, it would sufficiently lower the purchase plus operating (fuel) cost of an all-electric vehicle - while extending its range to 280 miles (450 km) - yielding costs and capabilities competitive with a comparably sized internal combustion engine vehicle.

Click To U.S. EV Everywhere Grand Challenge Until now, many projects supposedly dedicated to researching these technologies were funded and closely controlled by automotive and/or energy companies overwhelmingly vested in fossil fuel infrastructure, either directly or through a corporate parent. Not surprisingly, significant advances were either abruptly defunded or cloistered as proprietary. While befitting disingenuous corporate sponsors with a politically correct green halo, the underlying objective for this dog and pony show was to boost sales of internal combustion vehicles that filled current production lines by undermining the growing public confidence in alternative electric vehicles. They had good cause for concern.

Click To U.S. EV Everywhere Grand Challenge EV sales nearly doubled from 2012 to 2013 and are expected to annually increase by 23.7% through 2023. As affirmed on the DOE website, “Electric vehicles can offer consumers significant advantages over gasoline-powered vehicles, including savings on fuel costs, added convenience, and reduced maintenance costs. Electricity is cheaper than gasoline to power a vehicle – generally equivalent to less than $1 per gallon – and consumers are able to conveniently fuel up at home. Electric vehicles can also be more reliable, require less maintenance, and offer the same or better driving performance compared to today’s gasoline-powered vehicles.” In addition to extending their range, tweaking certain components will drop costs like a rock. To solve the problems that dogged these technologies, the DOE would have to alter a skewed playing field where success was systematically rewarded with extinction, and create a format more answerable to consumers than stockholders.

JCESR Director Professor George Crabtree
JCESR DIRECTOR GEORGE CRABTREE
Click To Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR) To help meet this objective - Chu committed $120 million over five years to the new Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR), a research hub spearheaded by the Chicago-based Argonne National Laboratory. Likened to the Manhattan Project of battery technology, JCESR is a resource-rich consortium of five DOE national labs, five universities, and four private-sector enterprises. As JCESR director, Argonne National Laboratory senior scientist George Crabtree will work with teams in Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (in Berkeley, California), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (in Richland, Washington), SLAC (Stanford Linear Accelerator Center) National Accelerator Laboratory (in Menlo Park, California) and Sandia National Laboratories (in Albuquerque, New Mexico), the government’s preferred staging lab for turning science fiction into reality and the project’s primary work site. Complementing this academic arsenal are private sector players Applied Materials, Clean Energy Trust, Dow Chemical Company and Johnson Controls.

Click To U.S. EV Everywhere Grand Challenge The DOE plan provides an unprecedented opportunity to overcome the technological obstacles that face Obama’s EV Energy Challenge. In its first operational year, this juggernaut consortium has already trimmed battery costs from $500/kWh to $325/kWh and marked similar gains in each mission category. However, even if every car were replaced by an all-electric vehicle with comparable capabilities, range and cost factors, it would neither sweeten the air nor reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Electric cars, as well as plug-in hybrids operating in all-electric mode, emit no harmful tailpipe pollutants from the onboard source of power, such as particulates (soot), volatile organic compounds, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, ozone, lead, and various isomers of nitrogen oxide.

Click to Well to Wheels Unfortunately, the clean air benefits are only realized locally. For every EV onboard power source that doesn’t emit tailpipe gases and particulates, a power plant must generate the incremental power required to recharge its battery. When fossil fuel power plants generate sufficient electricity to recharge a million EV batteries, the net pollution is slightly less than the collective tailpipe emissions of a million gas guzzlers. Since a “Well-to-Wheel” environmental impact assessment also considers the source of the electricity used to recharge the batteries, air pollutant emissions are shifted “upstream” to where the generation plants are located. In short, the overall impact of plug-in electric vehicles depends on the fuel and technology used by the power plants that generate their electricity.

With few exceptions, as air quality improves above highways, it will comparably deteriorate near power plants, leaving the overall Carbon Footprint, and our net dependence on fossil fuels, almost unchanged. To maximize the net environmental benefit of PEVs, the juice used to recharge their batteries must be generated from renewable or clean sources such as wind, solar, hydroelectric, or nuclear power. It’s no coincidence that Obama’s first Energy Grand Challenge – SunShot – aspires to cheap solar power within the next six years.

Wind Turbines in Mills Pond Park
WIND TURBINES IN MILLS POND PARK
Click To Alternate Energy Company website In 2013, the City of Fort Lauderdale spent 11% of its block grant ($221,000) on a demonstration and deployment project that maps a resolution to this environmental stumbling block. The City contracted with the Fort Lauderdale-based Alternate Energy Company to install 4 large Urban Green Energy (UGE) vertical axis wind turbines atop 54-foot towers in Mills Pond Park (just east of I-95 on Northwest Ninth Avenue between Sunrise and Oakland Park Boulevards). Each 4 kW turbine can annually yield 36,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh). Rated to survive 156 mph winds, electricity generated from the wind turbines will address the park load, with excess juice fed back to the electric grid under a standard grid tie agreement with FPL wherein energy credits are banked by the utility for future use by the Park.

ChargePoint Charging Station in Mills Pond Park
CHARGEPOINT CHARGING STATION
4 New ChargePoint Charging Station in Mills Pond Park
4 NEW CHARGING STATION IN MILLS POND PARK
Included in the park’s electrical load are 4 newly installed 120-volt ChargePoint charging stations with connections enabling a high voltage quick charge or a slower drip charge. Each station is equipped to simultaneous charge two vehicles. Since electronic controls housed in a nearby mechanical room adjusts the load to the wind speed, the 18-foot lightweight carbon fiber blades can be slowed or stopped according to programmed parameters. Spinning more like slow-motion tops than rotors, their operational efficiency at very low speeds makes them quiet and highly visible to flying critters that might otherwise be puréed. Although the wind-generated electricity used by the charging stations costs nothing, and the the turbine vendor’s website affirms no charge to park visitors for recharging their vehicles’ batteries, the charging stations are encrusted with telltale credit card glyphs (so bring your plastic to be safe).

In building South Florida’s first public charging stations powered by companion wind turbines, Feldman created a unique EV demonstration and deployment project - as described in the terms of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for grant expenditures. Torriente guided the project to completion in January, 2014. While inspecting the site during the planning stages, Torriente commented “I think it’s a great opportunity for education and outreach. The more we can look at renewable energy options and alternatives. I think that's what the public wants.”

Click to Sustainable Solutions web notice It’s also what the DOE had in mind when vetting grant applications. Along with the $2.4 billion that the DOE distributed in EV development funding, $115 million was allocated to the installation of electric vehicle charging infrastructure in 16 different metropolitan areas around the country. The Fort Lauderdale project increased Broward’s 18 public charging stations by 22%. Torriente views the project as a template, remarking “We’ll learn from it and we’ll adjust and where possible, we can replicate it.” Since it was quietly fitted with rooftop solar panels last year, perhaps Torriente will consider “replicating” a free charging station at the Beach Community Center for Galt Mile residents and visitors.

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler
MAYOR JACK SEILER
Pro-actively committed to lessening U.S. dependence on fossil fuels, 25 states provide tax credits and other financial incentives for building charging infrastructure or purchasing electric vehicles. In contrast, the State of Florida allows them access to carpool lanes. Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler observed “The cities have decided that if the state government’s not going to step up, we’ll step up and lead the way.”

In the meantime, as the consortium keeps hitting its marks, every driver on the planet is in for a wild ride, and your beloved clunker may become a cruise night exhibit. After enumerating recent and impending climate change nightmares while outlining our incentives for transitioning to clean energy in his insightful retirement letter last February, former Energy Secretary – and Nobel Laureate – Chu concluded “Our ability to find and extract fossil fuels continues to improve, and economically recoverable reservoirs around the world are likely to keep pace with the rising demand for decades. As the saying goes, the Stone Age did not end because we ran out of stones; we transitioned to better solutions.”

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Click to Galt Mile Sun Trolley Route June 26, 2015 - Late last year, Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Bruce Roberts advised neighborhood association officials of a possible threat to the Sun Trolley’s Galt Mile route. Along with Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca, Roberts serves on the Board of the Downtown Fort Lauderdale Transportation Management Association (DFLTMA), the Sun Trolley’s parent agency. Having learned about an inexplicable decline in ridership on the Galt Mile route segment along Oakland Park Boulevard to Federal Highway, which services the Coral Ridge Mall as well as Holy Cross and Imperial Point Hospitals, Roberts arranged a January 15 meeting with newly appointed Sun Trolley Executive Director Robyn Chiarelli and Galt Mile officials. A drop in ridership could be used to cut back or end the neighborhood’s local bus service, a prospect that triggered a disconcerting flashback for Roberts - and many Galt Mile residents.

Former Sun Trolley Executive Director Les Hollingsworth
FORMER DIRECTOR
LES HOLLINGSWORTH
In 2008, while promising neighborhood officials that he would protect the Galt Mile route from recessionary cutbacks, former Sun Trolley Executive Director Les Hollingsworth sought to mask his managerial missteps by furtively filing a route termination notice. When the Galt Mile Community Association (GMCA) uncovered his plan to unilaterally euthanize this unique neighborhood asset, every member condo and co-op was forwarded irrefutable evidence of his duplicity for posting on Mail Room bulletin boards, association newsletters, blogs and websites. After the surreptitious plan was disclosed in the Galt Mile News and website, it was picked up by the Sun-Sentinel. Almost overnight, the neighborhood association and City Hall were flooded with impassioned objections by angry Galt Mile residents.

Click Termination Letter to Enlarge
TERMINATION LETTER - CLICK TO ENLARGE
A City investigation revealed that the problem had less to do with declining ridership than inept leadership - and an obsolete mission protocol. After ejecting the scheming bureaucrat, interim Director Chris Wren (a longtime Trolley honcho who runs the City’s Downtown Development Authority), Commissioner Bruce Roberts and Galt Mile officials explored a long-neglected incremental revenue source. Instead of carrying clueless vacationers from Port Everglades and beachfront hotels to the usual tourist clip joints, by restructuring the service to accommodate the shopping and medical needs of local residents, the anticipated boost in ridership would also pump new life into local businesses crippled by the recession.

Former Sun Trolley Managing Director Patricia Zeiler
FORMER SUN TROLLEY MANAGING
DIRECTOR PATRICIA ZEILER
Over the next five years, new Managing Director Patricia Zeiler and Wren tailored the Sun Trolley to better connect shoppers, patients and other consumers with customer-hungry vendors and service providers. Click to NPO Awards By linking the reconfigured routes, they provided Galt Mile residents with free transportation to venues along Fort Lauderdale Beach, Las Olas Boulevard, the Galleria and the Harbor Shoppes - without having to find or finance scarce and overpriced parking. They also gave patients unfettered access to Holy Cross and Imperial Point Hospitals, and the panoply of healthcare support services that orbit each medical center. When Zeiler floated her now-stellar resume in the private sector, she was quickly snatched up by the prestigious Fort Lauderdale Historical Society, where she now serves as Executive Director.

Newly Appointed DFLTMA Executive Director Robyn Chiarelli
NEWLY APPOINTED DFLTMA
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ROBYN CHIARELLI
Click to Broward FDOT Following a frenetic search for Zeiler’s replacement, on December 2, 2014 DFLTMA Chairman Alan Hooper announced the appointment of Robyn Chiarelli as Sun Trolley Executive Director. An acclaimed management virtuoso whose career in public transportation was built on leadership roles with the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA), Tri-Rail, and a term as Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District 4 Project Manager, when Chiarelli supervised a laundry list of State-approved transportation projects in Broward and 4 other Southeast Florida counties. After scoring a Prudential-Davis Productivity Award, Chiarelli was recognized in November as the 2014 WTS (Women’s Transportation Seminars) South Florida Chapter Woman of the Year (a hallmark annual honorarium for Women in Transportation).

Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
COMMISSIONER BRUCE ROBERTS
At the meeting with Chiarelli, Roberts and Galt Mile officials stressed the need to maintain the neighborhood bus service - citing its importance to elderly hospital patients, Library and Community Center patrons - and residents for whom the Trolley is an indispensable element of a self-sufficient retirement. On February 2, 2015, Chiarelli joined Roberts at the Fountainhead Condominium to address the Presidents Council. She affirmed that ridership was strong on the Galt Mile route section along A1A south to Sunrise, as hundreds of Galt Mile residents mount regular excursions to Las Olas Boulevard and the Galleria. When recounting the disturbing ridership data for the Oakland Park Boulevard route segment, Chiarelli assured attendees that although the route was not in immediate danger, its future was uncertain.

Click to Sun Trolley Galt Mile Route Web Page While Chiarelli was on maternity leave (she had a little girl on June 12), interim Director Tara Crawford attended the June 18th GMCA Advisory Board meeting. Afterwards, Crawford met with Galt Mile officials Pio Ieraci and Eric Berkowitz to discuss the underutilized Oakland Park Boulevard route segment. Although the route still exceeds the County’s contractual survival standard of 7.1 riders per hour, Crawford said that staffers are exploring a “reallocation of resources,” in case the decline in ridership is evidence of the neighborhood’s changing transportation proclivities.

Click to Sun Trolley Galt Mile Route Web Page As per Crawford, Sun Trolley route planners suggested severing Holy Cross Hospital and Imperial Point Medical Center as destination sites, thereby terminating the Oakland Park Boulevard route at the Coral Ridge Mall. Concerned about the burden it would place on fixed-income Galt Mile patients who rely on the service, and blowback from a neighborhood that reacts poorly to municipal policies harmful to its most vulnerable residents, Sun Trolley officials sought to offset the lost access to both medical centers by cutting a deal with the Pelican Hopper, the Community Bus Service for Lauderdale-by-the-Sea (LBTS). Crawford said that discussions were underway to partially fill the void created by a venue change.

Click to Sun Trolley Tracker Although altruistic, the reaction appears less than spontaneous, as Chiarelli has been cultivating political capital in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea since March, when she partnered with the boutique town’s officials to reconfigure the Sun Trolley’s free tracking software. Developed with technical input from Leadership Broward in 2012, the downloadable Tracker App enables passengers with smartphones, tablets or computers to track the location of Sun Trolleys in real time across all seven routes – including the Riverwalk Water Trolley. By empowering riders to position themselves anywhere along the route to flag down a trolley precisely as it approaches, the Tracker App virtually eliminates the need to wait at a designated stop. Noting how the Galt Mile Sun Trolley and the Pelican Hopper intersect at multiple locations and “share a similar customer base,” when Chiarelli added Pelican Hoppers to the Tracker App, she banked a marker from LBTS officials. Whether the marker holds enough juice to sufficiently alter the Pelican Hopper route to mitigate the lost destination sites is questionable.

Click to Sun Trolley Galt Mile Route Web Page Click to Pelican Hopper Route Map On weekdays, the Pelican Hopper duplicates three Sun Trolley stops in the Galt Mile neighborhood, at the Beach Community center, the Galt Mile Library and the corner of Galt Ocean Drive and NE 41st Street. It also connects to Holy Cross Hospital, albeit via Commercial Boulevard instead of Oakland Park Boulevard. However, since the Pelican Hopper only extends south to Palm Avenue and A1A in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea on weekends, Galt Mile residents would lose their current Saturday service to Holy Cross. Also, the Pelican Hopper doesn’t service Imperial Point Hospital – regular destination sites for scores of Galt Mile medical patients who lack a vehicle - or driver’s license.

The Downtown Business District and the Galt Mile neighborhood are the City’s two most lucrative sources of Ad Valorem revenue – by far. In return, the community asks for - and receives - almost nothing. While an infusion of new families is slowly cultivating a younger demographic, the Galt Mile remains home to a major senior population - many of whom are struggling to make ends meet. The Sun Trolley is one of the few municipal benefits provided to Galt Mile residents.

Sun Trolley or Pelican Hopper Unless Sun Trolley officials are able to add Imperial Point Hospital to the existing Pelican Hopper route and extend the route south into the Galt Mile on weekends, Galt Mile residents will lose their free transportation to Imperial Point Medical Center - and their access to Holy Cross will be sharply curtailed. Spinning a service cutback as a “reallocation of resources” is unlikely to convince Galt Mile residents that they aren’t being stripped of an important resource.

Sun Trolley
FORT LAUDERDALE SUN TROLLEY
When Crawford admitted that she didn’t know what precipitated the slide in ridership, Galt Mile officials offered an explanation, and a methodology for vetting its viability. Given the usual board member turnover due to annual association elections, and the timely hiring of new association managers, many newly constituted association administrations know little or nothing about the service. Also, Sun Trolley Galt Mile outreach hit a brick wall when Zeiler departed last year. As a result, many associations are ill-equipped to inform their members about the Sun Trolley – especially new owners, tenants or visitors. As such, Galt officials asked Crawford to consider spending the next few months intensively reaching out to Galt Mile associations, providing informational flyers for association bulletin boards and handouts that owners might pick up in the Mail Room, building office or security desk.

If each association’s unit owners and management are brought up to speed about the free Community Bus service, yet decide against utilizing the Sun Trolley for patient visits at the Holy Cross or Imperial Point Medical Centers, Sun Trolley officials will have afforded the neighborhood a reasonable opportunity to demonstrate that the existing route should remain intact – subject to the caveat “Use it or lose it!”

So - the next time you have an appointment with a Holy Cross or Imperial Point medical provider; please consider taking the Sun Trolley. You can catch the air-conditioned Trolley in front of your building by simply waving your arm on approach – and once aboard, the driver will pull over and drop you wherever you indicate. You will spend nothing for gas or parking, and the trip home will terminate where it began - at the entrance of your building.

Click to Broward Health Imperial Point Medical Center Web Page Once you use the Trolley, you’ll find yourself jumping on and off like a seasoned road warrior, and perhaps regret not having tried it sooner. More importantly, using it for visits to the Holy Cross or Imperial Point Medical Centers will help preserve them as destination sites – for all of us. Make no mistake, whether or not Sun Trolley officials embark on a high octane association outreach effort, ridership statistics in the upcoming months will dictate where the route terminates. Once a destination site is eliminated, prospects for reinstatement are comparable to those of a snowball in hell.

Click to Zachariah Wellness Center at Holy Cross Click to Holy Cross Silver Sneakers By the way – you don’t need a medical appointment to log in some Trolley time useful for this purpose. The Silver Sneakers program at Holy Cross offers the same equipment as a top commercial gym – for free (with Medicare or other insurance) – and unlike some gyms that charge $thousands annually, the fitness personnel actually know what they’re talking about. The Zachariah Wellness Center offers 50 classes each month, including Yoga, Pilates, Latin or Ballroom Dance, Zumba, Strength Training, Boot Camp and more. Imperial Point features comparable programs. With Medicare or any private insurance, the instructed sessions won’t cost a dime, including transportation to and from your front door – unless the Sun Trolley route is crimped while we snooze.

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Commissioner Bruce Roberts

Fleet Award || Hurricane Plan || CO Gas

Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
COMMISSIONER BRUCE ROBERTS
July 9, 2015 - In his July 2015 message to constituents, District 1 City Commissioner Bruce Roberts explains how the City complemented its hurricane preparedness strategy with planned applications for Federal funding, distilled its highly technical Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) into a user-friendly fiscal primer, credits Fleet Services Program Manager Carlos Berriz for the City Fleet clinching the 36th top spot in a field of 38.000 American public fleets, details how the Uptown Link - a shuttle bus launched last summer to service the Cypress Creek corridor - was administratively melded into a Sun Trolley and lists noteworthy municipal events through September. Jumping on two incidents recently splashed in the media as attacks by the “Silent Killer,” Roberts takes a hard look at Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning.

Carbon Monoxide Deaths at 1010 Seminole Drive
CARBON MONOXIDE DEATHS AT 1010 SEMINOLE DRIVE
On April 13, Carbon Monoxide killed a Wilton Manors man who’s Ford Escape SUV ran for 6 hours in his attached garage. Minutes after opening the garage door but before he could release the ignition, 43 year-old Louis Argo collapsed and died. His final act saved the lives of his wife and 11 year-old daughter, who were revived after being overcome inside the house - as well as two neighbors who were treated for the effects of CO exposure. A week later, a CO-alarm in the Harbor Vista townhomes on the 700 block of Southeast 15th Street narrowly prevented a second tragedy, as Fire-Rescue paramedics rescued an unconscious man inside the house while his car’s motor was still running in the garage. On July 9th, a Fort Lauderdale couple, along with their dog, were found dead of carbon monoxide poisoning in their 15th floor high-rise unit at 1010 Seminole Drive in Sunrise Harbor – adjacent to the Galleria Mall.

Click to Complete and Incomplete Combustion Information The toxic progeny of incomplete organic fuel combustion, Carbon Monoxide is invisible, odorless and otherwise undetectable to human senses. When carbon-based fuels are burned in an oxygen-rich environment (i.e. methane (natural gas), ethane, propane, butane, and the longer carbon chains in gasoline (octane), coal, wood, kerosene, charcoal and diesel fuel), the central chemical reaction ordinarily yields water (H2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2). However, if an insufficient oxygen supply curtails oxidation, each carbon atom is limited to coupling with a single oxygen atom (CO), instead of the two oxygen atoms that comprise a Carbon Dioxide (CO2) molecule.

Click to carboxyhemoglobin Information Once inhaled and absorbed into the bloodstream, the oxygen-hungry CO molecules combine with hemoglobin to form carboxyhemoglobin (HbCO), crippling the hemoglobin’s capacity for dispersing oxygen from the lungs to the tissues. Since this precursor to hypoxia symptomatically mimics influenza after a brief exposure (albeit without a fever), the condition and cause are commonly misdiagnosed. Converting sufficient hemoglobin to carboxyhemoglobin results in death, medically known as carboxyhemoglobinemia or carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon Monoxide Detector Roberts observes that CO is often sourced “from charcoal grills, portable generators, vehicles in closed spaces, or any other wood or gas fueled appliance,” and strongly recommends installing CO detectors or alarms in our homes. Galt Mile condo and co-op owners who rely on electricity to cook and warm their homes are of the impression that they aren’t at-risk because their apartments lack the fuel-burning appliances that typically generate excess carbon monoxide, and their basement-level garages comply with Florida Building Code ventilation requirements.

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Safety Director John Drengenberg
UNDERWRITERS LABORATORIES (UL)
SAFETY DIRECTOR JOHN DRENGENBERG
Drawing on his 50 years as Consumer Safety Director for Underwriters Laboratories (UL) in Northbrook, Illinois (since 1966), John Drengenberg is uniquely conversant with the underlying reasons for the average 400 CO poisoning deaths annually reported in the United States, along with 20,000 annual emergency room visits and 4000 hospital admissions. While a majority are ascribed to vehicles running in enclosed garages (accidentally or intentionally - given its widespread use in attempted suicides), roughly 43% of the deaths (170 averaged annually) are from non-vehicular sources. A staunch advocate of installing CO detectors, a few years ago Drengenberg admonished “I’ve had people ask me why they even needed one, since they live in an apartment with electric heat, and yet right here in our area we had two people die over the weekend because somebody left their car running in the underground garage in the apartment building.”

While Galt Mile residents needn’t worry about clogged chimney pipes or flues, gas-fired appliances, wood-burning fireplaces, or other fuel-based amenities, we aren’t off the hook. The gas-fired heaters that warm some association pools can become clogged or otherwise deteriorate, emitting a plume of carbon monoxide. With the growing popularity of remote and/or keyless vehicle ignitions, association security notifies an annually increasing number of grateful residents that the engines in their garaged cars are still running. As the aging garage level ventilation system functionally sputters, or a clueless association administration risks a code infraction to save money by cycling the garage fan on and off, a vehicle inadvertently left running can soon overwhelm the residents living above. If undetected overnight, emmissions can rise through structural plenums to the penthouse units.

Click to Complete and Incomplete Combustion Information Association homeowners are invariably impacted by our neighbors' questionable decisions. Despite the labeled warning “for use in well ventilated areas”, hundreds of fuel-burning space heaters stashed in Galt Mile closets are pressed into service during rare South Florida cold spells, when the windows are all shut tight. Many buildings have a few residents who skirt the rules against balcony barbecues by setting up a ventless hibachi near a kitchen window or some other fuel-burning stovetop cookware featured in a 3 AM infomercial. The risk of CO exposure increases exponentially during power outages, when association back-up generators that burn natural gas or diesel fuel swing into action.

Galt Mile association homeowners admittedly face far fewer fuel-burning sources of carbon monoxide gas than those living in single-family homes. That said, condo owners suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning are treated in the same emergency rooms, admitted to the same hospitals or wind up in the same morgues as their less at-risk neighbors. At the end of the day, you can either purchase a few inexpensive CO detectors or play the odds. It’s your call. For the balance of Commissioner Roberts July 2015 Newsletter, read on... – [editor]

From The Desk of
Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts

Click to Fort Lauderdale Hurricane Preparedness Brochure
Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
DISTRICT 1 COMMISSIONER
BRUCE G. ROBERTS
2015 HURRICANE SEASON: The Atlantic Hurricane season has started but the City’s preparations began months ago. City departments developed “Continuity of Operations Plans” with comprehensive strategies to provide essential services to our neighbors in the event of an emergency. The City has also trained staff, providing detailed instructions on how to complete required Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) forms for the Public Assistance Grant Program. The City of Fort Lauderdale is ready- hopefully you are too. If you would like more information on preparedness, please go to http://www.fortlauderdale.gov/departments/fire-rescue/emergency-management/hurricane-preparedness

Click to 2014 Popular Annual Financial Report (PAFR) ANNUAL FINANCIAL REPORT: The City’s Popular Annual Financial Report (PAFR) is now available! Neighbors can review the report for a basic overview of City finances in straightforward terms and plain language! The information in the PAFR is drawn from the City’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, which provides a more technical and detailed look at the City’s financial position and operating activities. The financial reports can be viewed at http://www.fortlauderdale.gov/departments/finance/financial-reports

Click to 100 Best Fleets in the Americas 100 BEST FLEETS IN THE AMERICAS: The City of Fort Lauderdale was recently ranked in the 100 Best Fleets in the Americas as the #36th Best Fleet in 2015. The award was announced at the 2015 National Association of Fleet Administrators (NAFA) Institute & Expo that took place in April at the Orange County Convention Center. With more than 38,000 public fleets in North America, this is a significant accomplishment. The 100 Best Fleets program identifies peak performing fleet operations, reviewing 12 areas of operations, and reviewing 12 areas of competency including accountability, use of technology, collaboration, efficient turnaround and resources stewardship to name a few.
Fort Lauderdale Fleet Service Program Manager Carlos Berriz
FLEET MANAGER CARLOS BERRIZ
Fleet operations has transformed in the last few years under the leadership of the Fleet Service Program Manager, Carlos Berriz. We have better procedures in place to track fuel use, idling and vehicle performance. Our vehicle replacement program takes a comprehensive view in collaboration with the stakeholder departments to get the right vehicle for the right job. By including the fleet fenceline as a site for ISO 14001 certification for Environment and Sustainability Management System, we have improved safety, waste diversion and chemical management at the site. As our next step in continual improvement for fleet operations, Public Works Sustainability Division Fleet Services plans to apply for NAFA Sustainable Fleet Accreditation Program. This new program is designed to recognize fleet operations working towards improving air quality in reducing emissions, increasing fuel efficiency and reducing fuel use. The program will give us access to benchmarking data that will help us identify areas for improvement, and measure progress in comparison to other similar fleets. The Sustainable Fleet Accreditation Program will support initiatives listed in our Sustainability Action Plan and in the Press Play Strategic Plan to further our commitment to a sustainable community.

Click to CDC Carbon Monoxide Info Carbon Monoxide Detector CARBON MONOXIDE: Midnight, April 23, Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue received a call for a fire alarm with a carbon monoxide detector activation. Fire crews and the Hazardous Materials team responded. Upon arrival, firefighters found a car that was left running in a garage of a three-story townhouse. Crews entered the home wearing their air packs. They found a man unconscious on the third floor, who was transported in serious condition to Broward Health. Firefighters searched the three remaining rooms and evacuated the occupants. Fortunately, one of the rooms was equipped with a Carbon Monoxide detector. Had it not been for their carbon monoxide alarm, which detected the CO gas as it began to spread throughout the entire complex, it is likely that we would have had another tragedy similar to the incident in Wilton Manors where a family and neighbors were overcome by CO gas. Carbon monoxide is a colorless odorless "silent killer" that robs the body of oxygen. It comes from charcoal grills, portable generators, vehicles in closed spaces, or any other wood or gas fueled appliance. Many new vehicles run very quietly and use a keyless ignition. This often causes drivers to falsely think that they have turned off their vehicles, which could prove fatal if there is not a carbon monoxide detector to warn occupants. We urge all of our neighbors to learn how to prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning and to purchase carbon monoxide detectors for their homes.

Click to Uptown Link SUN TROLLEY EXPANDS SERVICE: The FREE Uptown Link joined the Sun Trolley’s fleet in April. With this addition, the Downtown Fort Lauderdale Transportation Management Association, which administers the Sun Trolley and Riverwalk Water Trolley, now serves passengers in the Uptown Business District, located off Cypress Creek Road in Fort Lauderdale. The Uptown Link Route is a free midday shuttle service, operating between 10am and 3pm, Monday to Friday. Passengers can Wave N’Ride anywhere along the two routes to travel to and from Calvary Chapel, the Cypress Creek Tri-Rail Station, the Citrix Loop, Kaplan University, the Radice Corporate Park, and lunch spots in the area. The vehicles are comfortably air-conditioned, offer bike racks and are wheelchair accessible. For more information on the Uptown Link routes, visit www.suntrolley.com/uptown-link. Additionally, the Sun Trolley operates seven other routes as well as the FREE Riverwalk Water Trolley. To learn more, visit www.suntrolley.com

IMPORTANT DATES TO CALENDAR:

During recess, City Hall remains open and the Commission office remains open – but there will be no commission meetings or pre-agenda meetings scheduled. Commissioners will be available on an as-needed basis.

  • 8/17/15: Pre-agenda meeting at Imperial Point Hospital, South Entrance – 6 pm

  • 8/18/15: Commission Meetings (Conference: 1:30 pm; Regular: 6 pm)

  • 8/31/15: Pre-agenda meeting at Beach Community Center – 6 pm

  • 9/1/15: Commission Meetings (Conference: 1:30 pm; Regular: 6 pm)

  • 9/3/15: First Budget Hearing, City Hall – 6 pm

  • 9/8/15: Second Budget Hearing, City Hall – 6 pm

Click to Fast Forward Fort Lauderdale MORE CITY NEWS: For additional City news, please visit “City News: June Newsletter” at http://www.fortlauderdale.gov/departments/city-manager-s-office/public-affairs-office/city-newsletter

Fort Lauderdale Commission Assistant Robbi Uptegrove
ROBBI
UPTEGROVE
Office Contact: Robbi Uptegrove – 954-828-5033; email: ruptegrove@fortlauderdale.gov. In addition to hosting the pre-agenda meetings twice a month, I am also available to attend your HOA meetings to update your neighborhood on what is going on in the City as well as answer any questions/concerns you may have. Please contact Robbi to schedule.

Click To Commissioner Roberts' web page EMAIL LIST: If you would like to be on our email list so that you receive information pertaining to the City – especially District 1 (i.e. news releases, meeting notices, events), please let Robbi know and she will add you.

Bruce G. Roberts                

If you need to reach Commissioner Bruce Roberts, please contact his assistant Robbi Uptegrove at 954-828-5033 or by e-mail at RUptegrove@fortlauderdale.gov. To access the City Commission Meeting Agendas and Minutes, Click Here.

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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca

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

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

Transportation Network Companies – Part III

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

July 2015 Update

By Commissioner Chip LaMarca

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

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

UBER

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

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

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

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

Residents 100 years or older join Centennial Celebration

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

Online Services for County Tax Receipts Now Available

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

July Is Park and Recreation Month

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

National Safety Month: Car Crashes

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

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

Keeping Your Pets Cool in the Summertime

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

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

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

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

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

Growing Successful Businesses in Broward

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

Contact Us

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

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


Chip LaMarca
Broward County Commssioner
District 4

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City Revives Galt Mile Agreement

Turtle Eyes
Preparing to move turtle eggs from a Donor Beach to a darker Recipient Beach
PACKING EGGS FOR REMOVAL TO A RECIPIENT BEACH
July 31, 2015 - When Fort Lauderdale passed its original
Beach Lighting ordinance in 2003, City Commissioners never anticipated that its strict interpretation would cripple entire neighborhoods and endanger people’s lives. In their defense, when they enacted the overambitious law, official State policy was to dig up turtle nests on heavily populated “donor” beaches and transplant the eggs in mostly barren “recipient” beaches. Understandably unconcerned about public safety issues on stretches of uninhabited beach, Commissioners sought to pad their environmental credibility by aggressively enhancing the ordinance. Their scheme backfired when the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) reversed its policy in 2006, and prohibited moving the nests without good cause. Overnight, the City was faced with a dilemma. If the ordinance was enforced as written, the City would knowingly endanger its citizens and eviscerate the backbone of its tourist economy.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Sea Turtle Program - Click to Web Site Yada Yada Yada Commissioners optimistically assumed that the City’s Code Enforcement personnel would apply the ordinance constructively, and suppress poorly conceived provisions that marginalized public safety. Promising to protect people as well as sea turtles, Code Enforcement Officials repeatedly assured residents that the objective of the ordinance was improvement, not perfection. Unfortunately, this balanced approach wasn’t shared by certain political opportunists who view Fort Lauderdale residents as environmental impediments whose needs - and rights - are immaterial to their agenda.


The First Notice

Fort Lauderdale at Night - A1A Ghost Town
A1A AT NIGHT - FORT LAUDERDALE GHOST TOWN
Although enacted in 2003, enforcement of the beach lighting ordinance was postponed until 2007 - allowing for the City’s recovery from the serial hurricanes of 2005 and 2006. Unfortunately, the City’s first enforcement attempt - a letter threatening residents of beachfront neighborhoods with endless fines unless they blacked out their homes for nine months each year - sparked a wholesale rebellion against compliance, as entire communities prepared to file class action and Constitutional lawsuits against the City. Trapped at ground zero of this quagmire was the City’s first liaison to Florida Fish and Wildlife, a Code officer named Al Lovingshimer.

Nest behind Playa del Mar and Regency Tower
NEST AT PLAYA DEL MAR AND REGENCY TOWER
Confronted by a tidal wave of angry residents, Lovingshimer sought to quell the firestorm inadvertently triggered by Code Enforcement’s ill-conceived letter. A pragmatist who took pride in his role as a Public Safety official, Lovingshimer informed City officials and Galt Mile residents that the ordinance could only be successfully enforced by balancing the needs of Sea Turtles with those of City residents. Unless he could win cooperation from beachfront neighborhoods, the ordinance would remain little more than a flashpoint for controversy, and never meet its objective.

Reaching out to the Galt Mile Community Association (GMCA), Lovingshimer apologized for the antagonistic notice and asked how he could elicit voluntary cooperation with this effort to protect shrinking sea turtle populations. Setting aside the ordinance, Lovingshimer and Galt Mile officials negotiated a plan that would promote compliance without sacrificing safety, security or mangle association budgets. Beginning with the Presidents Council meeting on May 7, 2007, a series of community caucuses was organized to discuss the plan’s terms with local residents and association officials. Accompanying Lovingshimer at these meetings were officials from Building Services, Code Enforcement and the City Manager’s office.


The Galt Mile Plan

Turtle-safe Lighting Shield Yellow Bulb Season The deal was simple. If an association lamp that illuminated the beach could be fitted with a simple shield or screen or redirected in a manner that cured the problem without compromising association security, the resolution would be approved by Code Enforcement. If the lamp was critical to association security, or required to temporarily light an area, associations could achieve compliance by controlling illumination with a manual switch or a motion detector.

GMCA and City Cooperate However, if the lamp was part of an approved statutory lighting plan, such as those component to a parking field, egress catwalk or fire exit, compliance would be postponed until the fixtures were budgeted for replacement at the end of their useful life, or if the association opted to upgrade its lighting plan, either in conjunction with a comprehensive concrete rehabilitation or as a stand-alone project. Turtle Safe Bollard In applying for the required permits, the association would incorporate turtle-safe fixtures into a new lighting plan designed with the input and approval of Florida Fish & Wildlife. Whether funded by a special assessment or accumulated reserves, by waiting until the association opted to replace its aging lamps, the cost would be absorbed as an ordinary maintenance expense, not an incremental burden assessed to unit owners.

Turtle-safe Lighting Shield Galt Mile associations would also post notices on association bulletin boards and websites reminding unit owners to turn off lights when leaving a room with a window overlooking the beach, thereby saving money and Marine Turtles.

The plan ran without a hitch. The city worked with each association to develop a reasonable set of objectives which were inexpensively met. Within six months, almost 90% of the Galt Mile violations were remediated - including many of the most egregious - without compromising association security. Most associations were able to effect compliance by dipping into petty cash. After reporting that the Galt Mile neighborhood delivered the greatest turtle-safe lighting improvement of any Fort Lauderdale beachfront community, Lovingshimer announced his intention to use the Galt Mile plan as a blueprint for other beachfront neighborhoods. Fate held other cards.


Derailed

Former Code Manager Michael Maloney
MICHAEL MALONEY
Former Code Manager Catherine McCaffrey
CATE MCCAFFREY
Within months of announcing the plan’s official approval, former Code Manager Cate McCaffrey was promoted to Director of Business Enterprise. A week before he was posthumously named the City’s first “Code Enforcement Officer of the Year”, an annual award initiated in his honor at the November 20, 2007 City Commission meeting, Lovingshimer succumbed to cancer, leaving no one in Code Enforcement conversant with the neighborhood’s beach lighting agreement. A year later, after rummaging through Code Department files in search of a beach lighting compliance notification to residents, McCaffrey’s replacement as code manager – Mike Maloney – unwittingly mailed the same bellicose letter that precipitated the previous year’s fireworks. This time, the gaffe was quickly rectified when neighborhood association officials met with Maloney – who endorsed the agreement and dispelled community concerns.

City of Fort Lauderdale sent violation notice Nova Team Collects Data Ironically, this gap in institutional memory would resurface whenever the City reshuffled management in Building Department agencies. In 2010, when Code Enforcement was rocked by a scandal and reshuffled on the fly, those who filled the Code management vacuum implemented policies that stigmatized cooperation, issuing directives that turned public safety professionals into hitmen. In 2011, Code officers began violating associations for lamps or shields they had previously approved for installation – and for reflected light not sourced on the property – including cloudlight. Lovingshimer’s replacement as Code Enforcement liaison to Florida Fish and Wildlife, and the City’s most experienced proponent of cooperatively working with communities to mitigate lighting issues, Senior Code Officer Mario Sotolongo was skull-blocked by the Division’s regressive enforcement policies. At an impromptu meeting with Galt Mile officials, Sotolongo and Senior Code officer Ingrid Gottlieb (newly assigned to the Galt Mile) complained that they were placed in an impossible situation.

Nova Team Collects Data Click to Nova Southeast University Oceanographic Institute Web Site When lighting complaints were lodged by NOVA University students who video possible infractions while cruising the beach at night, instead of dismissing those that proved baseless and working with an association to correct those that had merit, officers were ordered to systematically issue violations and stonewall homeowners who asked how to correct them, stating “We are prohibited from commenting on whether a solution is acceptable until after its been implemented.” When subsequent costly correction measures were also rejected, including those designed by Florida Fish and Wildlife – associations refused to waste additional resources on violations unless solutions were pre-approved in writing by Code management. Regretful for their part in burdening association homeowners with an irresolvable dogma, the Code officers also decried how the Department’s actions brought progress to a standstill.

Broward Sea Turtle Program Manager Lou Fisher
BROWARD SEA TURTLE PROGRAM
MANAGER LOU FISHER
Click to Broward Sea Turtle Conservation Program Web Site The turmoil caused by enforcement abuse was inflamed by growing statewide frustration and animosity during the 2011 and 2012 nesting seasons. An acrimonious nest marking policy hatched in the State Capitol antagonized beachfront communities all over Florida. For years, turtle nests were protected by cordoning off an area that measured 5 feet from the center of the nest, a modest-sized reminder that the beach is a shared bioniche. When a Tallahassee bureaucrat from Florida Fish and Wildlife decided to arbitrarily expand each protected zone by a factor of ten, nest sites that used to take up 100 square feet of beach suddenly consumed nearly 1000 square feet, effectively squeezing out residents and tourists from hundreds of Florida beaches - including the Galt Mile beach. Thanks to Lou Fisher, who founded Broward’s Sea Turtle program, and scores of tourist groups that threatened to shift their business to the Bahamas, Fish and Wildlife relented, quashing their directive and reducing the nest sites to a three foot radius (roughly 28 sq. ft.).

Assistant City Manager & sustainability liaison Susan Torriente
ASSISTANT CITY MANAGER
SUSAN TORRIENTE
City Manager Lee Feldman with Mayor Jack Seiler
MAYOR JACK SEILER & CITY MANAGER LEE FELDMAN
When Commissioner Roberts learned that the City’s Code Managers had patterned their enforcement policies after the collection practices of a dysfunctional Mafia shylock, he agreed to help reinstate the Galt Mile agreement at the May 17, 2012 Advisory Board meeting. After discussing its terms with Galt Mile officials at a meeting arranged by Roberts, the Code Enforcement Manager conceded that it had produced far better results than the eclectic combination of strong-arming associations while bleeding their residents. Thanks to Roberts, City Manager Lee Feldman and Assistant City Manager Susanne Torriente (Feldman’s Liaison to the Department of Sustainable Development), Code Enforcement reversed course, as City officials finally took a hard look at the short-sighted policies that nourished soap box demagogues on both sides of this issue.

Lauderdale Beach Attorney Steve Lange addresses angry beach residents
ANGRY BEACH RESIDENTS DEMAND SECURE STREETS
Having witnessed how blacking out entire neighborhoods and darkening State Road A1A left coastal residents fearful of walking down their own block after dusk, endangered drivers and pedestrians, sent angry tourists racing home and flattened faltering commercial beach neighborhoods, City officials realized that the vast majority of City residents – including most responsible environmentalists – favored a beach lighting plan that protected both people and sea turtles. As observed by Mayor Jack Seiler, “The problem is there’s a safety issue down there. It’s gotten too dark. As much as I think every one of us has been very involved in trying to protect the sea turtles, you can’t do that at the expense of human life. You’ve got traffic, pedestrian issues, cycling issues.”

Fort Lauderdale Building Official John Travers
FORT LAUDERDALE BUILDING
OFFICIAL JOHN TRAVERS
Concluding that minor policy adjustments were at best a temporary fix, City Manager Feldman and Commissioner Roberts informed Galt Mile officials that after the Segment II beach renourishment, the City would configure a solution that protected the residents of every beachfront neighborhood as well as visiting tourists, revising the ordinance language to insure enforcement consistency and deter capricious discretionary violations. As for Sotolongo, after courageously risking his job to end the pointless fiscal bloodletting in beachfront neighborhoods, he was snatched up by Pompano Beach, where he runs that City’s entire Code Enforcement program.

Fort Lauderdale Code Enforcement Manager Sharon Ragoonan
FORT LAUD. CODE ENFORCEMENT
MANAGER SHARON RAGOONAN
After decades of serving as a keystone in the City’s growth, as planning Guru Greg Brewton retired as Director of the Department of Sustainable Development, City Manager Lee Feldman cleaned house. Dismantling powerful fiefdoms that safeguarded their turf while making their own rules - he rebuilt the Department from the ground up. Jenni Morejon stepped into Brewton’s mythic size fourteens at Sustainable Development. Answerable to her are Building Official John Travers at the apex of Building Services, Manager Sharon Ragoonan at a restructured Code Compliance Division, Housing and Community Development managed by Jonathan B. Brown, Manager Ella Parker at Urban Design and Planning, while new teams guide Economic Development and the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). To insure that the reorganized divisions in Sustainable Development operate seamlessly, Feldman teamed Morejon with Assistant City Manager Susanne Torriente, who actualized Miami-Dade’s Sustainability program before her recruitment to Feldman’s inner circle.


Cantankerous Courtesy?

Code Complaint In late April, 2015, oceanfront Galt Mile associations received a disturbing notice from the City of Fort Lauderdale Code Compliance Division. Entitled “Complaint Notification”, and addressed to a generic “Dear Property Owner,” the correspondence opened with “The City of Fort Lauderdale Code Enforcement Division is providing this INFORMATIONAL NOTICE because a complaint was registered regarding the following code violation at your property located at:” followed by the respective building address. Inferring a supposed infraction, the notice announced “To Wit: Lighting is visible from the beach at nighttime during turtle nesting season from your property in violation of City of Fort Lauderdale’s Beach Area Artificial Lighting Restriction ordinance.” If the language seemed familiar to longtime Galt managers and board members, it’s because Code Enforcement has been sending out variations of this steel toed welcome mat for nearly a decade.

Billable Hours It’s claimed status as a neighborly “Courtesy Notice” was contradicted by the attached message - a bold-fonted “Warning” that threatened a Violation punctuated by a Civil Fine. Depending on each association’s administrative hierarchy, building managers either passed the threatened violation to the board president, the association attorney, or a representative to the neighborhood Advisory Board. If answerable to a management company, the notice was also copied to the corporate legal department, where a “billable hours clock” began ticking. Within a week, nearly a dozen member buildings forwarded copies to the neighborhood association. The threats were boilerplate, differing only by the building address and ten handwritten digits atop the page – presumably a case number. Galt Mile officials promised to investigate.

City Commissioner Bruce Roberts
CITY COMMISSIONER BRUCE ROBERTS
A few days later, at the May 4 Presidents Council meeting in L’Hermitage, City Commissioner Bruce Roberts was pummeled by angry inquiries from irate association officials. Although unable to justify why identical threats were suddenly rubber-stamped to an entire neighborhood, Roberts - and veteran Galt Mile officials - recognized this as another ham-handed bureaucratic blunder. When Roberts linked Code Enforcement improprieties to the neighborhood meltdown at the next City Commission meeting, Code Supervisor Dick Eaton agreed to autopsy the dilemma and explore a resolution. Eaton followed through by contacting Galt Mile officials with an olive branch – who agreed to meet in early July.


Renewing the Commitment

Fort Lauderdale Building Department
FORT LAUDERDALE BUILDING DEPARTMENT
On July 8, GMCA President and Vice President Pio Ieraci and Eric Berkowitz met Eaton in Building Services Headquarters (The Greg Brewton Sustainable Development Center) at 700 NW 19th Avenue in Fort Lauderdale. Eaton also invited Senior Code Officer Ingrid Gottlieb (formerly assigned to the Galt Mile, Gottlieb serves with Eaton as the City’s Code liaisons to FWC) and her post-shakeup Galt Mile replacement - Senior Code Officer Adam Feldman. Two issues filled the agenda, the Galt Mile beach lighting agreement and the enigmatic threat.

GMCA President Pio Ieraci and V.P. Eric Berkowitz
GMCA's IERACI AND BERKOWITZ
When Berkowitz asked Eaton if Code Compliance officers would adhere to the 2007 understanding, Eaton rated progress along the Galt Mile as excellent, and applauded associations for creatively correcting violations while preserving a safe and secure environment for those in residence. “What about lamps in an approved lighting plan,” asked Berkowitz, “The City is supposed to delay enforcement until these fixtures reach the end of their useful life and are budgeted for replacement?”

Click to Florida Lighting Code On parking decks filled with 10 to 20 identical elevated fixtures, the City-enforced Florida Building Code (423.10.3.5.1 Parking areas) requires an engineer-designed lighting plan that minimally illuminates every square inch of the deck floor with 1 foot-candle (10 lux) increasing to 5 foot-candles (50 lux) near a building entrance (423.10.3.6.1 Entrances). If any of the included lamps are removed, screened, fitted with low-wattage bulbs or otherwise altered to diminish illumination of the deck, the lighting plan no longer complies with Florida Law. Since the fixtures, pedestals, poles and preliminary engineering are extremely costly (ranging from $150,000 to $600,000, depending on the number, design and placement of lamps); they are usually funded by reserves accumulated over the useful life of the existing lamps, as detailed in Chapters 718 and 719, Florida Statutes. As such, the City had agreed to wait until an association was prepared to replace its aging lamps with new fixtures installed under a revised lighting plan – which would be approved by Florida Fish and Wildlife (FWC). The agreement covers other lamps as well, including those mandated by the fire code (illuminating the stairwells and corridors used by residents to escape a fire), which overlook the beach in buildings with exterior egresses (catwalks, etc.).

Environmental Specialist II Karen Schanzle with the Marine Turtle subsection of Imperiled Species Management at Florida FWC
LIGHTING GURU
KAREN SCHANZLE
Ieraci and Berkowitz recalled a November 2012 meeting, when the former Code Manager questioned whether Galt associations would keep their word when replacing their high-end deck lamps. Since then, several Galt Mile associations completed extensive concrete rehabilitation projects, and their new lighting plans were each approved by FWC lighting sharpshooter Karen Schanzle. The stunning results at Plaza South and Plaza East - which were previously cited annually for egregious violations, also dispelled unwarranted fears that compliance would turn association decks into shadowy “Ghost Towns”. Instead, the properties smack of plush French Mediterranean resorts, while their adjacent beaches are only illuminated by moonlight. Addressing the Code officers, Berkowitz asked “We kept our word, the question is - will you keep yours?”

“We still have to enforce the ordinance,” admonished Eaton, “but any association working with an enforcement officer to achieve compliance will not be penalized. If we know that an association plans to correct violations at some point, we will postpone taking additional enforcement action and leave the case open. However, we need to hear this from the association. We can’t assume that the violation will be cured.”


Expunging the Toxic Notice

Code Enforcement Officer Dick Eaton
CODE OFFICER DICK EATON
Moving on to the controversial complaint notice, Pio Ieraci asked if the targeted associations were actually in violation of City law. Adam Feldman - the Senior Code officer who sent the notices - said “No.” When asked why he threatened every building along the Galt Mile beach, Feldman insisted that he simply wanted to discuss the complaints with the respective association officials. “At this point, all we know is that a student from NOVA claims to have noticed a light while on the beach,” said Feldman. “Until I can determine if the complaint has merit, there is no violation.”

Changes in City Government Assuring Feldman that his notice was not interpreted as a casual invitation to cooperate, Ieraci commented, “Inserting the phrase ‘This is only a Courtesy Notice’ next to a threatened civil fine at best sends a mixed message.” Ieraci explained that association officials believed they were either being arbitrarily penalized for an undisclosed infraction or otherwise vicariously bullied by the City – a perception shared by Commissioner Roberts. “Instead of calling you to make an appointment, many associations called the association attorney and registered complaints with the neighborhood association and the City,” added Ieraci. Both Galt officials suggested that the misleading notice either be revised to better communicate its purpose, or expunged from the divisional database.

Fort Lauderdale Code Case Tracker Surprised and confounded by the unanticipated rancor, an apologetic Feldman lamented “I didn’t mean to anger or confuse local homeowners. This will only make my job more difficult.” Hoping to reclaim his credibility on the Galt Mile, Feldman asked how he could solicit cooperation from associations facing a complaint – without alienating them. “We can help,” said Ieraci. “In the past, we’ve placed the issue on a meeting agenda before Sea Turtle nesting season begins in March, providing for a community presentation by Code Enforcement, a question & answer forum for residents and an opportunity for association officials and Code officers to discuss problems and arrange appointments.” Having attended several of these town-hall style outreach events on the Galt Mile, Eaton indicated that Code officials would gladly participate. Ieraci agreed to place the issue on the February Presidents Council meeting agenda.

Fort Lauderdale Code Case Tracker Also - no more provocative threats. Eaton agreed to revise the complaint notification and send a draft to the neighborhood association for review and - if necessary - constructive editing. In the meantime, associations should contact Adam Feldman at 954 828-5254 to arrange a meeting. As often as not, NOVA students misconstrue sources of beach illumination, or mistakenly target compliant lamps. A longtime Code Division veteran, Officer Feldman is patient and reasonable. If there is a violation, he will consider any security impacts before recommending an inexpensive quick fix. That said; if any member association is still confronted by a seemingly irresolvable lighting dilemma, please contact the GMCA.

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State Road A1A
Coral Ridge Towers South and Coral Ridge Towers East
CRT SOUTH AND CRT EAST OVERLOOK A1A
August 24, 2015 - What a mess. The long-rumored transmogrification of A1A along the Galt Mile is upon us. Since 2006, City and State (FDOT) bureaucrats have been pledging to transform the Galt Mile’s blighted A1A “speedway” into an opulent beach boulevard that safely embraces vehicles, pedestrians and bicycles while appealing to visitors and local residents. When neighborhood residents voted to approve their
preferred design option in 2009, recessionary pressures compelled planners to split the venture into two less financially intimidating projects. An initial component that was completed in February, 2013, reduced the number of traffic lanes from 6 to 4, and modernized roadway infrastructure in preparation for a second project meant to “fine tune” traffic control and enhance the route’s appearance.

Looking Back

Former Police Chief Bruce Roberts
FORMER POLICE CHIEF
BRUCE ROBERTS
Click to Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc. A1A corridor study While many features in the current A1A Greenway were originally conceived in 2006, the project’s underlying rationale was hatched several years earlier. In 2003, when the residents of Coral Ridge Towers East and South complained bitterly about their adjacent stretch of A1A devolving on weekends and evenings into a drag strip, the neighborhood association asked then Police Chief Bruce Roberts to clamp down on the nightly racing by hot rods and Harleys.

Roberts’ Traffic Enforcement Action Plan, temporarily mitigated the abuse during stretches of 2004 and 2005, by raining down citations for speeding and aftermarket motorcycle mufflers that emulated automatic weapons fire. However, whenever police resources were reallocated, the freak show resumed. A more permanent structural cure was considered in 2007, when the Florida Department of Transportation initiated preparations to rehabilitate State Road A1A from Flamingo Avenue to Oakland Park Boulevard. To structurally inoculate the roadway against street races wherein competing vehicles require dedicated lanes, the City commissioned Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc. to conduct a Lane Reduction Feasibility Study.

FDOT Project Engineer Michael Melendez
FDOT PROJECT ENGINEER
MICHAEL MELENDEZ
Click to Lane Reduction Feasibility Study As original Project Engineer Michael Melendez later explained, “This is not a typical project. You usually don’t have many opportunities to reduce the number of road lanes. You can see where people speed up because of the open corridor. One of the benefits will be to slow down traffic, not to the point where it obstructs traffic, but to allow more pedestrians to walk on the sidewalk and bring more exposure to businesses along A1A.”

Click to AECOM web site Click to Kimley-Horn and Associates web site Drawing on the Kimley-Horn findings and a Conceptual Streetscape Study by urban planners Glatting Jackson Kercher Anglin (since absorbed by Los Angeles-based AECOM), FDOT and City planners packaged various design options into a referendum for local residents. Galt Milers selected a 4-lane version of A1A with many of the design elements featured in the current plan.

Florida Scenic Highway:
FDOT Kisses the Frog

Click to Read Letter from Former FDOT Secretary Stephanie C. Kopelousos
FORMER FDOT SECRETARY
STEPHANIE C. KOPELOUSOS
When former FDOT Secretary Stephanie C. Kopelouso notified Broward County that its 32 miles of A1A had been designated as a Florida Scenic Highway on July 20, 2009, the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) was saddled with a problem. Although FDOT had recently reconstructed A1A in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea as a beautiful transportation corridor, and the Ocean Highway approaching and adjacent to the Fort Lauderdale beach was a world-class high-end destination site, the connecting section of A1A along the Galt Mile was a festering embarrassment – a dangerous speedway scarred for decades by potholes, spiderweb cracks and crispy brown landscaping.

Click to Florida Scenic Highways web site To make A1A in Broward County worthy of its designation as a Florida Scenic Highway, Commissioners in Fort Lauderdale and Broward County had promised to rehabilitate the sordid span of A1A along the Galt Mile. Fiscally constrained by the 2009 post-recession economy, Broward MPO divided the selected plan into two parts, and added the first phase to a list of projects which are considered annually for funding. On October 7, 2011, the $1,728,489.86 proposal submitted by Weekley Asphalt Paving, Inc. snagged the project’s first phase for the Pembroke Pines contractor, although a sweetener of almost $400,000 pumped project costs to $2.1 million.

Click to Metropolitan Planning Organization websiteThe initial phase was kicked off on May 7, 2012. By the February 2013 completion date, the road was reduced to 4 lanes, partially refitted with mast arm assemblies and stamped with a bike lane. Traffic lanes and intersections were restriped and fitted with new signage along the entire route. The tough fiscal climate was underscored by sparingly vegetated mediums that would be fleshed out “down the road,” a reminder that the project was a precursor to the final upgrades promised in the current project. 12 years after angry residents in Coral Ridge Towers East and South placed A1A drag races on the GMCA agenda, improvements to our long-stigmatized stretch of Ocean Highway are finally underway.

What Will $9.3 Million Buy?

Click to FDOT Entitled “A1A Improvements Project from Oakland Park Boulevard to Flamingo Avenue in Fort Lauderdale” and ascribed the financial identifier 431204-1-52-01 by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT - the State agency responsible for temporarily turning A1A into a demilitarized zone); the 1.04 mile project was officially launched on July 27, 2015, and is expected to continue for 648 working days - up to two and a half years.

Click to Central Florida Equipment Rentals Given the inconsistent attendance at several project-related Town-Hall style meetings convened at the Beach Community Center, it’s no surprise that few Galt Mile residents know the project’s final structural objectives - or which contractor hit the jackpot. After advertising the project for procurement and soliciting bids, FDOT set the letting date at April 3, 2015 at 10:30 AM. When the smoke cleared on April 6, 2015, the $9,297,344.20 bid offered by Medley-based Central Florida Equipment Rentals was the lowest of seven contractor proposals that ranged up to $12,106,706.36. Of the $13.4 million projected for the “makeover,” here’s what we get for the almost $9.3 million tucked into the contractor’s feedbag:

Glatting Jackson Kercher Anglin design options
GLATTING JACKSON KERCHER ANGLIN DESIGN OPTIONS
After peppering the route section with construction signage, the company’s demolition crew began stripping asphalt and shattering concrete. 40,000 sq. yds. of resurfaced roadway will be framed by 10,000 sq. yds. of pedestrian walkways and striking hardscape features. A network of crosswalks comprised of decorative pavers will span A1A, linking new tabby shell colored concrete sidewalks along the east and west sides of the thoroughfare. ADA compliant concrete ramps will connect sidewalks to crosswalks. Improvements above and below the new roadway skin will enhance the road’s stability and prolong its useful life. 1,368 linear feet of pipe culvert will be integrated with more than 70 drainage structures, pacifying the subterranean detritus that turns the Galt Mile’s section of A1A into a 2-mile petri dish whenever it rains.

New signage, traffic lines, stripes and street glyphs will adorn the corridor. Elevated lamps will illuminate the entire greenway while low level lighting will brighten pedestrian footfalls. To insure compliance with the City’s controversial beach lighting ordinance, the lamps are equipped with a variable intensity function designed to increase or decrease illumination in conjunction with sea turtle nesting season. However, since a concrete rampart of high-rise associations blocks any view of A1A - or its lamps - from the beach, there’s no reason to ever dim the lamps – or throw money at remotely accessible dimmer switches. Of course, this investment could prove fortuitous if the Galt Mile is ever rezoned as a farming community under the Greenbelt Law.

Click to Florida Department of Transportation During the first phase of the two-part A1A rehabilitation plan, mast-arm assemblies replaced dangling span wire traffic signals that failed to meet safety standards at 32nd Street, 34th Street, 36th Street, 41st Street and Flamingo Avenue. Since the signal mid-block between 36th and 40th Streets and the one at 40th Street were code compliant, their replacement was postponed - despite resident protests - until the project’s current phase. Since a planned two-block “drive aisle” along the east side of A1A will shift the other traffic lanes a few feet to the west, the existing mast arm on the east side of 34th Street will be replaced by an upgrade with a longer reach. Pedestrian crossing signals are being upgraded to countdown timers, a proven deterrent to pedestrians who might otherwise “jump the gun” while impatiently awaiting signalized permission to cross the street.

A1A at 34 Street - Head-in Parking
HEAD-IN PARKING ALONG A1A AT 34 STREET
From 34th Street to 36th Street, a belt of head-in parking fronts the businesses along the east side of A1A. For decades, departing patrons parked in front of the stores had to back into the fast moving traffic on A1A. Drivers would wait for a break in the traffic before nervously executing a reverse three-point turn in order to escape. If their perspective or maneuvering skills were less than perfect, the drivers might join literally hundreds of other collision victims along that morbid stretch of A1A. Helpful merchants would often walk out with their customers and stand in the road waving oncoming traffic into the adjacent lane as the driver backed out. Otherwise, the driver was forced to risk being sideswiped - or killed.

Click to A1A Greenway Plan To business owners competing for customers, what should be a prime location proved a double-edged sword. While a high-profile A1A address would catch the eye of passing motorists, local residents would often opt to forego the hair-raising parking dilemma and frequent more “accessible” competitors. After intensively studying the problem, traffic engineers at FDOT and the City of Fort Lauderdale hammered out a solution - a dedicated business access drive aisle along the east side of those two blocks.

Click to A1A Greenway Plan Vehicles traveling north along A1A will be able to enter a 13-foot wide single lane service road at 34th Street and slowly cruise past the businesses along the east side of A1A before either re-entering A1A at the end of the block - or turning onto 35th Street. Another service aisle that opens at 35th Street will similarly route drivers past the businesses on the east side of A1A between 35th and 36th Streets. Customers will be able to safely park or depart without risking a coronary - or a collision. Although the strategy will add back one of the traffic lanes dispensed with during the earlier project, instead of serving as the grandstand for a drag race, this traffic calming design element should help win back customers who were fearful of parking along these otherwise vibrant commercial blocks.

Click to A1A Greenway Plan Along the west side of A1A, pedestrians will share an 8-foot walkway with a broad swath of lush landscaping. Except for the two blocks bordering the drive aisle, pedestrians on the east side of A1A will stroll through a 24-foot wide well-canopied greenway (that is - when the trees mature). From 34th Street to 36th Street, the 24-foot walkway will be replaced by the drive aisle abutting a 6-foot sidewalk and a 4-foot planter. The route’s central north and south traffic lanes will be separated by a 14-foot median brimming with designer landscaping. Oddly enough, the median’s planned greenery will replace landscaping newly purchased and planted only last year. OOPs!

Annually, every Galt Mile association donates dozens of abandoned bicycles to Goodwill, Faith Farm or some other charitable thrift merchant - clearing out rusting garage clutter for some modest tax write-off. That said, there are literally hundreds of bicycle enthusiasts living along the Galt Mile. Unfortunately, Galt Ocean Drive is barely wide enough to safely support two single lanes of traffic, much less a bike lane. For decades, bike riders have sought a way of enjoying their two-wheeler without endangering nonagenarian pedestrians or risking their necks on the street.

FDOT Project Manager Jim Hughes
FDOT PROJECT MANAGER
JIM HUGHES
Atkins North America Transportation Manager Dominic Novello
ATKINS NA TRANSPORTATION
MANAGER DOMINIC NOVELLO
In 2010, longtime FDOT management consultant Jim Hughes observed “There’s a lot of bicycle traffic in the area with no bike lanes, so I think the bike lanes will be a big addition.” Although bike lanes were placed on A1A during the project’s first phase, they were sparingly used. Since they were imprinted directly adjacent to traffic lanes, bike riders were rightfully fearful of being upended by a cell phone wielding teenager with a Learner’s Permit or mowed down by a pickup driven by an astigmatic gardener. Heeding their concerns, project planners decided to correct the deficiency. To protect bicycle enthusiasts from lead-footed predatory motorists, 4-foot wide bike lanes on either side of A1A will be separated from the adjacent 10-foot wide traffic lanes by a 1.5 foot wide buffer covered with high-visibility stripes.

Transportation & Mobility Director Diana Alarcon
TRANSPORT & MOBILITY DIR. DIANA ALARCON
Construction Coordinator Sara J. Duffoo - Senior Project Engineer at Target Engineering Group, Inc
CONSTRUCTION COORDINATOR
SARA J. DUFFOO
The outcome of every major road project largely depends on preparation. The first phase of the Galt Mile A1A Greenway project was planned by former FDOT Project Manager Jim Hughes, Dominic Novello (Transportation Manager at engineering and design firm Atkins North America) and the City of Fort Lauderdale’s Transportation & Mobility Director Diana Alarcon. FDOT’s former project information specialist Miranda Iglesias kept GMCA officials up to speed with regular progress updates while previous Construction Coordinator Sara Duffoo escorted the plan to completion. Although Alarcon and Hughes still anchor the current project’s institutional memory, a new team is at the helm.

New Blood in Phase II

Former FDOT District 4 Secretary Jim Wolfe
FORMER FDOT SECRETARY JIM WOLFE
FDOT Project Manager Angela Lietz- Project Administrator at Calvin, Giordano & Associates
FDOT PROJECT MNGR ANGELA LIETZ
FDOT staged another due diligence tournament for the $714,221 consultancy “cherry”. On January 12, 2015, a panel assembled by former FDOT District 4 Secretary Jim Wolfe vetted seven competitors vying to provide CEI services (Construction Engineering & Inspection) for the project. Of three hopefuls that made the shortlist, Keith and Schnars, P.A., bagged the brass ring on January 26, 2015.

Project Administrator Jorge Blanco
PROJECT ADMINISTRATOR JORGE BLANCO
Senior Project Engineer Jorge Armando Ortiz
SENIOR PROJECT ENGINEER
JORGE ARMANDO ORTIZ
Licensed in both Florida and Illinois, the FDOT Project Manager is Angela Lietz, a Professional Engineer who works as a Project Administrator for Calvin, Giordano & Associates. Jorge Blanco, an award-winning consultant with Keith and Schnars, will serve as Project Administrator, a position he’s filled for FDOT in various districts since 1987. The Senior Project Engineer, also with Keith and Schnars, is Jorge Armando Ortiz, a seasoned veteran who helped build Wiles Road while employed by Broward County and completed Highway Transportation projects in FDOT Districts 1, 4 and 6. Not surprisingly, they all eat and breathe asphalt.

Project public information specialist Dayana Iglesias
PROJECT PUBLIC INFORMATION
SPECIALIST DAYANA IGLESIAS
Click to the Corradino Group When engaging stakeholders in South Florida, FDOT uses the nationally renowned Corradino Group. As Corradino’s avatar in Broward County, transportation projects are coordinated by public information specialist Dayana Iglesias. Iglesias was charged with keeping everyone up to speed about project progress - a communication nexus for community residents, government officials, project planners, local merchants and later in the project - contractors.

Click to  Keith and Schnars, P.A. To reignite the high level of community support maintained throughout the project’s first phase, Iglesias interfaced with neighborhood associations, local civic groups, and merchant associations as well as individual residents and business owners. On July 22, 2015, Iglesias hosted the last in a series of town-hall style meetings at the Beach Community Center. Accompanied by Lietz, Blanco, and Ortiz from the new project team – as well as Jim Hughes – they invited questions and solicited community input for eleventh hour project tweaks.

Once the project launched on July 27, 2015, Iglesias’ responsibilities were expanded. In addition to serving as a conduit bridging the community, elected officials and project planners, she would also keep tabs on the contractors. She has already begun issuing regular construction (and traffic) updates to stakeholders who subscribe to this free service. When necessary, she will help broker resolutions to unanticipated construction blowback. If this promising new team is successful, the project will parse on schedule with its objectives – and budget – intact. If not, the neighborhood gets shortchanged, and we pay the freight.


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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
District 4 in August

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

August 2015 Update

By Commissioner Chip LaMarca

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

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

Commissioners Propose Laws for Transportation Network Companies

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

New Florida East Coast Railway Intermodal Facility at Port Everglades

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

New Facial Recognition Technology App Will Help Find Lost Pets

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

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

Third Annual Go SOLAR Fest Set for October

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

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

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

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

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

August is National Water Quality Month

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contact Us

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

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


Chip LaMarca
Broward County Commssioner
District 4


Broward County Commission Meetings

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

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Commissioner Bruce Roberts

Galt A1A || Fire Award || Sharrows

Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
COMMISSIONER BRUCE ROBERTS
September 15, 2015 - In his September 2015 Newsletter, City Commissioner Bruce Roberts updates his Galt Mile constituents about the improvements currently underway along their section of State Road A1A, applauds Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue for its recognition as a "Class 1" agency by the Insurance Services Organization (and for completing accreditation through the Commission of Fire Accreditation International), explains how the City’s upgraded credit rating will lower the tax bite for debt repayment, reviews a controversial Vacation Rental Ordinance crafted to quell concerns about abusive tenants without financially crippling responsible and compliant landlords, announces the inaugural implementation of “sharrows”, an infrastructure design feature that may help abate a danger to cyclists (and pedestrians), invites constituents to fill vacancies on City Boards or Committees and welcomes their attendance at his twice-monthly pre-agenda meetings.

Designing for Fewer Fatalities

State Road A1A Click to Fort Lauderdale Top Ten Awards While exclaiming how New Bicycle Signage “fulfills the City’s vision of being a more walkable, bikeable, fully connected, sustainable city with safe streets that are accessible to everyone,” Roberts’ concern for safe streets derives (in part) from the need to improve the city’s shamefully high pedestrian, bicycle, and traffic fatality rates. To benchmark progress of an administration campaign to make Fort Lauderdale’s development responsive to those who live here - and foot the bill - the City has published a steady stream of top ten achievements on its website.

Click to Fort Lauderdale Redestrian Fatality RateIn his May 2015 newsletter, Commissioner Roberts popped the cork on a “top ten” rating that spoke to one of the city’s humiliating deficiencies, a U.S. Department of Transportation Fatality Analysis Report affirming that Fort Lauderdale in 2014 had the second highest per capita pedestrian fatality rate in the United States – and the nation’s fifth highest traffic fatality rate. The Sunshine State also tops the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration list of States most plagued with bicycle fatalities – revealing that 5% of those killed in traffic accidents – or 6.32 of every 1 million Floridians – buy the farm from a bicycle seat. In a related “top ten” list compiled by News-Press.Com – 2014 Florida Bicycle Crashes by County – Broward’s 852 bike crashes and 9 fatalities in 2014 took second place statewide to Miami-Dade’s 985 collisions and 15 deaths.

Click to Fort Lauderdale Total Traffic Fatality RateConsistent with the data from earlier studies, 67% of the fatally injured cyclists weren’t wearing helmets, and 25% of the adult victims were legally inebriated. However, the drivers involved in these fatalities weren’t those commonly stereotyped as likely to mow down cyclists. Instead of 91 year-old arthritic snowbirds with failing eyesight, the greatest damage was done by 20 - 24 year-old locals. Almost as many cyclists were hit by 45 - 49 year-old drivers. Highway safety pundits who vetted the statistics blamed driver immaturity for the younger motorists and diagnosed the older group with driver complacency.

Click to Vision Zero Initiative
Forensic Tech and Detective Investigate Bike Crash
FORENSIC TECH AND DETECTIVE INVESTIGATE BIKE CRASH
To mute the global perception that Fort Lauderdale drivers win “Thank You” points for taking out bicycles and accrue airline miles for clipping pedestrians, the City began working with Broward County, the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization (BMPO), the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and others to develop a Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Action Plan, drawing heavily on the Vision Zero initiative first adopted in Sweden in 1997. Integrated with the Complete Streets Program, the plan identifies the underlying reasons for these unacceptable tragedies and cultivates action strategies for their prevention, including education campaigns, infrastructure improvements, targeted enforcement, policy & legislative changes and altering the way projects are designed.

Parallel bike route north and south of Sunrise Boulevard/U.S. 1
PARALLEL BIKE ROUTE NORTH AND SOUTH OF SUNRISE BOULEVARD/U.S. 1
As outlined in Roberts’ September 2015 Newsletter, the City is experimenting with “sharrows” or “shared-use arrows,” in FDOT’s U.S. 1 Improvements Project, placing them along the new parallel bike route to the north and south of Sunrise Boulevard/U.S. 1, between Sears and the Gateway Intersection. Popular in Canada, the Czech Republic and France, sharrows have stirred controversy in the U.S., as motorists fear they impede traffic, and State Transportation or Highway authorities have demonstrated a clear preference for bike lanes – if structurally possible. However, when roads are insufficiently wide to accommodate bike lanes (or even sidewalks); FDOT has alternatively approved the use of sharrows.

Sharrow on Alternate Bike Route
SHARROW ON ALTERNATE BIKE ROUTE
Transportation and Mobility Director Diane Alarcon
TRANS. & MOBILITY DIRECTOR DIANE ALARCON
When the city initially asked for bike lanes on the Sunrise Boulevard section of U.S. 1, FDOT rejected the request. By creating an alternative bicycle route on the surrounding local streets, Transportation and Mobility Director Diane Alarcon set up the first real test for these hybrid lanes. It’s no secret that drivers often break 70 mph on 25 or 35 mph side streets – especially after sundown. Hopefully, the cyclists who share these travel lanes will serve to slow these lunatics - and not become additional targets. Admittedly a baby step, the City and its regional partners have a long way to go in fleshing out strategies that will surgically destigmatize its reputation as a wonderful place to live, a great place to visit, but a deadly place to ride a bike – or take a walk. For Commissioner Roberts September 2015 Newsletter, read on... – [editor]

From The Desk of
Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts

Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
DISTRICT 1 COMMISSIONER
BRUCE G. ROBERTS
STATE ROAD A1A FROM OAKLAND PARK BOULEVARD TO FLAMINGO AVENUE CONSTRUCTION: The FDOT began construction of the $13.4 million SR A1A Greenway project between Oakland Park Blvd. and Flamingo Ave on July 26, 2015. The project consists of the reconstruction of the roadway to include new wider sidewalks, landscaping for shade along the sidewalks, a new pedestrian crosswalk located in proximity of the CVS pharmacy, buffered bike lanes, and a business access drive to increase safety for the patrons who currently must back out onto SR A1A. The City partnered with the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization (Broward MPO) and FDOT to create a project that meets the needs of business owners, residents and guests utilizing this corridor, and they will continue to showcase SR A1A as an attraction within the City. The hardscape portion of this project is expected to be completed in May 2017, with the landscaping portion immediately following to complete the overall project. The Maintenance of Traffic Plan includes maintaining one lane of traffic in each direction at all times. Pedestrian and bicycle accommodations will be maintained throughout construction as well as bus stops. Business access signage will be installed to direct customers to businesses during construction. A public meeting was held on July 22, 2015 at the Beach Center as FDOT wanted to conduct outreach to the surrounding neighborhoods and businesses.

It has also been brought to our attention by FDOT, that the State Road A1A project (north of Sunrise), which was scheduled to be completed by the end of 2015, is now anticipated to be completed prior to Thanksgiving!

City Manager Lee Feldman & Fire Rescue disply Award
FORT LAUDERDALE FIRE-RESCUE EARNS CLASS 1 STATUS
FORT LAUDERDALE FIRE RESCUE RECEIVES PRESTIGIOUS ISO “CLASS 1” STATUS: Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue has just been notified that they are now recognized as a “Class 1” Fire Rescue agency by the Insurance Services Organization. The department was previously ranked as a “Class 3” agency. However, under the direction and leadership of Fire Chief Robert Hoecherl, Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue was able to advance to the highest rating. This rating of “Class 1” represents “superior property fire protection.” The ISO program recognizes the efforts of communities to provide fire protection services for citizens and property owners. A community’s investment in fire mitigation is a proven and reliable predicator of future fire losses. Insurance companies use ISO information to help establish fair premiums for fire insurance — generally offering lower premiums in communities with better protection. In Fort Lauderdale, homeowners could see a savings up to 2%, and commercial businesses could see substantial savings from 3 – 12% .ISO collects information on municipal fire-protection efforts in communities throughout the United States. They then assign a Public Protection Classification from 1 to 10. Class 1 generally represents superior property fire protection, and Class 10 indicates that the area's fire-suppression program doesn't meet ISO’s minimum criteria. ISO has extensive information on more than 47,000 fire-response jurisdictions. Currently, there are only 61 fire departments in the United States with an ISO rating of “Class 1.”

Click to Standard & Poor's Fort Lauderdale Bond Ratings Effective August 26th, 2015, our Fire Rescue Department also completed accreditation through the Commission of Fire Accreditation International. There are only 120 accredited agencies. Only 32 agencies out of 47,000 are both Accredited and ISO 1 rated. Congratulations to our Fire Rescue Department! These achievements are a true testament to their professionalism. Please click (or copy) the link below to see the presentation Command Staff made to the Commission on 9/1/15.

http://fortlauderdale.legistar.com/gateway.aspx?M=F&ID=1695d2df-7f32-4aef-b79b-f1af6e49e731.pdf

Click to Standard & Poor's Fort Lauderdale Bond Ratings IMPROVED FINANCIAL RATINGS: Wall Street's leading credit rating institutions are signaling continued confidence in the financial health of our City! Standard & Poor's recently raised its rating on our General Obligation Bonds to AA+ citing "strong budgetary performance" and "very strong management, with strong financial policies and practices." Meanwhile, Moody's Investors Service affirmed its Aa1 rating on our General Obligation Bonds and raised its outlook noting that revenues have been "growing at a far more rapid pace than the City's expenditures during the past 6 fiscal years." We also received high marks for our large and improving local economy and tax base, balanced financial operations, and low debt burden. Our favorable bond ratings enable us to borrow money at reduced rates, which saves our neighbors and businesses millions of dollars in interest costs, while allowing us to continue to address community priorities and enhance quality of life.

Click to Fort Lauderdale Vacation Rental Ordinance UPDATE ON VACATION RENTALS: The City will require people renting out homes to vacationers to register and adhere to new regulations, however, at this time, has backed off imposing a 10-guest maximum on vacation rentals in single-family neighborhoods. Your commission agreed to set the guest limit at two people per bedroom plus two additional people. A one-bedroom house could be rented to four people, a two-bedroom to six and a 10-bedroom to 22. It was also decided that the number of vehicles used by guests would have to fit legally on site and not be parked on the street. As most of you know, the neighborhoods, along with the City, have been frustrated since 2011 by a state law that restricted cities from prohibiting the rentals, from limiting how many times a property could be rented each year and from setting a minimum length for the rentals. This new City law will take effect November 1, 2015. At the commission meeting held on August 18, 2015, the commission reacted to numerous complaints from residents who say their peace and quiet is being disrupted by vacationers who overwhelm neighborhoods, party late, have little regard for neighbors and whose cars create parking nightmares. We also listened to the pleas of vacation rental property managers who agreed with the need for greater regulations, but feared the proposals could put them out of business. Commissioners unanimously approved the law after raising the cap, but asked staff to meet with property manager representatives to see what additional changes might be needed before the law takes effect. Click to Standard & Poor's Fort Lauderdale Bond Ratings We do not want to penalize the group that is doing it right while we are going through this transitional period. I would like to see tougher consequences for those who violate the rules, a concern raised by many residents whose lives have been upended by nearby vacation rentals. The new City rules follow the occupancy standards of the Florida Building Code and have other health and safety requirements that are in place for transient establishments. The law follows a similar one passed in Flagler County that has already withstood an initial court challenge. The properties will have to meet City codes and owners will have to show proof they are paying the appropriate county and state taxes and fees. The rules require a local contact for emergencies and allow the City to temporarily suspend a rental license for a week after a third violation. Each additional violation would add another 30-day suspension, up to a one-year maximum. We will vote on the City registration charge ordinance at the Commission Meetings of September 1st and September 15th. The City Manager has proposed charging $750 to register a property plus requiring a $250 compliance inspection fee. The proposed annual registration renewal would be $500 per property and a $250 inspection. It is still recommended that neighbors call either the police for noise violation (954-764-4357) or code (954-828-8000). ALSO, please join Commissioner Trantalis and myself on Thursday, 9/17/15, 6pm, Commission Chambers -- for a Town Hall Meeting to discuss this new ordinance. The meeting is open to the public and will include opportunities for input on the regulation and requirements contained in the ordinance.

Sharrow on Alternate Bike Route
SHARROW ON ALTERNATE BIKE ROUTE
NEW BICYCLE SIGNAGE: Thanks to negotiations led by our Transportation and Mobility Department (TAM), new signage, pavement markings, and a parallel bike route (north and south of Sunrise Boulevard, between Searstown and Gateway), are part of FDOT's US 1 Improvement Project. The parallel bike route provides a safer, alternate route around the construction area for bicyclists. Among the key features of the bike route are the new pavement markings, referred to as "sharrows" or "shared-use arrows," which inform users that the street is shared by both bicyclists and motorists. As opposed to designated bike lanes, sharrows indicate that bicyclists may ride on the street using the full lane by following the middle of the arrow on the pavement markings. They also alert motorists to expect bicyclists on the street. TAM's Community Builders deserve tremendous credit for working with FDOT and our neighbors to ensure roadway safety is a critical component of future improvement projects. This initiative not only addresses our neighbors' priorities, it also fulfills the City's vision of being a more walkable, bikeable, fully connected, sustainable city with safe streets that are accessible to everyone.

The Fort Lauderdale Development Review Committee
THE DEVELOPMENT REVIEW COMMITTEE
SEVERAL OPPORTUNITIES TO VOLUNTEER: We have many boards and committees that are in need of members. If interested in serving on one, please go to http://fortlauderdale.gov/departments/city-clerk-s-office/board-and-committee-information where you can find the different boards/committees, the vacancies and another link to apply on line. Click to Riverwalk Ambassadors There is also the Riverwalk Ambassadors. Riverwalk Trust and the City are looking for energetic, outgoing and enthusiastic volunteers to serve as Riverwalk Ambassadors. An Ambassador will have the opportunity to welcome neighbors and visitors, answer questions, and hand out brochures from a Riverwalk Kiosk; provide information about restaurants, shops, events and activities in downtown and along the Riverwalk; enhance Riverwalk’s identity as a vibrant, engaging, downtown Ft. Lauderdale destination; and earn community service hours for your school, nonprofit or philanthropic organization. Volunteer days are Saturday and Sunday from 11am-5pm (3-hour shifts). For more information: JoAnn Smith (club10@aol.com; 954-298-5607) or Jorg Hruschka, Chief Service Officer (jhruschka@fortlauderdale.gov; 954-828-5569).

Fort Lauderdale Commission Assistant Robbi Uptegrove
ROBBI
UPTEGROVE
Office Contact: Robbi Uptegrove – 954-828-5033; email: ruptegrove@fortlauderdale.gov. In addition to hosting the pre-agenda meetings twice a month, I am also available to attend your HOA meetings to update your neighborhood on what is going on in the City as well as answer any questions/concerns you may have. Please contact Robbi to schedule.

Click To Commissioner Roberts' web page EMAIL LIST: If you would like to be on our email list so that you receive information pertaining to the City – especially District 1 (i.e. news releases, meeting notices, events), please let Robbi know and she will add you.

Bruce G. Roberts                

If you need to reach Commissioner Bruce Roberts, please contact his assistant Robbi Uptegrove at 954-828-5033 or by e-mail at RUptegrove@fortlauderdale.gov. To access the City Commission Meeting Agendas and Minutes, Click Here. To actually watch the meetings recorded and archived on the Commission Meetings Video Webcast and Archives web site, Click Here.

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Broward County Bus - Off Duty
BROWARD COUNTY TRANSIT BUS
September 23, 2015 - About two weeks after the Galt Mile A1A Greenway Project kicked off on July 27, 2015, residents in several local associations noticed daily traffic jams in front of their homes – invariably caused by Broward County buses. Dismayed association officials soon learned that the buses - often parked on both sides of Galt Ocean Drive – weren’t an anomaly. When asked why they were swarming a small beachfront side street, the bus drivers either shrugged or spit back, “I’m just following orders.”

FDOT: Maintenance of Traffic Rule

Click to FDOT For every highway transportation project, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) mandates the development of an MOT (Maintenance of Traffic) strategy. As sections of roadway become work zones, a minimum number of lanes must be maintained for traffic throughput in all directions. For instance, when working on the northern lanes of a 4 traffic-lane highway like A1A, planners will use traffic control devices and alter pavement markings to temporarily turn the two southern traffic lanes into a self-contained two-way thoroughfare.

Click to Broward County Transit When fewer lanes are available to manage the same amount of traffic, planners will help relieve anticipated congestion by re-routing any public transportation on the highway. Prior to commencing construction of the Galt Mile A1A greenway, when FDOT planners asked County liaisons to temporarily clear the work zone of Broward County buses, the “request” filtered through the County bureaucracy to the operations personnel at Broward County Transit (BCT).

Five Broward County Transit Buses Swarm Playa del Mar
FIVE BROWARD COUNTY BUSES SWARM PLAYA DEL MAR
Playa del Mar President Fred Nesbitt
PLAYA DEL MAR
PRESIDENT FRED NESBITT
When lanes abutting construction on A1A were closed to traffic, buses from Routes #36, #55 and #72 (that ordinarily stop in those lanes to board or discharge passengers - or park while the driver grabs a snack) were shifted to Galt Ocean Drive. Buses that formed up three and four deep on the east side of A1A just south of 41st Street were now gathering “en masse” in front of Playa del Mar and Regency Tower. While assembling on A1A, traffic moving north along the busy thoroughfare would slingshot around the three or four buses blocking the bike lane and the turn lane to 41st Street. When this traffic plug was transplanted to Galt Ocean Drive, it wrought havoc.

The BCT Boogieman

Regency Tower President Eileen Bendis
REGENCY TOWER PRESIDENT
EILEEN BENDIS
Regency Tower
REGENCY TOWER
On August 10, 2015, Broward County Transit (BCT) Operations Representative Oscar Correa visited Playa del Mar (PDM) and Regency Tower, asking to speak with “Someone in Charge”. At Playa del Mar, he told the General Manager that the buses would stop in front of the building throughout the project’s duration - which he estimated at “two - possibly three years.” In Regency Tower, he informed Board President Eileen Bendis that BCT was planning a bus stop in front of the building. By the time the BCT emissary announced County intentions, buses had already been blocking both buildings for several days. Buses would park on either side of an association driveway, blocking the view of drivers turning onto Galt Ocean Drive. They also blocked the view of elderly pedestrians attempting to cross the street.

Bent Sign Post between Regency Tower & Playa del Mar
BUS DAMAGED SIGN POST
Bendis accompanied Correa to the cutout in front of Playa del Mar. While pointing to an adjacent curbside sewer, Correa exclaimed that a recent engineering report by the City disclosed a depression discovered under the cutout, palpable evidence of a sinkhole. Assuring Bendis that the PDM cutout was scheduled for structural repair, Correa said that the report warns against parking a heavy vehicle above the depression, as a collapse would affect anything close by, including vehicles and passing pedestrians. As if delivering a punchline, Correa exhorted “Buses we planned to park here will now have to be parked in front of Regency Tower.” Evidently, Correa’s concerns weren’t shared by BCT drivers, who repeatedly perched their buses squarely on the depression – and in the Regency Tower cutout.

Bus Stops or Bus Depots?

Galt Ocean Marketplace
GALT OCEAN MARKETPLACE
The sites weren't being used as bus stops for boarding or discharging passengers, as characterized by Correa, but as a bus yard, where three or four buses would be abandoned in front of the buildings on both sides of the street. After pulling into a cutout or parking curbside, the drivers would leave the bus for a slice of pizza at DaVinci’s, coffee and sandwich at Dunkin Donuts or a boxed fried chicken lunch from Winn Dixie. In addition to these daily breakfast and lunch excursions that took several hours, later in the day, 3 or 4 buses were repeatedly left unattended in front of both associations – for reasons only known to the missing drivers. Officially termed “layovers” - brief breaks that are supposed to take 5 minutes but actually last for 20 to 30 minutes, and often extend up to 2 hours.

BCT Buses Block Regency Tower Driveways and Cutout
BCT BUSES BLOCK BOTH REGENCY TOWER DRIVEWAYS & CUTOUT
To protect departing association motorists from wholly obscured oncoming traffic, and safeguard pedestrians who would otherwise have to walk into the middle of the street to spot approaching vehicles, association security personnel were assigned to the street, where they could help motorists and pedestrians safely navigate past the wall of buses. Fearful of crossing the street or driving off the premises, enraged PDM and Regency Tower residents complained bitterly to association officials, who closely monitored unfolding events in front of both buildings, taking pictures, videos and testimony during incidents, or after “close calls”.

Before slipping back into the shadows, Correa told Bendis that although the changes were precipitated by the construction on A1A, certain City officials are insisting that they be made permanent. An incredulous Bendis asked Correa if he would mind returning the next day, and meet with another Regency Tower official. Instead, he stopped by just long enough to drop off a business card and a message “This is my boss; call her if you have any questions.” Correa was too busy scoping other association cutouts along the block. It seems that the “bus stops” force fed to Playa del Mar and Regency Tower were the first of several planned for Galt Ocean Drive.

Click to Local 1267 Teamsters Contract Furious and frustrated, Bendis snatched up the card and contacted BCT Project Manager Arethia Douglas, describing the danger to residents while pleading for relief. While sympathizing with Bendis, Douglas claimed that she was directed by FDOT and the City to move the bus routes to Galt Ocean Drive. She said the drivers are following work protocols enumerated in their union contract, which provide for an opportunity to stretch their legs or eat lunch. Aware that certain “bus stops” are used by drivers as layover sites, Douglas said “I knew this was a bad idea.” She also couldn’t explain why some buses were left unattended for two to three hours.

Licensed to Crash

Click to Local 1267 Teamsters Contract Negotiated by the County and the Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1267, the contract mentioned by Douglas had recently attracted unwanted notoriety when the Sun Sentinel disclosed provisions in the agreement that entitle Broward bus drivers to cause 4 accidents and run 4 red lights every two years – without jeopardizing their jobs – although they could be disciplined for clocking in late. Since the slate is wiped clean every two years, Broward bus drivers can smash into 40 vehicles and run 40 red lights during a 20-year tenure, without losing a wink of sleep over employment concerns. While humiliating to Broward officials, it’s the type of document that brings a smile to Federal Law Enforcement agents who’ve built sterling careers by jailing corrupt politicians and bureaucrats in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach.

Journalist Brittany Wallman
JOURNALIST
BRITTANY WALLMAN
Citing county records, Sun Sentinel journalist Brittany Wallman reported that a Broward bus driver named Fred Fischer benchmarked a 30-year career by rear-ending 13 vehicles and crashing his bus 21 times while enduring 19 suspensions and 32 disciplinary actions. Despite having been assessed a total of 40 unpaid days off, he is still plowing his bus through County streets – and he is not unique. By comparison, drivers who knowingly park over a sinkhole or abandon their vehicles for up to half their shift seem almost heroic.

Of course, there are also legitimate reasons for driver layovers, such as when required to adjust a route schedule. If a bus arrives at a stop 20 minutes ahead of schedule, the driver will wait for 20 minutes before returning to service. This Chinese menu of institutional delays and inane contract protocols turned the makeshift Galt Mile bus stops into an on-street depot. A few days later, Playa del Mar Board member Andrew Becker also contacted Douglas, documenting narrowly avoided collisions, while detailing how the buses interfere with critical association operations.

Just Following Orders

Waste Managenment Pickup at Cutout Bendis and Becker informed Douglas that associations use the cutouts to park dumpsters awaiting collection by waste vendors. When owners or tenants move in or out of the building, associations reserve the cutouts for their moving vans. Also, if the weight of heavy equipment used in certain construction projects exceeds the load tolerance of the association’s parking deck, the cutout temporarily serves as a construction staging area. While enumerating how the buses disrupt association functionality, both association officials cited resident safety as their primary concern.

Traffic must pass through Playa del Mar Bus Gauntlet
TRAFFIC MUST PASS THROUGH PLAYA DEL MAR BUS GAUNTLET
When the buses are warehoused on both sides of the street, cars traveling north and south along Galt Ocean Drive must patiently take turns inching through this traffic funnel. When moving vans or garbage trucks enter the mix, it turns the gauntlet into a barricade, and raises the table stakes. On August 22, as a garbage truck slowly made its way past the buses, a Fire-Rescue EMT approaching from behind was stopped cold at the bus barricade. Losing precious minutes, this emergency vehicle followed the garbage truck as it worked its way past the buses - while BCT drivers looked on from Dunkin Donuts.

Galt Ocean Club Cutout
GALT OCEAN CLUB CUTOUT
Promising to explore some alternative to the bus blockade on Galt Ocean Drive, Douglas said she would respond to Bendis a week later. She never did. While fielding angry complaints from Playa del Mar and Regency Tower, the neighborhood association learned that BCT was exploring cutouts from Galt Ocean Club to Southpoint, and considering whether the bus routes should be permanently anchored on Galt Ocean Drive, intimating that the bus blockade might soon endanger every association on the block.

Galt Mile in 1993
GALT OCEAN MILE IN 1993
The Galt Mile cutouts usurped by Broward County Transit differ significantly from other loading zones throughout Broward. Unlike public Right-of-Ways funded with local taxes, the association cutouts were built and paid for by Galt Mile residents. Part of a self-assessed $3.8 Million neighborhood improvement project, the cutouts were approved and installed for the benefit of adjacent associations. In exchange for the windfall improvements, the City gave assurances that they would only be used by the public as loading zones, and maintained in a “Disney-like” manner.

Project public information specialist Dayana Iglesias
PROJECT PUBLIC INFORMATION
SPECIALIST DAYANA IGLESIAS
In her discussion with Bendis, Douglas identified Dayana Iglesias as one of the officials who originally advised the County to relocate the bus routes while A1A was under repair – which subsequently evolved into Douglas’ “Marching Orders”. Iglesias serves as FDOT's communications nexus for issues related to the Galt Mile A1A Greenway improvements. When informed about the bus dilemma, Iglesias said, “Although I thought there might be complaints about the way they look or even about the way they smell, I never realized there would be a safety issue. That’s unacceptable.” Iglesias said she would raise the issue at the next A1A Greenway progress meeting on September 4.

Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER CHIP LAMARCA
Despite the best efforts of Playa del Mar and Regency Tower officials to reverse this ill-conceived policy, neighborhood association officials suspected that the contacted bureaucrats either wouldn’t – or couldn’t – effectively address the dilemma – at least not before someone was injured – or worse. Following an emergency teleconference, Galt Mile officials decided to enlist assistance from District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca.

Paydirt – LaMarca and Garling

Broward County Transit Director Tim Garling
BROWARD COUNTY TRANSIT DIRECTOR TIM GARLING
Route 55 Bus on Galt Ocean Drive
ROUTE 55 BUS ON THE GALT
In an August 25 discussion arranged by LaMarca with Broward County Transit Director Tim Garling, GMCA President Pio Ieraci framed the policy as “a tragedy in the making,” describing how the buses endanger local residents while disrupting adjacent associations. Garling agreed to explore remedies that would minimize any adverse impacts to ridership. This wouldn’t be easy, since the BCT drivers who used the “bus stops” as depots were assigned to four different bus routes: 11, 36, 55 and 72. On September 2, Garling outlined how he planned to make good.

Route 72 Bus on Galt Ocean Drive
ROUTE 72 BUS ON THE GALT
Route 55 Bus in Regency Tower Cutout
ROUTE 55 BUS IN REGENCY TOWER CUTOUT
Once approved at a mid-September administrative transit hearing, Route #36 will cease operating along Galt Ocean Drive on October 11. For buses assigned to Route #s 55 and 72, Garling planned to relocate the layover to a site north of the Galt Mile. Although Route #11 will continue to service Galt Ocean Drive, buses assigned to the route will be expressly limited to picking up and discharging passengers – no more extended layovers for multiple mid-day pizza parties. Since Garling specifically requested that we report any deviations from this protocol, the administrations at Playa del Mar and Regency Tower will monitor the BCT barricade over the next month, and document if and when buses are warehoused by drivers, whether in cutouts or curbside.

Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Town Commission Meeting
LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA TOWN COMMISSION MEETING
Transportation & Mobility Director Diana Alarcon
TRANSPORT & MOBILITY
DIRECTOR DIANA ALARCON
On September 8, the Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Town Commission learned that Garling planned to use El Mar Drive between Hibiscus Avenue and Palm Avenue (in front of the old Holiday Inn) as the alternative layover for buses assigned to Routes #55 and #72. Concerned about prospective noise, congestion and plans by the adjacent property owner (Florida Development Group) to renovate the building, the Commission agreed to the layover for the Route #72 buses, but not for the Route #55 buses. They also equipped the understanding with a caveat; the layover can be terminated by LBTS Town Manager Connie Hoffmann on 30-days notice. Garling reached out to Fort Lauderdale Transportation & Mobility Director Diana Alarcon, who agreed to help locate an alternative layover location for the Route #55 buses. Given the sparsity of municipal parking lots or other viable layover locations in the Galt Mile neighborhood, Alarcon has a tough row to hoe.

Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Town Manager Connie Hoffmann
LBTS TOWN MANAGER
CONNIE HOFFMANN
Layover Site in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea
LAYOVER SITE IN LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA
(THE OLD HOLIDAY INN)
If the threat abates over the next month as promised, Playa del Mar and Regency Tower residents will owe a debt of gratitude to Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca, BCT Director Tim Garling, and a neighborhood filled with sleepy retirees who react poorly when abused. As for other Galt Ocean Drive associations that were scrutinized as future depots by the BCT boogieman - they will have dodged a bullet. However, Galt Mile officials are pressing for an expedited timetable. If someone is injured (or worse) before the bus blockade is fully mitigated, these sleepy retirees are apt to devolve into nonagenarian ninjas – as the conflict explodes from the street into Circuit Court. Tick Tock.


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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca

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

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

Galt Mile Budget Impacts

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

County Commission vs. TNCs: Dodge Ball

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

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

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

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

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

Convention Center Lotto

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

Early Dividend at Port Everglades

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

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

 

September 2015 Update

By Commissioner Chip LaMarca

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

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

Public Hearings Set for Broward County Fiscal Year 2016 Budget

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

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

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

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

September 17th Public Hearing Set for New TNC Ordinance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September is National Preparedness Month

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

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

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

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

  • Stay informed about potential hazards and local emergency plans

  • Sign up for Broward County Emergency Updates

Here are upcoming preparedness events:

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

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

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

Contact Us

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

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


Chip LaMarca
Broward County Commssioner
District 4


Broward County Commission Meetings

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

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Segment II Around the Corner

Click to Public Law 89-298 Web Page
New Beach Construction Plan
NEW SEGMENT II BROWARD BEACH PLAN
October 15, 2015 - Once again, the Galt Mile community is anxiously awaiting the long-delayed Segment II Broward Beach Renourishment. Every non-comatose Galt Mile resident knows the project is scheduled to begin in November 2015 - just days away. Given the shrinking beach’s critical importance to the neighborhood’s economy and their quality of life, Galt Mile homeowners - and their associations - have passionately pursued its rescue for more than twenty years. 50 years - if you harken back to a 1965 entry in the Federal Register, when the 89th U.S. Congress appropriated a then whopping $1,093,000 to flesh out Broward’s severely eroded coast (Section 301 of Public Law 89-298, October 27, 1965).

Click to Endangered Species Act More importantly, Impact Statements filed by the Army Corps of Engineers confirm that a healthy beach is their only real protection against catastrophic Hurricane damage. In addition to saving thousands of lives, the Corps concluded that a renourished beach would preserve fast-eroding nesting and foraging habitat for a litany of species cited as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act while buffering both public infrastructure and private property against the devastating impacts of cyclonic storm surge and high category windstorm events. Coastal engineers admonished that broadening Broward beaches would protect more than $4 billion in otherwise vulnerable upland property.

2003 Florida Cabinet
2003 FLORIDA CABINET
For decades, Broward officials annually assured Galt Mile residents that their disappearing beach would be renourished “next year.” As these promises systematically proved empty, enthusiasm for the project gave way to a numbing cynicism. Not surprisingly, Galt Mile residents are currently waiting for an all too familiar second shoe to drop. As the start date draws near, hundreds of residents who fought for the project both here and in Tallahassee, and thousands more who signed petitions and attended meetings to overturn political & regulatory roadblocks, grow increasingly apprehensive about the prospect of facing another crushing disappointment.

Stakeholder Preparations

New Segment II Beach Plan Staging Areas
SOME SEGMENT II STAGING AREAS
Following approval of the Federal Permit by the Army Corps of Engineers earlier this year, Galt Mile officials have been monitoring the project’s progress. Regular updates were solicited from District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca, Broward Natural Resource Administrator Nicole Sharp and City of Fort Lauderdale officials. Although a County-managed project, since Fort Lauderdale’s beaches anchor its tourism economy, the City Commission and City Manager have ardently supported the project.

With State and Federal permits in hand, the County began drafting a Project Participation Agreement (PPA) in April, which will serve as a Federal reimbursement blueprint once the project is fully farmed out. While seeking Federal regulatory approval of their PPA (from the Army Corps of Engineers), the County also had to configure ILAs (Interlocal Agreements) with the three municipal stakeholders (the Cities of Fort Lauderdale and Pompano Beach and the Town of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea), optioning estimated funding formulas.

Trucking Sand to Beach Staging Areas
TRUCKING SAND TO BEACH STAGING AREAS
Last June, LaMarca remarked “The County is gearing up with the three cities to be ready for the procurement process so that we have a contractor and we are ready for November.” The County will outsource transporting 750,000 cubic yards of sand from the upstate mine to beachfront staging areas. Broward will also contract out the distribution of sand across the 5.2 mile project limits. The contract terms will provide the basis for a project timetable, useful for determining when each section of beach will be rehabilitated.

County Administrator Bertha Henry
COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR BERTHA HENRY
On September 22, 2015, County Administrator Bertha Henry observed in a Segment II Beach Renourishment Commission memo “Based on most recent conversations with Corps staff at various levels, receipt of the PPA is expected sometime in November. As stated previously, this document is required to award the project to a contractor.” Concerned about the incomplete PPA blocking a scheduled November project start, leery Galt Mile officials asked LaMarca if Henry’s comment cloaked a delay. LaMarca confirmed that the project would commence in November.

Fort Lauderdale & Broward County Tap Dance

City Manager Lee Feldman
CITY MANAGER LEE FELDMAN
At the October 5th Presidents Council meeting in Ocean Club Condominium, City Manager Lee Feldman announced having recently received a proposed ILA from the County. While lamenting a funding ratio which he characterized as unfair to the City, Feldman promised to support the project, as did City Commissioner Bruce Roberts. However, Feldman admonished that City Commissioners may opt to slug it out with their counterparts on the County Board. By waiting until the eleventh hour to distribute the municipal ILAs, Feldman intimated that the County had deliberately afflicted the cities with a negotiating deterrent, as the fast approaching November start date is anathematic to the siege mentality that often belabors negotiations between Fort Lauderdale and Broward County.

Threatened Elkhorn and Staghorn Corals
ELKHORN AND STAGHORN CORALS
Project costs for the Segment II renourishment were initially estimated at $45,343,805. In the past few years, the County spent an additional $6,886,719 circumventing heavily obstructed regulatory gauntlets while chasing the State & Federal Permits. To address concerns raised by environmental watchdog agencies with regulatory standing (i.e. FDEP, NOAA Fisheries, etc.), County planners agreed to enhance safeguards against adverse impacts to the nearshore hardbottom and protected species of coral (i.e. Elkhorn and Staghorn). These additional mitigation & monitoring measures are projected to cost $2,330,000 in 2016, and $500,000 annually in 2017 and 2018. As such, the total estimated cost of the Segment II project is actually $55,560,524.

Click to Segment II Beach Costs The municipal ILAs distributed by the County depicted funding scenarios with and without Federal participation. If the Federal Government snubbed the $55.6 million project, the State would ante $10.43 million; the County would pay $23.76 million, while the three municipalities would collectively chip in $11.31 million. In short, the County would pay a bit more than twice the cities’ contribution, which Lee Feldman cited as less than the County share in past projects. However, the County also agreed to toss in an incremental $10.1 million recently collected by Broward from the City of Hollywood for a prior project.

As defined by a 2014 Limited Re-evaluation Report cost sharing formula, up to 55% of the project cost is federally reimbursable. If the Feds kicked in their anticipated 55% project reimbursement ($30.58 million), the County share would drop to $2.26 million (plus the $10.1 million reimbursed to the County by Hollywood), while the 3 municipalities would cough up $2.23 million (of which Fort Lauderdale would shoulder $1.61 million).

He Said, She Said

After the October 5th meeting, Galt Mile President Pio Ieraci contacted LaMarca about the proposed County-City cost-sharing formulas, and requested verification that the project would not be delayed by PPA negotiations between the Corps and Broward County. On October 9, 2015, LaMarca shot off the following response.

 

From: Lamarca, Chip [mailto:CLAMARCA@broward.org]
Sent: Friday, October 09, 2015 7:23 AM
To: Ieraci, Pio 'pior@bellsouth.net'
Subject: Beach Renourishment Update

Pio,

Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER CHIP LAMARCA
I have very positive news about our beach renourishment project. The US Army Corps of Engineers has agreed to the financial terms of our project and they are in the process of signing off on the federal participation of 55% of the total project. This changes the financial cost for the local participation, requiring less money from the cities. As you can see, the City of Fort Lauderdale portion of the project is $1.61M in total. This will not be required until the year following completion of the project, and it can be paid over the next three years. I have included the breakdown of the federal, state and local funding so that you are able to see the details.

Click to Army Corps of Engineers - Jacksonville District Web Site We have already collected the state share listed, as well as the $10.1M from the previous Segment III project in Hollywood. The county will be contributing those dollars to the project to lower the overall cost to the cities and the county.

The timing of the project is also still on track and we are getting bids for the work now in order to line up the contractor for the project. The kick off date for the project is still set for November 2015, and we will have a more precise date once we have the contractor ready to go. We will be able to provide an overall timeline for the project so that you can inform each building of the estimated timing of the impact of the project to their particular location.

I hope that this information is helpful for the residents of the Galt Mile and I appreciate your work on this project.

Best regards,

Click to Chip LaMarca Web Site
Chip LaMarca
Commissioner, District 4

Click to Broward County Web SiteBroward County Commission
Governmental Center
115 South Andrews Avenue
Room 410
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
T: 954.357.7004 | F: 954.357.7798
E: CLaMarca@Broward.org

 

When LaMarca’s message to Galt Mile officials was forwarded to the City of Fort Lauderdale, skeptical City officials thought it prudent to verify LaMarca’s missive. Fort Lauderdale Environmental Services Manager Todd Hiteshew contacted Broward Beach Administrator Nicole Sharp to assess LaMarca’s perspective. Sharp responded with the following message.

 

From: Sharp, Nicole [mailto:NSHARP@broward.org]
Sent: Friday, October 09, 2015 3:58:47 PM EDT
To: 'Todd Hiteshew'THiteshew@fortlauderdale.gov'
Cc: 'Nancy Gassman'NGassman@fortlauderdale.gov';"Jurado, Jennifer" mailto:JJURADO@broward.org, "Lamarca, Chip" mailto:CLAMARCA@broward.org
Subject: RE: IMPORTANT! - Beach Renourishment Update

Todd,

Broward Natural Resource Administrator Nicole Sharp
BROWARD NATURAL RESOURCE
ADMINISTRATOR NICOLE SHARP
The information provided below [sic – Above] is in need of clarification. The County has completed negotiating the terms of the Project Partnership Agreement (PPA); however, this does not ensure or commit the Corps to upfront reimbursement of 55%. Only until the PPA is executed can we confirm that the Corps has agreed to a cost-share ratio of 55% of project costs. In the meantime, the municipalities should budget for the no reimbursement column over the span of three years. As reimbursements are received, future payments will either be reduced, or if they are received after the payment period, they will be paid to the municipalities. As for the table, it was the same provided to all municipalities in our July meeting and is a current estimate of potential project cost scenarios.

Thanks,

Nicole

 

Budget Bilge

Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy
ASSISTANT SECRETARY JO-ELLEN DARCY
Having recently completed another agreement with the Corps – a measure to sufficiently deepen the Port Everglades channel to accommodate huge Post-Panamax shipping vessels – County negotiators know that any understanding is subsequently rubber-stamped by Jo-Ellen Darcy - Assistant Secretary of the Army. In her response, Sharp was unclear about whether the Feds said they would or would not participate, or if the agreement was simply awaiting Darcy’s signature. To demystify the negotiated outcome, and ascertain if the Corps had acceded to inclusion in the PPA, Sharp was asked point blank whether or not the Corps had agreed to the 55% cost-sharing ratio. The Broward beach boss responded “The PPA does include the 55% cost-share ratio, but we cannot confirm approval of the cost-share ratio until the document is signed off on by the Assistant Secretary of the Army and executed.” The Feds were on board.

Sharp’s admonitory suggestion that the City prepare for a worst-case funding scenario would mean appropriating $2.8 million annually for 3 years (total $8.38 million) – which would be reduced (or repaid) – by as much as $6.77 million when Federal reimbursements are recovered. If City planners decide against Sharp’s conservatively tentative budget gymnastics, the annual appropriation for 3 years would drop to $540,000 and the City’s net expense would be $1.61 million.

In the Works

Hollywood Hotels WANT More Sand
HOLLYWOOD BEACH - SEG III REPEAT
While preparing to raise the curtain on Segment II, the County is in the design and engineering phase of another Segment III project to renourish South County beaches. The $53.7 million plan will combine sand dredged from the ocean bottom with sand trucked in from upstate mines. An estimated 980,000 cubic yards of sand will be distributed across the beaches of John U. Lloyd State Park, Dania, Hollywood, and Hallandale

Port Everglades Entrance
PORT EVERGLADES CHANNEL ENTRANCE
Also on the menu is the Port Everglades Sand Bypassing Project. Since 85% of the tidal erosion in Florida occurs at coastal inlets like Port Everglades, sand that naturally migrates south along the coast detours seaward at the Port, and never replenishes the sand-starved South County beaches. The project is intended to pass along 50,000 to 80,000 cubic yards of sand annually from the north to the south sides of the Port Entrance, re-establishing the disrupted sand migration, diminishing the need for future renourishments.

As observed by legendary beach Guru Stephen Higgins, “Unless the entire Broward coast is treated and maintained like a single structural entity, this project will fail. The stability of every segment depends on the stability of its adjacent segments.” – simple – but elegant.

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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca

The Last Chapter - We Hope

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Uber / Lyft Return

By Commissioner Chip LaMarca

Uber/Lyft Update 2015

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

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

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

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

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

As always, it is my honor to serve you.


Chip LaMarca
Broward County Commssioner
District 4


Broward County Commission Meetings

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

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Commissioner Bruce Roberts

Boat Show || King Tides || P.L.A.Y.

Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
COMMISSIONER BRUCE ROBERTS
November 15, 2015 - Opening his November - December 2015 Newsletter with a measure of Holiday Season gratitude for his constituents, their input and our City, District 1 City Commissioner Bruce Roberts welcomes the economic windfall generated annually by Fort Lauderdale’s International Boat Show, issues a blistering warning about the dangers of celebratory illegal fireworks, details how City schools qualified as licensed providers of a progressive after-school program called P.L.A.Y. (Promoting Lifetime Activities for Youth), cites the City Website for achieving a third place national ranking for government websites by the Center for Digital Government, reports City efforts to beat back the seasonal flooding caused by autumn King Tides, credits the Transportation and Mobility Department (TAM) with securing a $42,000 grant to fund three additional painted intersections, notes that the City scored awards by Foreign Direct Investment (fDi) magazine for “Small American Cities of the Future 2015/16” in the Overall and Economic Potential categories.

Click to King Tide Web Page After enumerating a series of upcoming municipal events, Roberts invites participation in a combined Open Streets - Winterfest Family Fun Day event on November 22, bids farewell to a relatively uneventful Hurricane Season with a reminder to remain vigilant, and applauds the 300 volunteers who advanced 20 community projects by participating in the October 24 “Make a Difference Day” events. Among the topics parsed in his newsletter, his description of the current King Tide seasonal flooding as “unprecedented” carries a warning.

King Tides + ???

Click to King Tide Web Page Climate officials projected 4 periods of tidal threats during this year’s autumn King Tide, from August 29 - September 2; September 26 - October 2; October 24 – 31; and November 24 - 27. King tides occur twice annually when the earth reaches a point in its rotation that aligns with the gravitational fields of the moon and sun to maximize gravitational pressure on the oceans, yielding monstrous high tides and lower low tides. These tidal extremes have grown increasingly severe in the last several decades - exacerbated by rising sea levels (SLR), and the rate of rise is accelerating. King tides provide us with a snapshot of daily coastal conditions in a few decades. In effect, unless the source of SLR is addressed, these seasonal brushes with catastrophic flooding will ultimately become our daily climate.

Click to Aquifer Florida’s geological architecture heightens its vulnerability to tidal flooding. Since a thick layer of porous limestone sits under the Sunshine State, climate scientists have likened their challenge to “trying to control water with a wall of marbles.” During king tide flooding, saltwater overruns seawalls and permeates the ground adjacent to canals, rivers and the ocean. By backing up through drains that ordinarily discharge stormwater to the ocean, king tide flooding is increasingly inundating inland areas.

Blood Moon
BLOOD MOON
This year, the late September King Tide featured a buffet of cosmic phenomena, specifically - a “Supermoon” lunar eclipse. When the moon reaches its full phase at or near its closest approach to Earth (AKA perigee), the resulting “Supermoon” appears abnormally large and bright. As the full perigee moon embarked on a rare passage through the earth’s rusty shadow on September 27, skywatchers were treated to a Blood Moon, named for its blood-red hue. While the lunar eclipse only served to tint the celestial showcase, the Supermoon’s proximity to earth intensified the mammoth gravitational consequences of King Tide.

Flooding on Indian Creek Drive in Miami
FLOODING ON INDIAN CREEK DRIVE IN MIAMI
By 2050, climate scientists project that Miami and other South Florida coastal cities - like Fort Lauderdale - face a greater financial risk from flooding than any other urban areas in the world. Miami Beach is in the second year of a five year, $500 million project to evacuate flooded thoroughfares into Biscayne Bay via nearby canals. At $2 - $3 million apiece, huge pumps perched on elevated sidewalks kept certain flood-prone streets relatively dry during the recent King Tide flooding, although local residents in other areas fitted with pumps – such as Indian Creek Drive - observed little or no improvement. Since pumps fed the water into canals, if and when a canal overflowed, instead of emptying into the Bay, effluent was returned to the streets where it was pumped back to the canal – zeroing out any benefit.

Miami Beach Assistant Public Works Director Jay Fink
MIAMI BEACH ASST PUBLIC
WORKS DIRECTOR JAY FINK
Contending that the system didn't fail, but was overwhelmed by the worst flooding since Superstorm Sandy, Miami Beach Assistant Public Works Director Jay Fink observed that when “water levels in the canals exceeded elevations of the sea walls,” pumps were unable eliminate the accumulated water until after the tides receded. In short, when seawater breached the sea walls, the accelerated accumulation turned the system into a bookend.

Riviera Isles Flooding
RIVIERA ISLES FLOODING
A variation of this scenario played out in Fort Lauderdale, where scores of tidal valves were embedded into the streets of Intracoastal communities. The valves serve as backflow preventers, allowing stormwater to flow through the drains, but slam shut as the water level rises, preventing seawater from backing up into the street through the sewer system. While the tidal valves expedite effluent evacuation once the tides recede, they can’t stop water from pouring over a sea wall.

Tidal Control Valves
TIDAL CONTROL VALVES
Click To Tideflex website Like Mr. Fink in Miami, President Duke Siotkas of the Riviera Isles Homeowner Association in Fort Lauderdale observed that although the valves generally worked, on certain streets they were simply overwhelmed, commenting “It’s akin to trying to pump water out of a glass that is underwater.” Having repeatedly watched annual tidal events temporarily turn their neighborhood streets into swampland, the Riviera Isles Homeowner Association first installed tidal valves in 2010 as a proactive pilot project. If the valves were subsequently proven functionally successful, the City pledged to reimburse the Homeowner Association for the cost of installing 17 one-way tidal control valves manufactured by Tideflex.

Recharge Drainage Well
RECHARGE DRAINAGE WELL
In 2012, when Public Works staffers finally confirmed that the valves helped mitigate flooding impacts, the City made good on its promise to pick up the tab. By adding $541,600 to a $700,000 grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the program was templated for expansion to Las Olas Isles, Venice Isles, and other Fort Lauderdale waterfront neighborhoods. So far, the City has embedded more than 50 tidal valves, primarily in the streets of Riviera Isle, Hendricks Isle, and Victoria Park.

Click to Fort Lauderdale Stormwater Master Plan In addition to collaborative Climate Resiliency projects with County, State and Federal agencies that create cost-sharing opportunities, abate flood insurance costs and enhance eligibility for elusive grant funds, the City expedited a local Stormwater Management Plan after Superstorm Sandy devoured a section of State Road A1A. Along with additional tidal valves, an $8.5 million annual appropriation to the Stormwater Management Fund underwrites a Chinese menu of mitigation tools and strategies.

Exfiltration Trench
EXFILTRATION TRENCH
Dispersed throughout the City are Recharge Drainage Wells (which collect water from the stormwater system and pipes it directly to the aquifer), exfiltration trenches (sixteen miles of perforated pipes – French Drains – through which water soaks into the subsoil and the aquifer), Bioswales that slope to the street are heavily landscaped with native vegetation and fitted with underlying drains that collect and divert water, and pervious pavers or PaveDrain systems (instead of ponding or burdening storm drains, water passes through pavered sidewalks, parking lots, etc. into the soil and the aquifer).

President Barack Obama at UN Climate Change summit
PRESIDENT OBAMA AT UN CLIMATE CHANGE SUMMIT
At a UN Climate Change summit on September 23, 2014, President Barack Obama identified the South Florida coast as among the nation’s regions most vulnerable to SLR flooding. A recent economic report funded by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Thomas Steyer (founder of Farallon Capital Management LLC), admonished “Florida faces more risk than any other state that private, insurable property could be inundated by high tide, storm surge and sea level rise.”

Ted Deutch Reacts to Climate Change Language Ban
TED DEUTCH PROTESTS LANGUAGE BAN
Click to Conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Closer to home, Florida Governor Rick Scott has banned the terms “Climate Change” and “Global Warming” by State agencies, and vetoed funds for flood control projects in Miami and elsewhere. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio used to promise his hometown Miami constituents that he would fight against the global warming that seasonally left them ankle-deep in sewage and stormwater. Trading in science for a Tea Party fan base, Rubio has since repeatedly stated “Human activity is not causing these dramatic changes to our climate.” When confronted on “Face the Nation” by overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary, incredibly, he blurted “I believe the climate is changing because there’s never been a moment where the climate is not changing.” There you go – who needs science?

Click to Sea Level Rise Projections in Fort Lauderdale Since State and local funding opportunities lack the scope and outreach required to roll back the dilemma’s worldwide root cause, absent federal resources and an international resiliency strategy, local governments are constrained to mitigating the impacts of Climate Change with increasingly costly infrastructure tweaks – one decade at a time. However, there may be light at the end of the tunnel.

Click to Conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change From November 30 through December 11, representatives of nearly 200 nations will descend on Paris for the 21st Conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – and try to hammer out a plan for lowering the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for warming the planet and boosting sea levels. In preparation, plans to quash carbon footprints have been crafted by hundreds of countries. For the first time, most of the world’s largest emitters will present limits authorized by their respective governments, including the United States and China (the single greatest source of greenhouse gas emissions).

Click to Climate Challenge Numbers for COP 21 Although the State Department is pushing for a broad political agreement that has buy-in from each country, it won’t carry the legal authority of a treaty. The Constitution requires that treaties be ratified by a two-thirds vote in the Senate. Since Climate Change remains a partisan political piñata in Washington DC, the Administration plans to circumvent the Constitutional stumbling block by executing a pact will not be binding on future administrations. Even so, by documenting emission limits for the key players, the agreement will meet a primary conference goal and move the process forward.

Ultimately, the process anticipates generating an agreement that will curb emission trajectories sufficiently to yield a maximum average temperature increase of 2 degrees Centigrade, a threshold past which climate scientists largely concur that the damage becomes catastrophic and irreversible. While a Paris agreement is a critical step in advancing the process, there is still a long way to go.

Economists, climate scientists and the sovereign participants agree that engaging those outside the UN process will expedite this planetary objective, including cities & other local governments, businesses, trade, labor & civic organizations, Wall Street, NGOs – and virtually anyone with a functioning survival instinct and/or an incentive to protect the value of their home.

Even those who believe that the flooding reports are Communist propaganda or perceive Global Warming as Biblical retribution still expect the City to fund whatever infrastructure upgrades are required to keep their homes dry, their streets passable and the SLR wolf from their door (as described by Commissioner Roberts). Hopefully, enough of the world will be sufficiently grounded to address this threat before it turns city blocks into Papier Mâché. Until then, peruse Commissioner Roberts’ November – December 2015 Newsletter. – [editor]

From The Desk of
Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts

Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
DISTRICT 1 COMMISSIONER
BRUCE G. ROBERTS
HAVE A HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON: We would like to personally wish you all a very happy and safe holiday season. Despite any challenges we may have faced this past year, we are reminded to be thankful for family and friends and the many advantages and opportunities we have. Everyone in District 1 should know that we are grateful for all the input you have provided on the many issues that come before Commission and those that affect our quality of life. We truly appreciate the opportunity to work with and serve you, as we find solutions that will allow the City to remain one of the most beautiful and best cities in which to live, work, play and raise a family. Be safe and let us all welcome in 2016 with high spirits, a vision for the future and a pride in our home - Fort Lauderdale!

Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show
FORT LAUDERDALE INTERNATIONAL BOAT SHOW
FORT LAUDERDALE’S 56th ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL BOAT SHOW: We welcomed the 56th boat show November 6-9, 2015 to approximately 130,000 attendees. It is important to remember that visitors from around the world visit Fort Lauderdale, and that this event helps to contribute to over half a billion dollars to our local economy, generates tens of millions of dollars in marine commerce, showcases our City to a worldwide audience, and provides a tremendous economic boost to our hotels, restaurants, retail and entertainment establishments. I would like to thank all of you for helping to make this such a successful event as I know the amount of traffic that comes to Fort Lauderdale can be an extreme burden within our community.

Click to Fireworks and Veterans info BE A GOOD NEIGHBOR WHEN IT COMES TO FIREWORKS: There are several times a year when our neighbors like to celebrate by using fireworks and New Year’s Eve is not far off. If not used in a designated area, these fireworks can be dangerous, as well as illegal. Several people are affected by fireworks especially veterans. The flashes and loud bangs from fireworks can trigger painful memories from the battlefield. Thousands of Americans, many of them children, are injured each year in incidents associated with fireworks. Most of these injuries occur during the Fourth of July holiday and include serious burns, loss of fingers and blindness. Our pets can also suffer, especially when left alone. Some can run off and get lost or injured. When fireworks are being used in your neighborhood, it should be reported to the police at 954-764-4357. We want everyone to enjoy the Holidays... please be a good neighbor and refrain from illegal use of fireworks.

Click to Fort Lauderdale After School PLAY Program P.L.A.Y. AND CHILDCARE FOOD PROGRAM: In June, all seven after-school sites (Bass, Carter, Croissant, Lauderdale Manors, Osswald, Riverland and Warfield Parks) completed the necessary requirements to become a licensed after-school program facility (or provider). Becoming a licensed after-school program requires adhering to specific guidelines on safety, staff development, facility standards, training, adult to child ratios, and filing procedures. This includes 40 hours of training that all staff completed on safety, child development, behavioral observation, facility rules and age appropriate practices, etc. Now that the City is a licenses aftercare provider, it is eligible to receive funds to provide healthy snacks and beverages for participating children. Parks & Recreation staff has completed all requirements and have been approved by the Florida Department of Health to participate in the Childcare Food/After-school Meals Program for up to an annual estimated reimbursement of $58,000. This will allow for the City to provide nearly 600 children with nutritious snacks and beverages Monday-Friday during the after-school program. As a licensed aftercare provider, the City is eligible for grant funding opportunities through BC to enhance programming efforts for youth in an after-school environment and staff will be pursuing these monies, as applicable, going forward. Formerly known as FIT KIDZ, the program has been renamed P.L.A.Y. (Promoting Lifetime Activities for Youth) Fort Lauderdale After-school Program, which will include fitness, wellness education, homework assistance, cultural arts, sports instruction, sports development, special events, and much more.

Click to Best of the Web CITY WEBSITE WINS AWARD IN ANNUAL COMPETITION: The City’s website was awarded third place among city sites, nationwide, by the Center for Digital Government. The annual Best of the Web Awards is a leading state and local government website competition that recognizes and honors outstanding government websites for their innovation, functionality, productivity and performance. Our Website was recognized for its increased opportunities for engagement and effective social media integration. We were commended for the internally developed Ethics Trac mobile application and for the expanded customer service portal, Lauderserv. The site’s innovative transparency, organization and ease of use helped us beat other top contenders including Los Angeles, CA; Boulder, CO and Raleigh, NC. If you would like to utilize our webpage, here is the link: http://www.fortlauderdale.gov/home

King Tides in Fort Lauderdale
KING TIDES IN FORT LAUDERDALE
UNPRECEDENTED KING TIDES: The recent King Tides were a vivid reminder that our community is vulnerable to the effects of sea level rise. Recorded tides were roughly 18 inches above the average high tides for the year. While that may not sound like a lot, it affected our neighbors and our ability to provide services to them. During high tides, streets in low-lying areas were flooded, some to the point of being impassable. We saw waste carts floating down streets and had a handful of reports of water entering homes and businesses. Your efforts are an example of how we build teamwork. The effects could have been worse however, had our Community Builders not taken action. Stormwater crews cleared clogged stormdrains and used vacuum (vac) trucks to reduce water accumulation and keep roads safe and drivable. Utilities staff monitored pump stations to ensure the stormwater system was operating efficiently and they worked with Engineering to construct a temporary sand berm along Coconut Isle Drive that stemmed tidal flooding and kept the street dry. Building a berm of sand was an innovative idea from a neighbor that was submitted using the Lauderserv mobile app found on our web page. Engineering also worked with a contractor to install a new tidal valve on Del Mar, which stopped tidal flooding on that street. The Sustainability Division monitored tidal heights and worked with Public Affairs to respond to numerous media inquiries and keep our neighbors informed. The 24-Hour Customer Service Center (954-828-8000) handled incoming calls and coordinated appropriate responses. Expect more King tides throughout November.

Click to Art of Community TAM RECEIVES ART OF COMMUNITY GRANT: Offsetting costs to implement community building projects is a huge bonus for our neighbors. Recently, the Transportation and Mobility Department secured a $42,000 Art of Community grant from the Community Foundation of Broward to install three painted intersections on Breakers Avenue at Belmar Street, Windamar Street and Riomar Street. The grant also includes funding for pedestrian and ADA accessibility upgrades on Riomar Street. This project, which requires neighbors to actively participate in the process, will provide a safer mobility experience, create a sense of place that reflects the character of the area, promote civic engagement, encourage traffic calming, and add to the City's ever-growing public art displays. This Complete Streets project also fulfills our goal of transforming Fort Lauderdale into a fully connected City with streets that accommodate all types of users from pedestrians to bicyclists to transit riders and motorists.

Click to Small American Cities of the Future CITY OF FORT LAUDERDALE – TOP 10 SMALL AMERICAN CITIES OF THE FUTURE 2015/16 AWARDS: The City has received two awards from Foreign Direct Investment (fDi) magazine at the 2015 International Economic Development Council conference. These two awards are for the “Small American Cities of the Future 2015/16” category. (Small cities are defined with populations between 100,000 and 350,000) Fort Lauderdale is ranked #5 overall as a Small American City of the Future (#1 Sunnyvale, CA; #2 Waterloo, Ontario; #3 Stamford, CT; #4 Irvine, CA) and ranked #2 in the Economic Potential category (#1 Sunnyvale, CA; #3 Irvine, CA; #4 Waterloo, Ontario; #5 Salt Lake City, UT).

MARK YOUR CALENDAR FOR HOLIDAY EVENTS:

  • Click to Light up the Beach 11/24/15: LIGHT UP THE BEACH – (5:30 - 8:30 PM)

    • 5:30 - 8:30 PM: LIGHT UP THE BEACH

    • 5:30 - 6:30 PM: VIP Reception hosted by the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce. The Ritz-Carlton (Via Luna Outdoor Terrace - 1 North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard)

    • 6:30 PM: Holiday Lighting Ceremony at A1A and Las Olas Boulevard. Featuring live entertainment, the illumination of a larger-than-life holiday display, and more than 10,000 holiday lights.

    • Click to Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade 7:00 - 8:30 PM: Holiday Concert at DC Alexander Park, 501 Seabreeze Boulevard. A free concert featuring the Florida 9th District American Legion Symphonic Band performing holiday classics!

  • 12/4/15: LIGHT UP SISTRUNK 5:30 - 8:00 PM (More information will be forthcoming.)

  • 12/12/15: SEMINOLE HARD ROCK WINTERFEST BOAT PARADE 5:30 (More information will be forthcoming.)

Click to Open Streets - Winterfest Family Fun Day COME PLAY IN THE STREET ON NOVEMBER 22: Our fellow Community Builders in the Transportation and Mobility Department are busy organizing the second Open Streets Fort Lauderdale event, which will take place on Sunday, November 22, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on E. Las Olas Boulevard. Open Streets Fort Lauderdale, taking place again this year in partnership with Winterfest Family Fun Day, is a free event that offers people of all ages an opportunity to "play" in the street without cars. In addition to walking, jogging, skating, and biking, this year's Open Streets event includes a variety of recreational activities such as yoga, Zumba, spinning, dancing, street hockey with the Florida Panthers, line dancing, and much more! There will also be bike and pedestrian safety activities, cultural experiences and entertainment, and healthy living demonstrations for everyone to enjoy. This is a fantastic event that supports our shared citywide vision of creating a more connected community and promotes healthy living.

Click to Hurricane Tips Guide FAREWELL HURRICANE SEASON: This month marks the end of hurricane season. While, thus far, it has been an uneventful year in our area, I appreciate the efforts of our Community Builders to ensure we are well-prepared in the event conditions suddenly change. As there is still one month left in the season, I encourage employees to remain ready so we can respond if needed. As a reminder, it is a good idea to have the Employee Hotline phone number, 954-828-5900, stored in your cell phone, so you can call to hear important information and updates regarding the status of City operations. You can also visit the City website to access information regarding hurricanes and learn how you can protect yourself, your family, and your property in the event of a natural disaster. Although we have not had any major storms in our area this season, we have endured localized flooding in vulnerable areas of our City as a result of seasonal high tides. As a coastal community with numerous low-lying areas and 300 miles of canal coastline, we need to remain vigilant, especially as high tide levels are expected to return between November 24 and November 27, 2015.

Click to Make a Difference Day WE MADE A DIFFERENCE: Congratulations to all of our Community Builders who participated in Fort Lauderdale's second "Make A Difference Day" on Saturday, October 24, 2015. This citywide day of service featured more than 20 volunteer community projects that enhanced our City. Close to 300 participants cleaned up the beach and City streets, removed invasive plants, and beautified neighborhoods through landscaping, painting and mulching projects. It was uplifting to see so many Community Builders, neighbors, schools, businesses, non-profits, agencies and organizations working side by side giving their time, talent and energy to make a meaningful difference in our community. For more information about upcoming volunteer events, please contact Jorg Hruschka in the City's Neighbor Volunteer Office at jhruschka@fortlauderdale.gov or 954-828-5568.

Fort Lauderdale Commission Assistant Robbi Uptegrove
ROBBI
UPTEGROVE
Office Contact: Robbi Uptegrove – 954-828-5033; email: ruptegrove@fortlauderdale.gov. In addition to hosting the pre-agenda meetings twice a month, I am also available to attend your HOA meetings to update your neighborhood on what is going on in the City as well as answer any questions/concerns you may have. Please contact Robbi to schedule.

Click To Commissioner Roberts' web page EMAIL LIST: If you would like to be on our email list so that you receive information pertaining to the City – especially District 1 (i.e. news releases, meeting notices, events), please let Robbi know and she will add you.

Bruce G. Roberts                

If you need to reach Commissioner Bruce Roberts, please contact his assistant Robbi Uptegrove at 954-828-5033 or by e-mail at RUptegrove@fortlauderdale.gov. To access the City Commission Meeting Agendas and Minutes, Click Here. To actually watch the meetings recorded and archived on the Commission Meetings Video Webcast and Archives web site, Click Here.

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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

October 2015 Update

By Commissioner Chip LaMarca

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

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

Beach Re-nourishment Project Planned for Broward County Beaches

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

Port Everglades Receives Its First LEED Certification

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

County Receives Grant for Informational Sea Turtle Signage

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

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

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

Contact Us

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

As always, it is my honor to serve you.


Chip LaMarca
Broward County Commssioner
District 4


Broward County Commission Meetings

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

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Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
COMMISSIONER BRUCE G. ROBERTS
December 4, 2015 - During a December 17, 2014 meeting of the Galt Mile Community Association (GMCA) Advisory Board, Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Bruce Roberts advised association officials of a possible threat to the Sun Trolley’s Galt Mile route. While serving on the Board of the Downtown Fort Lauderdale Transportation Management Association (DFLTMA) - the Sun Trolley’s parent agency - Roberts learned that the route's ridership statistics had inexplicably tanked. The Galt Mile Sun Trolley (AKA the “Galt Link”) is comprised of several legs. The stretch that heads south along A1A and east on Sunrise Boulevard to Galleria is reliably flush with Galt Mile shoppers. A second leg, which carries riders along Oakland Park Boulevard to Federal Highway destinations, including the Coral Ridge Mall, Holy Cross Hospital and Imperial Point Medical Center, was the focus of Roberts’ concern.

Newly Appointed DFLTMA Executive Director Robyn Chiarelli
NEWLY APPOINTED DFLTMA
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ROBYN CHIARELLI
Click to Broward FDOT Following a frenetic search to replace former Sun Trolley Managing Director Patricia Zeiler, on December 2, 2014, DFLTMA Chairman Alan Hooper announced that the Board selected Robyn Chiarelli to fill Zeiler’s shoes. Recipient of a Prudential-Davis Productivity Award, Chiarelli was recognized in November 2014 as the WTS (Women’s Transportation Seminars) South Florida Chapter Woman of the Year (a prestigious honorarium for Women in Transportation). Having served in leadership roles with the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA), Tri-Rail, and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT District 4), Chiarelli topped a short list of high-powered prospects.

Click to Coral Ridge Mall Click to Holy Cross At a January meeting with Galt Mile officials arranged by Roberts, Chiarelli promised to thoroughly investigate the perplexing stats before recommending any “reallocation of resources” (spin for a service cutback). Chiarelli advised that the troubled Galt Mile Route still exceeded the County survival standard of 7.1 riders per hour, and how underutilization seemed limited to one section of the problematic route leg. Although ridership to the Coral Ridge Mall was strong, far fewer passengers continued to Holy Cross and Imperial Point Hospitals. Leery of an unjustified reduction in the few municipal benefits provided to Galt Mile residents, Galt Mile officials imposed several conditions on any planned route modifications.

Click to Broward Health Imperial Point Medical Center Web Page Concerned about the burden it would place on fixed-income Galt Mile patients who rely on the service, including some of the neighborhood’s more vulnerable residents, Galt Mile officials proposed an outreach effort to better inform local residents and new association administrations about the service and a campaign to solicit residents to rate the importance of hospital access via the Sun Trolley. If Sun Trolley officials could convincingly demonstrate a fading community interest in bus service to the hospitals, Galt Mile officials would agree to the cutback with two caveats. Impacted residents must be provided with a minimally burdensome alternative - and that any reclaimed resources would be utilized to otherwise benefit the Galt link.

Click to Sun Trolley Survey In July, Sun Trolley PR Gurus scripted a plan to edify Galt Mile residents about their community bus service benefits with a media blitz in local publications and marketing materials hand-delivered to Galt Mile associations. In September, Sun Trolley officials crafted a survey that generally screened for use frequency, schedule preferences, pricing limits and specifically inquired about access to the hospitals and a prospective route extension to Lauderdale-by-the-Sea (LBTS). The surveys were inserted into the Galt Mile News, distributed to each association and made available in several local establishments as well as popular online social media sites. Once completed, participants were instructed to drop them at the Galt Mile Library, where residents were invited to directly question Sun Trolley officials at an October 1st meeting, when they could expand on their input or vet related concerns. While addressing association officials attending the October 5th GMCA Presidents Council meeting at Ocean Club condominium, Chiarelli recruited member associations to encourage completion the survey by unit owners, admonishing that survey results would impact the route’s future configuration.

Click to Sun Trolley Galt Mile Route Web Page Chiarelli’s interest in extending the Galt Mile route north into Lauderdale-by-the-Sea was ostensibly to facilitate alternative access to the medical center if eliminated as a destination – a prerequisite for neighborhood association approval. To that end, Chiarelli launched negotiations with the Pelican Hopper, the Community Bus Service for Lauderdale-by-the-Sea (LBTS). On weekdays, the Pelican Hopper duplicates three Sun Trolley stops in the Galt Mile neighborhood, at the Beach Community center, the Galt Mile Library and the corner of Galt Ocean Drive and NE 41st Street. Since the Pelican Hopper also connects to Holy Cross Hospital, by creating a service link with the Pelican Hopper, Chiarelli could provide Galt Mile patients with convenient access to the Medical Center from Monday through Friday.

Click to Sun Trolley Tracker Unfortunately, Chiarelli's plan hit the skids on weekends, when the Pelican Hopper only extends south to Palm Avenue and A1A in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea and makes no stops along the Galt Mile. In March of 2015, the new Sun Trolley boss cultivated political capital with LBTS officials by adding their Pelican Hopper to the Sun Trolley’s popular Tracker App. Developed in 2012, the award-winning free mobile tracking software enables passengers with smartphones, tablets or computers to track the location of Sun Trolleys in real time across all seven routes – and includes the Riverwalk Water Trolley. By empowering riders to position themselves anywhere along the route to flag down a trolley precisely as it approaches, the Tracker App virtually eliminates the need to wait at a designated stop.

BCT Federal Highway Breeze
BCT BREEZE BUS ON FEDERAL HIGHWAY
Click to Broward County Transit Breeze Bus Used effectively by Fort Lauderdale Sun Trolley patrons for the past two years, grateful LBTS officials were delighted when Chiarelli consented to add their Pelican Hopper to the Tracker App, similarly benefitting LBTS residents. To close the weekend gap between Palm Avenue and the Galt Mile, Chiarelli called in her marker to line up LBTS approval for a plan she authored to extend the Galt link into Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, thereby providing Galt residents with weekend access to Holy Cross. Imperial Point is also alternatively accessible by catching the BCT Federal Highway Breeze at the Coral Ridge Mall.

Click to Galt Mile Sun Trolley Route After the survey data was compiled and crunched by Sun Trolley techs, on November 12, Chiarelli outlined the results for Galt Mile officials - and how the input will impact the route. Citing the statistical basis for her decision, Chiarelli said, “Over the last two years, an average of 73 passengers per month boarded at Imperial Point Hospital out of 3,306 total average boardings; this represents only 2.2% of the ridership share.” Offering similar ridership statistics for Holy Cross, Chiarelli added, “78.7% of survey respondents indicated they would use the service more frequently if the route were extended north into Lauderdale-By-The-Sea.”

LBTS Town Commission Approves Galt Link Resolution
LBTS TOWN COMMISSION OKs GALT LINK RESOLUTION
Armed with hard feedback from Galt Mile residents, Chiarelli unveiled her plan, “Based on these results, our team is proposing that the US1 leg to the hospitals be eliminated and the route be extended northward to Lauderdale-By-The-Sea. These proposed modifications have been approved by the Lauderdale-By-The-Sea Town Council and the TMA Executive Board of Directors. The next step will occur on Tuesday, November 17th when the City of Fort Lauderdale Commission will hold a public hearing on the matter.” Since the proposed changes affect more than 25% of the current Galt link, the City-County Interlocal Agreement (ILA) that governs the Community Bus Service – along with Title 49 of the United State Code – required the City to convene a public hearing prior to implementation.

Click to LBTS Galt Link Resolution On November 17, the City Commission held Chiarelli’s public hearing. Having provided commissioners with the existing and proposed route maps and schedules, an October 13 Resolution by the LBTS Town Commission approving the route modification, confirmation of an October 28 approval by the DFLTMA Executive Board and a stack of supportive letters from neighborhood residents, civic big dogs and local merchants (mostly LBTS vendors drooling over the prospect of new Galt Mile customers), Chiarelli explained how blending extensive outreach with community research yielded her evidentiary data. Not surprisingly, the measure was unanimously approved.

Fort Lauderdale City Manager Lee Feldman
FORT LAUDERDALE CITY MANAGER LEE FELDMAN
While providing Galt Mile residents with weekend access to Holy Cross Medical Center, Chiarelli’s plan to add LBTS destinations to the Galt Link featured a second - less altruistic - objective. In a memo to the City Commission recommending the measure, Fort Lauderdale City Manager Lee Feldman explained that although the Galt Mile route “had been partially funded through a grant that was no longer available,” its cost to the City would remain unchanged. Since replacing the hospital route leg with the LBTS extension is a fiscally neutral event, Feldman opted to illuminate this budgetary enigma, explaining “This route modification will allow the Galt Link to continue due to the partnership with the Town of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, and their contribution of $25,000 annually for the portion within their town.”

Click to Federal Transit Administration When a cash crunch blocked Sun Trolley officials from adding weekend service to the Galt Link in 2012, they used smoke and mirrors to transfer a $19,918.08 “non-transferable” Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grant earmarked for another route. By interconnecting the two routes, Sun Trolley officials used the back door to legally access the grant and fund the Galt Link expansion. Since the protocol won’t support a second bite at the apple, without an alternative funding source, the Galt Link would subsequently blister the City budget or face a service cutback.

Absent the Federal relief, newcomer Chiarelli plugged the anticipated annual deficit by lining up the yearly $25,000 LBTS allocation. The GMCA demand for an alternative access to Holy Cross provided Chiarelli with an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. As intimated in Feldman’s memo, it also enabled Chiarelli to forgo requesting an incremental annual City subsidy to fund the Galt Link shortfall. At the end of the day, it was all about the Benjamins.

Click to Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Web Page On December 1st, the Galt Mile Sun Trolley will begin making stops at the Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Visitors Center, the Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Town Hall and Anglin’s Pier although it can also be waved down anywhere along El Mar Drive or A1A from Palm Avenue to the Publix Shopping Center by Sea Ranch Village. The route leg to Federal Highway will end at the Coral Ridge Mall.

Although Chiarelli's informal referendum inferred that Galt Mile residents prefer access to LBTS over the Hospitals, survey respondents also suggested expanding the Galt Link to a variety of other prospective Federal Highway destination sites. As a parting shot, Chiarelli mentioned that she is considering venues that scored multiple requests, such as the Whole Foods Market.

In keeping her word, Chiarelli banked the credibility intimated by her résumé. In her first year at the helm of a brutally unforgiving agency (check out the 2008 Galt Link bloodletting), Chiarelli won neighborhood approval to modify the Galt Link while nuking a ticking deficit left by her predecessor. Not a bad opening act.



2016 SUN TROLLEY GALT LINK SCHEDULE

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Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

November 2015 Update

By Commissioner Chip LaMarca

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

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

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

Beach Renourishment Project Slated for Broward Beaches

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

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

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

Port Everglades Update

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

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

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

Water Conservation Pays

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

Broward Starts Construction on New FPL Solar Installation

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

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

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

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

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

Broward County Offers New Program for Aspiring and Early Stage Entrepreneurs

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contact Us

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

As always, it is my honor to serve you.


Chip LaMarca
Broward County Commssioner
District 4


Broward County Commission Meetings

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

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Segment II - Sandman at Hand

Segment II Beach Construction Plan Begins
SEGMENT II BROWARD BEACH PLAN ROLLS OUT
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Sea Turtle Program - Click to Web Site December 22, 2015 - For the past year, Galt Mile residents have been repeatedly assured that the Segment II beach renourishment would begin following the November conclusion of Sea Turtle nesting season. It didn’t. For some veteran Galt Mile residents, two decades of crushing disappointments replaced enthusiastic support for the project with a numbing cynicism – on a hair trigger. After 20 years of flimsy excuses, foot-dragging and bald faced lies, the delay was perceived as evidence that the project would once again be derailed.

The passionate blowback by frustrated residents wasn’t unreasonable, considering how protection of $4 billion in upland property – and the lives of our families – may ride on this project. Only a healthy beach can shield a coastal population from catastrophic storm surge. Also at stake are three local economies, a regional economy and a large slice of the State’s tax pie.

Click to 'Water Resources Development Act Fortunately, the missed deadline didn’t veil another bureaucratic shell game, just the delays that ordinarily belabor complex infrastructure projects. To begin with, County and City officials will not casually forgo $41 million of federal & State sugar allocated to the $56 million project. Also, planners finally have their ducks in a row. After years of Congressional gridlock and partisan bickering, Congress restored the Army Corps of Engineers’ lapsed funding for ports, waterways and beaches in the Water Resources Development Act of 2013.

Pulling Permits

Florida Department of Environmental Protection - Click to Web Site Although Tallahassee loosened renourishment resources, before it could nail State funding, Broward had to revise the Segment II sand source to circumvent the regulatory obstacles that impair dredge projects. After negotiating project terms with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) throughout 2013, Broward beach officials landed State Permit Number 0314535-001-JC on January 31, 2014.

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

Parties to the Pacts

New Segment II Beach Plan Project Limits
SEGMENT II PLAN PROJECT LIMITS
Since County officials were hard-pressed to complete project preparations before the anticipated late autumn 2015 start date, they simultaneously entered into cost-sharing talks with the Corps and the three municipal stakeholders – the City of Pompano Beach, the Town of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea and the City of Fort Lauderdale. The County began drafting a Project Participation Agreement (PPA) in April, which details the parties’ project costs, responsibilities and objectives, and specifies how the County will meet environmental and financial benchmarks.

The pact also legally obligates the Corps to a negotiated cost-sharing formula. Since vendor agreements are subject to terms spelled out in the PPA, it had to be executed before the County could contract with prospective vendors. Any vendor agreements entered into by the County prior to official execution of the PPA (before it was signed by the Assistant Secretary of the Army) would be ineligible for federal reimbursement.

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

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

2013 LBTS Beach Fix

LBTS Beach Fix
SOUTH POMPANO BEACH
The LBTS cost cap was not a by-product of politically prompted preferential treatment. In 2013, the Army Corps of Engineers approved an LBTS emergency beach fill under its Flood Control and Coastal Emergency program (FCCE) authorized by Public Law 84-99 (PL 84-99), which empowers the Corps to directly provide disaster relief on its own authority, and was implemented to fortify eligible East Coast beaches shredded by Hurricane Sandy. The Corps approved reconstructing 5.1 miles of eroded shoreline in south Pompano Beach and LBTS.

LBTS Beach Fix - Near Commercial Boulevard
LBTS NEAR COMMERCIAL BOULEVARD
In November 2013, Corps contractor Eastman Aggregate Enterprises began trucking 126,700 cubic yards of beach quality sand 106 miles from the E.R. Jahan Ortona sand mine in Moore Haven to Pompano and Lauderdale-by-the-Sea beaches. An average of 130 trucks per day made the two-hour trip from the mine to LBTS staging areas, where the sand was delivered for dispersal along the beach. Completed on February 28, 2014 (before the March 1st commencement of Sea Turtle nesting season), the project required about 10,000 deliveries.

LBTS Beach Fix
LBTS BEACH FIX
Although the newly fleshed out LBTS beaches had little need for Segment II sand, the town’s shoreline served to connect beaches in Pompano and Fort Lauderdale that were targeted for renourishment. To structurally integrate the coast along all three north Broward municipalities, the County solicited town permission to taper the LBTS shoreline adjacent to beaches in Pompano and Fort Lauderdale that were planned to receive sand. Since the sand was being placed on LBTS beaches solely to stabilize newly renourished adjacent beaches in Pompano and Fort Lauderdale, the County agreed to limit the town’s financial exposure.

Bidding the Project

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

Click to Bidsync Web Site In soliciting vendor proposals, the County split the project into two groups; the northern beach fill segment in Pompano Beach and part of LBTS was Group 1 and the southern segment for the rest of LBTS and Fort Lauderdale was bid out as Group 2. Dividing the project would allow each segment to move forward independently. By the November 6 deadline, bids were received from Eastman Aggregate Enterprises (the vendor selected by the Corps two years earlier for the emergency LBTS beach fill), MCM Construction, Phillips and Jordan, Inc., Ranger Construction Inc., and an incomplete proposal was filed by the Rio-Bak Corporation.

Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy
ASSISTANT SECRETARY JO-ELLEN DARCY
On October 9, an elated Commissioner LaMarca notified the neighborhood association “The US Army Corps of Engineers has agreed to the financial terms of our project and they are in the process of signing off on the federal participation of 55% of the total project.” Later that day, Broward Beach boss Nicole Sharp cautioned that although the County had completed negotiating the terms of the Project Partnership Agreement (PPA); until it was signed by Assistant Secretary of the Army Jo-Ellen Darcy - projected for early November – it carried no legal weight.

Fort Lauderdale Balks

Click to Auberge Web Site
City Manager Lee Feldman
CITY MANAGER LEE FELDMAN
While addressing Galt Mile officials at the October 5th Presidents Council meeting at Ocean Club condominium, City Manager Lee Feldman enumerated City concerns with the draft ILA received from the County. Citing an unfair funding ratio, potential conflicts with City projects (i.e. Auberge, etc.) and prospective future liability for obligations not clearly defined in the agreement, Feldman also intimated that the County deliberately sent the draft ILA shortly before the projected November start date as a negotiating tactic, suggesting that the abbreviated time frame was meant to pressure City concessions to questionable pact provisions.

Commissioner Bruce Roberts
COMMISSIONER BRUCE ROBERTS
Having weathered decades of indefensible project postponements, when angry members inveighed against additional bureaucratic delays as intolerable and heatedly suggested that the City quickly settle any contract impediments, Commissioner Roberts and Feldman assured attendees that the obstacles were being addressed and would soon be resolved. After Feldman’s full list of Fort Lauderdale exceptions to the draft ILA was received by the County, a detailed response was returned by County Administrator Bertha Henry on October 30. City and County officials agreed to meet and hash out any remaining differences.

Click to Eastman Aggregates Web Site Following the November 6 bid deadline, the $37,016,422.42 proposal submitted by low-bidder Eastern Aggregate Enterprises was “Recommended for Award” (RFA) by the County and placed on the Purchasing Division website for 5 business days for public review. Since no comments or protests were filed, the County was cleared to enter into a federally reimbursable contract with the Lake Worth-based vendor as soon as the PPA was signed by the Corps.

Click to Project Partnership Agreement On Monday, November 9, the Corps finally delivered a signed and executed PPA to exuberant County Beach officials, equipping the Federal cost-sharing commitment with legal teeth. The next day, the Pompano Beach City Commission passed a resolution approving their ILA with the County. Also on November 10th, the County Commission empowered Broward Administrator Bertha Henry to execute agreements integral to the Segment II renourishment, including the municipal ILAs, the PPA and the vendor agreement (Eastern Aggregates).

Click to Nova Southeast University Oceanographic Institute Web Site Suddenly, a lawsuit was filed naming Sea Turtles as plaintiffs, whose right to peaceful enjoyment would be violated by a beach fill project, and named as defendants any entity with project standing, including the participating jurisdictions, their agencies, beachfront homeowners and the Galt Mile Community Association. Ironically, environmentalists and environmental agencies staunchly support salvaging severely eroded nesting habitat for endangered Sea Turtles and foraging habitat for scores of threatened species like the Piping Plover, as documented in the Army Corps’ Final Environmental Impact Statement. The Broward Commission had also pumped up environmental protection for the project, adding $3,364,078 to their existing $11,155,077 contract with Nova Southeastern University for Segment II reef building and Biological Monitoring.

Beach Renourishment Reclaims Shrinking Sea Turtle Nesting Habitat While responsible legal actions occasionally improve a beach project, frivolous lawsuits are designed as a “Hail Mary” deterrent. In the past, project impediments were the brainchildren of lobbyists funded by the Scuba Industry (beach projects temporarily disrupt their members’ offshore business venue), self-appointed environmental radicals hoping to return the barrier island to a pristine state by ejecting human beings, failed attorneys exploring a new practice field or a disgruntled resident with a personal agenda.

Dumping Sand On November 12, City and County staff met to negotiate final terms of the Fort Lauderdale beach project ILA with Broward County. Acknowledging that the City will receive 550,000 of the 750,000 cubic yards of sand placed on Segment II beaches, the City agreed to pay 72.4% of the $2.23 million still due from the three municipalities after the Federal, State and County contributions. Fort Lauderdale’s $1.61 million share is payable in three annual installments of less than $540,000.

County Administrator Bertha Henry
COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR BERTHA HENRY
Since Bertha Henry had already addressed Feldman’s more substantive concerns, most of the remaining items were less than earthshaking. For example, for cities to remain vested in future federally reimbursable beach projects, instead of coughing up “a minimum of 10%,” the County will retain a flat 10%. Also, if the City drives up costs by submitting a change order to the contract, instead of the County unilaterally deciding how much the City must pay, the cost “will be mutually determined by County and City.”

While a few other tweaks were approved, the City did wangle a valuable “most favored” clause. In short, beach renourishment benefits or terms granted by the County to any Broward municipality would also accrue to Fort Lauderdale. Specifically, any financially preferable changes to the cost-sharing formula for the impending Segment III renourishment of South County beaches would be retroactively applied to Fort Lauderdale’s portion of Segment II.

Click to Fort Lauderdale Beach ILA Resolution Having hammered out bumpy provisions in the County pact, on December 1st, the City Commission passed a resolution approving the ILA with Broward County for the Segment II Shore Protection Project. Fort Lauderdale was officially on board. With contracts between the County and all three municipalities in hand, vendor Eastern Aggregates could finally begin drafting a schedule for delivering sand to the staging areas.

County Announces Kick-Off

Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca
BROWARD COMMISSIONER CHIP LAMARCA
On December 10, Lamarca notified Galt Mile officials that the vendor, while coordinating with the sand mines, would commence sand placement surveys on Monday, December 14. On December 11, LaMarca sent an email blast to stakeholders, announcing a 6 p.m. project presentation by Eastern Aggregates at the Sonesta Hotel (999 Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard) on Wednesday, December 16.

Broward Natural Resource Administrator Nicole Sharp
BROWARD NATURAL RESOURCE
ADMINISTRATOR NICOLE SHARP
To host the meeting, LaMarca and Nicole Sharp were joined by contractor Bernie Eastman, founder and President of Eastern Aggregate Enterprises. Representatives from most of the Galt Mile beachfront associations attended the meeting with two major objectives. In addition to confirming the project start date, they sought to learn exactly when the construction team would flesh out the stretch of beach behind their respective properties, and how long it would impair member access to the beach.

Broward County Beach Renourishment Project Web Site After announcing that the project would begin on Monday, January 4, 2016, Sharp did a two-step around the second query. She said that construction progress would be posted on the Broward County Beach Renourishment web page, and invited interested parties to first check the current location of the construction and then calculate how long it would take to reach their stretch of beach. After reading the perplexed faces in the audience, she suddenly blurted, “Please call or email me with questions that specifically relate to your beach.”

Mining Sand

Click to Jahna Mines Website
Sand Processed at Ortona Mine
SAND PROCESSED AT ORTONA MINE
According to Sharp, 750.000 cubic yards of sand harvested from the Ortona Sand Mine in La Belle, Florida (Glades County), an upland commercial mine north and northwest of Broward County, will be trucked 125 miles to Fort Lauderdale. Owned by E.R. Jahna Industries, Inc., a dredge sucks sand from the bottom of an artificial lake, filters out pebbles, extracts water, removes silt or clay and sorts the sand by grain size.

Golden Sand Dredged from Ortona's Man-Made Lake
YELLOW SAND FROM ORTONA'S MAN-MADE LAKE
This light yellow silica sand selected for the project typically has a larger average grain size and a smaller fines fraction than material found in offshore borrow areas. Due primarily to its imperceptibly larger grain size, the sand is more stable and produces less post placement turbidity in the nearshore environment. Originally deposited 5 million years ago when the shoreline ran up the spine of the state, it also more closely matches the color of our native beach sediments than the grey sand dredged from offshore borrow sites.

Click here to Broward County Segment II Beach Sand Parameters The construction methodology for renourishing a beach using mined sand is significantly different from using sand dredged offshore. The sand must be delivered to the beach by truck, stockpiled, transferred to off-road equipment, and placed mechanically on the beach. Traffic on regional thoroughfares and local streets along the route will be temporarily affected by the hauling and placement of material during the construction process. The project will also require several accessible and sufficiently sized dedicated staging areas for the delivery, handling, transfer and temporary stockpiling of sand material.

Staging Areas: Lockhart and the Beaches

Lockhart Stadium - Home of the Strikers
LOCKHART STADIUM - HOME OF THE STRIKERS
To allay regulatory concerns about the variability of materials at the source, and enforce Quality Assurance and Quality Control (QA/QC) protocols throughout the construction period, Sharp explained that the trucks filled with sand will first stop at Lockhart Stadium, home field of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the North American Soccer League. Located at 1350 NW 55th Street (next to Fort Lauderdale Stadium and Executive Airport), Lockhart will serve as an initial staging area. When a truck rolls in, after a sample of the sand cargo is tested for consistency and compliance with project standards, the truck will be directed to one of 5 beachfront staging areas.

Sand Trucked to Lockhart Staging Area
SAND TRUCKED TO LOCKHART STAGING AREA
Each day, trucks will make 120 trips from the mine to the staging areas, collectively carrying 2500 tons of sand. In Pompano, sand will be delivered to a beachfront staging site at SE 12th Street, and be dispersed along the beach north of the staging area. In Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, sand will be trucked to the beach at Palm Avenue, and offloaded by conveyer belt to the staging area. The beachfront staging areas in Fort Lauderdale are at Vista Park in Lauderdale Beach, NE 18th Street and E. Sunrise Boulevard. Here’s the bad news.

Due to regulatory delays that shifted the project start date from November 1 to January 4, 2016, there isn’t sufficient time to complete the entire project before the onset of Sea Turtle Nesting Season, when State Law will temporarily freeze construction. Work along various segments will continue through mid-March or late April. Sharp observed that while the smaller northern project area will likely be completed before the regulatory deadline, the larger southern project limits will not. The Eastman crews will roll their equipment back to the company’s Lake Worth Headquarters until they return to southern staging sites (NE 18th Street and E. Sunrise Boulevard) and complete the beach fill after the October 31 conclusion of Sea Turtle Nesting Season.

Threatened Elkhorn and Staghorn Corals
ELKHORN AND STAGHORN CORALS
In Fort Lauderdale, beaches will be widened from 70 to 240 feet. Questioned why the project only included beaches north of Terramar Street in Fort Lauderdale, Sharp cited the need to protect fragile offshore coral beds just south of the project limits. Sharp explained that as construction proceeded along the coast, for the most part, it would not interfere with direct access to the beach from beachfront associations. In cases where the project impeded direct access, since the construction sites are anticipated to be roughly a few hundred feet in length, signs would direct unit owners around the roped off work sites to the beach.

Click to Segment II Beach Costs Since dune building is integral to stabilizing the coast, association officials inquired about the planned size, shape and placement of these structural buffers against tidal erosion. Dunes also mute storm surge damage by helping to absorb the energy created by storm waves. When asked if dunes might serve as obstacles for elderly beachgoers, Sharp assured attendees that the mild elevations wouldn’t block access. However, dunes located adjacent to a seawall create security concerns, as they would be abused as springboards for trespassers.

Plaza East President Glenn Rollo
PLAZA EAST PRESIDENT
GLENN ROLLO
Click to Earth Balance Attendees also asked about beach vegetation, another project component included to blunt erosion. Describing how plants provided by the North Port-based Earth Balance Nursery will help protect the beach, Sharp said that beach grasses and other beach vegetation block the wind, as their roots grab the sand. At an earlier Presidents Council meeting, Plaza East President Glenn Rollo told sharp that the adjacent beach is paper thin, and observed that if the added sand were covered by dunes or vegetation, little or no room would be left for beachgoers.

Sharp assured Rollo that areas allocated to dune restoration or vegetation would be balanced with adequate recreational space. When an association official asked how existing beach vegetation would be preserved or integrated with new plantings, Sharp noted that questions about existing vegetation or prospective dune placement on a specific stretch of beach are more productively addressed individually with the property owner. In closing, she invited attendees to contact her with their concerns at nsharp@broward.org

Building New Beach After almost 20 years, this dog learned to hunt. Although we have never been so close to salvaging the beach, longtime Galt Mile residents will tell you, “Until I feel the sand in my toes, I don’t believe a word of this.” When the construction progress page is uploaded to the Broward County website, we will notify member associations about the construction schedule. Of course, every association can reach out to Nicole Sharp, and get the info directly from the Broward Beach boss. Punctuating her departure from the December 16 presentation, an incredulous Galt Mile official commented “Pinch me; sand is finally on the way.”

Broward Beach Renourishment Links

Beach Renourishmant Documents Click to Segment II Beach Presentation At the meeting, Nicole Sharp said that the project could be tracked from the Broward County Beach Renousishment website, where the County Natural Resources staff plans to post current info about the project and its progress. The following links will help shed some light on the project, its environmental and fiscal impact, and how construction proceeds across the project limits.

  • Beach CLICK HERE to the Broward County Beach Renousishment website.

  • CLICK HERE to review regulatory documents relevant to Broward County Beach Renousishments.

  • CLICK HERE for insight into the economic value of Broward's beaches

  • CLICK HERE for Frequently Asked Questions about the Broward Beach Renourishment

  • CLICK HERE for a graphic summary of the December 16, 2015 Segment II Presentation



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