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Fort Lauderdale Beach at Sunrise Nestled halfway between Miami and Palm Beach, the 168,000 residents of the City of Fort Lauderdale have acclimated to enjoying the best of both worlds. No longer the bedroom for America’s gateway to the Caribbean and South America or a vacation dreamland whose existence depends solely on a continuous infusion of tourist dollars, Fort Lauderdale has matured into a thriving vibrant municipality with incandescent prospects. The 33 square miles encompassing the city are permeated with 86 miles of internal waterways and bordered on by 7 miles of the Atlantic Ocean. The network of canals connecting the extensive natural river system coupled with the city’s magnetic attraction to tourists is reminiscent of Venice, Italy. It is the largest of Broward's 30 cities and seventh in the State of Florida. The City opted to govern itself through a 5-member City Commission, whose will is actualized by a strong “City Manager”. This political structure, a venue shared by Miami, is an unusual governance format for major cities.

The Venice of America at Night
THE VENICE OF AMERICA AT NIGHT
The “Venice of America” has economically evolved from its earlier dependency on tourism to a varied, well-balanced haven for old line industries and an incubator for new ones. The international access afforded by its location naturally lends itself to manufacturing, finance and insurance industries. Advantaged by location and the City’s longtime proclivity for nurturing leisure activities, it’s Marine industry is world-class. A healthy percentage of the millions of tourists passing through Fort Lauderdale opt to stay. This phenomenon, along with its reputation as a retirement mecca and a magnet for new industries, feeds a high-powered real estate industry. Hurricanes aside, Fort Lauderdale’s reliable semi-tropical climate and limitless availability of picture-postcard locales lends itself to a burgeoning film and television production industry. The city is home to a robust avionics/aerospace industry. From computers to biotechnology, Fort Lauderdale has shared in South Florida’s attraction to new high-technology industries.

Fort Lauderdale Beach at Sunrise Despite being a major city bordered by 9 other municipalities, Fort Lauderdale has managed to retain the benefits of small town life. To better maintain and perpetuate their unique identities, each neighborhood manages its own affairs. The City Commissioners are charged with blending the interests of their neighborhood constituents with those of the City. There is no shortage of opportunities for political input. The city oversees a substantial roster of structured citizen's committees from which it draws guidance and public opinion. Non-governmental Neighborhood Associations exert substantial influence over the issues affecting participating residents. This variety of political input mechanisms has served to keep the city’s leadership in touch with the differing needs of its individual neighborhoods. This political balance has promulgated the relatively unfettered parallel development of Fort Lauderdale’s various communities without having sacrificed the distinguishing characteristics that attracted their inhabitants.

Gross Mismanagement Crippled Fort Lauderdale In 2003, it was revealed that a 3 year period of gross mismanagement had transformed a city with an $18.3 billion tax base into a municipal basket case. As stated by District 1 City Commissioner Christine Teel in December of 2003, “The 2003 City of Fort Lauderdale budget, offered by the former administration, was balanced using assumed savings that simply did not exist in reality. It contained revenue overestimates and expenditure underestimates. If we had put that budget into motion we would have literally run out of money by the end of the year.” The painful ordeal experienced by the city’s residents, employees and public officials is chronicled in the Fort Lauderdale Budget Bust section of this web site. By the end of 2005, the city had mostly recovered from the ill effects suffered during the 2 to 3 years it took to re-establish fiscal viability.

Fort Lauderdale Administration The Galt Mile Community Association continually works with City officials to maintain those qualities that enrich our community while deflecting adverse political fallout, intended or not. The articles in this section cover impacts exerted by the City of Fort Lauderdale on the lives of Galt Mile neighborhood residents. Upon reviewing and analyzing city services and/or policies, the Galt Mile Community Association’s response will be published in this “City of Fort Lauderdale” section. Articles prior to the City’s fiscal recovery (2002 through mid - 2005) can be found in the Archives or in the Fort Lauderdale Budget Bust section.

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Venice of America

George Fan || Light up Galt || Neighbors App

Commissioner Heather Moraitis
COMMISSIONER HEATHER MORAITIS
November 20, 2018 - District 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis wove her October 2018 Newsletter around a tribute to her “favorite state representative”, as term limits pulled the plug on husband George Moraitis’ 8-year career in the Florida Statehouse. Commissioner Moraitis also announces the inaugural “Light up the Galt” event on November 28 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. amid the North Beach Restaurants and Shoppes (formally known as the Galt Ocean Village neighborhood) - at A1A and Oakland Park Boulevard; cites a monthly opportunity for local businesses to renew parking permits at the Beach Community Center (apply for an initial permit in the Parking Office at 290 NE 3rd Avenue); recruits volunteers for the Community Service Board; notes a variety of Fort Lauderdale events; invites constituents to attend her Pre-Agenda Meetings; once again recommends implementation of a virtual neighborhood watch - a dividend of downloading the free Neighbors App by Ring; and closes by facilitating communication between constituents and the City through the Lauderserv app.

The Number 1 Fan

Moraitis Family In her Newsletter, Heather Moraitis paints politics as a family function - like sharing holiday dinner or taking family vacations. Since popular Republican Statehouse Representative George Moraitis bagged four consecutive elections in a District with a clear Democrat majority – an area disparaged by Tallahassee Republicans as “The Killing Fields” – her virtually unchallenged first foray into elected office was often credited to their shared namesake. Ironically, his repeated success at the polls was largely attributable to the roles she played in his campaigns.

healthcare mogul David Maymon
HEALTHCARE MOGUL DAVID MAYMON
When former Statehouse Representative Ellyn Bogdanoff ascended to the Florida Senate, Broward’s Republican Party Leadership hand-picked healthcare entrepreneur David Maymon to fill her shoes. While serving as Director of Capitol Development for the YMCA, Heather Moraitis fine-tuned a skillset that included scaring up cash and networking with local Masters of the Universe. Heather’s blue-chip speed-dial list and access to resources helped catapult George passed Maymon in the Primary and Democrat Barbara Stern in the election. The local GOP big shots backed the wrong horse.

Former Broward Commissioner Ken Keechl
FORMER BROWARD MAYOR KEN KEECHL
She spearheaded his 3 subsequent biennial Statehouse campaign victories over Gerri Ann Capotosto in 2012, Scott Herman in 2014 and Ken Keechl in 2016. Moraitis' popularity was fueled by a steady stream of legislation that enabled municipal improvements, fanned the State and local economies or protected, expanded and clarified the rights of association homeowners.

Click to Broward Republican Executive Committee Term Limits ends Moraitis' Statehouse tenure this year. With his mandated departure from the Statehouse months away – on January 22, 2018, George Moraitis was elected Chairman of the snake-bit Broward Republican Executive Committee. Now he decides which local Republican candidates get a taste of Party resources that were initially denied to him. What goes around, comes around.

Light up the Galt

North Beach Restaurants and Shoppes
NE 33rd STREET - NORTH BEACH
On November 28, 2018, the City of Fort Lauderdale and the North Beach Restaurants and Shoppes will present the City’s newest light up event - and launch the holiday season along the Galt Ocean Mile! From 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., “Light up the Galt” will offer our families an enchanted evening of live music, entertainment, food and fun along NE 32nd and NE 33rd Streets between A1A and the Intracoastal. This seasonal block party will feature food and drink specials from over 15 restaurants and bars! A tree lighting ceremony will take place at 7 p.m.

Fort Lauderdale Symphonic Winds orchestra
FT LAUDERDALE SYMPHONIC WINDS ORCHESTRA
Elisa Rego Band
ELISA REGO BAND
Attendees will enjoy live performances on four stages, a holiday concert by the Fort Lauderdale Symphonic Winds orchestra and a kids zone. On another stage, the Elisa Rego Band will perform Rock & Roll, Pop and Soul. The Florida Sweet Tarts will fill the third stage with sugar plum music from an earlier era and the fourth stage will feature the jazz stylings of Cindy Curtiss & Company. Supported by the City, Light up the Galt could prove the signature event that has long eluded the Galt Mile neighborhood. To bring the celebration back annually, all we have to do is show up and chill.Read on for Commissioner Moraitis’ October 2018 Newsletter. – [editor]

From The Desk of
Commissioner Heather Moraitis

October 2018

Thank you George

Moraitis Family Campaign Trail
MORAITIS FAMILY CAMPAIGN TRAIL
Commissioner Heather Moraitis
DISTRICT 1 COMMISSIONER
HEATHER MORAITIS
I would like to thank my favorite state representative, Rep. George Moraitis, for his service to our community over the past eight years. His term is over in November and I know he will miss representing our neighbors in Tallahassee. Our family will always have fond memories of knocking on doors, calling voters, waving signs, and getting to know your concerns. Of course we look forward to making more memories as I continue the family campaign tradition! I am proud of what George accomplished for our community and the appropriations he worked for to improve Port Everglades, our beaches, seawalls at Birch State Park, A1A roads & landscaping, and most recently funding for a new Henderson Health facility. Thank you George!

Your number #1 fan,


Commissioner Heather Moraitis
Fort Lauderdale, District 1



Parking Customer Service at Beach Community Center

All County Paving
Beach Community Center
BEACH COMMUNITY CENTER
The City will have a customer service representative at the Beach Community Center on the last Wednesday of every month to issue monthly parking permits for local businesses. Staff will be there from 11:00 am - 3:00 pm except for a lunch break between 12:30 pm - 1:00 pm. They will only be able to accept checks as a method for payment.

If you are not a current North Galt permit holder and would like to purchase one, you must make a new permit request at the Parking Office located at 290 NE 3rd Avenue. A parking agreement will need to be signed with the vehicle information and tag number required. Once the agreement has been signed and an account established, the permit holder may pick up future permits at the Beach Community Center location.


Apply Online Today!

Join a Board The Community Service Board is available to serve on for District 1.

If you are interested, please apply online by clicking the link. Apply Online

Feel free to contact our office or Erica Franceschi at EFranceschi@fortlauderdale.gov or 954-828-5288 for any questions


Check Out Events Happening in Our City!

  Click to Make a Difference Day Click to 59th Annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show
 
 
 
Fort Lauderdale Make a Difference Day
Saturday, October 27
Please click on the flyer for more details
59th Annual Ft Laud International Boat Show
October 31 - November 4 10:00 AM- 7:00 PM
Located at Bahia Mar Yachting Center, Broward County Convention Center, Las Olas Marina, Sail Marina & Pier 66 Marina
 


  Click to Make a Difference Day Click Resource Fair and Student Showcase
 
 
Early voting has started and election day is November 6. Please vote!
Fort Lauderdale High Inclusive Resources Fair
Thursday, November 8th 6:00 PM- 8:00 PM
Fort Lauderdale High School
1600 NE 4th Avenue, Suite 1400
 

Please Join Us For A Pre-agenda Meeting

  • November 5, 2018 from 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM at the Beach Community Center, 3351 NE 33rd Avenue

  • November 19, 2018 from 6:00PM – 7:00PM at George English Community Center, 1101 Bayview Drive


Neighbors App by Ring

Neighbors App by Ring Neighbors App by Ring The Fort Lauderdale Police Department encourages our neighbors to download the Neighbors application (iOS/Android), join their neighborhood and discover the power that can emerge from combining neighbors, cameras and the Fort Lauderdale Police Department. Visit www.flpd.org/ring to learn how to download the Neighbors app by Ring.


City of Fort Lauderdale 24-Hour Customer Service Center
954-828-8000

Click to Fort Lauderdale Lauderserv app The City of Fort Lauderdale is here to serve our neighbors 24-hours-a-day, and now you can easily contact us right from your smartphone or other mobile device when you are on-the-go.

You can report a streetlight outage, clogged stormdrain, pothole, or broken waste cart; find out your sanitation pick-up days or how to pay your water bill; and more.

Download the FREE Lauderserv app from the Apple App Store or Google Play today.


Links For Additional Information

  Click to Distris\ct 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis' website Email Commission Assistant Melissa Coningsby
 
Click to Distris\ct 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis' website
 
Click to Heather Moraitis' Twitter Click to District 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis' LinkedIn Click to District 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis' FaceBook
 

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Venice of America

Parking Permit || Sales Tax || Agenda Meeting

Commissioner Heather Moraitis
COMMISSIONER HEATHER MORAITIS
October 23, 2018 - In her September 2018 Newsletter, District 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis explores a Broward ballot question certified for the November election. If approved by the electorate, a planned bump in the sales tax from 6% to 7% will provide County officials with a 30-year funding resource for the buildout and maintenance of countywide transportation improvements - a growing burden that will otherwise bloat homeowner and merchant property taxes. In outlining a County plan to relieve congested roadways and enhance connectivity, her report also seeks to mitigate the confusion and distrust that tanked a similar ballot measure in 2016. Moraitis notes a monthly opportunity for local businesses to buy parking permits at the Beach Community Center; invites constituents to attend her Pre-Agenda Meetings; endorses a free Neighbors App by Ring to enhance community safety; and suggests using the Lauderserv app to conveniently contact the City.

Back on the Ballot

Broward County currently funds its transportation programs through gas tax revenues and general revenue funds (drawn primarily from property taxes). Since the federal gas tax (a flat amount unrelated to the price of gas) has remained unchanged for 20 years, gas tax revenues are declining as people drive less - in ever more fuel-efficient cars. At the same time, the costs of upgrading, operating and maintaining a fleet of public transit buses, myriad traffic signals, and aging roads have exploded. Absent some alternative funding source, that leaves general revenue funds - squeezed from your neck - to fill the widening gap.

Click to transportation ballot question The November 6, 2018 ballot includes a transportation question (back of page 3) asking voters whether to levy a 1% local option sales tax for funding countywide transportation system improvements. The tax will apply to all tangible goods (i.e. clothing, appliances, electronics, jewelry, etc.) and ready-to-eat food (from restaurants or delis), although ordinary groceries, medicines, and medical equipment are exempt.

Click to transportation ballot question Every dollar you spend on a taxable item will cost you one cent in additional sales tax. For example, if you go to Ace Hardware and spend $20 on a set of metric wrenches, another 20 cents would be added to the existing 6% State sales tax. Since visitors and tourists generate between 30 and 40 percent of sales tax revenue, they will shoulder a comparable share of the incremental transportation levy.

Supporters lament that Broward is dead last among Florida’s 67 counties in per capita expenditures for roads and streets, and observe that 62 of Florida’s 67 counties have already levied a transportation surtax.

Here's the rub. Whenever the County board pursues consideration of a “sales tax”, Broward voters sweat bullets. Given the number of Broward officials sent to the Big House for unspeakable acts with the County cookie jar, County residents have come to equate approving a sales tax with offering heroin to a junkie. Prior attempts to graft an incremental levy to the statewide 6% sales tax in Broward were surgically dismembered on Election Day.

Flashback to 2016

Click to Penny for Transportation The County’s recently launched “Penny for Transportation” campaign is entering its second incarnation. An earlier version of this voter question was placed on the November 8, 2016 ballot. As the 2016 County board entertained visions of a regional transportation funding spigot, officials in Broward’s 31 municipalities were frying up their own agenda. The cities were (and still are) losing a race to repair or replace infrastructure claimed by age and erosion. Deteriorating water and sewer systems, aging municipal buildings, battered fleet vehicles, erratically maintained parks and city streets heavily peppered with potholes and cracks were melting down city budgets.

Working separately, the County board had approved a ballot measure soliciting a 75-cent increase to the sales tax while the cities sought an infrastructure surtax of one dollar. With the County and cities both chasing independent sales tax ballot initiatives, Broward voters would have been confronted with a 7.75% sales tax - the highest in the State. This ludicrous 29% increase would have virtually guaranteed the failure of both ballot measures. Instead, City and County officials temporarily set aside long-simmering turf feuds and began negotiating a formula that both sides could live with.

County Commissioner Mark Bogen and Weston Mayor Daniel Stermer broker compromise plan
BOGEN AND STERMER BROKER COMPROMISE PLAN
At the June 22, 2016 County Commission meeting, in a room packed with Mayors and City Commissioners from across the county, the issue came to a head. Spearheading negotiations for the municipalities was Weston Mayor Dan Stermer, who opened the meeting with an eerie proposition to the county board, “Will you marry us?” After two deadlocked County Commission votes, a plan brokered by County Commissioner Mark Bogen and Stermer was approved.

Married Life

Click to penny surtax increase equally divided  County and Cities Under the proposal, a combined 30-year surtax increase would be downsized to one cent on each dollar, hiking the existing 6% sales tax to 7%. The penny increase would be equally divided between a County Transportation Tax and a Municipal Infrastructure Tax, and posed to voters as two separate ballot questions. If both measures were approved, the half-penny County Transportation tax would be dedicated to Broward’s transportation wish list.

Click to Broward MPO Comparisons For the first 20 years, the other half-penny would be distributed to Broward municipalities based on population demographics, and budgeted to infrastructure improvements – spin for slush funds. After 20 years, Broward would also snag 40% of the infrastructure tax proceeds, providing the County with a 70% share of the combined surtax over the final ten years of the levy.

Click to municipal infrastructure levy vote If either measure failed, the other would die by proxy. In hindsight, this “Victory or Death” protocol was overly ambitious - and arrogant. The sales tax increase was rejected. Although the county proposal squeaked through by 51 percent to 49 percent, voters crushed the city levy by 38.2 percent to 61.8 percent, effectively killing both measures. The result wasn’t unexpected. Waves of voters who knew little about the county transportation surtax and less about the municipal infrastructure levy were also largely oblivious to the fact that both half-penny sales tax proposals had to pass for either to be enacted. In a testament to futility, thousands of confused voters said yes to one and no to the other.

Why it Failed

Spending plans patched together by the County and a handful of cities for anticipated tax revenues were widely criticized as eleventh-hour exercises in creative writing; many cities were mute about how their share of the windfall would be allocated. After voting, many Broward residents complained that efforts to educate the public in their city were obscure, disjointed, lacking in credibility or simply never attempted. Others condemned sales taxes as unfair and regressive (creating a disproportional burden on lower-income residents). However, it wasn't the vague municipal spending librettos - or an inherent social inequity that killed the surtax.

County Commissioner Steven Geller
COUNTY COMMISSIONER STEVEN GELLER
While conceding the need for infrastructure and transportation upgrades, thousands of Broward voters - already distrustful of local government spending - were skull-blocked about delivering annual truckloads of discretionary cash to a string of unknown future politicians for 30 years. Despite the creation of an Oversight Board to safeguard the integrity of future disbursements, several Broward Commissioners feared this vulnerability before the 2016 vote.

County Commissioner Tim Ryan
COUNTY COMMISSIONER TIM RYAN
A staunch advocate of enhancing Broward’s Transportation infrastructure, Broward Commissioner Tim Ryan believed the 3-decade assessment was snake-bit, exhorting “Many, many people will look at it skeptically. Why? …because government has a long and storied history of wasting money.” Questioning the spotty ballot data fed to the public, County Commissioner Steven Geller remarked, “When somebody tells me what they’re going to build in 30 years, I have very little confidence. Those are not even accurate guesses.”

Click to Broward County Click to Palm Beach County In contrast, Palm Beach officials had asked for a sales tax capped at $2.7 billion to fix roads, upgrade schools, fund several new projects in different cities – and sunset after 10 years – or when the cap was reached. It was approved by 57% of Palm Beach voters. In Broward, officials asked for a 30-year Golden Goose and said “trust me”. It failed. What a shock.

Trust Issues

Convincingly defeated, seventeen Broward municipalities headed to the bond market to address worsening infrastructure deficits. Since the County transportation surtax would have been approved – albeit by a hair – if it hadn’t been linked to the City proposal, Broward officials want a second bite at the apple. Hopefully, they learned from the 2016 beatdown, since they will face many of the same obstacles this year – one in particular.

School Board member Beverly Gallagher, Miramar Commissioner Fitzroy Salesman, Broward Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion
BEVERLY GALLAGHER, FITZROY SALESMAN, JOSEPHUS EGGELLETION
For decades, Broward residents watched scores of local elected officials and government bureaucrats being arrested, tried and jailed for monkeying with public funds – and many others who dodged “Club Fed” by selling out crooked cohorts after being caught and later turned by Federal Prosecutors. Having accepted bribes from undercover FBI agents in 2009, former Broward Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion, School Board member Beverly Gallagher and Miramar Commissioner Fitzroy Salesman were arrested and jailed for corruption. In 2010, Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Cindi Hutchinson was booked on 11 counts of public corruption and later jailed. More recently, on January 25, 2018, the FBI scooped up longtime Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper for money laundering and engineering a campaign funds shell game.

Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Cindi Hutchinson
FORMER COMMISSIONER CINDI HUTCHINSON
Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper
HALLANDALE BEACH MAYOR JOY COOPER
While the need for a long-term transportation funding vehicle is legitimate, approval of the surtax in November may hinge on the extent to which our elected officials can reclaim credibility systematically auctioned off by avaricious peers and predecessors. Since Broward Commissioners are revisiting their request for a 30-year supply of blank checks, the electorate will once again face the daunting prospect that some of those who may ultimately select funding targets are currently exploring the mysteries of Nursery School.

Preparing for Round Two

To help win over skeptical voters in each city, the County board has solicited the assistance of municipal officials countywide in framing the surtax as vastly preferable to bleeding transportation dollars from local taxpayers – while confirming that the surtax permanently shifts roughly a third of the fiscal burden to visitors and tourists. To secure proactive municipal cooperation, County officials came bearing gifts. Each city that executes an Interlocal agreements with the County will lock up a healthy windfall.

Click to A Penny at Work Of the approximately $15.6 billion that the County would soak up over 30 years, a minimum of ten percent (10%) of those proceeds will fund projects annually submitted by municipalities and ranked for implementation by the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) based on how productively each project alleviates traffic congestion or enhances connectivity. Taken together with federal transportation grants, Broward cities would divvy up a projected $3.3 billion share of revenues collected by the County over 30 years – not exactly chicken feed.

Click to Sales Tax Oversight Board Funding demands on cities with Community Bus Services (i.e. Sun Trolley, Pelican Hopper, etc.) will be replaced by surtax revenues – those cities will receive $540 million for operational, maintenance and capital costsl. Other eligible municipal projects include street lighting, roadway runoff drainage, buffer/sound walls, fiber optics for transportation systems, landscaping, transit or a transportation related parking projects, and roadway improvements.

Click to Sales Tax Oversight Board Click to Sales Tax Oversight Board By September 4, when Fort Lauderdale approved its interlocal agreement with the County, Broward cities had already requested funding for 709 local projects with an estimated total cost of $2.8 billion. To allay fears wrought by decades of knee-jerk spending, the County will empower a seven-member appointing authority to establish an Oversight Board charged with approving revenue disbursements. Read on for District 1 Commissioner Heather Moraitis’ September 2018 message to constituents. – [editor]

From The Desk of
Commissioner Heather Moraitis

September 2018

Broward County Transportation System Surtax

Aquatic Center
AQUATIC CENTER
Commissioner Heather Moraitis
DISTRICT 1 COMMISSIONER
HEATHER MORAITIS
On September 4, the Fort Lauderdale City Commission approved a resolution authorizing the City Manager to execute an Interlocal Agreement with Broward County for the Transportation System Surtax. The Broward County Commission voted on June 5, 2018 to place a Transportation Surtax Levy on the November 6, 2018 ballot. The one percent sales surtax (penny sales tax) will need to be approved by the majority of voters during the election.

The proposed surtax is for a 30-year period and is estimated to receive approximately $15.6 billion over the duration, while leveraging up to an additional $3 billion from federal, state, and other sources. The Broward County Transportation System Surtax will fund countywide transportation projects to relieve traffic congestion in all 31 municipalities that include improvements to traffic signalization, county roadways, intersection improvements, senior mobility options, public transportation (transit and rail), and to fund future investments in Broward’s transportation system.

The State of Florida has completed a performance audit of Broward County’s transportation plan. The audit results show that the plan meets all requirements, including clearly stated objectives, fiscal responsibility, tested projects, and compliance. The plan is ready to work, and this audit shows that we are prepared if it is approved.

Broward County is home to 1.9 million residents and over 10 million visitors come here each year creating additional traffic and stress on our roads. Approximately 30 percent of the revenue generated by this surtax would be paid by those who visit Broward County each year. More than 64 households move to Broward each day and our elderly population is rapidly increasing. The surtax will fund on-demand transportation services for persons with disabilities (paratransit) and provide seniors with community shuttles.

The Broward County Transportation System Surtax is designed to address:

  • New traffic control technologies to reduce traffic congestion

  • Intersection improvements, including resurfacing, pavement markings, mast arm upgrades, drainage improvements, sidewalk and Americans with Disabilities Act updates

  • Reduced road flooding

  • Fiber Optic network improvements on critical roadways to support new technologies

  • Miles of drainage and resiliency projects

  • Greenways, bike lanes and pedestrian amenities

  • School Zone safety improvements

  • Improved routes and overall transit service, including proposed light rail on high-ridership corridors

  • On-demand transportation services for persons with disabilities (Paratransit)

  • Community shuttles

With traffic congestion ranked as a top concern across Broward County, the surtax will reduce traffic congestion, increase accessibility, and provide for sustainable transportation infrastructure for all of Broward’s residents.

Please attend my October 22 meeting at 6PM at the Beach Community Center to discuss the Broward County Transportation System Surtax on the November 6th ballot. Many of the facts in this article came from the Broward County website and for additional details please visit www.broward.org/pennyfortransportation

Sincerely,


Commissioner Heather Moraitis
Fort Lauderdale, District 1


Parking Customer Service at Beach Community Center

All County Paving
Beach Community Center
BEACH COMMUNITY CENTER
The City will have a customer service representative at the Beach Community Center on the last Wednesday of every month to issue monthly parking permits for local businesses. Staff will be there from 11:00 am - 3:00 pm except for a lunch break between 12:30 pm - 1:00 pm. They will only be able to accept checks as a method for payment.


Please Join Us For A Pre-Agenda Meeting

September 24 & October 22, 2018
6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
George English Park Community Center
1101 Bayview Drive

October 8 & November 5, 2018
6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Beach Community Center
3351 NE 33rd Avenue


Neighbors App by Ring

Neighbors App by Ring Neighbors App by Ring The Fort Lauderdale Police Department encourages our neighbors to download the Neighbors application (iOS/Android), join their neighborhood and discover the power that can emerge from combining neighbors, cameras and the Fort Lauderdale Police Department. Visit www.flpd.org/ring to learn how to download the Neighbors app by Ring.


City of Fort Lauderdale 24-Hour Customer Service Center
954-828-8000

Click to Fort Lauderdale Lauderserv app The City of Fort Lauderdale is here to serve our neighbors 24-hours-a-day, and now you can easily contact us right from your smartphone or other mobile device when you are on-the-go.

You can report a streetlight outage, clogged stormdrain, pothole, or broken waste cart; find out your sanitation pick-up days or how to pay your water bill; and more.

Download the FREE Lauderserv app from the Apple App Store or Google Play today.


Links For Additional Information

  Click to Sunny.Org website Click to Go Big Go Fast web page
 
  Click to Distris\ct 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis' website Email Commission Assistant Melissa Coningsby
 
Click to Distris\ct 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis' website
 
Click to Heather Moraitis' Twitter Click to District 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis' LinkedIn Click to District 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis' FaceBook
 

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City Manager Lee Feldman
JACK SEILER AND CITY MANAGER LEE FELDMAN
October 5, 2018 - When Fort Lauderdale Mayor
Dean Trantalis served as District 2 City Commissioner, he repeatedly called for City Manager Lee Feldman’s resignation, took issue with his recommendations and opposed a proposed pay increase under consideration by his Commission peers. However, Trantalis’ sentiments weren’t shared by former Mayor Jack Seiler, former Commissioner Romney Rogers and others on the City board, who supported Feldman.

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis
FORT LAUDERDALE MAYOR DEAN TRANTALIS
Although Feldman is widely acclaimed as an effective - yet controversial - City Manager, when the City board was repopulated last year, and Trantalis took the reigns as Mayor, he told Feldman in March that it was “time to move on” shortly before commissioners voted to give Feldman a 3 percent raise, to $255,523 a year.

Former Tallahassee City Manager Rick Fernandez
FORMER TALLAHASSEE CITY MNGR RICK FERNANDEZ
Not surprisingly, Feldman decided to test the waters. He threw his hat in the ring when former Tallahassee City Manager Rick Fernandez resigned in January after the state launched an ethics investigation into his receipt of free Florida State football tickets from Adam Corey, a former local lobbyist and a central figure in an ongoing FBI public corruption probe of City Hall in Tallahassee. Although Feldman was one of three finalists in a field of 34 potential candidates, the Tallahassee Commission opted to promote an insider, and on September 17, voted 4 - 1 to have deputy city manager Reese Goad fill the City Manager position vacated by the beleaguered Fernandez.

Tallahassee Lobbyist Adam Corey
TALLAHASSEE LOBBYIST ADAM COREY
Tallahassee City Manager Reese Goad
NEW TALLAHASSEE CITY MANAGER REESE GOAD
Trantalis is unlikely to relent, and Feldman’s six-year Fort Lauderdale tenure may soon end, but even his detractors concede that Feldman’s proven work ethic will preclude an imminent departure from affecting his performance as City Manager. In 33 years of public service, he has never slacked off on fulfilling his obligations prior to transitioning between venues – as might ordinarily be expected of a lame duck administration.

At the October 9 Commission meeting, Mayor Dean Trantalis pulled the plug. Exclaiming that the city is taking a new direction, Trantalis was joined by Commissioners Steve Glassman and Ben Sorensen in a 3-2 vote to pink slip Lee Feldman at the end of 2018. As Feldman is knee-deep in certain issues critically important to Galt Mile residents (such as parity with single-family homeowners with respect to water, sewer and stormwater rates), Galt Mile officials will closely follow unfolding events and report on their impact. More to come...

 


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Venice of America

Resiliency || Budget Hearings || Neighbors App

Commissioner Heather Moraitis
COMMISSIONER HEATHER MORAITIS
September 8, 2018 - In her August 2018 Newsletter, District 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis looks at how the City plans to mitigate the advese impacts of sea level rise with a series of infrastructure tweaks; invites constituents to attend the September budget hearings, visit her Pre-Agenda Meetings, serve on a municipal board and participate in her Telephone Town Hall Meeting. She also reminds us about the planned resurfacing of Bayview Drive from Sunrise Boulevard to Commercial Boulevard; asks that we Save a Life over Lunch; suggests using the free Neighbors App by Ring to enhance community safety; offers contact with the City through the Lauderserv app; and closes with boilerplate links for additional information. Of course, if those who marginalize the threat posed by carbon pollution are wrong, and greenhouse gasses irreversibly warm earth's climate, local or regional resiliency adaptations may be tantamount to shooting an elephant with a potato gun.

Sea Level Rise – a Commie Plot?

Click to Climate Science Special Report Click to U.S. Global Change Research Program A 1990 law, known as the Global Change Research Act, requires federal agencies to provide the president and the Congress with an overview of the latest climate science and a thorough review of the impact of climate change throughout the U.S. every four years. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is the lead federal agency on the report for the U.S. Global Change Research Program, which produced the Climate Science Special Report (CSSR) in November, which is Volume 1 of the 4th National Climate Assessment in November. The full National Climate Assessment will be published in 2018.

Click to U.S. Global Change Research Program
Texas Tech Climate Scientist Katharine Hayhoe
TEXAS TECH CLIMATE SCIENTIST KATHARINE HAYHOE
Summarizing the assessment’s findings, Katharine Hayhoe, one of the report authors and a professor and director of Texas Tech University Climate Science Center in Lubbock, concluded “This report underscores the vast body of evidence that firmly establishes how climate is changing, humans are responsible, the risks are real, and the window of time to prevent serious and even dangerous impacts is closing.”

Click to U.S. Global Change Research Program A cooperative product of 13 federal agencies, the report affirms that climate change is driven almost entirely by human action, warns that sea levels in South Florida could rise another 2 feet by 2060 - and as high as eight feet by the year 2100, accompanied by an increase in the frequency and intensity of heavy rainfalls and hurricanes. Federal researchers document how climate-related damage across the United States is already unfolding as a result of an average global temperature increase of 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit since 1900.

Click to climate change Factors driving temperature increases since 1951 include greenhouse gas emissions that trap heat in the atmosphere, widespread clearing of oxygen-generating forests and agricultural activities. The report highlights how fossil fuel emissions have the potential to accelerate human-induced climate change and contribute to unmanageable changes that may ultimately become irreversible.

Bad News for Fort Lauderdale

Click to climate change This places Fort Lauderdale in the cross-hairs. The 165 miles of waterways that once functioned as the city's gravity-based drainage system have succumbed to rising seas and record rainfalls. While eroding roads, bridges and overtopping seawalls, seawater is undermining municipal infrastructure from below.

University of Miami Climate Scientist Hal Wanless
UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI CLIMATE
SCIENTIST HAL WANLESS
Protective strategies used by coastal cities like New Orleans and Amsterdam – repelling ocean flooding with levees and seawalls – won’t work in South Florida. Hal Wanless, a climate scientist at the University of Miami, explains that porous limestone bedrock under Fort Lauderdale allows water to penetrate the foundations of structures in oceanfront and low-lying neighborhoods. Usurping a 1969 Time Magazine phrase referencing reforms in the Catholic Church, Wanless likened the futility of efforts to defend against rising sea levels to “rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic”. We either stop the damage or risk an unimaginable price.

tidal valve
TIDAL VALVE
The 152 tidal valves installed by the Public Works Department on drainage pipes in at-risk neighborhoods (at roughly $25,000 apiece) were meant to prevent high tides from backflowing into streets. However, if rain floods the street or canal levels top seawalls during high tide, the valves don't open, temporarily turning flooded neighborhoods into multi-block bathtubs.

No Wake Zone
NO WAKE ZONE
To prevent the seawater and sewage from spilling into homes, residents build sandbag walls, dozens of storm drains are plugged to limit backflow, vacuum trucks drink some of the seawater from roads, as signs admonishing “No Wake” are erected along each block. Tiger Dams proved a bust, as these plastic tubes filled with fresh water simply float atop the denser seawater.

Assistant Director of public works Nancy Gassman
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS NANCY GASSMAN
Explaining that Fort Lauderdale is concentrating its flood mitigation efforts on those immediately at risk, Assistant Director of public works Nancy Gassman said, “Wealthy neighborhoods closest to the ocean have the worst flooding right now.”

Climate Scientist Keren Bolter
CLIMATE SCIENTIST KEREN BOLTER
Keren Bolter, a local climate scientist who studies sea level rise, observed “There are winners and losers,” adding “In a few decades, most waterfront properties in Fort Lauderdale will flood for days, weeks at a time.” The risks will be borne by millionaires on oceanfront lots and the working poor who live along low-lying inland canals.

Mayoral SOS

Click to U.S. Global Change Research Program In 2016, 15 South Florida Mayors asked Florida’s Presidential candidates for help, describing how rising sea levels will spell disaster for millions of local residents. In an open letter, they wrote “We are already experiencing the effects of a changing climate. Sea levels off the coast of South Florida rose about eight inches in the twentieth century. As a result, we have seen more tidal flooding, more severe storm surges, and more saltwater intrusion into aquifers. By 2050, mean sea level around Florida is expected to rise about a foot, a shift which could wipe out as much as $4 billion in taxable real estate in the four-county region of Southeast Florida. At three feet of sea level rise, the loss could total $31 billion, with large sections of the Everglades, the Florida Keys and the Miami metropolitan region under water."

Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio
JEB BUSH AND MARCO RUBIO
Citing how helping their hometowns would collapse the US economy and put energy providers out of business, Marco Rubio laughed it off and Jeb Bush said “There’s someone in a garage somewhere, parochially I hope it’s in Miami, that’s going to have a clue, to have an answer to this.” Bush also said that he told his wife that she should prepare for a move if things got worse.

The Obama administration had pledged to cut US greenhouse emissions from all sectors up to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025. Far ahead of schedule, the energy industry had already cut its carbon footprint by 25% in 2018. In contrast with their perceived fiscal disaster, the decreased emissions were accompanied by record industry profits.

Chinese Con Job?

Since limiting global average temperature increases to a safe threshold of 3.6 F would require significant reductions in carbon pollution levels and a severe drop in net greenhouse gas emissions, the National Climate Assessment acknowledges that such a shift will be particularly difficult to achieve given the current administration’s attempt to justify a policy that rewards increased emissions by supplanting science with political rhetoric.

Governor Rick Scott - no climate change
GOVERNOR RICK SCOTT - NO CLIMATE CHANGE
In 2015, Florida Governor Rick Scott placed a gag order on the state’s Department of Environmental Protection, banning the terms “climate change” and “global warming”, although the state is among the most vulnerable to sea level rise, as three quarters of the State’s population who generate 79% of Florida’s annual economy are domiciled along the 1,000 miles of pounded coastline and adjacent low-lying areas. When questioned about the unprecedented coastal flooding and rising seasonal temperatures, Scott repeatedly answered, “I’m not a scientist.”

Donald Trump Kills Paris Climate Pact
DONALD TRUMP BOOTS PARIS CLIMATE PACT
Donald Trump has called the science of climate change a “con job” and a “myth” that was “created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” Having scrubbed references to climate change, greenhouse gases and clean energy from government websites (Energy Department, Transportation Department, Environmental Protection Agency, and State Department), the Trump administration is dismantling the Clean Power Plan, blocking enforcement of clean air and clean water laws and defunding NASA’s four satellites that monitor the earth’s climate. Last June, he withdrew the U.S. from the UN-sponsored 195-nation Paris climate accord.

Click to 9th Annual Southeast Florida Regional Climate Leadership Summit Web Page Abandoned by myopic federal and state administrations politically driven to rationalize ignoring both the current ravaging impacts and foreseeable dangers by denying their existence, Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach county commissions and hundreds of besieged municipalities created the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact to mount a regional defense and protect a demographic comprising 30% of the state’s population. Whether you agree with the new federal evidence of a potentially catastrophic warming climate, or if you believe we are caught in some natural cycle that may eventually shift back, the current dilemma remains the same.

Despite annually expanding local and regional efforts to enhance resilience while beating back ever-intensifying tidal floods, Fort Lauderdale and other South Florida cities lack the resources to stave off sea levels rising at this accelerated rate for the rest of this century and into the next. Without Federal and State subsidies, skyrocketing mitigation costs may ultimately trigger an inland migration. Given the current political environment – in the interim you might consider buying a wetsuit. Read on for District 1 Commissioner Heather Moraitis’ August 2018 message to constituents. – [editor]

From The Desk of
Commissioner Heather Moraitis

August 2018

Creating a Resilient Climate in Fort Lauderdale

Flooding on Las Olas Boulevard
FLOODING ON LAS OLAS BOULEVARD
Commissioner Heather Moraitis
DISTRICT 1 COMMISSIONER
HEATHER MORAITIS
Often referred to as the “Venice of America,” our community is fortunate to enjoy seven miles of shoreline and 165 miles of inland waterways. Our flat topography, location on a peninsula, dense coastal development, and shallow porous aquifer; however, make us particularly vulnerable to the changing conditions of the waters that surround us. Seasonal high tides cause localized flooding and compromise our drainage infrastructure, while rising seas and tropical storms erode our coastline.

Click to Fast Forward Fort Lauderdale Web Page Many of you helped define community aspirations in our citywide vision plan, Fast Forward Fort Lauderdale, which identifies sustainability as a top priority and offers long-term mitigation and adaptation strategies to address the environmental challenges we face. As a community, we realize that our capability and willingness to adapt to sea level rise and climate change is crucial to the long-term sustainability and prosperity of our City. By planning in anticipation of changing climate conditions, we can reduce our risk, minimize our impact, maximize our response, and expedite our recovery.

Click to Fort Lauderdale Seawall Ordinance We take our responsibility to safeguard our community very seriously, and we are working with our neighbors and regional partners to strengthen our resilience and create a safe and sustainable Fort Lauderdale. We have developed, adopted, and implemented policies that outline guidelines for development and operations including a Floodplain Management Ordinance that sets elevation requirements for new buildings and a Seawall Ordinance that sets a minimum elevation for new seawall construction.

Click to Fort Lauderdale Sustainability Action Plan We take climate issues into account during our planning process to ensure investments we make today will withstand future conditions. Master Planning initiatives—from the Stormwater Master Plan and Comprehensive Utility Master Plan to the Parks Master Plan and Seawall Master Plan—reflect potential climate impacts and include resiliency measures. We have identified 17 Adaptation Action Areas and funding for 42 capital projects in the 2018 Community Investment Plan. We are implementing our Sustainability Action Plan and nearing our goals to reduce water, fuel and electrical consumption, as well as greenhouse gas emissions, by 20% by the year 2020. We are also developing a Design and Construction Manual to guide future growth that incorporates resilience into design and construction.

Click to Fort Lauderdale Stormwater Master Plan We are making great progress to protect our city by installing the improvements we need to be more resilient. We have completed 37 Stormwater Master Plan projects, installed 152 tidal valves, rebuilt A1A, renourished the beach, and lined wastewater pipes to reduce groundwater infiltration.

Click to Broward County Climate Action Plan Because climate change extends beyond our borders, we are working with local partners and sharing resources to help us understand and address it. Broward County is leading an effort to develop a regional resilience plan in collaboration with city governments and local businesses. They are also conducting a flood risk assessment and developing a 100-year flood map based on projected future conditions. Working together, we can develop a holistic view and strategic approach to ensure our improvements are part of a comprehensive countywide initiative.

We are well on our way toward creating a climate resilient Fort Lauderdale. Thanks to partnerships with our neighbors, local governments, and the private sector, we have a solid foundation to initiate collaborative solutions to protect our region’s economy and quality of life, while continuing to build a strong, livable and sustainable community.

Sincerely,


Commissioner Heather Moraitis
Fort Lauderdale, District 1


Upcoming Public Budget Hearings

Budget Hearings Please join us for our upcoming budget public hearings if you would like to give any input. To review the proposed 2019 budgets please visit the City’s website.

September 6th and 12th
6:00 PM
City Hall, Commission Chambers
100 N. Andrews Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301

Annual City Budgets


Please Join Us For A Pre-Agenda Meeting

August 20, 2018
6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Beach Community Center
3351 NE 33rd Avenue

September 3, 2018
No meeting due to Labor Day


Apply Online Today!

Join a Board The following boards are available to serve on for District 1: Cemetery Board, Community Services Board and Parks, Recs and Beaches Board.

If you are interested, please apply online by clicking the link. Apply Online

Feel free to contact our office or Erica Franceschi at EFranceschi@fortlauderdale.gov or 954-828-5288 for any questions






Neighbors App by Ring

Neighbors App by Ring Neighbors App by Ring The Fort Lauderdale Police Department encourages our neighbors to download the Neighbors application (iOS/Android), join their neighborhood and discover the power that can emerge from combining neighbors, cameras and the Fort Lauderdale Police Department. Visit www.flpd.org/ring to learn how to download the Neighbors app by Ring.


City of Fort Lauderdale 24-Hour Customer Service Center
954-828-8000

Click to Fort Lauderdale Lauderserv app The City of Fort Lauderdale is here to serve our neighbors 24-hours-a-day, and now you can easily contact us right from your smartphone or other mobile device when you are on-the-go.

You can report a streetlight outage, clogged stormdrain, pothole, or broken waste cart; find out your sanitation pick-up days or how to pay your water bill; and more.

Download the FREE Lauderserv app from the Apple App Store or Google Play today.


Links For Additional Information

  Click to Sunny.Org website Click to Go Big Go Fast web page
 
  Click to Distris\ct 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis' website Email Commission Assistant Melissa Coningsby
 
Click to Distris\ct 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis' website
 
Click to Heather Moraitis' Twitter Click to District 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis' LinkedIn Click to District 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis' FaceBook
 

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Casino Pool
CASINO POOL
August 29, 2018 - Following decades of deterioration and increasing obsolescence, Fort Lauderdale’s swimming and diving Mecca is finally being renovated. The City’s swimming / diving legacy dates back to the early 1900s before the
Civilian raft moored off the beach at the end of Las Olas Boulevard was replaced in 1928 by the Casino Pool in what later became DC Alexander Park.

Olympic medalist Katherine Rawls
KATHERINE RAWLS
The Spanish-style facility built for $150,000 housed the first Olympic size pool in Florida at 50.38 meters by 18.3 meters (55 yards by 20 yards), and nurtured the 1932 and 1936 Olympic careers of Elbert Root and the iconic Katherine Rawls, who later went on to capture a record 30 national titles in swimming and diving as the City’s – and the nation’s – athletic ambassador.

Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex
FORT LAUDERDALE AQUATIC COMPLEX
Built in 1965 just west of the Casino pool (which closed a year later), the Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex featured two 50-meter Olympic-size pools, a diving pool, a teaching pool and a spa. Reinforcing Fort Lauderdale’s stature as the nation’s swimming and diving capital, the facility was also made home to the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF).

Click to International Swimming Hall of Fame
YMCA Masters at Aquatic Complex
YMCA MASTERS AT AQUATIC COMPLEX
In the past, the complex hosted an average of 50 events each year over 100 days, including the Annual College Swim Forum; U.S. National Swimming Championships; YMCA National Swimming & Diving Championships; U.S. Masters National Swimming Championships; NCAA National Water Polo Championships; the FINA/U.S. International Diving Invitational and national and international synchronized swimming competitions.

Olympic medalists that called it home include Mary Ellen Clark and Paige Zemina (Bronze); Elbert Root and Scott Donie (Silver); and Katherine Rawls, Shirley Stobbs, Dave Edgar and Joel Thomas (Gold). This hometown Olympic legacy extended to Jenny Keim, Karen LaFace, Kent Ferguson, Michelle Davison, Jevon Tarantino and renowned coaches such as Dr. Ron O'Brien, Tim O'Brien, Dave Burgering and Jack Nelson, who had been an Olympic swimmer twenty years earlier.

The Bidding Process from Hell

Click to Recreational Design and Construction Plans to bring the Glory Days back to the Aquatic Complex were repeatedly derailed. In 2002, a Swim Center improvement plan was quashed by a 3 - 2 vote in the City Commission. A 2009 $76.2 million renovation plan by Recreational Design and Construction (RDC) which included restaurants, entertainment venues and artificial surf machines also hit the wall. With the collapsing bleachers condemned in 2011, a scaled-back 2012 RDC proposal to rehabilitate the complex for $32.4 million climbed to $41 million in 2015, and was scratched. No other proposals were elicited for the down-sized project.

Click to OIG Report The suspicious bidding process was condemned in a July 24, 2013 report issued by the Office of Inspector General (OIG). Entitled “Misconduct by the City of Fort Lauderdale in the Award of the Contract for the Design and Construction of the Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex”, the report concludes that the City “conducted an inadequate procurement and legal review process”, and details how the city’s skewed request for proposal (RFP) sent “mixed signals that dissuaded competitive participation”.

Broward Inspector General John Scott
BROWARD INSPECTOR GENERAL JOHN SCOTT
In his report, Broward Inspector General John Scott summarizes evidence of statutory violations, exclaiming, “the City Commission was told the contract contained language that was never, in fact, incorporated, and the contract also allocated $60,027 for unidentified costs. Most significantly, the City agreed to a provision in the contract that shielded $1.66 million of reimbursable labor costs from audit, despite RDC’s history of double-billing the City and maintaining inadequate accounting processes. This exclusion would prevent the City from determining if it was being overbilled for RDC’s supervisory and administrative labor costs.”

The OIG’s reference to an RDC predisposition for double-billing was based on a January 24, 2003 City internal audit disclosing how RDC was overpaid $89,374.17 that the company had admittedly double-billed to the City for a project in Welcome Park, which the audit attributed to an RDC “practice of charging for the same equipment and personnel as direct reimbursable costs and as part of a “general conditions” multiplier in the task order.” Two bills – two payments – same job. Nice work if you can get it.

Milking City Projects

Former City Auditor Allyson Love
FORMER CITY AUDITOR ALLYSON LOVE
Former Acting City Manager Alan Silva
ALAN SILVA
At the time, the City was neck-deep in a hand-to-mouth free-spending culture that ultimately imploded the budget and brought Fort Lauderdale to the brink of bankruptcy. Acting City Manager Alan Silva had crafted a program of financial reforms, service cuts and tax/fee increases designed to ensure that Fort Lauderdale “lives within its means”. To help rein in the fiscal flea circus, then Finance Director Terry Sharp sought to track down tens of $millions in tax dollars doled out without authorization or otherwise unaccounted for. Former City Auditor Allyson Love launched a series of internal audits.

Former Assistant City Engineer Peter Sheridan
FORMER ASSISTANT CITY
ENGINEER PETER SHERIDAN
Welcome Park<
WELCOME PARK
In reviewing RDC design and build contracts for Welcome Park, Civic Peoples Park and other city projects, staff auditor Renee Foley wrote, “we found significant issues of a material nature that jeopardized the City’s assets.” Unrelenting abuses documented in the audits led to a scandal. Former Assistant City Engineer Peter Sheridan was overseeing the RDC project in Welcome Park when he signed off on a series of bogus payments to the contractor. In addition to being double-tapped for more than $89,000 – of the $328,614 paid to RDC for Welcome Park, Foley found that $110,666.57 (34%) was disbursed for ineligible or unverified expenses.

Civic Peoples Park
CIVIC PEOPLES PARK
Two weeks later, on February 6, 2004 Foley released an audit of RDC’s construction of Civic Peoples Park (since renamed Dr. Elizabeth Hays Civic Park) in southwest Fort Lauderdale, wherein RDC overbilled the City $85,000 for project expenditures, direct labor, and multiplier costs. A neighborhood park built between 1999 and 2001 at 3781 SW Riverland Road, it included a walking path, playground equipment, picnic shelter, landscaping and a half dozen parking spots. Foley stated “The City paid RDC $258,114.48, of which $110,010.94 (43%) was determined to be questionable costs.”

Click to audit of RDC’s construction of Civic Peoples Park
RDC project manager Scott Greiner
RDC PROJECT MNGR SCOTT GREINER
With Sheridan’s approval, the City paid RDC extra for items like a portable toilet, which were already included in the main contract. The City also picked up lunch tabs for RDC project manager Scott Greiner. Fort Lauderdale was billed for a slew of items that were unsupported by any documentation – including permit fees and concrete. They reimbursed RDC for undocumented American Express and Home Depot bills. The City also paid RDC for consultant work done before the project was even approved.

Lauderdale Manors Recreation Center
LAUDERDALE MANORS RECREATION CENTER
Click to audit of RDC’s construction of Lauderdale Manors Recreation Center In a March 3, 2004 audit of RDC improvements to the Lauderdale Manors Recreation Center, Foley concluded that “RDC overbilled/charged the City $242,918.70 in vendor expenditure, direct labor, equipment and multiplier costs.” When an RDC subcontractor damaged a support wall in 2001, a $536,540 RDC contract to renovate the center was abandoned when Sheridan approved a change order allowing RDC to demolish the entire structure and rebuild a new Center for $918,826.

Beating the Rap

Assistant State Attorney John Countryman
ASSISTANT STATE ATTORNEY
JOHN COUNTRYMAN
Based on Foley’s audits, an investigation by Assistant State Attorney John Countryman revealed that RDC had installed an $11,000 spa in Sheridan’s private home in September 2001, roughly coinciding with when he nearly doubled RDC’s contract price for the Lauderdale Manors project. The hot tub installation was managed by RDC’s Scott Greiner, for whom Sheridan had repeatedly approved RDC payment requests for ineligible expenses and lucrative change orders. With the intensifying investigation threatening to expose the hot tub as a payoff, in a classic “CYA” maneuver – nine months later RDC hand-delivered a bill for the spa to Sheridan’s mother.

Former City Attorney Harry Stewart and City Manager Lee Feldman
HARRY STEWART AND LEE FELDMAN
Countryman said the collusion between Sheridan and RDC spanned years – and more than $1 million in contracts. Despite a truckload of circumstantial evidence, absent an airtight quid pro quo linking the gift with the rip-offs, Countryman decided to forego prosecution – Sheridan dodged a bullet. While exposing this chronic conflict of interest culminated in Sheridan’s departure, RDC continued racking up City contracts, and was only forced to return a miniscule fraction of their fraudulent windfalls.

Click to Keith and Schnars When Sheridan finally resigned as the media trumpeted Countryman’s findings, the City rewarded his misdeeds with a $60,000 parachute. In an eerie post-script, Sheridan’s subsequent transition to the private sector was realized by Keith and Schnars, a Fort Lauderdale consulting firm that does substantial repeat business with the City – and evidently viewed Sheridan’s sticky fingers as an asset when they snatched him up. Ten years later, Block’s OIG report intimated that former City Attorney Harry Stewart and City Manager Lee Feldman were central to the aquatic complex bidding gaffes, despite that both bureaucrats took their marching orders from the City Commission.

Hail Mary Rescue

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis
FORT LAUDERDALE MAYOR DEAN TRANTALIS
Tucked into the southeast corner of District 2, the aquatic center’s prospects dimmed as the sole bidding contractor held fast to its planned windfall. Stunned by the unwavering astronomical price tag, in April 2016 former District 2 Commissioner Dean Trantalis likened repair estimates to “a punch in the gut.” Convinced that the renovations couldn’t be performed at a price-point sufficiently low to justify rehabilitating a facility running annual losses in excess of $1 million - returning less than 23 percent of operational expenses - City Commissioners viewed the project as snake-bit and threw in the towel. ISHOF announced relocation plans to Santa Clara, California, where City officials were building a new facility.

John Scherer
JOHN SCHERER
City Commission approves Aquatic Complex Plan
CITY COMMISSION APPROVES AQUATIC COMPLEX PLAN
Seeking to revive the paralyzed project, Trantalis and City Manager Lee Feldman orchestrated a last-ditch solicitation on November 17, 2017. To enhance the facility's affordability for patrons, Commissioners hoped to land a proposal of less than $20 million. When Trantalis later took the mayoral reins, Steve Glassman filled the vacated District 2 Commission seat. However, the project attracted proposals of $35 million by John Scherer’s Gulf Building LLC and $27 million by bid-winner Hensel Phelps Construction Co.

Click to Gulf Building LLC Click to Hensel Phelps Construction Co. Although $7 million more than anticipated, at the July 10, 2018 City Commission meeting, Glassman and Trantalis convinced Commissioners to blind-eye the budget and approve the project. Targeted for completion in 2020, the project may yet necessitate a trip to the courthouse. As part of a group that – although uninvited – submitted a competing proposal for a new aquatics complex and a hotel built on nearby city land, developer Sherman Whitmore couched a threatened legal action in his post-meeting comment that the Commission had exposed the City to lawsuits by altering the budget to accept the $27 million bid.

City Attorney Alain Boileau
CITY ATTORNEY ALAIN BOILEAU
Explaining that beach development regulations would prohibit construction of the proposed hotel, City Manager Lee Feldman rejected Whitmore’s unsolicited proposal. To meet the $27 million burden, the CRA will cough up $23.3 million, $1.7 million will be drawn from the General Fund, $1.5 million from Park Impact Fees and $500,000 from the Parking Fund. Interim City Attorney Alain Boileau seemed unconcerned by Whitmore’s thinly veiled threat, imparting that the negotiations could proceed.

Pyrrhic Victory?

ISHOF CEO Brent Rutemiller
ISHOF CEO BRENT RUTEMILLER
Elated by the vote to salvage the complex, ISHOF CEO Brent Rutemiller remarked “This milestone, along with ISHOF’s commitment to sign a 30-year lease to remain in Fort Lauderdale, accomplishes two important goals that ISHOF’s Board and the community set out late last year.” While many project proponents appear relieved, others expressed disappointment, citing the funding as insufficient for redeveloping a world-class facility.

former ISHOF CEO Bruce Wigo
FORMER ISHOF CEO BRUCE WIGO
Before exchanging his CEO hat for that of a consultant in December, former ISHOF CEO Bruce Wigo said that without adding new features that attract the public, fixing the pools and grandstand would be a waste of resources, as Broward’s dwindling number of swimmers are already using the County’s 18 other Olympic size pools. Wigo’s trepidations were echoed in a recent letter from the Center’s former Olympic swimming coach Tim O’Brien.

former Olympic swimming coach Tim O’Brien
FORMER OLYMPIC SWIMMING COACH TIM O’BRIEN
With the City’s impending immersion in Herculean infrastructure debt, their concern may not resonate with taxpaying residents distracted by water mains exploding like piñatas, and a planned $1.4 billion fix proposed by the infrastructure task force. In contrast, City Commissioners were primarily focused on winning back the prestigious annual tournaments that underscored the site’s historical status as a national shrine.

Fort Lauderdale District 2 Commissioner Steve Glassman
DISTRICT 2 COMMISSIONER STEVE GLASSMAN
By finding a middle ground between those opposed to funding the revival of a money pit and those advocating for an additional $70 million in themed recreational bells and whistles, District 2 Commissioner Steve Glassman precluded the eroding aquatic center’s demolition and inevitable rebirth as an overpriced glass-balconied condominium. By realizing a balance that eluded his predecessors for decades, Glassman not only delivered for District 2 constituents, but affordably preserved the City’s Olympic legacy. Not a bad night’s work for a rookie Commissioner.

 


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Venice of America

Bayview Drive || Swim Center || Neighbors App

Commissioner Heather Moraitis
COMMISSIONER HEATHER MORAITIS
August 10, 2018 - In her July 2018 Newsletter, District 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis welcomes a Commission decision to green light a Hensel Phelps Construction Co. proposal for renovating the fast decomposing Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex, the heart of the city’s century-long swimming and diving legacy. She also awaits All County Paving's planned resurfacing of Bayview Drive from Sunrise Boulevard to Commercial Boulevard; once again recommends implementation of a virtual neighborhood watch - a dividend of downloading the free Neighbors App by Ring; seeks to improve communications between constituents and the City through the Lauderserv app; announces her return to City Hall by August 13, before the August 21 Commission meeting and her first Telephone Town Hall Meeting on August 22 from 7 to 8 p.m.

Salvaging a Legacy

Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex
FORT LAUDERDALE AQUATIC COMPLEX
Following decades of botched opportunities to salvage the heavily eroded Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex (FLAC), on November 17, 2017 the city’s Procurement Services Division released a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a design-build firm to complete long-overdue Aquatic Center Renovations. Reawakening a conflict between budget hawks who oppose funding a facility that runs annual deficits of more than $1 million, and supporters desperately lobbying to preserve a swimming and diving legacy that dates back to the early 1900s, the solicitation framed a last-ditch City Commission effort to find common ground.

City Commission approves Aquatic Complex Plan
CITY COMMISSION APPROVES AQUATIC COMPLEX PLAN
Click to BidSync Of the 40 firms that downloaded the solicitation from BidSync, and the 23 that attended the pre-proposal conference, the project only attracted bids from Gulf Building LLC and bid-winner Hensel Phelps Construction Co. Since a third unsolicited proposal would have violated regulations governing beachfront construction, it was rejected offhand. While the $27 million Hensel bid was $8 million less than the competing $35 million Gulf Building proposal, it was $7 million more than the $20 million budgeted for the project.

Click to International Swimming Hall of Fame
Fort Lauderdale District 2 Commissioner Steve Glassman
DISTRICT 2 COMMISSIONER STEVE GLASSMAN
A negative vote would have triggered a planned relocation of the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) to Santa Clara, California, where city officials are building a new aquatics center. At the persistent urging of District 2 Commissioner Steve Glassman, Commissioners ignored the budget shortfall and authorized staff to pursue negotiations with Hensel.

Click to OIG Report The dearth of competitive bids is no accident. Previous campaigns to approve FLAC renovations were derailed by political posturing, budgetary turf protection, and a bidding process from Hell that was condemned by the Office of Inspector General for violating State Law and dissuading competitive bids. More on this next month. Read on for District 1 Commissioner Heather Moraitis’ July 2018 message to constituents. – [editor]

From The Desk of
Commissioner Heather Moraitis

July 2018

Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Center Renovation

Aquatic Center
AQUATIC CENTER
Commissioner Heather Moraitis
DISTRICT 1 COMMISSIONER
HEATHER MORAITIS
I am excited to announce that on July 10th, after fourteen years of negotiations, we voted to renovate the existing Aquatic Center facility and provide pools that meet international competition standards, provide adequate spectator seating for competition events, and increase programming opportunities for the facility. We will also improve the parking lot drainage and landscaping, exterior of the facility, and the entryway to the facility. The Aquatic Center Renovations will be designed and constructed for up to $27,000,000. In addition to these renovations, we recently renewed our partnership with the International Swimming Hall of Fame and they will continue to call Fort Lauderdale their home!

Sincerely,


Commissioner Heather Moraitis
Fort Lauderdale, District 1


Bayview Drive Resurfacing Project

All County Paving
Bayview Drive Resurfacing Project
BAYVIEW DRIVE RESURFACING PROJECT
The City’s Bayview Drive Resurfacing Project is scheduled to begin on Monday, July 23 and is expected to be completed by the end of November. The project area is located on Bayview Drive between Sunrise Boulevard and Commercial Boulevard. The work will include milling and resurfacing of the existing asphalt pavement, installing new pavement striping, bike lane symbols and sharrows (i.e., shared bike lanes). Upon completion, Bayview Drive will feature two vehicular travel lanes between 9 and 10 feet wide and two bike lanes that are 4 feet wide. The contractor for the project is All County Paving, a company that has extensive experience with resurfacing projects throughout the City.



Neighbors App by Ring

Neighbors App by Ring Neighbors App by Ring The Fort Lauderdale Police Department encourages our neighbors to download the Neighbors application (iOS/Android), join their neighborhood and discover the power that can emerge from combining neighbors, cameras and the Fort Lauderdale Police Department. Visit www.flpd.org/ring to learn how to download the Neighbors app by Ring.


City of Fort Lauderdale 24-Hour Customer Service Center
954-828-8000

Click to Fort Lauderdale Lauderserv app The City of Fort Lauderdale is here to serve our neighbors 24-hours-a-day, and now you can easily contact us right from your smartphone or other mobile device when you are on-the-go.

You can report a streetlight outage, clogged stormdrain, pothole, or broken waste cart; find out your sanitation pick-up days or how to pay your water bill; and more.

Download the FREE Lauderserv app from the Apple App Store or Google Play today.


Commission Break

District 1 office assistant Melissa Coningsby
MELISSA CONINGSBY
Summer Hiatus The commission will break from July 11th through August 20th. District 1 office assistant, Melissa Coningsby, will be available to meet with anyone about any constituent concerns until Commissioner Moraitis returns to the office on Monday, August 13th.


Links For Additional Information

  Click to Sunny.Org website Click to Go Big Go Fast web page
 
  Click to Distris\ct 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis' website Email Commission Assistant Melissa Coningsby
 
Click to Distris\ct 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis' website
 
Click to Heather Moraitis' Twitter Click to District 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis' LinkedIn Click to District 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis' FaceBook
 

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Venice of America

Sun Trolley || FPL Storms || Lauderserv

Commissioner Heather Moraitis
COMMISSIONER HEATHER MORAITIS
July 11, 2018 - In her June 2018 Newsletter, District 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis commemorates the June 1st beginning of Hurricane Season by reminding residents to execute hurricane preparations while applauding an FPL plan to prevent or quickly recover from power outages. She once again encourages constituents to download the Neighbors application by Ring, a sort of video doorbell that enables neighbors to enhance security through shared information - along with the lauderserv app to contact the city. Moraitis asks residential waste collection customers to separately put out yard waste and bulk trash on their respective pick-up days; recruits participation in a Sun Trolley survey to configure the future Galt Mile route; and announces that City Commission meetings will resume on August 21, after the annual Summer hiatus.

Costly FPL Fiasco

Irma on the Galt Mile
IRMA ON THE GALT MILE
Having harvested corporate spin during her visit to the Florida Power & Light Company, Moraitis credits FPL for implementing a Storm-hardening project in response to a 2006 order by the Florida Public Service Commission - funded with $3 billion siphoned from ratepayers. Designed to expedite the restoration of power after an outage, the FPL plan was widely criticized for not focusing on reducing the grid's vulnerability to power failures by relocating transmission lines underground. When Irma danced up the Florida peninsula, it left 90% of FPL's clientele without power, the most widespread outage in Florida history. The FPL plan failed miserably. In a planned second bite at the apple, FPL will hammer ratepayers and municipalities for $billions more to finally bury their power lines.

Nabbing Crooks with Neighbors App

Click to Florida Power & Light Repeatedly recommended by Moraitis, the Neighbors App by Ring interconnects a neighborhood by providing residents with real-time security, crime alerts and safety information. Allowing for push notifications to generate alerts, the app can also display a map with info published by fellow neighbors, the Ring team, and law enforcement. As such, if a package was stolen from a nearby house, you would know about it. Users can post text, photos, and videos of an actual crime - or anything else they find suspicious. While helping with crime prevention, this collective information resource might also provide local police with pictures of perpetrators and/or information about their vehicles. Of course, like any social media tool, it can also be abused. An unsuspecting neighbor can be maliciously victimized by a vindictive user who manipulates input to engineer the appearance of suspicion where there is none.

Galt Sun Trolley Rescue

Sun Trolley Executive Director Robyn Chiarelli
SUN TROLLEY EXECUTIVE DIR. ROBYN CHIARELLI
After learning that Sun Trolley Executive Director Robyn Chiarelli notified Galt Mile officials that Broward County Transit (BCT) had defunded the Galt Mile Route in June of 2017, enraged residents accused BCT of malicious retribution for the neighborhood's vocal opposition to an unnecessarily prolonged abusive BCT bus layover. While the notion resonated with many of our Galt Mile neighbors, it wasn't true. Rules governing funding eligibility for the local Community Bus Service require a minimum ridership of 7.1 passengers per revenue hour. When Galt Mile Route ridership suddenly dipped below the funding threshold, and BCT whacked its contribution, the entire burden was carried by the City until November 21, 2017, when the City Commission temporarily suspended the Galt Link through May 30, 2019. Since the Galt Sun Trolley is critically important to scores of our elderly neighbors on fixed incomes, Sun Trolley officials are working to reconfigure the route to better meet the needs of local residents. We will then either use it or lose it. To help preclude its loss to another neighborhood, please take 60 seconds to fill out the survey. Read on for District 1 Commissioner Heather Moraitis’ June 2018 message to constituents. – [editor]

From The Desk of
Commissioner Heather Moraitis

June 2018

Preparing for Hurricane Season

Click to Florida Power & Light
Commissioner Heather Moraitis
DISTRICT 1 COMMISSIONER
HEATHER MORAITIS
I recently met with Florida Power & Light Company to discuss the investments they are making in our city and to discuss the importance of communication during a hurricane. FPL is ready to respond to hurricanes and severe weather, and it is important that all residents make a plan and prepare for themselves and their families, as well. Hurricane Irma was a stark reminder of why it’s important to do so

Florida Power & Light Storm Center in Jupiter
FLORIDA POWER & LIGHT STORM CENTER IN JUPITER
FPL coordinates storm preparation with partners across Florida to make sure there is a unified front in its storm response. Its “Ready to Respond, Together” approach to storm preparation and response is designed to help restore power to all customers safely and as quickly as possible to help get the whole state back to normal. Investing more than $3 billion to build a stronger and smarter energy grid paid off for customers during Hurricane Irma – shaving days off the restoration. The company restored service to 1 million customers before the unprecedented hurricane even exited Florida. After one full day of restoration, it had restored service to 2 million customers.

19,000 Crews repair Hurricane Irma damage
19,000 CREWS REPAIR HURRICANE IRMA DAMAGE
That said, FPL understands that it learns from each and every storm and has worked on ways to improve how it communicates to customers regarding restoration information, which includes estimated times of restoration. Additionally, the company continues to work with counties, cities, communities and customers to help them understand the importance of planting the right tree in the right place. Please note that the number one cause of outages in Irma was trees falling and debris blowing into power lines. FPL also reports that underground power lines performed better than overhead power lines during Hurricane Irma. As another lesson learned, the company has begun a pilot program to cost-effectively underground portions of neighborhood power lines to enhance reliability in good weather and bad.

Throughout the year, the company provides information to customers to help them prepare for storm season and communicates with them throughout a severe weather event. FPL.com/storm features storm checklists and other information to help customers prepare and develop their own storm plans. When a real storm strikes, FPL will provide updated restoration time estimates and other progress reports in the locations listed below:

Please take the necessary precautions to prepare for storm season. Visit www.fortlauderdale.gov/hurricane to learn more about preparing an emergency plan; assembling a disaster supply kit; steps to take before, during and after a storm; preparations to protect property, boats, and pets; generator safety; procedures for those with special needs; and much more. Stay in touch throughout the season by calling 954-828-5900 for updates on operations.

Sincerely,


Commissioner Heather Moraitis
Fort Lauderdale, District 1


Neighbors App by Ring

Neighbors App by Ring The Fort Lauderdale Police Department encourages our neighbors to download the Neighbors application (iOS/Android), join their neighborhood and discover the power that can emerge from combining neighbors, cameras and the Fort Lauderdale Police Department. Visit www.flpd.org/ring to learn how to download the Neighbors app by Ring.


City of Fort Lauderdale 24-Hour Customer Service Center
954-828-8000

Click to Fort Lauderdale Lauderserv app The City of Fort Lauderdale is here to serve our neighbors 24-hours-a-day, and now you can easily contact us right from your smartphone or other mobile device when you are on-the-go.

You can report a streetlight outage, clogged stormdrain, pothole, or broken waste cart; find out your sanitation pick-up days or how to pay your water bill; and more.

Download the FREE Lauderserv app from the Apple App Store or Google Play today.


Residential Bulk Trash

Just a friendly reminder that no yard waste put out on the monthly bulk trash day is getting recycled! Please try and put as much as you can out in the weekly yard waste bins. Please click the link for additional information.

Residential Bulk Waste Collection Link


Sun Trolley

Sun Trolley Galt Link The City of Fort Lauderdale and the Downtown Fort Lauderdale Transportation Management Association (TMA) are working to re-create the City’s transportation service so that it would better fit the needs of the community. The City and the TMA are reaching out to our neighbors within the Sun Trolleys Galt Link route to understand what their needs might be. All the information that we receive will be used to draft a route recommendation that will be presented to the community for any feedback.

Please take a few minutes to complete a brief SURVEY to help us plan the future Sun Trolley Galt Link. For more information, call 954-TROLLEY (954-876-5539) or visit the website. Thank you for participating, your feedback is important to us.


Commission Break

District 1 office assistant Melissa Coningsby
MELISSA CONINGSBY
Summer Hiatus The commission will break from July 11th through August 20th. District 1 office assistant, Melissa Coningsby, will be available to meet with anyone about any constituent concerns until Commissioner Moraitis returns to the office on Monday, August 13th.


Please Join Us For A Pre-agenda Meeting:

Click to Fort Lauderdale City Commission Agendas

  • June 4, 2018 from 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM at the Beach Community Center, 3351 NE 33rd Avenue

  • June 18, 2018 from 6:00PM – 7:00PM at George English Community Center, 1101 Bayview Drive


Upcoming Events

Click to 4th of July Spectacular web pageJoin the City of Fort Lauderdale for Ready Day, on June 30th. Make sure you, your neighbors, family and friends are ready for hurricane season!. Please click here for more details.

4th of July Spectacular - 2018 - on Saturday, July 4 from Noon to 9:30pm on Fort Lauderdale Beach at A1A and Las Olas Boulevard. Click here for more details.

District 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis hosts a Telephone Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday, August 22nd from 7:00 to 8:00 PM. Click here for more information.


Links For Additional Information

  Click to Sunny.Org website Click to Go Big Go Fast web page
 
  Click to Distris\ct 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis' website Email Commission Assistant Melissa Coningsby
 
Click to Distris\ct 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis' website
 
Click to Heather Moraitis' Twitter Click to District 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis' LinkedIn Click to District 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis' FaceBook
 

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Venice of America

Sober Homes || Neighbors App || Education Act

Commissioner Heather Moraitis
COMMISSIONER HEATHER MORAITIS
June 7, 2018 - In her May 2018 Newsletter, District 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis Moraitis reviews the provisions of a Community Residences Ordinance approved at the April 17, 2018 City Commission meeting. It authorizes zoning regulations that govern the placement of Sober Homes within Fort Lauderdale. Until now, Federal law precluded local governments from regulating these Halfway Houses. While some are excellent, others are parasitically fraudulent and dangerous – and fuel the disintegration of residential neighborhoods.

Sober Home in Fort Lauderdale
SOBER HOME IN FORT LAUDERDALE
Moraitis also provides a 24-hour Aircraft Noise Abatement Reporting Line for residences and businesses near Executive Airport; encourages constituents to download the Neighbors application (i.e. Ring), to access a series of security cameras for safety purposes; reminds us to separate yard waste from bulk trash; promotes the the Excellence in Higher Education Act of 2018, which restores the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship awards to their pre-recession levels; recruits volunteers to help in the Salvation Army kitchen; announces her impending Pre-agenda Meeting dates and locations and lists upcoming events. Unfortunately, she doesn’t explain why she detailed provisions in a Community Residences Ordinance, the dilemma it addresses or why its resolution warranted an obtuse reconfiguration of zoning laws.

The Recovery Golden Goose

Over the past few decades, Recovery has grown from a niche business into a $billion South Florida industry, as local treatment centers offering an opportunity to clean up on a subtropical beach drew addicts from across the planet. Many decide to remain here after their rehab. The Recovery industry's explosive local growth was primarily fueled by two events.

Pill Mill Raided
PILL MILL RAIDED
When the FBI and local authorities collaboratively closed South Florida Pill Mills, it drove the street cost of oxycodone, Xanax and hydrocodone through the roof. Thousands of pill-addicted Floridians turned to cheap and readily available heroin, although the street smack was typically laced with a lethal menu of other chemicals, either to stretch the supply or enhance the effect. These chemical cocktails often included synthetic forms of heroin such as fentanyl (50% - 200% stronger than heroin) or carfentanil, an elephant tranquilizer that’s a hundred times stronger than fentanyl. According to South Florida Medical Examiners, roughly half the skyrocketing overdose fatalities were attributed to these narcotic variants – and every survivor is a prospective recovery candidate.

federal Mental Health Parity Act Affordable Care Act The Recovery industry was also a major beneficiary of two federal laws. The Affordable Care Act and the federal Mental Health Parity Act passed in 2008 were intended to guarantee care for those disabled by addiction. Insurers are required to cover substance abuse treatment and barred from rejecting those with preexisting conditions. It also allowed children to remain on their parents' insurance through age 26.

The Florida Model

The standard treatment protocol traditionally accepted by carriers consisted of a 28-day inpatient program, after which patients would return to their homes. Driven by ideology and experience, a handful of Florida operators cited an alternative that could significantly lower the rate of relapse, holding that a managed step-down transition would better prepare addicts in early recovery to productively integrate with family, a work environment, and the community. Under this unprecedented “Florida Model”, inpatient detox and a month of intensive rehabilitation was followed by outpatient treatment while living in a Sober Home, ostensibly a Halfway House where patients would pay rent to live, sleep and eat, while reporting to nearby drug treatment centers for scheduled appointments with counselors and doctors. By efficiently controlling expenses, the new model would provide a more comprehensive course of therapy without increasing the cost to carriers.

The reputable operators who first developed the model made it work. The success of this new treatment modality attracted hundreds of physicians, clinical therapists, psychologists and nurse practitioners who specialize in Recovery Medicine. Unfortunately, it also drew scam artists seeking to exploit a well-insured vulnerable population – with plans to bag a windfall by using patients as cannon fodder.

The Relapse Dividend

While conceived to provide structure, rules and a supportive community to newly recovering addicts, Sober Homes run by unscrupulous operators brokered their tenants to insurance-hungry treatment centers for kickbacks, in violation of State Law. “Patient brokering” evolved into a cottage industry, as Sober Homes offered free rent, manicures, mopeds, cash, free cigarettes and other perks (including drugs) to attract insured tenants they could barter for payoffs.

Sgt. Ed McCabe of the Delray Beach Police Department
DELRAY BEACH POLICE SGT. ED MCCABE
More ambitious operators would buy or rent a multifamily property or a cluster of single family homes in a depressed residential neighborhood, and turn the residences into Sober Homes, reserving one for a cooperative drug dealer. “You have what are so-called ‘sober homes’ next to houses that sell drugs,” observed Sgt. Ed McCabe of the Delray Beach Police Department. In contrast with well-run, legitimate Sober Homes, which blend seamlessly in residential neighborhoods, clusters of those operated by their corrupt counterparts crash local property values, as unmanaged Sober Homes reconfigure the community into an active drug market.

Palm Beach State Attorney Dave Aronberg
PALM BEACH STATE ATTORNEY DAVE ARONBERG
Palm Beach State Attorney Dave Aronberg summarized why Recovery scammers don’t consider relapse a setback, but an indispensable income stream, exclaiming “The incentive is to keep them in this relapse system, this gravy train that doesn’t end until the person leaves in a body bag or an ambulance. There’s no money in sobriety.” Since a relapse will trigger a new round of benefits for patients who graduate from a treatment center to a Sober Home, falling off the wagon can double – or triple – the insurance payout. To realize additional kickbacks, reprobate Sober Home managers will allow or provide drugs to their tenants, who are then brokered back to the high-bidding treatment center for another $30,000 round of rehabilitation. Patients caught in this revolving door were functionally reduced to commodities by treatment centers they mistakenly believed would save their lives.

Real Life Recovery Delray treatment center operator Eric Snyder
REAL LIFE RECOVERY OPERATOR ERIC SNYDER
FBI Raids Real Life Recovery Delray treatment center
FBI RAIDS REAL LIFE RECOVERY DELRAY
While billing exorbitant fees to the insurance carrier, the scam centers typically waive invoicing co-pays to the policy holder, for fear that the patient will be induced to leave the facility, ending the windfall. According to the FBI, an operation that includes the Real Life Recovery Delray treatment center and the Halfway There Florida home raked in almost $19 million by fraudulently billing insurance companies for $58 million over four years.

Bulletproof Bunco

Americans with Disabilities Act federal Fair Housing Act Incredibly, shooting galleries masquerading as “Sober Homes” are notoriously difficult to evict or otherwise regulate, since these corrupt cankers are shielded by well-intended federal disability laws. Recovering addicts are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1999 that it is illegal to craft zoning laws that discriminate against disabled groups. The federal Fair Housing Act bars housing discrimination against the disabled, also trumping local zoning laws that would otherwise bar businesses from residential neighborhoods. Although enacted to protect legitimate recovery facilities from malicious local regulations, as an unintended consequence, it also shields fraud factories implicated in the overdose deaths of their own patients.

City of Boca Raton Attempts by cities to regulate Sober Homes have been systematically dismissed in Federal court, after which each municipality was successfully sued for discrimination by the targeted Sober Home. The City of Boca Raton spent $1.3 million in a losing effort to ban sober homes.

Urinalysis impact on Private Sector The corruption permeates most of the treatment centers as well. Historically, drug screening consisted of a $5 dipstick drug test that would occasionally be sent to a laboratory for confirmation when the results raised suspicions of tampering. Crooked centers and Sober Homes put in “standing orders” for near-daily drug screens and send each urine sample to a laboratory that charges the insurance up to $5000 per test, along with orders for unnecessary DNA and allergy tests that cost thousands more. In return, participating laboratories kick back much of the insurance windfall. When drug abuse in a treatment center was rampant, samples taken from employees were submitted for lab tests under the names of patients. Minutes-long counseling sessions were billed at $1800.

City of Delray Beach
 Delray Beach Mayor Cary Glickstein
DELRAY BEACH MAYOR CARY GLICKSTEIN
Ground zero for sober homes in Palm Beach County is Delray Beach, where an estimated 700 facilities house up to 7,000 people in recovery. Hundreds more sober homes are in nearby Lake Worth, Boynton Beach and West Palm Beach. Delray Beach Mayor Cary Glickstein angrily lamented “These kids are just cycled through different houses. There’s no supervision. Many times, they’re supervised by convicted felons, people that are trafficking drugs while they’re supposed to be supervising kids in recovery.” Frustrated by the Federal handcuffs on State and local authorities, Palm Beach State Attorney Dave Aronberg remarked “It’s a total scam. Not only are taxpayers footing the bill, but people are dying unnecessarily because of this.”

State Scratches the Surface

FBI, Cops Bust Chatman
FBI, COPS AT CHATMAN CENTER REFLECTIONS
fraudulent treatment centers and Sober Home Operator Kenneth “Kenny” Chatman
SCAM TREATMENT OPERATOR KENNY CHATMAN
In preparing to prosecute the rampant fraud, and far more egregious crimes, but concerned about the sheer volume of bad players, the FBI needed a slam-dunk in court, followed by a sentence sufficient to intimidate future defendants into accepting plea deals. While investigating the fraudulent treatment centers and Sober Homes, the FBI concentrated most of their resources on putting an owner they considered “worst of the lot” behind bars. Kenneth “Kenny” Chatman, a Sober Home operator who licensed a Margate Recovery facility called “Reflections” in his wife’s name to dodge a prohibition against convicts owning a treatment center, was sentenced to 27 years for running a recovery brothel (conspiracies to commit health care fraud, money laundering and sex trafficking) by U.S. District Court Judge Donald Middlebrooks, who threw out a 14-year plea agreement previously negotiated by Chatman's attorney. Characterizing his crimes as “never before seen in a federal court - turning his patients into prostitutes,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie Villafaña trod out evidence of neglected patients who died in his facilities and young female patients kept in a drug-induced state of impairment while he placed internet listings to pimp them out.

Click to Executive Order 17-146
Scott Signs Executive Order 17-146
SCOTT SIGNS EXECUTIVE ORDER 17-146
On May 3, 2017, after dragging his feet for years, Governor Rick Scott finally addressed the State’s astronomical overdose fatality rate when he signed Executive Order 17-146, classifying Florida’s opioid crisis as a public health emergency. The measure provided $54 million in federal funds for prevention, treatment and recovery services for the uninsured and under-insured in 2017 and 2018. The grant also funds overdose response training, behavioral-health consultants for child-welfare workers, peer-mentoring programs and other initiatives.

Dave Aronberg’s Sober Home Task Force
DAVE ARONBERG’S SOBER HOME TASK FORCE
Two days later, Scott signed bipartisan legislation on the recommendation of Palm Beach State Attorney Dave Aronberg’s Sober Home Task Force, which released a scathing report on the recovery industry and suggested new regulations. The statute bans false advertising used to lure new patients, forces sober home telemarketers to register with the state, clarifies existing laws that make kickbacks illegal and requires background screenings for owners, directors and clinical supervisors of treatment centers that refer patients to Sober Homes. It also makes patient brokering a crime punishable under the state’s “Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act”, or RICO. Like its Federal namesake, RICO empowers law enforcement to crack down on organized groups.

Feds Slip us a Loophole

Click to Joint statement by the Justice Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development
U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel
U.S. REP. LOIS FRANKEL
Last November, Federal guidelines released at the urging of U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel (D-West Palm Beach) demonstrated how cities could regulate the clustering of sober homes within a neighborhood. A Joint statement by the Justice Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development detailed how a city can deny an accommodation request for a sober home by proving a strain on city resources. The guidelines also provide for new zoning laws that benefit addicts in recovery, consider the proximity of group homes to one another, and equally apply to all homes with a minimum number of unrelated residents. Cutting to the chase, the statement holds that the Fair Housing Act does not prevent state or local government from taking action in response to criminal activity, insurance fraud, Medicaid Fraud, neglect or abuse of residents, or other illegal conduct occurring at group homes.

Zoning Legislation Attorney Daniel Lauber
ZONING EXPERT DANIEL LAUBER
Click to Sober Home Study of Delray Beach by Daniel Lauber Delray Beach, one of the cities in Frankel’s 21st Congressional District that requested her assistance, jumped on the opportunity. First, Delray contracted with Daniel Lauber, an attorney that specializes in zoning legislation, to compile a detailed sober home study of Delray Beach. By meticulously meeting the requirements for regulatory oversight spelled out in the new guidelines, Lauber developed a set of zoning regulations for sober homes that don’t conflict with Federal law.

Click to Sober Home Study of Fort Lauderdale by Daniel Lauber For instance, to affirm that clustering hampers recovery, as conditionally required by the guidelines to justify imposing regulations, Lauber asserts that a community residence sheltering those disabled by addiction should emulate a biological family - and seek to normalize its residents and integrate them into the surrounding community. His study observes “Their neighbors serve as role models which helps foster the normalization and community integration at the core of community residences.” He then shows how clustering deprives recovering addicts of role models - nearby neighbors who successfully function without using drugs – and instead confines their exposure to others disabled by addiction, which impedes normalization and their integration into the community.

Federal Sober Home Direct Threat Exclusion Lauber demonstrates how the suggested zoning requirements benefit recovering addicts, reduce the strain on city resources by reducing crime, and preserve the character of residential communities. Delray Beach crafted an ordinance that incorporated Lauber’s recommendations. In her May 2018 Newsletter, City Commissioner Heather Moraitis outlines how a similar city law, Ordinance No. C-18-11 approved in Fort Lauderdale, will mitigate clustering by Sober Homes. Following the Delray Beach playbook, in a February 13, 2018 Sober Home Study of Fort Lauderdale commissioned by the city, Lauber mirrors recommendations made to Delray Beach, albeit with a few minor changes. The Delray Beach Ordinance requires the separation of Sober Homes with 4 to 10 recovering residents by a standard city block of 660 feet. Since several Fort Lauderdale blocks are extremely long, the city law discussed by Moraitis requires a 1000-foot separation of sober homes with 4 to 10 persons. Residences with 11 or more recovering addicts must be approved by a Special Magistrate to warrant accommodation.

Florida Association of Recovery Residences To help recovery candidates or concerned family members separate the wheat from the chaff, sober homes that seek certification by the Florida Association of Recovery Residences (FARR) must meet 37 standards (i.e. staff training, site inspections) before they are included in a list of approved facilities. Prospective patients who consult the list may avoid a deadly excursion to Motel Hell. Read on for District 1 Commissioner Heather Moraitis’ May 2018 message to constituents. – [editor]

From The Desk of
Commissioner Heather Moraitis

Community Residences Ordinance

Click to Fort Lauderdale Ordinance No C-18-11
Commissioner Heather Moraitis
DISTRICT 1 COMMISSIONER
HEATHER MORAITIS
The city passed an ordinance to regulate community residences commonly referred to as “sober homes”, in order to protect the residents of those homes, persons with disabilities who are in recovery, from concentrations that undermine the ability of community residents to achieve normalization and community integration, and to protect the character of the neighborhood. The ordinance generally is modeled after an ordinance recently adopted in Delray Beach.

Four Clustered Sober Homes in Fort Lauderdale
FOUR CLUSTERED SOBER HOMES IN FT LAUDERDALE
In summary, the ordinance regulates Community Residences, by 1) defining “family” for purposes of regulating dwelling units; 2) defining Community Residences, including two types: Family Community Residences and Transitional Community Residences; 3) allowing Community Residences in the city residential zoning districts as either permitted or conditional uses, depending on the type of Community Residence; 3) requiring certification of all Community Residences by the state credentialing agency under Section 397.487, Florida Statutes; 4) establishing conditional use requirements for Community Residences; and 5) establishing a reasonable accommodation process, by special magistrate, necessary for Community Residences of 11 persons or more, and to allow modifications in the zoning standards.

Sober Homes in Fort Lauderdale
SOBER HOMES IN FORT LAUDERDALE
Essentially, a family is defined as related persons, or up to three (3) unrelated persons. A Community Residence generally is a residential living arrangement for more than (3) unrelated individuals with disabilities, living as a single functional family to provide shelter in a family-like environment, which is important to their recovery. A Family Community Residence is a relatively permanent living arrangement, measured in years, for 4 – 10 persons. A Transitional Community Residence is a temporary living arrangement, measured in weeks or months, for 4- 10 persons.

All Community Residences must register with the City and be certified by the state credentialing agency, if one is available for the type of disability. Community Residences, of either type, are allowed in all residential districts as permitted uses if they are 3 persons or less. Community Residences, of either type, with 11 or more residents, are only allowed in residential districts if they receive a reasonable accommodation approval.

Family community residences (4 – 10 persons) are allowed in all residential districts as a permitted use if they meet 1000’ distance requirements from other community residences and community residential homes (SSRFs). If they do not meet distance separation requirements, they must obtain a conditional use permit, which includes additional standards for community residences.

Transitional community residences (4 – 10 persons) are allowed in single family residential districts by conditional use and must meet 1000’ distance requirements

Sincerely,


Commissioner Heather Moraitis
Fort Lauderdale, District 1


Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport Aircraft Noise Abatement Reporting Line

Click to Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport Neighbors may call a 24-hour Aircraft Noise Abatement Reporting Line at 954-828-6666.

Click Here to report excessively loud aircraft.


Neighbors App by Ring

Neighbors App by Ring The Fort Lauderdale Police Department encourages our neighbors to download the Neighbors application (iOS/Android), join their neighborhood and discover the power that can emerge from combining neighbors, cameras and the Fort Lauderdale Police Department. Visit www.flpd.org/ring to learn how to download the Neighbors app by Ring.


Residential Bulk Trash

Just a friendly reminder that no yard waste put out on the monthly bulk trash day is getting recycled! Please try and put as much as you can out in the weekly yard waste bins. Please click the link for additional information.

Residential Bulk Waste Collection Link


Excellence in Higher Education Act of 2018

Florida Bright Futures Scholarship awards This ensures a bright future for our state and generations to come. The bill returns the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship awards to their pre-recession levels and will help even more Floridians in their pursuit of higher education. The bill expands the Florida Bright Futures Academic Scholars (FAS) award to cover the full cost of tuition and fees, plus a stipend of $300 for books. The bill expands the Florida Medallion Scholars (FMS) award to cover 75% of the full cost of tuition and fees. The bill also authorizes the use of Florida Bright Futures Scholarship awards for the summer term.


Kitchen Volunteers Needed

Email Salvation Army to volunteer Salvation Army is in great need of volunteer Kitchen Helpers to assist their staff in prepping and serving meals for those in their shelter. Volunteers are needed Monday-Friday between 8:00 AM-12:00 PM. Please sign up via email by clicking the image above or call 954-712-2435.


Please Join Us For A Pre-agenda Meeting:

Click to Fort Lauderdale City Commission Agendas

  • June 4, 2018 from 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM at the Beach Community Center, 3351 NE 33rd Avenue

  • June 18, 2018 from 6:00PM – 7:00PM at George English Community Center, 1101 Bayview Drive


Upcoming Events

Click to Cares Day web pagePublic Meeting for DC Alexander Park at May 21st, 6:00 pm- 8:00 pm. Please click here for more details.

Great American Beach Party on Saturday, May 26, 10:00 am - 8:00 pm. Click here for more details.

Please join us as w e honor those who served our great nation on Monday, May 28th at 9:00 am at Lauderdale Memorial Park Cemetery (2001 SE 4th Avenue) & American Legion Post 36 at 11:00 am (Sandy Nininger Statue at Fort Lauderdale Riverwalk). Click here for more information.

Resident Tree Giveaway on Saturday, June 2 at 8:30 am-12:00 pm. You can register by clicking here.


Links For Additional Information

  Click to Sunny.Org website Click to Go Big Go Fast web page
 
  Click to Distris\ct 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis' website Email Commission Assistant Melissa Coningsby
 
Click to Distris\ct 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis' website
 
Click to Heather Moraitis' Twitter Click to District 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis' LinkedIn Click to District 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis' FaceBook
 

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Venice of America

FXE Jobs || Transportation Awards || Pet Stations

Commissioner Heather Moraitis
COMMISSIONER HEATHER MORAITIS
April 25, 2018 - On April 17, 2018, District 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis delivered her second constituent Newsletter to the neighborhood association. Opening with a plan to exploit an opportunity created by a labor shortage in the world's fast-growing commercial airline industry, Moraitis connects Broward students with high-paying local jobs in Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE); urges constituents to nominate candidates for the 2018 Transportation Awards; equips residents near Executive Airport with the Aircraft Noise Abatement Reporting Line; lists a series of upcoming municipal events and invites District 1 residents to attend her bi-monthly pre-agenda meetings.

Aviation Jobs and Transportation Awards

Women in Aviation Click to Careers in Aviation Open House At the March 20 City Commission meeting, Moraitis declared March as “Women in Aviation Month” and capped the extended event by hosting a “Careers in Aviation Open House” on April 23, a program enabling high school students to network with airline businesses, military recruiters and local colleges with an aviation curriculum.

Commercial Airline Industry Workforce As observed by Moraitis’, the explosive 20-year demand for pilots, maintenance technicians and cabin crews in the commercial airline industry has prompted Executive Airport aviation businesses to ramp up recruiting efforts and expedite training programs for mechanics and corporate cabin crews. Moraitis’ statistics are drawn from a 2016 Pilot and Technician Outlook study by Boeing Commercial Aviation Services.

Boeing Pilot and Technician Outlook study While surging industry workforce needs are worldwide, the economic conditions and market opportunities in each global region drives local demand. For instance, the Asia-Pacific region, which comprises 40 percent of the global need, is driven by low-cost carriers, North America is benefitting from new markets in Cuba and Mexico, while growth in Europe is attributable to a strong intra-European Union market.

7<sup>th</sup> Annual Transportation Summit Referencing the 7th Annual Transportation Summit - a May 16 collaborative forum at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts (Huizenga Pavilion at 201 SW 5th Avenue in Fort Lauderdale) - wherein elected officials, regional experts, and industry leaders exchange best practices, share innovative ideas, and plan transportation infrastructure befitting the City's current and future needs, Moraitis describes two awards for community members who help the City achieve a safe, connected, multimodal, and sustainable community - Neighbor Champion and Outstanding Project or Program – which recognize innovation, advocacy, and excellence in transportation projects.

Pet Waste on the Galt Mile

Pet Waste Station
PET WASTE STATION
At the April 19, 2018 Galt Mile Advisory Board meeting, Moraitis expressed her continuing support for neighborhood projects discussed at earlier meetings, such as replanting browned-out A1A medians with new landscaping, equitably balancing skewed water and sewer rates and placing pet stations along Galt Ocean Drive (as earlier approved by a unanimous vote of the Advisory Board). Moraitis exclaimed, “I noticed that the City has begun installing ‘Poo Pylons’ on Galt Ocean Drive,” referring to Pet Waste Stations equipped with a chamber that dispenses biodegradable plastic bags.

Pet Waste Signage Program By electing to ignore Section 6-4(c) of the City’s Code of Ordinances, which requires the removal and proper disposal of their pets’ droppings, a few irresponsible pet owners aren’t just creating an irritating nuisance, but a significant health hazard. Pet waste that accumulates on the street, parking lot, sidewalk, association driveway or lawn is often carried by rainwater into a storm drain or catch basin that discharges the intestinal bacteria and disease-causing parasites into streams, lakes, canals or the ocean. Given South Florida’s porous karst limestone geology, these pollutants also reach groundwater and permeate the aquifer. Pet owners who think it clever to stuff the waste into a nearby storm drain instead of an appropriate receptacle are responsible for the recent on-street flooding caused by inevitable blockages.

In rejecting the prospect of relying on the city to refill depleted bag chambers in a timely manner, in exchange for receiving these free Pet Stations, adjacent associations will replenish the biodegradable plastic bags as needed. Hopefully, the pet stations will help reverse these adverse impacts while improving the appearance of our neighborhood.

Sun Trolley Galt Link

Downtown Fort Lauderdale Transportation Management Association Sun Trolley Recently named as Fort Lauderdale’s voice on the Broward County Planning Council, Moraitis also serves on the Board of the Downtown Fort Lauderdale Transportation Management Association (DFLTMA) - parent of the Sun Trolley - where she is currently working to revive the suspended Galt Link. . She explained that participants at two March Sun Trolley Galt Link Public Workshops held at the Beach Community Center and the Galt Ocean Mile Reading Center helped map alternatives for a reconfigured Galt Link route. The new route is planned for implementation in May. Moraitis closes her monthly update with upcoming event reminders for a Wave Streetcar workshop, Broward Navy Days, the Fort Lauderdale Air Show and the little-known Cares Day. Read on for District 1 Commissioner Heather Moraitis’ April 2018 message to constituents. – [editor]

From The Desk of
Commissioner Heather Moraitis

Click to Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport
Commissioner Heather Moraitis
DISTRICT 1 COMMISSIONER
HEATHER MORAITIS
District 1 is home to the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE) and FXE is addressing the issue regarding the aviation workforce skills gap. There is a growing demand for workers in the aviation industry and the Executive Airport is home to a variety of businesses working hard to train a talented workforce.

Over the next 20 years, statistics show that globally there is a need and opportunity for people to pursue aviation careers:

  • Almost 40,000 new airplanes will be built in the next 20 years

  • Highly trained workforce will be needed – over 2,000,000 new aviation personnel

  • Click to Careers in Aviation Open House 617,000 new pilots will be needed

  • 670,000 new technicians will be needed

  • 814,000 new cabin crew members will be needed

Students interested in careers in aviation can learn more from Broward College (BC): http://www.broward.edu/academics/programs/aviation/Pages/default.aspx. BC has a comprehensive program in a number of areas, which can provide students with information they can use to pursue aviation training.

Click to Broward College Click to Banyan Air On Monday, April 23, I am hosting an Aviation Career Night for high school students interested in aviation careers at FXE in partnership with Broward College and Banyan Air. The event flyer is below. Please contact my office if you would like more information or your high school student is interested in attending!

Sincerely,


Commissioner Heather Moraitis
Fort Lauderdale, District 1


Seeking Nominations for the 2018 Transportation Awards

The City is accepting applications for the 2018 Transportation Awards. The awards will be presented in two categories – Neighbor Champion and Outstanding Project or Program – at the Transportation Summit on May 16. Past winners include Ronald Centamore, Tarpon River Civic Association, Frederic Stresau, and Mockingbird Trail. Neighbors can apply online at www.fortlauderdale.gov by April 27.


Links For Additional Information

  Click to Sunny.Org website Click to Go Big Go Fast web page
 

Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport Aircraft Noise Abatement Reporting Line

Neighbors may call a 24-hour Aircraft Noise Abatement Reporting Line at 954-828-6666 to report excessively loud aircraft


Upcoming Events

  Click to WAVE Streetcar Meeting Info Click to Cares Day web page
 
  Click to Broward Navy Days
  Click to Fort Lauderdale Air Show

Please Join Us For A Pre-agenda Meeting:

Click to Fort Lauderdale City Commission Agendas

  • First Monday of each month from 6:00PM – 7:00PM at the Beach Community Center, 3351 NE 33rd Avenue

  • Third Monday of each month from 6:00PM – 7:00PM at Broward Health Imperial Point, 6401 N Federal Highway

Heather Moraitis                


  Click to Distris\ct 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis' website Email Commission Assistant Melissa Coningsby
 
Click to Distris\ct 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis' website
 
Click to Heather Moraitis' Twitter Click to District 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis' LinkedIn Click to District 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis' FaceBook
 

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Venice of America

Neighbor Survey || District Projects || MSD Tragedy

Commissioner Heather Moraitis
COMMISSIONER HEATHER MORAITIS
March 24, 2018 - After being sworn in as Fort Lauderdale’s District 1 City Commissioner on March 20, 2018, Heather Moraitis released her first constituent Newsletter - an introductory edition slipped to the media a week earlier by her rookie Commission Assistant Melissa Coningsby. In her March / April 2018 Newsletter, Moraitis outlines her general objectives for the city drawn from a recent Neighborhood Survey, summarizes the progress of 14 Current Water and Sewer Infrastructure Projects in District 1, seeks to honor the 17 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School victims by fighting for school safety and gun control, cites her intention to host District 1 Pre-agenda Meetings at 7 p.m. in the Beach Community Center and Imperial Point Medical Center – respectively on the first and third Monday of each month, and closes by providing constituents with assorted contact options for enlisting her assistance.

Sworn and Rolling

South Florida YMCA On Monday, June 12, 2017, Heather Moraitis set aside the joys of scaring up cash for the YMCA (Director of Capitol Development) and announced her intention to step into the District 1 Commission seat as Commissioner Bruce Roberts embarked on his ill-fated mayoral campaign. In delivering her "props", Moraitis said, “I was born here, and we have raised our family here, so I want to make sure the special way of life that we enjoy can continue for all residents. With over $1 billion in public infrastructure needs, congestion issues that will require smart solutions, and division over development, we can either work together to make things better, or kick the can down the road. I am running to make things better.”

Although city races are thinly veneered as non-partisan, political affiliations often determine the outcome. In Broward County – long ago christened the “killing fields” by Florida Republicans – this typically gives Democrats a leg up. However, District 1 residents in the Galt Mile and Coral Ridge communities seamlessly bounce between selecting Democrats and Republicans, opting for the candidate who seems most aggressively predisposed to deliver the municipal resources required to improve their neighborhoods and otherwise quell local concerns.

Statehouse Representative George Moraitis with Galt Mile officials
REPRESENTATIVE GEORGE MORAITIS WITH GALT MILE OFFICIALS
Having entered the race with a sterling legacy, as departing District 93 Statehouse Representative George Moraitis (R - Fort Lauderdale) worked for years with Galt Mile officials to protect thousands of association homeowners who live in District 1. Reputed to be a talented organizer and workaholic, Heather is often credited with spearheading her husband's 3 tough biennial Statehouse campaign victories over candidates with intimidating resources and the support of party machines.

healthcare mogul David Maymon
HEALTHCARE MOGUL DAVID MAYMON
When former Statehouse Representative Ellyn Bogdanoff made her move to the Florida Senate, Broward's Republican Leadership hand-picked healthcare entrepreneur David Maymon to fill her shoes. In large part, Heather's kilometer-long contact list and access to resources helped enable George to beat Maymon in the Primary and Democrat Barbara Stern in the election. What goes around, comes around; with term limits winding down his eight-year Statehouse career – on January 22, 2018, George Moraitis was elected Chairman of the snake-bit Broward Republican Executive Committee.

Swearing in New Commissioners
SWEARING IN NEW COMMISSIONERS
Heather snagged the District 1 Commission seat when the qualifying period ended on November 13, 2017 with no other hats in the ring. Since then, the Commissioner-elect synchronized her schedule with that of Roberts, attending District events that might deepen her insight into constituent concerns - including meetings with the Galt Mile Advisory Board and Presidents Council. Her reputation for hitting the ground running appears to be true, as she has already agreed to investigate or resolve a laundry list of Galt Mile agenda items that require City support or resources.

New Commission's First Commission Meeting
NEW CITY BOARD'S FIRST COMMISSION MEETING
For instance, in addressing members at the January 18, 2018 Galt Mile Advisory Board meeting, Moraitis volunteered to help mitigate issues vetted during the previous meeting on December 14, including a parking shortage on the Galt, no lighting under the Oakland Park Bridge, lighting and median landscaping on A1A. Pleasantly surprised by her unsolicited offer, members piled on more pressing issues, such as expediting a solution to the failed lighting along Galt Ocean Drive, and leveling the outrageous rate disparity borne by multi-family homeowners for water and sewer services.

City Attorney Cynthia Everett Distraught
CYNTHIA EVERETT DISTRAUGHT
After transitioning from Commissioner-elect to Commissioner when sworn in on March 20, 2018, Moraitis jumped into her first Commission meeting. The new city panel threw $10 million at Las Olas Marina, punked the Wave Streetcar project (which Trantalis, Glassman and Sorenson all promised to quash if elected), and pink-slipped City Attorney Cynthia Everett. Read on for Moraitis’ first message to constituents as District 1 Commissioner. – [editor]

From The Desk of
Commissioner Heather Moraitis

George and Heather Moraitis
GEORGE AND HEATHER MORAITIS
Commissioner Heather Moraitis
DISTRICT 1 COMMISSIONER
HEATHER MORAITIS
It is an honor to represent you on the Fort Lauderdale City Commission! District 1 is more than my current home; it’s where I was born, work, play, and raised my family. I was born at Holy Cross Hospital, worked at Westminster Academy, paddleboard and walk along the Galt Ocean Mile beach, and raised two daughters (Alexis 19, Catherine 16) with George, my husband of 23 years.

Click to Fort Lauderdale Neighborhood Survey On March 20, the new commission was sworn in and we are already hard at work addressing your issues, as we plan for the future of our city. The city recently conducted a neighborhood survey, which highlighted three areas of concern I am committed to improving: traffic flow, homelessness, and public education.

Sunrise Boulevard Roundabout and Flyover Ramp
SUNRISE BOULEVARD ROUNDABOUT AND FLYOVER RAMP
In District 1, Sunrise Boulevard from Gateway to I 95 has been identified as a top priority for improving traffic flow. The Sunrise Signal Retiming effort is underway with a consultant from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), working with Broward County Signal staff, to retime all the signals for improved traffic flow. The schedule for implementing this plan is fall 2018. FDOT is also studying a flyover near Gateway Plaza to allow vehicles to move from Sunrise to US 1.

Click to Fort Lauderdale Homeless Stats According to the survey, 81% of us see homeless people throughout our community on a daily basis. The city, county, state, and federal government, along with numerous local nonprofits allocate resources, but we still have a homeless problem. The goal is to provide permanent housing, with support services, to ensure the cycle of homelessness is broken. As a community, we must collaborate at all levels to leverage resources and commit to expanding housing options at current shelters or new options.

As an educator, I value access to excellent public education from preschool to college. 19% of neighbors surveyed thought the quality of our public middle schools was good or excellent. I hear concerns from many friends and neighbors in our city about public school options for middle school. I am committed to working with our current public schools or exploring a charter school in Fort Lauderdale to provide excellent options for middle school.


District 1 Current Water and Sewer Infrastructure Projects

  • Coral Ridge Club Estates

    • The project includes the rehabilitation of Mainline Sewers, point repairs, minor road restoration and landscaping, the use of trenchless technologies to repair sewer system components such as lining of gravity sewers, manholes, and sewer laterals. Work also includes pre and post television survey, flow monitoring, traffic control and site restoration. This is part of the WW Conveyance System Long Term Remediation Program.

  • Bermuda Rivera

    • This project is for the relining of sanitary sewer collection mains and laterals. It includes the rehabilitation of mainline sewers, point repairs, minor road restoration and landscaping, the use of trenchless technologies to repair sewer system component.

  • Basin

    • Sanitary Sewer Collection System Rehabilitation - Basin B- 6 (Coral Ridge area) relining of sanitary collection mains and laterals and rehabilitation of manholes.

  • Pump Station

    • This project is for the replacement of station pumps, valves, suction and discharge piping, reroute of discharge forcemain, new sump pumps, ladders, grates and hatches; new HVAC and electrical and control system. The work also includes repairs to the wet-well, and structural repairs to the station.

  • Security Gate Replacement

    • Replacement of electronic entrance security gate at the 38th Street Public Works Administration facility.

  • Lake Estates

    • This project is for small water main improvements in Lake Estates. This project will replace existing water mains, which are undersized and deteriorated, with approximately 7, 000 linear feet of 6" water mains.

  • Rehab of 2 SCADA High Service Pump

    • This Project is to rehabilitate control panels that regulate and operate three of the Fiveash high service pumps. These panels have exceeded their service life.

  • Water Distribution Service

    • This project will replace the existing Water Pressure SCADA system with a new system that will monitor water system pressure, chlorine residual, pH, turbidity and conductivity. This system will interface with the existing water plant control system and have the data recorded. Eight new panels will be installed at various locations in the city's water distribution system.

  • Fiveash Water Treatment Plant Disinfection Improvements

    • The Fiveash Reliability Upgrades (P11593 & P10508) project was added to the Disinfection System Replacement project (P11589) for bidding and construction, so that one contractor will be responsible for use of the limited free spaces at the plant. Both projects will be constructed at the same time.

  • Fiveash Water Treatment Plant Hydrotreators

    • This project includes the replacement of 30" diameter steel fabricated flanged fitting and associated valves and couplings, replacement of air release valves, replacement of sump pump and associated piping for Hydrotreators 3 & 4 at the Fiveash Water Treatment Plant.

  • Fiveash Water Treatment Plan Facility Concrete Restore

    • This project is to assess the concrete surfaces and structures at the Water Treatment Plants for failures. The work will create the bid specs for concrete repairs, oversee the bid process, and the construction inspection services.

  • Utilities Storage Building

    • This project is to construct a prefabricated steel building such as a "Butler" building to store equipment and materials for use in utilities projects. The pipe yard/depot at the Public Works compound is at its maximum capacity. There are no available covered storage spaces to keep components out of the weather.

  • Peele Dixie R&R

    • Peele-Dixie Treatment Plant - renewal and/or replacement of miscellaneous equipment, structures, pipes and other features critical to the continued safe, reliable, efficient, and compliant operation of the plant.

  • Coral Ridge Isles

    • The project includes the rehabilitation of the sanitary sewer collection system throughout Basin B- 13. This includes, but not limited to point repairs, minor road restoration, landscaping, the use of trenchless technologies to repair sewer system components such as lining of gravity sewers, manholes, and sewer laterals. Work also includes pre and post television survey, flow monitoring, traffic control and site restoration.


Remembering Marjory Stoneman Douglas

Remembering Marjory Stoneman Douglas
REMEMBERING MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS
On February 14, our community mourned the loss of 17 students and teachers in Parkland. We cried, comforted those who lost loved ones, and came together to make plans for improving school safety.

On Saturday, March 17, we brought the community together to discuss gun reform and school safety. We will continue to fight for these issues to keep our students safe.


Upcoming Meetings

Please join me from 6:00PM – 7:00PM for a District 1 Pre-agenda Meeting:

  • April 2 at Beach Community Center, 3351 NE 33rd Avenue (always first Monday of each month)

  • April 16 at Broward Health Imperial Point, 6401 N Federal Hwy (always third Monday of each month)


For More Information

  • Commission Assistant Melissa Coningsby
    COMMISSION ASSISTANT
    MELISSA CONINGSBY
    An overview of current District 1 and Citywide Public Works Projects, including water & sewer infrastructure, can be found at http://gis.fortlauderdale.gov/LauderWorks.

  • Sign-up for Email Updates/Newsletters to get additional links to important city information, upcoming events, photos, commission agendas and meeting reminders for district meetings. Please contact District 1 Assistant Melissa Coningsby, mconingsby@fortlauderdale.gov or 954-828-5033, to receive emails or to schedule an appointment.

  • Follow Commissioner Moraitis on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn @heathermoraitis

  • Learn more about District 1 at fortlauderdale.gov/district1

Heather Moraitis                


  Click to District 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis' website Email Commission Assistant Melissa Coningsby
 
  Click to District 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis' website
 

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Chuggling Chlorine Cocktails

City Chlorinates Water

March 14, 2018 - In late February, a few Galt Mile residents sent emails to the neighborhood association asking about the odd taste of their tap water. The inquiries are familiar, as they arrive several times each year, mostly from recent arrivals to the neighborhood. Occasionally, the messages theorize vandalism to the association's water supply or cross-contamination of the City's aging water / wastewater infrastructure. In fact, the perpetrator is the City of Fort Lauderdale - specifically - the Treatment Division of the Public Works Water and Wastewater Operations Section. In short, Water Services temporarily alters the chemical purification process as part of a regular system maintenance program.

Commissioner Bruce Roberts
COMMISSIONER BRUCE ROBERTS
On January 24, 2018, Commissioner Bruce Roberts sent a copy of his February 2018 Newsletter to Galt Mile officials for distribution to 29 member associations. The content included a constituent alert about the impending treatment of their domestic water with free chlorine. His message echoed a December 22, 2917 press release in the online City News entitled, "City of Fort Lauderdale to Chlorinate Water System". The article, in turn, summarizes a discussion of free chlorine posted by the Department of Public Works. While detailing the process and reviewing its impacts, the Public Works missive exhorts "Preventive Maintenance Scheduled for February 13 – March 20, 2018". The full text of the message is as follows:

 

Free Chlorination
Chlorine Attracting Water
Preventive Maintenance scheduled for February 13 - March 20, 2018

Chlorine Attracting Water
CHLORINE ATTRACTING WATER
The City of Fort Lauderdale will temporarily return to using free chlorine in its drinking water system. This preventive maintenance procedure will begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday, February 13, 2018 and will end at 9 a.m. Tuesday, March 20, 2018.

Free chlorination is a common practice for water systems using combined chlorine disinfection. The chlorination period is anticipated to be transparent to water customers; however, some may notice a slight change in the taste or smell of their tap water. Some customers may also see water running from fire hydrants in their neighborhoods, which is part of the normal maintenance process.

This procedure will affect the City of Fort Lauderdale, as well as Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Port Everglades, Village of Sea Ranch Lakes, Wilton Manors, and sections of the Town of Davie, Oakland Park, and Tamarac (east of State Road 7/441).

Click To City of Fort Lauderdale 2016 Water Quality Report The City of Fort Lauderdale maintains the highest standards to ensure that clean, high quality drinking water is delivered to its customers. The City's drinking water meets federal, state and local drinking water quality standards.

Click To Lauderserv For more information, Fort Lauderdale utility customers may contact the 24-hour Neighbor Call Center at (954) 828-8000 or online at www.fortlauderdale.gov/lauderserv. Customers who receive a utility bill from other municipalities or entities should call their respective water provider’s customer service phone number for more information.

 

Click To Fiveash Water Treatment Plant
Water Chlorimination
Chlorimination Bar

Click To EPA discussion of Chloramines in water disinfection The City utilizes the same blend of chemicals to treat our drinking water on a regular basis. Altering the disinfection chemical mix is typically performed once or twice per year over a two to four week time period. This semi-annual treatment application is prescribed by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Click To role of Chloramines in water treatment The disinfection of our treated water is normally achieved by adding chloramines (commonly formed when chlorine reacts with ammonia) at the treatment plants. The introduction of chloramines (chlorimination) reduces microbial growth (biofilm) on filter media that could increase filter head loss build-up (pressure). Although effective and safe, oxidation of the ammonia (nitrification) reduces it's effectiveness throughout the distribution system. Since a "dose" of free chlorine reverses the adverse effects of nitrification, Public Works regularly switches from chloramines to free chlorine to maximize its disinfectant impact.

The periodic switch to free chlorine effectively reduces biological re-growth in the distribution system and helps maintain chlorine residual levels at the extremities of the distribution system during the normal chloramine disinfection process.

It is not unusual for residents to experience a slight change in both the taste and smell of the water during this process. The water will remain safe for drinking, cooking, bathing, and other daily needs. For the vast majority of residents, adverse health effects are not expected.

However, while persons currently undergoing dialysis can safely drink chlorinated or chloraminated water, both chlorine and chloramines must be removed from water used in dialysis machines because this water comes into direct contact with blood. Anyone suffering from a compromised immune system can be more susceptible than others to harmful organisms in water. As such, transplant patients and people with AIDS should consult with their health care provider to determine whether the temporary change in disinfection chemistry will affect their treatment.

In addition, residents with a fish tank or pond, including grocery stores, restaurants and bait shops that use city water in their lobster tanks and fish containers, should contact a pet or aquarium professional to determine the need for any adjustments to their aquarium treatment procedures. Unless neutralized by products readily available from aquarium supply stores, chlorine and monochloramine can be harmful to fish because they directly enter their bloodstream through the gills and block the growth of beneficial bacteria in the fish tank.

Roger Stone
Roger Stone
For those of you skilled in aquarium maintenance, the City website describes two methods for removing or neutralizing chlorine and / or chloramines in fish aquariums using products available at local pet and aquarium supply stores. A Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) filtration system is specifically designed to remove chloramines. Also, you can use a conditioner or additive that contains a de-chlorinating chemical for both ammonia and chlorine. However, fish owners are advised to verify which of these two methods is best for them by consulting with their pet store or aquatic/aquarium retailer.

City Manager Lee Feldman
City Manager Lee Feldman
Since it takes approximately two weeks for the chlorine to clear, any perceived changes to the taste and smell may persist through early April. At least, that's what the City wants us to believe. In 2014, an angry woman from L’Hermitage II insisted that political cockroach Roger Stone spiked the water!

Click To City of Fort Lauderdale 2014 Water Quality Report City Manager Lee Feldman assures residents who call the city for information that "the Customer Service staff is educated on the chlorination process and is available to accommodate any inquiries." For more information about the City’s water quality, please visit http://www.fortlauderdale.gov/home/showdocument?id=21264 to view the City’s most recent Water Quality Report (2016). Bottoms up!

Click To Peele Dixie Water Treatment Plant

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Commissioner Bruce Roberts

Free Chlorine || Body Cams || Fire Station 54

Vice Mayor Bruce G. Roberts February 2018 Newsletter
Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
VICE MAYOR BRUCE ROBERTS
February 7, 2018 - In his February 2018 Newsletter, Vice Mayor Bruce Roberts welcomes Commissioner-Elect Heather Moraitis to step into his District 1 shoes, announces Mayor Seiler’s State of the City Address at the recently transformed South Side Cultural Arts Center, alerts municipal water customers to the temporary introduction of free chlorine into our drinking water to boost the disinfection process, reports how a city IT team sought to cure a glitch in the FLPD body worn cameras pilot program by exploring how their Orlando peers deployed similar equipment, updates constituents about the progress of District 1 infrastructure projects either completed, currently underway, or on the drawing board, including the long awaited construction kick-off of Fire Rescue Station 54. Roberts closes with a list of upcoming events, essentially commission meetings leading up to the March 13, 2018 municipal election - and the swearing in ceremony a week later.

Body Cameras: A Bumpy Start

Body worn camera programs are exploding across jurisdictions intrigued by their unique law enforcement benefits, such as obtaining evidence for criminal prosecutions, protecting officers from false allegations of misconduct, curbing overzealous enforcement, strengthening police accountability by documenting interactions with the public, and increasing Departmental transparency by providing the public with access to video evidence of police encounters. It has also been proven to reduce the number of shootings by Police Officers. However, in January of 2016, the Fort Lauderdale City Commission postponed a body worn camera (BWC) pilot program pending the development of guidelines to protect participants, the public and the Police Department.

Broward Sheriff's Office Body Worn Camera
BROWARD SHERIFF'S OFFICE BODY WORN CAMERA
Although similar programs were already underway in more than 60 police departments nationwide, including the Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) and the Hallandale Beach Police Department, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler expressed concern about how the courts would react to the inadvertent recording of bystanders not involved in an incident, such as emergency room patients whose privacy rights are shielded by statute.

City Attorney Cynthia Everett
CITY ATTORNEY CYNTHIA EVERETT
Commission concerns about judicial blowback weren’t without merit. Florida jurisdictions invested $millions in red light camera systems that largely became landfill fodder once their enabling ordinances were reversed in courts. When City Attorney Cynthia Everett told Commissioners “I don’t believe there’s any legal impediment to implementing this program, if that’s what you want to do. We’re going to have policies and procedures and training,” Roberts asked Everett to draft an official legal opinion about the body-worn cameras.

Click to Buffalo Business First Census Article Commissioners also expressed reservations about the cost of storing and managing an ever-growing evidentiary database of tapes, disks and/or flip drives. For instance, when lawyers, victims, suspects, the media, or members of the public file a public records request for a video, to mitigate prospective liability damage claims, the Department must first perform a costly legal analysis and redact any material subject to public records exemptions.

Mayor Jack Seiler
MAYOR JACK SEILER
To shield members from lawsuits alleging a violation of privacy rights, the police union sought to amend its collective bargaining agreement with protection against potential personal liability for participating officers. Commissioner (and former Fort Lauderdale Police Chief) Bruce Roberts suggested soliciting input from the Citizens Police Review Board. Once the Commission concluded that the City should move ahead with a test program, Mayor Jack Seiler charged staff with identifying obstacles to the pilot program and customizing policy guidelines.

BSO Chimes In

Broward Sheriff Scott Israel
BROWARD SHERIFF SCOTT ISRAEL
On March 22, 2016, Broward Sheriff Scott Israel announced that a pilot BWC program of 50 road patrol deputies in North Lauderdale, Central Broward County, Pompano Beach and Deerfield Beach, would soon be expanded to 1500 BSO officers. Despite his vow to enforce a BSO policy dictating when the cameras must be used, Israel’s disclosure that deputies would be allowed to manually turn the cameras on and off prompted Broward's Chief Assistant Public Defender Gordon Weekes, Jr. to raise another program impediment, observing “An officer will never record his or her own misconduct.”

Chief Assistant Public Defender Gordon Weekes, Jr.
CHIEF ASST PUB. DEFENDER GORDON WEEKES
A body worn camera (BWC) is always recording, but until the officer turns it on, the recording is regularly overwritten. As such, along with whatever is preserved after the system is turned on, events recorded prior to a specific incident are also available. How much of that prior video is also preserved will depend on the Department’s policy, and could range from one minute to one hour - or more. The program’s intuitive vulnerabilities suggest the critical importance of a bulletproof governing policy. Fortunately, a growing pool of policy resources has been made available to jurisdictions for this purpose.

Crafting a BWC Policy

Click to Police Executive Research Forum
City Manager Lee Feldman
CITY MANAGER LEE FELDMAN
In compliance with a Commission directive to craft an effective BWC policy, City Manager Lee Feldman solicited input from Law Enforcement agencies and private consultants authoritatively experienced with developing BWC best practices. With support from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing (AKA COPS), the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) extensively researched the use of body-worn cameras by Law Enforcement. PERF reviewed dozens of BWC policies submitted by police agencies while interviewing scores of police executives with relevant expertise.

Click to  U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Click to PERF Study Compiling this research into a study detailing the factors that law enforcement agencies must address when formulating a body-worn cameras policy, PERF published “Implementing a Body-Worn Camera Program: Recommendations and Lessons Learned.” While adapting a comprehensive set of policy recommendations to the available resources and statutory constraints of any law enforcement agency, PERF also exhorts jurisdictions to invite input from frontline officers, legal advisors and the community.

Click to Bobcat Training and Consulting, Inc. As city staff molded the PERF data into a draft policy, Feldman opened a dialogue with several U.S, cities that conducted independent studies. He also reached out to Bobcat Training and Consulting, Inc., a “Community Policing” consultant hired by the city to improve FLPD’s operational protocols.

Next, Feldman solicited feedback about the draft policy from the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, the Fort Lauderdale Council of Civic Associations, the Broward County Urban League, the Fort Lauderdale Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Broward Dream Defenders and the City’s Citizens Police Review Board.

Lawmakers Mandate BWC Program Policies

Slain Musician Corey Jones
SLAIN MUSICIAN COREY JONES
While Feldman was framing a BWC policy, Florida lawmakers finally plugged a longstanding vacuum in state law. Driven by the controversial Palm Beach Gardens shooting death of Corey Jones, Broward Statehouse Representative Shevrin Jones (D – West Park) filed House Bill 93, which was signed into law on March 24, 2016. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, thirty-four states (and Washington D.C.) have already passed body camera laws.

Statehouse Representative Shevrin Jones
STATEHOUSE REPRESENTATIVE SHEVRIN JONES
The legislation requires jurisdictions to formulate policies prior to using body cameras, and specifies rules for storing audiovisual data that comply with Florida public records laws. The Florida BWC law essentially codifies PERF policy recommendations. Florida cities and counties seeking to add body cameras to their law enforcement arsenals will have to wade through the same policy options navigated by Feldman.

Click to Florida Police Benevolent Association During the 2017 legislative session, lawmakers amended the 2016 Statute. Conceived and supported by Florida Police Benevolent Association (PBA) lobbyists, Senate Bill 624 and House Bill 305 featured a single paragraph that allows police officers to review the recorded footage on their body cameras before writing reports or making statements. While proponents claim that the legislation will allow officers to provide a more accurate and detailed description of events, opponents decry providing an unfair advantage to officers when their recollection of events conflicts with those of other witnesses.

Cato Institute Analyst Matthew Feeney
CATO INSTITUTE ANALYST MATTHEW FEENEY
Aspiring to add context to the controversy, Analyst Matthew Feeney with the Washington D.C.-based Cato Institute said he is skeptical of such body-camera review policies, especially when they extend to the most serious kinds of interactions between law enforcement and the public, particularly shootings. Feeney explained, “The legality of use-of-force incidents often hinges on what an officer believed or thought at the time of the incident. The problem with these kinds of proposals is that they give officers an unfair advantage that is not given to citizens.” Despite related concerns raised by Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) and Sen. Jeff Clemens (D-Lake Worth) in the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, the legislation was unanimously approved in both chambers.

Policy Approval Uncorks Pilot Program

Click to Axon Incorporated Click to Motorola Solutions, Inc, Having received ten (10) vendor responses for a proposed “turn-key solution to capture video from an officer’s perspective,” Feldman placed the issue on the December 6, 2016, Commission Meeting agenda, where he finally delivered the policy guidelines requested eleven months earlier.

Click to VieVu LLC On January 4, 2017, the city agreed to kick in $600,000, its share of a matching grant provided by the Federal Body-Worn Camera Policy and Implementation Program (through the Department of Justice / Office of Justice Grant Programs for Body-Worn Cameras). The funds will cushion the BWC Pilot Program’s $1.2 million burden on taxpayers. The $600,000 matching grant awarded to Fort Lauderdale was the third largest Florida distribution in 2016, after Broward County ($999,564) and Miami ($960,000).

Click to Businesswire
Assistant Police Chief Mike Gregory
ASST POLICE CHIEF MIKE GREGORY
With the Commission on board, city staff embarked on a collaborative effort with FLPD (and input from police union officials) to evaluate the vendor proposals. The review team included Assistant Police Chief Mike Gregory, a former FLPD liaison to the Galt Mile. By vetting the various systems - assessing each vendor’s technology, training regimen and support capabilities - the procurement team finally narrowed the field to three vendors by February 21, 2017, selecting the Body Worn Cameras (BWC) and Digital Evidence Management Systems provided by Motorola Solutions, Inc, Axon Incorporated (also referred to as Taser) and VieVu LLC. Two of the three would win a City contract.

When VieVu LLC failed to provide a Best and Final Offer (BAFO) by the May 22, 2017 deadline, they were dropped as “non-responsive”, prompting staff to recommend awarding the two pilot program contracts to Axon and Motorola on June 6, 2017. On November 13, 2017, FLPD announced that 35 of the more than 50 BWC pilot program volunteers would receive product training from the two vendors between November 27th and December 8th, “after which time, they would begin their patrol duties outfitted with the cameras.”

Mystery Glitch

Click to Orlando Police Department Editing Police Video As explained by Roberts, shortly after pilot project officers concluded their training on December 8, and began using the cameras on patrols, they ran into problems with uploading and sharing their recorded video content. Although Roberts doesn’t disclose whether the problems afflicted the system provided by Motorola, Axon or those of both vendors, he mentions that the IT team sought to fix the problem by consulting with police officials in Orlando, having learned that their Digital Evidence Management System was free of glitches, and working perfectly.

Since Motorola underbid Axon while competing for the Orlando BWC contract in December 2016, the Orlando Police Department purchased 450 Motorola cameras and the Motorola video management system. Given the IT team’s decision to compare notes with Orlando, one might conclude that the Fort Lauderdale glitch resides in their Motorola hardware or software, or how either is being utilized. However, since a hiccup like this could damage the company’s credibility at a time that its poised to sell hundreds of similar systems across the planet, why couldn’t an army of Motorola technicians obliterate the glitch in short order? To peruse Commissioner Roberts’ February 2018 Newsletter in it's entirety, read on – [editor]

From The Desk of
Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts

Commissioner-Elect Heather Moraitis
DISTRICT 1 COMMISSIONER-ELECT
HEATHER MORAITIS
Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
DISTRICT 1 COMMISSIONER
BRUCE G. ROBERTS
I would like to say it has been a pleasure serving you for the past 9 years. During that time, we have made great strides in making this City a better place to live, work and play. Some of those accomplishments have been within our District; others throughout the City. We all want the same end result – making sure the future of Fort Lauderdale remains a beautiful place to live and visit. I would also like you to join me in welcoming Commissioner Elect Heather Moraitis who will take over the position of District 1 Commissioner on March 20, 2018. She brings with her Melissa Coningsby as her Commission Assistant replacing Robbi Uptegrove who will be retiring after 17 years with the City.

South Side Cultural Arts Center
SOUTH SIDE CULTURAL ARTS CENTER
STATE OF THE CITY SET FOR JANUARY 30: Join Mayor John P. “Jack” Seiler and the Fort Lauderdale City Commission for the State of the City Address, Advisory Board Reception, and Ribbon-cutting Ceremony to celebrate the completion of the South Side Cultural Arts Center. The event will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018, at 5:30 PM at South Side Cultural Arts Center, 701 S Andrews Avenue. The evening will begin with a networking reception at 5:30 PM to acknowledge Advisory Board and Committee members for their volunteer service to the City. A ribbon-cutting will occur at 6:30 PM to celebrate the completion of the restoration of historic South Side School, which has been transformed into the new South Side Cultural Arts Center. At 7 PM, Mayor Seiler will deliver his final State of the City Address, which will review many of Fort Lauderdale’s accomplishments and highlight opportunities that lie ahead. To RSVP, please email cfoster@fortlauderdale.gov or call 954-828-4741.

Chlorine Attracting Water
CHLORINE ATTRACTING WATER
CITY TO CHLORINATE WATER SYSTEM: The City will temporarily return to using free chlorine in its drinking water system. This preventive maintenance procedure will begin at 9 AM Tuesday, February 13 and will end at 9 AM Tuesday, March 20. Free chlorination is a common practice for water systems using combined chlorine disinfection. The chlorination period is anticipated to be transparent to water customers; however, some may notice a slight change in the taste or smell of their tap water. Some customers may also see water running from fire hydrants in their neighborhoods, which is part of the normal maintenance process. The City maintains the highest standards to ensure that clean, high quality drinking water is delivered to its customers. The City's drinking water meets all federal, state, and local drinking water quality standards. For more information, Fort Lauderdale utility customers may contact the 24-hour Neighbor Call Center at 954-828-8000 or online at www.fortlauderdale.gov/lauderserv. Customers who receive a utility bill from other municipalities or entities should call their respective water provider’s customer service phone number for more information.

Click to Axpon Body Worn Camera Click to Axpon Body Worn Camera POLICE BODY WORN CAMERAS PILOT PROGRAM: Pilot users have been recording and submitting videos to both the Axon (Taser) and Motorola BWC systems since training concluded December 8, 2017. We have experienced several setup/configuration type issues that City IT and the vendors have been addressing. These include slow speeds and lockups when uploading videos as well as challenges sharing videos with detectives and the State Attorney’s Office. The implementation team has travelled to Orlando Police Department for a site visit and to discuss video management strategies. They are not incurring any upload timeouts or extraordinary delays. This was useful and as a result IT will be performing additional testing on the FLPD/City network.

UPDATE ON CITY PROJECTS IN DISTRICT 1:

  • Galt Shoppes Area Bike Route with sharrows and signage
    GALT SHOPPES AREA BIKE ROUTE WITH SHARROWS AND SIGNAGE
    Bike Route through Galt Shoppes Area with sharrows and signage – (Galt Mile)

    • Access Road (east side of Intracoastal Waterway): Combination of sharrows and designated bike lanes (under the bridge) is being studied for structure, survey and utility. A typical section will be prepared as the design progresses. The preliminary FDOT concept was for all sharrows; however, City staff pushed to ensure that bike lanes were provided under the bridge for all users’ safety.

    • NE 33rd Avenue: Sharrows from Access Road (north of Oakland Park Boulevard) to NE 34th Street

    • NE 34th Street: Sharrows from NE 33rd Avenue to A1A

    • Middle River Drive: Bike Lanes and Sidewalks - Staff attended the 9/27/17 Coral Ridge Association Board meeting to share the concept and received unanimous support to move forward into design.

    • NE 32nd Street: Designated bike lane from NE 26th Ave to NE 30th Ave to Access Road. The concept was shared with nthe HOA president of Coral Ridge Country Club Estates and he provided written support of the project on behalf of his neighborhood.

  • Click to Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Station 54Fire Station #54: The construction phase is currently 20% complete. Burke Construction Group (BCG) has completed the block walls around the first floor. The contractor is currently placing I-beams for the second level floor deck and installing metal decking. The block wall for second floor has also started.

  • Completed Projects:

    • Signal Repaired at Galt Ocean Drive north of NE 36th Street

    • 6 radar signs in the Coral Ridge Community

    • 2 Speed humps on NE 29 Ave north of NE 68 Street

    • 4 speed humps on NE 68 Street east of NE 31 Ave

    • Striping/swale work on Yacht Club Blvd.

    • District-wide speed hump restriping including Bayview Drive

    • 1 Radar sign on NE 55 Street west of bridge

    • Speed hump installation on NE 24 Terrace north of NE 62 Street

    • Installation of flexible delineators on NE 62 Street east of NE 18 Ave

  • Upcoming Projects:

    • Speed Radar Signs along Cypress Creek Rd/NE 62nd Street in partnership with Broward County are currently being installed in the first few months of 2018 by Broward County. Four total signs will be installed per discussions.

DATES TO CALENDAR:

  • 2/05/18: Pre-agenda Meeting – Beach Community Center - 6 pm

  • 2/06/18: Commission Meetings - City Hall – 1:30 pm and 6 pm

  • 2/19/18: Pre-agenda Meeting – Imperial Point Hospital, South Entrance – 6pm

  • 2/20/18: Commission Meetings - City Hall – 1:30 pm and 6 pm

  • 3/05/18: Pre-agenda Meeting – Beach Community Center - 6 pm

  • 3/06/18: Commission Meetings - City Hall – 1:30 pm and 6 pm

  • Click to Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show 3/13/18: GET OUT AND VOTE

  • 3/19/18: Pre-agenda Meeting – Imperial Point Hospital, South Entrance – 6pm

  • 3/20/17: SWEARING IN OF NEW MAYOR AND COMMISSION – 11AM – CITY HALL CHAMBERS

  • 3/20/18: Commission Meetings - City Hall – 1:30 pm and 6 pm

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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Firefighters Click Here to Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue December 17, 2017 - Dispatched from each of the City's eleven Fire Stations, Fort Lauderdale firefighters annually respond to 55 thousand reported fires and medical emergencies. Anyone who enters a burning building to save lives is a hero. As a rule, the respect and admiration earned by our firefighters and Fire-Rescue EMS paramedics typically extends to the department’s leadership. Specifically, a Fire Chief who used to walk in their shoes.

Click Here to Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue Fire Marshals don’t rescue people endangered by fire, or provide those threatened by medical emergencies with a chance to survive a harrowing ordeal. In describing their “mission”, the City website observes how inspectors and investigators directed by the Fire Marshal “effectively utilize the principles of engineering, education and enforcement to protect our citizens, our workplace, our homes and our environment from the ravages of fire.”

Fort Lauderdale Fire Marshal Jeff Lucas
FORT LAUDERDALE FIRE MARSHAL JEFF LUCAS
In the City of Fort Lauderdale, the Fire Prevention Bureau is answerable to Fort Lauderdale Fire Marshal Jeff Lucas, whose unique talent for engendering cooperation has manifested a sea change in Bureau operations. By crafting enforcement policies that incorporate the concerns of homeowners, merchants, neighborhood associations and civic organizations – while enlisting their assistance – Lucas has measurably limited the number and severity of fires in Fort Lauderdale, an achievement that merited official recognition by the City and his peers.

Fort Lauderdale Fire Inspectors
FORT LAUDERDALE FIRE INSPECTORS
The Bureau’s Fire Inspectors are dually certified as fire-fighters and its investigators are among the most highly-credentialed professionals on the City payroll. Working seamlessly with the Building Department’s Design Review team, after FPB Fire Inspectors scrutinize all building plans submitted by permit applicants to enforce compliance with national, state and local fire and life-safety codes, they verify compliance onsite prior to approving a certificate of occupancy (CO) or completion.

Association Homeowners Ripped Off Each year, notices posted on association bulletin boards announce the annual fire safety inspection, when our Fire Marshal ensures the availability of proper egress and certifies that code compliant fire protection systems are being carefully maintained. Required for all structures in his jurisdiction with a certificate of occupancy, these annual inspections enable Lucas to keep our homes safe.

Click Here to Fort Lauderdale Police Department Click Here to Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives The Bureau’s Fire Investigation Unit (FIU) is charged with diagnosing a fire’s origin and cause. Five on-call fire investigators are available to an on-scene Incident Commander (IC) to help ascertain those conditions that triggered or contributed to a fire, and if intentional, provide insight into prospective motives. When their findings lead to a criminal investigation, they will work closely with FLPD arson detectives, and investigators from the Florida Division of State Fire Marshal, the Bureau of Fire & Arson Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF). Teaming with emergency management agencies, the Unit also helps displaced families find lodging while helping to restore habitability to their decimated homes.

Fire Chief Robert Hoecherl
FIRE CHIEF ROBERT HOECHERL
Fire Chief Jeffrey Justinak
FIRE CHIEF JEFFREY JUSTINAK
Since his appointment less than three years ago, Lucas and Fire Chief Robert Hoecherl have transformed Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue into one of the nation's most formidable fire services. When Deputy Fire Chief Robert Hoecherl replaced the retiring Jeffrey Justinak as Fort Lauderdale’s Fire Chief, he launched a plan to upgrade the department’s Public Protection Classification (PPC), which insurance companies use to measure risk (and calculate premiums) for properties within the department’s fire district.

Click Here to Insurance Services Office (ISO) The Insurance Services Office (ISO) uses factors included in their proprietary Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS) to evaluate a fire department’s capabilities. While Hoecherl could address FSRS requirements for the adequate staffing of engine crews and ladder companies, deploy appropriate apparatus and equipment, improve training and communications, increase water supplies, and adapt the department’s organizational structure, he would need a savvy, impressively credentialed Fire Marshal to meet the rigorous FSRS Fire Prevention standards. Lucas was perfect.

Fire Chief Robert Hoecherl, Captain Greg May, Deputy Fire Chiefs Doug Stanley and Tim Heiser, Fire Marshal Jeff Lucas, Deputy Fire Chief Bob Simac and City Manager Lee Feldman
FIRE CHIEF ROBERT HOECHERL, FIRE MARSHAL JEFF LUCAS
CITY MANAGER LEE FELDMAN AND OTHER FIRE RESCUE OFFICIALS
At their September 1, 2015 meeting, City commissioners honored Fire-Rescue officials and City Manager Lee Feldman when Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue earned “ISO 1” – the highest Public Protection Classification offered by the Insurance Services Office (ISO) – and national accreditation by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International. The top-level ISO 1 insurance rating would reduce citywide fire insurance premiums through the year 2020 by up to 2 percent for homeowners and up to 12 percent for commercial properties. At that time, only 32 of the nation’s more than 47,000 fire departments had achieved the ISO 1 rating. Of the 32, two other Broward jurisdictions met the uncompromising ISO-1 standard – the Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue in Weston and Deerfield Beach. The nationwide list currently features 241 fire districts classified as ISO 1).

Assistant Fire Marshal / Battalion Chief Jo-Ann Lorber Award
ASSISTANT FIRE MARSHAL JO-ANN LORBER SNAGS AWARD
Click Here to Center for Public Safety Excellence The City Commission additionally recognized Lucas for having merited a Fire Marshal Designation from the prestigious Center for Public Safety Excellence in Chantilly, Virginia. Since the program’s inception, only 133 candidates worldwide have earned this unique accreditation. Evidently, hitting one’s mark is infectious in Lucas’ wheelhouse. A few months earlier, Assistant Fire Marshal / Battalion Chief Jo-Ann Lorber was named Florida’s Executive Fire Officer of the Year for 2014.

Click Here to Declaratory Statement Case No. 189152-16-DS Lucas proactively seeks opportunities to partner with local communities, inviting unfettered communications. When enforcing the Fire Code, our Fire Marshal works with area homeowners and merchants to maximize the level of fire protection each can afford. During emergencies, you’ll often find him at ground zero. When a broken water line threatened the fire protection capabilities of a Galt Mile association last year, they didn’t have to solicit a sub-grade excavation clearance from Sunshine State 811 and an emergency permit to tear up the street. Instead, when Lucas arrived, he personally took charge of locating an unknown control valve and ended the flooding.

Click Here to Fire Marshal of the Year In contrast with many of his peers, Lucas has proven fair-minded and forthright. Shortly after Fire Sprinkler association lobbyists circumvented State Law by engineering a Declaratory Statement exhorting high-rise associations that legally opted out of retrofitting a $multi-million fire sprinkler system to instead install a $multi-million Engineered Life Safety System (which includes fire sprinklers), Lucas informed Galt Mile officials that he disagreed with the "revised" interpretation of the Fire Code, and observed “I would think if you opt out, then you opt out of all.” He suggested that associations “pursue this with the State”. Heeding his advice, Galt Mile officials are working to capsize this corporate extortion.

On November 9, 2017, the Florida Fire Marshals and Inspectors Association” named Lucas, “Fire Marshal of the Year”. Of course, this is the Venice of America, where those who distinguish themselves are often snatched up by another jurisdiction, or price tag their moral compass and disappear into the private sector. That said, Fort Lauderdale homeowners and merchants who meet with Lucas are usually struck by the same observation – “We’re lucky to have him.” As always – time will tell...

 


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