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MINUTES OF GMCA ADVISORY BOARD MEETING

JANUARY 21, 2010


The meeting was called to order at 11:00 a.m. by President Pio Ieraci.

Board Members present: Ieraci, Berkowitz, Glickfield, Hamaker, Songer, Nesbitt, McBride, Abruzzino, Alfano, Bazerghi, Bibace, Bindler, Nicholson-Brown, Casier, Cumings, Dally, Drews, Freismuth, Rainey, Vanek and Weck.

Approval of Minutes - The minutes of the November 19, 2009 meeting were approved.

Old and New Business

Pio introduced Water Taxi Sales & Marketing Director Terry Gilchrist. After reviewing the traditional locations serviced by the Water Taxi, she announced that Il Lugano was added on December 18, 2009. A kick-off event is being planned to celebrate the launch of the new Water Taxi stop from Il Lugano, as well as the Calypso victory. Pio will notify members once Terri and Il Lugano finalize event details. Pio also introduced Matthew Moritz, the proprietor of a boutique transportation company that deploys rickshaw cabs, who offered local maps that feature Water Taxi information/schedules.

Representing the Il Lugano Suite Hotel, Sales and Marketing Director Catherine Cumings explained that several individual condos have negotiated special rates with Il Lugano for friends, relatives, etc. staying at the hotel. It was recommended that Il Lugano offer “Galt Mile discounts” applicable to every association.

Pio introduced Broward County Mayor and District 4 Commissioner Ken Keechl, who shared the following:

  • His goal is to continue representing District 4 while performing his responsibilities as Broward’s Mayor.

  • He remains aggressively committed to keeping property taxes down. Since he was elected, the Commission has trimmed an annually recurring $380 million from the County budget.

  • He warned that the Galt Mile Reading Center will likely come under attack again during next year’s budget process.

  • Since making committee assignments is one of his mayoral prerogatives, he will continue serving on the TMA committee (City Commissioner Bruce Roberts also serves on the TMA Board).

  • He voted to create the Broward County Ethics Committee. Keechl confirmed that we need ethics reform and he will be supportive of this group. He explained the importance of “selection committees.”

  • Broward residents are clamoring for reform; want issues to be open, transparent and free from conflict.

  • The Mayor addressed helping victims of the Haiti catastrophe, ongoing beach renourishment efforts, the need to oppose recent political maneuvers to open the Florida coast to offshore drilling and the benefits of Representative Ellyn Bogdanoff’s sprinkler retrofit opt-out bill. Since the Federal government is in control, a prospective mass exodus from Haiti to Florida is highly unlikely. However, the closed stockade facility could be adapted to house Haitians if necessary.

Members discussed what we on the Mile could do to help Haitian relief. It was noted that some charitable organizations process contributions more efficiently and expeditiously than others. The following organizations were recommended for donations: The United Way, Doctors Without Borders and the American Red Cross.

Kevin Songer made a motion that 10% of the funds currently in the treasury (rounded to $1100.00) be sent to Doctors Without Borders for the Haitian Relief fund. The motion was seconded by Dott Nicholson-Brown and unanimously approved.

Pio introduced City of Fort Lauderdale District I Commissioner and Vice Mayor Bruce Roberts, who shared the following:

  • Property tax revenues decreased by 20% due to deflated property values. This impacts many aspects of government, including employee cuts (although no employees were cut in the FY 2010 municipal budget).

  • He reviewed upcoming city/county civic events (the Pro Bowl and SuperBowl games, “Where the Boys Are” reunion, Centennial Event, etc).

  • He is on top of law enforcement issues recently in the press.

Questions were asked regarding unfair/unreasonable association water charges due to new rate structure. This subject will be discussed at the President’s Council meeting on February 1st at the Galleon.

Addressing concerns about graffiti/markings (utility graffiti) on our sidewalks, he referred to a relevant bill being circulated in Tallahassee.

Managing Director Patricia Zeiler of the Downtown Fort Lauderdale Transportation Management Association (DFLTMA) – the Sun Trolley - was introduced. She stated that she has appointed a Chairperson for the newly formed Galt Mile Advisory Committee.

Beach Renourishment

The need to update the project’s scientific statistical underpinnings because of the many questionable delays is frustrating. Surveying and permitting will be done in 2010 and work will start in 2011.

Galt Mile Web Site – Newsletter – Eric Berkowitz -

Since ad sales continue to exceed $700 per edition, no subsidy has been required.

  • December Web Site Stats: 758,976 hits; 13,897 unique site visits (first timers)

The past month’s articles:

  • December 14, 2009 - Commissioner Keechl Elected Broward Mayor - Despite the relative brevity of his tenure on the Broward Board of County Commissioners, District 4 Commissioner Ken Keechl was elected Mayor of Broward County by his Commission peers on November 17, 2009. Actually, he was preordained as the County’s top dog last November when Stacy Ritter was elected Mayor and Keechl was named Vice Mayor. In Broward County, the Commission practices a variation of Mayoral musical chairs, allowing every member one year in the largely ceremonial catbird seat after first spending a year as Vice Mayor. Although Keechl’s new status isn’t accompanied by the big stick warmly spoken of by former President Teddy Roosevelt, he can more closely align County policy with his own fiscally conservative, environmentally conscientious ideologies. It also won’t hurt the County’s ethically tarnished image to be headed by a squeaky clean, clear-thinking work-a-holic. As to his District 4 constituents, the Mayor will continue to address their concerns, only with a louder voice.

  • December 21, 2009 - Galt Mile Preps for 4th Annual Food Drive - On December 7th, Cooperative Feeding Program Executive Director Scott Woodburn and Fort Lauderdale Real Estate proprietor Domenic Faro made their way to Playa del Sol Condominium Association to address a GMCA Presidents Council meeting. Four years earlier, Domenic and Scott invited the Galt Mile Community Association to sponsor a food drive on behalf of the Cooperative Feeding Program, Broward County’s lead agency for the provision of services to the hungry and homeless. Since then, the annual event marshaled over 5000 lbs. of food and hygiene products in 2007, more than 11,000 lbs. in 2008 and almost 15,000 lbs. during last year's effort. As Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler and Vice Mayor Bruce Roberts patiently waited to address the room of association officials, Woodburn faulted the economic downturn with burning through program resources and prompting a new objective for this year's Galt Ocean Mile food Drive - 10 tons of relief for hungry Broward families!

  • December 29, 2009 - Judges Jump when Banks Bark - On November 30, 2009, association attorney and activist Donna Berger sent an email recounting a November 24th blog she wrote about banking industry in-court maneuvers that have associations frantically trotting a legal hamster wheel. The blog entry speaks to institutionalized tactics promulgated by banks to forestall taking title to foreclosed properties. Among the battery of methodologies deployed by the banking industry are legal motions that are akin to monkey wrenches thrown into the judicial process. Usually reserved for urgent matters where requiring notice would subject one party to irreparable harm, ex parte motions are requests for emergency rulings on behalf of or involving only one party to a legal matter and in the absence of and usually without notice to the other party. While it is possible that judges are oblivious to the part they play in exacerbating the burden on every one of the association’s unit owners, the regularity with which courts cooperate with these overtly abusive tactics supports that their complicity is “informed”.

  • January 6, 2010 - Corporate Cacography Chafes Chepo - To insure that the City of Fort Lauderdale complies with their agreement to maintain the Galt Ocean Mile in a “Disney-like manner”, José “Chepo” Vega accompanied Parks officials and maintenance crews as they actualized a maintenance strategy hammered out by the unassuming Commodore resident with Park Operations Superintendent Brian Hopper and Beach Foreman Mark Almy. Within a year, the team of civic and municipal stalwarts, with the blessings of Parks Director Phil Thornburg and Vice Mayor Bruce Roberts, reversed almost 4 years of maintenance neglect and reclaimed much of the neighborhood's former ambiance. Ever vigilant, the watchful Chepo has targeted several new obstacles obscuring the community's aesthetic rebirth. Along with strengthening tree braces that succumbed to unusually harsh seasonal winds, he intends to face down corporate purveyors of an urban phenomenon he dubbed “Utility Graffiti”. He wants the industrial psychedelia GONE!

  • January 15, 2010 - The City Commission’s Public Lynching - On November 17th, the City of Fort Lauderdale underwent a sea change. Residents from virtually every city neighborhood were joined by dozens of municipal and civic volunteers, business leaders, city employees, former Commissioners, religious leaders and minorities of every stripe in expressing appreciation for the management team that expedited the City's recovery following the 2003 fiscal implosion and subsequently steered Fort Lauderdale to its current status as South Florida's most solvent and well managed municipality. Since the new commissioners all campaigned on responsivity to constituent input and safeguarding the City wallet, city residents flooded the Commission chambers to insure that their elected representatives voted to retain City Manager George Gretsas, a lynchpin of the City's operational and fiscal stability. Instead, the City Manager experienced what Commissioner Bobby DuBose called a “public lynching” by two City Commissioners pursuing what Commissioner Romney Rogers characterized as personal and political agendas over the interests and wishes of their constituents. While sharing in the citywide frustration over the outcome of a process described by former Commissioners John Aurelius and Dean Trantalis as "subverted by revenge and politics," participating Galt Mile residents additionally questioned whether they'd been deliberately misled or only marginalized by District 1 Commissioner Bruce Roberts. Since the current economic maelstrom will intensify the consequences of replacing a competent Manager with an unknown quantity, Galt Mile residents share a significant stake in the dynamic driving this issue. As such, the following unsettling blend of elements from C-SPAN, “What’s my Line” and “The Gong Show” is a comprehensive summary of events surrounding the City Commission's antics of November 17th.

Other Business

  • We have the right to suspend use of common elements for those not paying their maintenance.

  • Pio met with Ellyn Bogdanoff about House Bill 561 and learned that the Governor has no problem with this bill (which contains sprinkler retrofit opt out). The bill will include the corrective insurance provisions vetoed in last year’s important “Glitch Bill” – SB 714 and will include coops. We must stay on top of this.

  • Discussed OSHA letter/fines, letter from Plaza East. Each building must be aware of OSHA regulations to preclude another incident. Dott will send OSHA regulations information to Pio who will forward it to all buildings.

  • On Sunday, a barge washed up on the beach at Plaza South. After Pio called George Gretsas, the barge was removed on Tuesday.

  • There will be a Recycling & Solar Power meeting in February. Fred Nesbitt will send information to Pio when it is available.

  • Discussed red light camera enforcement at intersections. Commissioner Roberts stated that you can appeal these tickets; the cameras address a public safety issue and revenues decline over time as people become aware of the cameras.

Treasurer’s Report - Leah Glickfield

The treasurer reported that we have a balance of $11,770.29.

Next Advisory Board Meeting - The next regular Advisory Board Meeting will be held on Thursday, February 18, 2010 at Nick’s Italian Restaurant.

The meeting was adjourned at 1:00 p.m.

Fern McBride
Fern McBride, Secretary

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