MINUTES OF GMCA ADVISORY BOARD MEETING
NOVEMBER 20, 2008
The meeting was called to order at 11:15 a.m. by President Pio Ieraci.
Board Members present: Ieraci, Berkowitz, Glickfield, Guttman, Hamaker, Songer, McBride, Abruzzino, Bindler, Comis, Creal, Ellis, Gilligan, Glazer, Gonzalez, Guglielmetti, Mayer, Nesbitt, O’Neill, Orr, Rainey, Sanichas, Solewin, Vanek and Weck.
Approval of Minutes - The minutes of October 16, 2008 were not available.
Update – Old and New Business
Pio asked that two representatives be appointed for each Association.
A moment of silence was observed in memory of longtime member Dr. Alex Leeds, who passed away on October 15th.
Discussed the fire at Port Everglades; a potential catastrophe was averted.
Beached shipwreck was removed by the City thanks to Christine Teel and George Gretsas.
Beach Raker – The beach was not raked after the storm because the turtle nests required replacement markers. Raking was resumed on October 2, with the exception of four buildings with turtle nests. Pio met with manager of Beach Raker – notice will be sent offering a 20% discount to all buildings for the month of September. Each building will decide whether or not to accept the 20% discount.
Jeff Atwater’s swearing in ceremony as Senate President was a great event.
Calypso Project – Pio Ieraci
We await notice of the final public meeting, which has not been set as of this date. When the date is announced, we will need to seriously mobilize many people from the Mile and Broward County for the meeting. This will include securing busses and sending notices. Relevant information is available on www.galtmile.com and www.stopcalypso.com
The sidewalk and landscaping have been completed. Our original intent was to memorialize people who have contributed to the Galt Mile neighborhood, which we will discuss after March 2009 to further this goal.
Il Lugano – Ralph Hamaker
The restaurant has opened – it is expensive. The street is finished; walkway to intracoastal is also completed; dockage is available. They have a beach on the intracoastal side. Ralph was asked to invite Il Lugano to join us.
Beach Renourishment - Segment II was placed on the Broward Commission agenda for fiscal review given current economic conditions. However, nothing happened at the meeting. Proponents of the Segment III renourishment are trying to usurp our resources. For those unfamiliar with the Beach Renourishment project, Pio reviewed its history from the beginning (1997). The bypass project for Port Everglades has nothing to do with Segment II. It was agreed to ask Steve Higgins to give us a presentation in January 2009; the City would arrange the meeting.
Galt Mile Security Patrol - Pio Ieraci
Need a meeting to update statistics; information needs to be shared with all member buildings. With one exception, every building has paid to date.
Galt Mile Web Site – Newsletter – Eric Berkowitz -
- October Hits: 840,766 hits; 12,165 unique site visits (first timers)
The past month’s articles:
October 1, 2008 - Commissioner Teel Sees Green - Last year, the Broward County Commission wrestled with a litany of Land Use issues in an effort to control development. A significant change in County policy evolved from a campaign issue in the District 4 race. Commissioner Ken Keechl stopped a developer from turning the American Golf Course in Coral Ridge into a strip of high end McMansions. In representing the wishes of an overwhelming constituent majority to freeze the project, Keechl rode the wave to his present Commission seat. Once in office, he steered the County Commission to protect Broward’s remaining Golf Courses from developmental mediocrity. In her September Newsletter, Commissioner Christine Teel spells out the City’s plan to incorporate the Land Use changes mandated by the County. The 18-step procedural maze offers 12 opportunities for public input. That means us!
October 7, 2008 - The Galt Mile’s Missing Master Plan - During his July 14th presentation at the Beach Community Center entitled “Goals and Objectives – 2008”, Fort Lauderdale City Manager George Gretsas thanked the thousands of residents who developed local Master Plans for Fort Lauderdale neighborhoods. Adding perspective, he explained, “We must keep in mind that neighborhoods are the most important parts of the city and must reflect the vision of their inhabitants.” The Florida Department of Transportation is preparing to rehabilitate State Road A1A from north of Flamingo Avenue to just south of Oakland Park Boulevard. At a meeting scheduled with a consultant and GMCA officials to insure that the neighborhood’s character is preserved, opportunities to actualize several neighborhood improvements hit a brick wall. Meeting the expensive regulatory prerequisites for any of the prospective improvements exceeded the budgetary maximum allotted for auxiliary hardscape or landscape features. The cure - a Master Plan in which those regulatory underpinnings are already compiled. Unfortunately, painfully absent from Mr. Gretsas’ impressive list of local Master Plans was the Galt Mile neighborhood!
October 13, 2008 - Keechl: Budgeting for Tough Times - Broward County Commissioner Ken Keechl recognizes that today’s prevailing pessimism is inversely proportional to the ebbing confidence we have in our economic environment. Taking solace in the cyclical nature of our economy, our District 4 Commissioner identifies a silver lining. Six months ago, his expressed plan to cut an additional $100 million from the 2009 County Budget elicited a benign skepticism from peers, bureaucrats and a host of overtly vested program beneficiaries. Incredibly, after reducing 2008 budget spending by $100 million, the County Commission knocked off another $87 million from this year’s product. Keechl’s satisfaction with the Budget reduction isn’t surprising, given its high ranking on his early 2008 wish list. Commissioner Keechl contends that the recession reduced the need for county government to rely on political will for motivation to exercise fiscal responsibility. Instead, the Broward Commission was forced to do what the rest of us are doing: learn to do more with less.
October 18, 2008 - Illness Claims Dr. Alexander Leeds - On Wednesday, October 15, 2008, thousands of Galt Ocean Mile residents were stunned by the unexpected loss of an irreplaceable friend. Following a tenacious struggle with stomach cancer, Dr. Alexander Leeds passed away. It is unlikely that the colossal vacuum created by his untimely death will soon be filled... if ever. By cloaking a piercing intelligence and soft heart in a laid-back friendly demeanor, Alex naturally commanded the respect and trust of neighbors, patients and peers. As President of L’Hermitage II and the L’Hermitage Community, Alex deployed sensibility and sensitivity to balance the needs of his neighbors with those of the Associations. While developing and managing several medical practices, Alex also earned community-wide esteem as the “town doctor”, fielding countless 24/7 calls for medical advice from friends and neighbors. As President of the Galt Merchants Association, this remarkable man was a tireless advocate for the community’s commercial development. With loving wife and partner Marilyn, Alex was rightfully proud of a nurturing family in which he was the beating heart.
October 23, 2008 - FDEP Flubs Galt Mile Beach Fix - Following clarification of the State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) plan to prohibit cleaning the beach mechanically until marked turtle nests washed out by storms were located, identified and marked anew, most residents patiently awaited completion of this environmentally reasonable objective. After a week, beachgoers began complaining about the mounds of seaweed piled up along the beach, each housing a growing community of organic waste. After another week, the painfully slow nest-marking effort prompted more and angrier objections to the increasing health hazard posed by the oozing bacterial colonies steeped in trash. With the addition of a bona fide shipwreck decomposing along the beach, the dilatory progress overseen by the DEP and Florida Fish and Wildlife set the stage for an interspecies showdown, as a growing number of residents blamed sea turtles for what were actually some callous policy decisions made by certain local DEP officials. Ultimately, the City stepped in to restore sanity and finance evacuation of the king-size mess, without disturbing one egg.
October 29, 2008 - Meeting the Players - On October 22nd, The Galt Mile Community Association sponsored an event to assist local residents ascertain the electability of the current crop of aspirants to municipal offices most relevant to the neighborhood. Scheduled at the Beach Community Center, Galt Mile residents were afforded the opportunity to meet the four mayoral hopefuls and the three candidates vying for the District 1 Commission seat. Half of the participants enjoyed the politically competitive advantage of name recognition, enabling residents to measure promises against a track record. The others embraced the opportunity to introduce themselves to those they mean to govern. During the few weeks from the event's conception through the only date compatible with candidates’ schedules and the Center’s erratic availability, the scores of submitted residents' questions were sorted by category, weighted by volume and compiled to parallel community concerns. Check candidates’ feedback about Beach Renourishment, City pension funds, a Galt Mile Master Plan, Turtles vs. People and other sticky issues.
November 5, 2008 - Conservationist Condemns Calypso - At the May 20, 2008 City Commission Conference meeting, Suez officials made a futile attempt to deter the Commissioners from issuing a resolution opposing construction of the Calypso gasworks. Instead of responding to the safety concerns expressed by worried residents, Calypso Manager Dan McGinnis had officials from Nova Oceanographic Center discuss the environmental virtues of establishing an industrial complex in the marine ecosystem off the Galt Mile Beach. When suspicious Commissioners asked the Nova academicians their connection with Calypso, they admitted having been hired by Calypso to help elicit approval for their license application. A week later, Calypso officials moved a meeting scheduled for the Galt Mile to the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) Headquarters in Dania Beach, again claiming that Calypso was an environmental asset. Former IGFA President and conservationist Mike Leech just sent an email to Governor Crist explaining that Calypso will critically damage the prime spawning and nursery area for sailfish, marlin, swordfish, dolphin, baby sea turtles, and dozens of other important species. It would also kill millions of fish, sea turtles and zooplankton.
November 11, 2008 - Breakthrough Bodes New Flu Strategy - According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Influenza is contracted by 5 to 20 % of the United States’ population annually. More than 200,000 victims are hospitalized from flu complications of which about 36,000 die. These mortifying statistics may change this year. A recent Harvard study links exposure to children to influenza contagion rates and symptomatic severity. Director Julie L. Gerberding of the CDC confirmed that although school-age children have the highest rate of flu infection, last year only 21% were vaccinated against the disease, allowing the flu an unchallenged opportunity to incubate and proliferate. Simply put, the chain of transmission in the vast majority of flu cases includes a school-age child. Immunizing that child should break the chain and, by definition, eliminate these cases. Known as “Herd Immunity”, it seeks to immunize the most prolific incubators or “Vectors” of the disease - school-age children - bestowing an insulative benefit to the entire community. By prioritizing vaccinations for children through 18 years of age, the CDC is hoping to precipitate a significant lowering of infection rates for the more vulnerable elderly population... not to mention everyone else!
November 17, 2008 - Keechl Corks County Animal Abuse - In his November Newsletter, Broward commissioner Ken Keechl summarizes the outcome of his investigation into animal abuse in shelters operated by the Broward County Animal Care and Regulation Division (ACaRD). After reading the transcript of a damning whistleblower interview by WSVN investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero, Commissioner Keechl precipitated an authoritative investigation confirming that animal carcasses were left rotting in maggot-infested bags for days, food shortages are habitual, shelter employees set aside dogs with high resale value for friends and/or profit, workers are inadequately equipped to ascertain whether euthanized animals were actually dead before being tossed into a landfill, pharmaceutical stockpiles were left unlocked (in violation of state standards) and the hits just keep on coming! Commissioner Keechl’s newsletter details the division’s improbable transformation from a dysfunctional slaughterhouse plagued by institutional torture into a credible, effective and humane agency.
Turtle Nesting – Discussed the problematic repercussions of turtle nesting season and how to approach its resolution. Suggestions included writing a letter(s), forming a pro-active coalition with beachfront hotels, speaking to DEP Director Mike Soul, and forming a coalition of city, county and state officials after the municipal election in March 2009.
Kevin Songer expressed confusion about whether his building’s cooling towers (Galt Towers) were in compliance with the new noise ordinance.
Fire sprinkler issue discussed: Legislation needs to be altered to grandfather in older buildings. Scare tactics are being used to sway legislators and State bureaucrats. Legislation is expected in the next session.
Marty Glazer suggested soliciting a group rate for waste disposal. This will be further considered at a Presidents Council meeting.
Fred Nesbitt said that there was widespread confusion over the new insurance provisions. It was suggested that an expert be brought in to clarify their impact on Associations.
Pio addressed the Palm Beach Windstorm Self-Insurance Trust. The Office of Insurance Regulation met with the Trustees in Tallahassee. Since renewals commence on December 1st, an understanding with OIR must be in place within the next 10 days.
Legislation regarding staggered board terms was discussed. Associations whose documents provide for multi-year Board terms must organize a full building vote to authorize a maximum term of two years. Otherwise, Board term is limited to one year.
The Sun Trolley was being cancelled due to poor ridership; however, the County wants to see it continue. There is a meeting today to discuss this issue
Treasurer’s Report - Leah Glickfield
The Treasurer reported $13,553.33 in our Treasury.
Next Advisory Board Meeting - The next regular Advisory Board Meeting will be held on Thursday, December 18, 2008 at Nick’s Italian Restaurant.
The meeting was adjourned at 1:00 p.m.
Fern McBride, Secretary
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