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MINUTES OF GMCA ADVISORY BOARD MEETING

November 20, 2014


The meeting was called to order at 11:20 a.m. by President Pio Ieraci at Nick's Italian Restaurant.

Board Members present: Ieraci, Berkowitz, Nesbitt, Abruzzino, Aschner, Bazerghi, Bendis, Bergheim, Claire, Katz, Kessler, Konstance, Lewandowski, Neill, Quintero, Rollo, Sanders, Solewin and Tripoli.

Guests present: Fort Lauderdale Police Department (FLPD) Officer Zachary Baro.

Approval of Minutes - A motion was made and seconded to approve the Minutes of October 16, 2014 as written; approved unanimously.

Old and New Business/Guests

Pio opened the meeting by lamenting the tragic shooting at Florida State University that left three students wounded. Noting that this kind of incident can happen anywhere and anytime, he affirmed the importance of being aware of our surroundings and looking out for one another.

Pio reported that a Coral Ridge Towers South resident suffering from cancer and advanced dementia was exploited by the owner of the Luxury Beauty Salon at 3304 NE 33rd Street, who charged his credit card nearly $8000 for skin care products. When his friend and caretaker accompanied the victim back to the shop to return the unopened merchandise, he was roundly refused. As news of the incident spread, and requests for a refund poured in from neighborhood residents and local merchants, they were also ignored. Appalled that a Galt merchant would bilk a dementia victim, Pio remarked that the damage to the shop’s reputation would be irreparable.

Pio said that since Commissioner Roberts was forced to miss the Advisory Board meeting due to his attending an important conference in Texas.

  • Pio introduced Galt Mile FLPD liaison Officer Zachary Baro, who reported:

    • A new FLPD non-emergency number is 954-764-4357

    • Zachary reiterated last month’s warning about the heightened need for awareness of our immediate environment during the Holiday Season, whether shopping, at the beach, downtown or close to home.

    • Police patrols enhance their effectiveness by continuously altering patrol schedules to deter planned criminal activity. Our District 1 FLPD Command and the Galt Mile security patrol both deploy this tactic. Although both are comprised of FLPD officers, the security patrol is more familiar with the local residents, association security personnel and the patrol area, enabling an expedited response.

    • During the Holiday Season, FLPD must additionally protect a huge influx of visiting tourists from those who view them as vulnerable prey.

    • The recent worldwide media circus surrounding violations of the City’s food sharing ordinance, taken together with the Police Department’s zero tolerance policy, has heightened the number of credible threats in the area. To dampen the media frenzy, instead of confronting violators, they will be mailed citations.

    • Zachary said that the Department is taking seriously a threat to the City issued by the hacker group called “Anonymous”. He mentioned an eerie viral video featuring a man wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, which was made popular by the British movie Vendetta. The movie depicts a futuristic update of a seventeenth century plot to blow up Parliament in protest of government oppression. Baro also warned that if we see anyone wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, walk away and call the police.

Pio reminded members of the security patrol’s intrinsic value, asserting how it’s no accident that our crime rate is lower than in adjacent communities.

Galt Ocean Mile Street Landscape - Chepo Vega

Unable to attend, Chepo Vega asked Pio to read his report. Mark Almy has been tremendously helpful in fixing the block’s landscaping problems. The City plans to trim the Silver Buttonwoods that line Galt Ocean Drive in the next few weeks.

Beach Renourishment

Newly appointed Broward Beach Administrator (Director of Natural Resources) Nicole Sharp will discuss Beach Renourishment at the December 1st Presidents Council meeting. While jointly scheduling the project with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), the County is currently soliciting contractor bids for the transportation and distribution of sand from inland mines to beachfront staging areas.

Galt Mile Web Site – Newsletter – Eric Berkowitz

  • October 2014 Web Site Stats: 658,988 hits, 25,167 Unique Site Visits (First Timers)

Articles posted during the past month include:

  • October 31, 2014 - Homeless: New Laws for New Plan - On July 20, 1993, the City of Fort Lauderdale passed Resolution 93-143, in which Beach Rule 7.5(c) prohibits panhandling, begging and soliciting on the Fort Lauderdale beach and nearby sidewalks. The nation’s first city to prohibit the homeless from begging “in a nonthreatening manner” in a public place, when outraged constitutional watchdogs – spearheaded by the ACLU – heatedly beat a path to the courthouse, the entire nation was dumbfounded when they got the boot. Carefully navigating a First Amendment tightrope, both former City Attorney Harry Stewart and predecessor Cynthia Everett have successfully drafted a half dozen ordinances that curb behavior deemed dangerous, inappropriate, a health hazard, or just plain disgusting (i.e. defecating on the sidewalk). Enacted in conjunction with a revised policy to address homelessness and reclaim city parks and sidewalks commandeered as flophouses. City officials claim that the new policy will deter activities that enable homeless behavior while increasing resources to programs and organizations that address the root causes of homelessness.

  • November 10, 2014 - So - Who's Driving the Bus? - The 2014 general election unleashed a second nationwide Republican wave in the last 15 years. This temperamental political alchemy twice flushed Rick Scott into the Governor’s Mansion by a handful of votes. . By garnering 48.2 percent (2,861,390) of the vote, versus 47.1 percent (2,800,808) for former Governor Charlie Crist, Scott pulled off his paper thin (64,267-vote) repeat victory. In 2010, he ambushed Alex Sink by 61,000 votes. Depending on which side of the aisle they call home, Floridians have Broward voters to either thank, or blame, for the next four years of Scott’s erratic stewardship. It seems that many West Broward voters used Election Day to catch up on their sleep. The following is a rundown of those currently empowered to make decisions on your behalf, and the stats they generated on November 4. Also posted are the voter responses to the 3 proposed constitutional amendments and the 2 Broward ballot questions.

  • November 20, 2014 - Roberts: Homeless, Bullet Train, A1A Fix - In his November - December 2014 Newsletter, after conveying seasonal tidings, City Commissioner Bruce Roberts announces the construction kickoff for All Aboard Florida’s downtown Fort Lauderdale station - one of three futuristic South Florida pit stops for planned high speed passenger rail service between Miami and Orlando. Reviewing the transformation of A1A, the Commissioner updates construction progress along the section crushed by Superstorm Sandy and planned improvements to the stretch of “Ocean Highway” that borders the Galt Ocean Mile neighborhood (which includes input offered by Galt Mile residents, local vendors and neighborhood association officials). He also asks constituents to name citizen volunteers worthy of official recognition, applauds NOVA students for recruiting a record number of “Adopt-A-Neighbor” volunteers (who assist homeowners with property improvements) and encourages registration for local CodeRED emergency alerts. Roberts concludes with a warning about elevated threat levels for storm surge ascribed to seasonal high tides and lists upcoming municipal events. However, in his opening message, Roberts intimates that certain politically vested outsiders are spinning the media to reverse a city policy that balances the needs of the homeless with those of the general public.

Eric Berkowitz reported that his computer’s hard drive was fried after the fan broke, and that repairs would cost more than a new computer. Pio reviewed all the work that Eric performs for the Advisory Board and asked for a motion to reimburse Eric for a new computer.

A motion was made for Eric to purchase a new computer and submit the receipt for reimbursement. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.

Eric observed that until he secures a computer, the website will remain static.

Other Business

Pio reviewed longstanding concerns about the traffic signal at the southern intersection of Galt Ocean Drive and A1A, a collision-riddled corner infamously known as the Galt Triangle. Pio read a letter from the Florida DOT explaining how the signal’s cycles are timed. Noting that the letter was sent in response to a query from Advisory Board member Mike Katz, Pio thanked Mike and applauded his persistence.

Treasurer’s Report - Fred Nesbitt

Fred Nesbitt reported that the account currently has a balance of $18,472.46.

Commenting on the Galt Mile neighborhood’s extremely low crime rate, Fred recognized that FLPD prioritizes resources for more dangerous Part 1 crimes that proliferate in other neighborhoods, and without the security patrol, infractions along the Galt Mile would have to wait until FLPD could travel here from those high-crime areas, significantly delaying critical response times.

Adjournment - The next regular Advisory Board Meeting will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday December 17, 2014, at Nick's Italian Restaurant.

The meeting was adjourned at 1:20 pm.

Kande Lewandowski
Kande Lewandowski, Assistant to Secretary Fern McBride

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