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MINUTES OF GMCA ADVISORY BOARD MEETING

MARCH 20, 2008


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

Board Members present: Ieraci, Berkowitz, Gill, Guttman, Hamaker, Songer, McBride, Alfano, Baker, Bindler, Casier, Comis, Friesmith, Gonzalez, Gilligan, Katkin, Lecht, M. Leeds, Mayer, Muller, Vanek and Weck.

Approval of Minutes - The minutes of February 21, 2008 were approved.

Old & New Business

The President introduced and welcomed Fort Lauderdale Chief of Police Bruce G. Roberts.

Pio spoke about the work of the beach patrol, opining that they are doing a good effective job, and that we will soon be faced with a decision about whether or not the project merits renewal for another year.

Chief Roberts shared the following with the Advisory Board members:

  • He applauded the community’s implementation of the roving patrol, remarking that we’d forged a successful partnership between the beach patrol and the Fort Lauderdale Police Department.

  • Services will not be affected by ongoing contract negotiations. City management and union leadership are equally committed to efficiently delivering uninterrupted service to city residents, although the economy is causing some “bumps in the road”. For instance, the economic downturn has seriously interfered with the hiring of officers.

  • The number of officers on the street is appropriate to the need.

  • Police calls are prioritized by service and resources (all agencies function in this manner).

  • The Fort Lauderdale Police Department is committed to give best service possible.

  • Municipal government must contend with many of the same economic problems facing individuals and businesses.

  • Responding to a question about abusing overtime to relieve undermanned shifts, the Chief explained that utilization is restricted to the overtime provided for in the budget.

  • Addressing the recent increase in police fatalities, Chief Roberts stated that the city, county and country are going through a violent time/cycle inflamed by the economic, educational and media environment. On the plus side, officers are provided with vouchers for the best available “bullet proof” vests and body armor as well as 40 additional hours of annual training. Unfortunately, thirty percent of the officers have been on the force for less than 2 years.

  • Regarding firearms, although currently equipped with the best available firearms, the department plans to purchase new upgraded rifles.

  • Answering why certain neighborhoods suffer increased break-ins, Chief Roberts said that criminals locate and exploit “gold mines” – such as areas where security is possibly compromised by service personnel and/or construction sites.

  • The Department uses Comstat process; a daily operational strategy that promotes accountability and allocates resources as dictated by current crime trends.

  • As compared to some past years, Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) confirm that crime is down 60%.

  • Last year, every association signed a “Trespass Notice”, allowing access to police pursuing suspected criminal activity. Following a brief discussion, it was agreed that the notices should be renewed upon expiration.

Chief Roberts was universally commended for having done a good job.

Galt Mile Memorial Walk - Pio reported that we are waiting for the NCIP grant finalization. Since the originally planned benches were excised from the project after a unanimously unfavorable Advisory Board vote, the matching grant funds await a redrawn plan for alternative park improvements.

Il Lugano – Ralph Hamaker - Now that the planters A.K.A. “bumps” (indentations in the road that block traffic flow, thereby creating an unnecessary hazard) have been removed; 34th Street is being recoated. An open house is scheduled for April 3rd. Il Lugano has 2 shuttles to the airport, the port, etc. Rates for rooms are $129.00 and up. The relationship with the community has been very good.

After contacting Tony Law, Pio received Il Lugano’s request for participation in the Galt Mile Community Association.

Beach Renourishment - Project is moving forward on schedule. Beach Administrator continues to seek alternate sand sources. The project is anticipated to commence by the fall of next year (after Sea Turtle nesting season).

Galt Roving Security Patrol - Invoices will be sent out to each building. Daily Activity Reports demonstrating the patrol’s productivity are emailed to participants. The patrol clearly accounts for the beach having been divested of suspicious transients for the first time.

In response to the question, “What if some buildings do not participate, it was reconfirmed that participation must be “all or nothing”. City funding was discussed.

Galt Mile Web Site – Newsletter – Eric Berkowitz -

  • February Hits: : 847,538 hits; 12,135 unique site visits (first timers)

The past month’s articles:

  • February 25, 2008 - 95 Express - Managed Lane Mystery Toll - District 2 Broward County Commissioner Kristin Jacobs notified the GMCA Advisory Board about an issue that affects every driver in South Florida. To relieve congestion in the vital I-95 regional corridor, the Florida Department of Transportation – together with local transit partners - is planning a Pilot Project to provide Managed Lanes on I-95 (from I-395 in Miami-Dade County to I-595 in Broward County). By converting the existing High Occupancy Vehicle lanes (HOV) into limited access High Occupancy Toll lanes (HOT) - cynically called the “Lexus Lanes”, FDOT foresees a 50 mph alternative to rush hour crawl. Since the amount of the toll will fluctuate according to the real-time traffic volume, drivers using the managed lanes will never know the toll amounts until their SunPasses are invoiced. This - and other - controversial Project plan aspects are currently being considered at public hearings. Times, dates and locations are included in the article.

  • February 29, 2008 - Commissioner Teel on Amendment 1 - Virtually every responsible State official exclaimed that effective tax reform and insurance relief were critical to any strategic reversal of the economic recession. Not surprisingly, legislators patched together a tax reform plan that incomprehensibly adds to the burden of those it was promised to help. While acknowledging the resulting tax Amendment’s shortcomings, Commissioner Christine Teel’s Newsletter considers its impact on Fort Lauderdale taxpayers. With fewer dollars available to feed the municipal machine, our City Commissioner focuses on the City’s responsibility to maintain adequate services despite the diminished resources. Since the team managing this new fiscal balancing act was originally assembled to address the City’s 2003 fiscal crisis, their proven talent and experience in this arena is serendipitous and provident. She also asserts that constituent input is a necessary ingredient for a successful outcome.

  • March 5, 2008 - Keechl Asks Help to Save Green Space - Recognizing that officials charged with protecting Broward’s natural resources have often bartered them as an accommodation to unscrupulous developers, a June 12, 2007 Broward Planning Services Division report entitled “Broward County Golf Course Conversion Study” embodied an authoritative recommendation for safeguarding the county’s dwindling green space. While the report language resonated with Commissioner Keechl, whose legal experience with similar land use abuses was honed battling developers as a Plantation city attorney, some of his Commission peers are wavering under the expected lobbying pressure to facilitate the construction of “McMansions” in the County’s few remaining sizable green spaces. In his Newsletter, Commissioner Keechl describes several methodologies through which constituents can influence whether these resources become recreational areas or development fodder. It’s time to chime in!

  • March 11, 2008 - Rep. Bogdanoff’s Pre-Session Objectives - Given her responsibilities as our Statehouse Representative and as policy educator for her peers in the Florida House of Representatives (as the “Majority Whip”), constituents are largely unaware of Ellyn Bogdanoff’s personal legislative agenda. During her tenure in the Statehouse, Ellyn has fought for an eclectic collection of ideological issues. Her commitment to ending tyrannical schoolyard intimidation exercised by abusive students against their schoolmates (and teachers) has gained national notoriety. Named for a 15-year old Cape Coral student whose tragic suicide followed two years of “cyber-bullying” by a classmate, “Jeff’s Law” is poised to become a legislative model for discouraging this little known high-tech predatory behavior. She has also made palpable inroads in her campaign to improve access to the national wine market by Floridians. The victims of these low profile issues are fortunate that Ellyn has a weakness for adopting orphaned causes.

  • March 17, 2008 - Galt Ocean Mile Library in Limbo - The Galt Ocean Mile Reading Center is arguably the most popular resident resource on Galt Ocean Drive. It has provided residents with a convenient location to research almost anything, meet with friends or simply log in some quiet time. Despite its modest designation as a “Reading Room”, since the library was networked into the overall Broward library system, it was a doorway to a voluminous compendium of information. Why “was”? Primarily because the doors have been closed for a long time. While the Reading Room was undergoing renovation, the contractor encountered a disconcerting obstacle. The floor and ceiling are laced with Asbestos. The Galt Ocean Mile Friends of the Library and the Galt Mile Community Association have joined to reanimate the frozen project and oversee the reopening of this neighborhood jewel.

Galt Merchants Association – Marilyn Leeds - Two more stores are closing down. The restaurant Lucca’s on A1A is doing well.

Other Business -

  • Considering the financial repercussions to unit owners of foreclosures and other disruptions to budgeted maintenance needs, Pio requested that Advisory Board members develop positive alternative solutions to replace the lost resources without burdening unit owners. He recommended that members take this subject back to their associations for further investigation.

  • Kevin Songer: We may lose the Galt Mile Sun Trolley route because of insufficient utilization.

  • Franci Bindler: The Pomadora location may be rented.

  • After discussing legislative issues, the importance of familiarizing ourselves and our neighbors with proposed legislation was stressed.

Next Advisory Board Meeting - The next regular Advisory Board Meeting will be held on Thursday, April 17, 2008 at Nick’s Italian Restaurant.

Treasurer’s Report - Treasurer Leah Glickfield was unable to attend due to illness. Report will be given at the next meeting (April 17, 2008).

The meeting was adjourned at 12:35 p.m.

Fern McBride, Secretary

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