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April 16, 2015

The meeting was called to order at 11:15 a.m. by President Pio Ieraci at Nick’s Italian Restaurant.

Board Members present: : Ieraci, Berkowitz, Hamaker, Nesbitt, McBride, Abruzzino, Adams, Bendis, Capriani, A. Casier, F. Casier, Cella, Claire, Friedman, Hale-Florez, Hashek, Hune, Kessler, Larson, Madenfort, Matsas, Mercado, Neill, Oser, Pohan, Quintero, Rollo, Sanders, Schetritt, Solewin, and Vega

Guests present: Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Bruce Roberts, Fort Lauderdale Police Department Officer George Brandner.

Approval of Minutes - Minutes of the March 19, 2015 Advisory Board Meeting were approved.

Old and New Business/Guests

  • Pio described a landscaping dilemma created when the root systems of trees planted by the Parks Department before 2005 became hopelessly entangled with interred utility lines, leaving immovable root balls. As diagnosed by Parks officials in 2005, with insufficient space for their root systems, trees subsequently planted in the same sites failed to thrive, and were either severely stunted or died. Citing a plan developed by several GMCA officials, Pio suggested retaining an arborist to examine several of these root balls, and recommend relocation of the trees to alternative sites along the sidewalk where growth would not be adversely impacted by crowded root systems, curing the decade-long problem.

    Patricia Quintero shared what was done at the L’Hermitage pool area.

  • Pio introduced Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Bruce Roberts, who spoke about the following City issues:

    • The planned reconstruction of Fire Station 54 is moving forward, as well as the station on Sunrise Blvd. Roberts explained how a mutually beneficial property exchange between Bokamper’s and the City yielded the new site for our Fire station. Local Fire-Rescue operations were temporarily relocated to a site south of Oakland Park Boulevard while the new Station is under construction.

    • Discussing the Budget process, Roberts anticipates increased revenues from higher property values.

    • Communication/dispatch system equipment will be leased for the next 5 years.

    • While in Washington, D.C. Roberts learned about the Vision Zero initiative to enhance bicycle safety and reduce the City’s unacceptably high fatality rate for cyclists and pedestrians.

    • Spoke about the Police Department racial incident and work being done to restore trust.

    • The City has hired a real estate expert to analyze the City’s portfolio of properties.

    • The Fort Lauderdale Police Station and City Hall are severely deteriorated and should be replaced.

    • Funding for the A1A Greenway is still in place; when the date and time of the next local forum for public input is disclosed, Pio will notify the membership.

    Pio thanked Commissioner Roberts for vehemently supporting the beach renourishment project.

  • Pio introduced Fort Lauderdale Police Officer George Brandner, who shared the following:

    • Crime statistics for the Galt Mile neighborhood are generally positive.

    • The activities of homeless persons who loiter by the Oakland Park Boulevard beach access near L’Hermitage are being closely monitored by daily police patrols.

    • Brandner warned about the increasing number of “Gypsy Dent Scam” victims in parking lots of malls and strip malls throughout the city. The scam is also perpetrated along A1A, as drivers are lured by unsolicited offers to inexpensively fix dents in their vehicles. If you observe this scam, call 911.

    • Homeless predators are still congregating in front of the Galt Library.

Galt Ocean Mile Street Landscape - José “Chepo” Vega

  • Chepo gave an update while circulating pictures displaying hedges that were unevenly trimmed, bald spots at the base of landscaped monuments and low-hanging tree branches that pose a threat to unsuspecting elderly pedestrians.

Galt Mile Reading Center - Terry Claire

  • Reviewed the monthly cultural programs presented at the Galt Mile Reading Center.

  • Ed Hashek proposed making a contribution to the Friends of the Galt Ocean Mile Library in the amount of $250.00. The proposal was unanimously approved.

Galt Mile Web Site – Newsletter – Eric Berkowitz

  • March 2015 Web Site Stats: 788,799 hits, 18,681 Unique Site Visits (First Timers).

Articles posted during the past month include:

  • March 18, 2015 - Galt Presidents Council Kicks Off 2015 - On February 2, the Galt Mile Presidents Council convened its first 2015 meeting at Fountainhead Condominium. The agenda, traditionally packed for the year’s inaugural meeting, addressed a threat to the Galt Mile Sun Trolley, a media driven controversy over the City’s Homeless policy, and a predictable outburst during a Beach Renourishment update. Ordinarily, Presidents Council meetings are kept confidential, ostensibly to promote a free exchange of ideas (which range from revelatory to hysterical). Since many of the issues undertaken at the February meeting are of critical concern to all Galt Mile residents, traditional “discretion” will be set aside. See for yourself...

  • March 26, 2015 - Developer Statutes OK Latent Defects - When mortgage bankers cold cocked the world economy, and eliminated disposable income from the average family budget, overnight, millions of people could no longer afford their own homes; much less buy a new one. With the housing market at a standstill, developers with time on their hands turned their gaze to Tallahassee, where they are deified by lobbyists and worshipped as campaign cash cows by lawmakers. Fed up with court-ordered penalties for delivering substandard construction, in 2009, developer trade associations embarked on a multi-year strategy to block defrauded homeowners from plundering future profits. Since the courts refused to back off when developers were caught violating State law, they bought play for pay politicians to circumvent the offending statutes. While consumers snoozed, 4 such bills became State Law. Those strange fingers you feel on your wallet belong to a rookie lawmaker whose 2015 bill threatens every Floridian, with a special land mine for association homeowners.

  • April 4, 2015 - Roberts: Bike Plan, Quiet Zone, Bridges - In his March - April 2015 Newsletter, City Commissioner Bruce Roberts introduces Lewis Landing as the City’s newest Park, notes technological improvements to Fort Lauderdale’s online Property Information Reporter, applauds the City’s participation in the League of American Bicyclists’ Bicycle Friendly America program, expresses his intention to serialize planned infrastructure improvements in his newsletters - beginning with the Bridge Master Plan and recognizes the Transportation and Mobility Department for having snagged the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization’s prestigious Transit Priority Award. The Commissioner opens his message to constituents with an enigmatic heads-up for those disturbed by paralyzing noise – either from heightened seasonal air traffic at Executive Airport or federally mandated train horns. Ironically, their respective endgames differ as night and day.

  • April 15, 2015 - Lawmaking Realtors Pursue Profits - Among the most controversial 2015 association bills are House Bill 611 filed by Rep. John Wood (R - Winter Haven) and companion Senate Bill 736 filed by Sen. Kelli Stargel - known as the “estoppel certificate” bills. Owners of properties governed by a community association must provide buyers or lenders with a statement of their financial status with the association prior to selling or refinancing their homes. As per State law (s. 718.116(8), F.S.), a condo seller (usually through a realtor or title company) will ask the association for a summary of his or her property’s association debt as of a certain date - known as an Estoppel Certificate. Drafted by realtors and supported by title companies, the legislation was designed to flip the script, and shift the cost of preparing estoppel letters from the realtors’ paying customers (sellers) to the associations – an attempt to saddle the seller’s neighbors (that’s us) with the expense. Not surprisingly, the bills’ legislative sponsors are both realtors who will directly benefit if successful. Golly Gee Willikers!!!

Other Business

  • Ralph Hamaker noted improvements to the Winn Dixie parking lot (lighting, etc.).

  • Fred Nesbitt observed that the commercial dumpsters at the Galt Ocean Marketplace behind the Winn Dixie are often overflowing with trash that blows around the neighborhood. Pio will call the mall’s manager at Kitson & Partners.

  • Fred Nesbitt contacted Bruce Roberts’ Commission Assistant Robbi Uptegrove to complain about construction dumpsters parked in roadside cutouts along Galt Ocean Drive.

  • Discussed the many problems that complicate foreclosures.

  • Laurie Madenfort shared that the Galt Mile Merchants Assoc. was disbanded.

Treasurer’s Report - Fred Nesbitt

The Treasurer reported a balance of $15,105.78.

Adjournment - The next regular Advisory Board Meeting will be held on Thursday, May 21, 2015 at Nick’s Italian Restaurant.

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

Fern McBride
Fern McBride, Secretary





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