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MINUTES OF GMCA ADVISORY BOARD MEETING

MAY 15, 2014


The meeting was called to order at 11:25 a.m. by President Pio Ieraci at Nick’s Italian Restaurant.

Board Members present: Ieraci, Berkowitz, Hamaker, Nesbitt, McBride, Abruzzino, Adams, Bazerghi, Bibace, Cella, Claire, Correa, Freismuth, Friedman, Hamilton, Hashek, Kessler, Larson, Pohan, Santiago, Solewin and Vega

Guests present: Commission Aide Kate Wesner of Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca’s office; Officer Tom Gestal, Fort Lauderdale Police Department.

Approval of Minutes - Minutes of the April 17, 2014 Advisory Board Meeting were approved.

Old and New Business

  • Pio introduced Tom Gestal, our community representative from the Fort Lauderdale Police Department:

    • Reviewed the Police District 1 crime stat report

    • Discussed upcoming Memorial Day and Hip Hop weekends: Since large crowds are anticipated for Friday, 5/23 through Monday, 5/26, FLPD will adopt a “No Tolerance” policy to promote crowd safety and security

  • Pio shared information received via phone from City of Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Bruce Roberts:

    • Realtor Dennis Matson is still actively opposing the A1A Greenway project.

    • A letter has been sent to Statehouse Representative George Moraitis affirming our support for the project.

    • Project funding could be lost if it does not go forward within a scheduled time frame.

  • Pio introduced Kate Wesner of Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca’s office:

    • Shared/distributed May 5, 2014 Sun Sentinel article by Chip LaMarca about the critical importance of Broward’s beaches.

    • Thanked those who participated in Chip’s candidacy petition drive.

    • In her update on beach renourishment, Wesner explained how NOAA Fisheries will soon address the long-delayed opinion letter required for the Segment II Federal Permit.

    • Kate was thanked for her efforts.

Galt Ocean Mile Street Landscape - Chepo Vega

  • Chepo presented pictures of trees planted on association properties that overhang public sidewalks. Despite the danger to pedestrians, he asserted that city policy precluded their being trimmed by City crews.

  • He suggested bedding trees on sidewalks in mulch or decorative stones.

Galt Mile Reading Center – Terry Claire

  • Thanked us for the generous contribution to Friends of the Galt Ocean Mile Library. (Pio acknowledged receipt of a grateful letter for the donation.)

  • There will be limited activities in the months of July and August.

  • The Galt Ocean Mile Library hopes to win a cultural programming award from the Broward County Library System for the third consecutive year.

Galt Mile Web Site – Newsletter – Eric Berkowitz

  • April 2014 Web Site Stats: 553,866 hits; 22,369 Unique Site Visits (First Timers)

Articles posted during the past month include:

  • April 18, 2014 - Roberts: NextDoor, Quiet Zones, Bus Link - In his April 2014 Newsletter, District 1 City Commissioner Bruce Roberts looks at the progress of local Bridge Repairs, a new bus link that better integrates the City’s economically burgeoning uptown neighborhoods, a Broward MPO effort to quell growing concern about a serious obstacle to the proposed All Aboard Florida high-speed rail link connecting South Florida and Orlando, availability to District 1 residents of the free NEXTDOOR social networking software (the potential backbone of a virtual “Neighborhood Watch”) and recognition by the National Complete Streets Coalition of Fort Lauderdale’s 3rd place national ranking for having successfully implemented the program's policies. Although most South Florida residents are aware of the All Aboard Florida (AAF) rail project, familiarity with “Quiet Zones” - as referenced in the newsletter - is largely limited to residents in communities exposed to a daily blast cacophony by locomotive horns. Unless local MPOs along the project’s planned route find some grant money, taxpayers will have to fund Quiet Zones to protect adjacent communities. They aren’t cheap!

  • April 25 2014 - Animal House: Disability Bill Busts - During the 2014 Legislative Session, bills were filed in the Statehouse and Senate that would prospectively impact how requested service animals must be integrated into no-pet and pet-friendly community associations. Currently, two Federal Laws – the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Fair Housing Act (FHA) – as well as a Florida Statute (Chapter 413.08, F.S.) dictate how associations must accommodate animals that provide therapeutic benefits to disabled persons. During the past decade, there has also been an epidemic of pet owners who abuse Federal and State disability laws to fraudulently circumvent an association’s no-pet rules. By soliciting documentation evidencing a fictitious infirmity from a complicit medical professional, owners have sought to immunize themselves against association repercussions for harboring a house pet in contravention of the governing documents. Sponsors claimed that the legislation would help clarify Disability entitlements while addressing burgeoning abuse. As occurs with predictable regularity in Tallahassee, they seem to have lost sight of their objective. Judge for Yourself!

  • May 3 2014 - LaMarca: Mayors; Vote Site; Navy Days - In his May 2014 Newsletter, District 4 Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca lists agenda items from a District 4 Mayors Summit, affirms approval for an early voting site convenient to the Galt Mile, announces receipt of a long-awaited federal reimbursement for the South Broward Segment III beach renourishment completed in 2006, discusses in progress transportation projects along State Road A1A and the I-595 Express and recalls Broward Navy Days events during Fleet Week. In this final item, LaMarca refers to the USS New York, a warship fitted with skeletal steel salvaged from the World Trade Center’s “Ground Zero” and named after the State and City where an unfathomable catastrophe unfolded on September 11, 2001. 7.5 metric tons of twisted Twin Tower steel forms the bow stem of an amphibious transport designed to fight the war on terror. This well-armed high-tech seagoing chicken is coming home to roost!

  • May 12 2014 - Roberts: Chlorine; Wind Power; Crime - District 1 City Commissioner Bruce Roberts opens his May 2014 Newsletter with optimistic news about the falling crime rate, describes Mill Pond Park as the City’s “in situ” laboratory for a tech-enhanced sustainable power source, reveals a new email address for Commission meeting input, notes a scheduling change for the Sun Trolley’s Galt Mile route, updates progress towards realizing the projected Schlitterbahn Waterpark, announces a cyclical chlorination cleanup of the City’s Water System, welcomes an improved Lauderserv Citizen Request Management System powered by QAlert technology and applauds a new study that cites Fort Lauderdale as the number 3 municipality in the nation for foreign-born tech entrepreneurs (after Miami and San José, California). While chlorinating the water system is largely a beneficial and safe process, the City should reveal the potential health risks to those with compromised immune systems or undergoing dialysis. For Roberts May 2014 constituent update, Read on...

Other Business

  • Pio explained that a City Code Enforcement Inspector had acted improperly, detailed the relevant circumstances and described how the City handles this type of inappropriate behavior.

  • Ralph gave an update about the planned Fire Station relocation; the permanent site is being prepared.

  • Ralph reported on the upcoming Memorial Day activities, street closures, etc.

  • Members discussed the importance of insuring that information shared at our meetings is accurate.

  • Discussed traffic light problems; traffic signals installed by FDOT are managed by Broward County.

  • Extensive discussion was held regarding service animals/emotional support animals – including the widespread abuse of governing Federal laws (i.e. FHA, ADA), whereby persons who aren’t disabled fraudulently circumvent the no-pet rules of associations, restaurants, etc.

  • A Starbucks Coffee House is planned for the strip mall on A1A that’s currently home to the CVS, The Ocean Grille and the Sherwin-Williams Paint Center.

Treasurer’s Report - Given by Fred Nesbitt for Leah Glickfield

The Treasurer’s Report showed a balance of $20,690.35.

Dues invoices will be going out shortly.

Renewal notices have been sent out; five responses have not yet been received.

Adjournment - The next regular Advisory Board Meeting will be held on Thursday, June 19, 2014 at Nick’s Italian Restaurant.

The meeting was adjourned at 1:05 p.m.

Fern McBride
Fern McBride, Secretary

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