MINUTES OF GMCA ADVISORY BOARD MEETING
SEPTEMBER 17, 2009
The meeting was called to order at 11:10 a.m. by President Pio Ieraci.
Board Members present: Ieraci, Berkowitz, Glickfield, Hamaker, Songer, McBride, Abruzzino, Alfano, Bazerghi, Bibace, Bindler, Claire, Daly, Glazer, Krevy, Mayer, Nesbitt, Nicholson-Brown, Quintero, Vanek, Vega and Weck.
Approval of Minutes - The minutes of the June 18, 2009 meeting were approved.
Old and New Business
The president introduced City of Fort Lauderdale District I Commissioner and Vice Mayor Bruce Roberts. Pio thanked Vice Mayor Roberts for his interest and help with our issues and for his walk-through with Jose Vega to restore landscaping along the Galt Mile. Commissioner Roberts spoke to the following subjects:
Budget: There will be no millage increase, no lay-offs, critical services will be preserved, all Police Department job vacancies will be filled, a budget advisory board will be established and next year’s effort will be founded on zero based budgeting. When Pio asked if George Gretsas did a good job with the budget, Commissioner Roberts said that he did.
FPL Contract: He discussed whether the city should create its own power company; some cities that have their own service are burdened by higher rates than are charged by FPL; one-third of the city’s electrical service is underground.
Investigating grants written for the A1A project.
Barbara Stern was introduced; she is running for the Florida House of Representatives in District 91.
Transportation – Sun Trolley
Director Chris Wren of the Downtown Development Authority expressed his intention to keep the Sun Trolley’s Galt Mile route operational. The route will be funded on a monthly basis. Currently, the route is funded for the next six months.
Galt Ocean Mile Landscaping - Chepo Vega
It has been 3 months since meeting with Commission Roberts and Operational Supervisor Brian Hopper of the Parks Department.
A packet of pictures has been prepared.
Many of the tree grates have been leveled.
Benches have been refurbished.
Branches that are too low are being trimmed.
Sidewalks that were not level are being ground down.
The issue with Ocean Manor’s drive is being addressed.
Shrubs have been planted to fill in empty spots.
Chepo thanked Commissioner Roberts for his help.
It was stated that we are a step closer to getting the job done.
Galt Roving Patrol
Invoices have recently been sent out. Questions about the program’s effectiveness and degree of participation prompted a discussion.
Galt Mile Reading Center
The first County Commission Budget meeting was held on September 10th. The County budget will be finalized at the second and last budget meeting on September 22nd. Hundreds of letters, emails, faxes and supportive resolutions were sent to Commissioner Ken Keechl who has copied and distributed the information to each of the eight other County Commissioners. City Commissioner Roberts has secured a bus for those interested in attending the September 22nd meeting, which will arrive at 3:00 p.m. at Southpoint and make 4 or 5 stops on the Mile to pick up participants. T-shirts and buttons will be distributed on the bus and adorned for the Commission Meeting. Flyers will be sent to all buildings with information about the meeting and a phone number for reserving a place on the bus. Terry Claire told us that 100 percent of the Galt Mile associations and several local civic organizations signed resolutions to preserve the library.
Galt Mile Merchants
Merchants in the Galt Ocean Village Shoppes area are forming the North Ocean Beach Business Association.
33rd Street is closed every Sunday from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. for the weekly Sunset Blue Block Party.
Galt Mile Web Site – Newsletter – Eric Berkowitz -
Since ad sales exceeded $700 for the last edition of the newsletter, no subsidy was required.
- August Web Site Stats: 745,813 hits; 13,403 unique site visits (first timers)
The past month’s articles:
July 28, 2009 - Florida Court Fixes First Amendment Flaw - Concerned by the growing perception that legislative seats were essentially commodities with price tags, U.S. Senators Russell Feingold (D-WI) and John McCain (R-AZ) collaborated across the aisle to sponsor the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (AKA - The McCain–Feingold Act). The Act was anticipated to stigmatize the increased role of soft money in campaign financing, even for state and local races or issue discussion. It defined any broadcast ads that name a federal candidate within 30 days of a primary or caucus, or 60 days of a general election, as “electioneering communications” and prohibited their payment with funds from corporate (including nonprofits) or union treasuries. Running far afield of the Federal template, Florida legislators subsequently passed the nation's most restrictive law against politically inconvenient speech, forcing groups that merely mention political issues or candidates' names - even in an association newsletter or web site - to register with the state, appoint a campaign treasurer and disclose personal financial information of association members! This had to go.
August 7, 2009 - Courts Break Back of Shadow Rentals - Condo Associations across the State are suffering from plugged cash flow stemming from an epidemic of unit owner defaults. While “too-good-to-be-true” mortgages attracted home buyers from every segment of society, an inordinately large number of toxic mortgage defaults inure to investors. When the bank lobby euthanized every relief bill filed during the 2009 legislative session, nervous investors sought to weather the recession by dumping hundreds of thousands of units into the rental market. In the resulting underground economy, speculators who stopped paying their mortgages and association fees continued to pocket the rent. The $millions extracted from the monthly income streams of cash-strapped associations had to be subsidized by the understandably angry neighbors of these delinquent speculators. By clearly interpreting a previously vague statute, the courts empowered associations to recapture the resources being surreptitiously siphoned by deadbeat landlords.
August 18, 2009 - Keechl Pops Courthouse Finance Surprise - In his January 2009 Newsletter, Broward Vice mayor Ken Keechl summarized the need to rehabilitate, relocate or replace the dilapidated, mold-infested Broward Courthouse, focusing on the latest disaster suffered by the Judicial Center - a late November water main break that flooded the Clerk of the Court’s Office and shut down the facility for days. Since the anticipated expenditure would be significant, he supported the appointment of a Task Force charged with vetting the issue and developing a viable resolution. In June, Keechl revealed their recommendation, a scaled-back $328 million structure instead of the original $510 million project. Keechl ended the newsletter with a teaser. To find out how the County Commission could actualize the huge undertaking without increasing the millage rate, we had to “tune in to the next newsletter.” Well - this is it! To review the creative fiscal gymnastics - Read on...
August 26, 2009 - Sunset Blue - New Hope for Galt Shoppes - The Sunset Blue Block Party is redefining the old-fashioned neighborhood wing-ding – it virtually explodes with cool blues, box-banging bands and packaged fun on the run. On Sundays between 6 PM and 10 PM, NE 33rd Street undergoes a dimensional severance from the surrounding world as the whole block fills with stalls, tents, tables, hippies, retirees, philosophers, hot bodies, pedestrian artists and people marching around in ever-diminishing circles while attempting to communicate telepathically with their pets. Live music, food, drinks and booths from local bars, restaurants and businesses energize the entire Galt Ocean Shoppes neighborhood. The party area is just north of Oakland Park Boulevard, east of the Intracoastal and west of A1A. This event could catalyze the kind of stability required to realize the neighborhood's development into a “Las Olas North”. You've got to see it to believe it!
September 2, 2009 - Vice Mayor Roberts' Budget Newsletter - Our District 1 City Commissioner and Vice Mayor Bruce G. Roberts is no longer an unknown political quantity. After squeaking by incumbent Christine Teel in the March 10th election runoff, residents nursed nagging concerns over his motives for leaving his iconic niche as the City’s top cop and chasing down a seat on the municipality’s governing body. After weathering months of glass-eye looks from constituents, the former City Police Chief has proven to be an unrelenting, no-nonsense work-a-holic. Instead of simply denying the rumors, he shifted into high gear, attacking neighborhood problems while working with the Mayor and the City Manager to grind out a remarkable budget. In his August Newsletter, the Vice Mayor details how the City Commission's Budget Guidelines imprinted on the City Manager's draft FY 2010 Budget. Check it out!
September 12, 2009 - Seasonal & Swine - The Two Flu Blues - U.S. health officials are readying a unique flu vaccination campaign for this fall, but the initiative is burdened by public confusion, epidemiological uncertainty and an unprecedented medical mystery. 2009 is the year of the “two-flu” blues, requiring what Health Department honchos believe will be 3 inoculations to properly protect against this year’s deadly influenza onslaught. Along with the seasonal flu vaccination, we will face possibly 2 additional inoculations to insulate ourselves from the effects of the H1N1 Swine Flu. To defend against the second wave of the Northern Hemisphere’s first influenza pandemic in 41 years, the campaign aims to vaccinate at least half the country’s population within months. Unfortunately, when the new wave of infections begins peaking in mid-October, only about a third of the expected vaccine will be available.
Discussed “greening of the Galt,” a local extrapolation of the City’s environmental program.
Questions were raised and discussion held about the 40 percent increase in association water charges as of August 1st. Commissioner Roberts agreed to investigate.
The successful Sunday evening Sunset Blue Block Party has prompted the Galt Merchants to form a new Business Association known as the North Beach Association. Each week, 33rd Street is being closed from 6 to 10 p.m. during the Sunday event.
Treasurer’s Report - Leah Glickfield
The Treasurer reported $12,963.96 in our Treasury.
The Treasurer reported that Regency South has currently neither paid their dues nor for the beach patrol. The Treasurer will check the difference between the balance reported in June and the current balance.
Next Advisory Board Meeting - The next regular Advisory Board Meeting will be held on Thursday, October 15, 2009 at Nick’s Italian Restaurant.
The meeting was adjourned at 1:05 p.m.
Fern McBride, Secretary
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