MINUTES OF GMCA ADVISORY BOARD MEETING
SEPTEMBER 18, 2008
The meeting was called to order at 11:15 a.m. by President Pio Ieraci.
Board Members present: Ieraci, Berkowitz, Glickfield, Guttman, Hamaker, Songer, McBride, Alfano, Bindler, Chisholm, Comis, Creal, Freismuth, Gonzalez, Mayer, Miller, Nesbitt, Orr, Rubino and Solewin.
Approval of Minutes - The minutes of June 19, 2008 and August 5, 2008 were approved..
Old & New Business
Group Discussion – Goals & Objectives for 2008-2009
Ralph Hamaker introduced Michael Gonzalez, formerly the manager of L’Ambiance, as the new manager for Coral Ridge Towers South.
Bryan Orr was introduced as the new manager at L’Ambiance.
The entryway beautification project is underway
Other areas of the Mile have suffered neglect (i.e. broken down telephone booth near CVS, light pole near Winn Dixie shopping area, newspaper boxes). As per a new city ordinance, the newspaper boxes will be replaced with black boxes in specific dedicated areas. Other items discussed included trees bent by wind damage, non-functional up-lights and deteriorating benches.
If anyone notices something that should not be there, report it to Pio by phone or email and he will contract Christine Teel. This procedure has proven effective. Also, a list of landscaping and maintenance problems must be prepared for discussion with representatives of the City Parks & Recreation Department at an upcoming meeting.
Pio shared a note from Plaza South detailing a scam that victimized one of their residents. We need to caution our residents to avoid being similarly abused.
Kevin Songer complained that certain banks were either charging onerous fees for depositing Canadian checks or returning the checks.
Pio distributed copies of contact information for members of the Broward County Legislative Delegation.
Pio shared names of Fort Lauderdale Police assigned to our district. Our contact is Capt. Raul Diaz, 954-828-5636.
Eric explained our problems with violations of the turtle-safe lighting ordinance. It was mentioned that raking of the beach is prohibited until turtles disturbed by the recent storm are located.
Discussed public rights to access the Galt Mile beach. While the public enjoys riparian rights to traverse the beach, they are precluded from “putting a blanket down.”
Calypso Project – Pio Ieraci
Eric Berkowitz has drafted an extensive “white paper” detailing the issues affecting the Calypso Project. It is available online below the article about the Broward Legislative Delegation meeting on the Galt Mile web site.
Fred Nesbitt distributed “Stop Calypso” buttons.
Discussed Broward Delegation Meeting at the Community Center on August 11th, attended by several delegates and an audience of 200 Broward residents. A Suez presentation was followed comments from residents and legislators.
Information is on the Galt Mile web site and stopcalypso.com.
Only Governor Crist can veto this project. When the public hearing date is announced, all of Broward County needs to be mobilized. It is critical to all of us that the license is declined.
The public needs to understand that Calypso has nothing to do with off-shore drilling, the cost of gasoline or the availability of natural gas to Broward residents.
Beach Renourishment - Will begin after turtle season; the project is on schedule and should be completed by end of 2009-2009.
Galt Mile Security Patrol - Pio Ieraci
A full report reviewing the beach patrol will be presented at a future meeting. There is an article in the Hi-Riser stating that the security patrol has substantially lowered the local crime rate.
Galt Mile Web Site – Newsletter – Eric Berkowitz -
- June Hits: 757,595 hits; 11,653 unique site visits (first timers)
- July Hits: 788,059 hits; 10,943 unique site visits (first timers)
- August Hits: 765,798 hits; 9,894 unique site visits (first timers)
The past month’s articles:
June 22, 2008 - Galt Mile Loses James T. Gill - The Galt Mile Community lost a good friend whose contributions continued until the day of his passing on Monday, June 9th. At 99, James T. Gill outpaced peers half his age, effectively blending common sense with fiscal insights borne of extensive experience. He faithfully represented Plaza South Condominium in the Galt Mile Community Association as a longtime member of the neighborhood association’s Board of Directors. James masterfully balanced the needs of his association with those of the overall community. From the streets of Manhattan and educated in Columbia University, Jim flexed his familiarity with commodities to rise through the ranks of the Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company until he notched a Vice Presidency. Loved and respected, Jim used his heart and head equally when making decisions or friends. He will be missed!
June 28, 2008 - DTV: Congress Gives Viewers the Digit - On February 17, 2009, the era of analog broadcast television in the United States will end as the nation’s full power television stations complete their transition to an all-digital system. Digital Television (DTV) is an advanced broadcasting technology that enables broadcasters to offer television with better picture and sound quality. It can also offer multiple programming choices, called multicasting, and interactive capabilities. If you subscribe to a cable, satellite or telecommunications service provider, the change will not affect you unless you have an analog TV not connected to the service. If not, you need to read about your options. Did Congress want to usher in the digital age? Not exactly...
July 7, 2008 - An Apple for the Judge - On Wednesday, July 2, 2008, the Third District Court of Appeal filed a decision that could overturn existing Association insurance policy for items and/or elements located outside association units. The Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes issued a declaratory statement contending that Associations must insure property that doesn’t belong to the Association. Known as the Costa Del Sol Declaratory Statement (DS 2006-024), authoritative characterizations of the Division’s controversial policy have ranged from “contradictory” to “a self-reinforcing delusion” since its 2006 inception. As an unfortunate consequence of this monument to illogic, hundreds of associations forced thousands of unit owners to subsidize the insurance costs of their neighbors’ personal outdoor furnishings. A local Association Attorney exclaimed, “At least I will no longer have to explain the inexplicable!”
July 15, 2008 - Comm. Keechl Reviews Shared Vision - In January of 2007, newly elected Broward County Commissioner Ken Keechl released a newsletter entitled “Our Shared Vision for Broward County”. It reviewed his first five weeks in office, expressed gratitude to his constituents (whether or not supportive of his candidacy) and issued a series of promises. His then proclaimed policy program entailed “lowering taxes, protecting our green spaces from development, lessening density on our beaches, and ensuring fiscal accountability”. A few months later, he added “enhancing Broward’s attraction to business, both old and new.” His July/August 2008 newsletter holds a mirror to those nascent commitments. To match his promises against his achievements, read on...
July 22, 2008 - Calypso Gasworks Info Consolidated - You have probably heard about the planned 18-story Calypso Gasworks that could soon adorn your ocean view. Calypso's parent company, a French energy conglomerate called SUEZ, submitted the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for approval on July 11th. After they hold a mandated Public Meeting, Governor Crist will have 45 days to approve or veto the project, depending primarily on what he hears from us. To help spin a significant boost to their balance sheet, SUEZ has sponsored a multi-million dollar public relations campaign contending that Calypso is safe. However, they neglected to mention that SUEZ was fined $220,000 by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission a few years ago for “training violations” of personnel charged with managing public safety at their Distrigas LNG facility in Everett, Massachusetts. WHOOPS! Not surprisingly, after investigating the project, our federal, state, county and municipal representatives have condemned Calypso, citing its placement adjacent to the heavily populated beach as dangerous and irresponsible.
To assist residents interested in learning the facts surrounding this catastrophic threat to life and property, all of the articles about Calypso have been consolidated into a “Calypso Page” on the GMCA web site. The articles contain links to documentation from the Government Accountability Office, the Pentagon, the Congressional Research Service and the Energy Information Administration that clearly validate concerns about the project’s safety, its cost to local taxpayers, why it was suddenly moved here and who actually benefits (CLUE: not one cubic meter of gas will be reserved for Floridians!).
July 29, 2008 - Gretsas: Goals and Objectives - In early July, Commissioner Christine Teel replaced the email she ordinarily sends to remind constituents about her regular pre-agenda meeting at the Beach Community Center with an announcement that on July 14th, “City Manager George Gretsas will be attending to present the City’s goals and objectives for the upcoming fiscal year. Mr. Gretsas will discuss his plans for reducing costs, while improving the quality of life for the residents and businesses in the City of Fort Lauderdale.” Attending residents got more than they bargained for. As the audience filed in, they were greeted by City Manager George Gretsas, Commissioner Christine Teel, Fire Chief James Eddy, Director of Business Enterprises Cate McCaffrey, Building Services Manager Valerie Bohlander, Code Enforcement Manager Mike Maloney, Public Works Director Albert Carbon and the Executive Officer for Police District 1, Captain Raul Diaz. We were all treated to a special edition of “The George Gretsas Show”.
August 11, 2008 - BCPA Expands TRIM Season Access - Now that the TRIM Notices have been distributed, Broward County Property Appraiser media liaison Bob Wolfe notified Galt Mile residents on August 11th that BCPA assistance with understanding components of this critical document has been expanded. The basis for upcoming assessments, the TRIM notice is often the key to successfully adjusting potential tax indebtedness. A longtime link between the Property Appraiser’s office and GMCA residents, Bob paves the way to receiving the answers to your inquiries. P.S. - Many of your questions have already been addressed in the “Ask Lori” section of the BCPA page.
August 20, 2008 - Broward Delegation Calypso Workshop - On August 11, 2008, the Broward Legislative Delegation convened a “Calypso Workshop” at the Beach Community Center. Initiated by Oakland Park Representative Jack Seiler and Executive Director Sandy Harris in response to the hailstorm of antipathy and confusion about the planned gasworks off the Galt Mile beach, the event drew about 250 residents from surrounding neighborhoods. When residents expressed concern about the catastrophic threat posed by the accidental or intentional ignition of a highly combustible vapor cloud, a project official enigmatically stated “public safety is not an issue for this project.” He claimed that French parent company SUEZ filed a security plan formulated in cooperation with local authorities. However, when asked, Broward County Sheriff Al Lamberti said that he had never been contacted by anyone about project security. When Senator Jeffrey Atwater asked who will pay for the huge security burden, lawmakers discovered that SUEZ planned to work out security details with local governments as a “post-licensing decision”.
August 28, 2008 - Frenna Search Ends in Tragedy - Concerned about the prospect of foul play, scores of Galt Mile residents joined Fort Lauderdale Police to help locate a missing friend and neighbor, Josephine Frenna. Family members and friends were joined by the entire community in mutually nourishing the hope that the Ocean Club mother of a teenage boy was unharmed. That hope was dashed on Tuesday, August 25th, when a St. Lucie County medical examiner revealed that he positively identified a drowning victim as Josephine Frenna the previous evening. The stunned Galt Mile neighborhood exchanged prayers for expressions of sympathy and mourning for the close-knit family’s loss. Although the autopsy confirmed that there were no signs of a struggle, suspicious circumstances surrounding the tragedy precluded police from ruling that the death was “accidental.”
September 6, 2008 - “You Can Trust Us!” - When companies eat their own customers for breakfast and usurp human rights with such impunity that good will becomes an unaffordable luxury, flags should go up warning prospective customers that involvement will spell disaster. GDF Suez (they recently merged with French energy giant Gaz de France), the parent company of the Calypso gasworks, is a $105 billion French Conglomerate inextricably tied to the French government, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). A French court in 1994 ruled that a Suez subsidiary paid millions in bribes to a federal minister in return for the privatization of Grenoble’s waterworks. They were evicted from Argentina in 2006 for contaminating Buenos Aires’ water supply and are under indictment by the Wisconsin Attorney General for polluting Lake Michigan. Given that Broward residents are being asked to place the lives of their families and the resolution of an unlimited tax burden in Suez hands, the Galt Mile Community Association and the Central Beach Alliance decided to further investigate Suez record for keeping their commitments. Verifying how Suez expanded its water and sanitation services core business is elementally similar to a Stephen King novel.
September 14, 2008 - Keechl Explores Broward Challenges - In his September 2008 Newsletter, Broward County Commissioner Ken Keechl reminds his District 4 constituents that his platform’s planks include “lower property taxes; fiscal accountability; more open and green spaces; and yearly reserve funding for beach restoration.” He enumerates three of the challenges currently facing County government. As the County Commission continues squeezing the budget to help control property taxes, the accompanying resource shortage can be offset by broadening the tax base. Attracting new business to Broward will insure the uninterrupted delivery of County services while preserving residential tax relief. Drawing on new technologies, Keechl also supports the implementation of alternative water conservation strategies in preparation for impending growth. As usual, Keechl’s measures are viable, sensible and frugal.
Galt Merchants Association - Gwen Rubino
Gwen Rubino, BankUnited Manager, has been asked to represent the Galt Merchants Association, one of our 27 member associations. She is planning a “green market” for the end of October and intends to send invitations. A suggestion to have a “Stop Calypso” booth at the event received a positive response.
Treasurer’s Report - Leah Glickfield
The Treasurer reported $13,434.91 in our Treasury. Membership dues have been received from 21 out of the 25 buildings.
Next Advisory Board Meeting - The next regular Advisory Board Meeting will be held on Thursday, October 16, 2008 at Nick’s Italian Restaurant.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:45 p.m.
Fern McBride, Secretary
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