Having attended the March 7th City Commission meeting that is the subject of this post, or more specifically, sat thru most of the evening portion of it in-person, and having spoken and recorded most but not all of what transpired on my camcorder, I'm in a position to know exactly what happened, and to be fair, there's actually quite a lot more disturbing facts and context Comm. London doesn't even bother to mention below that he could, due to lack of time, but which were, all the same, very distressing to many residents in the room, who were forced to wait far too long to speak on the subject of the Marcum report that shows how oblivious the city has been for years with regard to important public records.
I left to go home after sitting in the Commission Chambers after 4 hours and 45 minutes, around 11:40 p.m., and it still kept going...
As most of you more regular readers know from my dozens of previous posts over the past five years on how Mayor Joy Cooper runs these meetings as presiding officer -one of only two powers that she has that the other four commissioners do not- which is the exact opposite of how smoothly and fairly Mayor Peter Bober runs things in next-door Hollywood, these sorts of never ending meetings in Hallandale Beach are no accident.
They're both part strategy and part unwillingness on the part of the mayor to change her own behavior to move the meetings along, and not talking all the time after every nearly single response.
In Hollywood, Mayor Bober, after any opening remarks of his, then asks the city attorney and city manger if they have anything to share with them and the public, and then asks the city clerk to get things rolling.
AND, he usually speaks AFTER all of his colleagues have had the chance to weigh-in on a subject..
Mayor Cooper speaks first, during and after any speakers, public or from the city, as well as before and after her colleagues, that is, when she is not busy interrupting them.
The meetings should generally never last longer than about three hours, but they are, instead, often epic battles to not fall asleep in the chambers or in front of your computer.
Mayor Cooper and her Rubber Stamp Crew of Dotty Ross, Antony A. Sanders and Alexander Lewy, all of whom are largely opposed to if not entirely indifferent to proving genuine oversight and transparency of what happens in this city, esp. in regards to financial matters, allow these meetings to go on-and-on because they know that if they can keep people sitting in the audience for hours waiting to speak, or now, waiting at home watching via the city's website -which streams the meetings but displays no basic information about agenda items or subjects- it greatly discourages participation.
At the meeting on March 7th, the subject of Comm. London's comments, as he notes below, it started around 1 p.m. and ended AFTER Midnight.
That's no way to run a meeting and certainly no way to run a city.
There's a reason that the Diplomat LAC (to benefit the owners of the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa and the Diplomat Country Club) was not finally voted upon until 2:43 a.m., just a few days before Christmas in 2009.
That very controversial item, which I strongly opposed and spoke out against at HB City Hall and before the Broward County Commission, and wrote about here at least two dozen times, was later correctly rejected by the County Commission because of its clear-cut incompatibility with the NE Hallandale Beach neighborhood it seeked to force itself onto, next to the Diplomat golf course, by placing numerous giant condo towers next to some pretty pricey single-family homes, some of which would've been placed in almost perpetual shadows after Noon.
A real victory for common sense and an embarrassing public defeat for Cooper, Ross and Sanders, who voted for it at 2:43 a.m., as well as her pals and business cronies in the city, almost all of whom ignored the very negative effect it would have in a city that has gridlock that is greatly disproportionate to its size due to both geography and its physical layout.
Because there is literally so much information I know and have been given by others regarding subjects that were mentioned at least in part at this particular meeting, I will be posting my own comments about some of the things Comm. London describes below, separately in another post over the next few days.
I've edited what Comm. London emailed me on Friday by removing some of his original indents so that more information could appear on each line, take-up less space and largely eliminate any dangling sentences or URLs.
His monthly Resident Forum meeting is tonight from 6-8 p.m. at the HB Cultural Center behind HB City Hall, so come by and check it out and get better informed about what's really going on..
Date: Fri, Mar 16, 2012 at 2:50 PM
Subject: Wrap Up of the City of Hallandale Beach City Commission Meeting March 7, 2012
The following is an update of agenda items discussed at the March 7, 2012 City of Hallandale Beach Commission Meeting.
Highlights of the Meeting
* Mayor Cooper and her surrogate Commissioner Lewy are attempting to change our election rules after I announced to run for Mayor of Hallandale Beach
* Commissioner Lewy wants to change the dates for the Charter referendums from the November general election to the August primaries -disenfranchising independents and democrats
* Commissioner Lewy again prevents questions being asked to staff and debate amongst the commission regarding important issues - yet another blow to representative government
* Six residents waited for more than two hours to voice their unanimous disagreement with shifting liability for decorative signs in GISND
* Mayor Cooper called these six individuals "under minders" because they disagree with her
* Security Alliance LLC has been chosen as the new security company for GISND and TISND - tentative date of commencement is 4-1-2012
* "No Surprises with the audit" said Mayor Cooper, even though there are over 250 exceptions
* Chad Lincoln sums up the "audit" by saying "in Hallandale the exception is the rule"
* Commissioner London made a motion to perform a Management Audit of the Finance and Purchasing Departments of the City - NO SECOND
* Commissioner Lewy states using temporary labor is "unfair labor practices".
CITY COMMISSION, CITY OF HALLANDALE BEACH
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 07, 2012 1:00 PM & 7:00 PM
1. CALL TO ORDER
2. ROLL CALL
3. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
4. STUDENT CITIZEN OF THE MONTH AND SCHOOL ACTIVITY UPDATE
5. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION - Items not on the Agenda (To be heard at 1:30 P.M.)
A. Proclamation Proclaiming April 1, 2012 as Parents & Children's Day
B. Proclamation Proclaiming March as Women's History Month (Staff Report
TO BE HEARD AT 8:00 P.M.
C. Presentation of the Findings of the 2011 Municipal Green Initiatives Survey (Jill Horwitz, Natural Resource Specialist I, Broward
County Natural Resources Planning and Management Division)
TO BE HEARD AT 1:30 P.M.
7. CONTINUATION OF CITY BUSINESS FROM PREVIOUS MEETINGS
8. CONSENT AGENDA
A. Approval of Draft Minutes
1. Regular City Commission Meeting of February 15, 2012
(Supporting Docs http://www.hallandalebeachfl.gov/files/2012-03-07/Item%208.A.1/index.html)
* Passed 4:1 London
9. CITY BUSINESS
A. Consideration of the Conceptual Design for the Layne Blvd. Sidewalk Improvement Project, Entailing the Marking and Striping of a Bike Lane and Sidewalk Along Layne Boulevard from Hallandale Beach Boulevard to Holiday Drive.
(Staff: Director of DPW,U&E) (See Backup) BP #004/12 (Staff Report
* After a Golden Isles community meeting it was decided to try temporary painted stripping instead of building a permanent concrete sidewalk and bike lane
* The striping will commence in the next 30 days and should take 90 days to complete
* This will be piloted for approximately a year to see how the public responds to the new striping and delineation of a side walk and bike lanes
* The following are some of the facts regarding this issue:
o The inside travel lane will increase in width to 12 feet from 10 feet - the bike lane will be 4 feet and the sidewalk will be 6 feet
o The bike lanes and sidewalk will be delineated by striped paint
o There may be some large potted planters installed to help define the areas
o This hopefully will increase the bike safety and pedestrian usage in Golden Isles
* Passed 5:0
B. A Resolution of the Mayor and City Commission of the City of Hallandale Beach, Florida, Authorizing the City Manager to Apply for Financial Assistance Under the FY-2012 Waterways Assistance Program for The Hallandale Beach City Marina Project, Authorizing the City Manager to Execute the Necessary Documents and Establish Appropriate Accounts to Implement the Project, and Providing and Effective Date.
(Staff: DPW, U&E)(Backup)CAD#031/03 (Staff Report
* Passed 5:0
C. A Resolution of the Mayor and City Commission of the City of Hallandale Beach, Florida, Authorizing the Award of Bid #FY 2011-2012-009, Temporary Labor Services Option I, Option II, and Option III, to the Lowest Responsive, Responsible Bidder, Hire Quest, LLC d/b/a Trojan Labor, in an Amount Not-to-Exceed $215,000.00 for Leased Labor, Authorizing the City Manager to Execute the Agreement with Hire Quest, LLC d/b/a Trojan Labor; and Providing an Effective Date.
(Staff: Director of DPW, U&E) (See Backup) BP #020/12 (Staff Report
* Commissioner Lewy stated that using temporary labor in his opinion was an unfair labor practice.
* Commissioner London asked the following questions:
o How long can an employee be temporary? Answer, the city has had people as long as two years
o Please give an example of this. Answer, retirees who want part time work or for a specialized position
o Why use temporary labor? Answer, when the City requires extra staffing for a project for a specific period of time or requires specific expertise not currently in house - this provides a large savings by not needing to train personnel when outside labor may be contracted with all the training and licensing required to complete projects or tasks.
* Resident Chad Lincoln spoke regarding the advantages of having contracted employees expertise on hand in many disciplines
* See a video of Chad here:
Here, Comm. London refers to a FLIP video that I recorded at the Commission meeting and sent last week to a few dozen citizens, activists and politicians around Hallandale Beach and Broward County, plus a few TV/print reporters and columnists.
That video will be the subject of a separate blog post later this week, due to its great importance.
* Passed 3:2 Lewy and Sanders No - London, Ross, Cooper - Yes
D. A Resolution of the Mayor and City Commission of the City of Hallandale Beach, Florida, Authorizing the City Manager to Award RFP FY#2011-2012-001 to Security Alliance, LLC, to Provide Security Guard Services for the Golden Isles Safe Neighborhood District and the Three Islands Safe Neighborhood District; Authorizing the City Manager to Execute the Agreement with Security Alliance, LLC, and Providing an Effective Date.
(Staff: Police Chief) (See Backup) CAD #024/93 & CMD #041/92
TO BE HEARD AT 2:30 P.M.
TO BE HEARD IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE GOLDEN ISLES SAFE NEIGHBORHOOD DISCTRICT BOARD OF DIRECTORS SPECIAL MEETING AGENDA ITEM #3.C.
TO BE HEARD N CONJUNCTION WITH THE THREE ISLANDS SAFE NEIGHBORHOOD DISCTRICT BOARD OF DIRECTORS SPECIAL MEETING AGENDA ITEM #3.B.
* The new company was chosen in adherence with the new Broward County ethics laws and City of Hallandale Ordinance requiring the City Commission to chose the vendor ranked number one by City staff
* The new company will seek to hire the existing guards if they meet the requirements, pass a drug screening and meet professional standards
* The new contract is expected to commence April 1, 2012
* Passed 5:0
E. A Resolution of the Mayor and City Commission of the City of Hallandale Beach, Florida, Authorizing the City Manager to Execute an Agreement of Participation with the Golden Isles Safe Neighborhood District to Install Decorative Traffic Signage throughout the Golden Isles Safe Neighborhood District Area; and Providing an Effective Date.
(Staff:Director of DPW,U&E) (See Backup) BP# 012/09 & CMD #041/92
TO BE HEARD IN CONJUNCTION WITH GISND BOARD OF DIRECTORS SPECIAL MEETING AGEND ITEM #3.D.
* Six residents from the Golden Isles attended the meeting and patiently waited for over two hours to unanimously voice their opinion AGAINST shifting all the liability from Broward County and the City of Hallandale Beach
* Commissioner London stated he, too, would like "pretty/decorative" signs in Golden Isles but was very concerned about the potential ramifications of shifting the legal liability from Broward County to only the residents of Golden Isles
* The shift from Broward County and the City of Hallandale to the Golden Isles residents would be in perpetuity for any and all costs associated with these signs for instance:
o Buying, maintaining, replacing, ordering, paying the city to do any maintenance, defending lawsuits, answering lawsuits, setting up procedures
* Passed 3:2 London and Ross NO
F. A Resolution of the Mayor and City Commission of the City of Hallandale Beach, Florida, Authorizing the City Manager to Execute the Second Amended and Restated Development Agreement Between RK Hallandale Limited Partnership and 17070 Collins Avenue Shopping Center, Ltd, and the City of Hallandale Beach, Florida; and Providing An Effective Date.
(Staff Director of Development Services) (See Backup) CAD #016/04
TO BE HEARD AT 7:15 P.M.
TO BE HEARD IN CONJUNCTION WITH ITEM #12.B.
* Commissioner Lewy made a motion to limit discussion and would not let me do the job I was elected to do and ask questions to City staff
* I cannot and will not vote yes for a project increasing traffic which will impact all residents and businesses in Hallandale
* Commissioner Lewy's new tactic making motions to limit discussion and questions is NOT Democratic
* Passed 4:1 London No
G. Presentation of Independent Accountants' Report on Applying Agreed-Upon Procedures.
(Staff: Director, Finance) (See Backup) CAD #015/10
TO BE HEARD AT 7:30 P.M.
TO BE HEARD IN CONJUNCTION WITH HBCRA BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING AGENDA ITEM #4.C.
* Commissioner London asked the following questions:
o Was this an audit? Answer NO
o If not an audit, what was this exercise? Answer - "Agreed Upon Procedures"
o Was there any executive summary included with the Agreed Upon Procedures? No - that was not part of what Marcum was contracted or engaged to perform
o Were there formal recommendations included as part of the Agreed Upon Procedures? No
o Was Marcum engaged to look for fraud? No
o Did Marcum look to see if the taxpayer received a reasonable return on their investment? No
o What did Marcum find? The City of Hallandale's written policy/procedures were ignored or broken over 250 times
o What was the outcome of these broken policy/procedures? Answer - the written policies ignored by the city would be re-written on the spot (the exception was now the rule)
o Examples of broken policy/procedures:
* Mike Good forgave a $50,000 loan to a developer for a potential $600 per year savings off an employee rental lease
* City Commission voted yes (4:1 LONDON NO) for a CRA loan of $125,000 to a pornographer with no collateral as required - this loan is now in default
* Approved $150,000 CRA loan when the maximum allowable amount is $100,000
* Purchased three $142,000 condominium units for friends - Former Vice Mayor Julian signed off on one incomplete set of documents- limited documents available for others
* No documents and missing documents in the files for over 10 million dollars in real estate acquisitions
o Commissioner London made a motion to perform a Management Audit of the Finance and Purchasing Departments - NO SECOND
o Commissioner London made a motion to perform a stand alone AUDIT of the CRA - No affirmative vote but consensus is to bring this item back for a future discussion
H. Reconsideration of Charter Review Committee Recommendations -Title of "Mayor-Commissioner." (Mayor Joy F. Cooper)( See Backup) CAD #003/11
10. COMMISSION PLANNING
11. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION - Items not on the Agenda (To be heard at 7:00 P.M.)
* Robert Fisher from Sea Edge Co-op spoke about the red tape his building has experienced to obtain permits for work being performed on their building
* Dr. Judy Selz questioned Commissioner Lewy and wanted to know why he is loose with taxpayer's money with regards to Golden Isles - just because there is money in the account does not necessarily mean it needs to be spent
* Andrew Markoff
* Qunia Gordon spoke about woman's health
* Reginald LaGross spoke with regard to questions he had about his very high water bills
12. PUBLIC HEARINGS (To heard at 7:15 P.M.)
A. An Ordinance of the City of Hallandale Beach, Florida, Approving and Authorizing a Contract with AAAA Crosstown Towing and Recovery, Inc. ("AAAA") for Towing Service. (First Reading) (Staff: Police Chief) (See Backup)
* Passed 5:0
TO BE HEARD AT 7:15 P.M.
B. Application # 72-10-DB by RK Associates Requesting Major Development Review Approval Pursuant to Section 32-782 of the Zoning and Land Development Code in Order to Build a 3,950 Square Feet Freestanding Building and a 538 Square Feet Addition at the RK Diplomat Center Located at 1725 E. Halladale Beach Boulevard. (Staff: Director of Development Services) (See Backup) CAD#016/04
TO BE HEARD IN CONJUNCTION WITH ITEM #9.F.
13. COMMISSIONER COMMUNICATIONS - Items not on the Agenda
A. COMMISSIONER LEWY
B. COMMISSIONER LONDON
C. COMMISSIONER ROSS
D. VICE MAYOR SANDERS
E. MAYOR COOPER - Adjourned the meeting after midnight approximately 11 hours after opening the meeting
14. CITY ATTORNEY COMMUNICATIONS - Items not on the Agenda
15. CITY MANAGER COMMUNICATIONS - Items not on the Agenda
Keith S. London