On Thursday afternoon, Hallandale Beach entrepreneur and Fashion Row shop owner Luciana Preguerman sent the following impassioned email to the Hallandale Beach City Commission/
HB CRA and City Manager, with copies to other interested parties in Hallandale Beach and Broward County regarding the so-called community meeting that was held at her shop, Dekka, on late Wednesday afternoon.
That meeting, featuring the city's new CRA Director, Daniel Rosemond, was, even by Hallandale Beach's all-too-frequently low standards for civic engagement, an unmitigated disaster for HB City Hall.
Worse yet, it left all of the small business owners there who attended, who've been waiting patiently/desperately for years for promised street improvements, to wonder why there has been yet another delay, and who exactly is behind it.
Since Rosemond said that some consideration was being made into including West Dixie Highway, some have wondered if it was an attempt by Commissioners Anthony A. Sanders and Alexander Lewy to funnel yet more CRA funds into Northwest Hallandale Beach.
Lewy has stated several times over the past year that he believes that almost all HB CRA funds should go there, even though NW HB represents only part of the CRA, and would necessarily cause some residents and businesses in other parts of the CRA to consider suing the city if such a policy was ever pursued.
Others publicly wondered if it wasn't all the result of some plan by Hallandale Beach insurance executive and developer Stephen L. Riemer and Riemer Brothers LLC, to use City Hall as a cudgel to force small businesses on First Avenue to close and sell their property, with him swooping in and purchasing them at a discount, since Riemer already own 50 properties in that immediate area.
It did not go un-noticed by those in attendance that Riemer was not present at the meeting, nor were any representatives of his.
Well, we'll all see for ourselves on Monday at HB City Hall at 5 p.m. just what the future of Fashion Row is, if any, as those shop owners once again find themselves in the unenviable position of being forced to watch the City Commission decide their fate and what will happen along N.E. First Avenue.
But at what cost to public trust and business confidence?
Dear City Commission and City Manager:
On behalf of the Fashion Row neighbors association and myself, I'm contacting you to apprise you of some very troubling concerns we have about the community meeting held yesterday at my store at 139 N.E 1st Avenue.
CRA Director Daniel Rosemond stated not once but (at least) twice that he was under no "obligation" to be at this meeting, or even talk to us about the plan the city had already approved, after numerous property owners expressed their displeasure at his inability or unwillingness to answer their questions fully regarding this unfinished project to their satisfaction.
Am I to understand that after 3 years of united community work to make something concrete, the work on our area has suddenly stopped and yet there is not an "obligation" by the city government to accurately communicate this information to the entire community in a timely fashion?
That he has no "obligation" to explain or disclose relevant information to us, given that we are now only 3 business days away from the City Commission meeting where the already approved budget will be reviewed?
We were told that a detailed email was to be send to area property and business owners who can't attend (since the meeting was schedule at a time that businesses are still open) and yet we are still waiting for it. We are also waiting for a copy of the complete approved budget that was requested.
Is it a matter of deep concern to us how things are suddenly changing in a way that seems very strange and counter-productive. We have always worked with the city officers in a very open relationship within our community, together, so why is that now changing? What possible reason could you have now for changing what has already been approved when it is in sight of becoming a reality?
You need to understand that we do not agree with these dramatic changes and I think is very important to share this information.
It seems to us that it is incumbent upon a new city official whose salary is paid for by taxpayers the obligation to communicate in a timely matter, some valuable information to the community that can affects our properties, businesses, safety and security.
We are really looking to a positive outcome that will benefit everybody, since there would seem to be enough abundance in this city for everybody in this city to prosper.
We believe we are being reasonable in thinking that we are due some respect for our past efforts and only seek to exercise our right to be a part of the city's future success.