Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The May 8th Optimist Commission Workshop, Commentary...


I am totally opposed to this procedure as implemented by the Cooper City Commission, especially in a workshop.

 

I do not think it can be effectively managed by Mayor Ross (or our esteemed city attorney as self-proclaimed Parliamentarian), as he has already shown (on a multitude of occasions) that he does not fully understand the Commission Rules or Roberts Rules, nor does he understand that the rules, in addition to Robert’s Rules (adopted by the city commission) are in place to fully protect the minority on said commission.

 

Additionally, I believe that the commission has been threatened by the commentary of the previous meeting by Comm. Jamie Curran, regarding bringing in more deputy’s to apparently remove anyone that it is determined (by someone unnamed) that the individual shall be removed (for expressing their freedom of speech rights) in addition to the ‘decorum’ rules adopted by Debby Eisinger’s legacy (previously unknown to the commission, and not approved thereby).

 

This workshop is a recipe for disaster, and a fiasco, if not a “Salem Witch Hunt” style workshop to be held on May 8th at 6:30 PM....

 

The Optimist Club nor anyone else, has no standing in this meeting other than that which is extended to any member of the public, as it is open to the public. Who is going to make up the ‘Rules’ at this meeting?

 

In other words, the discussion should not allow for anyone outside of the commission members, to enjoy or be granted any special consideration or privilege (particularly of the ability to speak at this workshop) beyond that of which the members of the public are granted.  

 

The inexperience of the members of this commission as a whole, especially the Mayor and his city attorney (notice the choice of the possessive terminology), causes me to get damn near sick to my stomach…

 

As such, let’s not forget Florida Statute 760.51 et., seq.

 

Best Regards,

 

John Sims

(954) 445-6997

 

The $6 Million dollar "Soccer Park"...Can you say 'Red Herring'?


(Comments from a resident I was asked to post, and gladly obliged...)


What’s really going on?



What is really behind the planned $6+ million dollars to be spent on the soccer field, AKA West Sports Complex (Flamingo Road between Sterling & Griffin Roads),  Debbie Eisinger's Folly, you know the park..., the one on the far, far west side of Cooper City just south of Stirling Rd. on Flamingo Rd? 

I wonder if Southwest Ranches would like to join with us in providing a sports facility for their city. Just what every parent wants, is that their kids will have to traverse the dangerous roads and intersections at the corner of Flaming Road to get to this lavish Soccer Sports Field...Of course NOT!



Questions begin to arise when a meeting of the commission members (Workshop Scheduled May 8th 6:30 PM) is conducted in ‘secret’ (April 12, 2012). City officials quickly denied that the meeting was secret (The public was NOT notified regardless of what the city attorney opines). Strong responses from city officials proclaimed that a notice was posted on the bulletin board (inside the foyer) at city hall. The City attorney quickly jumped in with ‘legally sufficient’ applied to it and the minutes submitted (as an email from the city manager), all 24 words (in a meeting that lasted well over an hour and a half).



There were several slip ups on the veracity of the participants however...A recent blog comments to the lack of remembrance on the part of Commissioner Mallozzi (this one). City attorney syas he was not present contrary to Commissioner  Mallozzi in her published article (In the Davie & the Ranches Magazine) to the residents that the city attorney was there, Hmmm...



Commissioner Curran who, since 2008, has been designated by the city commission as being the 'Optimist Liaison', (Sounds impressive, Right?), very aggressively proclaimed that he has attended some 18 meetings on the subject of  the Flamingo Soccer Park. (City personnel vigorously deny that it is a soccer park...) It is noteworthy that Commissioner Curran has never provided any commentary during commission meetings, sent any memos, discussion papers, or anything that could be construed as being informative regarding the agenda, topics, and agreements with the Cooper City Optimists regarding usage of the sports field. (Informal commentary by members of the Optimists seems to indicate that the Optimists have required that the field be designated, designed and constructed to meet the needs of the Optimists. The main purpose of which is to consolidate the fields for the convenience (ease of use) of the Optimists).



Does this raise the question...Has a deal been struck? If so with whom? What was given in return? (Let's not forget, the city attorney stated that the Optimist 'Field Use Resolution' was a valid and binding contract between the city and the Optimist club). When anyone asks for some sort of explanation, lockjaw sets in. It sounds too absurd to believe that the self declared righteousness of the Optimist Club believes that they are above reproach regarding any suggestions of political ‘quid pro quo’ regardless of somewhat dubious actions in handing  Cooper City Commissioner Curran's  cash (undocumented and plainly accepted) in white envelopes with no names? (Sworn testimony given to the Broward SAO so states that, and the dubious  explanation...)



Is there a payoff when money changing hands via (plain) white envelopes is passed hand to hand without any documentation on the part of any of participants?



You draw your own conclusions....


(Note from Comm. Sims: As your 'Go To Commissioner' my sole concern regarding this issue is 1) Does the Optimist Club owe the City any 'Non-Resident Fees', and if so, 2) Who will be held accountable for not making that happen?
Don't let Commissioner Jamie Curran (Now self-proclaimed as 'Jingles the Janitor' at the 4/8/14 commission meeting) lead you to believe otherwise...)

Monday, March 24, 2014


"Deception" (Lisa Mallozzi's DRW Article, Part II)

by Skip Klauber, resident & p/t journalist  

City residents should consider Ms. Mallozzi's DRW article as an opportunity. An opportunity to see through any smokescreen of rhetorical nonsense and examine the deplorable condition of governance in Cooper City. Even more to the point, it is time for each resident in our community to gauge for themselves just how far away we are from any semblance of good governance. And I am not referring to some unreachable political Utopia.  The citizenry need only reflect upon basic concepts of decent representation provided by responsible local elected officials conscious of their sworn oath of office and fiduciary responsibilities. 

The individuals controlling the majority of votes on the Commission, with an able assist by fellow travelers and sycophants, count on you, the residents. They count on you to be far too busy to focus on the activities of part-time, locally elected officials who generally meet only twice a month. In addition, most residents are probably vaguely aware we have a qualified, professional City Manager to really run things, and generally make sure the wheels don't come off the bus. 

In the person of Bruce Loucks we indeed have a qualified, professional City Manager. While I may sometimes vehemently disagree with Mr. Loucks' decisions, he is a very competent and well-respected professional. However, counterbalancing Mr. Loucks' competence and qualifications are the local offices of mayor and city commissioner. With only three votes necessary to fire any City Manager who might rub their fur the wrong way, I have a great deal of sympathy for anyone trying to hold down that position. 

Back in 2008, the majority of individuals holding the offices of mayor and city commissioner exercised a coup de main. Through a series of events never fully explained, and quite irregular in process, they literally bullied their way into seizing the reins of local power. The elected officials decided that despite a distinct lack of any qualifications, and damn the consequences, they were taking control of "City policy". This decision allowed Commission members to fully develop and put into practice their present "make it up as we go along" political philosophy.  In an unforeseen consequence, taking power to which they were never intended also sounded the death knell for any effective oversight within the City.  

In over 26 months of closely observing the City Commission, I've noticed "the truth" has a life expectancy shorter than soldiers assigned to WWII Soviet Penal Battalions. The DRW magazine publication has graciously provided local elected officials the opportunity to publish several articles in each edition. It is with astoundingly poor judgment that some of our elected officials seem intent on using the platform provided by DRW to disseminate propaganda pieces, rather than the local chamber of commerce, or health/safety/welfare type articles for which the space is clearly intended.

Rather than respect and observe the courtesy granted by the DRW publication, it seems several Commission members have discovered a new outlet for their favorite method of communication with the electorate. Commission members can write what they want, and then have their propaganda printed and disseminated to a wide audience. Of course, given that DRW is a publication not intended for political statements, there is no procedure in place whereby readers can raise questions that should be answered. The DRW publication is not in the business of fact-checking and making considered judgments regarding articles submitted by local officials. It offers elected officials a transaction dependent on good faith and trust. (Hmmm. Wasn't there a line in the movie "Animal House" relevant to this trust situation?). 

I first noticed misuse of the DRW magazine in an article by Commissioner Jamie Curran in the December, 2013 issue. The article was part of Mr. Curran's efforts to, amongst other things, resuscitate a stalled expenditure of over $6,000,000 for construction of a Soccer Complex and upgrades to existing athletic facilities. The projects were to be funded by the City's taxpayers. 

Despite essentially no public disclosures, participation, or input through about 18+ months of private discussion and development, the way seemed clear to force through this enormous project. However, at almost the last possible moment certain problems arose. First, it became impossible to hide that no due diligence had ever been done demonstrating any necessity for the notably large expenditure of taxpayers' dollars. Second, to this observer there looked to be an inability to convince Mayor Ross and City Manager Loucks into setting aside their well-founded concerns. Third, there had been questions raised by Commissioner John Sims that remained very much unanswered. 

Commissioner Curran used his December of 2013 DRW article to discuss the projected projects of a park and updating athletic facilities (note, for now the term "Soccer Complex" has been virtually barred from the City's vocabulary). He also focused on alleged public disclosure, as well as public input into the projects. The article was based on a rather sketchy version of local legislative history, but the real problem was Commissioner Curran's use of inaccurate information to bolster a key point.  

Although I found Mr. Curran's use of the DRW space for propaganda to be an exercise in poor political acumen, it involved an emotional matter for the Commissioner. He had become very closely associated with building a Soccer Complex, and despite taking zero personal responsibility for there being no due diligence, he was clearly unhappy with the situation. Thus, although the article was premised on at least one fact that was clearly and unequivocally false, I thought it likely Mr. Curran had not intended to lie.

Ms. Mallozzi's recent article suggests the bully pulpit offered by DRW presents certain Commission members with an irresistible opportunity. Though cowardly, the preference of the majoritarians for "no questions asked; no questions answered" communications with the public is a matter of record. It's also quite effective, though misuse of DRW magazine could very well backfire badly on those seeking to use the free printing and dissemination of rank propaganda to beat down, undermine or suppress dissent. Once again, the selfish interests of a few local elected officials may well result in certain unintended consequences.

At this point in examining the Mallozzi article, I want to really focus in on the nuts 'n bolts of bad governance. Therefore, I direct your attention to the Commissioner's ill-judged effort to distort and, certain evidence suggests,  intentionally mislead residents via her reference to and explanation of the "70% threshold" in the 2012 CCO-City Resolution.  

Resolutions since at least 2003 have resolved that Optimist-run leagues must be made up of 70% or more City residents. Indeed, Ms. Mallozzi alludes to the 70% threshold being part of the 2012 Resolution. However, seeking to justify an apparent back room deal, Ms. Mallozzi adds that participant numbers from basketball are not included, "since they use non-city facilities". Looking at the history of City-CCO sports and Resolutions, this is an absurd and rather comical contention. However, by examining the several different aspects of exactly how the statement is misleading, residents can look "behind the curtain" and view the absence of ability or imagination, as well as the overall lack of candor prevalent amongst the majority of the Commission.  

The reason basketball numbers are backed-out in determining the 70% threshold is as basic as you can get. If the numbers are included, the 70% threshold cannot be reached. It's that simple, and that's all there is to it. Basketball participation was an element of determining the threshold percentage of residents from sometime as early as the 1980's (note, at one time, in a much smaller program, the threshold number was 90%!) through July of 2012. I have scoured the public records produced by the City, and there is no discussion or reference to a discussion concerning backing-out basketball numbers because of using non-city facilities.  

If one chooses to pause for 20 minutes and review the applicable data (e.g., the City budget numbers on overall maintenance costs for athletic facilities, CCO participants by town of residence, etc.), there really isn't any scenario where backing-out the data on participation in CCO-organized basketball makes sense but for "the cold equations". Those being that with the basketball numbers included, it is impossible for a 70% threshold of City participants to be reached. 

Of course, because discussions involving negotiation of the 2012 Resolution ranged from secretive to fully private in manner, it is not possible to categorically state that Commissioner Mallozzi was being untruthful. There was an alleged open public meeting on April 12, 2012, that addressed six CCO sports-related matters, with the meeting lasting 1 hr. 45 min. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately?) for Ms. Mallozzi, what is being very unwisely hawked by the City as "official minutes" for that meeting describe 105 minutes of discussion in a mere 17 words. That's right, 17. If 17 words representing an hour and forty five minutes of discussion is not disgraceful enough, Commissioners Curran and Jeff Green have publicly asserted these minutes to be substantially inaccurate. (Yes, I know we have a City Attorney. But...).

All of the other meetings that might have discussed the 70% threshold or otherwise supported Ms. Mallozzi's story were private. Commissioner Curran was there, but there are absolutely no records indicating the basketball story is true, and no minutes from the private meetings exist. It should also be noted that when the 2012 Resolution came before the Commission for consideration and vote, there were no discussions or disclosures of any sort. Even though he had presumably been at the helm while the Resolution was drafted, Commissioner Curran failed to introduce the matter, point out and explain changes, ask if he could answer questions, etc., etc. Nothing anyone might expect of an experienced elected representative and official liaison to the Optimists was done.  Or was it... ?
 

 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

"Deflection" (Commissioner Lisa Mallozzi's DRW Article)





Just to clarify, the below commentary by Skip Klauber is simply a "reprint" of an article he did for my blog, as well as for another local blog. He really should have left off the "Report" prelude so as to avoid any possible confusion (i.e., accusation) the article is anything other than a journalistic endeavor.
###
 Report:


"Deflection" (Commissioner Lisa Mallozzi's DRW Article)
by Skip Klauber, resident & p/t journalist 

I don't care for the tactics being utilized by Commissioners Jamie Curran, Lisa Mallozzi and Jeff Green. While I can't give a legal analysis, as far as I can tell from observing events and reviewing documents, there is no present issue about the "Optimists owing money". The aforementioned individuals, and their fellow travellers, need to stop trying to undermine the Optimists. Be men, and women, rather than selfish, self-centered, power hungry cowards. 

There certainly seems to be an issue of financial and other mismanagement by the City. There are also, apparently, issues of mis-governance related to covering up the City's financial and other mismanagement. But based on everything I've seen, and I forwarded public record requests for everything relevant, I don't believe the Optimists owe the City a single penny. But the Optimists' financial obligations are not what the aforementioned Commissioners, and any possible accommodations for them by the Mayor, are all about.

There are few things more annoying to purveyors of bad governance than dissent. All the potential thinking and answering questions can be so very bothersome. In 2009 our Commission found a way to get around most of that dissent "stuff". The Commission promulgated a rule that terminated the decades-old privilege held by City residents to pose questions to Commission members. 

The Commission liked the new gag rule so much it has not only been reaffirmed, it has even been extended to all of the City's so-called advisory boards. In fact, it appears the Commission members are even barred from asking questions of one another! (To his credit, Mayor Greg Ross joined Commissioner John Sims in unsuccessfully seeking to widen public input at Commission meetings).  

Getting rid of a need to answer residents' questions has been a real boon to most Commission members. Other than having to listen to three, or at most six total minutes of a resident's comments, most Commission members have a pretty low-stress position. A Commission member doesn't even have to listen to residents' comments- it's not like an elected official might have to answer questions, or anything potentially challenging. If nothing else, the past few years have shown that truly anyone, of any ability, can be on our City's Commission.

Eliminating nearly all effective dissent is nice, but your average tin-horn Caesar with a soft spot for authoritarian process requires more. They need affirmation. A sure vehicle for such affirmation is reading what others say or write about the utter brilliance of your positions, analysis, or performance. And having the populace as a whole reading of your accomplishments goes hand in hand with the affirmation process. Thus, there are "house organs", "party newspapers", and the like. After a while, some pols of high ego/low intelligence even forget they are just reading political propaganda.

Because city commission in a town of under 50,000 residents is on the smaller potatoes side, local yokel tin-horn Caesars need to settle for less media when it comes to the affirmation/ propaganda process. This leads to my thoughts regarding Commissioner Lisa Mallozzi's recent article in the DRW publication. 

The article may be more in the nature of self-affirmation, but it fulfills the sine qua non of our local Commission majoritarians: "No Questions Will Be Answered!". This is reflected in what I believe to be the "write what you want, and don't worry" philosophy underlying the author's approach.

I don't know who penned the DRW article attributed to Mallozzi. I guess I'd like to think its not someone who defeated the well-qualified David Nall in the 2010 election. But whoever composed the article has a very hostile relationship with the truth. 

What is the precise status of the facts in Ms. Mallozzi's article?

(1) The article claims it will let residents know "a few facts". This is true. Ms. Mallozzi's article has a few actual facts;

(2) The 2004 Resolution? Sorry, what Ms. Mallozzi writes is less than accurate. By 2004 the Optimists and City were several decades into a relationship. I believe Ms. Mallozzi's entire discussion on this point shows either a complete lack of knowledge (i.e., "ignorance") regarding the Optimists-City relationship, or is intended to be misleading;

(3) The April 12, 2012 get-together? I'm afraid what Ms. Mallozzi writes scores comfortably below the Mendoza Line for truthfulness. That's not to say everything is inaccurate or misleading, but there is enough here straying far from the truth to give me material for another article, or two. 

For the doubters, some examples:

(A) Why did the City (note, CITY, not the Optimists!) "invite" only four Commissioners? Do you think it odd the sole Commission member not invited, Commissioner John Sims, was also the only Commissioner not a member of the Optimists organization? 

(by the way, did Commissioner Mallozzi mention she is a member of the Optimists?) 

(B) While the 2012 meeting was indeed held in the Commission's meeting room, it was moved to that room at the time of the 2012 meeting. The 2012 meeting was noticed for the City Manager's office. At 9:00 A.M. On a weekday 

(C) As noted, the notice said the meeting was in the City Manager's office. Does that sound like easy access for the public? If you think so, go try and walk into the City Manager's office tomorrow morning;

(D) About that "notice". In Cooper City, City policy is that open public meetings subject to the Sunshine Laws are noticed to the public in (at least) two places, a cork board in City Hall, and online. The City's online site has this big calendar that has about every meeting possibly of interest to a resident, in quite a bit of detail. Yet, the April 12, 2012 meeting was not on the website. Only on that City Hall bulletin board; 

(E) The notice failed to reference two of the items to be discussed on April 12, 2012. The items left off the notice were the most complex matters, as well as those of greatest importance to the public;

(F) Ah, the minutes. Yes, the minutes. Maybe Commissioner Mallozzi should read these minutes at the next Commission meeting. A discussion of five subjects over 1 hr. 45 minutes summarized into: 17 words (note, in fairness to all, one word is hyphenated). That may sound a little, sketchy, but 

(G) Those minutes again! Commissioner Mallozzi failed to include in her article that two of her colleagues, Commissioners Curran and Green, insisted at a January 28, 2014 Commission meeting the 2012 "minutes" are inaccurate. Yep, inaccurate.  (And you believe Commissioners Curran and Green, don't you?);

This could go on for quite while, so let's summarize. The article by Commissioner Mallozzi is disrespectful to residents, devoid of integrity, and a stain on Cooper City's reputation. Surely, Commissioner Mallozzi must realize that sooner or later the truth always comes out.

Monday, February 24, 2014

I have placed on the February 25th Commission Agenda (This Tuesday @ 6:30 PM), a vote for the City Commission to approve a DISCUSSION AND/OR ACTION to set a workshop regarding the boat/RV Storage lots.
This is a 'Request to set a date for a workshop to discuss and review the storage lot issues brought forth by residents – Submitted By Commissioner Sims'

The issues I wish to discuss, IF the majority of the commission approves the workshop, are as follows:


● reducing the rates as promised by the Commission
● storage lots continue to be nonprofit, yet monies are being transferred out of the Parking Lot fund to fund other areas of the budget
● create larger parking spaces within our existing lots (to accommodate 40 foot vehicles)
● fill current vacant spaces before any expansion is considered
● restrict the storage lots to Cooper City residents who should have priority, then businesses, and in addition, perform an inventory
● current renters should not be charged solely for a capital investment when the practice is otherwise throughout the city
● current estimate for expansion lot would cost approximately $20,000 per rental family. This is extremely unreasonable.

If you need to change, add or delete anything to this list for discussion (again, IF the majority of the commission approves this workshop) please feel free to do so and contact me so I can add it to my list above.
Let me know if you need anymore information.
 
I hope that the city, and others involved will give notice to everyone as soon as (again, a big 'IF') we have a definite date.  

As such, it seems that the only way this current commission acts on behalf of the residents concerns, is if multitudes of people show up and show their support. Please do so!

The February 25th Commission Meeting agenda can be seen HERE (.PDF format. Click on the Blue Item number to review the supplied backup material for each item)
 

LOCATION: 9090 SW 50TH PLACE, COOPER CITY, FL 33328
 
Please contact your city commission and voice your support for the Storage Lot Workshop. Click HERE for their email and contact info.

Keeping you informed,

John

Commissioner John Sims

Sunday, February 23, 2014

I-595 Reversible Express Lanes


On behalf of the Florida Department of Transportation’s 595 Express team please see below and attached information regarding the upcoming opening of the Reversible Express Lanes on I-595 at the end of March.  The team will also be presenting at the February 26 TCC and CIR meeting, and the March 13 MPO meeting, here at the MPO offices. Go to this link to see all MPO meetings http://www.browardmpo.org/calendar

Attachments (Click on the links below) include:

Flyer announcing an Open House on February 27 from 5PM to 7:30PM at the Signature Grand in Davie.
Fact Sheet
Express Lanes Information


  • If you have any questions please contact Fiorella Alvarez, contact details see below. Or visit the 595 website at www.i-595.com
http://gallery.mailchimp.com/cb9ad7c7c4d08709fe2a2392d/files/Fact_Sheet_February_2014_.pdf

http://gallery.mailchimp.com/cb9ad7c7c4d08709fe2a2392d/files/Express_Lanes_General_Information_February_2014_.pdf

http://gallery.mailchimp.com/cb9ad7c7c4d08709fe2a2392d/files/Open_House_Invitation_February_2014_.pdf

Keeping you informed...

Water shut off in Timberlake


As part of the SW 51st Street Water Main Tie-in Project, water will be SHUT OFF TONIGHT at 8:00PM until 4:00AM, Friday, February 21st.
The areas of shut off are as follows:  SW 92nd Avenue, from 50th Place to 51st Street  AND SW 51st Place, from 92nd Terrace to 51st Street.  
Residents of these areas have all been notified. 
My apologies for the late notice but I received it just this afternoon...


Keeping you informed,

John

Commissioner John Sims



Wednesday, February 5, 2014

West Parking/Storage Lot Notice

The installation of the new security fence at the West RV lot will begin on Monday, February 24.  Below is a letter that will be mailed this week to persons leasing spaces in the West RV lot to notify them they will need to remove their items from the lot for two weeks during the installation.
###


February 7, 2014

West RV Lot Lessee

The City of Cooper City is preparing for the installation of security fencing at the West Vehicle Storage Compound.  We are sending this courtesy letter to notify you, as the lessee of a spot in the Storage Compound, that your property (ie: vehicle, boat, trailer, camper etc) must be removed from the Vehicle Storage Compound by 5:00 P.M. Sunday, February 23, 2014.  Should your vehicle not be removed by this date, the City will have your vehicle towed by our towing contractor.  It will then be up to you, the owner, to pay for any and all expenses associated with the towing, storage and recovery of your vehicle.  In addition to the removal of your real property, all debris must be removed from your spot and surrounding area.  Any and all items left behind will be permanently removed and disposed of by the City.  We anticipate this project to be completed by 9:00 A.M. Saturday, March 8, 2014, at which time you can re-enter the storage compound.  There will be absolutely no public access to the storage compound during this work period.

The City has notified Code Enforcement of the project and the need for all vehicles to be stored elsewhere.  During the week of February 23 thru March 8, 2014, you will be allowed to store your recreational/commercial vehicle at your residence.  Please keep this letter as acknowledgement by the City of permission to park your recreational/commercial vehicle at your residence.  Should you have any questions please contact the Public Works Department at 954-434-2300.

Keeping you informed,

John

Commissioner John Sims

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Cooper City Calendar of Events

Cooper City Calendar of Events

JANUARY 2
4th Father/Son Adventure

FEBRUARY
14th Say I Do .. . Again
21st Cooper City Cabaret


MARCH
1st Community Garage Sale
7th Community Book Swap
9th 5K Richardson Run/Walk
21st No School Camp Day
24th-28th Spring Break Camp


APRIL
17th Teen Twilight Egg Hunt
18th No School Camp Day
19th Cooper City Egg-stravaganza!
26th Cooper City Founder's Day


MAY
10th Mother/Daughter Tea
23rd No School Camp Day


JUNE
9th Summer Camp Begins
14th Touch-A-Truck


JULY
18th Food Truck Rolling Into Cooper City



Cooper City Recreation Department- 954.434.4300 Ext. 233 www.CooperCityFL.org