Saturday, February 27, 2010

More of your rights being taken away in Cooper City, News, March Calendar and more...

Cooper City, FL – An attempt to take away more of your rights regarding oversight of ‘government’ is on the next agenda for Cooper City’s Commission. The Florida Hometown Democracy Land Use Initiative will appear as Amendment 4 on the November 2010 ballot.

Amendment 4 will give you, the voter and taxpayer, a vote on growth in your community. The amendment proposes to require voter approval of all changes to local comprehensive land-use plans, in order to give voters more say over development. In order to pass, the amendment needs at least 60% of the total votes.

Each of us has a huge stake in growth decisions that can drastically alter our community's future for generations to come. Each community has adopted its own comprehensive plan: a long-term master plan for sensible growth. Currently, elected city and county commissioners have exclusive power to make changes to the plan. Rising taxes, falling home values, gridlocked roads, dwindling water supplies and Florida's disappearing beauty are just some of the devastating consequences of Florida politicians' habit of rubberstamping speculative plan changes.

Hometown Democracy Amendment 4 changes all that by giving voters veto power over these changes to your community's master plan for growth. Florida’s Legislators have pretty much given free rein to developers to continue building; quality of life and the state's natural resources be damned, even though there are currently 300,000 homes in Florida sitting empty. Public participation in local government comprehensive land use planning benefits the conservation and protection of Florida’s natural resources and scenic beauty, and the long-term quality of life of Floridians. Direct democracy on land use changes may be the only way to promote smart growth in Florida.

As Richard Creedon said “Amendment 4 should be approved. Why? It's so simple. We ordinary citizens have found that, with some notable exceptions, our elected representatives seem to forget about us as soon as they are elected. They start remembering us again when it is time for re-election. It's like clockwork. Just follow the money. Amendment 4 will give power back to the people, finally. Changing and toughening growth-management laws will not work because soon the politicians will gut them all over again. The [Sentinel] is naive to think that government can be trusted. History shows us that, sadly, has not usually been the case. Why should we expect the future to be different? Rather, trust the wisdom of the people and vote for Amendment 4 in November. Florida can be protected only if Amendment 4 is in the Florida Constitution. It's so simple. Whom do you trust more, The People or the politicians?”

For those who understand the hidden costs to society and the resulting increased tax liability, this is the last straw. In South Florida, paving over paradise, by dredge and fill destruction of wetlands, has reduced our watersheds. This takes the cost of water supply for Florida residents in the opposite direction taken by New York. As the Everglades watershed has diminished, the effect is a local call for deeper drilling in the Floridian aquifer, reverse osmosis and desalination, all at a very high cost.

What development has done is to transform a natural asset to societal liability, with significant reduction of quality of life for all Floridians. As a recent editorial noted, "Unchecked growth is an unsustainable extreme."

In the quest for an approach to nearly unconstrained development at great cost to the taxpayers, Amendment 4 is the unintended consequence. Consider another externality: The developers' cost of political contributions to keep this tax debt spiral going.

With Amendment 4, your power to vote on growth will enable you to preserve your neighborhood and your community and protect the value of your home. Can you say taxation without representation? With "4" there is a chance of representation and restoring the process of democracy. Without "4," past history and current events tell us nothing will change for the better.

Don’t let your Cooper City bureaucrats vote to help take away your oversight of your land! Be at the next Cooper City Commission meeting and strenuously oppose this power grab by big (and small) government! Read more at http://www.floridahometowndemocracy.com

BSO wants you to be aware of Census related scams. The Census is very important and all citizens should participate. Our agency's goal is to ensure your safety.

Recently law enforcement agencies across the region, including the Broward Sheriff’s Office have become aware of scams involving individuals claiming to be affiliated with the upcoming Census. In an effort to safeguard our residents and business owners visit www.sheriff.org/census for more information.

Cooper City Multi-Family GARAGE SALE is Saturday, March 6th from 7:00 am 'til noon At the Cooper City Sports Complex. Whether you are selling or buying, this is the place to be for deals galore! Held on the grounds of the Cooper City Sports Complex at the corner of 100th Avenue & Stirling Road, this twice a year event is open to all residents.

The Country Address Homeowner’s Association will be having their community garage sale on March 6th and 7th at 8 AM. There are over 300 homes in Country Address and Country Address Encore. Entrance to the community can be found off of Stirling Road and on Pine Island Road.

My next Town Hall Meeting will be on March 8th at 7 PM at City Hall. Please come and voice your concerns!. Also, be sure to tune into my Blog Talk Radio broadcast ‘Sims’ City News’ at 6 PM on March 8th. You can listen and call in at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/johnsims The Call-in Number is (347) 215-8968.

The MINI-FLOW mobile (Florida Licensing On Wheels) will be in Cooper City on March 9th to offer drivers license renewals, replacement of lost licenses, address changes, ID Cards, car tags, and handicapped placards inside the Community Center from 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM on the second Tuesday of each month. Please call the Community Center at 954-434-4300 x 233 to verify.

The Community Book Swap is Friday, March 12th 6:00 - 7:30 PM at the Community Center. Drop off your slightly used books in good condition beginning Monday, March 8th through Thursday, March 11th. A ticket is issued for each donated book. On Friday, March 12th, parents and their children may come to the Community Center from 6:00 - 7:30 PM to exchange tickets for books. If you have a question, please call 954-434-4300 x233.

The Jim Richardson 5K Run & 1 or 2 Mile Family Fitness Run/Walk is Sunday, March 14th at the Cooper City Sports Complex.

The Broward Schools Integrity ethics panel will have a public hearing on Monday, March 15th, 2010, from 6 pm to 8 pm at the Cooper City High School Auditorium. The high school is located at 9401 Stirling Road, Cooper City, FL 33328. The public’s attendance is strongly encouraged to provide much needed input on the workings of the Broward County School District and its School Board. Parking for the event is located in the northeast corner of the high school campus. Cooper City High School is located at 9401 Stirling Road, Cooper City. For more information, please call (954) 604-3117 or go to www.browardschoolsintegrity.org

St Patrick's Day Luncheon. Wear your green for an afternoon of fun, lunch, music...Wednesday, March 17th, 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM. Cost $3.00 plus a side dish or dessert. By reservation only! Held at the Community Center. Call Kathy at (954)434-4300 x255 for reservations and more information.

Family "Ceramics Night Out" with Gail. Enjoy creating a special ceramics piece with your child, then taking it home that night! Held at the Community Center. Children must be in first grade and up. Must pre-register at the Community Center. Call 954-434-4300 x 233 for more information. Cost is $10.00 per family, plus $10.00 per child for project materials. Friday Nights: 6:30 - 8:30PM. March 19th "Springtime Project”. Come at 6:00 and join the "Pizza Crowd"... reserve a space for you and your kids by phoning ahead at 954-434-4300 x233 and feeding your whole family pizza for $6.00!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Today's Headlines in Cooper City Newspapers

Today's headline -- "Broward exploring hike in property tax rates, Officials question ability to cope with another major budget deficit". Why doesn't it read "Budget shortfall forces Broward County Government to make long delayed cuts to useless, unneeded services"?

Also in today's headline was the comment that "The Federal Reserve expects unemployment will stay high over the next two years because recession-scarred Americans are likely to stay cautious, making for only a moderate-paced economic recovery."

Against that backdrop, the Fed said that it expects the economy will grow between 2.8 percent and 3.5 percent this year. They also believe that growth will pick up to between 3.4 percent and 4.5 percent next year and have similar growth in 2012. Analysts say the economy would need to grow by at least 5 percent a year to make a dent in the unemployment rate.

I’m a deficit watcher and I hope you’re one too. Somehow though, I have my reservations since only two people showed up at this year's Cooper City budget hearing to officially protest a 24% tax assessment increase by your city officials. But, if you are, it means you want to see our gargantuan government put on a strict diet. I believe that the government belt needs to be tightened by more than just a few notches, just like you and I have had to do.

We all want to force government at all levels to live within its means rather than borrow trillions of dollars, or to irresponsibly use your hard earned tax dollars that you are forced to give up. It is irresponsible for all levels of government to spend your money on ‘feel good’ items and unnecessary special interest programs that we don’t want or need, rather than using those dollars to supplement health, safety and welfare of the public (government’s sole purpose under the Constitution) or to take care of your own family’s needs.

What about all of the years of boom surplus revenues? Nothing is apparently left in reserve for times like these, which is astounding! My property is still assessed higher than the current market value and Broward County wants to raise taxes which seems like it may be based on their mismanagement and lack of foresight, not to mention the new courthouse debacle. It seems to me that lack of proper management and maintenance created the problem, and a new building is not the current economic solution.

Some blame the budget deficits on Amendment One or Save Our Homes which really have nothing to do with this current budget problem. The responsibility squarely rests with the public servants, who after years of unprecedented, sky high tax revenues, now cry poor mouth because they simply can't seem to manage your money.

The article continues to characterize the real "shortfalls" which are government health insurance and pension programs. These scams, or ponzi schemes if you will, are whereby the government worker is somehow 'entitled' to better benefits than you are. Yet, the real intent seems to work to mask the cost of big government and a growing union public employee base from your average voter while benefitting only the patrons of the political class.

I wonder if someone in the county manager's office has proposed an across the board ten percent cut of all salaries and spending, which would probably take Broward County out of the deficit? It seems like a reasonable and shared sacrifice in these tough times. In Cooper City alone, our Police and fire costs are sixty percent of our total budget. Another thirty to thirty five percent is employee salary, wages, benefits and operating costs. The rest is left to hopefully provide quality ‘services’ to the resident.

Of course when Cooper City recently cried 'poor mouth' and I proposed the same percentage of cuts across the board, no viable discussion or executive summary was put on the table other than the ‘we will have to lay off employees rather than submit to cutting discretionary expenditures’ mantra. When I also proposed a ‘zero-based budget’ and the method of going over the budget line by line, yet again I was completely ignored by the majority on the commission. How irresponsible! Only one department had a budget reduction, and that was parks and recreation to the tune of about five percent.

It’s no secret that government employees receive generous pensions and benefit packages that many private employees do not. Some in our city even receive benefits who are not entitled to them! Yet, our city’s General Employee’s Pension Fund is about six million dollars in the red. And, we are ‘on the hook’ for every dime, yet the pension funds have been contractually guaranteed an eight percent return in the future, regardless of our severely depressed economy.

The fact is, a major part of the Broward County Government expenses is Wages and Benefits, so you can't "save" money by closing Parks and Libraries, and reducing services. Additionally the County must go forward to dictate to the public employees and their unions, health care and retirement benefits that are affordable to the taxpayer. Public employee salaries, retirement and health care are far, far in excess of what is standard in the private sector and this is a financial time bomb that must be addressed now.

The "budget cuts" don't have to be "devastating" at all. They simply need to be properly managed, logical and approached with the objective of benefiting the Taxpayer, not the government employee. As always, the politicians in charge (i.e., majority vote) always threaten to cut services that The People actually use. Never is there a mention of the droves of useless bureaucrats and wasted tax dollars behind the scenes and the plan to cut those wasted tax dollars.

Difficult times always seem to lead to difficult measures. Public officials need to start leading by example and stop playing with our tax dollars that are meant to strengthen the valid municipal purpose doctrine. Unfortunately, the Municipal Home Rule Powers Act (Ch. 166, F. S.) grants broad home rule powers and authority to counties and municipalities. The law states that they shall have the governmental, corporate, and proprietary powers to enable them to conduct municipal government, perform municipal functions, and render municipal services, and may exercise any power for municipal purposes, except when expressly prohibited by law. This includes spending your tax dollars however the majority on the commission dais sees fit.

Historically, politicians and bureaucrats only know how to operate with ever increasing tax revenues. My government experience regarding a yearly budget called for spending every dime, and even included ‘making up things to spend money on’ in order to get the same amount of funding, or more, for the following year’s budget. Trust me when I say that this practice is alive and well in every county and city government in America.

How many elected officials are actually business oriented? I can tell you that there aren’t enough. I have also said many times, and have promised, that I will never vote to raise taxes or lay off employees as long as I am a public servant as it simply isn’t necessary. Until government at all levels realizes that the 'spend it or lose it' attitude will no longer suffice, ‘We the People’ will continue to suffer at the hands of politicians, not public servants, and from the mismanagement of government services and our hard earned tax dollars.

When speaking of government, I am referring to all facets of government. Local and government in our small town all the way to the White House. Quite frankly, I am surprised at the lack of attendance at our twice a month commission meetings since most elected officials make decisions and vote for their best political interests.

At first it was upsetting to me, and then it dawned on me, why would my fellow commission members vote for something to benefit the people that elected them if they could vote to further their political career. You see, not all are cut from the same cloth, and with that being said we need you to help watch over spending habits. I question myself as to how many of the residents really know what that guy or gal on the commission with the big smile and great personality is doing to better the city and the residents' services when no one is looking.

I ask each and every person reading this article to attend future commission meetings. Residents must show their elected officials at all levels that their irresponsible spending behavior will no longer be tolerated! There are several ways that you can find out the dates and times of the commission meetings.

The city holds two commission meetings per month and can be seen on Comcast cable channel 78 during the meetings or can be viewed via the internet, at the Cooper City website under the archived agendas and meetings link. I can not stress enough how important it is to have the physical attendance at the meeting to help keep your taxes down and the City budget in check.

I will do what I can to keep the costs and waste of your local governemnt reduced, but those of you reading this may want to consider that your support at commission meetings is absolutely vital. The elected officials that are pushing through “feel good items”, supporting, or pertaining to their own political gain need know that you care!

I welcome all comments and suggestions for a better run city and government. I am only one person and vote on the commission dais, so I will need your support! Contact me at 954-445-6997 or E-mail me at johnsims@bellsouth.net. Thank you.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Cooper City Relay for Life and more...

Relay for Life Davie-Cooper City

36 Days Left Until Relay! Teams:26 Dollars Raised: $12,852.72 Participants:221

One in three people will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime. The American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life® is a life-changing event that brings together more than 3.5 million people across the country each year to celebrate the lives of those who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost and to fight back against a disease that takes too much, and we all pray that it will eventually be curable.

Cancer will overtake heart disease as the world's top killer by 2010, which is part of a trend that should more than double global cancer cases and deaths by 2030. If we take action now, we can keep the numbers from going where they would otherwise go, says the cancer society's chief executive officer.

This year marks the celebration of over 11 years of Relay For Life® for the Davie-Cooper City Relay for Life teams!

This year’s event will be held on March 20, 2010 at Western High School. Sign up or donate today, and join Relay for Life to mark this milestone and the successes that they have achieved.

Please do your part, if possible, and follow the lead of the Cooper City Commission to support Relay for Life with your generous donation.

Please join us on Friday, February 12th, from 6pm until 8pm at the Cooper City Community Center as Relay for Life hosts the official Launch Party for the Davie/Cooper City 2010 Relay for Life event. It will be a fun filled night, with dinner included, as we start the countdown leading up to the Relay. I hope to see you there.

For more information or to know how you can participate, please contact Diane Sori, Davie/Cooper City 2010 Relay for Life Publicity Chair at gabootica@aol.com. Thank you!

Real Estate Assessed Values

‘The People’ are suffering in Cooper City. The decrease in assessed value of real estate in our city was recently reported to be just at -6%, yet as of last month, there are over 360 properties either already foreclosed, or being foreclosed on.

A Cooper City real estate agent recently reported in e-Foreclosure magazine that all the homes she has sold so far were either foreclosed or distressed. There are also numerous businesses being foreclosed on. The unemployment rate has also skyrocketed in our city.

We are looking at several more years of extremely challenged times because of the unpredictable nature of the economy and the ad valorem tax base. Desperate times sometimes call for desperate measures and I hope and pray that our city does not succumb to the economical pressures placed upon our county, state and nation, and attempt to raise taxes.

I will continue to attempt to lay a foundation and the groundwork for our city which needs to continue to move aggressively into the future at an affordable cost to our residents and business owners without raising taxes.

We need to reduce inefficiencies and mistakes, reduce taxes, reduce the influence of government and its negative influence on The People’s daily lives.

As such, I will continue to vote no on any and all tax increases, no on increased spending, and I will continue to look to reduce inefficiencies and eliminate any mismanagement of your tax dollars at city hall. Please help to do your part…

Broward Days in Tallahassee

There is no place like Tallahassee for the Legislative Session, and a few simple ways are available that will keep your taxes low and government services intact.

Broward Days will take place this year on March 17th & 18th and I will be representing your concerns on Education, Advocacy, Sustainability, Environmental, Economic, Leadership, Census, Political Endorsement, Finance and Technology issues while attending this year’s conference.

If you would allow me the honor of representing your issues and concerns at this year’s Legislative Session at The Capitol, please contact me.

Again, I will go to Tallahassee with your issues in mind and will fight for your issues and your rights. You can read all of my issues that I will be representing and more, on my blog athttp://johnsims3.blogspot.com

Happy Valentine’s Day & Ash Wednesday

I would like to wish each and every one of you and your family in Cooper City a Happy Valentine’s Day. If you practice Lent, I would also like to say that I join in your prayers, as we all have faults.

This is a time of repentance, joy and love, so go and do something nice with your family and loved ones and please do what you can to help others. Be safe, and have a great weekend!

Thank You!

It is an honor to serve you as Commissioner of District 1 on the Cooper City Commission. As always, I remain dedicated to Accountability and Excellence in Government.

I am dedicated to The People of Cooper City, and will continue to provide Leadership and ensure Honesty, Transparency and Integrity in City Hall.

As a Public Servant I am committed to the highest standards, actions of integrity, decisions made responsibly and honestly, and will stress the importance of everyone adhering to uncompromising integrity & ethics rules.

Rules alone can’t guarantee ethical conduct. Only people can do that, but we indeed have a responsibility to uphold the code of ethics for public officials in everything we do. It starts at the top.

If there is ever anything I can do to help you, please don’t hesitate to email me at johnsims@bellsouth.net or call me directly at 954-445-6997. You can also feel free to visit me on the internet at http://www.johnbsims.com

Monday, February 8, 2010

Let's Talk Cooper City!

Let's talk Cooper City! Join me at Sims' Cooper City Radio Talk Show tonight at 6:00 PM.

As a person who cares deeply about Cooper City, we can talk about your city and your issues, or...let's talk about Politics, 'Politricks', Taxes, Commissioners & Staff, Local News, Health, Safety, Community Events, Business and whatever you think is a great topic for great City of Cooper City.

Tune-in to my new Blog Talk Radio Show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/johnsims which starts at 6:00 PM on the second Monday of the month, just before my town hall meetings (which are at 7 PM at city hall on the second Monday of the month), or to the shows you missed at the above link. Just click on 'download' and you can hear them at any time. Radio shows are available 24/7.

If you would like to advertise your local business free of charge, let me know. I will be happy to accommodate you. If you have any local event’s you would like to freely advertise, let me know also.

I’ll see you on my YouTube channel or you can join me on Facebook and Twitter via the links on the site above or click on the icons to your right.