Sunday, March 7, 2010

Cooper City News, Events and More!

Wow, what great weather we are having! I hope everyone enjoyed the city’s many garage sales that were held this weekend. A lot of you attended the Country Address garage sale in addition to the Cooper City Annual Garage Sale at Brian piccolo Park, and it was great! Lot’s of good stuff and wares were bought, sold and traded. Yesterday proved the old adage that one man’s (woman’s) junk is another man’s (or woman’s) treasure…

I have received numerous calls about signs this weekend. Many residents had their garage sale signs removed, while the city was allowed to have numerous signs. There has been much controversy about signs, including ‘snipe’ signs, in Cooper City as of late. There has also been a good bit of misinformation conveyed to some residents by specific person(s) wanting to make this issue an controversy where there is none.

There have been previous issues regarding ‘open’ signs in business establishments, there are issues regarding ‘garage sale’ signs in our neighborhoods, there are issues of ‘open house’ signs utilized by Realtors used to help direct potential buyers to a home for sale, there are issues regarding temporary signs for houses of worship, and there are issues regarding selective enforcement, or non-enforcement by code enforcement personnel. 

A recent attempt at a code change was not recommended by the Planning and Zoning Board and supported by the Business Advisory Board, and I agree with that recommendation, for now. The Commission’s agenda regarding the sign issue is clear; we want to do what it takes to enhance revenues and opportunities for our local business owners and residents without detracting from the established aesthetics requirements of our beautiful city. The problem has been how to create a balance without being biased, or selective in the enforcement process. Please contact me with your comments, concerns or ideas on how we can address this sign issue and do it in an unbiased, fair manner while being consistent in our efforts to promote our city’s shareholders.

In my last post, I discussed Amendment 4 and my concerns on it. My issue now is this…why in the world is it on our agenda for Tuesday, and why are we getting only part, or shall I say ‘one side’ of the information as back-up material to review? I am completely dismayed at the waste of public funds, staff time and the politics on this issue.

Those who say that the Amendment 4 issue will cost jobs, create lawsuits, and ruin our economy are simply not getting, nor conveying all of the facts. The ‘anti 4 crowd’ are only giving ‘one side’ of the story. Some have even used St. Pete Beach as an example, which is a flawed comparison. It’s worth taking a hard look at St. Pete Beach to understand the irrelevancy of the comparison.

The St. Pete Beach litigation was all about developers who wanted to build 15-story hotels on the waterfront and triple the population density of their small island community.  Many residents strongly opposed this.  The litigation that resulted dealt with the developers’ attempt to submit their own comprehensive land-use plan to the voters without complying with the Florida Growth Management Act.  It had nothing to do with Hometown Democracy.

Also, no jobs will be lost! I’ve read all of the studies and information. Amendment 4 is not about zoning issues, it is about quality of life issues. When an amendment to our state Constitution can help protect our quality of life, it deserves the support of all Floridians. Amendment 4 is such an amendment. It finally gives Floridians a say in how their community will develop and for that reason should be approved by the voters on November 2. 

On one hand, our Mayor, according to her support of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, “Strives to meet or beat the Kyoto Protocol targets in [their] own communities, through actions ranging from anti-sprawl land-use policies to urban forest restoration projects to public information campaigns”. On the other hand, does the Mayor support Amendment 4 which is a position contrary to her aforesaid statement? Public information campaigns are now ‘illegal’ regarding the use of public funds to initiate such positional campaigns by a government agency.

I have to agree with the great philosopher Plato who said “it makes no sense that we should proceed to put people in charge who have shaky, or, worse yet, no philosophical positions. A "democratic" system turns up people to govern on the basis of what the majority of the voters say, a majority which when compared to the number of citizens (non-voting included) is likely in fact to be a minority of people who have no plans, no answers other than that necessary to get themselves elected.”

He continued to say “Now, I think most would agree, a stable and efficient society is important; but one should wonder about a society that will use legislation to make the individual give in to the desires of those who have set themselves as knowing what is best for everyone.”

In relation to Plato’s way of thinking, Peter Landry states “Those who subscribe to the theory that we should be ruled by those who really know best, subscribe, whether they know it or not, to Plato's theory of man. It is this theory upon which, in these times, our society rests. The theory, - so attractive in its statement - is that the community is to permit government to use persuasion and force with a view to unite all citizens and make them share together the benefits which each individually can confer on the community for the benefit of the community; it is a false theory.”

“When, in its legislation, in its use of force, government suppresses the welfare of the individual; when its efforts are aimed to foster the attitude that one should not proceed to please oneself, government commits a fatal error in the achievement of its laudable object, the betterment of the whole. The essential problem in proceeding in this manner is that individuals cannot contribute to the whole, indeed will be a drain on the whole, unless they are allowed to be free and productive, that is to say allowed to suit themselves.”

I will give the city the benefit of the doubt on issue, and expect that they give both sides of the Amendment 4 issue before taking a political stance while using your very hard earned tax dollars to do so.

Remember, Cooper City residents are now able to watch our City Commission meetings live on the Internet here. Residents can instantly replay all or part of the meetings at their convenience through a link
on the City’s web site.

It is a pleasure to serve as your local representative. I am open to your comments and concerns and would like to continue to help resolve your problems regarding city issues and requirements. As such, you can contact me as usual at 954.445.6997 or E-mail me at Commissioner_Sims@CooperCityFL.org.