Friday, October 19, 2012

Response to Threats Against Cooper City Staff and Commission

October 19, 2012

RE: Written threats against Cooper City staff and commission members

To Whom It May Concern, 

During a recent review of the Cooper City attorney’s invoices and fees (they are outrageously substantial and are roaring completely out of control, with the city attorney given a recent hefty pay raise) I encountered an invoice from the city attorney substantially charging the city and taxpayers for review of an ‘anonymous letter’ threatening and alleging some sort of attack against the city and one or more city official(s), which was apparently in the possession of the Mayor and was being reviewed by the city attorney at her request. The city attorney never responded to the Mayor but was paid very handsomely. 

Given the times we all live in, I was initially shocked that this alleged written threat had never been brought to the staff or the commission’s full attention. Furthermore, as I thought of the possible implications of such a serious threat, the more concerned I became. Several questions began to arise in my opinion that I found almost incomprehensible, yet realistic and somewhat frightening. 

Why was this potential and serious alleged threat to the city, city official(s) and presumably city employee(s), not brought to the immediate attention of the city manager, chief law enforcement officer and the rest of the members of the city commission? Why was there no investigation of such a potential damaging letter and its inherent imminent threat? Why was there no initial warning of a possible threat to all persons who might be the target of such a threat? I thought immediately of many of our city employees are working outdoors who are most susceptible to possible dangers from person or persons who might seek to harm them.

I have now asked the city manager to investigate this letter, if it actually exists, and to report to the city commission on what occurred and allow the commissioners to ask questions of why no awareness was made regarding this threat. This request was made weeks ago and no response has been provided as of today. This is a serious breach of duty in my opinion. 

Most of all, I am appalled that Mayor Debby Eisinger showed so little concern for those of the city staff and her fellow commissioners that she did not take immediate action to protect them against a potential and serious threat. While in retrospect it may now turn out to have been merely a false or meaningless threat or childish attempts to scare someone, I can’t comprehend that the Mayor would simply dismiss any alleged threat based upon her selfish and personal interpretation of the alleged letter. The comments by the city attorney did not indicate that he recommended any action, nor did he advise anyone else of the threat. In fact, his response to me was that he never even responded to the Mayor’s concerns which I find incomprehensible. This of course follows the City Attorney’s long and contentious track record of not responding to commissioner’s questions, requests and demands which is a very serious issue in his line of work. 

I am clearly relieved that this threatening letter has not yet result in any harm or damage to anyone…yet. That notwithstanding, I am quite disturbed that Mayor Debby Eisinger, and for that matter the City Manager and City Attorney, lack the responsibility if not the ‘common sense’ to take the minimal steps of advising the law enforcement officials as well as the city staff and commission members to ensure the safety of all of the potential persons placed at risk by this perceived threat. 

I can only hope that my fellow commissioners will join with me and immediately demand that an action plan for any such further occurrences of this nature be developed and be available for implementation should this ever happen again. I also hope that my fellow commissioners will join with me in severely reprimanding the Mayor and City Attorney for this type of blatant irresponsibility and unconscionable behavior.  

The safety of all persons within our city, especially those who proudly and diligently serve our city need to know that their safety and welfare are foremost in our minds, hearts, and actions whenever a threat, no matter how insignificant it might turn out to be, will be treated with the upmost of urgency and seriousness, more so with the current turmoil in the world in addition to the political hatred that most of America has for incompetence, irresponsibility and lack of action to resolve problems in government at all levels.
 
Respectfully,
 
John Sims
City Commissioner, Dist. 1
Cooper City, FL 

CC:       Cooper City Commission
BSO
             Cooper City Staff

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cooper City's Election Challenge

Dear Residents, Friends and Business Owners:

Cooper City has never faced a more serious ethical, financial and economic challenge. We need serious leaders capable of crafting and implementing workable plans that will help lift our community toward financial recovery, rid our city of politricks and create jobs.
In this campaign, I have spoken to a lot of residents about the city's contentious past under our current Mayor with more to go. I have spoken face-to-face with hundreds of people about what is important to them. They care about jobs and balancing budgets, keeping taxes low, their safety and putting families first.
They want officials who have proven themselves to be independent -- not just who say it, but who live it -- and who have the guts to vote their conscience on behalf of the residents and business owners, not voting just to go along and get along with their colleagues on the dais.
I have been that kind of leader and I need your help. That's why I ask for your support November 6th for Greg Ross for Mayor and Daniel 'Dan' Barrett for District 3 Commissioner.
I think the best days for Cooper City await us, but only if we stop focusing on what is unimportant and get back to work on the agenda that matters to We the People.
Warm regards,
John

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Cooper City - Seniors vs. Crime

SENIORS VS. CRIME

By Noreen S. Gilman, Volunteer Seniors vs. Crime

Many residents are not aware that there is an organization devoted to assisting Floridians of ALL ages who believe they have been victimized by improper practices, scams or other economic crimes. It is called “Seniors vs. Crime” and it is a Special Project of the Florida Attorney General. Our organization is non-profit, and we never charge a fee for our services. Our mission is to assist the Florida Attorney General in preventing crimes against the elderly, to educate and to alert seniors about consumer frauds, con games, scams, identity theft and other criminal acts that target senior citizens. There are several offices around the state including North Miami Beach, Delray Beach, and the newest office in Cooper City.

Earlier this year many of our residents were defrauded from the theft of thousands of dollars of refunds due them from the IRS. Seniors vs. Crime assisted several of these victims to file the necessary forms to recover their money. Now that we are in the middle of hurricane season, we are prepared to assist residents in roofing problems, flooding, as well as other storm damage received during a Tropical Storm or Hurricane. We regularly receive alerts concerning possible storm damage and the repair of homes after a storm by fly-by-night contractors.

As part of our outreach to the community, we have also established a Speakers Bureau which has qualified individuals who will offer a presentation, without charge, on a variety of topics such as identity theft, the current scams and many more subjects of interest. To arrange for a speaker for your organization or group, or for more information if you feel you are a victim of an economic crime,  please call our office in Cooper City at 954.441.8339. 

Also, be aware...As an FYI - the city received two phone calls this afternoon from residents in Summertime Isles who advised that a person knocked on their door (one last night at 8:00 pm and the other today) and told the residents that they were from the City and needed to speak to them.  When the resident refused to open the door last night, the person became aggressive and frightened the resident.

In both cases, the residents were told to call BSO immediately to relay this information. PLEASE, take NOTHING for granted and call BSO and 911 if you see ANYTHING suspicious...

Keeping you informed,

John

Commissioner John Sims

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Cooper City Charity Yard Sale - Saturday 9/22 !


CHARITY 
YARD SALE

SEPTEMBER 22, 2012 (8AM – 4PM)

·         Tools, Electronics, Lamps, TV’s, DVD, etc….

·         Linens, towels, miscellaneous material

·         Camping, fishing, sporting good

·         Framed Art, pictures, frames, Candle’s, figurines, Collectibles (plates & more)

·         Men’s, Women’s & children clothing, Purses, Hats, Shoes, Belts, Scarf’s,

·         Toys (action figures, board games, stuffed animals)

·         Books, Jewelry, Carpet, Rugs,

·         Furniture, Glassware, Kitchenware, Dishes, glasses, etc.

·         Gardening supplies & plants

·         TOO MUCH TO LIST! 

50/50 Raffle ($1 each or 6 for $5) – winning ticket announced @ 4pm

Donations collected from Miramar to Parkland to benefit people in the community diagnosed with serious illnesses.  We are aiming to pay 3 months of utility bills (water) and give Publix gift cards to as many people as we can through this CHARITY YARD SALE. 

       4979 SW 90 Way – Cooper City – Florida - 33328

        Come by, shop and support a good cause!

****All proceeds are donated to recipients.
 
 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Cooper City Special Report


Cooper City Report: ‘Recession Hurt American Families’ Wealth; Recession wiped out nearly two decades of American families’ wealth; Net worth plunges 39% over three years; Median income dropped 7.7% from 2007- 2010’.

These are a few recent headlines reflecting our residents and businesses economic status. I mention them as we look to our city budget meetings this month (July 18th & 19th) and ask the question, “What are the challenges that face the Cooper City Commission?” What can we do to lighten the load on our businesses and residents?

I have asked this question to your commissioner’s previously, without a response. They responded by raising taxes for the 7th year in a row. When I ask residents about the city’s management style, the answer seems to reflect ‘lightening the financial burden on us’. When I asked what specifically do you mean? Here are some of their thoughts…

The cost of living in Cooper City continues rise exponentially and crime is increasing. When asked for clarification, here is the consensus...The cost of overall taxes rises without any improvements in the city. Quoting one commissioner, “We are starting to look like West Hollywood” and I agree. A review of the last several years shows a 15-17% of increase in assessed property values (under Save Our Homes) and taxes and fees continue to rise, the Fire Assessment being the most confusing to many.

“We already pay for that service don’t we?” is a frequent comment. The assessment increased from $64 to an increase scheduled for this year of $164, almost 2 ½ times. One resident made several blunt comments about the Special Magistrate, implemented as a service to our residents, saying that it has become a money machine for the city. The Commission has yet to review or question its performance (or that of our city attorney) since inception. The common item complained about is the cost of water. The Water & Sewer Enterprise is still an area that the city commission has failed to review or question during past few budget workshops.

Without fully describing the business climate in Cooper City, one only has to look around and see the number of empty stores. This in turn this costs our residents more money and time if they are not able to obtain goods and services from local vendors. Again, is the atmosphere created by the city conducive for businesses to flourish, or are we too rigid in our antiquated and controlling thinking about yard sales, signs, banners, balloons or other methods needed to attract more customers?  Should we not be asking, ‘What can we do to help?’ This is the pleading I have made since elected with no solutions by your city commission as a whole.

These, and many more questions I want to raise to prompt discussion and changes to many of the things that are essential to creating a friendly attitude of what once was ‘Someplace Special”, but may have lost its luster in the last 5 to 10 years. We can do better if we try, and we must do better at the November polls. We must elect candidates with business savvy, who want to take risks to make positive change on your behalf. We must reject city commission candidates who are political operatives, who have nothing substantial to offer to vastly improve your city’s future.

This upcoming election year will be about positive change on your behalf. Its way past the time for the city to take positive action for the well-being of our residents and business owners, which means reducing ‘feel good’ spending, eliminating unnecessary assessments and lowering taxes.

I can say for certain that I will continue to work very hard to serve the public and do my very best to be the leader that our residents and business owners rightfully expect without a political agenda. There have been many problems over the past that have not been addressed effectively, timely or appropriately by the current leadership. That must change in November.

As a commission, we must improve the city’s image, address unfunded mandates, address ten year budget projections, reduce our current spending, implement more diverse programs, improve customer service and most importantly, restore fiscal responsibility and accountability to public office.

How can we make this happen? We must review every detail of how we do business as a city, and how we lead as elected officials. Visit my website www.keepsims.com or e-mail me for any city concerns at Commissioner_Sims@CooperCityFL.org.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Message from Your ‘GO TO’ Commissioner


A Message from Your ‘GO TO’ Commissioner 

Dear Business Owners, Friends and Neighbors,

I consider it a great honor and a great privilege to represent the residents of District 1, along with all of Cooper City. As your fiscally responsible representative on the Cooper City Commission, a job I have been proud to hold since March, 2007, I have had much opposition by the career political cronies of this city. Many of you first met me during my campaign to eliminate favoritism, corruption, excessive spending and malfeasance in our city government. I was first elected in 2007 based on my vast experience in business and you convinced me that I could bring new ideas and a fresh approach to the City Commission which I have proudly done.

Since my election to the Commission one of my main focuses has been on assessing, prioritizing and expanding programs and services for senior citizens and recognizing the importance of utilizing data and technology in our current systems which has been underutilized. Earlier this year I served as the driving force for the Senior Advisory Board, which brought community elders and leaders to the table in order to discuss the troubling issue of the lack of top quality seniors programs. Providing for the needs of our elderly population is critical and will continue to remain one of my priorities. To that end, the Senior Advisory Board must be concerned with matters relating to the well-being and improvement of the quality of life for Cooper City’s elder residents, although to my extreme dismay, dirty politics, internal favoritism and prejudice have taken over that process.

I am referred to as the “Go to Commissioner” because many have said ‘Go to Commissioner Sims if you want results for your issues’. I resolve our residents’ and business owners’ problems and I timely address their issues. I know that with good business practices, and great leadership, good government will be an everyday occurrence. The one process that needs curbing is one that I am working hard to streamline: the party line bureaucratic process that is often inherent in government. I am and have always been committed to making Cooper City government more efficient and less costly.

One area that is of particular interest is the County’s bid process. Accountability is critical. Utilizing data to make decisions is in the best interest of the residents and business owners of Cooper City are paramount to our success. There have been too many issues not bid on, such our city attorney, who reports to no one and now is considered the ‘Rainmaker’ for his law firm. The position is unbridled, unmanaged and sometimes used for political purposes, which is one reason why our legal bills have soared beyond belief. 

Some of your elected officials have had long term relationships with the city attorney and failed to disclose that fact when they voted to hire him and his law firm. His decision making ability and legal advice has not always been in the best interest of the city, its residents and business owners, but sometimes made in the best interest of those he chooses to support politically and made in the best interest of making tons of money for his law firm. This must end immediately.  

One other issue of vast interest is the Charter Review Board recommendations, and the haste in which it was convened and adjourned. The issues will be placed on the November ballot and have been approved by the city commission. They will affect you greatly, and already have, as many of your rights were stripped away by a renegade few on the commission in 2006, without your knowledge. I will blog about this issue in the very near future, so stay tuned. 

In the past I served on a number of boards, committees serving our community. My involvement included alternate memberships on the Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Water Resources Task Force. I also served as the Director of Government Affairs and Ethics for the Human Relations Council of Florida along with being directly involved in other entities supporting our community such as the Kiwanis Club and the American Legion.

I was raised in Dade County, but I have been a resident of Broward County for more than 20 years. My beautiful and loving wife Janet and I are proud parents and step-parents of two fine boys and now have had the pleasure of watching them grow up and remain close to our beautiful community. I want you to know that I am here to work with you and for you for any of your concerns no matter what the issue is. I understand the role of a policy maker and a leader, and I believe I have the determination, professionalism and integrity to serve you well leaving the politricks aside and doing what is right for your success. 

It is critically important to me that cities and other local governments work together for the common good of We the People. We can find the common ground necessary to create the partnerships which are beneficial and productive to you, our constituents without a lot of expense, political maneuvering and red tape.

As many of you have already discovered my office serves as a resource to all of you in our community. I regularly provide valuable and current information to our Home Owner and Civic Associations and all of our business owners on all matters affecting our city, both personal and political, and I work very hard to resolve the issues that you bring to my attention.

I strive to be fully accessible, accountable and responsive to your issues and concerns. Your opinions and thoughts are very important to me and intend to continue to put your concerns ahead of all else. As such, please feel free to contact me at any time by calling 954-445-6997 or by e-mail at: johnsims@bellsouth.net I look forward to hearing from you, so feel free to contact me at any time and for any reason and be sure to keep up with what’s happening in Cooper City at http://www.keepsims.com

John Sims
Cooper City Commissioner, District 1

*Please forward*

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Great Power Grab Caper in Cooper City


The Great Power Grab Caper in Cooper City

That is the title of a document that I received recently in an email. Upon reading I thought it warranted and I agreed to posting it for all Cooper City voters to read. It does raise the concern, “Were the voters of Cooper City in the last ballot change to the city’s charter, hoodwinked into believing that the statement on the ballot was accurate description of the actions to be taken, or were they deceptive and as a result lost a “charter right”, that being the right to approve certain major financial expenditures by the city commission when it exceeded a specific amount?”

One can only assume that there may well be some truth to it and should be viewed by the current sitting commission as an egregious transgression by the previous commission. A quote from a past virulent and outspoken dissident, who has receded into the background and is rarely vocal and then only acting as a surrogate for the Mayor or Commissioner Mallozzi.

Unity among commissioners should never be an issue. The issue should be five individuals bringing their own independent thoughts and ideas to the people, and doing what’s right for this city, not agreeing with each other just to have a commission group hug. We’ve had enough so called commission(al) harmony, being nothing more than rubber stamp voting. The people demand you represent us, NOT each other.


Also, please don’t claim our finances are strained until a forensic audit is done, and our books are looked into in detail. You might be surprised at what you find, or don’t find.” 
 - [verbatim comments of Diane Sori, Embassy Lakes resident, at a public meeting on citizens’ concerns during a Cooper City Commission meeting.]

Emailed as Follows; This is the part of the old city charter that was removed in November of 2006 which was not properly described in the ballot items and as a result can only be described as the

The Great Power Grab Caper by the
Elected Officials of Cooper City
Mayor Debbie Eisinger
November 2006

Section 5.15. Requirements for referendum. -- The City of Cooper City may borrow money, contract loans and issue bonds payable from ad valorem taxes and maturing more than twelve months after issue only to finance or refinance capital projects authorized by law and only when approved by a vote of the electors of the city.

(Added to the current Charter) The city shall have full power and authority to issue municipal bonds or to borrow funds [or municipal purposes to the extent authorized by and subject to the limitations provided in the Constitution of the State of Florida, the Municipal Home Rule Law, other applicable statutes and this charter.

(Deleted from the current Cooper City Charter) The purchase or construction of a capital project or facility or the purchase of capital equipment, the cost of which shall exceed seven and one half percent (7.5%) of the then existing current budget as adopted for the fiscal year, and which requires the borrowing of funds by the City or the issuance of bonds to fund such expenditures shall require prior voter approval of a majority of the electors voting at an election.

The referendum requirement of the section shall not apply to capital projects within the water and sewer utility systems of the city. Nor shall it apply to expenditures mandated by federal or state governments.  

Also removed in its entirety, the section noted below of almost 1000 words.

Section 3.13. Initiative, referendum, recall.—

I leave it to you the reader to determine for yourself the following questions;
What is the significance of this?
Were we told of this?
What should be done to restore the voter’s charter rights?

TheCharter changes will be voted upon at this Tuesday night’s meeting in Cooper City. Be there and watch how more of your rights will be stripped by your commissioners elected to represent you, not their best interests…

Your comments are most welcomed.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Palm Avenue Notice to Residents


Notice to Residents - Construction Schedule for Improvements to Palm Avenue (From Stirling Road to Griffin Road) - Broward County Project No. 5322 

Please be advised that Broward County will be issuing Notice to Proceed (NTP) to the contractor to commence construction activities during the week of May 21, 2012 for the improvements of Palm Avenue between Griffin Road and Stirling Road. The project is scheduled to be completed within 19 months. 

The Palm Avenue project will widen the corridor from a two (2) to a four 4-lane divided roadway between Stirling Road and Griffin Road. The improvements include the construction of curb/ gutter, sidewalks, traffic separators, drainage, signalization, illumination system, landscape, irrigation, pavement markings, and water utilities.

The prime contractor for this project is Southeastern Engineering Contractors, Inc. and the field office for the contractor and inspection team is at: 

The Centre at Stirling and Palm 
9900 Stirling Road, Suite 200A
Cooper City, FL 33024

For any comments or questions that you may have during the construction time of Palm Avenue, please contact the following staff from Broward County Highway Construction & Engineering Division: 

Bryan Williams, P.E., Project Manager IV
Construction Engineering Inspection Section
E-mail: bwilliams@broward.org

Telephone: (954) 577-4562

Julio Gurrea, Project Manager II
Construction Management Section
E-mail: jgurrea@broward.org

Telephone: (954) 577-4599



Best regards,
Commissioner John Sims

Cooper City, FL
954-445-6997

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cooper City’s Sunshine Week Synopsis

This is National Sunshine Week. Sunshine Week is a week that is observed annually throughout the United States to point out that the public's business must be open to the public and that the Government, except in cases of national security, should be open to public inspection. It is a national 'open government' initiative spearheaded by the majority of Americans to raise the awareness and to educate the public about the importance of open government and to the dangers of excessive secrecy.

This week coincides with the birthday of James Madison, a Founding Father of our great country known for his emphasis regarding the checks and balances in government and his advocacy of open government, a view that I continue to most strongly support. Open government and transparency are essential to maintaining our freedom from repression by government as well as our free speech. Although it's Sunshine Week, I regret to report that contrary to Mayor Eisinger's proclamations and recent actions, having been made upon taking office more than once, that years later the Sun still isn't shining in on the public's business here in Cooper City. 

There is a real disconnect between words and actions of the current administration. In the Mayor's latest display, the Mayor once again attempted to extinguish dissent and eliminate discourse by recessing the last commission meeting. Discourse and full expression of opinion is necessary and a vital element of a healthy government to survive. The somewhat childish attempt by Mayor Debby Eisinger did nothing but reflect on a complete inability to manage a meeting in an adult like and professional manner, by not being forthright and honest in order to allow the city commission to discuss a very serious matter, in this case the Cooper City Charter and how we may city commission have seriously, possibly and deliberately violated our city Charter. You see, our Charter is much like our Constitution, it is superior to our local laws, ordinances and resolutions. In the hierarchy of legal rules, and its mandates rise above all else. It is the 'check and balance' between the runway political power, abusive governmental control, blatant corruption and you, the voters, who are ultimately the bearers of the responsibility of how your government is managed and controlled. 

In numerous cases in the past, the Mayor coerced other commissioners to disallow public input and free speech inside of city hall and at city public meetings. At one point it became so acute, that a resident had requested that an American Civil Liberties Union attorney come to observe her actions. The resultant 'gag like' atmosphere continues today with the support of her fellow colleagues and personal friend of almost twenty years, our city attorney, handpicked by the Mayor and her then cronies without so much as a discussion on how to replace our old city attorney. It was a covert 'done deal' before the issue was brought before the full commission at a public meeting. Although the city rhetoric adopts a disclosure stance in order to publically commit to the principles embodied in our Sunshine laws, Freedom of Information Act, Ethics laws and Charter espousing an era of open government, we all know that actions speak louder than words. Words that the Mayor solely decides are words of perceived dissent which will never be heard emanating from either side of the dais, at least not until the November election.

Unfortunately, based on the administration's actions under the current Mayor (and possibly a future Mayor) the words describing open government and transparency are words that may well be ignored. These words are being propagated and thusly ignored deep down in the bowels of the bureaucracy of our city administration. Given my experience regarding trying to pry information out of the city administration including Cooper City's executive branch, based upon other's observations along with inquiries by the media, I have concluded and am disappointed to report that Mayor Eisinger's statements about transparency and open government, along with freedom of speech, are not being put into practice.

It's 'business as usual' when our Mayor capriciously and arbitrarily disallows serious discussion about our governing Cooper City Charter regarding the possible disregard of its mandates. In an attempt to implement and subsequently continue her political agenda into November, her spouting off about commissioners conduct, blogs, anonymous letters (BTW, Mayor, I proudly sign my name to everything I write) and other issues that she doesn't have the ability to intelligently address, the Mayor becomes tyrannical, if not almost incoherent.

Our Mayor plays the innocent role of looking 'squeaky clean' while she fools her devout followers into performing behind the scenes political dirty work, managing character assassination campaigns against those who don't support her, and implementing her continued 'politricks' while standing back and smirking innocently. I don't anticipate finding anything our Mayor may do in the upcoming months to be totally different. In fact, it seems that she now has the support of another sitting Commissioner and a few running for office in November regarding her continued portrayal of innocence while covertly orchestrating more dirty 'politricks' and perpetuating her 'closed to the public' hostile (and patently false) control of city staff.

The apparent control of the City Charter through political appointees (i.e. the City Attorney and some individuals on the newly formed Charter Review Board) have been more aggressive than ever in withholding information from the public, the Charter Review Board and from the city commission. Throughout my years as your commissioner I have been actively conducting observations of the commission, the staff and the controls of a few local (and some not so local) political acolytes, in order to keep transparency, ethics and honesty flowing from Cooper City on behalf of the residents. When the very individuals I am observing get defensive, when they refuse to respond to my requests, when they attempt to shut down freedom of speech, both public and political, it makes me wonder what is it that they appear to be hiding.

Make no mistake about it... our current commission and its rules and procedure were developed behind closed doors, not in the Sunshine, with a major attempt to quash any expression of free speech, especially dissent along with any unpopular opinions, and to completely silence those who don't agree with every word and/or action of the Mayor and city staff. Over the last few years many residents have been intimidated and some have been threatened, including myself, if they did not cease speaking when 'ordered' by the Mayor, (once actually ordering the BSO Police Chief to restrain an elderly lady whose commentary was not in the view of the Mayor as befitting. See the Free Press article HERE and my previous blog post on this issue HERE) even to the point of physical arrest! If unsuccessful, she will resort to a childish retort of calling a recess. I guess she thinks we are at the playground and this is comparable to "I will take my ball and go home", typical of an immature reaction, walking off of the dais with her followers sheepishly in tow rather than be adult like, rational, and listen to what is really being communicated and responding accordingly.

The Privacy Act and the Freedom of Information Act, along with our constitutional amendments such as Free Speech and Free Expression, are not meant to limit the flow of information and communication between the government and its electorate, but quite the opposite. The dismissive disregard by the Mayor and others of the clear language of the law is disheartening. It is quite appropriate that during Sunshine Week, I bring out the turbulence that our Mayor has created in abeyance of our Constitution and Charter. As David McCullough said "The laws that govern us, the freedoms we enjoy, the institutions that we often unfortunately take for granted, represent the hard work of others stretching back far into the past. Acting indifferent to this fact does not just smack of ignorance, but rudeness." I say that it also smacks of a complete and arrogant disregard for our public duty, our Oath of Office and our collective consciousness. Yes, Mayor, men and women have died in battle to preserve my (and other's) right to blog, publish, and to communicate in any manner, quite frankly saying pretty much what I darn well want to…

Sunshine Week occurs each year coinciding with James Madison's birthday, as previously stated, and National Freedom of Information Day tomorrow, March 16th. During Sunshine Week, hundreds of our truly dedicated elected representatives who understand the great and vast importance of this issue, media organizations, civic groups, libraries, nonprofits, schools and other participants engage in public discussion on the importance of open government throughout many coffee shops, gatherings with family and friends, news programs, featured articles and hundreds of opinion columns, Web pages and blogs, editorials, cartoons, public service advertising, public seminars and forums. In our State, thank goodness one fine organization that I have continued to support leads the way…http://www.sunshineweek.org

I suppose the ultimate question becomes "What did Cooper City and its Mayor do to convey, support and improve Sunshine Week, this important 'check and balance' of your local government?" You guessed it, absolutely nothing… But, we did involve ourselves in secret deals and proceedings regarding your tax dollars, and we did recently pass several resolutions provided by the largest lobbyist organization in Broward County, the Broward League of Cities, most of which were oriented toward the wishes and desires of the political machine that continues to control your speech and thought process.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Cooper City BSO Alert!

An alert US postal carrier contacted BSO after observing 2 suspicious males parked in a driveway & knocking on front doors in Cooper City. Deputies responded & apprehended both subjects. Stolen property from other residential burglaries was also found in the subject’s possession. The location of the apprehension is unknown at this time. BSO reminds you to always be alert and dial 911 to report any suspicious persons or activity.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Cooper City's Property Values increase 8.6%

Cooper City’s property values are expected to increase approximately 8.6% as per the Broward Property Appraiser, the highest in Broward County according to this estimate.

Real Property Values (does not include TPP or Centrally Assessed)

MUN
2011 WCC*
2012 EST
Diff
% Diff

COUNTY
119,008,960,880
122,539,381,960
3,530,421,080
3.0%

UNINCORPORATED
371,558,560
389,350,470
17,791,910
4.8%

COOPER CITY
1,853,919,930
2,013,671,130
159,751,200
8.6%


Best regards,

Commissioner John Sims
Cooper City, FL
954-445-6997

Friday, February 24, 2012

Cooper City's Breakfast with the Principal's meeting

Good Afternoon, I hope all of you had a great Valentine’s Day! This morning I attended the ‘Breakfast with the Principals’ meeting at City Hall, which was a great event and open to the public (see attached Agenda). The Mayor made introductions and in her opening statements commented on the State Legislature’s lack of attending to the ‘Texting while driving’ issue. Her comments were somewhat that the State did not address the texting issue, which our High School students have lobbied for and the full commission supports, yet the state legislators addressed auto racing, promoting it as the state sport.

Well, I will have to assume at this point that either the State has better things to do than addressing citizen’s texting habits, or quite frankly, they didn’t want to reduce texting revenues, which derives serious money for the state and other governments in the form of utility taxes. Think about it…if the state banned texting, millions upon millions of dollars would probably be lost in revenues to the state. How sad. What’s a life worth? If you look at your phone bill, you’ll see just how much of it is taxes, rather than actual service charges. Was it based on money? Maybe we will never know, but we need to call and write our Legislators and let them know that a life is priceless, and not be ignored in exchange for revenues to the state.

The Charter School millage issue was raised as well as the issue as to why Charter School’s don’t pay property taxes. They don’t pay, even though they are a ‘for-profit’ entity, which is based on state law. So…the Charter Schools utilize the local government’s resources, but they don’t contribute to the cost of them. The costs, police, fire, SRD’s, etc., are placed on the backs of us, the resident taxpayer and local business owner. Sounds like another famous unfunded mandate to the local government for which you pay for. Speaking of unfunded mandates, did you know that the BCSB expends over 2 million of your tax dollars to bus children to schools outside of their residential district?

The discussion then led to the School Board re-districting issue (which can be found here: http://www.broward.k12.fl.us/redistricting/welcome.shtml ) and the upcoming public workshops. I implore you to get involved! Regarding re-districting, let me comment on the issues of the BCSB wanting to change boundaries. It’s not right that the BCSB (Broward County School Board) wants to bus our students out of our schools while there are students in our local A-rated schools who don’t even live near here. Granted, some non-resident students are allowed to attend for various and sundry reasons. I’m talking about those who are deliberately being dishonest, cheating and beating the system to attend our schools to the detriment of our legitimate local residents’ and their children. Cooper City will indeed be impacted by the BCSB’s district changes along with the boundary changes. I have previously sent notices of the boundary change meetings for your review.

Fire Chief Rusty Sievers then announced an upcoming Teen CERT program and asked everyone to get involved. If you want more information on this, contact me. Our building department Director Ted Fowler stated that the Charter School on Palm Avenue will open this year and is scheduled for a March 8th ramp-up.

Matt Wood, Director of Growth Management, stated that in regards to Monterra, 600 Certificates of Occupancy (CO’s) have been issued out of 652 units (30%) for Monterra. There is estimated to be an additional 500 CO’s issued in 2012, and a further 400 estimated to be issued by 2013. This equates to about 500 additional students that will be attending Cooper City schools, based upon the average residents per household criteria.

Moving on to our Utilities Director, Mike Bailey, he reminded us that our water conservation program, now in its third year, has won the Emerald award for Broward County (See attached notice) and that we won the ‘Best tasting Water in the State of Florida’. As always, a job ‘well done’ Mike!

Our school Principal’s then made comments about their individual schools, some of which were as such; Pioneer Middle School was rated the number 2 middle school in Broward County, and number 55 in the State out of 583 schools! YEAH! Embassy Creek was rated number 36 out of about 3000 schools. Congratulations Embassy Creek! Also, Cooper City High School's drama department will be hosting the play ‘Romeo and Juliet’ on March 6th & 7th. Contact me for more information if you’d like to attend.

Also, comments were made about the school's Parent/Community Involvement Task Force which consists of about 100 volunteers (Thank you!). The municipal outreach is crucial to our local schools in addition to the 6 sub-committees that were formed. This Tuesday, there will be a workshop at the BCSB building should you wish to tune in on the BCSB website, or attend.

In closing, I’d like to personally thank the Cooper City Kiwanis Club, our local non-profit organizations and our local business owners for becoming involved in the Parent/Community Involvement Task Force.

Also, don’t forget to attend some of our events sponsored by the recreation department as outlined in the attachment, and I look forward to seeing you all on Founder’s Day at the parade on April 28th! Until then, thank you for your continued support and feel free to contact me. Your ‘Go To’ Commissioner, at johnsims@bellsouth.net or at (954) 445-6997. Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year’s Resolutions for Cooper City

New Year’s Resolutions for Cooper City
By John Sims, Cooper City Commissioner

This upcoming year will be about positive change on your behalf. It’s time to take positive action for the well being of our residents and business owners, which means reducing ‘feel good’ spending, eliminating unnecessary assessments and lowering taxes.

I can say for certain that I will continue to work very hard to serve the public and do my very best to be the leader that our residents and business owners rightfully expect. I can also assure you that the commission will work to address the major issues in our city such as retirement, water and sewer issues, ordinances that should not be on the books, etc. There have been many problems over the past that seemingly have not been addressed effectively, timely or appropriately.

Now that we have an ethics ordinance, things will indeed necessitate change. As I see it, there are two steps that need to be taken. First, the commission along with all employees must, more than anyone else, play by the same rules at all times. It is imperative that public officials be independent, impartial and that public office not be used for personal or political gain. If we can’t trust our elected officials, who can we trust? Again, true leadership and trust in government demands integrity, honesty and humility.

We, as a commission, still have major issues to resolve such as the police and fire personnel issues necessary to protect our residents and new developments, water and sewer infrastructure issues, school bussing, Monterra, commission communications and leadership issues along with many others such as resident participation, which is at an all time low.

As a commission, we must implement Management by Objective, improve and maintain the city’s common areas, address unfunded mandates and liabilities, address ten year budget projections, reduce our current spending spree, implement more diverse programs, increase employee morale, improve efficiency and customer service, return our city to the residents and most importantly, restore fiscal responsibility and accountability to public office.

How can we make this happen? We must review every detail of how we do business as a city, and how we lead as elected officials. Emphasis on Open Government must rule. The value we're trying to protect here is public integrity, responsibility and accountability. The idea that we give public service not for the benefit of ourselves, but for the benefit of the public for whom we give service must prevail. I am of firm belief that leadership by example will instill teamwork and respect. Additionally, it will motivate subordinates and those on the Commission to work with enhanced vigilance and commitment toward a common goal.

My main point is this...our city’s leadership team must do the right thing based upon the will of the people even though they individually may have a vested interest in their agenda. We should diligently serve as elected public officials and do exactly that until the last second of our current term in office. The commission needs to make our municipal government more like a business; a problem solver, not a problem creator. Our focus should be combating runaway taxes, skyrocketing and uncontrolled spending along with inefficient, excessive regulation.

Working together with the residents and business owners of Cooper City, the new commission must pledge to bring back integrity, trust, responsibility, communication, commitment and accountability to all areas.

Together, we will all help and continue to make Cooper City truly “Someplace Special.” Along with that New Year’s wish, I wish you all Happy New Year. Be safe…

Visit my website www.keepsims.com or e-mail me for any city concerns at Commissioner_Sims@CooperCityFL.org