Posted on 14 February 2019 by LeslieM

RE: Center for Active Aging

Dear Editor,

I usually do not like to tout credentials but after listening to the Commission Meeting [on Feb. 5] about the Center for Active Aging, I have to speak up. I am in total agreement with the contractor that spoke up about the estimated $500 per sq. ft. to construct this building — it’s outrageous! Prior to moving to Florida, I worked for large architectural firms in two other states and I was on the team performing programming for large scale construction projects, both in government and the private sector. Two such projects that I will name were the 1) NORAD Space Command Headquarters and 2) the headquarters for Peabody Coal in Henderson, KY.

I can assure you that, if this city spends $500 per square foot, then somebody is making out like a bandit — unless this Center for Active Aging is the equivalent of a five star hotel! I am also very concerned about the programming parameters, because its present use is very low. In the meeting, the city admitted that the number of Pre-K kids using this facility is 17-19 children and that this number has never increased over the years. It was also stated that, at the most, on a Friday, it was attended by 15 senior citizens. That’s a total of 34 persons! And we are building a $12,000,000 facility for 34 people? That equates to $352,941 per person. This is absurd. I have never been involved in a project where there is a “if we build it, they will come” philosophy. This is not being prudent with our tax dollars.

But back to the costs per square foot issue … Please look over the national averages of construction costs for hotels and office buildings (see link at www.fixr.com/costs/build-hotel) and tell me straight up that YOU, the citizens of Deerfield Beach, can justify spending $500 per square foot on this Center. [It says the national average for hotel construction is $325 to $450 for square foot].

Sarah Moran
Deerfield Beach



Posted on 19 December 2018 by LeslieM

RE: Changing Municipal Elections

Dear Editor,

Deerfield Beach Municipal elections occur in March, every other year. Municipalities must pay for separate elections versus holding them in November. Many municipalities switched to November resulting in a cost savings. Now, for the March 2019 election, only five cities are participating: Sea Ranch Lakes, Miramar, Pembroke Park, Coconut Creek and Deerfield Beach. Due to the lack of participation, costs have increased from $55,742 in 2015 to $86,316 for 2019. Should another municipality decide to switch to November, costs are predicted to sky rocket. It is also important to keep in mind that this election is only for Districts 1 & 2; costs for March 2021 are estimated to be between $110,000 – $120,000. For the record, between 2015 and our next election in 2019, the cost to administer a separate election in Deerfield Beach will have soared by 155 percent. That is substantial cost growth… [In addition, the numbers show a much greater turnout in a November election versus March.] Our local government should be doing everything possible to ensure higher voter participation. Another benefit of November elections is the added early voting days that March elections do not offer.

At the Nov. 13 commission meeting, eight citizens spoke on this issue with five recommending changing back to November elections that would benefit the city with higher turnouts and lower costs. The remaining three felt that the March election allowed voters to focus on the city and the cost was “just part of doing business.” Mayor Ganz stated that the March elections are in the City Charter; however, the State Legislature revised the statute — the date of elections could be changed by municipalities with an ordinance versus a referendum typically required for charter changes. Commissioner Parness mentioned that statistics show that those at the top of the ballot got the most attention and as you go down the ballot, that attention goes down because voters “get tired,” [saying] by the time you get to the city elections, at the bottom of the ballot, “You’re lucky if you get 10 votes.” The Commission voted unanimously to maintain the city election in March.

Are Deerfield Beach voters lazy or uncaring? Can we take enough time to read to the bottom of the ballot? More voters, additional time, shorter lines due to more voting days and lower costs. What is not to like in revising our voting date to coincide with November elections?

Glenn Sullivan

Deerfield Beach

[Editor’s Note: Rebecca Medina, Public Affairs and Marketing Director for the city, responded to this with the following: “While five individuals recommended changing the election from March to November, it was five out of 44,333 registered voters with at least three individuals publicly asking to leave the elections the way they are, and while they weren’t in Commission on the evening in question I know many other residents who prefer to leave our elections to March.

In our most recent November election, the whole country watched the chaos and uncertainty that occurred in Broward County. Why would we want to take chances like that with our municipal elections, we get to avoid all of that by holding our elections in March. Furthermore, the March election is only three months away, and those who brought this up at a recent Commission meeting are involved in a local political campaign. This is a debate that should be discussed in a non-election year.”]



Posted on 01 November 2018 by LeslieM

Dear Editor,

Many citizens of Deerfield Beach, including myself, are quite frankly, appalled that the Deerfield Beach government is considering a ban on front yard vegetable gardens. We have many questions…

Why is the Deerfield Beach city government assuming the role of a homeowners association (HOA) and thinking about dictating how private property owners can landscape their property? This is one of the reasons people choose not to live in a neighborhood with a homeowners association.

Why is the Deerfield Beach city government deciding and making the judgment of what is aesthetically pleasing for all of its citizens? Many people find a yard with a carefully mown lawn and neatly trimmed bushes to be unattractive and boring while a yard with at least some native plants, varying garden types and wildlife habitats to be beautiful and intriguing.

Why is the Deerfield Beach city government even considering banning a hobby and pleasure that many Deerfield Beach citizens and their families have been enjoying and sharing for 10, 20 even 30 or more years?

Has the Deerfield Beach city government forgotten that Deerfield Beach started as a farming community and professes to be family-oriented and environmentally conscientious?

Does the Deerfield Beach city government understand that a garden cannot just be simply planted anywhere in a yard? A (vegetable) garden must be planted on relatively flat land and have full day sun exposure. Many backyards and/or side yards do not meet these criterias.

In conclusion, as an active citizen of Deerfield Beach and many of its organizations (Kiwanis, Women’s Club, Rotary, Historical Society, board member of the Friends of the Deerfield Beach Percy White Library and a retired Deerfield Beach Middle School teacher), I am urging you to carefully consider your representation of all of your constituents and the tenets that make Deerfield Beach such a very special place.


Sally Chase

Deerfield Beach, FL



Posted on 25 October 2018 by LeslieM

RE: Thank you, Deerfield commission & staff

Dear Editor:

Realizing how our city has evolved into a vibrant community in which we can live, work, and play, I want to personally thank Mayor Bill Ganz, Vice Mayor Gloria Battle, and Commissioners Joe Miller, Bernie Parness, Todd Drosky, and the City Attorney, along with City Manager Burgess Hanson and staff for their boundless and selfless dedication to our city and its residents. Thanks to their praiseworthy leadership and the steadfast commitment of hard-working employees, there is pure proof that our city is on a sustainable economic, fiscal and environmental path.

But moving in positive direction doesn’t just happen by city officials and staff without the community encouraging and acknowledging the work provided by the multitude of services and facilities available to us. As city residents, rather than being critical with insinuations and personal vengeances, we might show how proud we are of our community with a vote of “thanks and gratitude” to all who give of their time and sweat … or by simply saying “thank you.”

Personally, I choose to focus on the good of all who serve us by saying “thank you” for making each day a HAPPY DAY while living in our wonderful city!

Emily M. Lilly

City of Deerfield Beach 30-year resident



Posted on 27 September 2018 by LeslieM

RE: Cleanliness of beach

Dear editor,

In regard to the [Letter to the Editor] that Brian Prang wrote in last Thursday’s Observer (Sept. 20), I disagree with him about the beaches in Deerfield Beach. [He thought they were dirty]. I find them to be very clean. I am sure a lot of people will agree with me! I am wondering why he would say this! The beaches are very clean in Florida and in Deerfield Beach.

Mary Frances

Deerfield Beach, FL


PUBLISHER’S PERSPECTIVE: The Deerfield Beach gun debate

Posted on 20 September 2018 by LeslieM

(Oops, did I say guns? I meant straws…)

By Dana Eller

One last thought on the “straw law” that the city passed at its Sept. 17 commission meeting. The argument for banning straws is no different than the argument for banning guns. The argument goes something like this… The problem is not with people, it’s with objects. Get rid of the offensive object and the results will be different.

Of course, we all know the argument for the second amendment, “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” From my perspective, isn’t it the same with straws? I don’t know who’s dumping their straws in the ocean, but my guess is those “people” don’t care much about Deerfield’s straw law.

Trying to do something good for our environment and the ocean by working to get the city to agree to a ban on plastic straws at local restaurants makes people “feel good.” The bigger question is what’s next? What other ideas can the city (or a group of passionate citizens) come up with in a futile attempt at changing human behavior by banning or restricting our use of an object, the use of which is already legal, but the abuse of it (litter in this case)… is already illegal (littering)?

It’s the small concessions we make for a good cause that, in the end, lead to easier acceptances of even greater limits and laws regulating our freedoms and choices in the future (or, in this case, flexibility… If you’ve ever tried to bend a paper straw, you’ll know what I mean). [Editor’s note: There are bendable paper straws available, along with many other sizes of straws].

We salute the nine citizens who took the time to speak out at the city commission meeting in favor of the ban. I just wish the other 77,000 residents of our city, and the other 1474 restaurants in Deerfield (according to Yelp), would pay more attention to how easily things we take for granted (maybe carelessly) can be so easily and quickly ripped from our mouths and legislated away.

In the meantime, six months from now, prepare for BSO to be writing tickets to distributors, stores and restaurants in the City of Deerfield Beach with a citation to appear in court if they don’t comply. (Read the law for yourself, it would be laughable if it wasn’t true). Our commission is ok with [Medical] Marijuana being able to be purchased legally about two blocks from Deerfield Beach Elementary school, but not plastic straws. [See story on marijuana next week]. As Commissioner Joe Miller says, “Kids learning that plastic straws are not good is wisdom.”

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Posted on 20 September 2018 by LeslieM

RE: Straw ban, spending & more

Dear Editor,

A fine editorial indeed — “Has the City of Deerfield Beach reached its last straw” (in Observer, Sept. 13.) — and I, and many others, agree Federal, state, township and city government is in nearly every aspect of our lives today and, while we all want to be good environmentalists, we need to use common sense.

Extreme environmentalism is eating away at our country where contrary scientific (non-governmental) opinions are ignored. Further, the City of Deerfield Beach officials are spending our money as if it is water coming out of a strong faucet, not recognizing the average family is struggling just to survive and care for their family, and many are not making it.

Further, I have observed that Code Enforcement has ruined many small businesses. One small tiny family-owned small business suffered two years of ridiculous rules and laws trying to open, and eventually had to close because the costs of doing business in Deerfield broke them.

America was built on small business. Big government at every level makes it very hard or nearly impossible to thrive as a small business owner where we once had personal service and lower costs because many unnecessary regulations, permits and taxes are exorbitant.

Charles Laser

Deerfield Beach, FL

RE: Drawing the Shortest Straw

Dear Editor,

Ban drinking straws and add that to the list of unenforceable laws that are part of the rules for Deerfield Beach. Walk a dog where you should not and have them leave a mess on the walkway. don’t worry no one will say a word. Drink beer on the beach and leave cans and bottle caps, and glass, behind … no problem. Smoke a pack of cigarettes and extinguish them in the sand and leave them behind when you go, all in front of the police patrol and the firemen’s house, and every lifeguard tower… there is no penalty or fine. So, good luck banning straws. How about banning smoking cigarettes that turn into litter for birds, turtles and fish to eat, and other garbage that all ruins the beach.

Deerfield is well-known for its trash at the beach. Is that the continued reputation we want to maintain or can somebody think progressively different? The sand used to squeak walking on it in Deerfield 30 years ago. Now, it’s difficult to walk barefoot without stepping on sharp plastic or glass. A public beach is great, but what a mess it has become. I doubt less straws will fix our dirty dilemma. Go down to the beach and dig a little deeper and bury your head in the sand some more because it’s truly filthy.

Brian Prang

Deerfield Beach FL

[Editor’s note: They passed the straw ban in Deerfield on Sept. 17. See more pg. 1].


PUBLISHER’S PERSPECTIVE: Has the City of Deerfield Beach reached its last straw?

Posted on 13 September 2018 by LeslieM

By Dana Eller

My guess is most city residents aren’t paying attention and the city commission functions like the U.S. Congress, just another chamber of “whoever shouts loudest and/or brings in the most supporters.” It’s very cool to have the Girl Scouts participating and supporting your special interest … but it also scares me to death the same way some people are scared of clowns.

Originally, we were told that the “Straw Law” is being promoted as a way to protect the sea turtles, and so the main concern was restaurants on the beach. Now, we understand it is to be a city-wide ban on plastic straws.

I wonder if they are planning on deputizing the lifeguards to keep an eye out for illegal straw use at the beach. Are city residents going to have to get used to subjecting ourselves to bag inspections like the airport or Disney World? Are we going to purchase the lifeguards and Park Rangers larger binoculars to spot plastic straw contraband? (Suggestion: we can use funds from the CRA, or even hire someone for this job). What’s a law worth if there’s no enforcement? I pity the poor families who pack a picnic lunch to enjoy their day at the beach, but stuck a few juice boxes and Capri suns in the cooler for the kiddos. What’s that going to cost them? Better hide those straws in your bathing suit. [Editor’s note: These straws, it seems will be ok].

I also read that Commissioner Drosky researched what medical conditions need to be exempt in this proposed straw legislation. But what about the Slurpee at 7-11 that I grew up with and their iconic spoon straw? ILLEGAL. What about McDonalds iconic large straw? ILLEGAL. Do these fast food franchise owners even have the right to change things that these brands are famous for? Who has to research these questions and consider exemptions for those business owners? Who has to take time off from their busy schedules to attend a commission meeting and debate the merits? Are we going to pay the city attorney to research these issues and make more exceptions?

I don’t know about all our readers, but I would rather have our commissioners’ limited and valuable part-time service to this great city spent on things with a higher return to the residents and our pocketbooks, and stay out of our mouths. Participating in public service is hard enough and too unappreciated as it is. Why waste time on such a silly issue, that public opinion, and Mr. Sparrow’s passion has already accomplished at many beach restaurants?

I also feel that the City Commissioners’ positions are inconsistent. If they are for banning straws to make a political statement about how we should feel about the environment, and are concerned with hydrocarbons, then [why aren’t city workers driving] a Prius or electric vehicle?

I believe the straw issue is a great rallying cry for the environment, and, more importantly, gets us all to think. I just don’t think it’s something to legislate.

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Posted on 13 September 2018 by LeslieM

RE: Straw laws are coming

Dear Editor,

Florida has the most coastline in the Continental United States and coastal communities like Deerfield Beach have had enough of the damage single-use plastics have done to their beaches. Local attempts to ban plastic bags and styrofoam have been preempted by state laws fueled by lobbyists for the plastics and chemical industries, but Deerfield Beach is now set to rid the city of plastic straws with a strict ordinance prohibiting them.

I have been spearheading a march to get restaurants and hotels on Deerfield Beach Barrier Island to switch to “Paper Straws By Request Only” by distributing over 32,000 paper straws to them to try. Many businesses like Oceans 234, Whale’s Rib, Embassy Suites and Bru’s Room have made the switch. But most restaurants and hotels have not, so we really need this ordinance to pass. Plastic straws are one of the more common forms of litter found on the beach and in the ocean, taking hundreds of years to break down and causing harm to wildlife. I think we often get a straw in our drink when we don’t need it, and there are alternatives for those who need a straw, such as paper straws, which are available for about a penny more than plastic.

There are already exemptions in this ordinance for anyone with a disability and that people with compromised motor skills will always have a caretaker to ensure that they have what they need to consume beverages safely.

It just makes sense” said Whale’s Rib General Manager, Rick Mongston,“We have made the switch to paper straws upon request and are now looking into replacing other single use styrofoam and plastics…”

The Deerfield Beach Straw Ordinance is scheduled for its second reading and final vote on the same night as the Hallendale Beach plastic straw ordinance Monday, Sept.17 with other Broward County cities now drafting similar ordinances.

For further information, contact me, Buddy Sparrow, at 954-478-8221.

Buddy Sparrow

Boca Raton, FL



Posted on 05 September 2018 by LeslieM

By Dana Eller

Just read that the city has passed first reading of an ordinance to ban straws. It seems that our city is run by commissioners who have no appreciation of the power vested in them by the residents, since they flippantly use it so easily and believe it is so great and all encompassing as to give them the power to legislate what dining utensils we use.

I’m not opposed to restaurants wanting to use paper straws if they want to, but the beliefs that lead elected officials to make everyday items illegal on a whim, or based on current popular issues of the day, illustrates both a “nanny-like” attitude toward their residents, and a gross abuse of power and authority. Really, straws??? What’s next? No plastic bags at stores? How about a soda tax? How about where and who you can buy a dog from (forgot they did that)? How about no liquor sales on Sunday before 12…? Oh, wait , they got rid of that law… I guess they thought people should have a choice of when they can buy alcohol … I guess now they changed their minds … Maybe they are just drunk with power. Hope they are using a paper straw…

[Have an opinion on the issue? Feel free to contact commissioners or the mayor. Call 954-480-4263 or e-mail web.commission@Deerfield-Beach.com].


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