LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

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.

Respectfully,

Sally Chase

Deerfield Beach, FL

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

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

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

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

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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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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

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].

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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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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

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

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PUBLISHER’S PERSPECTIVE

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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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Posted on 12 July 2018 by LeslieM

RE: Recycling

By now, many of you are aware that the city was forced to temporarily discontinue its recycling service. By a 3 to 2 vote, the City Commission on Monday night did not approve a new recycling contract proposed by Waste Management.

First, some quick history about this issue. The city’s recycling contract with Sun-Bergeron expired on Monday, July 2. The city took many actions to avoid this dilemma, such as issuing a bid which had no responses. We also reached out to other companies to no avail. The global recycling market was impacted when China closed its markets to recycled products. Their closure created a significant lack of demand for recycled products. In addition, the State of Florida Attorney General and United States Department of Justice recently allowed Waste Management to purchase Sun’s assets from our current vendor, Sun-Bergeron, which effectively re-created a Waste Management monopoly in Broward County by giving them control over a contract that they originally lost.

Under the Sun-Bergeron contract, the city was paying $51/ton to process its recycling. The city had a 5-year renewal contract option effective for July 2, 2018 before Waste Management purchased the company’s assets. Waste Management refused to sign the renewal agreement for many Broward County municipalities. Waste Management offered a new contract proposal with an increased rate of $96/ton with a potential for significant additional fees for contaminated materials. The city’s estimated contamination rate is in excess of 10 percent or greater.

The reality is that the city used to earn money from its recycling.

The city now breaks even or even could pay more. The profit associated with recyclables has greatly decreased. For example, glass now has a negative value. This is the trend for many other items as well.

Waste Management’s increased processing fee of $96/ton, coupled with the potential of a “contamination” fee and with the ongoing decline of recyclable commodities could have resulted in an estimated $400,000 increase or more to the city’s Solid Waste and Recycling Enterprise Fund budget. The majority vote was unwilling to submit to what they considered extortion by Waste Management due to their monopolistic position. The minority vote, of which I was a part, while also appalled by the terms of the contract, wanted to continue the recycling program knowing there was a four-month cancellation provision in the contract. This would allow additional time for more exploration of alternatives.

No one is in favor of putting recycling into a landfill as a permanent solution. We are vigorously researching new and better options, including only collecting certain recyclables and better educating consumers to avoid needless contamination.

In the meantime, the curbside collection of your blue recycling carts will temporarily cease on Monday, July 9. Residents may continue to recycle clean (non-contaminated) metal, cardboard and styrofoam at the City’s Central Campus located at 401 SW 4 Street just off MLK Avenue, south of Hillsboro Boulevard.

A quick tip: Please avoid recycling pizza and other to-go food cardboard containers.

I understand this issue is of great importance to you. The bottom line is that I remain committed to recycling and protecting our environment for future generations. I will continue to work tirelessly on a sensible solution. I only ask that you be patient and understanding during this momentary discontinuation.

Dist. 4 Commissioner

Todd Drosky

Deerfield Beach

RE: Speeding in neighborhood

Having moved to a nice little non-over-55 neighborhood in Crystal Lake a couple years ago, I was not very happy. There was some crime going on (which I believe has dissipated I’m happy to say, thanks to great police work), speeding cars, ugly houses, etc. Having been here a few years now, there has been a lot of very nice changes: younger families moving in, remodeling, construction, cleaning up, lots of improvements, the HOA houses were recently painted … I see people are putting in hurricane windows, fixing their driveways, etc., and the neighborhood looks so much better!

So since the speed bumps were put in on 13/Golf Vue Drive, I guess the speeders hate that, so now they’re driving down my street, 12 Drive, because there are no speed bumps. The speeders are usually coming from 45 Street from other communities and some of the speeders actually live right here, usually the younger folks.

With the younger families, it brings children playing in the streets or on the driveways, but balls roll out into the streets. Sometimes, there are dogs running around that escaped their home without a leash. Of course, there are cats, squirrels, iguanas and seniors walking. Many mailboxes have been taken out, one or two dogs killed by speeding cars or just bad drivers. I think it’s time they put speed bumps down 12 Drive as well, or tickets given out, as there are signs that state 25 mph as people are doing 40, 50 and higher.

Nancy Kelly

Deerfield Beach

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Posted on 10 May 2018 by LeslieM

RE: Mobility Improvements

Dear Editor,

This is in reference to the Observer article on Mobility Improvements on May 3, 2018. Once again, Deerfield Beach and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) put forward a nonsensical plan to spend money. While the Hillsboro Bridge, the most hazardous roadway in Deerfield, goes unimproved, money flows to inconsequential projects not acceptable to some residents that are impacted. After writing every local official, state reps. and FDOT, the only response is from FDOT Safety, who recognizes the hazards for pedestrian and bikers that are trapped between a high speed road with zig-zag drivers and the guardrail. Vehicles have already jumped the curve, and check the tire marks on the curb to see the daily hits. This needs attention by Deerfield Beach and FDOT. Bridges in Pompano have been improved and are now safe. Eventually, there will be a disaster. Who to hold responsible?

George Cherenack

Deerfield Beach, FL

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