| Letters to the Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

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


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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

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.”]

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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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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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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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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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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Posted on 28 September 2017 by LeslieM

Dear Editor:

A recent form of protest has been NFL players ‘taking a knee’ during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner prior to the playing of a football game. This has been their way of protesting that “Black Lives Matter,” and more recently protesting to show that they can protest (when the president weighted in critically on the situation). Maybe this is a good idea, and we all have the right to ‘take a knee’ if we don’t agree with something. Maybe a first responder has the right to ‘take a knee’ if there is a threat to those people in a peaceful protest in which he disagrees with the politics of the protest. Perhaps there are other responders who have a right to take a knee in response to the first set of responders taking a knee. This could be big. A whole new industry of men’s pants with reinforced knees is in the making. Wait a second … I think I had a pair of those pants in kindergarten. I don’t think any first responders would ever take a knee. (It doesn’t resonate with being a first responder.) And maybe we all need to grow up. But just maybe … we really need to take a knee, from taking a knee.

Michael Routburg

Deerfield Beach, FL

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