| December, 2007

Publisher's Perspectives 2007

Posted on 06 December 2007 by LeslieM

Immigration is number one issue

Published: 6 Dec 2007

A few years ago an American friend of mine, who had bought a Holiday Inn in Bimini, Bahamas, that included a marina for boats to park while their guests stayed at his hotel, called me. A three-day storm with winds exceeding 50 mph had blown a significant amount of sand from the ocean into the marina channel accessing his hotel, blocking boats, mostly American tourists, from entering or leaving. His business was in a crisis mode, and he was frantic to get the sand removed. He knew that our company had pumps capable of pumping sand. So he called me insisting I come over immediately to give him advice on what to do.

I arrived the next day at the Bahamian airport on a commercial airplane. I filled out the arrival forms and started through customs. I had a tape measure and a sight level (a six-inch engineering device for estimating elevation differentials) in my travel bag. The customs lady asked me about them, and I explained that I needed them in order to help my friend who needed some sand removed from his marina. She said: “So you are here on business!” I replied that I didn’t know whether I would actually be doing any business or not, but that I needed the instruments in order to make an estimate for my friend.

She asked me if I had a business permit for doing business in the Bahamas. I explained to her that I wasn’t doing any business yet, simply taking a look at a potential project, and assured her that if we actually did any business we would go through the proper channels to get all of the required permits. Suddenly she started shouting, and called for a policeman. She told the policeman that I was trying to do business illegally, and should be put in jail. The policeman, much more polite than the customs lady, took me by the arm and led me to a holding cell at the airport.

I couldn’t believe it. I asked the policeman if I could make a phone call to the Holiday Inn. He said I could, and took me to a phone. I called my friend and told him my predicament. He was as surprised as I had been, and said he would go get the chief of police for the island to come with him to get me. Within an hour my friend showed up with the Bimini police chief, who instructed the jailer to let me go.

I share this story because it is typical of what every other country in the world does when it comes to people entering, trying to get work. Other countries protect their own citizens’ jobs. Whether it is Haitians trying to get into the Dominican Republic, Central Americans trying to get jobs in Mexico, or Taiwanese trying to get jobs in Canada.

It is outrageous that our government has allowed over 12 million people to come here illegally and take jobs from Americans. That undoubtedly is why our local hero last week, Mark Spradley, was still unemployed. Some person here illegally has taken the job he otherwise would have had. It is time to stop the nonsense. Working Americans need to wake up and direct their votes in the next election to the candidates and political party who will best protect their jobs from the effects of illegal immigration.

David Eller, Publisher

Lower property taxes… by raising sales taxes

Published: 25 Oct 2007

A Realtor friend of mine recently lamented that our elected officials need to act soon to substantially lower property taxes. Otherwise, those of us who own homes, rental properties or businesses here will find ourselves on what he called… a sinking ship. He went on to give his opinion that our local city and county governments have loaded us down with so much real estate “tax cargo” that unless something is done, many more people will be forced to abandon this beautiful place called South Florida.

A local restaurant manager shared the same concern, with a slight twist, saying that people seem to be eating out less as the property tax burden has taken more of their money. It is a bit of a Catch 22 as our city and county employees who live locally also have to pay the same tax increases. Therefore, our local governments may have to consider outsourcing more to increase their overall efficiency, as many private companies have been doing.

The legislature keeps coming up with variations of “tax reductions.” However, it seems to have gotten very complicated as they apparently are trying to satisfy too many special interests. So what do we do?

I recently asked for a show of hands from a group of about 40 local citizens who were in attendance at our local Kiwanis Club meeting. I asked how many of them would support raising our sales taxes a cent or two, if ad valorem taxes were reduced proportionally and locked into place permanently? Every hand in the audience went up!

If you agree, cut this out and mail or fax it to your representative whose addresses are listed in the shaded box.

David Eller, Publisher

Florida Power and Light: A modern day robber baron?

Published: 6 Sep 2007

Last week was an expensive week in our household.  We received a $927 electricity bill from FPL, some 21percent higher than the same month last year. This was the result of the electric power rate increase which FPL was granted by the Public Service Commission, as a type of surcharge, to pay for their expenses for fixing lines and poles blown down during the previous hurricane season. In addition, last week we paid over $30,000 for a large electric generator to give us backup power.

A friend of our family who still works for FPL and used to be a lineman for them, shared with me that higher management pulled him and others off of regular pole and line maintenance a few years ago to do other chores. In fact, FPL reduced their workforce by a third, from 14,510 to 9,800. I don’t remember our bills being reduced any, but I have noted how FPL management brags in investment journals about their being one of the most, if not the most, profitable power companies in the United States. No wonder. They have cut their expenses by simply not maintaining their power poles and lines!  This is why you and I are suffering more power outages and having to spend hard-earned money on generators!

Then to add insult to injury, FPL brings in outside contract employees at $100 per hour to actually repair the lines and poles, and adds it as a surcharge on our bills!  It is a financial gimmick they have come up with to soak their customers, while paying huge bonuses to their management. In fact, Chief Executive Lewis Hays pays himself over $6 million per year!

This wouldn’t be happening if we went back to an elected Public Service Commission. When our governor Charlie Crist was running for U.S. Senate in 1998, he called for returning the PSC to elected positions as it was back in the 70’s. Legislation calling for an elected PSC has been filed several times in the legislature, but as soon as the FPL lobbyists get to work, it never gets out of committee. In fact it’s been reported that FPL maintains the highest number of lobbyists in the State.  It’s past time for the customers of FPL to get some relief, by reestablishing an elected PSC.  We all need to lean on our legislators and Governor to make it happen– sooner rather than later.

David Eller, Publisher

Get the shotgun Honey, and call 911

Published: 2 Aug 2007

Early last Sunday morning, about 1:30 a.m., I was sleeping lightly in our house near the waterway, when I heard a strange “thump, thump” noise coming from somewhere inside or outside of our house, and near our bedroom.  I turned on my back in order to hear well. I thought it may have been a squirrel. But when I heard it a second time near a different bedroom window I decided to wake my wife. We both lay still. Suddenly a louder sound came from just outside our bedroom wall in the living room area next to our indoor swimming pool. My wife jumped out of bed, threw on her robe, and before I could stop her, opened the locked bedroom door, flipped on the living room light, and shouted loudly: “Get the shotgun Honey, and call 911!” While I was getting my shotgun from the closet, my wife heard another loud sound in our patio area as furniture was being knocked over.

I grabbed my chrome plated, Winchester, pump action 12 gauge shot gun I keep in the closet and rushed through the bedroom door to protect my wife. I always keep it semi-loaded with four shotgun shells. The first shot would be a slug bullet, about 3/4 inch diameter, which is plenty big enough to bring down the largest man up close. The second and third are buckshot loads good for deer hunting in case I miss with the slug. The forth is bird shot, which shoots a wide pattern in case my first three shots miss. I stepped through the door and immediately pump-cocked the gun, which was already loaded but left in a half-way cocked position. “Ke-chunk, ke-chunk” it went loudly, which has got to be the worse sound a thief could hear. I stood there at the bottom of the stairs leading to our upstairs, and faced west toward the sliding glass doors, so I could cover both the stairs and the sliding glass doors going out to our patio and pool area. At that moment we actually thought someone may have already gained entry and were upstairs. Not seeing anything immediately, I gave my wife the gun (she’s actually a better shot than I am) and proceeded to the phone to call 911. I admit my voice was a little shaky as I told the operator, who answered after only two rings, where we were, what had happened, and could they send a deputy sheriff immediately.

I stuck another gun, a 38 caliber pistol in my pocket and came back out of the bedroom, taking the shotgun from my wife as she went to the front of the house to wait for the police. Two deputy sheriffs were at our house within five minutes. Deputy Bishop went upstairs first, searching thoroughly before declaring it “clean”. We then started looking around the patio and found the place the thief had entered. It was a sliding glass door at the corner next to our bedroom which we had neglected to properly secure, as it was covered with a large stained glass piece of art work my wife had made many years ago. The thief had popped open that door and pushed the stained glass piece forward about 10 inches. Unfortunately for him, we also have a baby grand piano in that corner which he was also pushing against. The piano slowed him down long enough for us to get up and into the same room. My wife’s flipping on the lights and shouting “Get the shotgun, Honey…and call 911!” apparently had its desired effect and he, or they, decided to make a quick exit, stumbling over patio furniture on the way out. The police found two other places they had tried to enter before selecting that particular sliding glass door.

Are there lessons to be learned from this experience? There sure are. The first is making sure you have complete security in ALL windows and doors. Thieves are experts at finding an unsecured opening.  We had extra locking pins and round wood blocking barriers in all the other sliding glass doors. It was only this one door, because it was covered by my wife’s stained glass work, which we did not have properly secured, and the thief quickly found it. Lesson one: Make sure all doors are properly secured.

Lesson Two: Although we have an alarm system, we had not armed it before going to bed. Big mistake. She thought I’d done it, and I thought she’d done it. Don’t make such assumptions. Set up a system and follow it. Lesson three: Be careful who knows when you are going to be away. My wife and I had been on a trip Thursday and Friday celebrating our 38th wed-ding anniversary. There were construction workers working on the outside of our house and our next door neighbor’s on Friday. Some of them knew we were gone. If it was related to one of them, they probably thought we’d be gone the whole weekend. Make sure no one knows except trusted neighbors or family when you’re going to be away.

And last, but not least, Lesson Four: Make sure you have the means to protect yourself if need be, and know how to use it. I’ve owned my Winchester chrome plated 12 gauge shotgun for about 30 years, but have not actually shot it in several years. For a moment, standing at the bottom of our stairs thinking I might need to pull the trigger, I was worried whether I had the safety on or off. It was off and ready to fire. But for a moment I was uncertain, and that moment might have made a big difference had the thief decided to stay and charge me. In other words, if you’re going to have a gun, you need to know how to use it, and practice occasionally. You also need to let the police know when you call that you have a gun in hand, so they don’t mistake you for an adversary and act accordingly.

Finally, even though I didn’t have to use it, I was sure glad to have that 12-gauge on my side last Sunday morning, Thank you, Mr.Winchester.

David Eller, Publisher

Uncontrolled immigration problem needs to be fixed!

Published: 28 Jun 2007

George Bush, Ted Kennedy and all the other politicians in Washington, D.C. are nuts! How dare they legalize at least 12 million people who have come here illegally! If they do that, there will be another 50 million illegals here ten years from now. Our country and lifestyle will eventually collapse without a limited immigration policy to regulate entry at our borders. This is what happened to Rome nearly 2000 years ago and we unfortunately seem to be on the same path. If you agree, you better let Senators Martinez and Nelson know this week as the Senate is expected to vote on it this week. Contact information for Senator Martinez is U.S. States Senate, 356 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC, phone 202-224-3041 and fax 202-228-5171. For Senator Nelson, U.S. States Senate Building, 716 Senate Hart Office Building, Washington, DC, phone 202-224-5274 and fax 202-228-2183.

David Eller, Publisher

Now is the time to speak out

Published: 17 May 2007

“If any man can show just cause, why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him speak now, or else hereafter forever hold his peace.”

Solemnization of Matrimony

The Holy Bible book of Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3 puts it this way:

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;…..a time to weep, and a time to laugh…a time to get, and a time to lose….a time to keep silence, and a time to speak!

Now is the time to speak out if you are concerned about the property taxes on your home or business. The State Legislature just adjourned without resolving the issue, but will meet again in June for final discussions and a vote on the matter. Several options are on the table. The House of Representatives seems poised to possibly eliminate all ad valorem (property) taxes on our homes and business in exchange for an increase in sales tax to as much as 8 ½ cents on the dollar.  The Senate, on the other hand, seems unwilling to give any substantial property tax relief except over an extended period of time of about five years.  The question, therefore, is whether people and our economy can hold out for several years under the Senate plan, while people are stuck with high taxes and not being able to sell their homes. Apparently, many people are not willing to wait on the Senate, as “For Sale” signs seem to be sprouting up everywhere.

If all this affects you in some way, then now is the time to act. Your State Representatives and Senators are listed below.   Speak to them by email, letter or in person now, or you may as well “forever hold your peace”!

David Eller, Publisher

I’m proud to be an American…a Deerfield Beach American!

Published: 15 Mar 2007

Congratulations, citizens of Deerfield Beach. You stood up to one of the largest assaults ever attempted to take over a city in local modern history. Because you went out and voted (nearly 20 percent of our citizens here went to the polls, compared to half that in surrounding communities), you saved over $50 million in existing firefighter related assets from being taken over by out-of-town special interests; plus another $25 million in bonds they thought you would be foolish enough to borrow and give them!

Frankly, I’m embarrassed for my friend Sheriff Jenne, who badly overestimated his popularity and power in trying to take over our fire department and its substantial assets; and who raised and spent close to $53,000 from out-of-town interests in the losing effort. For what it is worth, the “locals” spent less than $3,000 to beat him!

I’m also embarrassed for former Mayor Robb, as well as members of the “Original Save Our Beach Committee” who jumped ship from “saving” our Deerfield Beach assets to support giving them away! I’m a little embarrassed for the large daily newspaper south of us that endorsed all the ballot positions that lost, and declined to run stories on the destruction of campaign signs taking place.

But most of all, I’m embarrassed for our firefighters, who were led into overreaching by their union leadership. Most of them are fine citizens, but some apparently participated in stealing and destroying thousands of dollars of their opponents’ legal campaign signs, while posting illegal campaign signs of their own on private and public property.

Now the City Commission and Mayor have heard from the citizens of Deerfield Beach. I’m sure they got the message.

Vote ‘NO’ On #3!

Published: 8 Mar 2007

Special interests out to get Deerfield’s fire department–

And they are out to get it on the cheap!

“Show me the money!” Cuba Gooding, Jr. shouted over and over again in the movie Jerry Maguire. “Show me the money!”

In a variation of that theme, Deerfield Beach taxpayers need to start shouting to our elected officials, “Follow the money! Follow the money!”

If they do follow the money, they will see that special interests outside of Deerfield Beach, mostly located in Sheriff Ken Jenne’s hometown of Hollywood, Florida, are financing this campaign to take over Deerfield’s fire department! Specifically, as of last week, $34,250 had been donated, with 95 percent, $32,500, coming from businesses in Hollywood, obviously aligned with the sheriff. Almost none is coming from Deerfield Beach, and that ought to tell you something!

Those special interests obviously intend to make lots of money on this deal, otherwise they would not be financing it. And what a deal it is! Deerfield taxpayers turn over some $55 million of buildings and equipment to the sheriff, which we still have to pay for, plus another $25 million if No.2 passes, for a total of $80 million. The sheriff and special interests get control of our buildings and equipment, but Deerfield Beach tax- payers still have to pay all the costs (over which we now have no control, including more lucrative pensions) for the firefighters!

This, of course, makes no sense and would never be happening were it not for the second main special interest pushing this: certain firefighters, most of whom do not live in Deerfield Beach, who stand to double up on their pensions if it passes.

Therefore, if you follow the money, you will see it is being taken from your Deerfield Beach pocket and flowing to special interests in Hollywood, plus fire-fighters, most living in other communities. It’s a bad deal for Deerfield Beach residents. Therefore, you need to call your Deerfield Beach neighbors and get them to join with you next Tuesday and vote “NO” to No. 3!

David Eller, Publisher

Vote “Yes” for more parks

-on March 13 Referendum Item No. 2-

Published: 1 Mar 2007

It is going to be difficult for many people renting or owning property in this city to vote to further increase their expenses to live here by increasing property taxes for any reason. However, if there was any expense that might be approved during normal times, it would most likely be related to adding additional parks and recreational facilities.

The timing of the referendum is unfortunate, however, as many people here are already in “tax shock.” Hopefully, the Florida Legislature will find a way soon to re-adjust the taxing methods to relieve property owners, renters and businesses in general. Meanwhile, available property on which to build parks and recreational facilities is dwindling. It will require an act of faith on the part of voters to trust our city’s elected officials to spend the money wisely if they vote to proceed on taxing themselves more to pay for some $30 million for additional parks in Deerfield Beach.

David Eller, Publisher


-on March 13 Referendum Item No. 1-

Published: 22 Feb 2007

“Thinking to get at once all the gold the goose could give, he (they) killed it and opened it only to find………nothing”

–Aesop, 550 BCE

Here we go again. The Deerfield Beach firefighters are again overreaching and trying to kill the goose that lays their golden eggs. The firefighters’ very politically active leadership may lead them over the precipice this time, possibly forever, as they seek to intimidate the public about this latest bond proposal. To his credit, the mayor voted against it, but the other commissioners questionably put on the upcoming ballot what is a horrendously bad deal for Deerfield Beach citizens and taxpayers. Specifically, they are seeking voter approval to borrow $25 million to be spent for additional firefighter related assets, and then, if the ballot passes, give it all, plus another $55 million in Deerfield assets we already own, to the Broward County Sheriff’s Department! That’s an $80 million transfer from the City of Deerfield to the Broward County Sheriff’s Department, with the City of Deerfield taxpayer stuck with the bill!

Sheriff Ken Jenne, who I admit is a friend of mine, is no fool. He was smiling sheepishly as he and I spoke recently about him receiving what amounts to a huge windfall for his organization. He told me that although he could not pay anything to Deerfield to actually buy those assets, he is willing to pay some rent. He further admitted that he has not seen any financial information from the city, and therefore could not speak to what amount he could justify paying in rent.

This, of course, makes no sense unless you look at it from the standpoint of some of the senior firefighters in Deerfield Beach who are pushing it. They are already the recipients of one of the most generous retirement benefits at an early age imaginable, but they still want more. Many are already receiving, and many more looking forward to receiving soon, from the taxes placed on our homes and businesses, in the area of $70,000 per year in retirement while still in their forties or early fifties. However, if they can get the Broward County Sheriffs Department to take over Deerfield’s Fire Department, these individuals can start accumulating a second pension benefit from us as Broward County taxpayers, while simultaneously receiving their Deerfield pension income. They can, therefore, substantially increase their current income from the Deerfield pension fund, while double-dipping on the same taxpayers for their new Broward County pension! As I’ve said before, we simply cannot afford to have more financial burden put on our homes, businesses and rental properties. After all, you can only get so many golden tax dollars out of the geese in this town. And speaking of birds, this Referendum Item No. 1 is a turkey, and Deerfield citizens need to get to the polls en masse on March 13 and shoot this turkey down!

David Eller, Publisher

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