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].



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



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



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



Posted on 30 August 2017 by LeslieM

Dearest friends,

Having gone through Hurricane Andrew 25 years ago and leaving home with only a laundry basket of wet things, my heart goes out to the people of Texas.

Due to the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey, my friends and I from Kiwanis clubs throughout Florida have asked how we can help the affected areas. Although you may donate or help any way you see fit, we have been provided with the following information. You can be guaranteed that 100 percent of your donation will go to the families and not for any sort of administration costs.

We will be working directly with the Kiwanis clubs in the Houston, Galveston, Port Aransas, Victoria, Baytown, Rockport and Pasadena areas. They will be distributing boxes of personal items to people in need. If you would like to donate funds to this effort, please use the PayPal button on their district website to donate or send checks to Kiwanis Club of Deerfield Beach, PO Box 1105, Deerfield Beach, FL 33443 with “Disaster Relief Fund” written in the memo.

If you prefer to make a tax deductible donation, please send a check to the address below and mark the check as a donation to the disaster relief fund:
Texas-Oklahoma Kiwanis Foundation, Inc.
3010 W Park Row Dr #100
Pantego, TX 76013
(The district foundation is a 501C3 organization and all donations are tax deductible).

If you prefer to donate to the disaster relief fund of the Kiwanis International Children’s Fund, you can donate online and select “Please direct my gift to: Disaster Relief Fund.”

You can also use your cell phone and text “Aid” to 50155.

Checks can be made payable to Kiwanis Children’s Fund and “Disaster Relief Fund” written in the memo or pledge form. Please send checks to:
Kiwanis Children’s Fund
P.O. Box 6457 – Dept #286
Indianapolis, IN 46206
All USA Donations are tax-deductible in the U.S.

Kerri Gordon

Deerfield Beach Kiwanian



Posted on 10 August 2017 by LeslieM

Dear Editor,

Please explain to me the reason for the mandatory right hand turn lane off of east bound Hillsboro onto Dixie? By the time drivers realize they are in a mandatory turn lane they try to jump left into the center lane causing drivers to brake and swerve. Then, if you are trying to turn right onto 2nd street, just over the tracks, there’s drivers who didn’t abide by the rules and they almost side swipe you.

They didn’t put in a mandatory right hand turn lane west bound off Hillsboro onto Dixie? Right hand turn lanes move themselves. The right hand turn lane onto US1 south bound, makes sense because Hillsboro turns into two lanes.

John Kaufman

Deerfield Beach



Posted on 11 May 2017 by LeslieM

Dear Editor:

I’ve been following the Deerfield Beach-Hillsboro sand erosion problem with great interest. I live in this area (over 25 years) and have always observed the natural ebb and flow of beach sand. Yes, there are times when there’s less sand as a result of wave action; however, this illustrates the natural ebb and flow of the sand.

Hillsboro has re-nourished their beach at least three times that I’m aware of yet never, let me repeat, never have I observed any attempt on their part to retain the sand. They claim the Deerfield Beach groins block the natural flow, however, the beach looks full to me. Their erosion problem is not caused by our groin system. Deerfield Beach doesn’t allow structures to be built on the beach. Hillsboro does, with condos built right up on the sand to the high water line. Could that be a cause of their problem?

To quote their Mayor:

Hillsboro Beach spent $17 million in 17 years on beach remediation. The last major nourishment done by the Town was in 2011 at a cost of $6.1 million, financed with a 10-year loan that retires in 2020. The sand from the 2011 nourishment was gone by 2014, leaving six years of payments for a beach no longer there. Since the cost of sand is rising exponentially as the resource becomes more and more scarce, the next major nourishment is estimated to cost as much as triple the 2011 expense.”

My question is why have they never made any attempts to retain the sand? Rather than fix the blame (on Deerfield Beach) perhaps they should look at ways to fix their problem. Just my 2 cents.

Henry Gould

Deerfield Beach

[Response from Hillsboro Beach]: The best way to understand the situation between Hillsboro Beach and Deerfield Beach is to think of the water wars out west. Water flows downstream, and so does the sand on our coastline. Building structures to trap the natural sand-flow starves downdrift beaches, just like damming water on a river harms people downstream. Deerfield has 56 sand-trapping structures called groins. Since the rock piles go all the way to the municipal line, the final scouring effect created by the structures is forced downstream into Hillsboro Beach. Building more structures simply pushes erosion to another place. Pompano Beach (and sea turtles) would not be very happy with Hillsboro Beach if Hillsboro were to install manmade structures all along our coastline; and, in reality, a massive groin field that pushes erosion into another municipality would not be approved today.

Deerfield was given permission to build their groins over 50 years ago. Coastal science has come a long way since then, but, even 50 years ago, downdrift erosion was acknowledged in the permits granted to Deerfield. In order for Deerfield to be allowed to build those structures, they had to accept certain conditions. One of the conditions, clearly stated in the permits, is that any downdrift damage caused by the groins is the responsibility of the permittee to rectify at the permittee’s expense – the permittee being Deerfield.

Yes, the beach erodes and accretes because occasionally the flow of sand reverses itself for a short period of time, like it did for a couple of weeks last month. Ultimately, however, the sand flows far more often from north to south on our coastline, and manmade structures that interrupt that flow always cause erosion on the downdrift side. Most people would agree, building more structures would only create more problems for our fragile beach environment.

Deb Tarrant, Mayor

Town of Hillsboro Beach



Posted on 04 May 2017 by LeslieM

RE: Hillsboro Beach suing Deerfield over sand issue

Dear Neighbors,

Today [April 24], the Town of Hillsboro Beach took formal legal action against the City of Deerfield Beach.

Standing in for the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), as authorized under 120.69 Florida Statutes, the Town’s formal Petition charges Deerfield with ignoring the conditions set forth in the permits that allowed the City to build a series of sand-trapping groins/rock piles in the late 50s and early 60s. The groins run the entire length of Deerfield’s one-mile beach, with a structure placed approximately every 100 ft.

The permit condition with the greatest impact on Hillsboro Beach stipulates that downdrift damage (a well-known byproduct of groins) to adjacent properties is Deerfield’s responsibility to remedy. In short, Deerfield was given permission to build the groins only after agreeing that it is Deerfield’s responsibility to cover the cost of dealing with subsequent downdrift erosion.

Instead, while Deerfield has enjoyed a beautiful beach provided by the sand-trapping function of the groins, Hillsboro Beach taxpayers have paid to repair the damage caused by these structures. Today’s legal action is an effort to enforce the permit conditions and move the cost of the remediation where it legally belongs. Given that permit conditions do not have a statute of limitation, the conditions enumerated in Deerfield’s permits remain in effect as long as the structures remain in the water.

The Town initially reached out to Deerfield for relief on Oct. 27, 2015 at a joint meeting of 24 people, which included legal counsel, engineers and representatives from the municipalities, as well as from DEP. At that time, Deerfield’s City Manager stated that Deerfield had “no intention of spending a nickel” to help address the erosion in Hillsboro Beach. During the next 18 months, Deerfield’s combative, belligerent attitude has not shifted. At substantial expense to Deerfield taxpayers, the City immediately hired a well-known team of litigating attorneys who have repeatedly shown no interest in successful negotiations/mediation. As a result, the Town has been left with no alternative but to seek a remedy through the court system.

The rising cost of sand has made it unsustainable for Hillsboro Beach residents to continue to pay for Deerfield’s beautiful beach. Hillsboro Beach spent $17 million in 17 years on beach remediation. The last major nourishment done by the Town was in 2011 at a cost of $6.1 million, financed with a 10-year loan that retires in 2020. The sand from the 2011 nourishment was gone by 2014, leaving six years of payments for a beach no longer there. Since the cost of sand is rising exponentially as the resource becomes more and more scarce, the next major nourishment is estimated to cost as much as triple the 2011 expense.

Today’s action is the first step to force Deerfield to honor their legal commitment to be responsible for downdrift damage caused by its sand-trapping groins. [See more about Sand, Pg. 1]

Deb Tarrant

Mayor, Town of

Hillsboro Beach


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