PB: SOPs Misinformation Campaign

by SDM

The Miami Herald Soapbox today contained a letter (no link available, the letter appears only in the hard copy of the paper) from a Palmetto Bay resident intending to defend the indefensible actions of the Three Amigos. SDM decided to break down the letter and explain why the letter (italics) is so wrong (SDM comments in bold):

This group of Palmer Trinity parents, developers, business owners and failed candidates would have you believe their complaint against Mayor Stanczyk and council member Joan Lindsay is only about money spent litigating Palmer. However, this mayor and council voted only once to appeal after trying to settle with Palmer.

First, the complaint is against the Three Amigos – don’t leave Mr. Pariser out of this debate – and it’s also about mismanagement and likely malfeasance, not just about legal fees. The Palmer debacle will end up being the worst decision in village history. Second, the fact that Palmetto Bay “voted only once to appeal” is irrelevant. Palmetto Bay’s quasi-judicial decision on Palmer was illegal. When government violates the law, courts are the only venue for redress. Stating that Palmetto Bay filedĀ its own claim only once – as the Three Amigos are wont to say often – is an utterly meaningless distraction.

Palmer initiated the remainder of the litigation against the village under former the Mayor’s leadership. It began with the application in 2006. The former mayor took the lead in denying the zoning for Palmer against staff and attorney recommendation in 2008.

It is true that Mayor Flinn voted to limit Palmer to 900 students and to prohibit a new application for thirty years – the bases of the Palmer lawsuit. Certainly Mayor Flinn should explain his thinking on this vote, but he hasĀ been out of office for two years. For Palmetto Bay voters and residents, the salient fact is that current Mayor Stanczyk made the disastrous Palmer motion and Vice Mayor Pariser seconded it. Only current council member Tendrich (Lindsay and Fiore weren’t on the council in 2008) had the courage and good sense to vote against the measure.

The key question Palmetto Bay voters should ask is what has this council majority done to dispose of the Palmer matter? The Three Amigos want to pin blame for the Palmer fiasco on anyone within reach, including former elected officials. SDM thinks most voters have limited tolerance for attempts to blame the previous administration, especially considering two of the Three Amigos directly caused the problem in the first place.

The courts supported the village through two appeals by Palmer until the 2010 appellate ruling. Immediately the council granted the rezoning.

This spin is pathetic. The council granted a rezoning that completely violated the court’s order! That’s one of the reasons the village has been on its heels throughout the pendency of the litigation.

As to the second sentence, it’s difficult to explain to a casual observer how warped this view of reality is. The court in 2010 told the village to grant Palmer 1150 students. Instead, the village adopted the posture – again without legal foundation – that it could approve only 650 students – Palmer’s current enrollment – and somehow comply with the court’s order. The appellate court would have none of it, saying the village’s actions in 2010 amounted to “an exercise in superfluousness and futility.” See Palmer Litigation: An Exercise in Superfluousness and Futility.

However the rezoning lawsuits filed by Palmer continue to this day, prolonged by continuous amendments (five times and counting) and include outrageous damage claims to win in the court of public opinion.

SDM finds it humorous that a representative of the hyper-regulatory and hyper-litigious SOPs would have the gall to question Palmer’s attempts to recoup SIX YEARS of costs. The court will have the final say as to what is outrageous and SDM predicts the village – and we taxpayers – will indeed be paying an “outrageous” penalty for voting in Shelley Stanczyk, Brian Pariser and Joan Lindsay.

In 2010, under the former mayor’s leadership, the school received approval for its site plan with what the judge called a political compromise. Not good enough, they said, and they began a new battle. The former mayor didn’t or couldn’t settle the cases. Today, Palmer still wages the war even though they already have what they wanted.

Yes, Palmer received a site plan approval for 35 acres but for no additional students. Who in their right mind would accept such an outcome? No one. So Palmer went to court for relief and they won their new student count of 1150. Now they want to be made whole because the village has cost them legal fees, costs, and damages (think what you would ask for if you couldn’t open your doors for SIX YEARS). Asking to be reimbursed for these expenses is not waging war. It is demanding fairness and accountability…something the jihadist SOPs cannot understand.

If not about litigation costs, then what is it about? Remember, insurance covers the rezoning lawsuit costs.

Obviously, the author of this letter has been made privy to information the rest of the village has been denied. Can someone in authority please show SDM this insurance policy? If the policy covers all the costs, why is the information embargoed from the public? It is far more likely that this famous insurance policy has limits and conditions. Produce the document and let the chips fall where they may.

SDM Says: It’s interesting to imagine Mayor Stanczyk – or, more likely Councilwoman Lindsay – dictating this letter. The obvious intent to blame the previous administration runs through the letter from start to finish. Nevertheless, the letter fairly represents the world view of a group of Palmetto Bay residents who want the rest of us to pay for their folly. It is our job to learn the facts and repel them.

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