South Dade Matters

Looking at the World South of Miami: Palmetto Bay, Cutler Bay, Pinecrest, South Miami and Miami-Dade County.

Category: Palmetto Bay

PB: Misleading Mailer – The Two-Faced Mayor

An FOSDM sent us a copy of Mayor Shelley Stanczyk’s “green” (literally and figuratively) mailer. You may find this hard to imagine, but Mme. Mayor’s mailer contains a bald-faced lie! Here are is what Stacnzyk claims she did:

Fought for protection of natural pineland.

And, here is what she actually filed:

Ooops, we are sorry…we can’t tell you what she filed because the village doesn’t keep an archive of past agendas on its website and the minutes are only summaries.

Fortunately, this blog did a contemporaneous post regarding Mayor Stancyzk’s plan to site a fire station at Palmetto Bay Village Center as part of a site plan that included 41 homes located in what some consider to be endangered pine lands. You can read the prior post here: PB: On PBVC, Stanczyk Finds an Acorn.

So now, you are probably scratching your head over two things:

(1) Why doesn’t Palmetto Bay maintain a searchable archive of its meeting agendas so that interested parties (such as SDM) can go back and read what was proposed at the time? (Answer: The village used to keep such an archive but we think the village clerk got tired of maintaining it.) Maybe some of the candidates will commit to creating and maintaining such an archive for future generations.

(2) More importantly, why would Mayor Stanczyk send out a mailer claiming to be protecting natural pinelands when, in fact, she sponsored the Palmetto Bay Village Center’s application that would have located the homes inside the “protected” forest? The two concepts don’t seem to mesh unless one believes as SDM does that locating the homes in the pinelands would not be harmful. (SDM Note: The environmental community – the “green people” Stanczyk is attempting to reach – vociferously disagreed that the homes would not harm the forest, which is why they raised holy hell at the meeting where Stanczyk deferred the item.)

SDM Says: Mme. Mayor Stanczyk is a fairly typical politician in that she wants her cake and to eat it too. She is claiming falsely to be protecting a forest and locating a fire station in the southwest part of the village when in truth she has accomplished neither feat. The reason she failed is that she didn’t have the guts to satisfy one constituency while pissing off the other. Now, cynically, she is misleading BOTH constituencies and SDM caught her on video going door to door:

Scary right? Happy Halloween.

 

 

 

PB Mystery: Who’s Behind the Cunningham Attack?

It came in the mail last week…black and white and red all over, but not a joke. The mailer shouted “Shame on you Karyn Cuningham!”

The return address was as follows:

Political Electioneering Communication Paid for by
Concerned Citizens for Ethics in Government
17280 SW 146 Ct
Miami, FL 33177
**Under mailing permit #2075

SDM clicked on the Department of State’s registry of electioneering communication organizations and searched for “Concerned Citizens for Ethics in Government” and got…bupkis (Yiddish for, nothing at all).

Hmmm…very interesting…a hit piece mailer attacking Seat 1 candidate (the candidate SDM endorsed in this race) for allegedly lying about a bunch of nonsense. What struck SDM as odd, however, was this line: “You lied to us about your strategic plan. You don’t have one an never will. Are you really ready to be a councilperson?”

Now, look at this line from Cunningham’s opponent David Zisman’s hit piece. According to Zisman, Cunningham’s “Action Plan” is the following: “Unrealistic FIVE-YEAR strategic plan, studies, reports, analysis, committees, meetings,” etc.

Zisman also assailed Cunningham for being a “lobbyist,” an attack that also permeates the most recent hit piece, which is also very interesting.

You see, candidates are not allowed to coordinate their mail and other activities with outside groups. In this case, Zisman appears to have coordinated the messaging in the mail piece from the committee. (We believe he wrote both pieces…they follow the same style and their language patterns are identical in our opinion.)

But there is another oddity in this latest hit piece. The committee is not registered with the Department of State as nonprofit corporation either. The return address is a home owned by one “Luis Medina,” which means nothing to SDM except that a person with that name has been making contributions to the Dade County Police Benevolent Association PAC for a couple of years. Ahh, the mysteries of campaign mailers…perhaps this is all just a coincidence.

SDM Wonders:

SDM Says: As we have said before, David Zisman will not be good for Palmetto Bay and his campaign’s ugly tactics just reinforce our view. Vote for Karyn Cunningham instead.

PB: Guest Post by David Singer – The Mayor Votes against her own Fire Station

The Mayor Votes against her own Fire Station

I finally found the time to watch the video of the October 20th, zoning hearing in which a site for the new Palmetto Bay Fire Station was selected. Besides the end of the hearing where total chaos ensued, and Village Attorney Dexter Lehtinen had to take control of the hearing and explain to the Mayor parliamentary procedures, there were a few fascinating moments that every resident of Palmetto Bay should know about.

First off, Mayor Shelley Stanczyk and Councilwoman Joan Lindsay voted against the site. This is not unexpected from Joan Lindsay since in my opinion she would probably rather have a Village resident die due to unacceptable fire rescue response time than have any additional traffic and noise occurring in the Village. I think she has proven this fact repeatedly, throughout her time on the council.

Mayor Stanczyk who has mailed numerous campaign flyers totting the fact she has obtained two fire stations for Palmetto Bay actually voted against the possible site. So far, contrary to what she has informed all of her constituents in Palmetto Bay, she has secured zero fire stations in the last four years of her tenure as mayor. A mission that was started prior to her election four years ago and advanced nowhere due to her total focus on stopping Palmer Trinity’s expansion.

The most interesting moment that occurred at the meeting was a comment from Caroline Pastorella, wife of Gary Pastorella, made on record as she spoke to the Council. In her words, she said…..

“I’m just going to ask the Mayor, what happened to, when you were standing at my front door, you told me that we would have complete say over how the fire station was going to be built, what it was going to look like, how big it was going to be. You stood there and told me that. I’m in favor of a fire station but someplace else in this community.” “Why did you make that promise.” “Henry (Clifford) made the same promise to my husband.” “We’ll do whatever you want, whatever it takes, those were all promises that you made.”

I find the fact that Mayor Stanczyk did not disclose her conversation with Caroline Pastorella at the zoning meeting, which technically she is legally required to disclose and is a potential ethics violation. I find the fact that she is making promises to CCOCI members to be a continuation of the problems that have plagued this Village for the last four to six years.

I have avoided taking a position on individual candidates in this election, but I’m afraid that Henry Clifford’s close association with the Mayor, Joan Lindsay and the CCOCI, will bring more of the same if he is elected and if he doesn’t totally disassociate himself with these individuals. If he indeed had a conversation with Gary Pastorella, committing to those promises, none of which he has any control over, that in itself is a very large issue with his campaign.

Joan Lindsay is thankfully exiting the Village she has tortured in the very near future. With three alternative candidates for Mayor, it is time to clean the slate and end the nightmare that the residents have had to endure with over the last four years. I implore everyone to vote in the next 10 days. Vote for a New and Professional start over for our community. However, when you vote remember history because history always has a chance to repeat itself, for better or worse.

David Singer

PB: Fire Station = Violation of Neighborhood Protection?

We need churches, we need schools, we need fire stations… – Joan Lindsay

In the end, however, Councilwoman and soon-to-be ex-Palmetto Bay resident Joan Lindsay voted against locating a new fire station next to perpetual gadfly Gary Pastorella’s house. The fire department aims to purchase approximately two acres owned by Old Cutler Presbyterian church located on the southeast corner of Old Cutler Road and SW 142nd Terrace.

Mr. Pastorella hired an attorney to interrogate village staff and anyone within swinging distance last Monday night. After what amounted to an expensive rant against siting the fire station, Pastorella’s lawyer warned that if the council voted in favor of the fire department’s application, he would appeal it on Pastorella’s behalf.

SDM can’t figure out if this is ironic – given Pastorella’s repetitive whining at council meetings about his being sued – or karmic since he led the forces who pushed a charter amendment that will not “rescue” him (sorry for the pun):

All non-single-family-residential developments, structures, or use (that is/are a direct or indirect result of that development, structure, or use) in, adjacent to, or nearby any single-family zoned properties shall not disrupt or degrade the health, safety, tranquility, character, and overall welfare of the adjacent or nearby single-family residential properties by creating negative impacts on those properties such as density, intensity, noise, light, glare, dust, odor, vibration, traffic or run off that exceeds that of adjacent single-family properties. Nothing herein should be construed or applied to abrogate the vested rights of a property owner.

Mr. Pastorella’s attorney stated pretty clearly that the so-called neighborhood protection charter amendment would be the basis of his suit. His somber reading of the amendment appeared calculated to frighten the council by the “obvious” takeaway that a fire station would run afoul of its provisions.

Of course, Mr. Pastorella’s presumptions about the charter amendment are logically unsound: How can a life safety necessity like fire rescue “disrupt or degrade the health, safety, tranquility, character, and overall welfare of the adjacent or nearby single-family residential properties”? By definition, a fire rescue station does exactly the opposite.

The other “no” vote came from Mayor Shelley Stanczyk who apparently couldn’t say no to Pastorella since he forms the last remaining element of her neighborhood support. That the site was $200,000 less and a savings to taxpayers would not sway Mme. Mayor. She seems to have bought the line that if the county pays the money then you as village taxpayers don’t. Huh?

Stanczyk was also unswayed by the site’s easy ingress and egress for vehicles. Then again, the site across Old Cutler has the advantage of being a poke in the eye to her nemesis David Zisman, so maybe her vote against fire and rescue protection for northeast Palmetto Bay makes sense.

Make no mistake, the entire hearing on Monday night radiated with election year political intrigue. Nobody wants that fire station near their home…unless you were the woman who testified about her husband dying in the rescue vehicle parked in her driveway. She recounted waiting 17 minutes before hearing that wailing siren, which turned out to be too long.  SDM can’t even imagine her grief, but we can surely commend her bravery and sense of duty. Based on her testimony, which very likely carried the day, the majority could say Please In My Back Yard .

SDM Says: Bravo to the three gentlemen who decided for the fire station: Messrs.  Fiore, Dubois and Schaffer. They would not sit by idly and allow the NIMBYs to put thousands of people at further unnecessary risk. All three showed what forceful leadership looks like when life and death matters are at issue.

PB: I See Silly People

Palmetto Bay Seat 1 Candidate David Zisman sent out a mailer this week and it made us chuckle. Here is the “positive” side:

ZisPos

Do you notice the use of “I” in every bullet? SDM has news for Mr. Zisman: YOU can’t do it all by yourself, unless of course you will be donning a police uniform and catching speeders with your trusty radar gun. This mailer could not have been drafted by anyone other than the candidate himself, which is even more obvious from the “negative” side:

Zisneg

This may be the most pathetic attempt at a negative mailer SDM has witnessed in 20 years of watching the business. You as a voter are supposed to be rocked in your boots because “Karyn” is a lobbyist for the evil teacher’s union. Look, SDM has no love for unions, but is advocating for teachers more treacherous than an owner of a company declaring bankruptcy? See Herald background checks find spots on Palmetto Bay candidates’ records:

In 2012 and 2013, Zisman filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcies on two of his businesses, which deal in barbecue equipment, Jacuzzi baths and kitchen appliances.

The 2013 bankruptcy, filed in November, was for Evening’s Delight Inc. According to Zisman, the bankruptcy was purely “administrative.”

“Evening’s Delight has never been in financial trouble. Ever, ever, ever. [It’s] all about consolidating the corporations,” he said.

But before that bankruptcy was filed — the proceedings are still ongoing — two creditors named in the bankruptcy filed lawsuits for unpaid debts and received judgments in their favor.

Vent-a-Hood, a Texas-based kitchen hood manufacturer, won $62,313 plus $12,882 in attorney’s fees in October 2010 when it sued Evening’s Delight in a Texas state court.

Samuel, Son & Co., a metals distributor, won $29,171 in damages from Evening’s Delight in June 2013.

Asked about the lawsuits, Zisman said they did not indicate he had any problem paying back vendors. He said he had called to let them know he would be filing for bankruptcy, and that they had opted to sue just to make sure the bankruptcy wouldn’t allow him not to pay them back.

“I let them know what was going on; they were merely protecting themselves. And they did that. And if you pull the court records, you’ll see I didn’t even have a defense. I just let them do what they wanted to do,” Zisman said. “They’re getting paid back as we speak.”

According to Vent-a-Hood president William Miles Woodall III, Zisman filed for bankruptcy after Vent-a-Hood tried to prove that Zisman had shifted assets to another Evening’s Delight company to get out of paying the debt.

Vent-a-hood did not sue because Zisman had warned them of the bankruptcy, Woodall said. It’s the other way around, he said.

“He filed for bankruptcy because we started deposing his family,” he said. “There’s no question he did it to get out of what he owed us.”

Pressed as to why the vendors were not paid between the time they received judgments in their favor and when the bankruptcy was filed — just over three years elapsed between Vent-a-Hood’s initial judgment and the bankruptcy filing — Zisman stopped answering questions.

“I told you already, this is a story about nothing. You and the Herald are trying to do a hatchet job on me. I don’t appreciate it. Please do a story on a real event. My business is in business; I’m doing well. Thank you very much.”

Zisman also criticizes his opponent, Karyn Cunningham, for wanting to plan the village’s future for the next five years (oh, the horror) and because she wants to “open a dialogue with village residents” (for shame).

SDM Says: The choice between Zisman (I, I, I) and Cunningham (We, we, we) was never made more clear than in this mailer.

PB: Three More Reasons You Must Vote Against Shelley Stanczyk

If you don’t know the mess Mayor Stancyzk made of Palmer, then you can go back and read through some of our posts by searching under “Palmer Trinity.” We also won’t talk about how bloated the village budget became under her tenure. No today we won’t be focusing on those calamities. Today we discuss three more reasons to vote against Shelley Stanczyk, each of which stands on its own.

Thalatta Estate Park

Many Palmetto Bay taxpayers are unfamiliar with the history of the village’s only bay front property, at least that has been our experience when speaking with friends and neighbors.

One possible reason may be that Thalatta was essentially closed off to regular people for most of the week until earlier this year when Guest Poster David Singer raised the village’s behavior to the State of Florida. Now, regular Village People can enter and visit the park more often, though not as often as a regular park.

The reason Thalatta is so remote lies squarely on the shoulders of Mayor Stanczyk. As Mayor, Stanczyk became infatuated with paid events at Thalatta, namely weddings. Glamorous and expensive weddings became so de rigueur at Thalatta that the park has actually been on television!

Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with a municipality attempting to earn income as a mechanism to lessen the need for taxpayers to fund repairs and maintenance, but over time Thalatta became virtually unavailable to the general public. Even today, weekends are occupied by large events that are not subjected to the village’s noise ordinance.

Stanczyk, in her zeal to turn Thalatta into a publicly-owned business, proposed that the village council authorize a huge addition to the historic house on the property for the purpose of facilitating yet more weddings and events, neighbors be damned.

The last village council torpedoed Stanczyk’s grand vision when former Councilman Howard Tendrich joined Patrick Fiore to vote against modifying the village master plan, which was a necessary step to adding the controversial addition.

The Thalatta episode showed Mrs. Stanczyk’s true colors as Mayor. She wanted to bask in the glow from these weddings and events despite the fact that doing so restricted the park’s use to just a chosen few.

Fire Station Failures

While Thalatta represents a loss to the Village People in the quality of life category, Mayor Stanczyk’s failure to site even one fire station over the last four years is a life and death issue, most literally.

In Palmetto Bay, the Mayor plays a significant role in formulating and initiating public policy. Without active and skilled leadership, controversial matters such as siting fire-rescue facilities linger and drift.

The two sites proposed for Palmetto Bay will never, ever satisfy all the people. By their very nature, such facilities are nuisances…unless the siren is heading for your house in a moment of need, that is.

True leadership means that one is willing to lose an election if it means making the community safer and healthier. But even that sacrificial standard cannot be met when the controversial items don’t even get to a vote by the council.

Stanczyk’s last attempts to site the North and South fire-rescue stations ended ignominiously without a substantive vote being taken!

One of the Mayor’s basic functions in Palmetto Bay is to shepherd items through the agenda process and Mayor Stanczyk cannot do it, even when she is holding the lives of the residents of three municipalities in her hands. Keeping this mayor in place would be a political tragedy that could result in an actual tragedy. Think your vote doesn’t count?

The Barking Dogs Ordinance

We’ve written extensively here about Mayor Stanczyk’s proposed ordinance to muzzle barking dogs, which we always viewed as fanciful. What’s amazing is that every Village Person we meet knows about this dumb idea, though they may never have heard of the fire station controversies or Palmer or the misuse of a village park.

There is something visceral when a political figure goes after the family pet. We know that SDM’s pets are by far the most popular members of our families, so the reaction should come as no surprise.

Yet, there is something more to the story that lots of  Village People don’t know or understand: the origins of the dispute.

You see, Mrs. Stanczyk has been in a feud with Seat 1 candidate David Zisman for years. We are told the trouble started when Zisman had some issues with a tennis court on his property. The end result was a political brawl between Stanczyk and Zisman that has spanned almost her entire tenure as a village politician.

Before he threw his hat in the political ring – again – and before he adopted his current mild-mannered facade, Zisman was known to stand before the village council and berate Mayor Stancyzk. The videos are hard to watch, but you can find them by searching “Zisman” on this blog…you will learn more him than you want to know!

So, as SDM sees it at least, when the mighty Mayor found out that one or more of Zisman’s dogs were keeping his neighbors awake at night (seriously, how rude can one be?), she pounced.

The only problem was how to draft a village-wide ordinance that would hurt her nemesis but be seen as “reasonable” by the rest of the Village People. Answer: You can’t draft such an ordinance without freaking out all normal pet owners and Stanczyk reaped the whirlwind.

One shouldn’t legislate based on anecdote, or so goes the old saw, which surely means one shouldn’t legislate to exact revenge on a political opponent. Yet, here is the Village People’s Mayor doing just that. Pitiful and pathetic are words that rush to mind, though our neighbors who learned of the idea on the evening news just figured we were a bunch of fools led by the chief fool.

dresiarczyk-162-OBRAZKY.PL

SDM Says: We have our favorite in the Mayor’s race and have made that view clear; however, we are even more adamant on this point: Stanczyk must go unless you want to live in a village where your parks are closed off from the public; where your family is vulnerable to dangerously long wait-times for fire-rescue; and where your precious pooch may be monitored by big brother every time she is excited by a squirrel. It may sound funny, but it ain’t no joke.

PB: Three Weeks To Election Day

It’s hard to believe, but election day is right around the corner and the tired, tired Palmetto Bay voters just screamed in unison: Finally!

The Money

As of the end of September, the Mayoral candidates stack up as follows in terms of money available:

  1. Peter England $13,000
  2. Shelley Stanczyk $9,400
  3. Eugene Flinn $6,000
  4. Patrick Fiore $5,000

SDM Says: Money, while important, is less of a factor in a small race like Palmetto Bay’s. Nevertheless, whenever a sitting public official, like Mayor Stanczyk, is running for re-election and is being outspent by a challenger, that is a bad sign.

Seat 1 is a dead heat in the money game with Karyn Cunningham and David Zisman heading into the home stretch with an astonishing $30,000 each in the bank. Zisman has raised more overall ($43,000) but Cunningham is close on his heels ($38,000).

SDM Says: We can’t figure out how TWO council candidates each have almost as much money available at this point as do FOUR mayoral candidates. This seat must be setting the spending record for Palmetto Bay.

Seat 3 has three candidates with “normal” sums of money available:

  1. Larissa Siegel Lara $9,000
  2. Henry Clifford $7,000
  3. Jim Shedd $5,000

SDM Says: The smart money has to figure a runoff in this race, which means some donors are likely to hold out to get a bigger bang with runoff money.

It looks on the street like England and Siegel Lara have combined forces just as the color-coordinated Stanczyk and Clifford have done. Really Henry? You want to be hitched to Mme. Mayor so blindly that you can’t even pick your own sign colors?

Fire Stations Remain Controversial

Despite a Herculean effort to ram home the two fire stations before the election by Mayor Stanczyk, both the southern location at the Palmetto Bay Village Center (F/K/A Burger King Headquarters) and the northern site(s) at Farmer Road and Old Cutler Road continue to fester.

Grant Miller, publisher of the Palmetto Bay news, took Mayor Stanczyk to task for her blatant attempt to curry favor with the property owner by circumventing a covenant running with the land:

Under the covenant, the referendum to obtain a minimum of 75% voter approval is only required if the application is submitted by the property owner.”  So what does Mayor Stanczyk do? In the same year her family members have incorporated at least two construction companies located in Palmetto Bay;  she becomes more than a cheerleader, she actually SPONSORS the change, becoming the actual applicant, which robs the residents of their protections of the covenant.

Boy, that stings. It’s funny. SDM thinks the property owner deserves a fair hearing on maximizing the use of his land, especially if the so-called “endangered habitat” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

However, we also think it’s dirty pool by a mayor who is so desperate to make headway on siting the fire station. We understand how the property owner may be using the fire station as leverage to get his site plan amended, but if the deal isn’t good for the environment and the community then why pursue it?

The northern site is shaping up to be a headache for the next Mayor and Council. On the East side of Old Cutler, you have the endlessly hyperbolic Gary Pastorella who may actually suffer a stroke if the fire station is installed at the opening to his cul-de-sac. And, on the other side of Old Cutler you have candidate Zisman – who may become Councilman Zisman – and who has flip-flopped from supporting the station site on his side of the road to now opposing it.

SDM Says: Welcome to Palmetto Bay! The Village of Lawsuits.

Have You Seen The Avmed Commercial?

Former Channel 10 front man Dwight Lauderdale appears in a commercial touting Avmed and guess who is one of the spot’s stars? Yep, none other than mayor candidate Peter England. The ad below is another in the Peter England body of work, but his speaking role seems to have been cut out:

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