South Dade Matters

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

Tag: Howard Tendrich

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: Guest Post By David Singer – Shady Sessions

All anyone needs to know…..

If you are still looking for a reason to unseat Mayor Shelley Stanczyk, look no further than the Palmer Trinity Shade Session (available on the Village Website) dated January 7th, 2012. I spent last Saturday reading this particular transcript in an attempt to comprehend how and why the Village decided to appeal to the Third District Court of Appeals, and found a Mayor who was not acting in the best interest of her constituents but acting solely on ineptitude and vengeance.

The players attending the Shade Session included Ron Williams (Village Manager), Eve Boutsis (former Village Attorney), Howard Tendrich ( former Council Member), Brian Pariser (former Vice Mayor), Joan Lindsay (Council Member), Patrick Fiore (Council Member), Raoul Cantero (former Florida Supreme Court Justice) of White & Case and of course Mayor Stanczyk.

The first ten pages start out with legal speak on how they lost the last round of appeals and discussing the Motion to Enforce the Mandate that permitted Palmer Trinity to enroll 1150 students. This is nothing new for anyone who has lived in Palmetto Bay and has followed the litigation.

The interesting and devastating portion of the transcript starts on page 11, where the group discusses the chance of victory in the Third DCA if the Village appeals the lower Courts ruling once again. Raoul Cantero was asked the chances of winning. His response was “I would definitely say under 50 percent, probably around 30 percent”. In addition, he said that if the Village appealed Palmer Trinity would “request attorney fees again”.
The 30% chance of winning figure was mentioned throughout the meeting and discussed at least a half-dozen times by Ron Williams, Patrick Fiore and Howard Tendrich.

There are also numerous pages discussing the fact that in the small likelihood (under 30%) of the Village winning the appeal to the Third District Court, a another Village hearing would be required and the likelihood the Court would rule Joan Lindsay and Mayor Stanczyk would be required to recuse themselves from voting on the enrollment issue.

If you read between the lines, former Village Attorney Eve Boutsis, Judge Raoul Cantero and Village Manager Ron Williams attempted on numerous occasions to stop the madness and end the appeals. All including Council Members Patrick Fiore and Howard Tendrich had their legitimate reasons as quoted below.

Eve Boutsis – “There is a good chance that we can get the same panel and that the Third District opinion really crucifies us. I want to put that on the table out there because it’s a risk”.

Eve Boutsis – “The only reason I raise the panel at all is because their opinion didn’t go into that, their written opinion did not go into that at all. And their opinion crucifies us, period. The opinion itself crucifies us.

Ron Williams – “Mayor, you have to admit though, when all of us were here, so that everybody’s memory is clear, the Justice asked whether or not we would consider a counteroffer and we wouldn’t even consider a counteroffer, as all of us recall, and I am sure the record is clear.”

Ron Williams – “I think the Judge put it clearly, we have both been entrenched. Not to be repetitive as some of us are here, we didn’t even consider their last offer. I think if we had countered, at least….”

Raoul Cantero – “I think there is a 30 percent chance it will be minimal.”

One of the more interesting quotes of warning came from Raoul Cantero who stated “Even worse, worse case scenario, we get an opinion affirming what the Circuit Court did and slamming the Village for what it did and saying, of course you knew what you were supposed to do, it was obvious what you were supposed to do and you deliberately disobeyed an order of the Circuit Court, and that’s going to get published in the reporters that stay there longer than all of us will be alive.” As history has shown, this is exactly what happened.

In the end neither Mayor Shelly Stanczyk, Brian Pariser, nor Joan Lindsay took the advice and/or listened to Eve Boutsis, Raoul Cantero, Ron Williams, Patrick Fiore or Howard Tendrich when they voted to pursue another appeal. Once again, as we all know this foolish appeal resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees paid by the Village and Eve Boutsis losing her job as Village Attorney.

This transcript is a direct indictment against those who voted for the appeal. Toward the end of the transcript you can understand Mayor Stanczyk’s mentality when she states, “That’s fine Howard, the point was to protect you two guys” when she realized that neither Patrick nor Howard would drink the poison punch she was serving. This is a lesson the whole Village has had to learn while Mayor Stanczyk has been in office. Let’s stop drinking what she’s serving!

David Singer

PB: England’s Fightin’ Words

The Miami Herald published online a Soapbox letter from village mayor candidate Peter England. Most of you will see it in your Sunday paper, but SDM thinks you may want to preview it here:

Your June 8 story concerning the site of a new fire station in Palmetto Bay suggests that I might be unhappy with this outcome. Since my mayoral campaign identified the acute lack of Fire/Rescue coverage on the east side of our village as the greatest single public safety concern in Palmetto Bay, how could I be anything but pleased with the proposed 14200 Old Cutler Rd. location?
The issue my campaign raised was the lack of attention being given to this critical issue by the Palmetto Bay Village Council. At no time, either during a council meeting or council workshop, was this issue discussed, in spite of the fact that the Palmetto Bay Village Voice raised the concern at every council meeting.

During the presentation by the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department at the June 2 council meeting, the council received the same new information as I about this new alternative site. They were there as spectators, not leaders. I commend Miami-Dade Fire Rescue for their diligence on this issue, and will continue to demand not one but two new fire stations as a central theme in my mayoral campaign. Only two stations will provide complete coverage of the entire village.

By drawing attention to this crucial issue, my mayoral campaign has finally gotten the council to focus on this public safety issue after 11 years of neglect. Now that they have recognized the importance of this issue, It’s time for the Village Council to step up and get involved.

Peter England, Palmetto Bay

(Emphasis added by SDM.)

Eleven years? Hmmm… Let’s see, who was leading the village during the past eleven years? Answer:

Mayor: Eugene Flinn (2002-2010); Shelley Stanczyk (2010-Present).

Vice Mayor: Linda Robinson (2002-2008); Brian Pariser (2008-2012);John Dubois (2012-Present)

District 1: Ed Feller (2002-2010); Patrick Fiore (2010-Present)

District 2: Paul Neidhart (2002-2010) Howard Tendrich (2008-2012); Tim Schaffer (2012-Present)

District 3: John Breder (2002-2006); Shelley Stanczyk (2006-2010); Joan Lindsay (2010- Present)

You’ve covered a lot of territory there, Mr. England…pretty much every elected official to have set his or her backside on a Palmetto Bay taxpayer-funded chair. Not to mention Village Manager Ron Williams and his predecessors.

SDM Wonders: Are you all going take this lying down?

 

PB: He ain’t heavy…he’s exonerated!

Careful readers may have noticed a recent uptick in guest posts from David Singer and you would be correct!

Mr. Singer sends us comments in the form of posts and when SDM likes them we post them here for your reading pleasure…after some editing. (Mr. Singer has a couple issues with punctuation and the spelling of Councilwoman Joan Lindsay’s last name, but don’t tell anyone.)

Mr. Singer has been on a tear lately over Thalatta “Park.” (We are using quotations, because Thalatta has gradually become more of a commercial operation hosting spectacular weddings instead of the park it was intended to be.)

SDM Sidebar: There was a funny moment in the Monday council meeting at 3:04:45 where Vice Mayor Dubois takes note that “we have a noise problem in Palmetto Bay…I personally get exposed to a significant amount of noise from a disco nearby me…excuse me, Thalatta Park…” He was referring to the loud parties at Thalatta that he can hear from his bay front mansion.

Mr. Singer has been agitating at the council meetings for a couple months now, stating his belief that the village’s use of Thalatta violates the agreement with the State of Florida. Of course, Village Manager Ron Williams in his perpetually dismissive attitude essentially ignored Mr. Singer – a village resident – and said there was nothing to support his claims.

Well, SDM has seen a letter from Jerry Taber of the Florida Communities Trust (the entity that monitors the funds granted to Palmetto Bay for Thalatta) to Fanny Carmona, Palmetto Bay’s Parks Director, that proves Mr. Singer was on point.

Some of you who are unfamiliar with government may read the letter below, of which we have printed the main body, and misunderstand its seriousness since it is written in the gentle language of the career bureaucrat. Make no mistake, this letter says Palmetto Bay is not operating Thalatta as it said it would and the FCT is demanding they change:

While FCT greatly appreciates your cooperation and continued commitment to provide parks for your community, after reviewing the website for Thalatta Estate, it does appear that the park is being advertised as a wedding or special event venue. We realize the importance of generating some revenue during these challenging economic times and FCT does not have a problem with utilizing the Park to hold weddings and private events providing the Park is not closed to the general public during these events. You have indicated that you will extend the hours the park will be open to the public and will be closed on Saturdays and for all private events. After reviewing the calendar on your website, it appears that there is a total of 28 remaining events scheduled in 2014 and 2015 for days, other than Saturday, that the Park should be open to the general public. FCT would like a commitment that the Park will be open to the general public during the posted hours, except for the remaining events on your calendar, and will not be closed on Sundays or weekdays during normal hours for any other private events going forward.

Pursuant to the approved Management Plan, page 5, the 5th paragraph states “The project site will be identified in all literature and advertising as acquired with funds from the “Florida Communities Trust” and operated as a natural conservation area, outdoor recreation area or other appropriate descriptive language. It doesn’t appear that FCT or the project site is mentioned as being operated as a natural conservation area, outdoor recreation area or other appropriate descriptive language on the Thalatta Estate website. We would recommend that the website first be used to advertise Thalatta Estate as a park and museum with weddings as a secondary event, this would help in complying with the intent of the FCT program.

There is also a minimal amount of interpretative signage at the park, FCT would like to see more signage or a kiosk designed to educate visitors about the historical resources, native vegetative and animal communities that are unique to the area. FCT understands the Village is in the process of providing more signage.

Since the museum was completed in September of 2013, FCT understands that the Village is looking for partners to conduct the required educational programs. Please revise the Priority Schedule in the Management Plan to show when facilities were completed and an estimate of when the Village will provide the required 12 annual educational programs.

Please revise Section 4.0, Site Development and Improvement, of the Management Plan identifying the specific word changes […] on the affected pages of the Management Plan.

With these minor changes FCT finds that the Village is in Compliance with the approved Management Plan and Declaration of Restrictive Covenants. Please provide a response to our concerns by June 9, 2014.

SDM Says: Palmetto Bay now has a problem at Thalatta. Either the village opens the park to visitors during special events or it must make the weddings secondary to the park use. Whether wedding planners will continue to use the facility while party crashers wander the grounds is anyone’s guess. What we know for sure is that the grand plans of Mayor Stanczyk and Village Manager Ron “Hubris” Williams must be subjected to serious review by the council, especially since the both championed the improvements to Thalatta that were intended to make it a better wedding location. Thankfully, the last council, under intense pressure from former Councilman Tendrich, scaled back the wedding planner’s seven-figure fantasy or we would have wasted even more precious tax dollars on the Thalatta debacle.

Guest Post: David Singer on the Shade Session Transcripts

Occasionally, SDM receives comments that are carefully constructed and thoughtful enough to justify a post of their own. Below is such a post by David Singer:

I spent a few hours reading and reviewing the redacted shade sessions last week and below are some of the facts I discovered in regard to the Villages continuing ligation with Palmer Trinity;

• The shade sessions reveal that Mayor Stanczyk and Councilwomen Lindsay approved spending approximately a million dollars in attorney fees to stop 250 children from attending Palmer Trinity.

• The shade sessions reveal that neither Mayor Stanczyk, Councilwomen Lindsay nor Former Vice Mayor Pariser listened to the advice of the Village Staff who recommended settlement and an increased enrollment at 1,150 students.

• The shade sessions reveal that three attorneys, including the Village Attorney, Eve Boutsis, were present when the Council was warned that there was less than a 30% chance of winning a Palmer appeal. But Mayor Stanczyk and Councilwoman Lindsay, voted to appeal the case repeatedly.

• The shade sessions reveal that Mayor Stanczyk, Councilwomen Lindsay and former Vice Mayor Pariser, voted to waste taxpayer’s dollars on frivolous litigation that should have ended in December 2010. Former Vice Mayor Pariser voted to continue litigation even though he stated he had great admiration for the former Supreme Court Justice Raoul Cantero who was hired by the Village and who said it would be difficult to prevail.

• The shade sessions reveal Mayor Stanczyk attempted to place blame on former Mayor Gene Flinn for constant appeal failures. That was on July 11, 2012.

• The shade sessions reveal that Mayor Stanczyk attempted to play traffic engineer and attorney during the appeal process both without any success.

• The shade sessions reveal that Mayor Stanczyk and Councilwoman Lindsay voted to retain an attorney at a cost of $650.00 per hour to continue appealing. $650.00 per hour, incidentally, is more money than some residents in Palmetto Bay bring home from a week of honest work.

• The shade sessions reveal Mayor Stanczyk claimed to be trying to “protect” Councilman Howard Tendrich and Patrick Fiore around the same time as the website palmettobaycheckstherecord.org was set up in her name to slander Mr. Tendrich and Mr. Fiore.

• The shade sessions reveal that The Village of Palmetto Bay would not be fighting Palmer today if either Mayor Stanczyk or Councilwomen Lindsay or were not on the Council. They did not create the problem but they prolonged and exploited the litigation for what appears to be political gain. [SDM note: Mayor Stanczyk did, in fact, create the problem when she moved to set Palmer's maximum enrollment at 900, a figure that was not based on competent substantial evidence. Mrs. Stanczyk was told at the time of this legal defect, but proceeded anyway. SDM argues she is the architect of the Palmer fiasco.]

After the council meeting last week Councilwomen Lindsay and I had a brief conversation where she suggested that we meet to discuss her reasons for voting to continue to appeal the Palmer litigation. I thought her overture was gracious and I look forward to a one-on-one meeting.

David Singer

PB: Shade Sessions Are Out

Thanks to SDM’s hero, David Singer, the notorious Palmetto Bay Village Council shade sessions have been released to the public. After reading two of the transcripts, SDM can safely observe the following:

Kress Court Reporting, which may or may not be an entity related to the village’s communications director who SDM refers to as Kaptain Kreepy, has a great gig doing these transcripts. Nice to see the village keeps the business in the family. :)

On a more serious note, the session SDM will excerpt today follows a long discussion where former Justice Raoul Cantero explains what the court did in ruling against the village and explains that he believes the village has a 70% chance of failure should it decide to appeal further.

The fact that the council decided to continue with the appeal given this stark probability is troubling on its face. More troubling, however, is that most of the attorney/client shade session was discussing matters not related to settlement and certainly not related to litigation expenditures.

SDM would argue that village taxpayers would have benefited from Mr. Cantero’s analysis of the court’s opinion and that there was no reasonable explanation as to why the council kept the attorney’s legal interpretation of the court’s order and reasoning secret at the time.

Below, SDM has excerpted the very end of the transcript dated January 7, 2012. This session occurred right after the court returned a devastating order essentially demanding that the village grant Palmer Trinity 1150 students.

Before we get to the actual words, SDM wants to share a part of a legal case that talks about the limits of what councils can do in shade sessions. Keep these words in mind as you read the careful tap dance as the council comes to a consensus and a likely violation of the sunshine law.

The Sunshine law “simply provides a governmental entity’s attorney an opportunity to receive necessary direction and information from the government entity. No final decisions on litigation matters can be voted on during these private, attorney-client strategy meetings. The decision to settle a case, for a certain amount of money, under certain conditions is a decision which must be voted upon in a public meeting.” Sch. Bd. of Duval County v. Florida Pub. Co., 670 So. 2d 99, 100 (Fla. 1st DCA 1996) Emphasis added by SDM.

Now, let’s move on to the entertainment for today. Do you hear a final decision being made or not? [Snarky comments in brackets.]

MS. BOUTSIS: I don’t think that he is including the zoning. It’s the Petition, it’s the Motion to Enforce Mandate, our Motion for Clarification, their response to the motion to that and this one. It’s five times that the Eleventh Circuit has heard this matter, it has nothing to do with the rezoning that went up to the district.

And I ‘m sorry Councilwoman Lindsay, since you were conflicted, what is your position?

Right now I don’t have three votes it seems yet to go forward. Consensus. [Remember, no final decisions on litigation matters can be voted on during these private, attorney-client strategy meetings.]

MS. LINDSAY: Just as I said a few moments ago, when I came here today I had not made a decision. I decided that I would listen to Justice Cantero and take his advice. The strongest advice that I am hearing from him is that he feels that the Court did not uphold the law and I think that it is my bound and duty to the people who elected me to move forward to see that the Court upholds the law, so I would vote for an appeal. I’m sorry, my consensus, I am not voting I used the wrong word, excuse me. [Nice save!]

MS. STANCZYK: Thank you for that correction.

MR. PARISER: Is this going t o come for a vote in front of Council?

MS. STANCZYK: We are just going to announce that the appeal is going forward. [No final decision here, please move along.]

MR. FIORE: I prefer a vote.

MR. TENDRICH: I’d ask for a vote.

MR. FIORE: I am going to say it anyway, I don’t care.

MS. STANCZYK: It wasn’t meant to be less than transparent or to hide the fact. [Oh no, definitely not.]

MR. TENDRICH: I think it does hide the fact by not having a vote.

MS. STANCZYK: That’s fine, Howard, the point was to protect you two guys. [Hmmm...when was this decided?]

MR. FIORE: I don’t need anybody’s protection.

MS. STANCZYK: Go for it.

MR. FIORE: And in the end here what did we win? Nothing. The taxpayers lose. Have a good day.

MS. STANCZYK: The meeting is not adjourned, Mr. Fiore. [Is this where she learned to jump up and run out before a meeting is adjourned? :) ]

MR. FIORE: It is for me.

MS. STANCZYK: Please make a note on the record that Mr. Fiore is going to leave the room.

MR. FIORE: I haven’t left yet, I am going to get some water.

MR. PARISER: To what extent does it go before we cancel this discussion, can we say based upon the advice of counsel?

MS. BOUTSIS: Yes. I would ask that no substantive discussions be had on the dais, that’s the whole reason for a shade session. And I don’t want to have that privilege waived, but the decision to move forward can be announced on the dais and/or voted upon on the dais. The only thing I ask is please don’t get into the merits of the litigation.

MS. STANCZYK: What exactly would be the merits of litigation? In other words, how far can their opinion be expressed without having opened the door to the attorney/client session and discussing the merits of the litigation?

Because I want that clear since we have two people that want to vote and a vote has usually got an opinion expressed and discussion. [Have you ever heard of anyone who wants to control others more than this lady?]

MR. TENDRICH: When we have a vote for anything it’s yes or no, we don’t discuss it.

MS. STANCZYK: Sure we do. I am trying to get you safe, Howard, and you are walking a thin line. [Pot meet kettle.]

MS. BOUTSIS: You can take a motion to vote for it yes or no, and please refrain from further discussion.

MR. TENDRICH: Fine, I agree with that.

MR. FIORE: I don’t agree with that. I am going public and I am going to state this is my opinion and I am against this appeal. [Damn straight, Patrick. The public needs to know!]

MS. STANCZYK: How can we sanction him for breaking attorney/client?

MS. BOUTSIS: That’s not breaking it, he is against the appeal.

MS. STANCZYK: We don’t know how far he is going to go , he says he is going to discuss it.

MR. FIORE: I am going to go public and say I am against the appeal.

MS. STANCZYK: That’s what your vote says.

MR. FIORE: That’s what I am going to say in the meeting on Monday.

MS. BOUTSIS: It’s not taking it any further.

MR. WILLIAMS: Eve, you and the Justice are going to get together on a budget on this so that I can bring that back to the Council?

MS. BOUTSIS: Just so I am clear, he is authorized to start working?

MS. STANCZYK: Yes.

MR. FIORE: No. [Consensus?]

MS. BOUTSIS: So Justice Cantero is authorized by consensus, the majority consensus, to proceed with the appeal, but we will also in the interim prepare a budget, so we need to amend my legal fees budget accordingly.

Alright, we are adjourned. It’s quarter to 12.

SDM Says: Now we understand why Mayor Stanczyk fears these transcripts worse than her words on pbcheckstherecord.org. They are damning in so many ways.

Programming Note: We only read two of the 23 transcripts so there is definitely more to come. It’s going to be a long summer Mme. Mayor.

PB: Who is Shelley Stanczyk?

Watching last night’s Village Council meeting struck SDM as surreal. SDM was trying to imagine what was going on in the minds of Mayor Stanczyk’s colleagues and we decided they must be asking “who is this lady sitting next to me?”

Vice Mayor John Dubois must sit there steaming; he certainly looks like it. The woman sitting next to him created a fictitious persona and website to accuse him of a crime! Mayor Stanczyk’s website posted copies of some nasty fliers that claimed Mr. Dubois “illegally” cut down mangroves on his property. When one claims in writing that another person did an illegal act, that can constitute defamation under Florida law.

Here at SDM, we vet every post and comment to make sure we don’t cross the line. And, we will take down material that amounts to defamation – if we agree – when a damaged party makes a request.

Mrs. Stanczyk’s claims against Dubois are particularly troubling because they are so uninformed. The fact is that trimming mangroves is a regulated, legal activity subject to interpretation by the county. If the county determines that mangroves were trimmed in violation of state law, then they can impose fines and ultimately sue to collect outstanding monies due.

For any person who has ever faced an enforcement action, you know that the government isn’t always right. Mr. Dubois finds himself under fire from the county and eventually will come to some resolution with them. Does that make his conduct illegal? Not necessarily and Mrs. Stanczyk knows better. In fact, SDM doubts she’d have made the accusation if she thought it would catch up to her. How’s that for political courage?

SDM Wonders: How does Mr. Dubois sit on that dais next to someone who seems to think that no act in a political campaign is beneath her? SDM wrote last month that village politics is not a war…unless you are the Mayor, apparently.

Speaking of code enforcement violations, how do you think former Council Member Howard Tendrich feels after re-reading the website now knowing that his one-time ally wrote that “he’s the anonymous caller if you ever have the code officer visit you and he tells you a complaint was made.”

Really Mme. Mayor? Your statement is either an outrageous lie or a truth without any substantive evidence in the record. If the latter is the case, then produce the inside information and the staffer who is leaking it because we are told that code enforcement violations are called in anonymously.  If the former is the case, you have no shame.

SDM Wonders: How do the Mayor’s allies on the council and in the community view this politician now that they know what she’s been up to? She seems to have no compunction to say anything once an ally disagrees with her. Better watch your back Council Members Lindsay and Schaffer; you may be next on her hit list.

SDM Says: We understand there is another shoe to drop in this scandal – perhaps several more, in fact. Therefore, we have no choice here at SDM but to wait and watch as this wonderful little experiment in self-government is smeared by a forgettable, small-minded political flyweight. The next election can’t come soon enough.

Final note to our readers: For those of you out there saying, but SDM, you anonymously blog and say some pretty tough – sometimes nasty – things about the village people. What gives you the right to judge the Mayor? Here’s the difference between SDM and the Mayor: SDM is written by outsiders. No one is elected to diddly squat. Even if you don’t believe it, SDM gains nothing by writing this blog except the satisfaction that another perspective is being published. Someone has to point out the other side of the village story and that’s what we try to do here. No defamation…just carefully researched facts and opinions derived from our best efforts at understanding what is going on.

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