South Dade Matters

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

Tag: Howard Tendrich

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.

PB: Council Meeting Quick Bites

New Village Council Members

Tonight’s village council meeting will see two new faces sworn-in: John Dubois as Vice Mayor and Tim E. Schaffer as Councilman.

It’s not clear how the village’s political landscape will change given that Mayor Shelley Stacnzyk is joined at the hip with Councilwoman Joan Lindsay. These two dragged former Vice Mayor Brian Pariser into a series of difficult votes on controversial subjects. SDM believes Mr. Pariser was retired from office precisely because he failed to distinguish himself from Stanczyk and Lindsay.

On the other side sits Patrick Fiore (who is making noises about running against Stanczyk in two years). Dubois benefited from Fiore’s support in the past election, though Fiore couldn’t pull his candidate Jim Araiza across the finish line. Therefore, Palmetto Bay’s second new face is the unknown Schaffer. (SDM calls him Marathon Man because of his fuel purchasing habits.)

So what exactly can residents expect from this new council? SDM suspects Mr. Fiore and Mr. Dubois will work in tandem and that Stanczyk and Lindsay will stay in their camp. This will leave Schaffer to either join the Amigos, to stand independently, or to join the Fiore-Dubois group. Schaffer owes his election to the Stanczyk-Lindsay operation so early money says he will step directly into Brian Pariser’s empty loafers.

SDM Says: If Schaffer becomes the third Amigo, nothing much will change in Palmetto Bay. Property owners will be under the gun of the crazies that support Stanczyk and Lindsay and village government will continue on its intrusive, hyper-regulatory course. If the Marathon Man breaks from the Amigos, residents might see a more reasonable government…and Schaffer will grow a target on his back from the SOPs and CCOCI folks.

Decorum Rising

In addition to swearing-in the new members, the village council will take up the crucial issue of reading the decorum statement before each meeting starts. If adopted, the decorum statement will be read as the second order of business, right before the Mayor starts handing out her proclamations and honors every local sports team that wins anything.

SDM Wonders: The decorum statement is pretty straightforward but it is incomplete because it is not addressed to the council itself. From SDM’s perspective, most of the indecorous behavior at village meetings comes from the dais and from the spouses of those on the dais sitting in the back of the chamber. Let’s hope the council listens to the decorum statement and applies it to themselves.

Misapplying the First Amendment

The minutes of the November 5, 2012 council meeting (Item 12A) contains an interesting misapplication of this provision of the U.S. Constitution:  “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

Village Attorney Eve Boutsis’ was asked a question about the village’s sponsorship ordinance:

Councilman Tendrich noted that on page 4 of 9, line 36, to state that an illegal business would be prohibited from advertising seems obvious. He asked about churches that volunteer in Palmetto Bay.

Attorney Boutsis explained that this is a matter of separation of church and state. (Emphasis added by SDM.)

 SDM Wonders: How would a church’s purchase of a sponsorship of a village event “establish a religion” or “prohibit the exercise” of a religion? Of course, it wouldn’t and Ms. Boutsis should know this. In fact, SDM would argue that by singling out churches, the village is actually preemptively prohibiting speech based on content, which is a constitutional no-no.

SDM Says: Most village churches by now have zero interest in supporting the village’s events, but Palmetto Bay leaders cannot say with a straight face that they support local churches while at the same time they limit their freedom of speech.

 

PB: Palmer’s Latest News – Positive & Perplexing

SDM sometimes wakes up wondering how the universe functions, especially after reading this momentous article in the Miami Herald:

Court rules Palmetto Bay is not on the hook for Palmer Trinity’s legal fees

By Howard Cohen
The Miami Herald

The Miami-Dade Circuit Court has ruled in favor of Palmetto Bay, which argued it does not have to pay the legal fees connected with its longstanding battle over Palmer Trinity School’s expansion.On Nov. 5 the court denied the school’s request that the village pay its attorney’s fees and costs, which could have totaled more than $300,000.

In July, the school won the right to expand to 1,150 students and, with that victory, filed a motion to collect legal fees.

In August, Palmetto Bay petitioned the Third District Court of Appeal to reconsider its July order that the village pay the school’s attorney’s fees. In September, the appeals court reversed its earlier ruling that the village pay the school’s legal fees. The case went back to the Circuit Court, which ruled in favor of the village.

“It’s over. The appeal is over and hopefully everyone can get back to doing what we do,’’ says Palmetto Bay Village Attorney Eve Boutsis. “The city continues to be a city and Palmer Trinity already has its development order and will do what it has to do and hopefully everyone can move on,” Boutsis said Tuesday afternoon. “This was a great result for the village and it ends this cleanly.” (Emphasis added by SDM.)

[SDM Question: Does this mean the transcripts of the shade sessions will be released now?]

Stan Price, the attorney for Palmer Trinity, commented on Wednesday. “We’re extremely disappointed. We don’t know what you have to do to prove bad faith on behalf of government entities before you can get fees, but we’ll continue with the litigation and hopefully, at the end of the day, we’ll be totally vindicated.”

The village still faces a civil suit filed by the school, which contends it’s owed more than $12 million in lost tuition and other revenue as a result of the suits. The village is fighting those charges.

Palmetto Bay Mayor Shelley Stanczyk has faced criticism from some residents who formed a political action committee to have her recalled next year along with Council Member Joan Lindsay for their decisions to fight the school. The Recall Palmetto Bay group has also worked against re-electing Vice Mayor Brian Pariser, who faces a runoff on Nov. 20.

The group is upset because the three council members continued to lead the fight against Palmer, after the court ruled against the village. The village has spent more than $600,000 in legal fees since the dispute began in 2006.

The recall group used the Third District Court of Appeal’s strongly worded language against the village as ammunition. The appeals court ruled that Palmetto Bay acted with “willful disobedience” regarding previous judicial instructions. The court had also noted the village’s appeals were “an exercise in superfluousness and futility.”

Village supporters strongly disagreed with the unusually harsh language. The battle has divided the village during the recent Nov. 6th elections. Pariser finished a close second and faces challenger John DuBois in the runoff. Council member Howard Tendrich, who disagreed with Pariser, Stanczyk and Lindsay, lost his bid for reelection. His challengers, Tim Schaffer and Jim Araiza, will be in the runoff.

On Tuesday, Stanczyk expressed satisfaction with the latest court decision. The court did not elaborate on its decision, saying only the motion was denied.

“This ruling continues the statement that the village has not acted with willful disobedience and that our actions were not frivolous,” she said.

First off, SDM wants to say bravo to the village’s legal team for protecting the taxpayers from this cost. Having to pay $300,000 to Palmer would have been a blow to the village, though a manageable one. Palmetto Bay’s lawyers lost the case, but won a critical skirmish over fees and costs and Ms. Boutsis deserves praise for achieving this result.

But the result also sparks questions in SDM’s tiny mind. For example, why are Palmer’s legal fees and costs half the amount the village has incurred in defending the lawsuit? If the village’s financial exposure was $300,000, why didn’t someone try to settle the matter before we incurred more than half-a-million in legal fees and costs on our end?

Perhaps more importantly, did it make sense for the village to spend tax dollars and to drag Palmer through all of this torment over a net difference of 250 children spread over more than 50 acres of land? Earlier posts noted that village staff believed Palmer could have added some 2,000 students based on the code.  (Staff essentially talked them down to their 1,150 recommendation.) Was this result worth all the time and money spent by the village on this lawsuit?

SDM also wonders why the village elders and legal counsel never discussed the dimensions of the village’s financial exposure with residents. With all due respect, the calls for settlement that have emanated from SDM and the Palmetto Bay News for at least 18 months appear well-founded. While the village attorney deserves kudos for this victory, her obsession with keeping the rest of us in the dark looks to have extended this lawsuit. Inevitably SDM must ask: who benefits when a lawsuit drags on?

Finally, SDM wonders how the Mayor can be so clueless. Seriously, does she not understand that the village lost the lawsuit? That the court said specifically that the village’s behavior in the Palmer litigation amounted to “willful disobedience of the court’s instructions”? [Read more at Palmer Litigation: An Exercise in Superfluousness and Futility.] Frankly, SDM cannot figure out why the village lets her speak to reporters.

SDM Wonders: How does Ms. Boutsis conclude that “[t]his was a great result for the village and it ends this cleanly” given the following:

  • The village lost the underlying suit and spent a small fortune defending its position.
  • Palmetto Bay was slapped with a humiliating and harshly worded order questioning the village’s motives. (Judges are human, too, they talk about cases to one another. SDM cannot see how this case was good for Palmetto Bay’s reputation.)
  • One of the village’s most important institutions (and one of its largest employers, too) has been unable to expand for a minimum of four years. (How many kids missed out on a Palmer education, Mme. “Education” Mayor?)
  • Palmer still has a lawsuit pending on damages.
  • A once tranquil village finds itself divided.

SDM Says: This not so great and not so clean “victory” rings a little hollow. Do the candidates for Vice Mayor and District 2 agree with Ms. Boutsis?

PB: Guest Post – A Gentlemanly Reply

After a minor contretemps broke out over some misguided and politically harmful comments by a supporter, Vice Mayor candidate John Dubois proves he’s a gentleman:

Dear SDM and blog readers,

This is the first time since I’ve been a candidate that I have felt compelled to respond to any media or online comments because I believe everyone is entitled to their opinion and I believe strongly in freedom of speech. However, in this instance there is an implication that David Zisman speaks for me or represents my campaign and I that is not the case.

David Zisman is a good personal friend of mine, however, we have very different approaches and points of view on politics. Furthermore, I do not and cannot control what comes out of his mouth.

Howard Tendrich and Karyn Cunningham are two exceptionally nice people that, like Jim Araiza, Tim Schaffer, Brian [Pariser] and me, have the right and should be encouraged to engage in the political process by running for office. In the race for Vice Mayor, Karyn ran an excellent campaign with integrity, focus, and very hard work. If Karyn had a few more weeks campaigning, I believe she would have closed the gap and been in the runoff. I think she will be good addition to our council in the future and I would not only encourage her but also support her in such endeavors.

Our former mayor [Eugene Flinn] also has as much right as any of the rest of us to engage in the process. Blaming him for causing a runoff is wrong. I only blame myself for not being able to break 50% to avoid a runoff. Characterizing the two candidates that did not make the runoff as going down in a blaze is derogatory and uncalled for.

Best regards,

John Dubois

See how that works? Don’t throw your friend under the bus and be generous to your opponents and colleagues. SDM feels proud to support Mr. Dubois and hopes former Mayor Flinn and Ms. Cunningham endorse him, too.

SDM Says: Come together…right now…

PB: How To Lose An Election

No, SDM is not going to talk about the national race. This blog is local and a very promising local campaign to unseat an unpopular incumbent is taking steps to lose the runoff.

Yesterday, a gentleman named David Zisman commented on PB: Post election review. Here is the core of his politically foolish statement:

Thank you SDM for coming to the correct analysis of who to support in the runoff. There should not even have been a runoff except for the efforts of our not so endearing X Mayor. His two candidates went down in a blaze. Howard had already decided not to run back in August when our X Mayor convinced him he would win outright. As for Karyn, she seems nice enough but the lingering distaste for the X Mayor lives on long after his stunning defeat against Lynda Bell. Karyn, next time you run for something, stay far away from Gene Flinn. I can only imagine the support that he promised you and I assume he delivered you nothing.

So Gene Flinn will cost Palmetto Bay about $50,000 for the runoff election that “Never Should Have Been.” Well that’s still cheaper then having him in office.

Now, Mr. Zisman has a right to his opinion, which SDM will show to be both dead wrong and outrageously presumptuous at the same time. But first, my dear readers must understand that Mr. Zisman advertises himself as a John Dubois guy, which SDM takes to mean that he is an integral component of Dubois’s campaign and perhaps even a spokesman for him.

If so, Mr. Dubois’s got some splaining to do.

First, the idea that some self-anointed group of residents would essentially try to “negotiate” Councilman Tendrich out of running for re-election so that their candidate would have a clearer path is anathema to SDM. Who are they to tell him not to run? This is the precise behavior SDM finds repugnant in the Three Amigos.

Second, SDM happens to like and support Mr. Tendrich and thinks you should have kept your guy out of the race, which might have thereby avoided a runoff.  See how ridiculous you sound when the facts are flipped?

Third, you can cajole and lobby people not to run for office, but your doing so makes your candidate look weak. SDM happens to think Mr. Dubois will do an excellent job and has no trouble supporting him enthusiastically. SDM also believes Mr. Dubois can and must win without the machinations of a few Machiavelli wannabes.

Fourth, why, when the runoff will be so close, would you go out and insult a two-term former Mayor and a candidate who just took about a third of the vote? (BTW, that ain’t going “down in a blaze,” sir.)

SDM Says: Mr. Zisman, you have a constitutional right to express your antipathy toward Mr. Flinn, but you should remember the ancient political maxim – the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Mr. Flinn has repeatedly criticized Vice Mayor Pariser, making him a logical addition to the Dubois team.

SDM Wonders: Why are you so hellbent on alienating Mr. Flinn and Ms. Cunningham at the moment Mr. Dubois needs them most?

SDM’s Free Advice to Mr. Dubois: You need Mr. Flinn and Ms. Cunningham to support you and to ask, beg and cajole their supporters to choose you. Your margin of victory does not warrant a touchdown dance and declaration of victory at halftime. Distance yourself now from these comments. SDM will publish your statement should you wish to avail yourself of this forum.

PB: Post Election Review

Palmetto Bay voters cast about 1,500 more ballots in 2012 than they did in 2010 but about 2,500 fewer than in 2008. These results are consistent with the overall county turnout. SDM is convinced that the lengthy ballot combined with fewer early voting days and lessened voter intensity explain the delta. It will be interesting to see how the pundits and political scientists dissect these numbers.

Ready for some runoffs?

Village voters split their vote in thirds, setting up runoffs between Jim Araiza and Tim Schaffer for District 2 and John Dubois and Brian Pariser for Vice Mayor.

Howard Tendrich’s homespun campaign just couldn’t compete in the intensive environment of a Presidential year. SDM will miss Howard’s gentlemanly ways as much as his humanity. You did a good job for Palmetto Bay, Howard, thank you for your service.

SDM was very impressed by Karyn Cunningham. She came into the race late and really had no name identification in Palmetto Bay, but her showing was impressive nonetheless. SDM hopes she will seek office again.

The runoff will be held on November 20th and it will be a totally different race. Only 30% of voters participated in the 2010 runoff so SDM figures that fewer than 5,000 votes will determine the composition of your village council.

For SDM, the choice is clear: Dubois and Araiza

Now that SDM-favorite Tendrich has been retired, the only rational choice is to vote for John Dubois as Vice Mayor and Jim Araiza as Councilman in District 2. Both need to win to turn back the Three Amigos and their handlers.

Dubois narrowly bested Pariser yesterday. Cunningham’s unusual success probably kept Dubois from winning outright.

Araiza and Schaffer were separated by 52 votes or .55%. That’s close people, but the general election results are immaterial now.

Because only about a third of voters will vote on the 20th, your vote counts even more in a runoff. You can be damn sure the SOPs and the CCOCIers will show up.

Charter amendments pass, except for one

All the silly charter amendments passed, except for one that SDM took particular issue with: Interacting with Administration. This amendment would allow village politicians to circumvent the manager and pressure individual employees. Bravo, Palmetto Bay, for rejecting it.

The term limit amendment passed, which means that Mayor Shelley Stanczyk can now seek re-election. SDM wishes to thank the Blog deities for this gift. SDM promises not to waste this unexpected munificence.

SDM Says: It may be up to village voters to limit Stanczyk’s term.

PB: Pre-election delusions and admissions

An upcoming Miami Herald report on the Palmetto Bay elections contains some interesting comments from the candidates. SDM can’t resist the urge to comment on a couple of them.

Pariser: delusional as usual

The related Neighborhood Protection charter amendment language on the ballot creates a provision in which single-family, residential-zoned properties shall be protected from the negative impacts of adjacent or nearby non-single-family-residential and requires four affirmative votes of the council to approve a zoning change, conditional use, or special exception in any single-family-residential district.

“This is nothing unusual,” [Vice Mayor] Pariser said. “These are not new concepts. This tinkers with noise and dirt and dust so everyone has a standardized pattern.”

Nothing unusual? The charter amendment is a gigantic and legally questionable departure from current law, which in Palmetto Bay is already abnormally and unnecessarily restrictive. You don’t have to believe SDM, just read what the village attorney says about it:

  • The City [of St. Pete Beach, which adopted an analogous provision] spent more on legal fees than its annual budget.
  • To date, the proponent[s] of the ballot language, Mrs. Tellam and Mr. Gibbs, the land use lawyer working with Mrs. Tellam, have not provided any language from a charter that is similar to the language being proposed for insertion in the Village’s charter.
  • [The charter amendment] could result in a substantial [Bert J. Harris Act] damage claim being filed against the Village.
  • City of Hollywood was subject to a RLUIPA claim and settled the litigation for over $4,000,000.

Now, to be fair, Mr. Pariser’s quote may be referring to the hollow neighborhood protection ordinance. SDM has already gone over this subject in PB: NPO impressions. In one sense, Pariser is correct. After months of over-the-top rhetoric from NPO acolytes, the oridinance(s) turned out to be a misfire. Nevertheless, Howard Tendrich sees the NPO as more than “tinkering”:

“This is a big challenge we need to fight,” he said, citing some elements as overly restrictive, such as a noise ordinance that forbids outside speakers after 2 p.m. on Saturday and no outside speakers on Sundays at events such as ballgames. “I think this is wacko.” (Emphasis added by SDM.)

Schaffer to Palmetto Bay Residents: Settle Down!

According to the Herald, Fourth Amigo Tim Schaffer did his best impression of Kevin Bacon in Animal House:

“Let’s settle down. I’ve seen what seems to be a battle between guys who lost in 2010 and those who won in 2010 and those related to those on both sides. [We] seem to be on a more destructive path than constructive path. I am 100 percent focusing on the residents of Palmetto Bay and listening to what they want.”

SDM will pay $20 to anyone who has seen Bacon and F.A. Schaffer in the same room.

Seriously, the F.A. Schaffer actually makes a good point. Since the 2010 election, the village is on a more destructive path. If you doubt SDM, just look at the village checkbook.

SDM Says: F.A. Schaffer will merely add to the disaster this village has suffered through for the past two years. Vote for Howard Tendrich and against the “neighborhood protection” charter amendment.

PB: Guest Post by David Singer

Mr. Singer wrote this comment to an SDM post. SDM liked it so much that it rates its own post. Without further ado:

The Village of Palmetto Bay’s direction and future is at stake on November 6th.

The election of candidates and charter changes related to the Village of Palmetto Bay – the choices that you will make on this election cycle’s ballot -  is a referendum on how best to define COMMUNITY.

The present Council, including Mayor Stanczyk, Vice Mayor Pariser and Councilwoman Lindsay have demonstrated during their tenure that their definition of COMMUNITY can be defined as purely residential housing and nothing else.

They support policies that result in the restriction of private schools that could ultimately eliminate them from our neighborhoods.

They feel that residents should leave the Village to worship, eat and shop because those activities are an annoyance to residential living.

They feel that reasonable noise and lighting from children playing baseball, football and basketball is more of a nuisance to them than it is a joy to those of us who are parents and a benefit to our future generation.

They’ve all been a part of depleting the Village coffers by 10+ million dollars in three years, part of which was on an overblown Village Hall as an extravagant monument to their wasteful bureaucracy.

And, maybe this is the worst of all, they support policies that build a virtual moat and wall around the Village to out keep non-village residents.  To them, COMMUNITY stops at our borders.

Candidates running for office including John Dubois, Jim Araiza, Karyn Cunningham, Howard Tendrich, believe in a different definition of COMMUNITY.

While I am in not endorsing any of them by including their names or pointing this out, their view includes a measured balance of homes, schools, churches, businesses and opportunities for children. Furthermore, they support a sensible, responsible fiscal plan going forward.

This [post] isn’t meant to disparage the Mayor, Vice Mayor or Councilwoman.  If you asked them, they would admit they desire to have ultimate control of all growth, lighting, noise, traffic and construction and they certainly have a right to their point of view.

But to what end?  Should a church be allowed to expand if they have the land to do so?  Should children be permitted to play outside even if you can hear their distant laughter in your yard? Wouldn’t you like to eat and shop in your COMMUNITY rather than driving 20 minutes or more?

Is it really sensible to place virtual roadblocks in an attempt to keep non-village residents out of our COMMUNITY?  Is that what you do if you’re proud of where you live?  Imagine if Pinecrest, or Coral Gables, or Cutler Bay did that to us?

This is not a type of atmosphere, which I choose to live in.  I love the fact that there is the possibility for our Village to be an all-inclusive COMMUNITY to live in.

I’m requesting that before you vote on November 6th, you take the time to delve into what the candidates are advocating.  I would request that you ignore lawn signs and petty tit-for-tat issues.  I would hope that you vote based on the definition of COMMUNITY on its most all-encompassing meaning.

For the record, and hopefully to give you a level of comfort about my intentions: I, David Singer, have not given any contributions, committed my vote, endorsed, placed signs, run, walked or played patty cake with any candidate in this election.  I am beholden to no one and no one is beholden to me.  That’s just how I roll.

On November 7th, the day after the election, everyone in our COMMUNITY will still wake up, go to work, pay our bills, feed our families and celebrate life.  The real question is in what type of COMMUNITY would you like that to be?  Only you can decide with your vote.

David Singer

SDM Says: Sometimes others just say what SDM is thinking, only better.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 50 other followers