South Dade Matters

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

Tag: Palmer Trinity

PB Guest Post by David Singer: He Has A Lot On His Mind

Dirty Campaigning

Could there be even more dirty politics during the final week of Palmetto Bay’s election campaign? I have had confirmation from three sources that fresh off the heels of his loss in district 3, Jim Shedd has threatened to release negative advertising flyers, which remain from his campaign against Larissa Siegel Lara. Apparently, Jim Shedd feels the best way to assure Henry Clifford wins District 3 is to go negative. Go figure?

There is no word yet from Mr. Clifford’s camp, but seeing how well negative ads have gone over in this election, you would think that Mr. Clifford would want to distance himself from Mr. Shedd’s activities.

For the sake of Palmetto Bay, Mr. Clifford should publicly condemn Mr. Shedd’s extracurricular activities. If not, you can just add Mr. Clifford to the long list of other CCOCI members that feel they are entitled to win at all costs no matter who gets caught in the crossfire.

We as residents of Palmetto Bay must finally send a message to candidates who run, that dirty politics and negative advertising will not be tolerated in our Village.

Speak Freely…if you Support the Mayor

Freedom of Speech is apparently only acceptable to those who support Mayor Shelley Stanczyk’s election.

On a Facebook page set up by Village residents Carol Johnson Vega and Diane Spano-Lehmann, residents of the Village have been given free access to support their preferred candidate. But you better not say anything negative about Mayor Shelley Stanczyk or her daughter Katie Gonzalez will be calling you a bully, or worse, a jackass.

Vega and Spano-Lehmann created the page so all residents can freely discuss village politics whether pro or con. But Gonzalez, Stanczyk’s daughter, apparently doesn’t like to hear how a majority of Palmetto Bay residents feel about her mother’s term as Mayor and has actively attacked anyone with a different opinion from hers. I guess the fruit doesn’t fall far from the Stanczyk tree.

Time for a Serious Change in Palmetto Bay politics

No one who lives in Palmetto Bay can say the last four years haven’t pitted village residents against Village Hall: the Palmer Trinity drama; the Neighborhood Protection Ordinance; the Dog Barking Ordinance; Thalatta Park’s sale to the highest bidder; and, the proposed zoning change for Palmetto Bay’s Rockland area.

Mayor Stanczyk has taken no responsibility for any of the upheaval she and Councilwoman Joan Lindsay have wrought over the last four years. They would rather blame Gene Flinn who has not been actively involved in Palmetto Bay politics for the past four years. In psychology this is referred to as transference (an inability to take responsibility for your own actions) and appears to be prevalent not only in Palmetto Bay, but also politics on the local, state and national levels. If we as citizens cannot expect politicians to accept personal responsibility and govern with true honesty in a small town like ours, then how can we demand it at a national level?

It is time to turn the corner and elect individuals who actually have the ability to lead our community in a positive direction and repair the damage that has been caused by Mayor Shelley Stanczyk and Joan Lindsay. I respectfully ask all resident vote on November 25th for a change and cast their ballots for Gene Flinn and Larissa Siegel Lara.

-David Singer

PB: Will Palmetto Bay Turn the Corner?

Clarity.

That’s what Palmetto Bay voters created on Tuesday.

In the two remaining races to be decided on the Tuesday (November 25th) before Thanksgiving, the Village People will choose between the Stanczyk Slate (incumbent Mayor Shelley Stanczyk and her handpicked lapdog Henry Clifford) and the old guard/newbie ticket of former Mayor Eugene Flinn and Larissa Siegel Lara.

Make no mistake: Ticket splitting between these groupings will result in more of the same at village hall.

Thus, we as voters have a clear and unambiguous choice coming up and we must take every reasonable step to vote for Flinn and Siegel Lara.

If you think you and your spouse may be out of town for the holiday, go to the elections department website and request an absentee ballot right now. It will take just a couple of minutes, which will allow you to eat your way across America guilt-free and ready to start that diet on January 1st.

Here is what is at stake if you don’t do your civic duty:

  • Four more years of the Stanczyk curse.
  • Four more years of inane council meetings wasting time on barking dog ordinances.
  • Four more years of tortured negotiations to settle the remaining disputes with Palmer. (Yes, the lawsuits are still out there and we need adult supervision to settle them once and for all.)
  • Four more years of fits and starts as the village lurches from one fire station plan to another.
  • Four more years of growing budgets, more employees, more fixed costs, and eventually, more taxes.
  • Four more years of Gary Pastorella and his tiny band of trouble makers pushing the village council around and wasting tax money on nonsense litigation.

If you think we’ve suffered enough, then give this election some serious thought and plan to cast your ballot.

SDM Says: Your village needs you more on November 25th than it did when we incorporated.

+++

SDM message to the remaining candidates: If you would like to post on this site to get your message out to the Village People, we would like to publish your views. We have three rules: (1) No bashing others (including Gary Pastorella, that’s our job); (2) don’t bore us to death (ever heard of bullet points?); and (3) limit your post to 350 words (the post above is 321). Here are some topics you should address (failing to do so doesn’t mean you won’t get published, but we and lots of our readers prefer substance):

  • How should Palmetto Bay develop the Franjo Triangle and what is the government’s role?
  • What is your view of the village budget and its employee count?
  • How should Palmetto Bay facilitate a new fire station for the southeast section of the village?
  • How should the village balance access to Thalatta Estate with the need to raise revenue to offset the park’s expenses?
  • Will you vote for the village to pay for a Fourth of July celebration? Why or why not?
  • Do you support the use of traffic calming devices and/or traffic circles? Why or why not?
  • Would you push the village clerk to maintain a searchable archive of village documents such as agenda packages? (This item is for those of you who want to suck up to SDM.)

Final note: We will publish your post Mme. Mayor. No kidding, but we will know if Kaptain Kreepy ghost writes it.

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: An Endorsement to Ignore

In the “no surprise there” category, outgoing Councilwoman Joan Lindsay issued an endorsement of Mayor Shelley Stanczyk, which Mme. Mayor posted on her campaign site. Mrs. Stanczyk, er, Mrs. Lindsay makes a couple of claims that SDM decided to evaluate and analyze.

According to Lindsay:

Under her leadership as Mayor, Village reserves have grown to $13.6 million from $9 million in 2010…

The truth about the village’s unassigned fund balance (i.e., the “reserves”) is that they are expected to be about the same as the year Mrs. Stanczyk first took office (the first budget for which she is listed is FY 2006-07):

Year                      Fund Balance
FY 06-07             $9,034,987 (Actual)
FY 07-08             $13,589,615 (Actual)
FY 09-10             $15,502,780 (Actual)
FY 10-11             $8,573,042 (Actual)
FY 11-12             $9,500,714 (Actual)
FY 12-13             $10,453,169 (Actual)
FY 13-14             $10,035,468 (Estimated Final)
FY 14-15             $9,054,468 (Proposed Budget)

It’s hard to figure why Mme. Mayor wants to tout these figures, or even from where she is drawing them in the first place. Perhaps a better set of figures to look at is the ever-increasing number of employees Palmetto Bay residents pay for under the Stanczyk era:

Year                           Full Time           Part Time
FY 06-07 (Actual)          22                          20
FY 14-15 (Proposed)      53                          30

So, in about 8 years, Palmetto Bay almost doubled the number of regular employees. SDM can’t help but wonder why Mrs. Lindsay isn’t touting Mme. Mayor’s incredible ability to bloat our local bureaucracy.

As we’ve said in the past, we will miss Mrs. Lindsay’s intellect on a council that is in short supply of the quality. However, we won’t miss her selfish use of the village resources to wage the war on Palmer Trinity School, surely the most divisive campaign in the 10 year history of our little burgh. And, we won’t miss her incomprehensible slavish devotion to this failed mayor.

PB Guest Post by David Singer

The end of a disaster

Over the past six years there have been individuals on this council and in our community who have lectured on the importance of citizen’s rights. These same individuals have held themselves out to be honorable, respectable and trustworthy leaders of the Village of Palmetto Bay. These are the same individuals who maintain they know what Palmetto Bay residents yearn for when it comes to “quality of life”. These are also the same individuals who have stated time and time again they know what’s best for the Village of Palmetto Bay. They are the ones who say “follow me, I will lead you”.

What if tomorrow Palmetto Bay residents actually woke up and found out that these individuals are not who they pretend to be? What if as a community we finally realized that these individuals who were placed in power, whether it’s Mayor Stanczyk, certain council members including Joan Lindsay or a spouse of an elected official, believe they are due an entitlement at the expense of the community? That these individuals have held certain Palmetto Bay institutions to a higher standard then they hold for themselves? That these individuals will bend the truth at every available moment and discriminate against anyone who does not agree with their political agenda? That these individuals believe that laws and rules don’t apply to them? That these individuals have passed zoning laws for the benefit of a small minority of residents because they truly believe in the motto “do what I say, not what I do”?

So here we finally are, remedying an injustice that was perpetrated on Palmer Trinity for the last 6 years. Of course this same group I refer to do not believe that Palmer Trinity should be considered a member of our community. They actually feel that anyone or any institution other than taxpaying residents should not have the same rights as they have. They feel that wasting over a million dollars to stop the expansion of Palmer Trinity was justified when the Village is basically approving the same exact expansion plans they should have approved four years ago.

Presently, there is no legal reason to not approve Palmer Trinity’s site plan and if not approved will certainly bring more litigation to the village. I understand that there are certain residents who would like nothing better than delay or stop approval but these are the same individuals who have cost this Village dearly over the past six years.

So it’s time to put our sordid little past behind us. It’s time to approve Palmer Trinity’s site plan and move on. It’s time to move on and focus on actually improving the quality of life in Palmetto Bay. It’s time to move on to insure our Village is not bankrupt within the next five years. It’s time to move on and make sure our parks are run efficiently, time to move and make sure our tax dollars are being spent wisely, time to move on and elect the best representatives we can to embody what this Village actually stands for.

It’s time to stop the nonsense and begin a new and respectable history for the Village of Palmetto Bay.

David Singer

PB: Guest Post by David Singer (With SDM Comments)

The good guys actually achieved a well-deserved win during Monday’s [June 23, 2014] special council meeting when Councilmen Patrick Fiore, Tim Schaffer and John Dubois, voted down what could have been a disaster for Village residents, Churches, Private Schools and Daycares within Palmetto Bay.

It was a grueling experience watching the Monday’s council meeting, but with the exception of Mayor Stanczyk the remaining Council members attempted to reach a compromise on the Charter Amendment. This amendment would have eliminated all outdoor lighting for non-governmental, non-residential or non-commercially zoned properties.

[SDM Comment: We disagree with Mr. Singer’s characterization. The proposed charter amendment would have prohibited outdoor lighting of recreational areas (except underwater swimming pool lights) owned by religious institutions, child care facilities, private schools,  and other non-governmental public assemblies located in residentially zoning districts.  We agree that the idea is crazy and will cover lots more lighting than we were told.]

During the meeting the Village Zoning Director confirmed my suspicions that if the amendment had passed it would prohibit all lighting; basketball, tennis, ground, pathway, landscaping, etc. The amendment would supersede any prior Village Ordinance.

[SDM Comment: Mr. Singer is hitting on why this measure and the code provision are so misguided. We’ve asked before: Does this mean a private school’s pool could not have outdoor lights for the pool deck, stairways and pathways leading to it? Is everyone supposed to bring a flashlight? Why allow the underwater lighting in the first place if it cannot be used in any practical sense?]

Unfortunately, as we heard from Mayor Stanczyk the battle is far from over. After the vote was finalized she could be heard saying “We’ll Walk”. I would assume by her comment that she will lead various sullen individuals in an initiative to collect enough signatures to place the Charter Amendment on November’s ballot. Not exactly the Mayor’s responsibility to undermine the governmental process she’s been sworn to uphold, but then again she’s hasn’t shown herself to be very ethical while in office.

[SDM Comment: If you walk away, walk away, walk away, walk away… [SDM won't] follow.]

Maybe if the Mayor spent the time researching various municipalities within Miami-Dade County she would have found there are 19 cities, 6 towns and 9 villages for a total of 34 separate municipalities. These municipalities, along with Unincorporated Miami-Dade, represent 2.6 million residents.

[SDM Comment: What? Me? Do research? I’ll tell you what you can do with your stinking research!]

None of the municipalities, including Unincorporated Miami-Dade County have their lighting code defined or guided by a City Charter. It’s just not standard or appropriate.

Could there be something that all the other Municipalities in Miami Dade County know that our Council doesn’t? Could what the Mayor is trying to pass be unconstitutional? Could it lead to more lawsuits for the Village of Palmetto Bay? Could the residents be footing the bill for more legal fees? Isn’t eight years of litigation enough?

What is really driving this venture into unknown and potentially very expensive territory?

Well for one thing, there is the location of Councilwoman Joan Lindsay’s home. Her house is approximately 100 feet away from the Palmer Trinity property line. Joan Lindsay was an original director, president and vice-president of the Concerned Citizens of Old Cutler, Inc. (CCOCI) for years. She has a serious conflict of interest and ethically shouldn’t even be voting on any issues related to Palmer Trinity.

[SDM Comment: This here would be an appearance of a conflict of interest, though not legally a conflict. Just FYI.]

There is also the fact that The Village of Palmetto Bay has spent over a million dollars in legal fees fighting Joan Lindsay’s and the CCOCI’s war against Palmer Trinity, which they would love to continue. Mayor Stanczyk, Joan Lindsay and the CCOCI all know that the Charter change will bring more litigation to the Village.

Unfortunately, we as residents have all experienced a history of Mayor Stanczyk and Joan Lindsay spending taxpayer’s money for Palmer Trinity litigation.

Simply put, all the Churches, Schools and residents in the Village have become collateral damage in a war that has nothing to do with us. Our hard earned tax dollars have become collateral damage. The Real Estate rights of Churches and Schools have become collateral damage, as seen by what happened to Alexander Montessori School when they wanted to expand. Alexander Montessori School has lost thousands of dollars in revenue due to a war which is raging between Mayor Shelley Stanczyk and Joan Lindsay and Palmer Trinity.

The passing of this Charter Amendment will commence a cycle of new litigation but this time it just won’t be with Palmer Trinity. It will be with the various churches and other educational institutions in the Village.

There are both Federal and State laws which prohibit the type of action the Mayor and Councilwoman are attempting. The Village Attorney has stated on record that this Charter Amendment could bring future litigation.

[SDM Comment: Mr. Singer is being a little misleading here and you know we can’t stand such effrontery. The Village Attorney is quite comfortable that the proposed charter amendment was constitutional and permissible under RLUIPA and other statutes. He noted that anyone can sue, but he was clear that he believed such suits would not prevail, though he also stated such suits would not be frivolous. We’re not sure Mr. Lehtinen is correct with respect to the level of scrutiny applied to the question: he says strict scrutiny would not apply, where we think it would under RLUIPA’s statutory scheme. Anyone attempting to sue has a hard road, regardless.]

If anyone were to question the likelihood of future litigation please look no further than The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. When filed it will takes years to resolve, just as the Palmer litigation has taken years to resolve.

If asked to sign a petition respectfully decline and warn all your friends and neighbors who live in Palmetto Bay not to sign. If the petitioner tells you it’s about stadium lighting don’t believe them as they are not being honest. The Charter Amendment they are attempting to pass is written to prohibit all lighting at institutions which should be respected not discriminated against by the Village of Palmetto Bay.

[SDM Says: Right on!]

David Singer

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