South Dade Matters

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

Tag: Shelley Stanczyk

PB: And then there were 4…or, one too many.

Palmetto Bay’s election transformed from a desert to an oasis of options last week when two new (at least new to this election cycle) mayoral candidates entered the race.

As expected, former Mayor Eugene Flinn and former candidate (multiple) Peter England filed papers to take on incumbent Mayor Shelley Stanczyk and current Councilman Patrick Fiore.

Now, a race that looked positively moribund has become a real dog fight…no pun intended.

Here at SDM, we are pleased to see Mr. Flinn back in the mix. We have fond memories of a village that seemed to stay on track. We acknowledge some of his faults (voting with Mayor Stanczyk on the ordinance that sparked the land war with Palmer, for instance) but at the same time recognize his steady leadership. It would be nice to see some fresh faces at village hall, but since nobody seems willing to step up, then an experienced hand will do the trick.

But what do we do with Peter England? SDM notes that as of today Councilwoman Joan Lindsay is unopposed, meaning nobody has announced a run against her. How is this possible given her disruptive and divisive legislative history?

Here is our suggestion: Since Mr. England lives in District 3, he should take a pass on the mayor’s race and take on Mrs. Lindsay. We understand that she’s tough to beat. She works hard and even SDM can find nice things to say about her.

But Mrs. Lindsay must be challenged by a serious and sober candidate. We believe her views on how this village should grow display the worst tendencies of the Not In My Back Yard crowd. If Mrs. Lindsay remains unopposed without having her views challenged, then we can expect four more years of divisive politics masquerading under the misnomer of “neighborhood protection.”

SDM Says: C’mon Peter, give us a slate of candidates around whom we can rally!

 

 

PB: Where Politics is Dog Eat Dog

Eventually this blog will move on from the dog barking ordinance, we promise.

But before we leave this story, SDM wants to bring our readers up to speed on the  Who Shot John.

While most Palmetto Bay residents go about their sometimes humdrum lives, other residents involve themselves in blood feuds with their neighbors. (Think: Councilwoman Joan Lindsay and Palmer Trinity School.)

As these feuds escalate, other neighbors are dragged in. Some are forced and others willingly pick sides. Sometimes these feuds become so intractable or even dangerous that the village administration or police are dragged into the melee.

In the case of the barking dogs, SDM concludes that a neighborhood dispute that once revolved around – of all things – a tennis court, has escalated into a feud over barking dogs.

We have been contacted by folks familiar with the protagonists on each side of the drama and we can’t make heads nor tails of who is telling the truth anymore. (SDM is not going to identify the barking dog guy by name since we get all of our information second-hand.)

Here is what we have gleaned (Caveat: we ain’t the PoPo so take this for what it’s worth):

  • A property owner on Farmer Road who is also running for public office in Palmetto Bay (and has run before) was eventually permitted to build a tennis court on his large estate.
  • Some of his neighbors – at least one family – objected strenuously, claiming the new construction was causing flooding on their property.
  • The tennis court owner either before or after these objections arose took umbrage with Mayor Stanczyk because she supported his neighbors’ claims.
  • So, the property owner ran against her and has vilified her mercilessly since.
  • Fast forward to 2013-4 and the neighbors have decided to alter their strategy. The property owner/candidate owns dogs (said to be well-maintained) but which are barkers. So the neighbors started complaining about the barking dogs. Were these complaints proxies for the prior dispute? SDM cannot say for sure.
  • Enter the village: Either at the request/instruction of Mayor Stanczyk or on its own, the village administration decides to call the property owner/candidate and the neighbors in for a conference. Some kind of agreement is reached and one or all of the parties proceed to break it.
  • According to the neighbors, they continue to attempt to resolve the matter amicably with the property owner/candidate. They tell the village council that he refuses to fix the problem. The village says there’s nothing we can do under the current code.
  • Enter Mayor Stanczyk: She files legislation containing an enforcement procedure straight out of Animal Farm. Namely, any neighbor who hears dogs barking under certain circumstances can file an affidavit against the offending property owner. Former Mayor Eugene Flinn and SDM go nuts when we read this craziness. Why should we disrupt the entire village when this is essentially a neighborhood feud?
  • The offending property owner/candidate says he is being unfairly attacked. He takes care of his dogs and they only bark because the neighbors are inciting his pets. He is the victim in this case, not the half-dozen or so neighbors who came forward to testify to their disrupted lives.
  • Final Act: In a courageous move, Stanczyk withdraws her legislation so that the issue can continue to fester and further divide a deeply divided community.

So what should we make of this tragedy in multiple acts?

First, Mme. Mayor is far too willing to foment further chaos instead of calmly finding a workable solution to what is essentially a human problem and not a dog problem. Even if the council were to pass her legislation, the problem on 72nd Avenue would not be solved, which is the definition of an ineffective law.

Second, whether right or wrong, the property owner/candidate in this drama is not temperamentally suited for public office. Elected officials have to be peace makers and not law breakers or, worse, agents provocateurs. Even if you give this person the benefit of the doubt, he still looks like  a guy who can’t find a way to settle his disputes with his neighbors without everyone walking away pissed off. Do we need more elected officials like this? Seriously?

SDM Says: We really hope Poker and Blackjack are okay. What we love about our dogs is they never judge us. We leave judging human behavior to voters.

Who’s the real dog?

Sometimes SDM wishes we had an insider at the village who could help us break the code.

We watched last night’s meeting with rapt attention, first hearing candidate David Zisman excoriate Mayor Stanczyk for singling him out. Of course and as usual, he exceeded normal bounds of public communication so that even SDM started feeling sorry for Mme. Mayor.

Then, a parade of folks living on SW 72nd Avenue rose to demand, request and beg the council to relieve them of a bad neighbor who permits his dogs to bark at all hours of the day and night.

Village gadfly Bev Gerald came closest to breaking the code when at the end of public comment she noted that nobody was identifying the person whose dogs are disrupting everyone’s life style and quiet enjoyment of their homes. Ms.Gerald didn’t see this as quite fair given the harsh treatment of the Mayor.

Hmmm…

SDM doesn’t know for sure who the culprit is (though one SDM commenter claimed the dogs are named Poker and Blackjack), but we are getting the feeling that he is right under our noses…and stinking the place up.

Since we don’t know for sure who he is, we are just going to make some observations as to how we think this particular person ought to be treated based on the testimony of several of his neighbors:

  • The village should make public the names of the people who attended the meeting with the village manager and discussed this subject. If minutes or notes were kept, then they are public record and should be released, too. In other words, if the name of this individual has been made public to the manager, then the rest of us should also know.
  • The village ought to take serious and rigorous steps to investigate the neighbors’ claims. Affidavits are not necessary, but everyone living around this property ought to be interviewed to build a record. A summary report of findings should be made available as a public record.
  • The county or whoever enforces the laws against cruelty to animals ought to investigate the conditions in which these dogs are being kept. It very well may be cruel to keep dogs outside at all times of the day and night, especially if the dogs are barking regularly. This could easily be a sign of distress.
  • We, as voters, certainly ought to hold this person accountable if he seeks public office or is participating in public life. One cannot stand before the village council – assuming he does so – and claim to be working toward the betterment of the community while at the same time thumbing his nose at his neighbors. We don’t need any more Jekyll and Hyde council members “serving” us.

SDM Says: We were given some broad hints as to what is going on with the case of the barking dogs, but we doubt we’ve heard the last of this mystery.

The Dogs Barked and the Mayor Turned Tail and Ran

So the village website now tells the “tail” of Item 12 A – Stanczyk’s Barking Dog Law: PLEASE NOTE THAT MAYOR STANCZYK INTENDS TO WITHDRAW THIS ITEM.

Mrs. Stanczyk has wisely decided to let sleeping dogs lie…or to let barking dogs bark?

Funny thing about dog lovers: most of them prefer the company of their pets to anyone else on the planet. So when some petty politician creates a nonsensical plan to muzzle their furry little friends, these dog lovers (SDM included) start to snarl.

(Can you stand anymore of SDM’s puerile puns?)

But let’s be fair, too. Mayor Stanczyk is responding to a serious problem. Some pet owners are oblivious when their dogs go outside and bark for hours on end. SDM doesn’t understand how people can allow this to go on, especially at night, but clearly just as in every other aspect of life, in every bushel there are a few bad apples.

So here is SDM’s suggestion on fixing (or do we say neutering?) this problem. When a code enforcement complaint comes in, check with some other neighbors in the area to confirm whether the barking is serious. If it turns out that a particular home is causing a problem, then send the code enforcement team out to talk to the owner.

Our experience is that perpetually barking dogs is likely to be an indicator of a bad owner who may be neglecting the animals. As a society, we cannot allow pet owners to abuse their dogs by leaving them outside all night barking.

Explain the rules and let them know their neighbors are complaining. If public shame won’t change the behavior, then gradually escalate the pressure to fines. Instead of affidavits, multiple complaints over a period of time should be enough to open a case.

SDM Says: The last result we should want is for innocent, caring owners to be penalized for a noisy dog. At the same time, reckless and uncaring owners deserve the village’s intervention to ensure those animals are not being abused.

Update on SDM’s New Business

In yesterday’s post, SDM discussed our new business. As soon as the village council passes its new anti-barking-dog legislation, SDM will launch SDM’s VANCA Affidavit Service (SVAS).

According to the new law, a homeowner will face a $500 fine for the first violation and $1,000 for the second. (Presumably, the dog will go to doggy jail on the third offense.)

So here is how an SVAS contract will work:

  1. A homeowner – let’s call her “Mrs. Stanczyk,” to randomly choose a common surname – will finally tire of her neighbor’s barking dog. (We will call the neighbor “Mr. Zisman,” another common last name.)
  2. Mrs. Stanczyk will call her best friend SDM and pay SVAS $100 to submit the first VANCA affidavit against Mr. Zisman. (You see, Mrs. Stanczyk doesn’t like Mr. Zisman so she doesn’t want him to know she’s complaining about him. She can stay anonymous…hmmm…this sounds familiar. :) )
  3. SDM will go to Mr. Zisman’s house while he’s at work (say between 10:30 a.m. and early happy hour – 3:30 pm) and bring along a recording device. SDM will stand at Mr. Zisman’s gate and call the dogs. If they fail to bark, SDM will shake the fence or bring along another barking dog. If none of these tactics make Mr. Zisman’s dogs bark, SDM will just use some stock audio of dogs barking.
  4. SDM will then send Mr. Zisman a nasty gram, probably by email so we can attach a copy of the barking dogs file. SDM will demand $350 dollars from Mr. Zisman or else SDM will submit the affidavit.
  5. If Mr. Zisman pays, SDM will refund Mrs. Stanczyk her $100 and pocket $250 gross profit. (SDM’s time is worth something!)
  6. If Mr. Zisman tells SDM to take a hike, SDM will submit the affidavit and proceed to the next step, which involves shaking down Mrs. Stancyzk. (Don’t want to get into our business plan here. You might steal this idea!)

SDM Says: Mme. Mayor Stanczyk really thought this idea through, but she never encountered the sick minds here at SDM!

David Singer Guest Post on Barking Dogs

Mayor declares war on Palmetto Bay Dog Owners

Our reviled and loathed Mayor Shelley Stanczyk has once again proven just how out of touch she is with reality. Could November’s Mayoral election get here any quicker? Apparently, tired of attacking schools and churches she has now turned her attention to attacking her constituent’s pets, dogs in particular.

She has sponsored an Ordinance scheduled to be read at Monday’s Village Council meeting which will effectively fine every resident of Village of Palmetto Bay if their dogs barks more than five times in an hour.

I affectionately call it the “Five Bark Penalty”. If it wasn’t so incredibly offensive it might actually be humorous.

It’s too bad this ordinance hasn’t been in effect during Council meetings over the last three and a half years while she’s been Mayor.

Enough of my commentary, here’s some bits and pieces of the Ordinance.
• Barking dog shall mean a dog that barks, bays, cries, howls or makes any other noise continuously and/or incessantly for a period of twenty minutes or barks intermittently for one hour or more to disturb any person, day or night.
• Barks intermittently shall mean a noise disturbance caused by a barking dog which occurs 5 times within an hour. (Would that be 5 short barks or 5 long barks and who decides when the barking begins and stops? I didn’t realize Village Manager Ron Williams has employed Dr. Doolittle on Village staff.)
• Public nuisance animal shall mean any animal or combination of animals that makes excessive noises, including, but not limited to, continued or repeated howling, barking, whining (you get the point) which substantially interferes with and /or disturbs a Village resident’s enjoyment of life and/or property.
• Enforcement responsibility; The Village will now hire a Noise Control Officer (great another Village Employee) who will have primary enforcement responsibility after an affidavit is filed by the complainant to the Village of Palmetto Bay. The Noise Control Officer will then investigate on a “complaint only” basis (don’t really understand what a “complaint only” basis is, but then I don’t understand 99% of what the Village enacts for their personal amusement).
• After an affidavit is filed by a resident, a notice of Civil Infraction is issued by the Village Noise Control Officer with a 30 days correction period (this basically gives you 30 days to visit your Vet and have your dog surgically debarked). If the barking continues you are then penalized, fined and quartered.
• The fine for a barking dog for a first offense is $250.00 (that works out to be $50.00 per bark) with subsequent fines for repeated violations costing $500.00.

If you don’t believe anyone in their right mind would sponsor this type of Ordinance please visit the Village of Palmetto Bay website.

I would assume by reading this Ordinance that Mayor Stanczyk and the Village Planning and Zoning Director Darby Delsalle, hate animals or at the minimum are cat lovers.

Is this nonsense and intellectual ineptitude really what we expect from our elected officials and Village Staff? ? I hope the Councilmembers who vote for this Ordinance realize it guarantees their ouster during the November election.

You always have the option of voicing your displeasure with this Ordinance prior to Monday’s meeting by emailing the Mayor and Councilmembers or calling the Village.

David Singer

PB: Guest Post By David Singer – Losing Thalatta?

State contract requires that Palmetto Bay return Thalatta Park?

Prediction? Yes! Hyperbole? Maybe. Looks like Thalatta Park will be required to be returned to the State of Florida due to the incompetence of Mayor Shelley Stanczyk, Village Manager, Ron Williams and Finance Director Desmond Chin. Way to go guys! Is it any big surprise that the Village of Palmetto Bay is in trouble again?

Thalatta Park is a 3.5 acre parcel of land purchased by the Village of Palmetto Bay with funds primarily from the Florida Community Trust in 2004. The Florida Communities Trust (FCT) is a State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection land acquisition program for projects that further outdoors recreation and natural resources protection needs as identified in the local government’s Comprehensive Plans.

The Grant Contract between the Village of Palmetto Bay and the FCT that made funds available to acquire Thalatta Park has specific requirements and limitations regarding the land and the house on it that was built in 1925. This agreement can be found here.

According to Grant Contract there are 18 “Special Management Conditions” which are required at Thalatta Park. While almost all of the 18 requirements are not most likely not being met, the following are four examples of requirements that have never occurred to my knowledge:

1.  The facilities shall be developed in a manner that allows the general public reasonable access for observation and appreciation of the natural resources on the project site. [DS Comment: Eight hours a week of public access is in no way “reasonable.”]

4.  12 regularly scheduled and ongoing educational classes for programs that promote the protection of environmental resources shall be provided at the project site. [DS Comment: Not currently happening.]

5.  A staffed museum shall be developed on the project site to provide year round educational classes or programs. [DS Comment: Also not currently happening.]

8.  The project site shall be managed in a manner that will protect and enhance the listed and non-listed native wildlife species and their habitat. [DS Comment: This is not happening currently unless the valet parkers, caterers, band members and party guests happen to be botanists also.]

In addition to the required Special Management Conditions there are 7 specifically disallowed activities and violations at Thalatta Park entitled “General Obligations of the Recipient as a Condition of Project Funding.” The following are two or three disallowed activities that are occurring which violate the Grant Contract as far as I can tell:

1. Any use of the Project Site by a non-governmental person other than in such person’s capacity as a member of the general public. [DS Comment: This provision is violated by the Village barring the site to the general public during events where the property is rented.]

2. Any change in the character or use of the Project Site from that use expected at the date of the issuance of any series of Bonds form which the disbursement is to be made. [DS Comment: The use expected in the Grant Contract is environmental protection, observation and education. Rental of the park for entertainment and events does not conform to that standard.]

3. Such other activity or interest as may be specified from time to time in writing by FCT to Recipient. [DS Comment: I’d be shocked if the FCT has permitted environmental sensitive land to be used as a wedding venue.]

The facts are crystal clear after reading the Grant Contract that the Village signed with the Florida Communities Trust. Thalatta Park is required to be open to the public, used for educational purposes and NOT USED AS WEDDING VENUE FOR PROFITS TO THE VILLAGE OF PALMETTO BAY as it is now.

There are serious consequences to the Village of Palmetto Bay for not complying with the obligations, objectives and commitments required by the Grant Contract including “legal and tax consequences under Florida Law and federal income tax law”.

Once again this debacle is due to weak leadership and sloppy and uniformed management at the Village of Palmetto Bay. The leadership issue will solve itself since the Mayor’s political career is all but finished, fortunately, and she will not be sitting on the dais after she’s beaten by anyone in this November’s election.

As far as management is concerned, the Village Manager and Finance Director are expected to have knowledge of all contracts and obligations of the Village and should be directing such information to the Mayor and Council when they have ideas that deviate from the Village’s responsibility under these contracts.

Thalatta Park has gone so far from its intended use as represented to the Florida Community Trust without a peep from Finance Director Chin or Manager Williams that its hard see how they are remotely qualified to stay employed in their positions after this. They should be terminated at the next Council Meeting.

Williams and Chin are responsible for not enforcing compliance with the FCT Grant Contract’s strict provisions. And they are responsible for all the penalties to be incurred when the Village is found to be noncompliant with their FCT contractual obligations.

David Singer

++++

SDM Note: We have not verified any of Mr. Singer’s statements; they are his own. However, our experience says Mr. Singer is onto something here.

PB: Quick Bites – Downtown Experience Edition

But First, A Word from the Mayor

The village council finally got around to identifying a new village attorney. The Miami Herald reported that former State Senator and District Attorney Dexter Lehtinen received a unanimous vote of the council. Lehtinen is widely regarded as a brilliant lawyer while also being husband to the very important Congresswoman Ilean Ros-Lehtinen. SDM expects Mr. Lehtinen to be a fine choice and a bulldog for Palmetto Bay.

The best part of the story is Mme. Mayor Stanczyk’s quote on the Lehtinen selection:

I’m excited because Dexter Lehtinen has a very broad, a very deep breadth of experience to share with us.

That’s right, Mr. Lehtinen’s experience is both very broad and exhibits a very deep breadth.

dresiarczyk-162-OBRAZKY.PL

SDM Says: This is your spokesperson Village People. Feel the pride!

A Glimpse into the Future of your Village

Next Friday night (March 14th), you can have your mind boggled by village staff as they present “the Downtown Experience” from 6:30 to 9:30 pm where you will receive “complimentary foods” and musical entertainment!

Now lest you think this is just another taxpayer supported happy hour for Palmetto Bay’s resident sycophants, there is a method to this madness.  The village wants to reach out, so what better way to bring in those of us who remain skeptical about the downtown plans than to host a meeting on a Friday night?

SDM Says: If village staff and leadership were serious about redeveloping downtown Palmetto Bay, they would be concentrating on luring investors, rather than trying to convince taxpayers to let them tap village reserves. The future of the village is looking more and more like a glimpse into destitution.

Stanczyk’s Legislative Victory Spawns a New Idea

As we reported last week, Mayor Stanczyk proposed a resolution supporting a delay in the implementation of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012.

And, voila!, Congress acted to delay the legislation yesterday!

When Mme. Mayor heard of her resounding victory, she decided to introduce another resolution asking Congress to endorse motherhood and apple pie.

:)

A Tale of 3 Democrats

SDM supports charter schools and we do so unabashedly. Why?Because they are less expensive to operate and save taxpayers money. Because they force public school districts to innovate. Because they’re nimble and respond to the marketplace, rather than to teacher’s unions. Because they work.

So you probably think SDM is a right wing nut, huh? If so, then so is Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York.

You see, Governor Cuomo – scion of a famous New York DEMOCRATIC family (his father ran for President) – sided yesterday with New York City’s charter school movement. His decision to oppose New York City’s “progressive” (read: far left liberal) Mayor Bill de Blasio who closed several of the city’s best schools merely because they were not traditional public schools.

Cuomo’s decision was touted in the New York Post:

Some years ago, brilliant author Midge Decter warned against sitting on the sidelines during important political and cultural battles. “You must join the side you are on,” she declared.

Gov. Cuomo did just that yesterday. He shook up the charter war by joining the side he was on.

Cuomo’s late-morning decision to speak at a rally in Albany was the shot heard ’round the school universe. He put icing on the cake by throwing an elbow at the union during a short speech before a raucous crowd of students, parents and teachers outside the Capitol.

But his decision to show up spoke far louder than anything Cuomo actually said. Just by being there, he tips the scales toward decency and away from Mayor de Blasio’s obscene attack on charters and the mostly nonwhite children they serve.

For those of us in South Dade, New York politics is a million miles away. But the struggle going on in the Empire State mirrors teachers-union-backed anti-charter school attacks all over the country, including right here in our little hamlet of Palmetto Bay.

The New York battle is for the intellectual soul of a Democratic Party that controls one of America’s largest and most important states. Cuomo – following in the footsteps of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg – is reacting both opportunistically and realistically: he sees a chance to slap a political foe while also backing up poor children and their families. Once upon a time, Democrats said they were concerned for the poor, but it looks ever clearer that union jobs count for more – Thomas Jefferson must be rolling over in his grave.

The sad reality is that union control of education has been disastrous all over this nation. In Florida, the union-backed “educracy” continues to fight against competition in public education because they know charter schools work. Ask yourself this question: since charter schools in Dade only educate fewer than 13% of kids, why are they considered such a threat to the school district? Answer: Because they’re cheaper and they work.

Here in Palmetto Bay, our very own Mayor Stanczyk – also a Democrat – unsurprisingly has taken up the de Blasio banner. Just Monday she convinced her sheep-like colleagues to endorse the school district’s union-backed war on local charter schools. This at the same time she and her colleagues are supposed to be sitting in judgment of a charter school applicant in a few short weeks.

Apparently, the village council has taken a side, just as NYC Mayor de Blasio did: against school competition and more efficient spending of tax dollars. While Stanczyk’s liberal leanings have been evident for a long time, SDM is continually surprised at the rest of the council’s willingness to blindly follow her.

SDM Says: Too bad we don’t have even a single person with the courage of Andrew Cuomo on our council. And you want to be Mayor Mr. Fiore? Baaaaaaa!

sheep

 

PB: A Long List of Bad Ideas

Cop Politics

Here at SDM, we are big fans of county police. The officers who don the uniform – in our experience – are competent, well-trained and professional. They’re also expensive compared to other local agencies.

Palmetto Bay’s indolent administration appears so contented with the county police contract that they’ve offered the barest-of-bones analysis of why the village should continue the arrangement for another five years.

Considering that the police contract devours nearly half of the village’s operating budget, one would think that village elders would at least inquire on potential options for alternatives to the county contract. But no, item 10-c on tonight’s agenda devotes a scant two paragraphs of staff “analysis” on a contract of more than 40 pages.

The “fiscal/budgetary impact” section of the cover memo merely refers back to the village budget and provides not even a mention that the 2013-14 police budget grew by more than 13% over FY 12-13 (more than $800,000 of additional spending!) estimated final budget amount.

SDM Says: We’ve blogged to no avail in this space about this village council’s inability to take on cop politics. When a municipality or county merely adopts a budget and extends a contract without any pretense of testing the market, then the taxpayers are guaranteed to swallow double-digit cost increases. And, when our village manager gives the public virtually nothing to review in terms of his professional opinion, we must conclude that the fix is in.

dresiarczyk-162-OBRAZKY.PL

School Politics

Once again, Mayor Stanczyk is spending – wasting? – valuable staff and council time on issues over which she has no jurisdiction and SDM believes little knowledge. Tonight, just as last year, Mayor Stanczyk is asking her colleagues to support the school district’s legislative program hook, line and stinker.

Item 10-F and 10-G represent MDCPS’s ongoing campaign to weaken the district’s only real competition in the education marketplace: charter schools. Mayor Stanczyk is very open in her disdain for giving children and parents an option to escape failing traditional schools and she is now asking her colleagues to follow suit.

SDM Says: The village council ought to send Mayor Stanczyk a message tonight. The council should reject items 10-F and 10-G and tell the Mayor to run for the school board if she wants to engage in district politics. You all have plenty to chew on here at home.

Weakening Ethics

Mayor Stanczyk is also asking her colleagues to support “ethics” legislation that the Florida League of Cities is pushing. SDM read the resolution and noted that the legislation actually weakens current ethics laws. For example:

  • Authorize political subdivisions to adopt, by charter or by ordinance, ethics requirements more stringent than those prescribed in state statute only for officers and employees of that specific political subdivision (i.e., a county could not impose ethics requirements onto municipal officers or employees).
  • SB 606 repeals a requirement to report any gift valued over $100 if the gift has not been otherwise prohibited or reported under current law as being from a lobbyist, vendor, or political committee.

So Mrs. Stanczyk doesn’t want to be bothered with the county’s ethics code so she will use the state legislature to bypass its requirements? SDM maintains grave reservations about the county’s ethics code – it is written poorly and administered unevenly – but it does help restrain our county’s perverse political class somewhat. Why shouldn’t city residents have their elected officials held to a reasonable standard?

And what’s with changing the gift law? Is Mrs. Stanczyk trying to avoid disclosing gifts from lobbyists?

SDM Says: We can’t be sure that the resolution represents the actual legislation, but what we see in the council agenda raises alarms. Under the guise of ethics, Mayor Stanczyk looks to be pulling another fast one on village residents.

Blank Water Check

Let’s just put this on the record: SDM supports clean water. Apparently, so does Mayor Stanczyk because she introduced yet another resolution supporting the “Florida League of Cities and the Everglades Coalition in their efforts to urge protective legislation concerning water quality and quantity.” Not nebulous enough for you? Maybe the Everglades Coalition website can shed some light on what exactly they want:

Protect Water Quality as a Critical Economic Resource: One in three Floridians depend on the Everglades for their drinking water; waterfront  economies depend on good water quality. The State needs to increase its investment in its water quality infrastructure. Strong pollution standards and controls should stop pollution at its source and local control should never be preempted. Wildlife and public health impacts should be tracked and addressed.

SDM Wonders: Does anyone know what the heck this means? What does it mean in economic and regulatory terms to “stop pollution at its source” and to never preempt local control? Does this mean local governments should be able to force all of us to hook up to the sewer system and abandon our polluting septic systems?

SDM Says: Once again, our illustrious Mayor has become enthralled by the latest political hot button. SDM suspects she wants to be able to run around town claiming she helped clean up our groundwater by supporting the Everglades Coalition. We hope village voters can see through such blatant tomfoolery.

Stanczyk Endorses a Tax Increase

In her resolution 10-I, Mayor Stanczyk openly asks for a tax increase. Currently, many internet-based transactions are not subject to Florida’s sales tax. The tax and spend crowd hates this savings so much they call it a “loophole.” (Anytime a government can’t easily stick its hand in your pocket is a loophole.)

So Mrs. Stanczyk and the Florida Chamber of Commerce have decided to support legislation “closing the Internet sales tax loophole.” (See page 22.)

SDM Says: Next Christmas, when you buy your grand kids that new swing set on-line, you can thank your local mayor for the extra 7% cost. Unless of course, you wake up and vote her out of office in November.

Some Stuff to Support

  1. Item 10-D by Dubois requires the village clerk to post notice of sunshine meetings (meetings between council members) on the village website.
  2. Item 10-K by Stanczyk that supports a delay in the implementation of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012.
  3. Item 14-A. Establishment of a Financial Advisory Committee by DuBois.

  4. Item 14-

    B. Drafting of a law to prohibit anonymous Code Compliance complaints by Dubois.

SDM Says: All of the above deserve council support. Number 2 above proves the old adage: Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.

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