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: Early Budget Meeting Report

You want $20 Million for What?!?!

The council’s only real budget debate centered around an obscure section of the capital plan where the administration proposes future capital projects. Think of this as a kind of “wish list” for politicians trying to sway voters.

Vice Mayor John Dubois took issue with the arbitrary insertion of a $20 million line item for a new multi-purpose complex at Coral Reef Park. To give you an idea of the scale of such a project, note that the entire village hall complex cost a mere $12 million.

So what exactly are they planning for a park that already struggles to offer parking? According to Mayor Stanczyk, she needs a meeting room that can accommodate 65 people. Mr. Dubois suggested using the council chambers (capacity 90+), which costs nothing. SDM was able to find a rendering of Mrs. Stanczyk’s ideal building:


The fast spending Mayor Stanczyk was unswayed and clung to what amounts to her umpteenth grandiose but unplanned concept. Remember the parking garage/entertainment complex next to village hall? Or, her massive plans for Thalatta Estate? This mayor has never seen a spending project that doesn’t deserve a good fat dose of your tax dollars.

In the end, the council overrode Mayor Spendthrift and halved the project’s budget. Perhaps the next council will look more critically at foolish and wasteful self-aggrandizing monuments.

Time for a Police Review?

SDM can’t say that Mayor Stanczyk is not creative with the uses for your money. In a year where the village is “flush” according to FOSDMs, Mme. Mayor still thinks we have more to give. Last night, she proclaimed that the village needed a separate millage for the police department. Yes, you heard that right.

Why do we need such a thing? Well, she went on to say that during her time in office, police costs had risen from around $4.5 million per year to the current year projection of $7 million. She seemed to think the way to solve this challenge was to add more taxes. Remember, the $7 million figure could jump because the county hasn’t completed its negotiations with the PBA.

SDM checked our neighbor to the north and found that Pinecrest fields a force of 77 (including 32 full time officers) for a cost of $7.9 million. Palmetto Bay’s policing unit is comprised of 46 souls, 35 of which are full time officers.

SDM Says: The next council should establish a task force to see if Palmetto Bay is getting its money’s worth when it comes to police services. It looks to us like we’re getting about half the force we’re due for what we pay. And, please, dump the half-baked separate millage idea.

One more Stanczyk Tax Bites the Dust

SDM failed to notice an ordinance the Mayor put on the agenda for first reading that would have established a new tax in Palmetto Bay. She called it a “Solid Wast Franchise Fee,” which is a tax on your garbage and is especially aimed at commercial properties.

The rest of the council gave the proposal a moment of silence and it failed for lack of a motion.

SDM Says: The Mayor and her Manager wield their authority like a tax and spend wrecking ball. More employees, more unfunded projects, more taxes and more bad ideas…it is really time for a change.

Joan’s Gone

Apparently the rumors are flying about Councilwoman Joan Lindsay’s status given that her Palmetto Bay home is for sale. You can check out the listing here. It looks like a great place and given the nearly $1.5 million price tag, SDM has to wonder whether the Palmer situation really hurt her property values.


SDM Says: The home looks great. Hope it sells fast and for a great price.

PB: Seen at Levine Cava Party

SDM was going through the pictures posted on Eye On Miami and found this picture. The second shot is a close up, cropped version.

party 2


It don’t take a rocket surgeon to identify these folks! Mme. Mayor searching for some coattails to ride.

Guest Post by David Singer: Mayoral Candidates Speak

During the election cycle there are few opportunities for the average Palmetto Bay resident to get to know a candidates objective in running for Council. I had an interesting idea, why not request from each candidate a narrative on what their personal goals will be in their first 100 days of their term if they win their respective council seats. Narratives were limited to 250 words and I pledged to all candidates I would not comment or change what was submitted. As promised please find their essays below:

Peter England’s “First Hundred Days”

The highest priority of my administration as Mayor is to restore inclusiveness in Palmetto Bay. Everyone will be heard, everyone respected. We will conduct Council meetings in an atmosphere of respect and openness for residents and Council members alike. Every member of the Council is elected by and represents the entire Village and we will conduct their business accordingly. As Mayor, I preside over Council meetings, but our success will depend on collaboration to achieve our common goals.

One of the first proposals I will put before the Council is to empanel a new Charter Review Committee to assess this document in advance of a referendum in 2015. We must put discriminatory behavior, and the associated litigation, behind us and ensure that every member of our community has equal standing under our law.

We will conduct a thorough review of our Constitutional officers to ensure they are in synch with the direction of the Village Council.

Finally, we will institute a policy of total transparency, so that any resident can easily obtain any document which pertains to Palmetto Bay’s business. The Village’s current policy claims transparency, but does not provide full access to information and often erects egregious barriers to a resident’s ability to obtain what they want. I will work with the Council to fix this.

We have a great Village with enormous unrealized potential. My pledge is to make Palmetto Bay’s government as good as the people it serves.

Patrick Fiore’s “First Hundred Days”

The primary concern for this Village in the first one hundred days is to ensure that all residents are encouraged to participate in their governmental process. By “participate,” I mean that everyone’s opinion will be considered in a respectful manner, without condescension. I, as Mayor, will strictly uphold the provisions of the Citizen’s Bill of Rights, that is listed in our charter.

During the very first council meeting of the new council, I will introduce an agenda item, on dealing with the traffic issues, and excessive speed issues on our interior residential streets, and the process to resolve them.

As Mayor, I would facilitate the flow of the meetings quicker.

I would like to see added importance given to the Committee of the Whole meetings, especially on items where there is limited time to discuss at a regular council meeting.

I plan on proposing more reductions in our permitting fees, although changes were made, there is still more to do.

I will institute a “Mayor for a Day Program”, based much on my “Councilman for a Day” events I have held since 2011, where residents get first hand, close up knowledge of issues within the Village, especially infrastructure/public works, and quality of life issues.

The Mayor, and the Council should work closer together with our County, State, and Federal partners to ensure that Palmetto Bay is aware of all the resources available to assist us on big item issues, like road projects, protecting our natural resources, and environment, outreach would begin as soon as the new council is sworn in.

Patrick Fiore, candidate for Mayor of Palmetto Bay.

Eugene Flinn’s “First Hundred Days”

FDR coined the term, “First 100 Days,” and in that time, he passed fifteen bills which formed the basis of the New Deal. I want my first 100 days to be productive in establishing this community, and I have a solid record of experience in my eight years as Palmetto Bay’s founding mayor to back it up. Working with residents and staff, in my First 100 Days, we will:

• Hold roundtable meetings with officials, residents, and local business owners to identify our mutual goals and give everyone a voice in updating the long-term Master Plan;

• Review the condition of the parks to restore the fun that has been stripped from the play lots. Get the concession stands reopened for regular hours and repair any broken park equipment;

• Conduct a personnel audit to so village government functions at peak efficiency;

• Set committee goals and set up a system to view the goals and minutes of our existing committees, including the Downtown Redevelopment Task Force;

• Create and appoint a youth advisory committee. Reestablish a special events committee, create more events that residents will attend. Why not bringing back an annual Art Show in our village?;

• Reinvigorate the budget and finance committee to identify opportunities to improve spending decisions; and

• Improve the village website for ease of use, improve content and simplify payment features. Keep an accurate and easy to locate document archive. Restore the online services to our village permitting department and WiFi in our parks, which are no longer available for unexplained reasons.

I will maintain an online diary of so everyone can constantly monitor our progress and offer suggestions.

Go to for the full plan.

Mayor Stanczyk’s “First Hundred Days”

1. My first 100 days will begin by working with the unsuccessful candidates on incorporating some of their ideas into Village plans. The efforts and their supporters should be part of the positive direction of our Village.

2. Enact a strategic planning process that will provide for efficient resource allocation for Parks improvement, the continued advancement of the Down Town Redevelopment/economic development program, and capital improvements. This will be an inclusive process for residents, Council and staff to share the best information, and incorporate resident input into priority setting and future goals so that the Village will continue to set high standards of service delivery for the next 10 – 20 years.

3. Traffic and speed are the most commonly mentioned concerns. Traffic mitigation is frustrated by County standards. I will renegotiate the County agreement to allow the Village to determine solutions to traffic and speed issues. While traffic always exists, it can be improved.

4. The two Fire Stations found locations. The building, manning and equipping of the stations is a priority that a re-invigorated Fire Board can work to bring to completion.

Our Village is entering a new phase; we are into our second decade. Planning is important to ensure that we continue striving for excellence in service to residents. However, the reasons we incorporated remain true and are the reasons I am running: a safe community, enhanced quality of life, protecting our residential character, great parks, low taxes and control of our zoning. This I will always deliver.


My disclosure…… I have not endorsed either of the candidates or their positions.

David Singer

PB: Are Stanczyk and Clifford Violating the Charter?

Do As I Say, Not As I Do Edition

In 2012, with much fanfare and ado, Mayor Stanczyk and her cronies on the Palmetto Bay Charter Review Commission foisted the following charter amendment upon us:


The Charter Revision Commission suggests an amendment to the Charter to require each person running for elected office to run independently of any other Village candidate.

Voters, many of whom were whipped into a frenzy by none other than Mme. Mayor, adopted the provision despite warnings from SDM that such a provision violates “our constitutionally protected right of freedom of association.”

Flash forward to August 14, 2014 and we find that Mayor Shelley Stanczyk and candidate Henry Clifford appear to be working together on their campaigns. See these entries in Mrs. Stanczyk’s most recent campaign report:

July 16, 2014: Henry Clifford is reimbursed $64.20 by the Stanczyk for “office supplies.”

July 17, 2014: Henry Clifford (retired) makes a $12 in-kind contribution for “food.”

Let’s just put aside for a moment the question of what kind of “food” costs $12, why is a candidate for Seat 3 making in-kind contributions and being reimbursed for office supplies by the Stanczyk campaign? Hmmm…..

So, SDM’s inquiring mind took a closer look at Stanczyk’s and Clifford’s campaign contributions, we found the following:

On July 17, 2014 – the same day Clifford made an in-kind contribution of food to Stanczyk – both Stanczyk and Clifford received contributions from these usual suspects: Beverly Gerald, Albert Lavoie, Frances Blake and Diane Jarvinen. (Two days later, Clifford reported a check from a person with the address 14140 SW 72 Ave, which address matches a July 17 contribution made by “Pam Gorman,” another usual suspect.)

SDM Helpful Note: Beverly Gerald – former Palmetto Bay candidate – served as Chairperson of the Charter Revision Commission. Mrs. Stanczyk’s contributions note that Ms. Gerald donated both money and “party supplies.” Way to set a good example!

SDM Codebreaker: On July 17, 2014, Mayor Stanczyk and Henry Clifford seem to have held what amounted to a joint fundraiser (probably with shared “party supplies”), which is why the two candidates have all these common contributors on the same or nearly the same day.

Anyone who moves around the village will also note that the campaigns share a color scheme for their signs, which often appear together on various properties around town. Hmmm…

SDM Says: While we think the charter amendment is facially unconstitutional, those who participated in what looks to be a joint campaign activity should be investigated on whether they are running independently. If not, they should be held accountable for violating the charter. SDM can recommend some good lawyers who can defend you Mme. Mayor and Mr. Clifford. :)

PB: Meet the Candidates

Local Realtor Miami Hal (a/k/a Hal Feldman, RE/MAX Advance Realty) offered an excellent service to our community when he videotaped the Palmetto Bay Business Association’s candidates forum. Click here to watch. SDM will augment the service by providing a cheat sheet to find some candidates of interest (time on the video in parentheses):

County Commission District 8

Daniella Levine Cava (7:38)

Lynda Bell (10:15)

Palmetto Bay Mayor

Peter England (13:07)

Patrick Fiore (15:34)

Eugene Flinn (17:32)

Shelley Stanczyk (20:36)

Palmetto Bay Seat 1

Karyn Cunningham (24:12)

David Zisman (26:48)

Palmetto Bay Seat 3

James Shedd (29:09)

Larissa Siegel Lara (31:44)

Henry Clifford (34:26)

SDM Says: The candidates did a creditable job of presenting themselves. A couple of standouts: David Zisman used some of his time to level legitimate criticism of the past village council, especially focusing on the nonsensical dog barking ordinance. Henry Clifford wins the award for most boring presentation. Karyn Cunningham and Larissa Siegel Lara come off as most polished. The mayoral candidates are going to go at it hard, but Flinn and England have to be the frontrunners.

Guest Post by David Singer: Election Season Musings

Guess who’s back?

A vacation from writing has a way of clearing and bringing more focus to an individual. I recently took some time off for that reason to prepare myself for the most crucial election in Village of Palmetto Bay’s history and this blog will probably be the most important in a series of topics I will be writing on prior to the election.

Below I have listed five quick reasons not to vote for the current Mayor in November’s election. To some I may be rehashing history, but as George Santayana once said “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

• Mayor Stanczyk single-handedly (with some help from Joan Lindsay) kept the law firm of Figueredo & Boutsis in business. If the Palmer Trinity lawsuit was settled six years ago, as it should have been, the Village of Palmetto Bay would not have spent over $1,000,000 in taxpayer’s money on wasteful litigation. The Village of Palmetto Bay as recently as July of 2014 agreed to basically the same terms as Palmer Trinity offered six years ago and prior to spending the $1,000,000 in legal fees. The firm of Figueredo & Boutsis appears to be no longer in business. It looks as if Mayor Stanczyk and the Village of Palmetto Bay was their largest and maybe only client?

• Mayor Stanczyk wanted and still wants to debark your dogs. Let us not forget this brilliant piece of anti-animal/anti-dog ordinance that she attempted to pass which would have cost a Village taxpayer an average of $300 fine for every five barks on any given day. I guess Mayor Stanczyk never found a dog she didn’t want to kick.

• Mayor Stanczyk, along with our Village Manager Ron Williams, wanted to turn Thalatta Park into a private enterprise wedding venue which affected the Thalatta Park to be open a total of 15 hours per week to the public. The State of Florida had to be notified and basically stopped Mayor Stanczyk’s and Manager William’s delusions of grandeur. Now all residents are assured that Thalatta will be open a minimum of 40 hours per week, run correctly and under the guidelines that were agreed to by the Village.

• Mayor Stanczyk had four years to secure a new fire station for the Village of Palmetto Bay. She had accomplished nothing until last month to make that happen. The Village has been in desperate need for a new fire station the last six years. Did a lack of action on the fire station cause a Palmetto Bay resident’s death? What we know is that only in the last few months has Mayor Stanczyk really focused on a life and death situation that has plagued this Village for years.

• Mayor Shelly Stanczyk and the Concerned Citizens of Old Cutler, Inc. (CCOCI) have been equivalent to an infection that has plagued the Village of Palmetto Bay for years now. If the Village residents leave Mayor Stanczyk in office for another four years it would be akin to not finishing all your antibiotics that the doctor prescribed and the unfortunate likelihood is the infection will return. This Village cannot sustain another four years of Mayor Stanczyk and the damage she has done to the Village needs to be repaired by a new Mayor and Council.

This was just a small example of how she has led this Village over the past eight years. I failed to mention her fraudulent website during the last election, her demeanor during the Council meetings, her lack of understanding of Roberts Rules of Order, the numerous ethic complaints filed against her while she’s been in office and her lack of respect for opinions that are not her own, I could go on but you get the point. It’s time to move on and bid her a fond farewell.

David Singer

PB: On PBVC, Stanczyk Finds an Acorn

According to the Eye on Miami blog, the proposed development at Palmetto Bay Village Center (formerly known as the Burger King headquarters) constitutes a grave threat to Palmetto Bay.

Former Mayor Eugene Flinn, who is running to reclaim his throne, claims the PBVC proposal stinks of insider dealing and a lack of transparency.

To wild-eyed environmentalists, any plan to develop the western 20+ acres of the site smacks of flora and fauna genocide.

And, for Mayor Shelley Stanczyk, the plan is a political bargain to deliver a much-needed fire station to south Palmetto Bay and north Cutler Bay.

Who is right? SDM will tell you.

The Application is Strong, Very Strong

Palmetto Bay adopted long ago one of the most strenuous and objective, criteria-based analytical frameworks for evaluating land use and zoning applications.

The PBVC analysis runs to 22 pages (54 if you include the exhibits in the count) and the applicant scored a near perfect score on whether the plan is consistent with the village’s master plan and code of ordinances. Only the miscellaneous criteria received the dreaded “Decision for the Village Council” finding.

So what does such an analysis mean for opponents? Big trouble, that’s what.

A court will ask a simple question when reviewing any village action on this plan (either approval or denial). Was the action based on substantial, competent evidence?

For example, when opposition rises to a school, opponents can readily show that traffic or noise levels will be impacted negatively. A traffic or noise study is substantial, competent evidence. Testimony of laypersons is not.

So how will opponents show that construction of 41 clustered homes, located in a way that will avoid damaging whatever protected species exist (that’s what the applicant says they will do), is going to increase traffic or noise? They won’t be able to do so.

Neither will they be able to show that the planned development will tax village services; the staff report clearly and unequivocally states otherwise.

What you have in this application is a well-crafted plan where all boxes are checked. Staff – at the request of the sponsor, Mayor Stanczyk – also drafted a carefully worded analysis that leaves little room for fact-based objections.

SDM Says: While she didn’t create this application or frame its construction, Mayor Stanczyk used her position of authority to bring this project forward. SDM suspects she did so because she really wants the fire station and current law doesn’t allow such a facility on the PBVC site – or at least not on the portion of the site the owners were willing to give up. This is the Mayor’s baby and she made sure it would survive the cradle.

The Political Fallout

Eye on Miami sees a conspiracy – don’t they always? Environmentalists see a catastrophe – without any real evidence, as usual. But SDM doesn’t really understand the uproar over this project.

As to the conspiracy, what is the big gain for a developer? 41 single-family homes? (BTW, that’s the maximum number, which is always a tough target to hit.) The entire project might reach $30-40 million, which is small potatoes to serious developers. It’s not like they’re trying to resuscitate the marina idea that originally was planned for that site – now THAT would be a scandal in the making.

(As to the Evaluation & Appraisal Report (EAR) issue, that plan was adopted in June and if any of this was contemplated back then, the topic certainly never rose to the surface at the public hearing. Even with all the intrigue at village hall, SDM would be surprised if the EAR had a secret component related to this project. Then again, the document is nowhere to be found – thank you Palmetto Bay for removing past agendas from public view – so we are just making an educated guess here.)

Now, the environmentalists have a point IF they can prove that the 20+ acres is populated with endangered species. If so, then county regulators can visit the property and hold up the development…and rightly so.

On the other hand, if the property is covered with undesirable plants (yes, we have exotics here, too), or if the plants are common, then the law will allow the development to proceed. The environmental community would be wise to work with the developers to maximize the protection of the forest community.

Furthermore, the objections to this plan could have been avoided. A previous council incorrectly designated this part of the PBVC as Parks & Recreation in the master plan. Unless we want a golf course on this site, the Parks & Rec designation is a government use and not should not have been applied to a private owner. Doing so forces owners to pay taxes on property that doesn’t generate enough revenue to pay the taxes and maintenance.

Former Mayor Flinn has a point, too, when he questions the timing of this plan. SDM pays pretty close attention to village politics and this deal came as a complete surprise. While a school application faces a hundred meetings, this master plan change dropped seemingly from the sky without any warning to the public. Mayor Stanczyk should know by now that last minute items cause more trouble than they are worth, but as usual she missed that point.

SDM Says: In the end, this application will win out because it is consistent with what the village claims it wants: to be a residential community with good fire protection. As for Mayor Stanczyk’s handling of the project, SDM is reminded of an old southern saying: Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn sometimes.


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