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: Today, We May Heal

When SDM started this blog in July, 2011, the issue that drove us to write was the travesty that was (and is) the way Palmetto Bay treated Palmer Trinity.

What we’ve learned in the past 3+ years is that the Palmer fiasco was a symptom of a more insidious disease: Stanczykitis.

Never heard of it?

According to SDM’s medi-pol dictionary, Stanczykitis (sometimes confused with its close cousin, Pastorella Syndrome, which is more of a psychosis) is defined as follows:

A fatal disease where paranoia and malaprops drive disgruntled retirees and near-retirees into political madness; indicators include weird ordinances seeking to muzzle Sparky, wild about-faces on issues critical to the health and welfare of the Village People, and a general malaise and government drift.

The cure for Stancykitis is a purge, generally performed by voters but occasionally by political serendipity.

When we first ventured on this quest to rid village politics of this debilitating disease, we felt like the only path to sanity was by replacing the elected officials we kindly referred to as the Three Amigos.

In 2012, SDM urged voters to oust former Vice Mayor Brian Pariser by voting in John Dubois…one amigo down, which left Councilwoman Joan Lindsay and Mme. Mayor.

In a bit of a surprise in 2012, we supported re-election of Howard Tendrich and were saddened when he lost.

We were pleasantly surprised – and those suffering from Pastorella Syndrome much dismayed – that Tendrich’s successor, Tim “Marathon Man” Schaffer, turned out to be an independent and reasonable voice. Thus, serendipity gave an unexpected win to the good guys.

Today, we have the chance to clean out the wound in the mayor’s office by voting in Eugene Flinn. We also have a bonus opportunity to give the current majority a strong and diverse membership by electing Larissa Siegel Lara.

We certainly hope those of you who care about and pay attention to Palmetto Bay’s drifting government will help us cure Stanczykitis once and for all. Pastorella Syndrome is not so easily eradicated…so SDM will remain vigilant.

PB: Mme. Mayor’s Desperate Lies

Surprise! Shelley Stanczyk went negative over the weekend in a mail piece that is not only intentionally misleading, but patently wrong in at least one instance.

SDM Note to Readers: If you haven’t seen the mailer, be thankful: this post won’t make much sense to you. We aren’t going to publish her trash here.

SDM writes regularly in these pages about the village’s failure to provide simple, searchable access to meeting records. Mrs. Stanczyk has been mayor of this town for four years and has done zilch to fix the problem. Now, she has the gall to claim the following “successes” as an alleged contrast to her opponent:

Televised meetings; budget, check register, archived meetings, minutes & Agenda, municipal code & all police and crime data on the Village website for access to all.

Isn’t it interesting that her honor takes all the credit for these feats of nothing? Televising meetings is supposed to be some big deal? Almost everyone in this county does it. (Cutler Bay is an exception, but they may get religion under the new mayor)

Putting the budget on the website? Again, almost everyone, including and all of our neighbors, publish their budgets.

Check register? Meh…who really cares? Archived meetings? Yes, true, but they are not searchable. Minutes? Yes, true, but again not searchable so you have to read twenty of them to find the subject and once you locate the meeting, the minutes are only in summary format…very unhelpful.

Agenda? Nope. This is a lie. Village agendas stay up on the web for a week or so before the meetings then are taken down about a week afterward. The agenda backup documents disappear into the clerk’s file cabinet and can only be accessed by public records request, which allows the village to keep tabs on who is asking for what.

Municipal code? Not on the village website, but placed on, which is okay, but not what the Mayor wrote in her flyer. It’s also important to note that until SDM bitched and moaned for about two months, the village hadn’t updated the online version of the code for over a year.

Police and crime data? Yes, there are crime reports online since December of 2013. Of course, there is no data going back to her claim that Mayor Stanczyk (we guess by herself) “reduced violent crime, robberies by 36% in her first year.” Does that statement even make sense? Which category was reduced (violent crime or robberies)? Did they both go down by the same percentage or is this a composite figure? What happened to the other categories of crime?

We also love the fast and loose game Mme. Mayor plays with her alleged increase of reserves. Here at SDM, we pay close attention to the budget and we cannot find the figure Mrs. Stanczyk cites in any of the budget documents. We would call it a lie, but we suspect it is more of a snapshot – citing the total reserves at a particular month’s end, rather than using a year-end figure that is more realistic. In any given period, the “reserves” may be higher or lower than budget, but what does it matter if the funds are scheduled to be spent in the next period?

SDM Says: Ultimately, Mme. Mayor’s choices for her hit-piece are pretty weak and require a pretty detailed understanding of the inner workings of Palmetto Bay’s government. We find her willingness mislead and outright lie to her constituents to be a bigger concern, though not an unexpected one.

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: Mayor Shelley Stanczyk Wants To Muzzle Fido

At the very top of the long, long list of reasons that current Mayor Shelley Stanczyk must be retired on November 25th is the notorious Barking Dog Ordinance. SDM lampooned Mme. Mayor’s insanity a few months back: click here.

In a nutshell, Mrs. Stanczyk’s worst idea yet (debatable, we know) is summarized in the ordinance:

Under current Code, enforcement action may only proceed upon an officer witnessing 20 minutes of continuous barking or an hour of intermittent barking. Often, the alleged incident either passed or was indictable by the time the officer responds to the complaint. The proposed remedy is to permit the complainant to submit a notarized Verified Animal Noise Complaint Affidavit (VANCA) asserting the violation occurred. Such action will result in the officer issuing a courtesy warning. If a subsequent VANCA is submitted within the thirty days of the courtesy warning, the officer will issue a citation. As provided for all code compliance cases, the person receiving the citation shall have the right to appeal. In the event of such an appeal, the affiant will be requested to testify at the appeal proceeding as the existence of the event(s) identified in the VANCA. It then becomes incumbent upon the Special Master to determine whether in fact the Violation existed.

A little political advice from SDM: When government goes so far as to coin a new acronym, you should grab your wallet or purse and run, Forest, run!

Under Mayor-never-knows-a-bad-idea-when-she-hears-one, that little monstrous pooch of yours will finally be forced to shut his yapper (literally – this is the correct use of this word, by the way).

Another SDM Aside: Why is it that everyone blames our little doggies for the world’s problems? We know of at least one neighborhood feline that yowls at the moon when he senses a potential girlfriend in heat. Where is Mme. Mayor’s plan on quieting the mewling mee-yowers? (We know: not a word.) It’s canine discrimination, dammit!

Here’s SDM’s problem: We know of a certain pup (well, she’s over a year-old now, but she’s still a little one in our eyes) that likes to announce her arrival to the world when she goes outside to do her lady business.

Sometimes, she also likes to alert the neighborhood to scary things: thieving squirrels trying to abscond with her acorns, a neighbor’s dog that has the temerity to go out into the backyard, a mail carrier who accidentally wanders across her front yard, and so on.

She is sure in her little brain that we all want to know this nefariousness is occurring and we need to be ready to do something about it! Most of the time when her master tells her to be quiet, she does so…until another squirrel makes a move. Her bark is saying “hey bro, there’s a little dude jumping in our yard, just FYI…don’t worry I’ll let you know if he does it again.”

Thousands of dog years of evolution produced this alert behavior, which someday may actually warn her people to a real threat. But Mme. Mayor doesn’t see it that way.

Mayor Stanczyk would make our little darling’s behavior a federal crime punishable by death…er, a code enforcement violation, which, frankly, is worse than death if you’ve ever tried to clear one up.

Next thing you know, all of us will have to put one of these on our little angels:


Do you always laugh at another’s humiliation? Sure, it’s funny until somebody gets hurt. What if this poor little guy goes out during duck hunting season?

Okay, okay, we’re getting a little silly here, but we’re trying to illustrate a point: Mayor Stanczyk’s plan to muzzle our dogs is a terrible idea. The scary thing is that she even brings such a bad idea to the council in the first place.

SDM Says: If it walks like a duck then it’s probably your puppy trying to follow Mayor Stanczyk’s nutty barking dog ordinance. You know what to do on November 25th now don’t you?

PB: Did Peter England Just Dis Eugene Flinn?

Will England do what’s best for the Village People?

An FOSDM sent over an email where former candidate for Mayor, Peter England, thanks the Village People for almost getting him into a runoff. In the email, England makes a plea for support for Larissa Siegel Lara – an SDM favorite, by the way.

What the email doesn’t say is who England supports for Mayor now that he has been eliminated from contention.

Will Mr. England support Mayor Stanczyk for re-election? Does his personal antipathy run so deep that he would rather see Palmetto Bay suffer four more years of Stanczyk, the political equivalent to a swarm of locusts?

We have always believed that Mr. England — and the people who surround him — cared deeply for the health and welfare of Palmetto Bay. Is it possible that a personal vendetta might air its ugly head at this critical time for choosing?

SDM Says: Peter England and Patrick Fiore need to stand up and support Eugene Flinn for Mayor. Doing so is in the best interest of Palmetto Bay residents and taxpayers. So what say you gentlemen? Inquiring minds want to know.

The Stanczyk – Clifford Connection Deepens

Some of the commenters on this site continue to argue that SDM is fabricating the Stanczyk-Clifford cabal. Well, we went through their campaign reports and it turns out that in addition to their shared sign design and campaign events, the two share the same political consultant: Political & Media Matters, Corp., which is owned by Irene Secada.

SDM Says: Mayor Stanczyk was adamantly opposed to slates once upon a time…we guess that was just another of her fairy tales.

PB: Will Palmetto Bay Turn the Corner?


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: Cunningham Wins; Mayor and Seat 3 Go To Runoff; School Item Fails

Well, that was quite an election wasn’t it? Rick Scott was re-elected, thereby saving the state from having a shape-shifter as governor. Carlos Curbelo ousted Joe Garcia, which is a public service in and of itself. And, here in our little burgh, order is forming from chaos.

Cunningham Wins Resoundingly

In her second attempt at holding Palmetto Bay office, Karyn Cunningham demolished David Zisman’s campaign, which became increasingly ugly over the past two weeks. SDM thinks the voters made the correct choice here and we are anxious to see if Ms. Cunningham will live up to our very high expectations.

Mayor’s Race Runoff

Former Mayor Eugene Flinn handily earned the top spot to face current Mayor Shelley Stanczyk in the November 25 runoff. Palmetto Bay voters will suffer three more weeks of electoral mania while we prepare for Thanksgiving.

Mrs. Stanczyk, while certainly relieved to have made the runoff, must be quaking in her boots to see that 75% of the Village People selected “anyone but Shelley” yesterday.

Peter England came close again. He ran a very competent campaign, but we have always felt his platform lacked sufficient specificity and punch. Patrick Fiore performed as we anticipated. We will miss his consistent voice on the council.

Seat 3 Runoff

Larissa Siegel Lara topped the contenders for Seat 3 but couldn’t muster enough votes to avoid a runoff against Stanczyk clone Henry Clifford. (It was interesting to note that Clifford earned more votes than his political soul mate, Mayor Stanczyk.)

We think Ms. Siegel Lara continues to be the best choice and expect the residual England campaign machine to rally with the Flinn folks to push both Flinn and Siegel Lara to victory later this month.

One thing is certain: Lots of people want the Stanczyk era to end and they voted that way in droves.

School Amendment Fails

The only dark moment in the Palmetto Bay results came when SDM saw the school amendment failed. What a shame. Even as she packs her bags for other parts of Florida, ex-Councilwoman Joan Lindsay’s handiwork will continue to plague Palmetto Bay.


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