P&Z … What’s Up With No Meeting Again ?

     Yesterday, the Fort Lauderdale Planning and Zoning Board again defaulted on their duties to meet and send recommendations to the Fort Lauderdale City Commission. This time, it was with encouragement from a City Commission member herself, Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Charlotte Rodstrom.
 It’s a giant, ugly battle being waged over the First Presbyterian Church’s plan to seriously enlarge their footprint on Las Olas Boulevard …. The new plan calls for a five story parking garage, with retail frontage, and a two story family center. Local opposition to the planned project is fierce.  

     The P&Z meetings on the item have been deferred over and over since earlier in the year. First, four of the members announced conflicts with the Church project and recused themselves!

     So, first there were nine, now there were only five!  It takes all the remaining five to convene, to constitute a quorum, and with any defections of the five, the item stays in limbo.

     Enter member number five – Mike Moskowitz … 

     When it finally looked like the months of stalling the item were over, and the final five were scheduled to meet and decide on the issue during  a “special meeting” called for this past Thursday, Moskowitz announced he was unavailable after all, and the fragile quorum was lost once again.
     I called Moskowitz this morning and asked  “what’s up with that !”.

      …… Moskowitz told me he had a discussion with his appointer, Commissioner Rodstrom, and she was not at all happy with the reduced size of the Planning and Zoning Board making the decision on the Church property application.

     ……. So Moskowitz didn’t attend. Quorum lost again. 

     …… Even though the P&Z Board couldn’t hold the meeting, they did send a communication to the City Commission asking them to appoint enough members to the Board so they could fulfill their duties. 

                                      ……… I’ll keep you informed….. Tim


Freakin’ Scary !

     When your wife rattles you out of a deep sleep on a Sunday morning at 5 a.m., saying “quick honey, get up”, you know it can’t be good.

     ” there’s a totally naked guy on the front porch and he’s trying to get in the house!”

     I jump up and move to the living room for a look. The wife hasn’t lost it. Sure enough, he’s there, in all his splendid, nutty glory!

     He’s a big guy ( tall that is), and he’s trying the doorknob, and it’s getting scary.

     I tell the wife to get the phone, call 911, but first hand me the Louisville slugger, just in case.

                                                                        the slugger

     The guys in some sort of heavy drug craze. I tell him through the door to get lost, tell him I have a pistol with his name on it, but it doesn’t faze him. 

     He pulls a chair out that’s on the porch and sits. He’s looking in through the picture window and mumbling to himself.  We watch the clock and wait for the Cops.

     About 8 minutes pass and they arrive, three officers. They shine their flashlights on the guy and ask him what the #$%* he’s doing. He doesn’t respond, just looks at them and smiles.

     Finally they move in, after putting on gloves,  and remove him from his perch. They move him out to the Police car and come back to tell us what they’re going to do.

     ” Here’s really screwed up on something”, (he tells us as if we didn’t know!) We’ve called Fire, they’ll take it from here.

                                          EMS  ……….   with crazed naked guy inside

     Sun’s up now, Cindy’s going on a jog, the naked druggie is on his way to the fifth floor of Broward General,

                                                  I’m going back to bed………….

African Sculptures Meet 13th Street !

     It’s taken 5 years to make it happen. But it looks like it might well have been worth it.


     They are way cool! 

     Big, heavy, impressionistic sculptures, fashioned out of a granite-like boulder, with hand tools, by african artist Raymond Chirambadare, sitting on a stool in Zimbabwe. They were brought to the United States by African importer Ross Parker of Call of Africa Imports. 

     Ross wanted to make a big contribution to the struggling street he moved his warehouse and picture framing gallery to on NE 13th Street, right by the Railroad tracks.

     But just try and imagine getting approval to place $100,000 worth of Zimbabwean granite sculptures in the middle of a busy highway in Fort Lauderdale. 

     First, the attorneys.

     They worry…..  for a living!   …. 2 years

     And then there’s the engineers !

     Yes, they looked at it six ways from Sunday !   ….. 2 years

     Let’s not forget the politicians !

     Let’s just call it differences of opinions   ….. 1 year

      Talks with the lawyers …..  endless meetings with engineers …..  public hearings out the wazoo!
      Finally we were almost there. And then, at the last minute, City Hall advised that we would have to orient the sculptures sideways! No facing of traffic ! Slim side showing !


                                   We were all out of fight! We capitulated and turned them sideways.  

                                                              But we got the last word…….

                                            We have the sculptures’ rears facing City Hall !


Gretsas Interviews in Arizona!

     Fort Lauderdale’s City Manager George Gretsas sailed through his interview with the Scottsdale, Arizona City Council on Friday for the Manger’s job there with little fanfare. Gretsas was joined in the interview with the other two finalists for the job, Clearfield City, Utah Manager Chris Hillman and Scottsdale’s Acting Manager David Richert. Many believe Acting Manager Richert is favored for the post.
A decision is expected early next week.

     The interview with Gretsas had only minor problems – mostly, the pronunciation of Gretsas’s name! The first Councilman addressed him as Mr. Gretis, and another referred to him as Mr. Jetsas! Gretsas did not correct either Councilman.

             Here are some highlights from the interview:

…….  Gretsas on his tenure in Fort Lauderdale  – “through smart management” is how Gretsas described how he turned the City’s financial problems around after he arrived in Fort Lauderdale six years ago.. He pointed to the 73 million in built up reserves, a reduced tax rate, a strong bond rating, and a lower crime rate during his stint as Fort Lauderdale Manager ( Gretsas didn’t mention the explosion of property values that flooded the City coffers with 100’s of millions in new revenue during those years !)

……   Gretsas on City improvements on his watch – we built ” a lot of Fire stations”, implemented a 450 million dollar project to improve the City’s water –  wastewater system, and have new luxury hotels coming up on the beach  -” our five star approach” he added. 

…….  Gretsas on his difficulties in Fort Lauderdale – There was some pushback, he conceded. He said “blowback and scar tissue” was just a by product of the job. He said if the controversy is “directed at me instead of my bosses, I’ve done my job”. He said his major problem in Fort Lauderdale was centered around him being ” a lightening rod” during Police Union negotiations. He added that he was ” not afraid to carry out the mission of my bosses”.

……. Gretsas (reported in Arizona paper)  on his current standing in Fort Lauderdale – “I’m still in negotiations with the Mayor [Seiler]  .