Police Chief Doing House Calls ?

The Fort Lauderdale Police Chief is on a mission.

     Chief Frank Adderley, who has been the Chief of Police for about 7 years,  lives in the modest neighborhood where he grew up, Dorsey Riverbend, which is just south of Sistrunk Boulevard.

But his attention has turned to the neighborhoods north of Sunrise Boulevard.

That is where the crime is highest in the City, and Adderley has been out in those neighborhoods, and says he is personally committed to solving the hefty problems there.

 

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First, Adderley called the leaders of South Middle River, Middle River Terrace, Lauderdale Manors, LakeRidge, and the 13th Street Alliance to a meeting at the Lauderdale Manors community center, and unveiled new strategies. Department brass  showed the attendees pictures of a few dozen felon juveniles that have been burglarizing 100’s of homes in the area, and spoke about the Department’s plans.

Then he talked about the  SmartWater program, which the City is expanding to Lauderdale Manors and Middle River Terrace, after successful results from the pilot program in South Middle River.

This week, Adderley took his show on the road, door to door!

 

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Adderley and SmartWater reps walked  Saturday in Lauderdale Manors, explaining the program to homeowners, and signing them up.

 

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Gotta love it !  ……. Good Luck Chief!

 

 

 

Newest RiverWalk Connection Wrinkle

We told you last week that it looked like the City finally had a solution to complete the missing link of the Riverwalk, …. but then maybe not, …. but then maybe so!

Well this week it looks like  ……. maybe not again!

 

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For a quick history of the long painful snafu, a big development company called the Related Group bought a little grocery store on Las Olas in 1998, (called the Hyde Park Market), and planned a big condo project there.   The $250 million project was to look like this ……

 

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That is the condo project that was proposed in 1998 on the left ….. the 1901 Stranahan House is the little house in the middle, and the Riverside Hotel is on the right.

Fast Forward to 2011 ….  The City and the Stranahan  sued the developer for a decade to stop the big condo, and take the property for a park by eminent domain.

The City and the Stranahan House finally lost, so the builder was free to go ahead, and the long effort to finish the Riverwalk behind the new project seemed about to happen –  or maybe not again!

The Marine Industry cried foul!  They were miffed they weren’t consulted on the whole deal, said the plan was dangerous to boat traffic, and gummed up the deal. But after a meeting with the DDA last week,  it looked like everyone worked out a compromise that would make the Riverwalk completion a reality –

      But wait! – here is the new/latest wrinkle.  The Related group now says they want the building permit for that big condo, and they will sign off on the Riverwalk connection on their property.  But they say that they  only want to have to live up to the building code of 2004, when they should have been granted the permit –  but the City is saying that they will have to live up to the current 2014 code –

The Director of the Downtown Development Authority, Chris Wren, who is leading the effort to get the Riverwalk connection is thinking positively – ” we’ll just have to  go through the community process, one way or another, we will get the connection”…

….. Oh for God Sakes !!!

 

 

 

 

 

History Visits Historic House!

Back in the day -( say 1919), in Fort Lauderdale, there was a important club of ladies called the 1919 club, or the 1919 Study Club.

The Club was made up of the important dames of the town, and started in the home of one of the most important ladies of the times – Annie Beck.  Annie and husband Albert ( the first pharmacist), lived right on Las Olas, until the 1970’s, when their modest home was moved a few blocks off the Boulevard.

 

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Annie at home, just off Las Olas

 

Well Annie  died in 1985, at the age of 98 years old.

Fast Forward to 2006.  The house, slated for demolition, was saved by the Broward Trust for Historic Preservation, and moved way across town to the Middle River Terrace Park.

                                                       anniebeckhousenew

The 13th Street Alliance manages the house there in the park, and offers it to organizations for meetings. This past month, guess who met in there?

 

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The 1919 Club !   ……

 

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Annie and Alfred would be so proud!

 

Riverwalk Missing Link To Be Completed … well, maybe !

The Fort Lauderdale Riverwalk has never been finished.

                                                  riverwalkends1

 

As you can see, if you are walking the Riverwalk toward Las Olas, and are about 100 feet from the oldest house in the City, the 1905  Stranahan House, and take one more step, you will be swimming in the New River.

 

                                                            stranahan

 

The Riverwalk is supposed to end here, next to the Stranahan House, and then you should continue onto Las Olas,  but controversies between the developer (that owns the land next door), and the Stranahan House, (and the City), has always been a stumbling block.

But this year, those differences were finally worked out, and the Downtown Development AuthorityFort Lauderdale Riverwalk and the City began to make plans to make it happen.

 

Not so fast “, said the powerful Marine Industry.

Marine industry kingpin Barry Flannigan, along with others from the industry, went to authorities  responsible for the river with complaints about the safety of the plan. It looked like the effort to finally connect the Riverwalk would be set aside, but meetings between Flannigan and the DDA might be proving successful …..

Here is an e-mail sent to Commissioner Bruce Roberts from his assistant

On Jun 20, 2014, at 9:30 AM, “Robbi Uptegrove” <RUptegrove@fortlauderdale.gov> wrote:
[Flannigan} called to say he met w/Dunkel, Wren and contractor re: Riverwalk issue – is happy w/outcome and feels the Marine Industry will be very happy too.

                                                           Keep your fingers crossed !

The Public Hearing

      Last night, the Fort Lauderdale City Commission took up the proposal by Commissioner Dean Trantalis to pass a resolution to back gay marriage for Florida.

      When the hearing started, around 7 pm, the room was nearing capacity, and filled quickly with over 100 citizens.  

                                         

       Surprisingly, the crowd was almost entirely in favor of the proposal. Only a handful of anti- gay marriage proponents showed, and they proved to be their own worse enemy. They passed out the flyers below, full of over the top statements.

                                          

                                             

       The flyers say Trantalis’s proposal ” goes against the moral teaching of the Bible”, and goes on to say that people that support the resolution therefore “endorse incest sex, polygamy, and group sex”. It goes on to say that “male and female sex organs naturally fit together”, says” the “same cannot be said for male-male or female-female”. The flyers ramble about pedophilia, race, and producing babies.

                                   Here is a recap of the hearing from my notes

        …..  Bobby looks concerned  …….   Roberts seems engaged….  speaker says he’s getting married with his partner on Labor Day – in Mexico City  …..  another speaker says he got married last September, in NYC.……  Michael Albetta says passing the resolution would be a smart thing to do  ….. reminds Commission he helped many of them get elected.….  anti resolution speaker says he doesn’t think he should check his religion at the door ( of City Hall) ...says it is immoral …says “we are made male and female   …… female Rabbi says you can read the Bible many ways …. says you could “kiss your bacon cheeseburger goodbye” [if you read it literally] ….. says if you object to gay marriage she suggests you not marry anyone of the same sex ….. clinical psychologist says he prayed to God as a teen to make him straight …..  anti speaker says this would lead to brother and sister marrying, and that the proposal says God, Moses and Jesus are wrong …. gay chamber of commerce speaker talks of economic impact to Fort Lauderdale by gay tourists  …..

                  ……..  Public hearing closed  …..   Comm. Roberts starts  …..  is going to back the reso  ….Comm. Dubose declines to make comments  …..Comm. Rogers says he will vote against it ….says he has to lean on “the sanctity of marriage” ….. Comm. Trantalis makes his case for the reso  …..Mayor Seiler finishes by reminding crowd that he “signed first domestic partnership” law in Wilton Manors, has been a supporter of civil unions …… but goes on to tell the crowd that he would not be backing the reso .…..

            …… vote …. 3/2 in favor, Rogers and Seiler opposing  …..

                                          So what now ?

Smart Water Sign Not So Smart ?

      A few years back, the neighborhood of South Middle River received a novel new crime fighting program called SmartWater.

                                           

       The space age liquid places a DNA-like marker on your valuables, and it can be identified at the pawn shop, fence etc. Also, the Police can squirt the liquid on the criminal through a “bait house”, or “bait car” situation. Lastly, there is a great deterrent effect, as criminals seem to be very afraid of the state of the art liquid.

     So, the city placed the liquid marking system in 500 of the homes in the South Middle River neighborhood ( they had the most burglaries in the city), and the burglary rate has now dropped substantially.

     Unfortunately, the President of the neighborhood next door (Laura Crocenco) decided not to push the City for the program in Middle River Terrace, and that neighborhood’s burglary rate nearly doubled – seems the burglars fled the SmartWater next door!

       Now  finally, Middle River Terrace is  getting SmartWater. And the sign notifying residents has been placed in the neighborhood.

      Can you tell why this piece is titled “Smart Water Sign Not So Smart”?

                  

Gay Marriage for Fort Lauderdale ?

     Will the Fort Lauderdale City Commission be backing gay marriage next Tuesday ?

                                                 Read On !

      The City of Fort Lauderdale has had an unusual, maybe schizophrenic history when it comes to  its GLBT community (for those of you who have been hiding under rocks for the last three decades, that acronym stands for gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgendered …( gay people.)

                               

       Though the city is identified as having one of the greatest concentrations of gay people in the country, and many of its gay citizens contribute heavily on city boards and in city neighborhoods, its public policy has not always been kind to them.

     The City’s last mayor, re-elected 5 times,  made national news calling out gays for public sex and saying they shouldn’t be called “gay”, because they really weren’t happy.

                         
                     Naugle, joined  by radical anti-gay activist Reverend O’Neal Dozier

     Dozier, who reportedly said that homosexuals “made God want to vomit’, was allied with the infamous Reverend D. James Kennedy, (now deceased), and his very conservative mega-church – Coral Ridge Presbyterian.

      Kennedy was known for quotes like this –

      “ the intimate coupling of two men or two women is
not marriage. It is a pale and misshapen counterfeit that will only
serve to empty marriage of its meaning and destroy the institution that
is the keystone in the arch of civilization. ? If homosexuals win the
right to ‘marry,’ expect further similarly argued claims challenging
legal barriers to polygamy, bestiality, and child marriage.”

      So we have had both opinions represented –

                         

      You might say that is all old news Tim, and you might say that Fort Lauderdale has evolved.

      I hope you are right. This is how we might know !

     Unless it gets pulled from next Tuesday’s agenda, Commissioner Dean Trantalis has placed a “‘Resolution” on the evening’s agenda, calling for the City to officially back gay marriage in the State of Florida.

                                    
                              ….   homosexual rights leader Trantalis, next to Naugle and Mayor Seiler

                  Here is the Resolution
          
       A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA, SUPPORTING MARRIAGE EQUALITY, URGING ENACTMENT OF A LAW THAT WOULD PROVIDE FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA, AND PROVIDING FOR RESCISSION OF CONFLICTING PROVISIONS AND AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
    
    WHEREAS, the City of Fort Lauderdale strives to protect the equal rights of all its residents without regard to race, color, creed, religion, gender, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression; and

    WHEREAS, the City of Fort Lauderdale derives great strength from the diversity of its residents, employees, and visitors; and

    WHEREAS, the City of Fort Lauderdale extends employee health benefits to domestic partners regardless of sexual orientation; and

    WHEREAS, the lack of access to marriage under the laws of the State of Florida deprives members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community of more than 1,000 federal benefits and responsibilities afforded heterosexual couples, including spousal social security and pension benefits, tax equity, and medical decision-making authority; and

    WHEREAS, domestic partnership and civil union laws bring welcome recognition to same-sex couples and their families, but marriage remains the most widely accepted and best legal mechanism for protecting these families; and

    WHEREAS, denying access to marriage for same-sex couples discriminates against them, relegates them to second-class citizenship, and serves to institutionalize discrimination in violation of the United States Constitution,

    NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA:

SECTION 1.    That the City Commission supports equal access to legal marriage for same-sex couples, and opposes laws and constitutional amendments that deny equal access to legal marriage for same-sex couples.

SECTION 2.    That the City Commission urges the Florida Legislature and Governor Rick Scott to enact a law that would provide for marriage equality in the State of Florida.

SECTION 3.    That the City Clerk is directed to forward a certified copy of this Resolution to the Broward County state legislative delegation and to Governor Rick Scott.

SECTION 4.    That all resolutions or parts of resolutions in conflict herewith, be and the same are rescinded to the extent of such conflict.

SECTION 5.    That this Resolution shall be in effect immediately upon its adoption.

    ADOPTED this the _____ day of _________________, 2014.

                        ______________________________
                                  Mayor
                               JOHN P. “JACK” SEILER

                                                        Stay Tuned ….. Tim
         

Historic Neighborhood Might Soon Be History ?

        

                      

      It’s called Sailboat Bend, and it is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Fort Lauderdale.

     And it has stayed truly historic, due to it’s special zoning as an historic neighborhood. This is a drawing of what the historic rules hoped to maintain as character in the neighborhood –

                             

     Unfortunately, the zoning has caused problems. The zoning rules are so restrictive, that sometimes this happens-

                           

                                 It’s called “demolition by neglect”.

      Because the owners of this home could not get building permits to tear the building down, or to substantially remodel it, they just let it rot.

       Here is another example that you know about –

                                     

           The Shippey House – this 1915 home, inhabited by the infamous Judge Fred Shippey, was moved out of Sailboat Bend and into the Himmarshee area, a few years back. The house has been painted and cleaned up, but still awaits renovation.

       So, the current leaders of Sailboat Bend decided that the historic regulations were slowly strangling the neighborhood and have been pushing for a change. They have worked up a plan to eliminate the current regs, and adopts a voluntary plan that “strongly encourages” residents and re-developers to keep with the historic character.

     They say they want a plan that doesn’t exert ” undue burden on individual property rights”.  They go on that ” no designated historic structure will exert special rights that restrict adjacent properties.”

                                       

       The plan says it will “promote authentic architecture”, encouraging “Old Style Mediterranean”, but discouraging “Boca-Texture”.

       The plan also calls for documenting the historic structures and peoples that exist in Sailboat Bend today, by photos, building plans, and interviews with the old-timers.

        At least they can still remember it all – after it is all gone !

    

        

Mayor Seiler says ……

                                      

      Jonda:

      I was very frustrated at the last meeting with the issues that arose involving board and committee service.  As a City Commission, we need to be fair, transparent, and consistent in our handling of board and committee appointments, service, terms, term limits, etc.

      In conjunction with our City Attorney, please be sure that our rules, resolutions, ordinances, codes, charter, etc. are all consistent and coordinated.  If we have any unwritten practices, policies or procedures that we have traditionally followed that are not consistent with the specific language of our rules, resolutions, ordinances, codes, charter, etc., please let us know.  If we need to “clean up”, update, or rewrite any rules, resolutions, ordinances, codes, charter, etc., please let us know.  If we need to convene the Charter Review Board to address these issues, please let us know.

     The bottom line is that, regardless of the individuals involved, we need to have a process and procedure that is fair, transparent and consistent.

                Thanks  

         John P. “Jack” Seiler