Happy Holidays everyone, I hope that this season affords each and everyone a chance to relax, spend time with family and friends, and reflect on the past year.
As we move into 2016, I am optimistic that Broward County will continue moving in the right direction.
Of course, there were several newsworthy events that took place over the last few weeks, which I would like to bring to your attention.
Southeast Florida Regional Climate Compact 2.0 Signed in Key West
While the nations of the world were in Paris coming to an agreement on Climate Change, the counties of Southeast
Florida were meeting in Key West for the 7th Annual Summit of the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Compact.
Broward, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties each gave presentations on their updated action plans and projects.
They recounted the successes and lessons learned in order to provide guidance to help other communities move forward in responding to Climate Change.
The three-day summit concluded with each of the four counties re-signing the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Compact.
At the summit, members of the Compact presented the updated unified sea level rise projection, which is the projection that all of the city and county governments have agreed
to use for purposes of building codes, planning and resiliency. Members also gave presentations illustrating the need to establish their own resiliency standards that could guide future development.
From Left to Right – Miami-Dade County Commissioner (and Chairman) Jean Monestime, Broward County Commissioner Beam Furr, Monroe County Commissioner (and Mayor Pro Tem) Heather Carruthers, and Palm Beach County Commissioner Steven Abrams
As Dr. Jennifer Jurado, the Director of Broward County’s Environmental Planning and Community Resilience
division stated on a recent episode of WLRN’s the Florida Roundup,
"In the absence of those (resiliency) standards, we're subjecting these new investments to conditions that are not going to be sustainable…
we're not going to be able to sustain levels of service that are critical to a functional community." Furthermore, we need to have these standards apply to any new development,
meaning that there needs to be coordination between building elevation, road elevation, and all other parts of our infrastructure.
The City of Hollywood took a big step into a leadership position in the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Compact. Hollywood joins Key West, West Palm Beach and Miami Beach as the four municipalities on the Compact Steering Committee.
To hear more about this Summit and the work that is being done by the members of the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Compact, you can listen to the December 4th episode of WLRN’s The Florida Roundup.
Listen to program
Unspent Office Funds will be Donated to the Beach Dune Grant Program
At the end of this fiscal year, each Commission office was given an opportunity to use unspent funds to donate to a special project.
I have decided to donate the full $12,000 to the
Beach Dune Grant Program. This means that in FY16 another round of small grants will be awarded to cities,
HOAs or other non-profits looking to construct vegetated beach dunes in Broward County. My office will not have any input on who wins the grants, but I have asked that preference be given to projects in District 6.
Broward County Faces Off with the Florida Panthers
The Broward County Commission decided to renegotiate the deal with the
Florida Panthers. It passed on a 5-3 vote with one abstention. This deal commits $86 Million of taxpayer funds over several years to the NHL team, its owner and the arena operating company. I voted against this deal for one simple reason. The $86
million in this deal comes out of Tourist Development Tax dollars. The Tourist Development Tax (TDT) is generated by sales of hotel and motel room nights, and those funds historically go towards projects that are specifically designed to generate more tourists to Broward County.
One of the biggest projects that is paid for with TDT money is
Beach Renourishment. Segment III, the segment of the beach in Broward County from the Miami-Dade County
line up to Port Everglades, including Hallandale Beach, Hollywood Beach and Dania Beach, is estimated to cost $53.9
million for a future round of beach renourishment.
To me, the health of our Beaches in Broward County needs to be our top priority when we consider how and where we spend our TDT money. Tourists from all over the world come to South Florida for the sun and the sand, not the ice.
My concern is that the current strategy for funding future beach renourishment also depends on the State Legislature, the Governor, and the Congress to meet their spending obligations. When it comes to the protection of our environment, none of those commitments can be guaranteed, making our dollars all that more important. The
beach is our livelihood. We must plan to sustain our beach as it is necessary to sustaining our very way of life.
Climate Change and Sea Level Rise will only increase the need for Broward County to hold cash reserves for other environmental projects on our beaches.
To see my comments in full from the December 8th meeting, here is the video below.
TutorMate and Climate Change on WPBT2’s Issues with Helen Ferre
On December 18th I was invited to speak about the TutorMate initiative and Climate Change on WPBT2’s Issues with Helen Ferre.
The original program aired on WPBT Channel 2 on December 18th at 7pm, and you can watch it here.
Watch Video on YouTube
Volunteer Opportunity – Help Broward County Conduct the Homeless Point-in-Time Count.
I hope you will join me and volunteer for the Homeless Point-in-Time Count. The Point-in-Time Count is the best tool for tracking where the needs are greatest in our community, and where our programs have been most successful. From Tuesday, January 26th through Thursday, January 28th teams of two, three, or four volunteers will canvass the known sites where individuals experiencing homelessness gather.
If you would like to volunteer for the Homeless Point-in-Time Count, please visit
pit.brhpc.org to register as a volunteer. If you and several friends want to register as a team, you can do so. If you do not have a team, you will be assigned to one on the day of the Point-in-Time Count. The goal is to sign up 200 volunteers by the beginning of volunteer training, which runs from January 12th through the 14th. If you can gather a group of 10 or more volunteers, you can email a request to
PITvolunteers@brhpc.org for the Broward Regional Health Planning Council to arrange for a trainer to come to you.
Travelling Soon? FLL has an App!
Broward County's Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport now has its own app for smartphone and tablet devices.
This app has several functions, and I recommend using it to make sure you get up to the minute updates on your flights arrival and departure schedule as well as real time information on parking at the FLL garage.
You can download the FLL App from the Google Play Store or the Apple
iTunes Store below.
Child Care Licensing Proposals Presented at Florida Association of Counties Annual Conference
The Florida Association of Counties (FAC) represents Florida’s 67 counties on a range of important issues before the state legislature.
I serve as Vice Chair of the Human Services Legislative Committee, and I had the privilege to attend the FAC’s Legislative Conference earlier this month.
At this conference I brought forth two proposals related to early learning and school readiness. The first proposal centers on the idea that the state of Florida should ensure appropriate funding to provide adequate access to child care and enrichment programs for low-income working families. I am happy to report that this part of the proposal was enthusiastically adopted by the Florida Association of Counties and will be part of the FAC 2016 legislative program.
The second part of my proposal puts the focus on raising the quality of available programs.
While there are several factors that define a high quality early education program, a key component is the knowledge and skills of the child care providers.
I proposed that over a five-year period we raise the minimum standard for working as an early educator in our state.
10 Hours / Year
20 Hours / Year
This proposal remains under review by the committee so that a revised proposal can come back for a vote.
We must invest in making sure that all of our youngest residents come to school prepared for school, because the price of inaction is just too high.
The Rain Couldn’t Stop the Hollywood Candy Cane Parade
On December 5th, the City of Hollywood held its annual Candy Cane Parade, rain or shine. Thankfully, the weather cleared up considerably before the parade finally got underway.
I was happy to still see so many children and their families on the Hollywood Beach
Boardwalk and their excitement as the floats passed by.
Recycle Your Christmas Tree at a Broward County Park through Chip-a-Tree
The Holidays are here, which means that Broward County is bringing back our Chip-a-Tree initiative. Last year, Broward County Parks recycled more than 5,000 trees,
representing tons of material that would otherwise have gone to landfills.
The mulch from the trees is used throughout the county parks system.
The free program encourages Broward County residents to remove all decorations from their holiday trees (no decorated trees will be accepted),
then bring the trees to a participating park, where they are chipped and used for landscaping throughout the county park system. There is a limit of two trees per vehicle,
artificial trees are not accepted, and no commercial vehicles or garbage trucks are allowed.
This season's program runs daily from Saturday, December 26, 2015, through Monday, January 18, 2016 Martin Luther King Day. The gate fees will be waived for tree recyclers, so there's no excuse not to do the right thing.
For more information on
locations and hours, please
Our district office is conveniently located in the lobby of the Hollywood Branch of the Broward County Public Library at 2600 Hollywood Blvd,
next to Hollywood City Hall. This office is open for your convenience Monday through Friday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
If you would like to schedule an appointment, or you have a great idea, suggestion or an issue that needs my attention,
feel free to call me at 954-357-7006/7790 or send me an email at