What a month it has been. Since our last edition, we’ve held an election, sworn in new City and County Commissions, had a Thanksgiving Feast and that just scratches the surface. So much has happened, and I would like to jump right into the news of the day. But before I do, there is a general statement that I would like to make about the state of our politics and our polity.
That is, campaigns can often be fought on what divides us, and that’s ok. It is ok to disagree, and it’s ok to have serious philosophical disagreements about government, politics, religion and other important matters with your friends, your family and your neighbors. But when the campaigns are over, and the votes are cast, we need to remember that governing must be about those things that we can agree on.
I’ve never met another person during my years in public service that I cannot find at least one item of policy to agree on. So it is ok to have serious disagreements, but we cannot let our disagreements blind us to the good that still exists in other people.
With that in mind, let us work to continue to see the good in one another. That is going to be the only way we can preserve those things that make our society good.
New Broward County Commission
On November 22nd Broward County swore our new County Commissioners, Nan Rich, Michael Udine and Steve Geller into office, and the Commission elected Barbara Sharief Mayor and me as Vice Mayor.
Congratulations to Commissioners Tim Ryan and Dale Holness on their re-elections
New Hollywood City Commission
Also on November 22nd the City of Hollywood swore in new Mayor Josh Levy and new Commissioner Debra Case into office, and the Commission elected Peter Hernandez as Vice Mayor.
Congratulations to Vice Mayor Peter Hernandez, and Commissioners Dick Blattner and Linda Sherwood on their re-elections. Special thanks to Patty Asseff for her years of public service.
Hollywood’s New Mayor Josh Levy and New Commissioner for District 1, Debra Case
New Hallandale Beach City Commission
On November 28th the City of Hallandale Beach swore in new Commissioner Anabelle Taub, and the Commission elected Keith London as Vice Mayor.
Congratulations to Mayor Joy Cooper and Commissioner Michele Lazarow on their re-elections. Special thanks to Bill Julian for his years of public service
Coastal Management Area/Water Quality Testing
The County Commission voted to adopt the recommendations of the Coastal Oceans Task Force on December 6th 2016. This week I’m going to Tallahassee to meet with the Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Jonathan P. Steverson. We will be sitting down with Secretary Steverson, with legislation in hand to create a Coastal Management Area for the entire set of Coral Reefs from St. Lucie County South to Miami Dade.
In addition to creating a Coastal Management Area, we are working with our State Legislators - including past chair of the Coastal Oceans Task Force, Representative Kristin Jacobs - to provide funding for Water Quality Testing at 100 sites along this Coastal Management Area.
The Southeast Florida Coastal Ocean Task Force (COTF) was established in 2012 through enabling resolutions of the Boards of County Commissioners of Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Martin Counties. The Task Force was charged with providing recommendations for coastal ocean resources and conservation priorities and strategies. The Task Force finalized a set of 200 recommendations for best practices to preserve the Florida Reef Tract, as well as broader coastal area.
From this list of 200 recommendations, the Coastal Management Area and the Water Quality Testing were two of the top priority actions. If we are successful in creating this Coastal Management Area, and getting the funds to perform water quality testing, we will be taking a huge step toward saving our Florida Reef Tract.
DENIED! Florida Department of Environmental Protection Denies Kanter Realty’s Application to Drill
In other good news, the State of Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection has denied the permit from Kanter Realty LLC to drill for oil at a site in Broward County, 6 miles West of Miramar. I was thrilled to hear this, as it struck me as absurd that anyone would want to drill or frack for oil and gas in The Everglades.
The County Commission had passed resolutions opposing Fracking in the State of Florida, and we have outlawed Fracking within our borders, but there was always a question of whether this lone permit might be granted by FDEP. We know that this permit has been denied, and this should be the end of the issue.
You can read more about this in the
Penny Tax Survey
I was disappointed to see that only one of the half-penny surtax questions passed this November. By inter-local agreement with the County and the Cities, both questions had to pass or both would fail. So even though the Transportation Half Penny Question passed with 51.10% of the vote Countywide, the corresponding Infrastructure Half Penny failed. In fact there was a difference of over 85,000 votes between those who voted against the Transportation Surtax and those who voted against the Infrastructure Surtax.
That is why I would like to invite you to take the following quick survey regarding your thoughts and feelings about the Penny Surtax, so that the County and the Cities can better understand the will of the voters.
Waste Management Leachate Agreement Finalized – Thank you to everyone who called, wrote, emailed their support for this Agreement!
In other good news, the County Commission approved an agreement with Waste Management to continue treating the leachate (garbage water) running off the Monarch Hill Landfill. This contract is in effect until the year 2062. This is a huge win for the public, considering that Waste Management was exploring the possibility of building a deep injection well to shoot untreated leachate (garbage water) under our water supply.
Close Up Foundation and The Broward County Public Schools Bilingual/ESOL (English as a Second or Other Language) Department – Broward Youth Policy Summit Expo
Dr. Fred Lippmann, BSO Lt. Mercazallo, Vice Mayor Beam Furr, Dr. Samantha Danachuck, Dr. Rosiland Osgood – Moderator Megan Turetsky with Broward County Public Schools
I had the pleasure of serving on a panel to hear questions from three hundred immigrant high school students from throughout Broward County. The Broward Youth Policy Summit Expo was organized by the Broward County Public Schools ESOL Department and the Close Up Foundation. The Close Up Foundation helps young people see how policy is developed in Federal, State and Local Government.
It was a pleasure to hear from these students who have worked so hard to develop a youth agenda for Florida policy action. This event was a follow up to our 2015-16 Close Up – “Rally to the Tally” where students presented their legislative agendas to state elected officials in Tallahassee. Back when I was student at South Broward High School, I was one of the participants in this event, and I’m glad to see it is still going strong.
Students participated from Blanche Ely, Boyd Anderson, Coconut Creek, Coral Glades, Coral Springs, Cypress Bay, Dillard, Everglades, Flanagan, Fort Lauderdale, McArthur, Miramar, Monarch, Northeast, Piper, Plantation, South Broward, South Plantation, Stoneman Douglas, Stranahan, Taravella, and Western High Schools
Great News from the Port Everglades Advocacy Team – PEAT
After almost twenty years, the Port Everglades Widening and Deepening project appears to be on the verge of being officially authorized. On Saturday December 10th, the Senate passed the
Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation act “WIIN” (previously WRDA) by a vote of 78-21. The same bill was previously passed by the House of Representatives 360-61. It is expected to be signed by President Obama.
Specifically, the bill authorizes the Deepening and Widening Project at Port Everglades and the Central Everglades Project.
Shortly before the WIIN vote, the Senate passed and President Obama signed a continuing resolution that extends government funding until April 28th, 2017 with a cap of $1.07 trillion.
There are a few more steps to go, but this is a huge milestone. This green light will then move our project from the Authorization Phase into the critical next phase, Appropriations
61st Annual Candy Cane Parade on Hollywood Beach
I was happy to participate in the City of Hollywood’s 61st Annual Candy Cane Parade on Hollywood Beach. It was a beautiful night, and the crowd was happy to see the floats and marching bands come down the Broadwalk.
Giving the Key to the County to the World Boxing Council
On December 12th 2016 the World Boxing Council kicked off their 54th Annual Convention at the Diplomat Resort and Spa in Hollywood. I was happy to present Mauricio Sulaiman, the World Boxing Council’s President, a Key to Broward County.
Outgoing Mayor Marty Kiar’s 2016 State of the County Address
Remember – Please Join us this Friday the 16th at the Broward County Convention Center for the South Florida Regional Planning Council’s Tri-Rail Coastal Link Meeting
DATE AND TIME: Friday, December 16, 2016; 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
PLACE: Broward County Convention Center, Palm Room A 1950 Eisenhower Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33316
PURPOSE: Regional Forum on the status of passenger rail service on the FEC Corridor in Southeast Florida with focus on the “Tri-Rail Coastal Link” Project
The South Florida Regional Planning Council is hosting a regional conversation on the status of passenger rail on the FEC Corridor in Southeast Florida. An invitation to participate in the meeting will be broadly distributed and include, but not be limited to, Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach municipal and county governments, metropolitan planning organizations, transit agencies, the South Florida and Treasure Coast Regional Planning Councils, the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, the Florida Department of Transportation Districts 4 and 6, Miami-Dade Expressway Authority, Southeast Florida Transportation Council, other transportation partners and advisory bodies, public and private economic development entities, community redevelopment agencies, and members of the public. One or more members of the South Florida Regional Planning Council, and elected and appointed members of the above-mentioned entities, may be in attendance
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. Wishing Everybody a Happy Holiday Season. 2016 has been a long year, and I hope that everyone gets a little time to take a few days to observe and celebrate with their friends and family as we head into the New Year.