Newsletter
Beam Furr

October, 2017

Greetings,

The leaves may not change in South Florida, but Broward County is “fall”ing into some amazing opportunities! The Broward County Board of County Commissioners is working diligently to create jobs, improve our transportation system, and build a robust future for our children and our environment. Not taking action would come back to “haunt” us in the future, so I look forward to working together with my colleagues and continuing to move forward. Here are some not-so-spooky news items happening in Broward County!

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Supporting New American Citizens

There is no greater honor for me than helping Broward County residents live out their American Dream. It is a great privilege to work with dreamers and strivers who want to become American citizens and have their voices heard within our community. America is at its best when we welcome diversity, embrace other cultures, and make sure everyone has the chance to succeed. This is the definition of Broward County values.

This September, I met with a large group of Broward residents who are in the midst of becoming American citizens. Working with Hispanic Unity of Broward County, it was a privilege to answer questions for two hours about local government as they work their way through the last parts of their citizenship class.

These are future citizens, future neighbors, future friends and family. To see the excitement and passion they bring when learning about their new country, while fighting back the anxiety that naturally comes with such a great adventure, was a clear illustration of what so many of our families went through at some point in our history. That is the definition of our American values. It’s not easy. It’s surely not for the faint of heart. But their strength and hope is an inspiration. It was nice to see such spirit in our newest Americans.

Engaged New American Citizens.

Engaged New American Citizens.

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Holly Neher Day

Touchdown! On October 17th, I was honored to present a proclamation declaring Holly Neher Day in Broward County, in honor of the wonderful Hollywood Hills student who became the first female to throw a touchdown in a varsity football game in the history of Florida sports. This was a groundbreaking moment for women in local sports, and marks a historic step forward statewide. And, she has a heck of an arm. It was great to have Holly, her parents, and her coach attend a Commission meeting and be honored. The entire audience was incredibly proud of her accomplishment – and so is everyone in District Six!

Holly’s incredible performance is a small step in a larger fight for gender equality in Florida. Whether in sports, at school, or in the workplace, women often still have to work twice as hard to get half as far. That is why I am committed to advancing equal pay for women and protecting Title IX laws that advance women’s opportunities in all fields. I encourage you to reach out to my office if you have feedback on these issues. Thank you for your star performance Holly! Keep throwing those touchdowns!

Making History!

Making History!

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Welcoming of Puerto Rican Families after Hurricane Maria

The devastation of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico is a heartbreaking tragedy. The images we have seen of the damage caused by this storm are shocking and saddening. But we are committed to doing everything in our power to help. The Broward County Board of County Commissioners, along with countless non-profits and community organizations in Broward, are united in providing every resource and all the assistance we can.

We are proud to welcome Puerto Rican families and refugees to Broward County. Port Everglades served as the entry point for a large group that arrived in early October. This group includes mostly military families stationed in Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans with family roots in Broward County. In Broward County, we are a welcoming, open-hearted community of people that lift each other. That is why it is our honor to lend a helping hand to these families in need.

We stand with our friends in Puerto Rico.

We stand with our friends in Puerto Rico.

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Broward Read for the Record

Broward just made it to the history books! October 19th marked Broward Read for the Record, a record-shattering shared reading experience designed to develop a love of reading in our young children. It also plays a key role in inspiring adults to read with children and cultivate positive reading relationships. I am proud to serve as Co-Chair of Broward Reads – The Campaign for Grade Level Reading and Chair of the Children’s Services Council. Both groups played a significant part in bringing to Broward this global event which gathered more than 2 million people around the world together to read the same book on the same day. This year, the Children’s Services Council distributed more than 40,000 copies of the book “Quackers” to children in Broward County during this fantastic experience. Each of the children who participated now has at least one book in their home library. I am proud of our Broward students who took part in Read for the Record. The success of this event would not have been possible without the hundreds of volunteers who signed up through handsonbroward.org. This is yet another example of all of Broward County coming together to lay the essential groundwork for a prepared future in our community.

Reading an all-time classic.

Reading an all-time classic.

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Florida Shore and Beach Preservation Association Annual Conference

It was a huge year for the annual Florida Shore and Beach Preservation Association Annual Conference, as they celebrated their 60th annual event! That’s not just an impressive number. That’s a testament to the hard work so many people have done over the years to improve our beaches and make our community better. That’s why it was my honor to give introductory remarks at this exciting conference. Every year, what is discussed at the FSBPA Annual Conference becomes even more critical for our community. The important work done at this conference is a great way to advance ideas and discuss actions that will preserve our precious environment.

A huge congratulations is in order for Nicole Sharp and Commissioner Chip Lamarca for their awards from the FSBPA for all their hard work! Nicole will be leading our Segment III Beach Renourishment Project which will focus on our shoreline from Port Everglades all the way to the southern county line. This includes all of the shoreline in Hollywood and Hallandale Beach. Our segment experiences some of the highest erosion rates in the entire country. We have not invested resources into the renourishment of this area since 2005. This project, expected to commence in 2020, will bring nearly a million cubic yards of sand to rebuild our beaches and replace what we have lost. She will also be working on our revolutionary sand bypass project, which takes sand that has built up on the north side of Broward’s Port Everglades and transfers it to the south side to replace eroded sand. I am excited to work with Nicole moving forward as we protect our beaches for future generations.

Congratulations to Nicole Sharp!

Congratulations to Nicole Sharp!

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Democratic Environmental Caucus

Our natural environment is the foundation of South Florida’s future. We need excited and motivated activists to join together to make sure we are mobilizing around policies that protect our world for years to come. That’s why it was such a privilege to speak at the second meeting of the Broward County Chapter of the Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida.

When we banned fracking in Broward County, It was because of local activists who mobilized to make calls, attend meetings, and hold rallies. That is why groups like this are so important. I was pleased to see such robust attendance and obvious energy at their event. I was happy to answer questions about improving our waste disposal process, bettering the quality of our water, and combatting climate change.

I also discussed our new waste management consultant contract. This bold new plan will allow Broward County to find solutions to move forward on waste disposal. We definitely need to make improvements. We used to have one of the top systems in the country. But in recent years, we have seen an unfortunate decline in our recycling rates and our ability to turn waste into efficient energy. It is time to change that, and I believe this consulting project will lead to substantial progress.

Speaking on the fascinating projects Broward County is undertaking to help our environment.

Speaking on the fascinating projects Broward County is undertaking to help our environment.

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Broward Water and Climate Leadership Academy

School’s back – for local leaders! This October marked the 2017 Broward Leaders Water and Climate Academy. This program was launched in 2008 to educate Broward leaders on both issues and solutions around some of the most critical challenges of our time. For almost ten years, many officials and activists have had the opportunity to get hands-on experiences that build their knowledge on ways to improve our water quality and combat climate change.

As an alumni of the Water and Climate Academy, I know firsthand the impact of this program. As Vice Mayor and Commissioner, what I learned at the Broward Leaders Academy has helped me make more informed decisions and made me a better advocate for the people of Broward County.

I would be remiss if I did not thank everyone involved with the planning of this year’s academy. That includes Dr. Jennifer Jurado, Carolina Maran and Jason Liechty from Broward’s Environmental Planning and Community Resilience Division, and many other staff involved with the planning and operations of this great experience. We are laying the groundwork for a better future in Broward County.

Attendees at the 2017 Water and Climate Academy

Attendees at the 2017 Water and Climate Academy

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FITCE

Broward County is developing one of the most robust economies in the entire country. We are a gateway to international business. The Florida International Trade and Cultural Expo (FITCE) is a major event held every year, designed to stimulate cultural and business exchange between Broward County and more than 50 countries. This year’s event was held on October 17th and 18th featuring government leaders from around the globe, as well as international businesses and cultural representatives. I know that my fellow Commissioner Dale Holness worked very hard on this event. I hope the discussions held at FITCE will lead to progress in advancing our economy while making sure our workers thrive. Innovative events like this are the first step!

Meeting with former Latin American presidents and Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum

Meeting with former Latin American presidents and Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum

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Transportation in District Six

Broward County is on the move! As a member of the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Board, I am very excited about many of the projects that Broward County will be undertaking. The MPO is working toward the creation of new mobility hubs, transport routes, bike lanes, and expanded roads throughout District Six. This investment in infrastructure is a critical step in helping our cities live to their potential. Improved access to transportation allows more people to go to work, and visit businesses that make our economy thrive. The map below is a framework used as a potential jumping off point for major improvements.

One particularly good idea is the push for more workforce housing. Workforce housing is affordable, low to moderate income housing within reasonable distance to the workplace. Investing in workforce housing means that Broward’s workers do not have to choose between making it to work on time and being able to pay rent. It provides affordable options that are well within access to the workplace and transportation routes. This would allow our workers to live affordably near work. It means that businesses would see better productivity and housing prices would stabilize for all because of a logical distribution of space. Another idea that I am in favor of is giving density bonuses to developers, particularly near mobility hubs. A density bonus allows developers to build extra units as long as they are allocated for affordable housing. Many counties have density bonuses that create more affordable housing for low-income residents and elderly residents. This has helped stabilize prices across the country. We should be doing it in Broward County. This particularly applies to density bonuses near mobility hubs, which are locations featuring a large origin point for transportation routes. Doing so would allow affordable housing near bus routes many residents take every day. Finally, the changes we make need to be coupled with rebuilding and expanding our existing infrastructure. Having vibrant, safe, and functional roads and bridges is key to cutting gridlock and improving quality of life. We are already seeing these improvements throughout District Six. This includes the large scale 441 improvement project, which will help revitalize the corridor and entire surrounding area.

We will be discussing these issues at our Broward County Commission Transportation Workshop at 10AM on Tuesday, October 31st. The Workshop will be at the Governmental Center located at 115 S. Andrews Avenue, Room 430 in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Stay tuned as we continue to build a better future!

A potential framework for improvements and routes in District Six in the 2035 Broward Long Range Transportation Plan.

A potential framework for improvements and routes in District Six in the 2035 Broward Long Range Transportation Plan.

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Broward Young Democrats

Our future is bright. That’s why it was my privilege to be the guest speaker at the Broward Young Democrats October meeting. I had a great time answering questions and meeting young activists from all around the County to discuss issues like transportation and childcare. Organizers getting together for a common purpose, building a platform, and volunteering is the path towards tangible results. In troubling times, hope for the future can sometimes be in short order. But it is impossible not to have hope when I see energetic, smart young people like these leading the way. I encourage anyone interested to get involved.

Speaking to some incredibly bright young people.

Speaking to some incredibly bright young people.

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New Hallandale Beach Police Chief Sworn In

Congratulations to Sonia Quinones, who on October 1st, was sworn in as the new Police Chief of Hallandale Beach. She has served as a Major with the Hallandale Beach Police Department for 24 years. She is also the first female Police Chief in Hallandale Beach history. She is a tenacious and tough worker who will do a great job for residents of Hallandale Beach. I look forward to working with her. Congratulations!

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PACE

Broward County is lighting the way! The Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program is an innovative project designed to bring energy efficiency into your home. PACE allows property owners to receive up-front financing for qualifying improvements such as solar energy. This voluntary financing is utilized to produce more energy efficient repairs and daily household operations. I highly encourage everyone interested in this program to check it out here. It is an effective, affordable way to make serious progress on transitioning to clean energy.

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Pembroke Pines Water Bill

Improving the quality of our water is essential for a healthy environment and a sustainable future. It is important that municipalities do everything they can to collect data and produce clean water. At their October 4th meeting, the Pembroke Pines City Commission passed a resolution supporting long-term and recurring state funding for water research and quality improvement projects. This legislation could provide a model for how localities across Florida engage state government in order to boost quality of water – and life – in cities. Great job, Pembroke Pines!

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Peter Bluesten Park Opening

A gorgeous new public park is coming soon to Hallandale Beach! The groundbreaking for Peter Bluesten Park has been rescheduled for Friday, October 28th at 10 AM at 501 SE 1st Avenue in Hallandale Beach. This project is part of a major initiative called the City Wide Parks Master Plan in Hallandale Beach, which is designed to create, manage, and improve beautiful green spaces in the city. The park will feature a baseball diamond, two mini-diamonds, a soccer field, a pool, tennis courts, and tons of open space to relax and play. I can’t wait to see it. I hope you can make it to the groundbreaking and get involved in the start of this exciting project.

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New Commissioner in Pembroke Pines

Pembroke Pines has benefited from many years of service from Commissioner Carl Schecter, who retired on October 1st. Carl has been one of the most passionate advocates for his constituents that I have ever known. His service will be missed. Thank you so much for your dedication, Carl. Replacing him is a tall task, but fortunately, Pembroke Pines has a great person for the job. Ismael Monroig is the new City Commissioner for District 1 and I look forward to working with him. He is an intelligent, dedicated community advocate who will prove an asset to the city. Welcome, Ismael!

Congratulations, Ismael!

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Thank You

Joni Coffey, the County Attorney for Broward County, celebrated her retirement on October 1st after many years of dedicated service. As the lead County Attorney, she represented Broward on all legal matters, and was an essential voice for smart legislation and innovative solutions. Broward County government succeeds because of the hard work of dedicated employees like Joni who give everything they can to make sure we are doing the best we can for our residents. We could not do it without people like Joni. Thank you for your service!

The County Attorney’s office is still in good hands. Andrew Meyers is our new County Attorney, and is a terrific choice for the position. I have known Drew for many years, and he is a smart and tenacious worker. I look forward to working with him to craft legislation and advance the best ideas possible to help Broward County succeed.

Thank you, Joni! Looking forward to working with you, Drew!

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Contact Us

Contact Us

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 bfurr@broward.org.

County Commissioner Beam Furr District 6
Broward County Commission | 115 S. Andrews Ave. Room 412 | Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Email - BFurr@Broward.org | Website - Broward.org | Phone: 954-357-7006