Saturday, September 29, 2012

Election events – Please join your friends at a reception for Howard Tendrich. Reelect Howard, Palmetto Bay council District 2.

Please join us on October 10th at the Palmetto Bay Village Center. Howard Tendrich has earned our trust and continued support. Howard has fought hard to improve transparency and accountability in government and is the best voice on the council for common sense and protection of our community. 

Please join Hon. Cindy Lerner, Hon. Jeff Cutler,
Hon. Eugene Flinn, Hon. Ed Feller, Hon Linda Robinson, Alexandra Flinn, Tom Ringel, Arlene Feller, Les & Beth Adler,
Francine Koch, And others
(Host Committee in Formation)

Howard J. Tendrich
Re-Election Campaign for Village Council of
The Village of Palmetto Bay
District 2
Cocktail Reception
Wednesday, October 10th, 2012  from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm at
Palmetto Bay Village Center
18001 Old Cutler Road
Palmetto Bay, FL 33157
Limit $500 per person & Corporate contributions are accepted
Checks only payable to:  Howard J. Tendrich Campaign Account

For more information or to RSVP,
Contact Buff March-Bye (305)238-5050
Howard J. Tendrich Campaign Account
16500 SW 74th Avenue
Palmetto Bay, FL. 33157

Political Advertisement paid for and approved by Howard J. Tendrich Campaign. The purchase of this ticket for, or a contribution to, the campaign fundraiser is a contribution to the campaign of Howard J. Tendrich.  Contributions are not deductible for Federal income tax purposes.

Friday, September 28, 2012

FL League of Women Voters: ‘No’ on all 11 proposed constitutional amendments

FL League of Women Voters: ‘No’ on all 11 proposed constitutional amendments

This appears to be the year of "just say no" regarding government initiatives.  Reach the complete story in the Palm Beach Post online blog:

FL League of Women Voters: ‘No’ on all 11 proposed constitutional amendments
by Dara Kam | September 27th, 2012

The measures include changes to the state’s property tax system, a state revenue cap, weakening the state constitutional privacy protection used to defend abortion rights and amending the separation of church and state doctrine by allowing public money to be spent on religious schools. Another, Amendment 5, would give the legislature a say in the selection of Supreme Court justices and the courts’ rules.

“From beginning to end, these amendments are bad ideas,” Florida league president Deirdre Macnab told reporters in a telephone conference today. “We are strongly opposing all of the 11 amendments on the ballots and we are encouraging voters to give them a thumbs down.”

The article includes a link to the League of Women Voters website where you can read the full text and complete information regarding the proposed state constitution amendments.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Constitution Amendment / local Palmetto Bay Charter Change ballot issue reviews. Second of series. State proposed Constitution Amendment #4.

This proposal seeks to provide Save Our Home (SOH) style protection for non-homestead property.  It also prohibits local governments from ‘recapturing’ the gap between the taxable (SOH protected value) and assessed values from homeowners in years where the values decline, but the value remains above the SOH protected rate. 
The Florida Property Tax, called Amendment 4, is on the November 6, 2012, state ballot in Florida as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. Generally speaking, the voters approve amendments that reduce taxes.
This constitutional amendment may have a profound impact on future property tax revenues of both municipalities as well as unincorporated Miami-Dade. 
What Amend 4 proposes to do: The proposed amendment would prohibit increases in the assessed value of homestead property if the fair market value of the property decreases; reduces the limitation on annual assessment increases to non-homestead property; and provides an additional homestead exemption.
Specifically, non-homestead or commercial property would have their assessment increases capped at 3 percent per year. This is the same relief current offered to present residential property owners under the Save our Homes amendment (SOH). The property tax rate would also be lowered to 10 percent for rental and 5 percent for commercial properties.
Non-residential (homestead) properties would no longer see disproportionally higher assessments in years where values increase. 
This amendment will prevent a local property taxable value from increasing more than 5 percent in any year – homestead properties would remain at 3%, commercial property at 5% and 10% for rental property.
Additionally, the measure would implement an additional homestead exemption for first-time buyers equal to 50 percent of the median home price in the county. The additional exemption, however, would be gradually reduced until it expires within 5 years.
The proposed measure requires 60 percent voter approval for adoption.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Shopping Center proposed in West Dade’s Horse Country - West Kendall -

Shopping Center proposed in West Dade’s Horse Country - West Kendall -

Foot in the door?  Follow the link above to view the entire Miami Herald article.

Horse Country has been an island of pastures, plant nurseries and large-lot homes surrounded by a sea of suburban West Kendall sprawl.
Now a developer wants to bring a shopping center or other commercial development to Horse Country — and neighbors are not happy.

(W)hile Horse Country is surrounded by suburban subdivisions and shopping centers, residents view the neighborhood itself as an oasis.

“This would be the first commercial zoning,” Weeks said. “We are concerned that if this is approved, there will be more requests for commercial zoning in the area.”

The Community Council will meet at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Kendall Village Center, 8625 SW 124th Ave.

Read more here:

Missing tortoise returned to family

Missing tortoise returned to family

Video and story from Channel 7 in Miami. A happy ending for a Palmetto Bay family who are thankful their family pet is back home where he belongs. Legacy, the missing tortoise, was found by a Pinecrest Police officer and, through the assistance of Florida Fish and Wildlife,reunited the tortoise with the family last Saturday.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Consitution Amendment / local Palmetto Bay Charter Change ballot issue reviews. #1. State Amendment #5. 'Reforms' would threaten rights, politicize justice

This looks like a year to steer clear of many proposed State Constitutional Amendments statewide as well as local Palmetto Bay Charter Changes locally.  Many read innocently, but unfortunately a benign title belies a more sinister or hidden proposed result. I will be running a series on various state ballot constitutional proposals as well as the Palmetto Bay Charter change proposals for your review.

'Reforms' would threaten rights, politicize justice 

The link takes you to a guest column in the Orlando Sentinel written by Talbot "Sandy" D'Alemberte, a lawyer, former president of the American Bar Association, former president of Florida State University and former dean of its College of Law

Please read the entire article.  Some of the main points are as follows:

We all remember the wise advice: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Here, we need to apply a new maxim: Don't break something that has been fixed.

Amendment 5 tips the balance of power in favor of political branches by giving them greater influence in the selection of judges appointed to serve on Florida's Supreme Court. The measure seeks to undermine the intent of the nonpartisan judicial nominating system by requiring Senate confirmation for all judicial appointments to the high court.

Amendment 5 puts the nominee back into a political process, with the specter of partisan lawmakers rejecting qualified appointees over ideological issues. Reduced in importance could be the honesty, competency or diligence necessary to be a successful Supreme Court justice.

The danger is clear and present. It is not the court's power that is in jeopardy. It is yours. Defend your constitution — and the court's ability to uphold it — by voting no on Amendment 5.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Palmetto Bay Budget Review #4. Reaping what you sow. Palmetto Bay faces a money pit in its tennis courts due to Pariser’s failure to keep an eye on the true costs of providing tennis facilities and programming and failure to prioritize.

The initial Palmetto Bay Council set a standard in saving first $9.5, then up to $11.4 million in reserves over its first 8 years (including the 2011/2012 budget, the last one it passed), all this while paying nearly $2 million in combined special police services in its opening years, then phasing out $1.4 yearly in mitigation. 

I made sure that those fees were ended before I left office (despite current candidates taking credit for it).  You would think that would be either a cut in tax rates or being able to fund more maintenance or new capital projects, but no, this council still anticipates raiding unallocated reserves by over $3 million this year alone.

The proposed budget is one where the mayor and council seek to increase authorized personnel (employees) from 70 part and full time (2010/2011 budget – 45 full, 25 part time) up to 82 employees, 12 new (49 full and 33 part time).  This is a 17% increase in non-police, non-contract personnel authorized in a single year. See numbered page 37 of the proposed budget  .pdf page 41. Many of the new employees are required to run the tennis program, the true costs of that discussed later in this article.

This should be raising your financial alarms.  This council spent $140K last year to buy out the tennis vendor contract and proposes $344K more out of reserves this year for the tennis courts alone.  Tennis courts!

Leaving some of these big spenders on the Village Council in office for another 4 year term could completely wipe out the reserves before the end of their next term in 2016. That’s right $11.4 million down to zero; as Palmetto Bay cannot maintain this level of reserve spend down for 4 more years. This level of spend down should not even occur in a single year.

Would you spend down 25 percent of your family’s entire savings this year? If not, then I strongly suggest that you read more of this article.

Palmetto Bay Vice Mayor race update. Karyn Cunningham endorsed by School Board Vice Chair, Dr. Lawrence “Larry” Feldman | South Dade Updates

Palmetto Bay Vice Mayor race update. Karyn Cunningham endorsed by School Board Vice Chair, Dr. Lawrence “Larry” Feldman | South Dade Updates

Great news for those concerned with maintaining a solid partnership with education in Palmetto Bay.  Karyn Cunningham is your candidate for Vice mayor. She has been a strong advocate for education.  Now we can put her talents to use for us, the Palmetto Bay residents, as our next Vice Mayor. She knows our representatives in Tallahassee and we can start re-establishing Palmetto Bay relationships lost in the last 2 years.   

Check out the full update concerning this exciting endorsement from Miami-Dade School Board Vice Chair Larry Feldman by CLICKING HERE..  


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Pets' Trust update - Mayor Stanczyk, It is time to publicly take a stand

CLICK HERE to view an important update from Michael Rosenberg, President, Pets’ Trust on the new format for South Dade Updates.

Yes, once again I am calling out current Palmetto Bay Shelley Stanczyk and calling upon her to get off the fence and take a positive stand.  Madam Mayor, you have attended the Pets' Trust events and participated in the Photo Ops. Now it is time to state your support publicly for the Pets' Trust.  Are you in or not?  Palmetto Bay is home to Friends Forever, Paws4You Rescue and The Cat Network (no slight intended to other groups, I just do not have your links) as well as a wonderful Dog Park I was proud to participate in its design and development, to see it come on line when I was Mayor of Palmetto Bay. Members of these groups work hard for an outstanding and important cause. It is time to provide some support to them.

Mr. Rosenberg congratulates the Pinecrest Mayor, calling for "a big round of applause for Mayor Cindy Lerner who has created a wonderful letter that is going to all the Mayors of Dade County asking for support.  Thank you Cindy.  Let’s get ALL the Mayors to sign your letter."

We are getting close to the straw vote. It is time for action.  I request that Mayor Stanczyk participate at minimum by signing the letter and propose further that the entire council pass a resolution affirming that you recommend support for the Pets' Trust.  The October council meeting is the last regular council meeting prior to the straw vote to be taken at the November election. Technically there is the November meeting, but it may be cancelled due to the election the next day.  This is your last opportunity to get off the fence and take a stand.  Do it!

Change is coming to South Dade Updates

Take a look and tell me what you think.  Change is coming to South Dade Updates.

CLICK HERE to view the new format.  

Please e-mail me a to tell me what you think.

Friday, September 21, 2012

School Board Town Hall meeting 9/27 7:00 PM, TOPIC: Discussion of school bond referendum

Information courtesy of the Pinecrest e-news:

21st Century Schools Bond Issue
Superintendent to Discuss Proposal at Palmetto High

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Dwindling reserves - Letters to the Editor -

Dwindling reserves - Letters to the Editor -

Village rsident Eric Tullberg raises an excellent point on reserves today, Thursday, 9/20/2012, in the main opinion section of the Miami Herald:

Dwindling reserves

Palmetto Bay officials decided at a Sept. 10 budget meeting to add an additional police officer beyond the one requested by Commander Greg Truitt. The funds for that recurring expense of $150,000 a year were to come from our $9 million reserve fund.

But to balance the budget $990,500 was transferred from the unreserved fund balance. So with the addition of another officer, $1,140,500 will be taken out of reserves to balance the budget.

It may be necessary to use reserves when times are tough, but it is not responsible to use reserves to expand services that will continue into future years.

Eric Tullberg, Palmetto Bay

Unfortunately Eric, it is not just $150,000.00 or even $990,500.00, this year. It is over $3 million as identified in my post below. Eric's point is well founded on the recurring expenses.  Recurring expenses must be covered by recurring revenues, otherwise you spend your reserves down to dangerous levels in a very short time.  Many of the other projected $3 Million reserve spend down are not for recurring expeditures, but for one-time or periodic maintenance costs (too many to list, but) such as tables, umbrellas, coolers and scheduled repairs to the Coral Reef tennis courts, costs that used to be covered by a contracted vendor, the JFTA; or other items such as the much needed batting cages or a parks bridge repair, but still, $3 million in just one year?

Palmetto Bay budget Review, part 3. Starting to separate voting fact from campaign fiction A/K/A The proposed raid on unallocated reserves

The facts:

The strength of Palmetto Bay is dependent upon the council continuing to make sound financial decisions.  I was involved from the first budget up through the budget for fiscal year 2010/2011 (budget approved in September 2010).  The unallocated reserves totaled $11,491,109.00 by the end of fiscal year 2011 (see budget, document page 41, actual online page 45). 

Remember that the first council was paying special police services costs (up to $400,00 per year) for the first 5 years and mitigation (up to $1.7 million per year) for 8 years until I successfully fought off this mitigation that ended completely (after a short phase out) for the 2010/2011 budget.

Protecting the unallocated reserves were key then and should have been made easier for this current Viallge Council when Palmetto Bay was relieved of the mitigation tax.

The reality – budget priorities are shifting under this current council – the Vice Mayor supports the proposal to spend down the reserves by well over $3 million in a single year :

There is more to fear in Palmetto Bay than the fact that the hard work of citizen committees collect dust on a shelf (Palmetto Bay budget Review, part 2. Department of Building & Capital Projects). Vice Mayor Brian Pariser may say “Conservative fiscal policy is the bedrock of good local government practices. My continued commitment is to limit the role of local government to provide core municipal services: public safety, parks and recreation, public works, planning and zoning.” His voting record, however, says quite the opposite.

Mr. Pariser recently voted on first reading to approve the 2012/2013 operating budget that actually proposes to SPEND DOWN these hard fought unallocated reserves from $11,491,109 by over THREE MILLION DOLLARS - $3,076,525.00 in a single budget year.  That is more than ¼ the total reserves in a single budget year. 

The final vote will occur at the second/final budget hearing to be held on Monday, September 24.  Maybe we will see someone on the council wake up and slow down the proposed raid on reserves.

I am shocked that Vice Mayor Brian Pariser calls this type of a spending plan ‘conservative fiscal policy’. The vote does not match the campaign rhetoric.  Many of us are waiting to hear the explanation, the political double speak that will be used to deny, or worse, misrepresent, that the numbers stated on line, presented here, are somehow not what the actual numbers reveal.

Remember as well, Vice Mayor Pariser, voted last year to allow a raid then on the unallocated reserves to the tune of nearly $1,000,000 for the ill-advised Thalatta plan, money that thankfully did not get spent only due to fierce public opposition against the proposed wasteful spending by Mayor Stanczyk and Vice Mayor Pariser in attempting to retool a public park, providing much needed public access, into a for profit wedding venue. 

Didn't he promise in his 2008 campaign to use the mitigation relief for tax cuts for the village taxpayers? If so, talk about a change in position from 2008 campaign promises to his actions as an elected official.

Financial health is dependant upon fiscally responsible spending.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

School Board Member Feldman endorses Karyn Cunningham for Vice Mayor, Palmetto Bay

School Board Vice Chair, Dr. Lawrence "Larry" Feldman, has formally endorsed Karyn Cunningham for Vice Mayor of Palmetto Bay saying:

"As a strong advocate for teachers and students throughout her 27 years of service, Karyn has my absolute support in her endeavor for public office. Karyn's commitment to education, along with her work on legislative issues that affect the quality of life of our families and communities, make her transition to public service a natural one. Her unique knowledge base and experience, both local and in Tallahassee, will prove to serve her community well. I admire Karyn's resolve and decision to serve and advocate for the well-being of her community and hometown, Palmetto Bay, so that future generations may enjoy the qualities that make living there so special."
CLICK HERE to view the formal announcement.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Please Vote Yes to show support for a Pet's Trust in Miami

From Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner:

Please Vote Yes to show support for a Pet's Trust in Miami. This is a straw ballot on the November 6 ballot- which means it is there to gage the community support for creating a Pets Trust. It is then up to the County Commission to make it happen.
To learn more, go to the event at Books and Books on Oct 3rd.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Election events - Alexandra and I are hosting an event for Karyn Cunningham for VIce Mayor. Please join us on Oct 5

Please join us for a reception for Karyn Cunningham, 
Candidate for Vice Mayor of Palmetto Bay

Eugene and Alexandra Flinn
Karin and Bill Brown
Horace Feliu
(Host committee in formation)

Friday, October 5, 2012, 7 – 9 PM
At the Home of Eugene and Alexandra Flinn, 8261 SW 162 Street, Palmetto Bay, Fl. 33157

 If you are unable to attend, contributions may be made online at or mailed to Karyn Cunningham for Vice Mayor of Palmetto Bay, 13985 SW 72 Court, Palmetto Bay, FL 33158

Political Advertisement Paid for and Approved by Karyn Cunningham for Vice Mayor of Palmetto Bay

Palmetto Bay budget Review, part 2. Department of Building & Capital Projects

Why does the proposed budget not include the recommended fee schedule proposed by the Palmetto Bay Building and Permitting Advisory Committee back in February 2012?  Why waste the time of committee members who worked hard on this report with staff if the report is only going to be put on the shelf by Mayor Stanczyk and Vice Mayor Pariser to collect dust?  The report was received back February 2012, the first budget hearing was held. Why hasn’t staff been directed by the council to implement the recommendations of this committee?  Is this another example of good work and commitments begin killed behind the scenes, outside of the view of the public (outside Sunshine)?

The failure to act in a pro-business manner speaks much louder than their political double speak of claiming to be ‘pro-business.’  Your (in)action contradicts all the wonderful representations made in letters to Soapbox, official e-mail blasts and political mailers.  This is not a new issue, but the mayor is failing to keep attention on the budget. August and September have traditionally been the time to focus on the budget.  The strength of Palmetto Bay has been focusing on financials; instead, the traditional August/September budget review has occurred with little public focus by the Mayor and Council.

For background, I recommend that you review a prior post of April 14, 2012,Palmetto Bay's Building and Permitting  Advisory  Committee Final Committee Report has been completed and submitted to the Village Council. Where does it go from here? Please click on the headline to review in detail the results of the hard work of the committee.  What is telling here is that Committee Chair Rainer Schael presented the report to the Council at the February 6, 2012, meeting.  The committee report details the work with Palmetto Bay staff in reaching some recommendations that are very common sense suggestions that are business and resident friendly. I said back in April that It is now time for the council to step forward and make some sound decisions. We are now in mid budget and nothing has happened. Do Mayor Stanczyk and Vice Mayor Pariser value the work of the committees or was the work merely a fools errand to act as if they value public input. Now is time to stop patronizing the committee and implement the recommendations.

Kudos to the Permitting Staff and Committee members who works so well together creating a great document for the council to work with in re-evaluating any updating for the department and the Village.  But thorns to the Mayor, Vice Mayor and other council members who have not explained why they are not taking up the Committee Recommended Palmetto Bay Fee Schedule. Budget time is the time to implement recommended changes, not making ineffective midyear adjustments.  Besides, the council had the recommended fee schedule during the current budget’s mid-year process and did nothing back then.

Homeowners and other users of the building department will be paying more fees (taxes) than what the committee recommended due to the council’s failure to act. Besides, there was much more in the report than the fee schedule still waiting to be addressed.

Palmetto Bay Budget review. Capital Expenditure issue: Palmetto Bay wants to build a downtown - Palmetto Bay -

Palmetto Bay wants to build a downtown - Palmetto Bay -

I reviewed the current proposed 2012-13 Operating & Capital Budget online (CLICK HERE) to view this 119 page document)  and I have to ask what is up with the Palmetto Bay parking garage championed by Mayor Stanczyk in the April 12, 2012, Miami Herald article “Palmetto Bay wants to build a downtown” by Howard Cohen.  Meetings were held and  significant monies were spent on feasibility studies.  Mayor Stanczyk was quoted as saying: “I’m very excited because three years ago I authored an ordinance to allow for a parking garage,” said Mayor Shelley Stanczyk, who referred to the garage in the article as “a smart growth opportunity” for the potential draw it brings to the surrounding neighborhood once retail is established and the garage is linked to the county’s mass transit system.

Village staff had released the results of a feasibility study and discussed them at a public workshop.  The report listed a baseline projection annual income of $903,950 in parking revenue, which would top expenses by nearly $200,000.

There appears to be no provision for financing for this much needed economic draw.  Has this projected been quietly killed, outside the Sunshine of a public meeting, or is it being ignored due to a multitude of distractions going on.  The Village residents have a right to know the status of proposed projects, including the status of this (as stated by Mayor Stanczyk) ‘smart growth opportunity for the village.’

False starts and missed opportunities are budget killers. This council is dipping into reserves to pay for recurring expenses, which is a big "no, no."  It is also important to note that this was a council determined expenditure, they added staff not requested by either the manager or the Village Police Commander, incurring the cost without making cuts elsewhere to balance this new expense,  

It is time to release the actual dollar costs to the taxpayers for each of these projects that do not reach fruition. Costs include more than just the obvious costs, the costs of the experts, feasibility studies, (garage page 2, Thalatta Estate on page 74), but also the less obvious costs to the taxpayers of staff/legal expense incurred.Their time is valuable and as the saying goes, 'there are only so many hours in a day' so what projects don't they have time to reach? Perhaps the Fire Stations issue that appears to have been so long neglected by this current council?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Happy New Year, 5773! And Shana Tove!

Rosh Hashanah begins in the evening of Sunday, September 16, 2012, and ends in the evening of Tuesday, September 18, 2012. What is Rosh Hashanah? First, I wish to extend a heartfelt Happy Rosh Hashanah to those who celebrate this holiday. 

For those who don't, there is a great article available on line with the Washington Post: Understanding Rosh Hashanah 2012 / 5773, by Brad Hirschfield, Six things that will help you make sense of the Jewish New Year, which begins sundown tonight, Sunday (September 16, 2012)