My Speech to the Commission for CAAB

I usually only do a single post a day, but last night was special.  I was reelected by the Commission and the Mayor of the City of Wilton Manors to the Community Affairs Advisory Board.   It was also the first time I had to get up in front of an audience and do public speaking at any level since… college?  SHEESH!  I’ve got to Lighten Up!

I basically had my head down and muscled through it all, just under 300 words. 

My intent was to stress our work together and how we worked together to help the residents of this City.

Thank you again to the Commissioners and the Mayor of Wilton Manors.

Hello,

I am currently the Vice Chair of the Community Affairs Advisory Board and I am here tonight to ask for my reelection and reinstatement to the Board for the next term of two years.

I have found the Board to be a fascinating position in which to do truly nice things for nice people, the Residents of Wilton Manors.  This is a board that in my mind is here to recognize the improvements that people are making in their properties that go unnoticed, to provide an opportunity for neighbors to meet neighbors and see what good people are doing in the City.

In my tenure, I was selected as Vice Chair shortly after joining the Board and work with Sherrill, Kevin, and the others in order to complete our mission.  I have revived the tradition of recognizing Properties of Distinction by presenting the home owners with the first Home Beautification awards after a couple year absence.  The current award design resembles strongly the original design that I had presented to the board.  That process had brought a spirit of camaraderie as everyone had their input on the final design which was almost identical to the original.

One of my favorite memories of being on CAAB was the Holiday Lighting program.  We were tasked with presenting the winners with awards for the best lights in the city.  It was my suggestion and insistence that the awards should be from as many businesses as possible within the city limits of Wilton Manors.  This way, the winners could use their awards to help keep some struggling business alive and thereby benefit the City. 

Everyone wins when you help your neighbors.

It is my hope that the Mayor and the City Commission will select me for another two year term on CAAB.

Thank you

Commission Meeting – July 27 2010

After having the budget meeting the night before the Commission Meeting was much shorter than what has become normal.  I’ve gotten used to the meetings stretching past 10PM and having to get up to leave to walk the dog.  This time it was finished at 8:40pm.

The highlight for me kept me quite rattled all night.  I had my first time speaking in front of the Commission and the City.  The Community Affairs Advisory Board had three seats whose terms had expired.  This is the board that I am the Vice Chair of and along with two others, we were all reelected to another two year term. 

Congratulations to current Board Chair Sherrill Mc Carthy, Board Member Kevin Knorr and myself who will continue to serve as volunteers on the Community Affairs Advisory Board for another two years.

My speech was short, and I shall post it as a separate blog posting after this one.  It stressed the Board’s accomplishments and our commitment to serve the residents and businesses of Wilton Manors by bringing recognition to things done by people who may not have been noticed. 

Parking on Wilton Drive is not yet running at the budgetary expectations but Lanier Parking fully expects to meet or exceed that amount by “the end of July”.  We are currently taking in $1000 a day, and are expecting $1800 a day, however that does not take into account the money from parking tickets.  Parking tickets have not gotten to the point where they are being fully collected because it is too soon to do so in many cases.  The numbers are only for a month so stay tuned.

In the remainder of the meeting there were three resolutions passed.

When City Hall is demolished, the City will place a temporary parking lot on the footprint of the old City Hall.  This will cost the city just under $92,000 and will require their dipping into the reserves for $5,000.  The parking lot will be done “On The Cheap” and is designed to last 3 years.  It will be done that way because there is the open question of the Two Lane Initiative and the Tiger 2 Grant and that property may get re-used and covered over by a mixed use Commercial and Residential building with an interior Garage, or may not.  This all depends on whether the City gets the grant.  We have a strong proposal, but it still is quite open as to whether the Federal Government agrees.

Congratulations to the City for doing it this way should be given.  The design will be done completely in house and was done by Dave Archacki Director of Public Services of the City of Wilton Manors and staff.  His design will save the city approximately $310,000 by bypassing external design firms and engineers and using our own staff.

Building of the new Temporary Lot can start when the old City Hall has been cleared and will begin as soon as the designs are deemed insurable.  Construction will take two weeks from start to finish.

Two short items:

The Wings and Things property will be completed per the original plans.  The building will house a new Sushi Rock restaurant as soon as construction is finished.  The property is now in compliance with code for a construction site so we can look forward to continuing growth in the middle of the Central Business District.

The Yawt Property
Still in flux over the G Resorts, the City has decided to look into any existing code violations by sending in the inspectors from the City and the County.  The City intends to have a “face to face meeting with Sandy Yawt and the other” trustees of the property to get them to follow through with the court orders and remove the blight that is on the East Side of the City.  If the City is not fully satisfied, they will pursue other options – their “Plan B” was alluded to.

Wilton Manors Commission Chambers Picture

Welcome to the New Commission Chambers at City Hall in Wilton Manors, Florida.

This was the view from my seat on the Dais at City Hall when I was at the first ever CAAB meeting.  Since then we’ve had a couple of other meetings in that hall such as Commission and the other normal City business.

Since this was the very first meeting ever in the new chambers, we needed photos for the Historical society.   I had my camera there and had the chance to photograph the photographer.

The old chambers had a semi-circular dais that was much more conducive to conversations and as a result more intimate.   The new chambers dais is almost linear, as the room is much larger than the old “Two Fire Truck Bay” that was converted and served for 30 or so years.   Other than that, no complaints, it is a beautiful room, and does the City well by its presence.  It is well equipped with all the new technology that you would expect in a modern meeting space.

Belated Christmas Tree

Yeah, Ok I’m late.   This was the city Christmas Tree Display, as of Christmas Morning.   I had a late sleep in that day, and took Mrs dog for a walk out on Wilton Drive and saw the tree in the morning.   It was a collaborative effort getting the tree between the board I’m the Vice Chair of, Community Affairs Advisory Board (CAAB) and the City of Wilton Manors, and Bobby Kyser of Petals Panache in Wilton Manors.  We had the unveiling last year to fireworks and fanfare, this year it was a focal point of a party with the City Government and CAAB as well as all of the neighbors.   Nice part of being in a small city is that you get to do things that make other’s lives a little nicer.   Even if it is a 30 foot tall artifical tree.   The tree was at NE 21st Ct and Wilton Drive through mid January, and they’ve started to dismantle the display.  The baubles were removed on the bottom half but it still sits there greeting the dawn as of the taking of this picture, as always I am ahead of the game while posting by at least a week.  I’ve been told that the tree is down along with the other decorations.

Merry Xmas, here’s your sign!

No, this isn’t some redneck joke.  This is about making folks happy for the holidays.

Here in Wilton Manors, there’s a tradition of having a competition amongst the property and business owners for the best holiday display.   There are quite a few people who take part in the competition and you can see a few displays that are “spam worthy”.  In fact I may get my digital camera out and try for some night shots with the tripod.  Its a great excuse to get the dog out and take her around town instead of sitting in the bouncy Poang chair and play Freeciv while ignoring the telly for the night.

The grand prize winner this year had multiple arches made of red and white lights over his driveway, the house and fence all done up in lights.   He even went to decorate the little mulched area by the signpost in front with white lights to dream up a scene of electric snow.  There was a 70 foot tall Slash Pine (Like the kinds you see all up and down the Eastern Seaboard with long needles) done up with red and white lights… all the way to the top.   I swear you can see it from the next county!

Last night (Monday, since I write these ahead of time) I and three others drove around in a minivan and stopped by the winners of the prizes.   While it was a bit cramped with my long legs folded up into a pretzel for most of the time, it was a fun and heartwarming an evening.  Everyone seemed to know of the house with the tree within a tree or the grand prize winner, and they all asked if he won grand prize this year.  It wasn’t the house with the MOST lights, merely the one that we all said “WOW!” to. 

Kind of hard to beat a 70 foot tall red and white christmas tree!