The Town of Southwest Ranches, Corrections Corporation of American (CCA), and DHS / ICE want to build one of the largest immigration detention centers in the nation within walking distance of thousands of homes; thus, reducing the quality of our life and our community. We do not agree with the federal government privatizing our immigration detention centers throughout the nation when there is clear evidence that privatizing our prisons creates a clear public safety threat. For ICE to continue to privatize these institutions and bring this safety threat through their "secure communities Initiative" to our community is unacceptable. Depriving someone of their liberty is a non-delegable governmental function and privatizing of such a function is infecting our nation like a virus.

The Town of Southwest Ranches has now entered into it's THIRD Fire Contract within the last year now with the Town of Davie, costing taxpayers $120,000 in ramp up fees. They are now closing several roads in western Southwest Ranches charging the tax payers $80,000 for the gates. They have paid an unknown amount of money for lobbying with ICE regarding this prison. They have several lawsuits against the Town, 1- Involving Open Meeting Violations on a November 5th meeting concerning the ICE Detention Center, 2- Open Records Violations, and 3- The Town is putting together a lawsuit to sue Pembroke Pines for breach of contract because the City utilized their exit clause and cancelled for convenience their Fire/EMS contract which included water and sewer at the last minute for the CCA prison. In the contract it states that there should be no third party beneficiaries. CCA would be a third party in this instance.

CCA has also filed suit in Federal court against the City of Pembroke Pines saying they are denying them water however the City had never seen a water application. The City did file for a Declaratory Judgement in State Court but that has been put on hold until the Federal Court hears the suit from CCA.

Is ANYONE CONFUSED as to why the Pembroke Pines/Southwest Ranches Fire Agreement was cancelled? The Town Attorney Keith Poliakoff attempted to "slip" into the agreement a portion that guaranteed water for the prison at CCA's request. This is something that should have been brought up separately. CCA should have brought it forward on their own in a water application. This is sleight of hand that CCA and the Town attempted to do because they were so afraid of CCA being on the Pembroke Pines agenda.

As of June 2012, ICE put out a statement that the site selection was no longer needed due to the fact that the extra bedspace was no longer needed.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Southwest Ranches Spiteful Road Closures and Cover of Darkness

On Thursday, December 22, approaching midnight, the Town Council voted 4 to 1 to close three roads shared by Pembroke Pines.  The only dissenting voting member was Mayor Jeff Nelson.

Checkpoint Charlie:  Berlin or Southwest Ranches?

This vote well reinforces a whole series of absolutely selfish, despicable, and very questionable legislative practices by this 12 years old town named Southwest Ranches.

Our first exposure to how underhanded Town officials and unelected leaders are occurred when we became aware that under the cover of the Holiday season, the Town had passed a resolution which doubled the size of the prison facility and increased the bed count by 50%.  Notice of this resolution was made between Christmas and New Year of 2010.
 This resolution was approved on January 6, 2011 by the same cast of characters who are jamming a prison down your throats today.  Nelson, Breitkreuz, McKay, Fisikelli and Jablonski unanimously voted to do this to you.  As proof of how nefarious this was, once Broward County staff and the public began to look a this issue, CCA and SWR agreed to drop the attempt to modify the land usage.  Mayor Jeff Nelson NEVER mentions this resolution when discussing the "history" of openness that he's trying to sell us.  Does he have a short term memory problem or just a problem with honesty?

On Wednesday night, December 23rd, the Pembroke Pines Commission voted 3 to 2 to rescind the 2005 Interlocal Agreement on Road Closures and Other Matters.  Anti prison activists were livid at Pembroke Pines for their support of the prison.  That agreement contained a completely irrelevant poison pill which Pines used to justify their not taking active measures to opposed the prison.
SWR Town Attorney Keith Poliakoff has repeatedly mentioned this clause in email and seemed quite proud of it.

Last year, Southwest Ranches passed a resolution cancelling the ILA.  There was much debate and input from Pembroke Pines' Attorney Sam Goren.  There is near universal agreement that Sam Goren is one of the best municipal Attorneys in the state.  Mr. Goren's analysis, upon reading the termination, was there there WAS NO expiration date of SWR's resolution cancelling the agreement.  Mayor Nelson resorted to paraphrasing the resolution rather than quoting it verbatim when he justified the need to "protect the Town's rights" to terminate the agreement.  He claims that there was a deadline at which once passed REVOKED the resolution requesting cancellation of the ILA.  This is just preposterous.  The exact text is:

The exact language contains a respectful request to agree to terminate by 12/15/2010.  There is no demand to do so.  There is no stipulation that the resolution is withdrawn after that date.  Goren advised that the date was only a request and that the resolution was not withdrawn by a vote of the Town Council; therefore, was still in effect.

Our Attorney must know that and must have advised the Town Council accordingly.  The Town then INSISTED on an emergency meeting for the following evening where the termination would be approved AND 3 roads would be closed.  The termination was already in effect the day before as both parties bilaterally agreed to the termination.  Clearly, Southwest Ranches officials and residents wanted the roads closed and were using the supposed protection of their rights to cancel the agreement as a ruse to close the roads.

So, back to the cover of darkness.  The first public notice of this emergency meeting intending to close roads came from Attorney Keith Poliakoff's Twitter account at approximately 2:00 AM on Thursday morning.

Keith Poliakoff
Town to consider termination of 2005 ILA with Pines and closure of 199, 202, & 205 Thursday night
22 Dec via web
At 8:20 AM that morning, the notice was not on the agenda for the meeting.

Put this into perspective.  Two nights before Christmas eve, a disgusting road closure resolution is SLAMMED into a Town Council meeting with almost ZERO notice under the false premise that it was needed to "protect our rights to terminate an agreement," but the clear intent seemed to have been to CLOSE ROADS.

The Council was advised by many people that they were rushing into this, that their prior history of slamming through stunning changes to land use regarding the prison under the cover of our sacred holidays was happening again and that they were behaving is a very disreputable manner.

This time, apparently they felt themselves to be absolute rulers dividing Berlin in half and installing automatic check point Charlies for emergency access of SWR residents to THEIR contracted fire provider.

The Town leaders told the audience that this was "a Christmas present" to the town.  What an unbelievable offense to the very nature of Christmas that the partitioning of a Town from its neighbor could be considered a "Christmas present."  Shame on you whoever said this.

As if to annihilate Mayor Nelson's claims of openness and of the public's inclusion in the whole list of supposedly public meetings that took place regarding the prison, Resident Bob Hartmann as well as Town officials quickly reminded us all that this was a RESOLUTION and not an ORDINANCE and was not subject to the same meeting notification laws.

This is simply unreal.  Town officials and SWR civic leader honestly believe that skirting the intent of open meeting laws with hair splitting differences between whether something is an ordinance or a resolution is acceptable.  If a resolution is proposed to put a 2200 bed jail in the Town or partition the town off from their neighbors, then honest notice of this is not required.  If road closures affecting both residents and neighbors alike are going to be implemented, then respectful notice to tax payers and voters is NOT required, apparently according to these people.

Neighbors, THIS is the mindset you are dealing with when it comes to both the selfish HOA presidents, Town founders AND the entire voting body (minus Mayor Nelson) regarding respecting YOU as a resident and/or an affected neighbor.  They don't respect you.  They seem to operate with malice as their motive.  It's really sad that such an affluent community, with blessings and good fortune beyond belief can possibly act with such spite, and malice.

Are there legitimate issues with road usage that affect both Pines and SWR?  Yes, and they must be addressed by both Pines and the Ranches with an honest desire to work out this issue.


  1. Southwest Ranches residents should be revolting over this. It is their apathy that allows these goons to run this town into the ground. RECALL! RECALL! RECALL!

  2. The esteemed muckraker, Bob Norman, wrote about this back in 2005.

    We'll quote the germane parts:

    "After years of unlawful secrecy, profiteering, and nepotism by the Town of Southwest Ranches, things are finally changing. But its 7,000-some citizens need not worry; they can still look forward to plenty of unlawful secrecy, profiteering, and nepotism from their little government in the future."

    "With guys like Poliakoff running Southwest Ranches, the town will never get much better."

    And thus is was told in all truthfulness.

  3. Poliakoff is the kind of lawyer that gives his own firm a bad name

  4. Residents and activists need to file a class action lawsuit against the town of southwest ranches, its city officials, and CCA for intentionally keeping their plans quiet (as was admitted in an email by their attorney) thus not giving prospective homebuyers informed consent before purchasing homes there, and for causing a loss in property values on top of already depressed values from the effects of foreclosures and the economy. Simply objecting publicly to this prison will accomplish nothing. They will build it anyway. You have to hit them where it hurts: the pocketbook.


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