|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.
5.3 JAIL FACILITY. THE CITY [PEMBROKE PINES] SHALL NOT INTERFERE WITH CORRECTIONS CORPORATION OF AMERICA, OR ITS SUCCESSORS OR ASSIGNS, DEVELOPMENT AND/OR OPERATION OF THE JAIL FACILITY, OR WITH THE TOWN'S [SOUTHWEST RANCHES] AGREEMENT WITH CORRECTIONS CORPORATION OF AMERICA CONCERNING THE SAME.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.
At 8:20 AM that morning, the notice was not on the agenda for the meeting.via webTown to consider termination of 2005 ILA with Pines and closure of 199, 202, & 205 Thursday night
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.