Sunday, February 10, 2013

Truth & Politics Tidbits 3/21/14


All Eyes Are On Maria Lowe!
 
Join me in congratulating Maria Lowe who this coming Tuesday night will be sworn in as St. Pete Beach's first female Mayor.  As you all know I supported Steve during the election in recognition of the great job he did as Mayor and I will be sorry to see him go.  However, I did have a chance to meet with Maria pre-election and I found her to be a very bright, highly motivated individual who seems to have the best interests of St. Pete Beach at heart.  She and Steve seemed to be aligned on most issues so it will be interesting to see what changes she makes as she leads the Commission forward.
  
I also supported Greg Premer who will be the new Commissioner for District 3.  I believe that Greg's 20 plus years of community involvement in St. Pete Beach will help make him the best Commissioner that district 3 has ever had. 
  
Terri Finnerty won a very close race in District 1 over incumbent Lorraine Huhn, who has been very active in the community for many years.  While I supported Lorraine, Terri brings with her a vast amount of knowledge and experience that she gleaned while her husband Mike served as Commissioner and Mayor.
  
The bottom line is that no matter who you supported during the election, now is the time for everyone to come together and get behind the new Commission as they lead St. Pete Beach forward. 
  
I also wanted to bring to your attention that the consultants on the Corey Avenue re-development project that was started last year will be presenting their proposed concepts at a workshop on this coming Wednesday at 6:30pm at the Community Center and Thursday at 6pm at City Hall during a Commission workshop.
  
The following items will be presented:
  
* Circulation and parking concepts include a couplet design for a set of one-way segments that would circle around Corey Avenue on Blind Pass, 75th Avenue, Gulf Boulevard, and 73rd Avenue.
* Urban design concepts include streetscape, gateway, and wayfinding improvements that are intended to provide a more comfortable environment for pedestrians, beautify the streets, guide visitors, and heighten the visual identity of the Corey Avenue District.
* Catalyst development sites are opportunities for development or redevelopment that could boost activity in the district and catalyze private investment.
 
Very exciting happenings next week in St. Pete Beach, I hope to see you there!
 

 
 


A Message From Mayor McFarlin

-----Original Message-----
From: steve mcfarlin <mcfarlin2@tampabay.rr.com>
To: m.shavlan <m.shavlan@tampabay.rr.com>
Sent: Tue, Feb 11, 2014 11:22 am
Subject: Clarification
Marvin,
 
I am sending you this letter for clarification of my true position in re-running for Mayor. I would hope that you forward this to your fellow residents with the City's best interest in mind.
 
Dear St. Pete Beach Residents,
 
Many of you recently received one of those negative tacky political ads concerning the upcoming Mayoral race here in St. Pete Beach.
The headline read "Our Reluctant Mayor" referring to my initial decision not to re-run for office and seven days later changing my decision to run due to the fact that the only candidate running was a newcomer with only 17 months residency.   The fact is,   THEY  WERE  100%  CORRECT,  and I am proud to have made that decision.
 
There would be no way with clear conscious could I walk off from this office and knowingly leave this City in the hands of a total newcomer for her experimentation.
 
My initial decision not to run was simply due to the fact that I had given 6 years of community service and had accomplished several of our goals however politics are not my lifelong career.
I was comfortable with not running due to the fact that two current Commissioners, Jim Parent and Marvin Shavlan, had shown an interest in running leaving the residents with a choice of two very capable and qualified people with years of experience with our operations.
 
It was at the point where these two Commissioners declined to run, therefore leaving us in the hands of a 17 month newcomer, that I decided to step forward and run.

IT  IS  AS  SIMPLE  AS  THAT  !
 
My 50 year love and devotion for this community would not allow me to sit back and allow such a travesty to occur.
 
It is for these reasons that I respectfully ask for your vote on March 11th to continue the progress that many of us have continuously strived for. 
 
Do you realize that my opponent spent thousands of dollars creating that distasteful ad including taking a color picture of me and converting it to a grainy black and white image in order to create a negative image in your mind?  Do we want a newcomer involved in our municipality that brings with her this type of integrity?    It's your choice.....
 
IMPORTANT:  To get a better and more realistic view of my opponent's capabilities in the Commission chambers,  I highly suggest that you take a few minutes and view a portion of our most recent Commission meeting.  Simply go to our City web page at www.stpetebeach.org and click on "watch meetings" in the top right hand corner. Then click on "city commission meetings" and then "2014 meetings".  Then click on "January 28th meeting" and then "video".  Once the video starts you can scroll to 55:00 into the meeting. This portion is around 7 minutes long.  I hope that after reviewing my opponents advertisement and this video you will have a much more factual interpretation of what she brings to our community.
 
Again, for the best interest of this City,  I respectfully ask for your vote on March 11th and please forward this e-mail to all concerned residents.
 
Sincerely,  Steve McFarlin
Mayor of St. Pete Beach      
                                                         
 Political  advertisement  paid  for  and  approved  by  STEVE  MCFARLIN  for  MAYOR  of  ST.  PETE  BEACH. 
  





The Latest From Ken Weiss

 
Here is an email that I received from Ken Weiss, the attorney for Jim Anderson who is running for the SPB commission seat in district 3.
 
-----Original Message-----
From: Kenneth Weiss <kweiss1@tampabay.rr.com>
To: bonddiamonds <bonddiamonds@aol.com>
Sent: Sat, Jan 18, 2014 11:15 am
Subject: FW: St. Pete Beach elections conflict
PS  And, just to be clear, you now know that there is no conflict for Mr. Anderson to run for office nor to serve, subject to recusing himself for certain issues. Any statement by  you or others which implies that there is a conflict will be deemed to be done with malice with an intent to defame Mr. Anderson. People will be watching and listening to you and everyone else who campaigns against Jim. Your buddy lost her case, but we won’t if we have to bring one.

Ken


Marvin, this warning applies to you as well...just talk to your buddy Martohue about her lawsuit. Be careful what you say. You are no longer going to be defended at the cost of the citizens...

and, you probably weren’t told but there is also a pending motion for attorneys fees against you, personally. Please see the attached. My guess is that you never saw it.

------ Forwarded Message
From: Kenneth Weiss <kweiss1@tampabay.rr.com>
Date: Fri, 17 Jan 2014 17:40:22 -0500
To: Tim Bogott <tbogott@twresort.com>
Conversation: St. Pete Beach elections conflict
Subject: FW: St. Pete Beach elections conflict

Tim,

I expect you will make sure this gets to the right people, Deb Nicklaus, Tony Cahill, Steve McFarlin, Lorraine Huhn, Greg Premier...you know. And be sure to send it to Ms. Martohue, she filed suit over an issue like this.

Thanks,

Ken

------ Forwarded Message
From: Kenneth Weiss <kweiss1@tampabay.rr.com>
Date: Fri, 17 Jan 2014 17:37:24 -0500
To: <Rick@cornerstonesolutionsteam.com>
Conversation: St. Pete Beach elections
Subject: St. Pete Beach elections

Hello Mr. Asani, You may recall we met during some litigation in the St. Pete Beach election matter a few years ago. I've been told that your firm represents one or more of the candidates in the upcoming SPB election in March.

As you may know, my client, Jim Anderson is a candidate for District 3 commissioner. There has been an issue raised as to whether the litigation in which he is involved with the City might raise a conflict which might prevent him from serving on the Commission. Please see the initial email from the Florida Commission on Ethics which states that there is no such conflict.

I wanted to be sure you were aware of that information before your firm disseminated or encouraged any candidate for the upcoming St. Pete Beach elections to there was such conflict. If you have any materials ready to "drop" which make such allegation, I would request that you recall them.

Note, I am doing this merely to put you on notice and am not implying that you would do so.


 
Lawsuit Mentality
 

I'm only 3 days out of office and already I'm being threatened with litigation!  It appears that not only is our Comprehensive Plan unacceptable to some SPB residents, they also evidently have a problem with the concept of freedom of speech.  See below:





-----Original Message-----
From: Harry Metz <hmetz@tampabay.rr.com>
To: 'Marvin Shavlan' <bonddiamonds@aol.com>
Cc: 'George Moore' <ugeo38@hotmail.com>; 'Jim & Brook Anderson' <bamajda@aol.com>

Sent: Fri, Jan 17, 2014 8:45 am
Subject: RE: 1/2 truth
 

Remember Marvin what you write NOW is subject to law suits, the City Law Firm can't help you, it's all on your DIME NOW.
 
Enjoy

Harry
 


1/14/14

Last Thoughts From The Dias

 
Below are my thoughts and comments that I shared at tonight's ( my last ) Commission meeting.
I want to begin by apologizing for having to resign before the end of my term.

As many of you know my wife and I recently put our house on the market and at the time we were told that it would take 6 months to a year to sell. Well, believe it or not we had a contract in 10 days. While I think that says a lot about St. Pete Beach and I'm excited that we found a buyer so quickly, unfortunately we were not able to find a suitable place to buy or rent in district 3 or St. Pete Beach for that matter. Accordingly, and rightly so, the City Charter requires that I resign.

However since this will be my last Commission Meeting I hope that you will indulge me for just a few moments while I reflect on my experiences while on the Commission. First of all let me say that I was fortunate to have served with like minded individuals, all of whom were focused on making St. Pete Beach one of the premier beach communities in the country.

Melinda, who is the newest member of the Commission, has quite frankly surprised me in the way that she has gotten herself up to speed so quickly. I guess I should have expected that there wouldn't have been much of a learning curve with her many years experience on the Historic Preservation Board. She has been a strong advocate for Pass A Grille and continues to push for those ever elusive Design Guidelines.

Loraine, who is our current Vice Mayor, has a certain wisdom about her that I can only aspire to. I think it has something to do with her many years as a teacher. She was also the face of SOLV, a group that promoted reasonable hotel redevelopment, something that I am a big supporter of. She has worked hard to improve Corey from beach to bay and I know that she is anxious to see what concepts the consultants come back with for this area. 

Jim is the longest serving member on the Commission and with his engineering background he is probably one of the smartest members on the Commission. Some would say, and I wouldn't disagree that he can be somewhat verbose, but I have to admit that his research is thorough. However one of my biggest disappointments while on the Commission was being unable to convince him to vote against red light cameras. Fortunately the Sheriff finally got him to see the light on that issue.

And then we have the Mayor. Steve lives and breathes St. Pete Beach. He knows the players at all levels of government and works behind the scenes to make things happen for St. Pete Beach. He and I agree on a business approach to government and during his tenure he has streamlined our meetings and forced us to take a hard look at City revenues and expenses. In my mind he has presided over some of the most successful Commissions in SPB history.

These Commissions, which I am proud to have been part of, have been unique in that they took the emotion out of the decision making process. This approach resulted in one of the most important and far reaching decisions ever made by a SPB Commission. It was a decision that had been touched on for years but emotion and the fear of political ruin prevented it from being made. Then at one of our budget meetings Jim threw it on the table, let's take a look at transitioning to the Sheriff he said. I immediately supported the concept while others on the Commission had to warm up to it but eventually everyone was on board including the Mayor who worked behind the scenes to bring the Police and Sheriff together, which in my mind was the deciding factor.

With the Police now supporting the transition to the Sheriff we then took it to the voters and they agreed. Since then the results have been staggering with a decidedly improved level of service and a savings of 1.7M dollars a year. This savings has allowed us to double our investment in badly needed Capital Improvements in the coming year.

But our successes didn't stop there, we also tackled pension reform, another highly charged issue that no one wanted to touch. Well, we took the bull by the horns and did away with the full on defined benefit plan These plans, which have actually put some cities in bankruptcy, were abandoned by the private sector years ago.

Remember that business approach I talked about? These are two good examples.

However, let's not forget that decisions like these could not have been made without the advice and guidance of Mike Bonfield, our City Manger. In my opinion Mike is very good at what he does and I learn something from him almost every time we meet. I have watched him steer the City through some of the most challenging economic times in history, making tough cuts in personnel and at the same time maintaining the level of service. In addition he was still able to get continual improvement in his department heads each and every year and now he's pretty much got a dream team in place.

Amazingly, despite the constant political turmoil in SPB, Mike has been with us for 12 years this month. At times he has been a very controversial figure, not because he's done something wrong but because he's just doing his job and one of those jobs is taking direction from the Commission which sets policy for the City.

So those that oppose the Comp plan that the last 6 Commissions have supported naturally want him gone because he hears the Commission and is doing what it takes to get that plan in place without the cloud of litigation.

Then there are others who call for his ouster because he is simply enforcing an ordinance that once again is supported by the Commission. These people are few, although they certainly make a lot of noise. Fortunately from what I can tell the Commission is, like me, fully supportive of Mike, who I believe always acts in the best interest of the City.

So while it is a disappointment to have to leave my position early, I leave knowing that the City is good hands.

And one more thing...... I think the Commission should ask the voters for a raise. You just saved the City 1.7M annually by going to the Sheriff. You're paid just $5,000 or so versus the $40,000 the St. Petersburg City Council Members receive. Are they 8 times smarter than you are, do they work 8 times harder?

I think not. I would suggest $10,000 for the Commissioners and $15,000 for the Mayor. You haven't had a raise in nearly 20 years, give it some thought, I think you deserve it.


Unexpected


1/4/14



 
 
As many of you know my wife and I recently put our house on the market.  Our realtor informed us that  a house in our price range would probably take a minimum of 6 months to sell and very likely longer.  As it turns out we had a contract on the house in 10 days.
  
Unfortunately this means that I must resign my position as Commissioner effective the date of closing (which is scheduled for January 15th) because my wife and I have been unable to find a suitable residence to buy or rent in district 3 or St. Pete Beach for that matter.  Accordingly my last meeting will be on Tuesday, January 14th.
  

The City Charter requires the Commission to appoint someone to fill my position for the remainder of the term.  If you would like to be considered you will need to submit a letter of interest to the City Manager by Friday, 1/10/14.  In order to qualify you must have been a full time resident in District 3 for the last 12 months.  The City Manager's email address is MikeBonfield@stpetebeach.org.


  


While I'm disappointed that I cannot serve out the remainder of my term I am very glad to see that one very qualified candidate has already expressed interest in the position.  My understanding is that Ward Friszolowski, former SPB Commissioner and Mayor will be submitting a letter of interest on Monday.

  
I am confident that the City Commission will select a very capable individual who will continue to vigorously represent the residents of District 3 and St. Pete Beach.
 




Anderson Denied Again

James Anderson has suffered yet another loss in his quest to quash the City's Comprehensive Plan.  In the latest of a series of defeats the Court denied his request to Stay or Abate the hearing on the latest Challenge by Anderson on the City's Comprehensive Plan until the Appleal that is currently working it's way through the Appeals Court is decided.  The Judge evidently saw the motion for what it was, a delay tactic, which has been a standard operating procedure for those opposing the plan.

The City has decided to readopt it's Comprehensive Plan as a back up in the unlikely event that the City loses the Appeal currently underway.  The Challenge was expected but fortunately these types of challenges move quickly though administrative court hearings unlike the lengthly and onerous Circuit and Appeals Court hearings.



The Pyle Fallacies

On August 13th the City Commission unanimously readopted it's Comprehensive Plan on second reading. During that reading Dr. Bill Pyle, frequent critic of the City Commission, the City Manager, the City's law firm and anyone else who stands in his way of squashing the Comprehensive Plan that the vast majority of SPB residents support, bounced up to the podium, claimed to represent 25% of Silver Sands condominium owners and proceeded to spew a series of unsubstantiated claims in his continuing effort to shove the minority viewpoint down the throats of SPB residents.

Please click on the latest edition of the Truth & Politics Fact Checker, The Pyle Fallacies, as we examine these claims.

Looming Insurance Crisis

By now you've probably heard that many SPB residents could be facing dramatic increases in their flood insurance premiums because Congress has voted to bring the premiums of the National Flood Insurance Program in line with actuarially sound rates ( click here for detailed information on this).
  
At our last Commission meeting I asked that this topic be added as a discussion item to the agenda.  During that discussion it was decided that Commissioner Parent would encourage the Florida League of Cities to pursue solutions to this problem at their upcoming August meeting which he would be attending.  In addition solutions will be pursued with the Big C group of beach communities.
  
It is my understanding that the House has passed a bill that would delay the implementation of these increases with bi-partisan support.  This is an indication that the Senate will go along with this when they vote on it.  Let's hope so.
  
  

The Proposed Coral Reef Hotel
For all of you that didn't attend the Public Meeting on the proposed Coral Reef Hotel, below are the street and beach side renderings.  Local long time SPB residents, Bobby and Annie Fleeting, are the developers on this project.  As far as I can tell they've addressed the objectives of the Comprehensive Plan as I've noted below.  I think this will be a very exciting project for St. Pete Beach.
  
  
  
  
  
  
I took a cursory look at the site plan and while the City has not reviewed or approved the plan it appears that the site plan attempts to follow through on many of the goals of the Comprehensive Plan as articulated below:
  
Added Public Beach Access- there is a new public beach access on the south side of the property.

  


A More Walkable Community-  there is a 10 foot side walk fronting Gulf Boulevard.


  

More Retail Opportunities On Gulf Boulevard-  there is low rise retail behind the 10 foot sidewalk fronting Gulf Boulevard.
  
Increased Hotel Set Backs- the hotel is situated on the far west end of the property very far back from Gulf Boulevard.
  
Reasonable Height-  Only about 20% of the hotel takes advantage of the 146 foot height limit, most of the hotel is less than 100 feet tall.  As a comparison, the buildings on St. Petersburg's Beach Drive are at approximately 300 feet or more than double the maximum allowable height in SPB's Large Hotel District.
  
Less Tax Burden On The Residents- A project like this will contribute significant ad valorem taxes to the tax rolls, eventually putting less burden on the taxpayers.
  



Re-brand the Community Center?
At our last Commission meeting (6/25/13) the Mayor suggested that we re-brand the Community Center using the name of one our City's benefactors, Beth Morean.

For those of you who aren't aware, Ms. Morean is a SPB resident who was the largest contributor to the Community Center when it was being built.  She is well known in the art world and was instrumental in bringing the Chihuly Collection to St. Petersburg via her Morean Arts Center.

I personally think this is a great idea.  I believe it would elevate the prestige of the Community Center and the City as well.  It would also enhance our marketing of what is now called the Boca Ciega room for weddings and other events as well as the many other offerings at the Community Center.

So what are your thoughts?  Do you like this idea and if you do how would you incorporate the Morean name?  For example...... Morean Waterside, Morean Waterside At Horan Park, Morean Centre St. Pete Beach, Morean Centre At Horan Park.




Your Comprehensive Plan At Work
The Proposed Coral Reef Garden Inn
  
If you live within a mile of the Coral Reef property on Gulf Boulevard you recently received the notice of Public Meeting (July 11th, 7pm) with an attached site plan below.  You received this because our new Comprehensive Plan (currently being challenged on appeal after the City prevailed in Circuit Court) requires hotel developers to hold a Public Hearing on any proposed site plan at least 30 days prior to submitting it to the City for review and approval.  This way the City can take into account citizen comments during the review process.  Please note that anyone can attend this meeting, it is not limited to those within one mile of the property.
  
  
I took a cursory look at the site plan and while the City has not reviewed or approved the plan it appears that the site plan attempts to follow through on many of the goals of the Comprehensive Plan as articulated below:
  
Added Public Beach Access- there is a new public beach access on the south side of the property.
  
A More Walkable Community-  there is a 10 foot side walk fronting Gulf Boulevard.
  
More Retail Opportunities On Gulf Boulevard-  there is low rise retail behind the 10 foot sidewalk fronting Gulf Boulevard.
  
Increased Hotel Set Backs- the hotel is situated on the far west end of the property very far back from Gulf Boulevard.
  
Reasonable Height-  Only about 20% of the hotel takes advantage of the 146 foot height limit, most of the hotel is less than 100 feet tall.  As a comparison, the buildings on St. Petersburg's Beach Drive are at approximately 300 feet or more than double the maximum allowable height in SPB's Large Hotel District.
  
Less Tax Burden On The Residents- A project like this will contribute significant ad valorem taxes to the tax rolls, eventually putting less burden on the taxpayers.


It's Budget Time!

Click on the link below for an overview of the proposed SPB budget for 2013-2014 and contact me with any comments at 727-439-6175.

Proposed 2014 Budget

TBRPC To Hold Final Corey Ave Workshop June 3rd

The City of St. Pete Beach will be  conducting a public meeting on June 3, 2013 beginning at 6:00pm. The meeting  will be held at City Hall (155 Corey Avenue) and will be the second and final  workshop as it pertains to the Corey Avenue District.
This Workshop follows the one held on March 21, 2012,  which was facilitated by the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council. It was the  intent to solicit input from citizens, business owners and property owners  regarding catalyst projects for redevelopment and more than 140 survey responses  have been collected. This follow-up workshop will briefly recap the first  workshop and provide additional detail on potential catalyst projects. A final  report will follow.
Please follow the City website for additional  information as it becomes available.


 Commission Asks County For $8,000,000
At last Tuesday's meeting (4/26/13) the Commission unanimously approved a resolution requesting that Pinellas County provide funding from bed tax collections for permanent rock structures at Upham beach to replace the unsightly T-Groins.  The estimated cost is $8,000,000.
The T-Groins were put in place temporarily to see if they would slow beach erosion.  The results have been positive and beach erosion has been significantly reduced.  However the T-Groins have been susceptible to damage by the elements and vandalism and currently are in need of repair.  Now is the time to put the permanent structures in place.
SPB is certainly deserving of these funds considering the fact that we generate almost 20% of the bed tax in Pinellas County.  In addition the timing is great in that bed tax collections have risen approximately 11% this year.  SPB Commissioners will be reaching out individually to some of the County Commissioners on this issue and we are hopeful that this request will be well received.
More good news on the Bayway Bridge. 
I recently learned that when the new bridge is completed there will be a dedicated Sunpass only lane.  For those SPB residents that have a Sunpass this will ensure that you will no longer get stuck behind the motorist searching for change and as a result, backing up traffic (I know we've all been there at one time or another).


SPB Unfunded Pension Liability Plummets

As a result of (1) changing our pensions to a hybrid defined benefit / defined contribution plan and (2) shifting our law enforcement services to the Pinellas County Sheriff, our unfunded pension liability has dropped by approximately $4,905,612 or 21.7%!

Florida Legislature Follows SPB Lead

According to a recent Tampa Bay Times editorial (2/10/13) it appears that the Florida Legislature is following SPB's lead and considering transitioning the state pension plan from a costly defined benefit plan to a more prudent 401K plan.  SPB went down this road in 2012 and ended up with a hybrid plan incorporating defined benefits with a 401K plan which in the end reduces the risk to the City and it's tax payers.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out at the State level and while the Unions (who certainly aren't looking out for the taxpayers) oppose such a move, I have to believe that you will see changes in the traditional defined benefit plan which just doesn't fit in today's world.


Nothing But Raves For The Sheriff

So far everything I'm hearing about the Sheriff is all good.  Even those who were adamantly against contracting with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office are giving them a thumbs up.  I attended a community association meeting the other night with SPB Community Policing Officer Dave Mancusi and was surprised to learn that some of our officers are ex SWAT!  It was also interesting to note that the Sheriff's office actually helps train other agencies world wide.  It appears that the voters made the right choice in bringing the PCSO to our City.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Anderson Abandons Re-Hearing Motion


I thought I'd let you know that Mr. Anderson has thrown in the towel on attempting to get a rehearing on Judge Demer's recent ruling which sided with the City.  After having spent $57,000 in attorney fees defending motions for rehearing and sanctions, the City was just notified that Mr. Anderson is abandoning the motion for rehearing and filing an appeal.  I guess Mr. Weiss just couldn't bear another loss.
Just so you know this little exercise of Mr. Anderson's has cost the taxpayers  $366,111.73 in costs and attorney fees in addition to the $57,000 spent to defend the motions discussed above. 
Pissed off?  You should be.  This money could have been used to repave some of our many worn out neighborhood roads.
Unfortunately logic and reason have eluded Mr. Anderson and the micro minority he runs with and all the while they continue down the path of wasting taxpayer money.
Call me with any questions:  727-439-6175

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Introducing Truth & Politics Fact Checker

TRUTH & POLITICS
Always Searching
For The Truth
Truth & Politics In St. Pete Beach is pleased to present the Truth & Politics Fact Checker. The T&P Fact Checker will be used to verify the various claims that are routinely thrown about in St. Pete Beach.  With the 2013 election season right around the corner this will come in handy in providing an unbiased evaluation of candidate claims.

To begin with however, we're going to focus on the recent claims made by Ken Weiss (the attorney for James Anderson, who is suing the City over it's Comprehensive Plan) in a Tampa Bay Times article published on 10/10/12.


CLAIM: "the city's redevelopment plan will lead to condo canyons"

RULING: FALSE

The City's new plan specifically discourages condo development by limiting condo height to 5 stores any where on the beach while encouraging hotel development by allowing hotel height to 12 stories, only on a 1 mile stretch of beach and only on parcels of 3 acres or more.



CLAIM: " sewers will have to be constructed or upgraded to handle the arrival of more tourists"

RULING: FALSE

The City's sewer system is currently running at 50% capacity so the chance that sewers would have to be upgraded or constructed because of hotel development is virtually non existent however developers would be charged county impact fees in the unlikely event there was an impact.  The fact of the matter is that the City's sewer system is 50 years old and nearing the end of it's expected useful life and as such will have to be replaced at some point in the future whether or not new hotel redevelopment ever occurs.  Mr. Weiss seems to want to blame the depreciation of City infrastructure on hotel developers.



CLAIM:  "The reality of it is the city just can't absorb 5,000 more units on Gulf Boulevard without extensive inconvenience to the citizens, without extensive costs to the citizens"

RULING: FALSE

The truth of the matter is that the City's new plan results in just under 1900 additional units on Gulf Boulevard assuming all elgible vacant property and all hotel or other non condo property (after being knocked down) in the Large Resort and Boutique Hotel districts was built out to the maximum allowable density (this would take decades to accomplish by the way).  It's also important to note that the new plan results in slightly less allowable density (hotel units as well as residential units ) in the overall redevelopment area when compared to the previous plan.  

Friday, October 12, 2012

Police or Sheriff: The Ballot Language

When you go to the polls to vote on whether or not the City should retain our police department or contract with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office you will actually be deciding if we should repeal Charter Section 4.06, which prohibits contracting our police service with an outside agency.  

The City Commission has discovered that significant savings can be achieved by contracting with the Sheriff and has voted to support such a move.  If this Charter Section is repealed the Commission will be able to move forward and contract with the Sheriff.

Accordingly, if you think the City should contract with the Sheriff you should vote YES to repeal Charter Section 4.06.


If you think the City should retain it's Police Department, you should vote NO to keep Charter Section 4.06 in place.
The Ballot Language is below.  Please note that this item is the last item on the last page of a very long ballot.

Repeal of Charter Requirement for Establishment of Police Department as Charter Department
 BALLOT SUMMARY:
Charter Section 4.06 requires the St. Pete Beach Police Department to be established as a Charter Department and prohibits transfer of law enforcement activity by contract or any other process to any department or employee not administered by the City Manager.  Repeal of this Section will allow the City to transfer law enforcement activity to an outside agency by contract or other process.  Shall Charter Section 4.06 be repealed?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Police or Sheriff: The Facts

The City Commission has discovered that significant savings can 
be achieved (and City liability diminished) by contracting our law 
enforcement services with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.  
Accordingly, we feel that we have a fiscal responsibility to ask 
you to go to the polls and let us know if we should pursue this 
option.  Please review the information below and get 
the facts before you vote.

Click here for a fact sheet on the Sheriff.


BREAKING NEWS 9/25/12
THE CITY COMMISSION VOTED 
TO SUPPORT CONTRACTING 
WITH THE SHERIFF.

 BREAKING NEWS 9/5/12
THE FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE ( FOP, the union
representing the SPB police) HAS VOTED TO SUPPORT
SPB CONTRACTING WITH THE PCSO.  A FORMAL 
STATEMENT WILL BE MADE BY THE FOP AT 
A SOON TO BE DETERMINED COMMISSION MEETING.


St. Pete Beach will save 1.3 million dollars every year by contracting
with the Sheriff. Click here to read the detailed cost analysis.

Watch the Sheriff's presentation here.

The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office is one of the most respected
law enforcement agencies in the state, a 100 year old entity with
40 years experience in providing law enforcement services
to contract cities throughout Pinellas County.

Every Mayor of the cities that currently contract with the Pinellas
County Sheriff's Office (PCSO) is thrilled with the service they
receive from the Sheriff.  In addition, I personally lived in
unincorporated Largo on Lake Seminole for 10 years and
was very happy with the level of service provided by
the PCSO.

The PCSO will provide the same number of officers per shift as
currently provided by the St. Pete Police Department. 
It is important to note that all officers on duty will be 
patrolling within the SPB city limits at all times 
(a common misconception is that officers would be
responding from outside the city limits).

The PCSO's annual budget is 213 million dollars or roughly 47
times the size of the SPBPD's budget, which enables the
PCSO to offer more specialized services and more technically
advanced equipment.  Click here to see the many services
offered by the PCSO.

An independent report on the PCSO commissioned by the
city of Dunedin stated that "The relationship between the
city (Dunedin) and the PCSO is by far the best we have seen
and believe this should serve as a model on how to deliver
regional police services." Click here to read a summary
of that report.

All SPBPD employees would be offered a job opportunity and the
vast majority will acutally receive an increase in pay because
the Sheriff's required pension contribution is only 3% vs
SPB's 8%. The Sheriff offers enhanced benefits when
compared to SPB such as 100% paid medical insurance
for life after 25 years of service.

The PCSO is one of less than 30 sheriff's offices in the United
States (out of 3100) to have received the Triple Crown Award
of being accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law
Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), the American Correctional
Association (ACA), and the National Commission on Correctional
Healthcare (NCCHC).

Contracting with the PCSO will reduce the City's liability.  For
example the City is being currently being sued by a former SPB
police officer claiming that he was fired illegally.  If the City had the
PCSO in place the former officer would be suing the PCSO
not the City.  Likewise recent accidents caused by police officers
that put the City at risk would be a thing of past if the
PCSO was in place.