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Cocoa Beach: The Shark Sign And The Board Of Adjustment.

BeachWave-Sign-Variance-ROH

On May 18, 2016, the Cocoa Beach Board of Adjustments (BOA) met to examine requests for three variances within the City. The second of the three requests was not controversial as the property owners wanted to build an extension to their home which is situated closer the side property line than current side set back standards allow. To have denied the variance would have resulted in a awkward design to say the least. As the request did not impose or harm anyone, the variance was granted.

The first and third requests for the night were going to be controversial to some extent. The first request was a variance to allow the rebuilding of the BeachWave “Shark sign” located at 125 West Cocoa Beach Causeway. The sign cabinet was blown down during a storm in January of 2016. To repair the sign is greater than 50% of the cost to build it from scratch thus triggering a need for a variance.

The third variance was for the building of a condominium which well exceeds the height requirements of the City Code and Charter. We have covered this variance extensively here and here as well as the Board of Adjustment’s vote to grant a variance here.

The intent of this post is not to make the case for or against the Shark Sign variance. Frankly, if this were a request for a variance of this type that had never happened before in Cocoa Beach we would probably be against it. However, similar variance requests have been made – and granted – by the BOA, so we have a tendency to believe that out of fairness and precedence, the request should be granted.

The intent of this post is to show how this request was handled, cite the precedence, and examine the role of the Building Department in this. In a later post, we plan on comparing how the way the Shark Sign variance and the condo variance were treated on that May 18th night.

The owners of BeachWave asking for the variance were represented by attorney Kimberly Rezanka. The group standing in opposition of the variance was the Building Department of the City of Cocoa Beach.

Right there is the first problem.

The Building Department should take no stance on any variance. The City should remain neutral in these issues. When the City takes sides, it no longer represents all citizens and groups. Instead of representing all people, when the Building Department takes a position, they are representing either the few people in the Building Department (many of whom do no live in the city) or a few special groups who act behind the scenes and out of the light of day.

How does this manifest itself?

In the “Briefing Packet” for the variance, the City says:
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Memorial Day.

Dead soldiers surrounding the Dunker Church following the Battle of Antietam,  September 17, 1862.

Dead soldiers surrounding the Dunker Church following the Battle of Antietam, September 17, 1862.

We never quite know what to post on Memorial Day. Anything we say seems so cheap and almost condescending.

The thought that keeps running through our heads this year is that we, the living, must honor those who gave their last measure upon the alter of freedom.

We should never forget.
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Idiocy At The School Board.

Kneesey-Paterakis-Zieg;ler-ver-2-ROH

The headline reads: “Brevard School Board candidate arrested during LGBT meeting.”

School Board candidate Dean Paterakis was charged with disrupting a school function and resisting an officer without violence Tuesday after he was ejected from a school board meeting dealing with LGBT issues. The incident was caught on video.

Paterakis was released on $750 bond before midnight on the two misdemeanor charges.

As often is the case, the headline and the opening paragraph from the Florida Today is not accurate. The headline can be more accurately described as sensationalism.

This was not a “LGBT meeting.” One of the more contentious items may have been what was called “Agenda Item G37″which was to be a vote on holding a workshop to examine including new language into the Board and school policies that would add gays, lesbians, bisexual, transgendered and “gender identity” to a “protected class” status for the purpose of so called discrimination within the County.

The public believed, and based on the wording of the agenda itself, that the vote would be on adding the proposed wording to the policy as opposed to voting to hold a workshop in June to discuss the proposed wording to the policies.

The meeting can be viewed on the Brevard County Public Schools website. Before Public Comments and agenda item G37, Board Chair Andy Ziegler stated Item G37 was on voting to hold a workshop and not on accepting the actual proposed language.

At the start of the Public Comments, Ziegler also made this statement:

“Please be reminded that profane, abusive, or slanderous speech is not permitted. To clarify, we consider this Board Room an extension of the school environment and therefore, if it is not an appropriate conversation in a school, we don’t consider it appropriate conversation here.”

That statement needs to be examined because it doesn’t matter how Ziegler and the Board views the meeting, what matters is the law. As far as the law is concerned, Ziegler is way out in left field.
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Does Having A “Wingman” Actually Help You Get A Date?

Does Having A “Wingman” Actually Help You Get A Date?

Believe it or not, there is science behind this.





Couric, Clinton, and Reid.

Where to begin?

In case you missed it, Katie Couric, head of Yahoo’s News Division, was the executive producer of an alleged “documentary” on guns in the US. The film was produced and directed by anti gun activist Stephanie Soechtig

At a point in the film, Couric asks a group of people from the Virginia Citizens Defense League:

“If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?”

There is an 8 second gap between the question and the answer. The film seems to show that the people are confused or don’t know how to respond.

Here’s the relevant portion of the video:

The problem is that the people did respond immediately. The Virginia Citizens Defense League made an audio recording of the interview:

The footage used in the documentary was actually footage shot before the interview took place and inserted into the film and changed the whole tenor and meaning of what happened. Instead of the portrayal of being confused and not knowing how to answer, the members of the discussion group were well prepared and ready with an multiple answers.

Caught in a lie and deception, one would think Soechtig would apologize.

One would be wrong.

Soechtig issued this statement:
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Who’s More Pro-Choice: Europe Or America?

A few days ago, we asked the question “what do you do when the facts don’t support your beliefs?”

In general, we think one of the things that has changed for the worse in society is the ability of people to say, “I got that one wrong,” or “I have given the matter more thought and have changed my opinion.”

It seems today that people get accosted for changing their minds, even when the change is due to facts. Maybe it is because of the long memory of the internet. Maybe it is because our desire to be seen as being right is more important than actually being right. Maybe it is because actually thinking seems to a lost art. As a friend puts it, “schools don’t teach you how to think, they only seek to indoctrinate you with their way of thinking.”

So when we saw the title of this Prager University video of “Who’s More Pro-Choice: Europe or America?” the answer in our mind was clearly “Europe; they are more ‘progressive’ in thought and morals.”

Boy, were we wrong.

In case you want to read it, the article in The Atlantic written by Emily Matcher and mentioned in the video can be found here.

One of the more interesting quotes is this:
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New York Values.

empire-state-building--ROH
Remember when during the Republican primaries, Ted Cruz mentioned “New York values” and how they were not the same as the rest of the county?

Maybe this is what Cruz was talking about:

You can be fined for not calling people ‘ze’ or ‘hir,’ if that’s the pronoun they demand that you use

That’s the official legal guidance from the New York City Commission on Human Rights:

The NYCHRL [New York City Human Rights Law] requires employers[, landlords, and all businesses and professionals] to use an [employee’s, tenant’s, customer’s, or client’s] preferred name, pronoun and title (e.g., Ms./Mrs.) regardless of the individual’s sex assigned at birth, anatomy, gender, medical history, appearance, or the sex indicated on the individual’s identification.

Most individuals and many transgender people use female or male pronouns and titles. Some transgender and gender non-conforming people prefer to use pronouns other than he/him/his or she/her/hers, such as they/them/theirs or ze/hir. [Footnote: Ze and hir are popular gender-free pronouns preferred by some transgender and/or gender non-conforming individuals.] …

So people can basically force us — on pain of massive legal liability — to say what they want us to say, whether or not we want to endorse the political message associated with that term, and whether or not we think it’s a lie.

It gets worse:
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Doghjey !

paramount-logo-with-Bird-of-Prey-ROHDoghjey!

Paramount Studios has decided to drop their lawsuit against Axanar and let the fan film Star Trek: Axanar go forward.

We had been following this story not because of Paramount’s claim on the Star Trek franchise itself, but rather Paramount’s ridiculous claim they owned a language.

Our first look at this case was caused by attorney Marc Randazza’s amusing and spot on amicus brief filed on behalf of the Language Creation Society. After correcting some mistakes in our post, we posted Paramount’s response seeking to bar the amicus brief and Randazza’s response to that.

Our last post was to detail the judge’s orders essentially saying the legal question of whether a language could be copyrighted was not being argued and therefore the judge need not rule on the amicus brief. The judge did allow the Language Creation Society to file a brief if the issue needed to be decided down the road.

Now it appears that the lawsuit against Axanar will be dropped by Paramount. The source of this announcement?

Star Trek Executive Produce JJ Abrams himself.
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