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Cocoa Beach: Commission Meeting Tonight – Presentation On Lori Wilson Park Takeover.

Tonight at 7:00 PM, the City Commission will meet in a regular meeting. The agenda for the meeting can be found here.

One of the interesting items is right up front:

C SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS
1. Discuss possible transfer of ownership of Lori Wilson Park from Brevard County to the City of Cocoa Beach. No action is requested at this time; the presentation is intended for public dialogue.
Representatives: Mayor Ben Malik, Brevard County District 2 Commissioner Bryan Lober, Tourist Development Council Director Peter Cranis

While the presentation is only being made for public information and no vote will be taken on anything, there is something to watch out for and that is political “trickeration.”
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Palm Bay: Can You Hear Us Now?

Good grief.

PALM BAY, Fla. – Details from a state audit of Palm Bay keep coming to light, and with each development, the frustration grows among critics of the city’s fiscal practices. This time, cellphones and international calls are the things raising eyebrows.

The City of Palm Bay continues to deal with the results of the scorching audit from Florida’s Auditor General. Questions are swirling about how local taxpayer dollars are being spent. FOX 35 News told you about the “ramp to nowhere” last month. State Rep. Randy Fine, who has an office in Palm Bay, was one of the most outspoken critics. Now, Fine is sounding the alarm on his social media pages about more than 700 cellphones the city gives to its employees.

The audit reveals $300,000 went to cellphone bills over a 17-month period. The audit found one employee was frequently calling Jamaica and taking the phone to the island, but city officials didn’t seem to mind or didn’t notice it. The cellphone issue is only Item 9 of 31. There are allegedly tens of millions of dollars that have been misspent.

We want to concentrate on the cell phone issue for a moment.

First, it is not unusual for companies to issue cell phones to their employees.
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Palm Bay: Santiago And Anderson Deflect City’s Responsibilities, Blame Informed Voters For Voting. Part 2 Of 2.

Yesterday we started to fisk the comments made by City Councilman Santiago on the results of the referendum vote. We are going to continue that today.

Councilman Santiago continued:

I think this is something that something in the future the Charter Review Commission might have to really look at it again and say, “you know, what is this really going to do?”

This is a really interesting statement.

In 2016 when the citizens voted to change the special assessments procedures under the charter, they were told two things.

First, they were given estimated numbers for assessments. Secondly, they were told that before passing the assessments, there would be a hearing on the assessments themselves.

When the citizens bought into that, they voted to change the procedure hoping that the change would expedite road and infrastructure construction and maintenance.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.
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Palm Bay: Santiago And Anderson Deflect City’s Responsibilities, Blame Informed Voters For Voting. Part 1 Of 2.

After last week’s election on Tuesday, the Palm Bay City Council had a regular meeting on Thursday during which time Councilmen Santiago and Anderson addressed the election results on the three referendums.

As we often do, we transcribed the comments and are going to fisk their and see how they stack up.

The comments start out with those of Councilman Santiago at 2:47:00 of the meeting.

I wanted to …and again I also congratulate the Petition Committee. They worked very hard, they went out there, they gathered signatures, and I know there was a alot, there was some skepticism, as far as whether they received all the signatures. It wasn’t counted, that is a fact, and it was something that because the way our Charter is written, because of the way the petition packet that they received from us, which they then went out, because it wasn’t counted by the Supervisor of Elections,…. unfortunately things went the way that they did, we as Council decided, well, because of the way things went, because basically it could become a litigious situation, we went ahead and brought it forth on the special election here.

If it is a “fact” that the signatures were not counted, that is another in a long list of failures by the City.
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Palm Bay Votes.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: We don’t normally do this, but we are going to “sticky” this post at the top of the blog page through tomorrow. We are doing so in order that residents of Palm Bay can read and discuss the issue and be reminded to vote on this Tuesday.)

Citizens of Palm Bay will head to the polls on November 5, 2019 to vote on three referendums that were brought about by a citizen initiated petition drive.

We want to address some of the issues the three referendum raise.

We are taking our information directly from the City’s website as we want to dissect the information the City is putting out before the voters.

A group of Palm Bay voters formed a committee to petition for a change to Section 6.02 regarding special assessments. The City Clerk delivered the petition to the County Supervisor of Elections to verify the signatures. The Supervisor of Elections rejected the form. Consequently, Council was unable to validate the signatures. Council subsequently agreed to call a special election for the proposed Charter Amendment.

If you vote ‘Yes’ – it means:

  • If a proposed project affects more than fifty property owners or costs more than $25,000, the City cannot implement a special assessment until the majority of affected property owners return a ballot approving the assessment.
  • If you vote ‘No’ – it means:

  • City Council shall have the power to impose special assessments after legal notice and public hearings as required by law
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    Palm Bay: JLAC And The Exchange To Nowhere.

    Residents of Palm Bay have finally gotten to see the preliminary results of the JLAC (Joint Legislative Auditing Committee) which for the last year and a half or so was looking into the practices of the City government of Palm Bay.

    The report contains at least 31 areas of concern where the City violated policies, laws, guidelines, known best practices, etc.

    To be honest, the report is an indictment of many things within the City and we will get to that in a moment.

    After our last post on the charges leveled by Representative Randy Fine concerning the “exchange to nowhere,” we were attacked by some Fine supporters who said Fine was only looking out for the people of Palm Bay.

    We disagree with that assessment, but that’s not the point.

    What we are starting to see is like rats deserting a sinking ship, people within the City government and others outside the City government are turning on each other. It almost seems that they and some residents think this whole mess is a “binary choice” or a “silver bullet.” The messages by many seem to be “yes, Person X was wrong, but Person Y did something that was worse.”

    In the end, people are chasing the worst part of the corruption and those who committed it rather than going after all corruption.

    The goal should be the end of all corruption.

    The people of Palm Bay and Brevard County should demand and deserve no less.
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    Randy Fine And The “Exchange To Nowhere”

    In case you missed it, last week State Representative Randy Fine attacked the City of Palm Bay for “incompetence” on the part of the City that he described as “breathtaking” concerning the so called “exchange to nowhere”

    Several publications covered Fine’s pronouncement and take on the situation:

    When Fine’s office asked Palm Bay city officials when the connecting road would be completed, they were unable to provide an immediate answer and said they needed to hold meetings to determine an answer.

    “The level of incompetence here is so breathtaking that it is almost beyond comprehension,” said Fine.

    “Palm Bay agreed with FDOT to build this connecting road in 2013, and to not get it done over six years – while asking the state and federal government to spend $27.8 million – should be criminal. To not even be able to say when it will be finished is unconscionable. If you can’t build a road, you shouldn’t rule a city.

    And an almost duplicate story from FloridaPolitics.com:

    The city told Fine, whose south Brevard seat encompasses the entirety of Palm Bay, it doesn’t know when the so-called “interchange to nowhere” will get the connecting road it’s waiting on. City officials said they would need to hold meetings before they could give an answer.

    Fine is livid — to the point he’s questioning whether Palm Bay should even be a city.

    “The level of incompetence here is so breathtaking that it is almost beyond comprehension,” Fine said.
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    Palm Bay: Always The Victim.

    “Homeless advocate” Thomas Rebman took to Facebook the other day to announce that he had won a case against Tara Pariso. Pariso, who heads up the South Brevard Sharing Center, was seeking to have Rebman stop making defamatory and false claims against her and the South Brevard Sharing Center.

    Pariso’s lawsuit was doomed from the start for a variety of reasons, but the good news is that people who have actually worked with the South Brevard Sharing Center have made Rebman’s accusations against the organization a “cause célèbre” allowing the organization to get more publicity and more donations as people who work with, and have been actually helped by the South Brevard Sharing Center rallied to their defense.

    That’s a good thing in our mind.

    Yet there is something else.

    Apparently Rebman feels that a judge dismissing a case means the comments he made about Pariso and the South Brevard Sharing Center are true. That’s not necessarily true, but we want to back the legal train up a bit to last month – September in fact, when Rebman sought an order of protection against the mother of a former student and lost.

    The Pariso case and the Nunekemp case are very similar. There was the same accusations made by Rebman and Pariso. In the filings you can see that Rebman claimed Nunenkemp (image here) was stalking him, just as Pariso claimed Rebman was stalking her and the South Brevard Sharing Center (image here).

    Both cases were heard by the same judge – the Honorable David E. Silverman.

    In both cases, Rebman believes he is a victim. To us, that seems to be a pattern than anytime someone pushes back or disagrees with him, he claims to be a victim. It is almost as if in his mind he hears a voice saying “how dare those people make true statements! I am a victim of truth!”

    Logically, if Rebman believes that Pariso’s claim against him was dismissed because he was telling the truth, then it follows that his complaint against Nunekemp was not based on the truth either.
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    Palm Bay: Tax Increase, Decrease, Pockets, Accountability.

    State Representative Randy Fine posted this about tonight’s City Council meeting in Palm Bay:

    There are all sorts of issues with this and it is easy to get caught only looking at one of those issues.
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    Brevard County: Does Palm Bay’s Odyssey Charter School Have A Bus Safety Issue?

    We all want our kids to be safe on school buses when they are traveling back and forth to school, school trips, sporting events, etc. To a great extent, we realize that keeping kids in seats is a bit like trying to herd cats.

    The State of Florida has very specific laws on school bus safety that can be found in chapter 1006.25 of the Florida Statutes:

    1006.25 School buses.—School buses shall be defined and meet specifications as follows:

    (1) DEFINITION.—For the purpose of this part, a “school bus” is a motor vehicle regularly used for the transportation of prekindergarten disability program and kindergarten through grade 12 students of the public schools to and from school or to and from school activities, and owned, operated, rented, contracted, or leased by any district school board, …

    [….]

    (4) OCCUPANT PROTECTION SYSTEMS.—Students may be transported only in designated seating positions, except as provided in s. 1006.22(12), and must use the occupant crash protection system provided by the manufacturer, which system must comply with the requirements of 49 C.F.R. part 571 or with specifications of the State Board of Education.

    With that in mind, we were sent these pictures of students on Odyssey Charter School buses.
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