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Cocoa Beach: If It’s Such A Great Idea…..Part 4 – The Duck Version.

Sometimes people can get lost in conspiracy theories. We read some research on the subject which said that people are drawn to conspiracy theories because it often means that they have information or beliefs that others don’t. At the same time, not all conspiracy theories are wrong. Part of what comes in to play is both Occam’s razor and the ol’ adage “if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.”

In regards to Ballot Question #1 in Cocoa Beach, we are going to put out some things that disturb us in regards to the City’s role in all of this. You are going to have to decide whether they are ducks or whether we are quackers. (See what we did there?)

In this month’s issue of the Cocoa Beach Explorer, there are several things that make us go “what?”

For example, on page 5 under the “Mayor’s Message,” we find this:

If passed, the language that the Ballot Question would replace is found in section 6.04 of the City Charter which reads:
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Cocoa Beach: If It’s Such A Great Idea………. Part 2.

Ballot question one is the hot topic in Cocoa Beach. This is the ballot issue that, despite the ridiculous claims of some to the contrary, allows for higher building heights within the city. (It would also effectively allow for a greater density within a given plot of land as more people could live within the same footprint of the taller building. The legal limit to the density does not change, but practically, more people would live in the same plot of land.)

In our post the other day, we wondered “if the ballot question is such a good idea, why the need to lie about it?” Why lie about the particulars, the facts and the effects if the proposed ballot issue were passed?

In that post we mentioned that a Political Action Committee (PAC) was pushing for the passage of the ballot question.

We have questions about this group as well.

The laws covering PAC’s are found in Chapters 97-106 of the Florida Statutes, the Florida Constitution, various Court opinions, State Attorney General rulings and even local ordinances. As you can imagine, that can get somewhat confusing at times, so the Florida Division of Elections puts out a handbook on PACs, including instructions and regulations on registration with the the applicable government entity, reporting requirements, etc. The wording is easy (or at least easier) to understand and probably could be called “PAC’s Made Easy,” “PAC Primer,” or (jokingly) “PACs for Dummies.”

All that brings us to the PAC called “Protect & Preserve Cocoa Beach.”

PAC’s are required at least to register with what can be called “the lowest level of government” for the issue or candidate they are supporting. By that we mean while a group advocating for a local town council candidate could register with the State of Florida, because the candidate is not running state wide, the PAC can register with local town. Such is the case with this particular PAC as the ballot 1 question applies only to Cocoa Beach.

On August 14, 2018, the PAC presented to the City of Cocoa Beach their registration papers as per the instructions in Chapter 4 of the Political Committee Handbook. On August 15, 2018, the City received another form called “Registered Agent Statement of Appointment.”

With that accomplished, the “Protect & Preserve Cocoa Beach” PAC was set to go 13 days before the primary election which was held on August 28, 2018.

Since that time, the PAC has put out signs, sent mailers, and purchased ads on Facebook.

Political signs that you see along the side of the road during elections are not cheap. Any candidate can tell you that. A mailer to voters in the City of Cocoa Beach is not cheap. Ads on Facebook are not terribly expensive, but they are an expense nonetheless.

Yet somehow this PAC managed to do all these things without spending a dime.

Well, that is what they are telling the City and the voters at least.
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Cocoa Beach: If Question One Is So Great, Why Lie About It?

Cocoa Beach resident John Byron has an op-ed piece in the Florida Today entitled “Vote ‘yes’ to change Cocoa Beach height restrictions in 2018 elections.”

Years ago, Byron offered that people who would normally register as Democrats should instead register as Republicans so in primaries, they could vote for the lesser of Republican candidates to run against a Democrat foe in the general election. In the general election, the faux “Republicans” would then shift their vote for the Democrat candidate hoping to get them elected. In other words, Byron was advocated lying in order to skew primaries and subvert the election process.

In the op-ed piece, Byron is up to his old tricks of not being truthful.

For example, he writes:

Why? Because it retains the 45-foot height that’s been the law since 2002.

This is patently absurd.

If the ballot initiative was to retain the current height limits, there would be no need for the ballot question – the current law would just be kept on the books without a change.

Why is Byron not telling the truth about the height issue as it relates to the ballot issue?

It appears he is not being truthful about the impact of the ballot issue as well:

Question one has limited purpose. It affects only the 13 percent of the city where buildings as tall as 45 feet can be built. It has no impact on city areas set aside for single-family homes.

Heifer hockey.

The ballot issue seeks to change Section 6.04 of the City Charter which reads:
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Cocoa Beach: Dogs On The Beach. At Least It’s Not Cows On The Beach.

image courtesy The Daily Mail.

In case you missed it, earlier this year the City of Cocoa Beach decided to allow dogs on the beach as a trial basis. The move was not without controversy and we certainly hope that the dog owners who pushed for this will act in a responsible manner.

The city commission approved a proposal Thursday night that will allow dogs on a section of Ocean Beach. The ordinance begins July 15 and is in effect for six months.

That will essentially be a trial period to see if dogs and sunbathers can get along, then commissioners will re-evaluate it.

….

Dogs are currently banned from almost all of Brevard County beaches. The exception is Canova Beach Park, which released the hounds in 2012 and has since become a popular spot for dog owners looking to have a little fun in the sun with Fido.
Dogs at Brevard County beaches

The amendment will allow dogs on the stretch of beach from 4th Street to 16th Street from 6-10 a.m. and from 5-7 p.m. (and then 5-9 p.m. during daylight saving time). Dogs will have to be on a leash and owners are required to pick up after them.

For those who think this was a bad move, we offer that it could have been worse. Much worse. The City could have voted to allow cows on the beach.

Yes, cows.
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Cocoa Beach: Commission Meeting Tonight.

Just a small reminder that tonight there is a regular Commission meeting for the City of Cocoa Beach starting at 7:00 PM. There doesn’t seem to be anything on the agenda that we would label “controversial,” but that is our opinion.

There are only two items in the “new business” part of the meeting and both are final votes for approving the final language on ballot questions for the November elections. The first question is the height issue, and the second question is the correction to the charter to correct some alleged errors.

These two questions have been discussed and beaten to death and as this is the second reading of two for both, we don’t expect much discussion and debate.

However, this is also your last chance to comment on the language of these two ballot measures, so if you want to make your feelings known or this or on any other issue, you should head on up to the meeting and speak.

Be a part of the process and the solution.



Looking Back.

We actually found this picture for sale on a site, but thought it was so interesting and cool that we wanted to post it.

It is the Cocoa Beach Pier circa 1972.

Hard to recognize the place, isn’t it?

Time marches on.



Cocoa Beach: City Commission Tonight – Final Vote On Ballot Language For Height.

Tonight the Cocoa Beach City Commission meets starting at 6:00 PM for a CRA meeting followed by a 7 PM regular Commission meeting. The agenda for both meetings can be found here.

For a warm July evening, this meeting has a couple of things that will affect the citizens of Cocoa Beach.

First is an item that will confirm meetings to establish the millage rate for the upcoming year. The dates for those meetings would be September 5, 2018 (Wednesday) at 6:00 PM, to set the tentative millage and tentative budget, and September 20, 2018 (Thursday) at 7:00 PM. The could be considered a “save the date” vote.

A second item of interest is to finalize the languages as to what would appear on the ballot this year in regards to height limitations within the City.
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Cocoa Beach: Dave Netterstrom -Deja Vu All Over Again.

9image courtesy Florida Today)

Stop us if you have heard this one before.

Dave Netterstrom has quit before the end of his commitment.

In April of 2018, Netterstrom announced he was running for the Cape Canaveral Port Authority commissioner in District 5.

Now, less than 2 months later, Netterstrom has left the race.

The race for Canaveral Port Authority commissioner in District 5 has a new twist, as a third Republican candidate dropped out of the campaign.

Former Cocoa Beach Mayor Dave Netterstrom withdrew from the race, saying his heart is just not in it to campaign for the seat.

That leaves three Republicans and one Democrat seeking the seat now held by Tom Weinberg, who is not seeking re-election.

In November of 2015, Netterstrom resigned as Mayor of the City of Cocoa Beach effective December 31, 2015.

As we posted at the time, Netterstrom wrote in an open letter to the residents of Cocoa Beach:

All good things must end and unfortunately that time has come. I must stop playing and get back to work. At the end of the year, I will resign my position as Mayor (a job highly recommend) so I can clear my mind and focus on new opportunities. As many of you are aware, I’ve been purchasing distressed properties and flipping them to new owners. As the economy gets better, my business model is changing (bad for me, great for everyone else) and 2016 will be an exciting transition time for me.

In 2016 Netterstrom, apparently with a clear mind, focused on the new opportunity of running for the Clerk of the Courts. In November of 2016, he was rather soundly beaten by Scott Ellis with Ellis getting twice the number of votes Netterstrom received. ( 198,2398 votes (67.47%) to 95,657 votes (32.53%))

(Of interest is that Netterstrom ran against Ellis without any party affiliation. For the Port Authority seat, he was running as a Republican. Make up your mind, Dave.)

This past week, Netterstrom said this about dropping out of the Port Canaveral race:
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