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Satellite Beach: We Have No Idea.

It’s not often that you will hear us say this on any subject. We have a wide variety of people with various experiences here at Raised on Hoecakes, and so it is unusual for us to come up a situation where we say “Huh?”

Such is the case with Satellite Beach and tonight’s meeting on both the Budget Workshop at 5:00 PM (agenda and packet) and a Regular meeting at 7:00 PM. (agenda and packet)

What caught our eye was agenda item 10 which reads:

DISCUSS/TAKE ACTION ON RESOLUTION NO. 1013, A RESOLUTION OF THECITY OF SATELLITE BEACH, BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA AUTHORIZING THE ISSUANCE OF NOT TO EXCEED $1,463,000 PRINCIPAL AMOUNT OF CITY OF SATELLITE BEACH, FLORIDA HALF-CENT SALES TAX REVENUE NOTE, SERIES 2019 FOR THE PURPOSE OF FINANCING VARIOUS CAPITAL PROJECTS AS MORE PARTICULARLY DESCRIBED HEREIN; PLEDGING HALF-CENT SALES TAX REVENUES TO SECURE PAYMENT OF THE PRINCIPAL OF AND INTEREST OF SUCH NOTE; MAKING SUCH DETERMINATIONS AS ARE REQUIRED TO AFFORD SUCH NOTE “BANK QUALIFIED” STATUS; MAKING CERTAIN COVENANTS AND AGREEMENTS FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE HOLDER OF SUCH NOTE; AUTHORIZING CERTAIN OFFICIALS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE CITY TO TAKE ALL ACTIONS REQUIRED IN CONNECTION WITH THE SALE, ISSUANCE AND DELIVERY OF SUCH NOTE; MAKING CERTAIN COVENANTS AND AGREEMENTS IN CONNECTION THEREWITH; AND PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE

We are unsure of any “half cent sales tax revenues” that would fund this bond. That doesn’t mean it isn’t out there, but we have never seen it or seen something like this called that.

Here is the information from the packet, and if you read it, you’ll see that the language only adds to the confusion of a layperson or regular citizen.
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Satellite Beach: The Many Missteps And Accusations – Some Accidental, Some Planned.

We wrote yesterday about the handling of the citizens’ concerns in Satellite Beach and how the City failed to uphold the law in many cases. In addition, we wrote how being disruptive in a meeting is not productive for a variety of reasons. In other words, so far while some hands are “dirtier” than others, no one has “clean hands” in this entire mess.

Today we want to look at some missteps made by the City, people and groups. We know that this list will not make some people happy, but we think that it is important.

One of the groups looking into the health issues called in Erin Brockovich. Brockovich came to fame from a book and a 2000 movie called “Erin Brockovich.”

Most people know the story of Brockovich and the town of Hinkley, CA from the movie. What many people don’t know is what happened that the movie didn’t show:

But an epidemiological study ultimately showed that the cancer rate was no greater than that of the general population. The rate was actually slightly less.

Hinkley, California, the town made famous in the Oscar-winning Julia Roberts movie Erin Brockovich, does not show any evidence of an increased rate of cancers.

Pacific Gas and Electric, which released a toxic plume of hexavalent chromium 6 from a Hinkley-based natural gas pipeline station, paid a record $333 million to settle a class-action suit in 1996. But the California Cancer Registry has now completed three studies that show cancer rates remained normal in from 1988 to 2008.

The Hinkley case should serve as a cautionary tale for those looking to involve Brockovich as the case seemed to be more about money for lawyers than alleged victims:
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Satellite Beach: There’s Transparency And Then There Is Satellite Beach Transparency.

A short, brief update on something that came to light that we had forgotten about.

In the post below, we had embedded the YouTube video of the Satellite Beach City Council meeting of March 8, 2019. We embed a lot of videos and we cannot remember when we ever edited a video. We let the videos stand for themselves.

However, if you click onto the embedded video, you will get this message:

In essence, what has happened is that Satellite Beach wants people to watch the video from their YouTube Channel rather than on another site. Instead of letting people see what happened, they want to control the access to the video.
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Satellite Beach: Cancer, Meetings, Attacks, And Lines On A Map.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We aren’t sure where this post will go as far as being organized and a easy to follow discussion of what is going on in Satellite Beach. There are many issues which may fall under the umbrella of one topic, but to us the umbrella is much bigger than just the singular issue. We want to highlight that as well. In our opinion, no one in this whole mess has “clean hands.” People seem to be so concerned with making it known that the “other side(s) is wrong,” that they forget the simple idea that everyone should be working toward a common goal.

In case you have been living under a rock in Brevard County, there is a concern of “cancer clusters” in the area. Understandably, people are upset and scared and we feel for them in the lack of knowledge, lack of science, and most importantly a lack of direction and solutions.

People want answers and they want them yesterday. Unfortunately, that’s simply not possible.

We were forwarded a series of documents to look at concerning the issues. We want to let the pubic see the documents and problems they cause.

On March 8, a series of people made comments to the Satellite Beach City Council. Their comments start at the 00:08:00 mark in the video below with comments made by a resident concerning the issues we will discuss. The next speaker at 00:13:40 discusses an issue with parking at the library which City Manager Courtney Barker says she will address. After that, from 00:15:39 to 00:33:40 speakers return to address concerns raised by the first speaker.

All of the issues center around the City of Satellite Beach’s handling of the investigation into concerns of beachside citizens over alleged cancer clusters in the area.

THE (LACK OF) SUNSHINE MEETING:

We wrote about this September 17, 2018 meeting previously. (see here, here and here.)

More on this has come to light.

On Friday, September 14, 2018, Administrative Assistant Julie Finch wrote to Erin Brockovich associate Bob Bowcock saying the City would be providing lunch for the attendees to the meeting. Included in that list of attendees was Mayor Frank Catino, City Councilman Mark Brimer and City Councilwoman Mindy Gibson. Also included is a person by the name of “Kathy Marler,” who is described as a “Cancer Advocate and Parent of Cancer Survivor.” (More on Marler later.) Clearly this letter shows that the meeting was scheduled as one meeting (not three as the City later claimed.)

As we wrote after the meeting, the City initially made the workshop with the press, elected officials, City employees and a resident a meeting open and subject to the Sunshine Laws.
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Satellite Beach: Letter On Ground Water.

The City of Satellite Beach sent out a letter to residents (and apparently some neighboring non-residents) concerning testing of water in the area after health concerns were raised by residents.

The City has had several missteps on this issue including a clear violation of the Sunshine Laws concerning meetings.

We have tried to stay out of this whole thing because there are people out there who are concerned with promoting other agendas including fear rather than taking a reasonable, science based approach to finding out what was going on.

However, we feel the City’s letter is a good one, addressing the science and making reports and conclusions open to the public for inspections.
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Satellite Beach: City Clerk Leonor Olexa Terminated.

Satellite Beach has terminated the employment of City Clerk Leonor Olexa. The termination letter is below.

The termination latter is signed by Suzanne Sherman, who has since left Satellite Beach to return to Palm Bay as an Assistant City Manager.

We have a saying here at Raised on Hoecakes that “no one is ever fired – people fire themselves. Supervisors just do the paperwork.”

Such is the case here.



Satellite Beach: A Clarification.

Satellite Beach Officials blocking access to meeting.
Left to right: Satellite Beach Police Department Sergent Steve Owen, Councilman Mark Brimer, Councilwoman Mindy Gibson, Mayor Frank Catino (seated.)

We received some feedback on our posts concerning Satellite Beach and their blocking of people into what are clearly public meetings. (See here and here.)

Mostly, the concerns have been with what to do as the City had admitted they knew their actions were to get circumvent the Sunshine Laws.

We agree that the City of Satellite Beach tried (successfully it appears) to circumvent the Sunshine Laws. The acts to do this were deliberate as the Mayor admitted.

Strangely, just admitting that you tried and succeeded at circumventing the Sunshine Laws is not a crime. Established law says that a government entity has to not on violate the Sunshine Laws, but know that their actions were illegal.

The case this is based upon is Blackford v. Sch. Bd. of Orange City 375 So. 2d 578 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1979) and is somewhat similar to what happened in Satellite Beach.

The School Board of Orange City was looking at a contentious rezoning of schools and did not want to have School Board meeting where all of the options would be discussed in front of a large group or parents. The School Board wanted to come out with the plan and present it at an open meeting, but did not want to have the discussion of proposed plans to be held “in the Sunshine.”

Here’s what the School Board did:
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Satellite Beach: “Screwed Up” Doesn’t Cover It.

Satellite Beach Officials blocking access to meeting.
Left to right: Satellite Beach Police Department Sergent Steve Owen, Councilman Mark Brimer, Councilwoman Mindy Gibson, Mayor Frank Catino (seated.)

Yesterday we wrote a brief post talking about a meeting Satellite Beach hosted concerning the health issues in the area. The meeting was attended by City Manager Courtney Barker, Representative Thad Altman, School Board member Tina Descovich, officials from Patrick Air Force Base, other elected officials, county employees, and a representative from Erin Brocovich’s group, Bob Bowcock.

Also in attendance were three members of the City Council – Mayor Frank Catino, and Council members Mark Brimer and Mindy Gibson.

What has people upset was that the public at large was excluded from the meeting.

At Monday’s meeting, Satellite Beach Mayor Frank Catino denied access to about a dozen concerned citizens at the council chambers door. Catino told them it was a private meeting, because fewer elected city officials were there at any given time than would trigger Florida’s open meetings law.

He and council members Mindy Gibson and Mark Brimer rotated in and out of the council chambers to avoid breaking state open meetings law, which requires public notice and public access if two or more elected city officials are present. City Manager Courtney Barker said the city kept invites limited to keep the meeting professional and focused. “There is a level of professionalism that’s being lost,” Barker said.

As we said yesterday, we agree that there is a level of professionalism being lost and that lack of professionalism starts with the City Staff and elected officials not following the law of the land when it comes to the Sunshine Law and open meetings.

The first question is “was this a public meeting?”
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