Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Community Action Team Minutes from May 2, 2011

CAT would like to thank all of those in attendance last night, especially Diane Emeott, Editor at the Observer.  

So, last night things got kicked off at about 7:04pm (So we are getting better).  Dr. *********, North Broward Prevention Coalition, performed the invocation.  

********* ********* addressed the group first discussing the Public Utility Tax that is up for first read through at tonight's City Commission Meeting.  This tax was proposed last year by the City Manager, Burgess Hanson, as a way to reduce the millage rate (property tax) and ensure that everyone pays their fair share of taxes and so the City is not so dependent on the property tax to fund City expenditures.  

This tax increase, if approved, would take effect 10/1/2011 and be imposed on the residents and businesses electric bill, water bill, and gas bills raising them by at least 10%.  ********* advised the group that when this tax was first proposed she asked the City Manager for a Financial Impact Statement report to determine where these additional $6,000,000.00 in funds would be spent, but that report was never provided.  She advised the group to submit a public record request or ask their respective Commissioners to review the Financial Impact Statement.

[I emailed the City Clerk with my request for the Financial Impact Statement on Tuesday and as of Wednesday close of business had not received it]

(As of May 5, 2011 the City Clerk's office advised me that no such document exist)

********* continued and stated that this is only the first reading and that the public hearing is May 17, 2011 and everyone should plan to attend and show their support for or against this proposed tax.  She also commented on the possible privatization of our Solid Waste Department.  She exclaimed, "Don't let them privatize sanitation".  She expounded upon the possible agreement that would allow for the hiring of the laid-off DB Solid Waste employees for one year, by the private company who would win the bid, but she said they would lose the protections of civil service.  She stated that we should not support this privatization because regardless we have to pay for it and it does not affect or tax rate because we pay for it separately anyway.

******* advised the group that voters reg forms where in the back of the room and they should make sure to get everyone they know registered to vote.  It was stated that if anyone wants to run the cost is about $400 to qualify and all are welcomed to run if they have a genuine interest in helping the residents of District 2.  We discuss the proposed date for the Election if approved of July 19, 2011 and the qualifying dates of June 6-10.  With the closing date foregistration of voters is June 20.  It was urged that everyone get out and register their kids and neighbors.

********* scrolled in at about 7:28pm and started off by roasting me exclaiming that ********* told him that the meeting started at 7:30pm and that I should get on the same page with our secretary.  (This set the tone, again, for the night)  I advised him that at the last meeting the entire group including him had agreed to meet at 7:00pm and all communication in writing stated the same.  I apologized to him that he and the secretary got their wires crossed.  He accepted the apology and finally moved on, obviously satisfied with himself.  ********* went on to state the qualifications of Former *********, as if we didn't know. He welcomed the attendees from all districts.

Dr. *********, Church Leader, spoke on the North Broward Prevention Coalition (NBPC), which is his organization that has members from BSO, SBBC, SAO, and other faith based groups.  He advised the group that he and his wife used to organize the community at the grassroots level and have now elevated to a bigger more effective platform with the NBPC whose goal to ensure that people in higher government do not make all the decisions for the little people without the communities’ involvement.  He stated that our communities need both groups working together, his group NBPC as the voice and CAT (or other community grassroots organization) as the hands.  He congratulated the group on their initiative to energize and galvanize the community.

********* advised that everyone should get in contact with Peter Parkin, Division Manager Community Development Department, in regard to the decrease of funds from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).  She stated that Law requires that the City hold public meetings to allow for comments and that we should contact him to ensure that those funds are not decreased and that they are used solely for the low/moderate income families that they are intended for.  Mr. Parkin's number is 954-480-6420 or you may email him with your comments and concerns at

I took a look at the above link, which is the actual report from last year and it also shows some disturbing information.  At these public meetings no one showed up.  If you look at the sign-in sheets at one 2 people, in addition to staff showed up and then at another 2 people (Staff) showed up. 

*********, spoke and advised us to be "open-minded on taxes".  He stated that our children need outlets to keep busy and keep them off the streets and those tax dollars could possibly go to fund these types of activities.  He continued and stated that we need someone who will be able to go to City Hall and ask the Management if these funds will be allocated to that purpose or question the commitment of funds to these types of programs by our City.  He advised us that an ESPN report "Outside the Lines" that he watched May 1, 2011 indicated that the District 2 Little League Football Team Packer Rattlers was affected by gambling, coaches openly gambling and paying parents to get their athletic children to play for specific teams.  After he told us how he was amazed at this information, ********* spoke on the situation and report and she advised that ESPN came to her regarding the exposure of this information in the predominantly black leagues.  She stated that as a parent whose children played for Packer Rattler, it is the parents’ responsibility to look out for their kids and not just use the league as babysitters. 

Another individual spoke on the Little Leagues attempts to get the community involved beyond just attending the games.  It was stated that it would seem that Deerfield Beach and Pompano teams were targeted and now fundraising will be harder than ever.  

*********, District 1 resident, stated that the group was always crying poor mouth and begging the city for funds when they should have been getting the money from their own community.  

The individual indicated that these attempts had been made, but mainly fell on deaf ears.  It was indicated that about $32,000 is donated by JM to the City which goes toward the PAL program to sponsor 6 sports, but the City has advised the Packer Rattlers that they did not have any money to fund them.  Basically closing the door on City based funding for the group.  It was indicated that it was obvious that the City was intent on eliminating the DBPR.

******* advised the gentlemen that District 2 does not have many black owned businesses to solicit donations from as in other districts.  We have exhausted many avenues in searches for funding and to no avail we always fall short, so we have to reach out to our city where our taxes are being paid for assistance.  It is not like these groups do not attempt to locate sponsors it is that they are in short supply or already strapped for cash.  It was stated that you have to look at the totality of situation, not just rush to judgement as many in our city do.

********* stated that we need someone to challenge the City Commission to re-open the door on the issue, especially since the City is taking our taxes.  A sentiment seconded by *********.

*********, resident District 2, asked why should we embrace a new tax when the current tax shares are disproportionately allocated and if people thought that the taxes are not shelled out equally between the Districts that make up the City then there is no point in supporting this new proposed tax.

*********, resident District 2, asked if there was no other way to fund the Packer Rattlers? The answer was stated that the group does the best it can and that they will sojourn on.  ********* stated that well just bus the kids over to the Raiders and gather up the Rattlers group of supporters and take them all over to the Raiders field and demonstrate the level of support they get at Westside and see how quickly they are funded just to keep them off the Raiders field.

********* encouraged everyone to get involved with Coalition and stated that they have "monies available".  He pointed out that as a community we should support our organizations and that his church would support making donations if they did a donation drive to all of the Churches.  He stated that all have to "Be Called on the Carpet" and that we need to get back to basics.  He invited everyone to their forum on May 10 at the high school and advised that you would need to rsvp by May 6, 2011 by calling 954-462-4850 ext 141 or, if you would like to attend.

It was brought to light that it’s time for all in the community to take responsibility for it.  We can’t sit back and wait for the next person to do something.  We need all our generals in the field not directing from the sidelines.  We need all of our preachers to come from behind the pulpits and get out in the streets to get each and every able bodied soul involved in the betterment of District 2 no matter what it takes.

It was the opinion of the *********, *********, and ********* to limit the meetings to one hour.  ******** objected and asked why limit ourselves, we can try to work toward getting out in an hour, but do to the nature of the meetings one hour may not be enough.  We are trying to establish ourselves and this may not b always be done in one hour, so we should say it can take an hour, with the understanding that it may take longer.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:40 pm

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