Monday, June 30, 2014

Quick Catch Up

The July heat is coming on us and things are being discussed more around North Bay Village. I haven't posted in a bit so I thought I would do a bit of a catch up on the major topics.

July 1 at 7:30 PM there is a public presentation of the Kimley-Horne conecptual design for pedestrian plazas at the foot of the bridge leading to Miami Beach. For $110,000, Kimley-Horne made drawings of what a connection for the Bay Walk not yet planned and certainly not yet constructed might add on to make sure it connects between the east side and the north side of Treasure Island. That should be interesting.

July 2 the Food Trucks will be back. 5 PM to 10 PM at the lot next to Shuckers.

Shuckers is scheduled to reopen so we'll have a place in the neighborhood again to eat at. I'm happy they're back. The date is not yet firm but it's expected this month.

July 8 the commission meets again where the rumor is that they will consider a dog park, making it part of a deal with the school board to lease park space on the Treasure Island School Grounds.

There will be a special commission meeting on July 29 to consider the budget for Fiscal Year 2015, which starts on October 1.

Kevin Vericker
June 30, 2014

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Boards - Missing in Action

One of my constant concerns has been the disdain and the neglect that the village manager and Mayor Kreps have for the boards.  They barely look at the board chairpeople during the commission reports. Rollason and Kreps have by action and attitude communicated clearly to the boards that they have no interest in anything they might have to say.   Rollason at the Mayor's direction dismantled the Youth Services and Education Board, followed by the dissolution of the Business Board.  No one has set any goals or made requests of the boards, for years they didn't bother appointing members for most of them.  

This is not a surprise in any real sense.  Our mayor has a pathological dislike of any input other than compliments and has sadly reduced herself to only allowing paid compliments whenever possible.  The village manager likes to sit and announce what he might could do at some point in the future but has delivered on really nothing.   

This month at the commission meeting, nobody even bothered to show from the boards to report.  Why should they?  The mayor sits doodling happy faces on her agenda, the manager doesn't respond to requests and the rest of the commission just goes to their happy place, never asking a question or suggesting a topic.   

There is one board that is statutorily required - Planning & Zoning.  Before you can get a variance, it has to be heard by Planning & Zoning.  This week, the village manager found an innovative way to undermine even that.   Here's how it went.  

A new member of the P&Z board, William Webb, has a potential conflict with a variance that was scheduled to be heard this month.   The attorney's advice is that he should recuse himself and that's sensible.   However, the Village Manager, Frank Rollason, never reviewed the agenda or identified the conflict first.  He should have discussed the matter with Mr. Webb.  He didn't.  

The board convened with only three members present, enough for a quorum under normal circumstances.  The applicant flew in from Minneapolis specifically for the hearing.  And there was none.   The attorney had to explain the circumstances and without the third member, the board could not hear the item.  

In the meantime, the applicant had to fly back to Minneapolis, without knowing his variance status, and it must come before the board again in the future.  There is not enough time to meet and get in on the July agenda, and August is the month that the commission will probably take off for some undeserved rest, so we either have to have a special commission meeting for a routine request or the applicant must wait until September.  

But wait, there's more.  Without consulting with the board, the village manager who has no authority over the boards and no legal right to make this decision, told the village planner not to bother showing up.   So even if they had heard the item, the village manager summarily decided that it was his place to act as planner rather than have the real planner there.  In a well run city, this would never have happened and with a responsible commission, if it did, the manager would be held accountable.  

But no, not here.  The commission sits on the dais staring out into space while our mayor simply whimpers about light and positivity.  

Kevin Vericker
June 21, 2014

Friday, June 13, 2014

Red Light Cameras

In a stunning victory for the asshat drivers of Florida, the Supreme Court of our Peninsula declared that the municipal ordinances treating red light violations as coding violations were not valid.   

The legislature had already fixed this in 2010 by permitting use under Uniform Traffic Codes, but the red light runners were all butt hurt that they got caught and want their money back.  

Plus a bunch of cheap suited lawyers saw a chance to squeeze a bit of coin so they too joined in this landmark civil rights struggle.  

Still the municipalities have the right and in my view, the obligation, to use red light cameras because you're supposed to come to a full stop.   

My guess is that in North Bay Village, we won't have the intestinal fortitude to do it though.  Protecting pedestrians and bicyclists who tend to be kids and old people from asshats driving Suburban Assualt Vehicles through the red lights while texting?  Are you kidding?  

For the Herald story click here. 

Kevin Vericker
June 13, 2014

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Road To Hell Is Paved With What?

Last night was the commission meeting in our sweatbox new chambers at the 1666 Building.  It was well attended by the commissioners, only a 20% absentee rate.  Mayor Kreps decided to blow it off to attend a Leadership Seminar where she is apparently a remedial student since lesson one of leadership is you have to show up.   But for for second time in six months, Mrs. Kreps found herself otherwise engaged. 

I didn't stay for the whole meeting.  Unlike Mrs. Kreps, I'm not paid to be there so I figure an hour and a half was enough.  Long enough to sit through the commission reports anyway.  

Jorge Gonzalez and Eddie Lim expounded on their detailed conversations with residents and their close observations of the North Bay Village situation.  Ha, ha, just kidding.  They talked about swell trips paid for by others and an upcoming lobbying bonanza.  

Jorge Gonzalez spoke about his recent expense paid trip to Turkey to share his expertise on Rising Seas and how they will affect island communities.  Gonzalez did not share this previously unknown expertise with the commission or citizens because he forgot the equipment.  But he totally will next month.  He promised.   I hope that this engagement with the Turks works out for him.  Last time it didn't work so well and scored him an ethics rebuke. 

In fairness, Gonzalez did mention that seawalls are eligible for financing under the PACE program, a benefit not listed in the Florida Pace Home Page but I'm sure he has thoroughly checked it out.  Gonzalez also said lots of positive things are happening - Food Trucks, Shuckers is reopening and developers are making money.  So people should shut up about the parks, sidewalks, parking, flooding because, hey, some people are making money. 

Eddie Lim spoke for a bit and reminded his fellow commissioners that this year the largest convention of municipal lobbyists will be meeting at the Westin Diplomat August 14 - 16 and he urged his fellow commissioners to show up for the hosted appetizers and bars and some schooling. 

Speaking of schooling, Mrs. Kreps' best friend at Treasure Island Elementary School kicked our summer program off the school grounds because it was inconvenient for her.  The summer program will be held in the 1666 office building lobby.   Seriously, you can't make this stuff up. 

Then things got serious.  The Village Manager acknowledged how dank and awful the Tot Lot is and said that there is a plan to make a plan.  We are sinking even more  money into Vogel Park because the previous money wasn't enough and it needs new grass, new shade, and other things in addition to the new seawall.   He also said that there will be a plan to make a plan for a dog park.   

So lots of plans to make a plan but even the metaplans don't have dates or goals which means they are really just intentions.   

There are some fixed dates:

June 24 a Tuesday, Kimley-Horne will show us their $105,000 plan to plan a crosswalk at the bridge to Miami Beach.   That's money we spent instead of fixing the Tot Lot.  

July 17, a Thursday, there is another Budget Hearing.   

July 29, the village will announce how much they are raising our taxes.  

So nothing got done last night.  But there are good intentions.  They told us so. 

Kevin Vericker
June 11, 2014

Monday, June 9, 2014

Lim Kreps Respond To The Barry University Takedown Of Their Administration.

 In the Sun Post Weekly's follow up on the Barry University survey, Mayor Kreps and Vice Mayor Lim were apparently surprised by the survey's findings.   Here's Eddie Lim:

 “Corruption within and self interests in public offices is at its peak,” Lim read word for word from the report. He snorted “What the hell are they talking about?” 

And Mayor Kreps first went to her default position - blame me: 

 “You may have a couple of residents , who maybe in the room right now, that would tell you that we are corrupt and we are not transparent,” said Kreps. 

Then Mayor Kreps goes on to say: 

 “We don’t have a vision, we are wasting money, we are not using our brains,” She laughs after reenacting the type of typical criticism she hears a lot as mayor. 

 But you see that's wrong in her view because: 

“We brought in a professional village manager." 

Which is totally true. She brought in Dennis Kelly and he stayed about a year before she fired him. Then he sued the village for $80.000. Then she replaced him with Frank Rollason who has never been a city manager and it shows. 

So she pushed for, accepted, praised the survey and (excuse me while I shout) NEVER READ IT.  

Seriously, she and her crew NEVER READ THE SURVEY.  

She concludes the discussion with this gem.   Kreps says she will never be led out in handcuffs unless "somebody sets me up."   Paranoid much?  
It seems the voices in her head, the same ones that praise her constantly and punish her unfairly, are issuing her new warnings, so loud she lets them leak out. 

If you want to read the survey, click here and go to page 17.  Hell, I'll just put the whole page up   at the bottom of this post.  But you have to read the Sun Post article at this link  Miami Sun Post Village Mayors Respond to Survey Criticism.

Here's Page 17 from the Barry Report:  

Lacking transparent government spending and fair budget allocation both are serious issues in NBV. Corruption within and self interests in public offices is at its peak. Budget costs are lost due to mismanaged activities.

No transparent system has been executed, which make it clear that where and when the monies are going to be spent and which department has received how much amount and how much development has been taken place, encourages future mismanagement.

There is a lack of sincere leaders at NBV. They make campaign promises to the community and attain their votes, but afterwards any sound communication efforts between them and residents ceases.

Lack of agreement amongst leaders of the community and no strong sense of unity take the public’s interests away from them and thus hampers the development and the  business activities in the area.

People on the Board are fighting with each other for power. Almost no good and democratic leadership exists in NBV.

Kevin Vericker
June 9, 2014

There, the lowest level of communication between management of the Village and residents exists that is not enough to highlight serious issues of the public they serve. Money allocated to spend for developing and improving infrastructure is all gone wasted due to current and previous poor decisions.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

North Bay Village Police IT Manager Arrested for Aggravated Assault

 Update:  All charges relating to this incident were dropped on July 3, 2014. 

Early Friday morning, Johnny Saavedra, the Police Dept IT Manager, was arrested and charged with Felony Aggravated Assault during a traffic incident.  It's not yet known if the Village has responded.  This is the same IT manager who set the phone system to illegally record all phone calls to and from the village administration, an act that has not had any repercussions so we may see the same lack of action this time.  For the full story on the phone monitoring, click here.

Kevin Vericker
June 7, 2014

Monday, June 2, 2014

Monday, Monday, Can't Trust That Day

If you have been reading this blog, you'll know that last month our commission agreed to spend $52,000 for a design from Kimley-Horne, friends of our mayor Mrs. Kreps.  The design is conceptual (won't be built) for two pedestrian access plazas on the north and south sides of the bridge to Miami Beach to connect the Baywalk (no plans to build it.)  It will run under the bridge where there is about 4' clearance at high tide.  When the point was made that the same money could be used to repair the litter box masquerading as The Tot Lot on Treasure Island, Mayor Kreps replied that "we have to think of the future." and then she voted to throw away the money.  
Note the High Water Mark
In the meantime, even the mailboxes are rotting out.  Here's the one from East Treasure Drive.  Want to bet that since no one walks the streets, no one has even reported it to the post office?

Mrs. Kreps is right to think of the future because her present is so awful We need to think positive thoughts about  the day she is our former mayor. 

Kevin Vericker
June 2, 2014