Sunday, October 24, 2010

In his own words

Dear Southwest Ranches Friends and Neighbors:

Good Morning, Good Afternoon, Good Evening and if I do not see you later … well then … Good Night!

Voting for Jeff Dillard is a vote for ignorance. During the Town debate on October 13, Dillard open with the statement that he has no affiliations and has not been on any committees. He that went on for the next hour and a half showing the voters in the audience how little he knew and how poorly he was coached.

When asked what Southwest Ranches number one problem is Dillard said that drainage is the biggest problem. It's sure in the top five depending on where you live. Then he went on to state that drainage was never a problem until the town council made it a problem by raising the water level. And since then the west side of town has been flooding. If Dillard had any experience with our town, he would know that South Broward Drainage District (SBDD) policy decisions and their implementation are responsible for the flooding in the far western portions of our town. Even at meetings Dillard has attended over the last eight weeks since he filed for candidacy, the topic was brought up and if here were listening it would be clear to him that our town and council are working very diligently to reverse SBDD's decision. Do you want a council member who is ignorant of the issue he feels is our town's greatest problem.

Dillard also claimed that taxes in our town are a big problem. Later he goes on later to claim and contradict himself that taxes are our biggest problem. Of course all would like lower taxes but after two years of very minor ad valorem tax increases, the Council instructed the town administrator to come back with a balanced budget that did not require a tax increase and the administrator acheived their goal by cutting salaries and programs. Southwest Ranches is one of the a very few number cities in Broward that did not raise taxes or use its reserves to plug holes in the budget. Dillard did not even recognize that the town is now a smaller government than it was last year. He said that the Council will be raising your taxes in January or February. Dillard's ignorance and lack of citizen awareness showed on this question. According to statute, Florida governments (counties, cities, town and special taxing districts like SBDD) may only adjust their millage and special assessments annually and the timing is dictated by the county and municipal fiscal year beginning in October each year. If the Town attempted to raise you taxes off-cycle and it were legal, it would probably cost more to go through the process than the value of the increase. Someone else must read his trim and tax notices otherwise he would know they are adjusted annually. Again Dillard was just showing how little he knew and how poorly he was coached.

Next an interesting dynamic presented that would continue throughout the debate. When the moderator asked Gary Jablonski a question first, he answered, and Dillard would generally agree and parrot Jablonski's answer with his own down-home spin. When Dillard was asked first, he would fumble or bumble or not answer the question at all. When Dillard was asked first, why he was running for office, he gave all the reasons why he moved to Ft Lauderdale and SWR but never answered the question. Naturally you would not expect for him to disclose Mee's grudge but he could have told the audience what he is telling his immediate neighbors. Those on 170th say that he and his wife are doing this for the fun of it. They thought it would be a "hoot". Do we really want a council member who is serving just for the fun of it?

Maybe it was the lighting but Dillard's deportment at the debate was threaten toward the audience, his behavior was arrogant, and his manner was hostile toward the town's administration and current council. Dillard the bridge-builder, the fence-mender was postured as an intimidator. He want to make his case as the outsider, not connected, with no affiliations. Politics are an arena where you can force your way in as an outside but you cant alienate your constituency along the way. Dillard has pit one side of town against the other, has tried unsuccessfully to discredit the Presidents Council debate, has attached the newsletter editor from Rolling Oaks. These action have cost him very dearly. Is seems that his only support has come from the landscape nursery owners on Griffin Rd and his street. What promises did he make to the Nurseries? What did he tell his neighbors on his street?

Peeking out from under a table in back of the auditorium your Wanch was at times rolling in laughter and at others miserable hearing Dillard's answers.

This missive could be three times as long as last week's communiqué if you were provided the detail just presented above for the first two question. Instead the following is a summary of the Wanch's notes written just after the debate:

Dillard's positions or supports -

  • Commercial development throughout town
  • Sees no problem with the companies that use our neighborhoods as the base of operations
  • Considers himself a volunteer since he is running for office
  • Considers himself an ethical person
  • Thinks Rt. 27 should become commercial before anything else (Has Ronnie given to his campaign?)
  • Thinks all of the cities around us dictate our drainage policy
  • Doesn't think we are rural, "we're a city"
  • Thinks Davie is more rural
  • Has not heard of the Farm Act
  • Supports proactive code enforcement
  • Doesn't under the fill ordinance
  • Claims to have the most successful business in his field but is scraping.
  • Believes we need rules to separate our neighbors.
  • Does not believe the town has a sound financial base
  • Doesn't understand the towns financial situation.
  • Claims that the town lost $2.5 million and cant account for it.
  • Thinks the town throws money at everything that comes it way.
  • Thinks the town is going to have to raise taxes
  • Does not support having parks in town
  • Thinks Rubin got commissions for writing grants (that's illegal and Rubin would already be in jail if true)
  • Made many illusions to being a tea-bagger (could be a plus or negative)
  • Doesn't understand the town's capital investment structure
  • Thinks all grants have a dollar for dollar match
  • Is against the town applying for grants
  • Doesn't think there is a cut-through or traffic problem
  • Is in favor of opening Mather Blvd. and other roads to Stirling and Sheridan traffic
  • Opposed to road closures
  • Seems to think there is a crime wave in SWR, (probably to sell more guns.)
  • Wants to see the towns parks sold to regain the tax base.
  • Wants to further tax the businesses in town.
  • Thinks the Nurseries are responsible for flooding problems in our town.

There are many more position that Dillard takes that would be harmful to our Town's future but I promised brevity.

In Dillard's closing comments, probably after realizing he was poorly prepared and ineptly coached for the debate, Dillard took a parting shot at the residents of our town. He felt he is up against a political machine. With the Don Maine's defeat two years ago, the machine was thrown out of town. His comment was in line with his character. His opposition, you know the guy who has been involved for many years, volunteered lots of his time, who has made friends with many people through his good deeds and has never asked for anything in return, in Dillard's words has a machine behind him. No, the folks who know Jablonski and agree with him will vote for him, additionally, the people Dillard alienated along will way will vote for Jablonski, and the people who really know Dillard will probably vote for Jablonski even though they might have an unapproved sign in their front yard.

Once final comment from the debate. Dillard made the strong point during the debate that he has his cell phone on all of his campaign signs. Your Wanch was impressed, the thought occurred, "well that takes courage". The next time a sign was seen it was checked. It didn't have a cell number or any phone number. Next, the benefit of the doubt was given that the lawn signs were just too small, so a large sign was checked. No number. Was Dillard confused by the bright lights and glamor of the debate or was this a bald-face lie to the public at a point that it means to most to be honest? You decide before you color in the dot when you vote at the polls. We got rid of this type of individual last election, do we need another?

Finally, both candidates' financial records are available on the town website (click here) for public review. Dillard has been heard to say that he has raised over $10 thousand dollars, to others he said the has raised over $30 thousand. As last check his records do not indicate those figures. Again he is either lying or not. If he is boasting, do we need that, if not he is breaking the law. In any case his filings are misrepresenting his campaign since they are filled out wrong. Any citizen can file a complaint of they think there is any wrong doing intentional or mistakenly. Someone in our community should look into Dillard's filings and if compelled, file a complaint (click here). Political campaigns are a serious think and cannot be done just for the fun of it. There are serious penalties for misfiling financial information.

Dillard stated he is all for accountability, lets see if he holds himself accountable, the Florida Election Commission will if a complaint is made.

Both of our candidates will bring change to our Council and Town. Do you want your vote to count towards positive change for our town or do you want to vote for ignorance. At the county, state, and federal levels there are new-comers in most elections. Most of the new-comers have had prior governmental experience as volunteers, employees, lawyers or elected officials. In most cases, the uninformed, unknown, unpopular candidate is passed over for the more qualified. The ignorant are ignored.

Can the Town afford a council member who shoots from the hip? Does the Town need another council member that embarks on malicious attacks on the residents and lies? Do the residents really want a representative who doesn't understand the governmental process that makes the Town work and insists on doing things his way? Do you want someone who attacks people with differing opinions? Would you vote for someone who is running for office to settle a grudge? If so, in my humble opinion, vote for Jeff Dillard.

That’s All Folks!!!

Wanch Waggler

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Monday, October 18, 2010

The Politics of a Grudge. How a petty grudge is splitting our town.

Dear Southwest Ranches Friends and Neighbors:

Good Morning, Good Afternoon, Good Evening and if I do not see you later … well then … Good Night!

Once upon a time a group of residents threw a banquet to recognize some of the people who had live longest in SWR, contributed their time selflessly, and were getting on in years. The Volunteer Dinner event took a lot of work and many toiled to make the evening very special.

Alyn Kay was the MC for the evening, he did a great job but made one huge mistake. He didn't give enough recognition to one of the organizers. Or at least that's how she took it, feelings got hurt and friendship turned to dislike. We'll call this person Mee.

Fast forward a year. Astor Knight decided ten years on the council was enough and announced that he would not seek office again. Alyn Kay, after serving the town personally and professionally for many years decided to run for Astor's seat. Well, Alyn is one of those people that you either like him or you don't. Those who like him assured him of their support and his detractors began speaking to Gary Jablonski about running. Gary turned them down because he didn't want to run against Alyn.

When Mee found out the Alyn was going to run unopposed she made it her cause to find someone to run against him. Then, she thought of the gun dealer who sold Sunshine Ranches HOA some assault rifles that were to be donated to BSO. A number of people told her to let it go but she could not, the pain went too deep. She was going to show people what happens when you piss off Mee.

So the gun dealer, Jeff Dillard shows up to his first Town Council meeting, Mee introduces him to a bunch of people and the next day he registers to run. One of the people Mee convinced to support Dillard is Mayor Nelson. The Mayor has his issues with Alyn that go back to town contract issues between John Canada and Alyn that was a concern when the Mayor was a council member about six years ago. Since then the Mayor has supported very little concerning Alyn Kay. The Mayor threw his support to Dillard. A few days later Alyn withdrew from the race for health reasons. Gary Jablonski decided to run.

This new development turned into a major dilemma for Mee and the Mayor. Mee has been friends with Gary for years and the Mayor has substantial respect for him too. Mee immediately began spouting that she tried to get Gary to run and the Mayor has gone mute.

Mee's grudge against Alyn turned her world up-side down. She didn't really know Dillard but she got a taste when he felt slighted that the fledgling Rolling Oaks newsletter didn't send him a personal invitation to advertise in the upcoming edition. He introduced himself to the community with a frontal assault by viciously attacked the editor, a stay at home mom. He claimed she "dishonored and deceived the citizens" and accused her of "dirty politics". of Rolling Oaks is in his district. He then went on to dig up old issues by saying "I respect and admire the professionalism of the Sunshine Ranches Homeowners Association as they disseminated important information to the residents of Sunshine Ranches." Mee alerted him of the publication and its deadline. He concluded his attack letter to the editor by saying " Through your actions, you have further divided our community, not only the neighborhood of Rolling Oaks, but the Southwest Ranches community as well. It is my intention, should I be elected to serve on the Town Council, to unite the communities within our town, treating everyone with the same respect and consideration, as I would have hoped you would have afforded to me." Dillard's actions are screaming louder than his words. He is not a consensus builder. Many of the resident, not normally politically active are getting involved in Gary's campaign. The editor is now hosting a fundraiser.

Next, Mee sat in on a SWR Presidents Council Debate prep meeting as a fill-in for the President of Sunshine Ranches. Keep in mind, the President Council does not endorse any candidates and they keep the debate questions secret until the debate. No copies are distributed but to the moderator. The Chair of the Council was sending emails to the various members with notes about the things that need to be completed and Mee was included on the emails since she volunteered to get some things done. What the Council didn't realize was the Mee was forwarding all of the correspondence to Dillard.

Next, Dillard the consensus builder aims his guns at the Presidents Council. He hurled all sorts of innuendo and misinformation at the Council, accused the of being corrupt and accused Gary Jablonski (who previously had never had any dealings with the Presidents Council) of using the President Council to manipulate the election. In his note he goes on to say " Many of the residents of Southwest Ranches are tired of seeing the same people making decisions on behalf of the town and are ready for someone new to step in who has not been a party to the unethical and corrupt practices that have been so prevalent in our Town." It's assumed he means the current Council. He also questions why Presidents Council emails "are also going to Councilmen Steve Breitkreuz, Doug McKay and Aster Knight." and whether it's "really appropriate for these Town Councilmen to be so involved in the campaign for Gary Jablonski". Perhaps because they don't like Jeff Dillard, its a free country and have every right to support the candidate of their choosing! The hypocrisy is stunning! While Dillard was writing he nasty missives, he had his supporters like Eileen Dunn out verbally hurling abuse at members of the Town Council and President Council with claims that Gary had the debate questions and that they should be given to her candidate.

By all accounts the Debate was fair, the Presidents Council questions were appropriate as they have been for the prior three debates, and they gave the candidates an opportunity to demonstrate, to the residents, their understanding of the Town.

At this point the debate is important to mention although the will be a missive dedicate to that topic. When the candidates were asked their views on districting, Dillard said districting divides our community. Well a little background first. When this town was formed there were three large HOAs. Sunshine Ranches was the grand daddy having been around the longest, Rolling Oaks Civic Association covered most of the middle of town and Country Estates covers most of the western portion of town. There were others too, but much smaller. There was certainly contention during the incorporation process when the group were completing for resources and implementation of their ideas but those have long been resolved and the hatchet has been long buried. No one addresses those issues these days in fear of resurrecting old grudges. It happens to be one of Mee's pet peeves. She believes that Sunshine Ranches doesn't wield enough power in SWR.

During the debate, after Mee's coaching, Dillard brought it up. The Dillard consensus builder said he really doesn't mind districting but he thinks they create divisions between Sunshine Ranches and Rolling Oaks. So why bring that up as an afterthought? Why through that in? Where did it come from, Mee?

Can the Town afford a council member who shoots from the hip? Does the Town need another council member that embarks on malicious attacks on the residents? Do the residents really want a representative who doesn't understand the governmental process that makes the Town work and insists on doing things his way? Do you want someone who attacks people with differing opinions? Would you vote for someone who is running for office to settle a grudge? If so, in my humble opinion, vote for Jeff Dillard.

That’s All Folks!!!

Wanch Waggler

If you feel strong about this post, please leave your comments.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

2010 Candidate Debate

Dear Southwest Ranches Friends and Neighbors:

Good Morning, Good Afternoon, Good Evening and if I do not see you later … well then … Good Night!

2010 Candidate Debate

When: Wednesday, October 13 at 7 PM.

Hosted by: Archbishop Edward McCarthy High School

The Student and Performance Center

5451 South Flamingo Rd, Southwest Ranches

County Commission Candidates Barbara Sharief and Christopher Zadie will give speeches.

Gary Jablonski and Jeff Dillard will debate.

Your humble gnome will provide feedback after the debate.

That’s All Folks!!!

Wanch Waggler

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Was Wasserman-Rubin good to SWR?

Dear Southwest RanchesFriends and Neighbors:

Good Morning, Good Afternoon, Good Evening and if I do not see you later … well then … Good Night!

These two articles say it all about Diana Wasserman-Rubin and her allegedly crooked husband Richard Rubin. Please read this one in New Times and this one in the Sun Sentinel.

If Wasserman-Rubin was good to SWR, it might be a little easier to have more compassion for our county commissioner. However, it seems looking back that the only time this commissioner was good to our little town was when there was something in it for her. It leads your humble Wanch to ask what was in it for her when she voted for Davie Commons? What was in it for her when she voted for the new health benefits package that cost county employees more and gave them less? I can tell you that there was probably nothing in it for the Rubin family when members of our council and administration had approached her many times in the years past and their requests when unanswered.

Was the Dynamic team of Wasserman-Rubin and Rubin really good to our town? Well, since the easy money began to flow in 2001 they got us seven parks. Every one of those parks came with strings attached based on the grant submission Rubin wrote on behalf of the Town. The phrase that was thrown about when Rubin wrote the grant submissions was "Dreaming in living color". Each one of the parks was to be developed into some costly super idea that Mayor Fink and the council absolutely loved. The money was like cocaine to an addict. Mayor Fink, Council members Fisikelli, Knight, Blanton, and Maines kept saying more, more, more! Every time the Town was awarded a park, the council asked for more, more, more! Rubin was happy to write more and more creative submissions, the mayor was happy to sign the submission and Wasserman-Rubin was happy to vote for more, more, more! Finally, when Jeff Nelson was voted on to the council he started to ask how are we going to develop and maintain all of these parks. The experienced council told him we'll just get more grants. More, more, more!

Now reality has set in for our little town. During this bad economic time, the Town can probably get mulligans on the undeveloped parks but for how long? To date, only the Sunshine Ranches Equestrian Park has been developed.

Council member Fisikelli is trying to single-handedly develop fishing hole park by using fill his friends are dumping on the property. (Why can a council member dump as much fill as he wants on town property but we cannot dump more than two loads a year on our yards? He probably has a guilt trip going on all of the debt he helped dump on the town.)

One park, Frontier Trails, is under a foot of water most of the year and the Rolling Oaks Park barn is collapsing one rainstorm at a time. The Town has barely the funds to maintain these parks as they are today. Even if ten of millions of dollars in grants were to come available and the Town won them through legitimate submissions, it could not possible afford to operate and maintain them without a substantial tax increase. After salaries and public safety, the maintenance of the Town's rights-of-way and equestrian park is probably the next highest budget line item.

Of course, the Council has turned over, only Fisikelli and Knight remain. Fisikelli tries to act like a fiscal conservative these days but he was part of the more, more, more council. Knight recently formed a parks foundation to try to get some development done. Both have voiced regret over the actions of the past.

Other than Wasserman-Rubin facing jail time and probably a divorce from her husband, Former Mayor Mecca Fink stands to loose a lot of credibility. She constantly said John Canada was a financial genius (he left with his pockets full and the town nearly broke), Richard Rubin was a talented grant writer, and Diana Wasserman-Rubin was a gifted leader. Good audits, budgetary problems and the courts seem to be proving her wrong an all accounts. It seems her good friend County Commissioner Wasserman-Rubin was not so good for our town.

Do you wonder when the State Attorney General will go after Canada, Rubin, Cor and the rest of their thieving cronies?

That’s All Folks!!!

Wanch Waggler