Suggestions for the Mayor

Over the past couple of years the crime rate in Broward County is down.  But crime is up in Wilton Manors!  Home invasions, auto breakins/theft, drug dealers and prostitutes in our parks.  Why?  Our police are rewarded for their number of arrests in order to advance their careers.   So residents are pulled over for minor traffic infractions, asked if they consent to a search and are arrested when the drug sniffing dog finds a joint in their car.  Bicyclists without both front and rear lights after dark have their pockets searched.  This is the wrong type of crime to focus on!  Last year we had 111 home invasions.  This is not acceptable.

The expensive new parking lot on 26th Street cost $800k to build just 40 parking spaces right where people don’t want to park.  This city clearly needs a parking garage sooner rather than later.  $4 million would get 300 spaces at the corner of Wilton Drive and NE 21st Ct.  More levels could be added in the future as needed.  It would even pay for itself.

The city paid $450k for a 100’x110′ vacant lot behind Bona Pizza so they could spend another $200k to build a parking lot for only 20-24 parking spaces.  They will have to break 3 different zoning laws to do this.  $650k is too much for taxpayers to spend on replacing the 6 spaces GIVEN AWAY to Rumor’s last year.

Dozens of motorcycle spaces could be added to Wilton Drive for the cost of painting lines and moving a few parking meters.

motorcycle parking 5

This motorcycle is parked illegally and will get a ticket even though there is plenty of room for both the car and the motorcycle.  Let’s paint some lines, move some meters and make this parking legal.

The city is paying over $450k PER YEAR to have the meters read!  And the city owns these meters!  The city is NOT bidding out the contract  Residents are charged for parking and give almost all the revenue to an Atlanta based company.  Businesses need a parking garage in order to survive.  Parking should be free before 6 pm.

Sal’s towing was thrown aside after decades of great work and service to hire a towing company three times as far away that charges a lot more for towing services.  They are less friendly than Sal’s getting just over one star in online customer reviews!   Bring back Sal’s and get rid of the company that has gotten several complaints of having a drunk employee.

On June 24, 2016 the mayor accepted three separate $1,000 campaign contributions from real estate developers.  Is our city commission really in the pockets of developers?  Two other city commissioners accepted $2,000 and $1,000 contributions.  Residents do NOT want a 60 foot tall five story 100 unit condo building at the church site at 26th Street and 15th Ave.  Yet they are getting fast-track zoning approval.  Now you know why our city commission pays more attention to out of town developers than to our own residents.  Cha-Ching!

$400k was spent to buy and tear down a duplex and a triplex next to Hagen Park.  $6,700 of yearly property tax income vanished as well as $10k per year of potential interest on that money.  And the city doesn’t know what to do with this land!  At almost a quarter mile walk from Wilton Drive it’s too far away to make it a parking lot.  The mayor says they bought it for a good price.  Really?  Now the city wants to double down on this bad idea and spend at least another three million dollars of taxpayer money to buy the houses and two duplexes next to this land to expand the park.  Is adding a couple more tennis courts really the city’s top priority?

44% of the residents surveyed asked for Mickel Field to be pet friendly but there won’t be an off leash dog run area like at the very successful Oakland Bark.  They could go to Colohatchee Park since it’s a beautiful park with a leash free dog area and a playground for kids.  That is if you don’t mind walking past a bunch of guys hanging out on the park’s boardwalk waiting to have sex in the bathrooms.  It’s been like this for a couple of decades.  Isn’t it time to take back this park?  The most recent Parks and Rec board meeting called for removing the playground.  This is NOT the solution.  Two years ago the chief of police agreed this should be a top priority.  I guess there’s no money to be made cleaning up a park so kids can play there again.

Tourism is immensely important to Wilton Manors’ economy.  Yet in 2009 the city commission tried to stop vacation rentals but failed.  A group of residents had to spend $84k in legal fees so the city would not take away their right to rent out their properties.  The city probably spent the same amount in legal fees.  At some point the city may have the power to put an end to vacation rentals in the city.   This should not happen just because one or two people in the industry have allowed their tenants to bother neighboring homes.   Disturbing the peace is a code enforcement matter which is managed  (not very well) by our police department.  Now the city wants to charge vacation rentals a special tax of $750 per year to generate $10k per year.  But the city is being sued by vacation rental owners which will cost the city $50k to defend against.  Didn’t they learn anything the first time around?

City Hall is closed on Fridays.  To compensate, it is open from 7am – 9am and from 5pm – 6pm Monday through Thursday.  But if you go to City Hall at 7:15 am the chances are that several employees aren’t even there!  Yes about a dozen city employees find it more convenient for their lives to have Fridays off.  But it would be more convenient for the 12,000 residents for City Hall to be open on Fridays.

Racism – mainly focused at African Americans – did not disappear from the city back in 2010 when the Chief of the Wilton Manors Police Department was fired after distributing racist emails.  Racial profiling still exists.  A former city commissioner admitted to using the “n-word” during a June 2014 road rage incident.  The mayor had “no comment” when asked about it by the media.  He should have said something like it was an unfortunate situation and affirmed that our city welcomes all people – especially those from diverse backgrounds.  Saying nothing was the worst thing he could have done.