Martin County

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Tom Campenni

Friends & Neighbors is designed to give you the information that is happening within our County. My goal is to inspire you to get involved and make a change to make Martin County the best it can be. There is lot’s to do! – Tom

News And Views

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1

 

NEW YEAR

I can’t say I was unhappy to see 2020 leave us!

 

Yet what does 2021 portend? Will it be more of the same chaotic confusion or will we get back to what once was called normal? Government lockdowns in Martin and Florida may be a non-starter. Yet if individuals do not feel safe in venturing out, then they will impose their own form of quarantine. Both hurt our economy.

 

Regardless of what the stock market does, which does not seem tethered to economic reality, we have begun to see a slowdown in the housing sector and a continuation and acceleration of unemployment for many Americans. Florida and Martin County are not an oasis. It may take a bit longer for it to hit here, but if most of the United States economy suffers so will we.

 

The one bright hope is the speed that Covid vaccines have been developed. The Trump Administration should be congratulated. However, it appears that the process of inoculating the people is completely inadequate. The idea that the woefully understaffed and underfunded state public health departments will be able to carry out mass vaccinations is fiction. And how many millions of us can CVS really jab?

 

To fully vaccinate the American population, a federal response is needed which is fast and thorough. The medical units of our armed forces should be called in to set up inoculation centers throughout the country. We should be calling on medical professionals to assist in this effort wherever possible. The government should pass legislation holding them harmless from lawsuits caused by inoculating patients.

 

I remember standing in line at a local health center to get the polio vaccine. There were public health clinics throughout cities to take care of people in a safe and fast way. The New York Polyclinic on West 50th Street acted as our go to place for every medical treatment from being born to dentistry. If I remember correctly, visits were $2 each. But that was when we expected the government to be part of the solution. That is a long way from where we are today.

 

I guess those that want the vaccine will individually flounder around until they manage to snag one dose and then two doses. The Florida Health Department branch in Martin County has already filled its initial spots for the doses of vaccine it has. Imagine in a county of 160,000 people that this is the best that can be. Cleveland Clinic will send alerts when more vaccine is available.

 

Some things worked better in the past. I suspect a coordinated public health system is one most people would long for again. 

 

To read more regarding choosing of who is first to receive go here

 

2

 

WHO RECEIVES THE VACCINE?

 

The CDC issued guidelines on prioritizing the order of vaccine distribution. The final order of priority, though, is set by the governors. Governor DeSantis pushed seniors over 65 to the top of the list ahead of other categories such as essential workers. I agree with the governor in this instance.

 

I am over 65 so I was bumped up a bit to near the top. That isn’t why I agree with the governor. Age is appropriate in this case. The older one is, the more severely impacted an individual is if he/she contracts the virus.

The idea that all seniors are retired is not accurate today. Many of my peers are still involved with businesses of their own or working in occupations that are considered essential. Many others may not get a paycheck, but they are volunteering their time across a multitude of nonprofits and government agencies. If those “old folks” don’t show up, some organizations will not be able to function.

 

Seniors generally are more cautious than younger people. Yet, going on a year without seeing children and grandchildren is having a toll. The very notion that we now need to struggle to get the vaccine to keep us all safe is nuts. The idea of American exceptionalism was rooted in the fact that we got things done. It wasn’t meant to stand for the inability to accomplish the task.

 

The federal government needs to take the lead and provide the governors with the resources necessary. Citizens are owed a rational plan that can be implemented effectively. Most Americans will be patient and understanding if they know that their government is working. If we must wait for the vaccine, we will. But the worse thing government can do is have a free for all on who gets it.

 

Already I know of individuals that are being vaccinated at their concierge doctors. I have heard that posh gated communities are buying vaccine for their residents. This is what happens when no plan exists and those with a few bucks can buy their way to the front of the line?

 

To read more go here

 

3

 

FORM-BASED CODES

 

“A form-based code is a land development regulation that fosters predictable built results and a high-quality public realm by using physical form (rather than separation of uses) as the organizing principle for the code. A form-based code is a regulation, not a mere guideline, adopted into city, town, or county law. A form-based code offers a powerful alternative to conventional zoning regulation.”

 

That definition is from the Form Based Code Institute. It is a planning tool that government is adopting throughout the world. For too long, zoning and land use issues have revolved around suggestions rather than concrete ideas. In many instances, the current way results in no uniformity to neighborhoods or areas. It is not the best way to plan for either current projects or future growth.

The difference with using a form-based code instead of the conventional method is that most of the hard work comes before being enacted. In our area, the best example is Kiplinger’s Newfield. An entire chapter of the Land Development Codes (LDR) spells out how the “town” will be built.

 

This required exhaustive public meetings and input for a couple of years. What will be built is explained in some detail in the code itself that was adopted by the BOCC. It also is part of the comprehensive plan. There should be no surprises about what comes out of the ground there.

 

Most of western Martin County’s lands can be divided into 5-acre ranchettes at any time as of right. That is most of what the Newfield property could have been. This type of development is nothing if not sprawl. There is no planning for schools, stores, or roads to accompany the buildout. People who live in these ranchettes drive to their mailbox to pick up the mail or their newspaper.

 

In 2021, this is not sustainable development nor does it adequately consider what developers build with BOCC approval. For instance, take the proposed development of Christ Fellowship’s property. When they received permission originally from the BOCC, the plan called for a church campus to be built. Now it has changed to be sold to a builder that will ultimately have several hundred single family homes.

 

Because it is not strategic in its process, the BOCC allows developers to call the shots to maximize their profits to the detriment of all of us.  The fixation that some have on using density to limit development is resulting in very poor governmental decisions. There is a place for PUDs which allow a developer or landowner to build a project. That gives some discretion to the BOCC to make deals for a better outcome.

 

Overall, it would be better to have a more reasoned approach to how new development occurs especially within large tracts of unified property. Using a form-based code requires a consensus before development. In areas such as Newfield and the CRAs, it is a better tool than allowing all kinds of exceptions so that what was expected to happen never does.    

 

4

 

GOVERNMENTAL CUSTOMER ASSISTANCE

 

When you have a problem with a product, you call a customer service number. Most private companies who have competitors will really try to resolve the issue. FPL or Comcast are not so helpful if there is a problem. Sometimes you can spend hours trying to get resolution. And as far as the arbitrariness of their price increases, it boggles the mind. When there is only one provider, you are sort of stuck.

 

Government is a provider of services. Fire, police, and public works are some of the necessary “products” that government sells us through taxes and fees. If there is a complaint, you send an email or make a phone call and try to resolve the issue. When you can’t do it through customer service, you contact your elected representative.

 

For the most part, they want to help. They speak to you by phone or email and even sometimes show up at your door to see the complaint for themselves. Some elected officials are more customer-friendly than others. Some stop by just to ask people if everything is ok.

 

Just this week, I know of two citizens that were helped because of constituent services provided by two elected officials. In Palm City, a friend has had problems with dumping on her street. Ed Ciampi got the call and had it cleaned up. I hope he also had the offender ticketed because it wasn’t the first time. The second was Senator Gayle Harrell and her staff person, Darlene Van Riper. Darlene was able to assist someone with a problem she was having in obtaining a benefit she was rightfully due.

 

Last week, Commissioner Stacey Hetherington visited a street in her district where there have been drainage issues for years. They have been getting worse and worse. During the rainy season. the street is flooded continuously because there is nowhere for the water to go.

I was contacted by Mark Hufnagel, a resident, and I made Stacey aware of the problem. When we visited Chase Court last Saturday, the neighbors explained and showed us what the problem was. Stacey didn’t promise that she could fix the problem, but she did say she would speak to the appropriate county employees.

 

She subsequently did do so. They are supposed to contact the residents and go out and examine the problem for themselves. I am going to stay on top of this story and see whether the residents of Chase Court can have their problem resolved or not.

 

This is basic customer service. Hetherington has turned it over to county engineering staff to address the issue. They should inform her if there is a solution and how long it would take to be implemented. Stacey promises to stay on top of it. I promise to let you know what the outcome is. 

 

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5

 

NON-PROFIT PERSPECTIVE

By Carol Howaart-Diez

United Way of Martin County President-CEO

This will be a new monthly column by Carol to update us on the non-profit world in Martin County.

 

As this is my first guest column for Friends & Neighbors of Martin County, I would like to introduce myself. 

 

For the last 4 ½ years, I have had the pleasure of serving as the President & CEO of the United Way of Martin County.  Before accepting this position, I held a similar role in Niagara County, New York, where I was born and raised.  I have spent my entire professional career with the United Way movement, starting with my first position as a business manager.

 

I am someone who loves helping others and collaborating to make sure that a community can provide all the social services that its residents need.  I have been blessed with two beautiful daughters (15 & 19) and a great husband who supports my passion.  When we moved here in July of 2016, we settled in Palm City. Martin County is a great place to call home.  In part because of the numerous programs and services available for residents who need support. 

2020 has been a year like no other — we have faced a pandemic, social unrest, and a tumultuous election season.  If the past year has taught us anything, it is that our community can pull together to take care of one another when times are tough.

I am so proud of our local nonprofit organizations’ ongoing efforts to support our most vulnerable residents during these unprecedented times.  From providing meals and financial assistance so families could stay in their homes to providing mental health services for those struggling with anxiety and depression, the nonprofit community stepped up in an extraordinary way.  

United Way has also been at the forefront during the pandemic – we collaborated with our local government to help distribute CARES Act dollars and worked alongside 11 other funders to ensure nonprofit organizations had the resources they needed to serve as frontline responders.

In the coming months, I will be updating you on the needs and issues in our community that you may not be aware of.  I look forward to sharing the many great programs that are available to assist you, your family, and your neighbors.   I promise this will not be a United Way commercial (spoiler alert: I do love my job and highlighting what a strong healthy United Way can do for a community). Rather, I hope this column will provide a holistic view of the critical needs in Martin County and how we can work together to address them.

Some thoughts I would like to leave you with regarding COVID-19 and our community: while we can easily count the positive cases and, unfortunately, the deaths associated with this pandemic, there are also many hidden consequences to the pandemic.  The toll it has taken on our children and adults in terms of mental health, as well as educational and financial setbacks, will be felt for years to come.

In future issues, I will highlight programs that will have a long-term effect on our community and report on collaborations underway to make programs work more efficiently.  I look forward to sharing my knowledge with each of you and can always be reached if you have direct questions for me. 

In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about United Way of Martin County, I invite you to visit our website at www.UnitedWayMartin.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter @UnitedWayMartin. Until next time….

 

6

 

PINE’S PONDERING

By Tom Pine

 

I am a retired electrician and over the years I worked in trenches to run pipe.

 

In January of 2017 I was driving along Indian River Drive. I immediately became alarmed when I saw workers running pipe in trenches with none of the normal safety protections in place.

Trenches over four feet deep require shoring or some other type of protection against cave ins. There also needs to be a ladder to enter and exit the trench. The men working on this project had none of those protections.

 

I took photos and went to the next county commission meeting and showed the photos. I was told they would send a letter to the contractor stating that all safety measures should be followed. A few days later I drove by again and there was still no shoring or ladder. Further not all the workers were wearing a hard hat as required. The job continued without these basic safety requirements until completion.       

Fast forward to 2020/2021 and once again on Indian River Drive, another contractor was working for the county. It was déjà vu!  Workers running pipe on Indian River Drive in trenches without any shoring or ladder. The pattern continues.

 

The Martin County Commission meetings have been held at the Blake Library since the pandemic first started. Now as the pandemic has been getting worse the powers that be have changed the meeting back to the commission chambers. Social distancing is nearly impossible. Oh well!

I guess the problem with spending money on safety either in meetings or at construction sites is it might cut into our government’s dream projects such as the $10,000,000 Martin County golf course upgrade.

Tom Pine’s opinions are his own and may not reflect Friends & Neighbors viewpoint.

 

7

 

SYRKUS THOUGHTS

By Michael Syrkus

 

A new day, dawning!

 

2021 is here, and how welcome a year this is. For many, 2020 brought with it challenges that we hopefully will never have to face again.

 

For better or for worse, 2021 brings with it a new president. The different ideologies in the coming administration and Congress will assuredly be challenged by each other. At the state level, the Florida House and Senate have seen little change. Our governor is sure to pursue his course. Local government, too, has seen little change, and the ideology of that group is sure to chug along as well. Though only time will tell.

 

One could assume with a high level of confidence that this will be the year of budget crunching. Decreased revenues from 2020 and a slow start to the new year will force many to tighten their belts and face the age-old question: cut spending or borrow cash. I sincerely hope we focus on option one. Yet this is all for another column down the road.

 

As we enter the New Year, I want to thank you all for taking the time to read this publication. Friends and Neighbors is not only a way to review the consolidated highlights of the many governmental meetings our community has, but it’s also a way to hear from folks you may not know. A forum to communicate with others around you.

 

This year I look forward to sharing my thoughts on many important issues such as water conveyance and distribution, fiscal responsibility by our governing bodies, and agriculture and rural community values. From time to time, I may slip in a commentary about popular issues in our county.

 

Here’s my ask of you, which is to write to us and ask the questions you want to have answered. We can’t guarantee that we will have all the answers. We surely can’t guarantee you’ll like my take on the issues. We at Friends & Neighbors don’t agree always with each other. None-the-less, I and everyone at the newsletter want to hear from you.

 

From day one, engagement has been my purpose for writing, and what better way to start a new year than community engagement?

 

Michael Syrkus’ opinions are his own and may not reflect Friends & Neighbors viewpoint.

8

HERBIE’S HOBE SOUND

By Herbert Howard

 

As I take my first walk this year through our small burg of Hobe Sound, I am overwhelmed by the peace and quiet of it.  Sure, its Sunday morning, but during a 4 mile walk of over an hour the only cars I encountered were on US 1.   The only people stirring were a couple of walkers at Zeus Park where the butterfly garden is located. 

 

The Zeus Park neighborhood boasts a “round house.”  I’ve never been in it.  I’ve always been curious.  I’ll have to knock on the door sometime.   About 40 families were gathering to play soccer at the soccer field.  They will dedicate most of the day to the game. 

 

The firefighters were washing their trucks.  Everyone smiles at each other as we pass.  I walk on down to the railroad tracks and think of how long they’ve been there. 

 

One of my favorite walks in Hobe Sound is the area down by the intracoastal.  This is an old coastal neighborhood that boasts huge Banyan trees and iconic palms dancing with the breeze.  The views looking across toward Jupiter Island are spectacular.  Hawks and Ospreys glide through the sky so effortlessly. 

Here every home is different and a testament to tropical living as well as the age of this neighborhood.  The creativity of the gardeners, not professionals, speaks to the unique landscaping of each.  This is not what I call “Palm Beach perfect”, but homeowners showing their appreciation of this environment by trying to fit into it, not making it conform to their whims. 

 

Gardens look just this side of out of control.  Yet this defines a natural look.  The homes are not mansions.  Some have been through generations of the same family.  Some are updated in what I call the “cracker” style. This is not meant to be a disparaging adjective.  A “cracker” was a rancher in Florida who would “crack” his whip.  But I digress. 

 

These homes are small but amazing and creative updates have maintained their character.  On other older homes some of the large front porches have been enclosed.  A testament to the invention of air conditioning.  But, walking by, I imagine when families sat out on those porches trying to catch an evening breeze.  

 

Then there are the adobes.  I have always wanted one.  I wonder how many hurricanes and tropical storms those thick walls have withstood over so many years.  Most have been painted a bright and cheery color surrounded by tropical landscaping.  As I walk out of this neighborhood, I think what joy an eclectic neighborhood such as this is to walk through.  I will enjoy many more walks through it in 2021, God willing.  

Happy New Year!

 

Herbert Howard’s opinions are his own and may not reflect Friends & Neighbors viewpoint.

 

9

MCCHRYSTAL’ MEANDERINGS

By Frank McChrystal

 

Have you heard that the Pineland Prairie “Newfield” development was approved with the typical 4-1 vote. 

 

Smith, Ciampi, Jenkins, and Hetherington voted affirmative with the lone dissenting vote cast by the “anti-growth” Sarah Heard.  Pineland Prairie was presented as “Shangri La” and apparently the current progressive greenie development mantra is based on packing all the humans into a tiny space for communal living which frees up massive amounts of land for “public” green space. 

 

This planet earth saving “Shangri La” design makes you wonder how Pineland Prairie’s neighbors homesteaded on their 5-, 10-, and 20-acre plots could have survived all this time. These backward thinking Neanderthals need to be re-educated! So, say the progressive globalists bearing gifts. 

 

Sarah Heard’s dissenting vote was correct this time for a different reason.  And I quote her, “I certainly hope this project succeeds.  I hope the construction is just as pretty as the artist’s renderings are, but I don’t trade in hope.  I was elected in order to represent the public’s interests and we do that through laws and through approvals- development approvals.  We have robust public participation and my concern about this is that we are limiting public participation.  There are not going to be public hearings.  A lot of these negotiations are going to be between the developer and staff, and staff is going to be making final decisions.”

 

This trend towards more and more important decisions being made at the staff level needs to stop.  Public participation in deciding Martin County’s future should be protected not shut down.  Another example of this trend is illustrated at Witham Field.  All sub-lease approvals are handled at the staff level with no public involvement.  Nothing to see here folks, move along.  You can trust us!

 

At some point we should start to wonder exactly what it is we are paying our public officials for.  Along with allowing staff to routinely make major decisions, their answer to the tougher issues is simply to hire awfully expensive “consultants” that provide political cover. 

 

The Martin County Commissioner position has apparently evolved into something so simple that a majority of our commissioners consider it a part time gig as delegators. We should demand better.

Frank McChrystal’s opinions are his own and may not reflect Friends & Neighbors viewpoint.

 

10

 

A DAY THAT WILL LIVE IN INFAMY

Pinterest

Those were the words that FDR used when describing the attack on Pearl Harbor. I am going to use those same words in relation to the storming of the Capitol this week. It was an act of insurrection.

 

I am not going to go into who should be blamed. I have my opinions and many of you would not like them. In this instance for this discussion, the notion of blame is irrelevant. We are all to blame.

 

We have forgotten that politics should serve a purpose. Politics is not about who wins or loses. It is not about calling the other guy a fascist or socialist. Those labels are also irrelevant.

 

We seemed to have forgotten that office holders are elected to office not for themselves but in the name of the people. They are there for the benefit of those who elected them whether a Republican or Democrat. It isn’t a job like other jobs, nor should it be a career. People who serve for decades should not be looked on in awe but in pity.

 

Abraham Lincoln served 8 years in the Illinois legislature and one term in Congress. Both his legislative stints were unremarkable. His brief army career during the Black Hawk War was also not memorable. Yet he became in most historians’ opinions our greatest president. Lincoln never forgot that as president he was there to preserve our nation and not to boost his ego.

 

We need to stop viewing politics as a sport. Democrats and Republicans are not the Yankees and Red Sox. Politics is not a game to be played to the death. It isn’t about winning but about results. And results measured in how the life of his constituents are better when a politician leaves office than when he/she entered

 

We want no more infamous days. The taking of the Capitol was disgraceful. Some have much to answer for. Everyone of us has something that we contributed to why the infamy occurred.

 

IF YOU ARE NOT A SUBSCRIBER DO SO FOR FREE HERE

 

Friends-and-Neighbors-of-Martin-County-Letters-To-Tom
I urge those who are reading this newsletter to send an email expressing their opinions on subjects. When a reader sends one, it will be included if I find it relevant and I have adequate space. I may edit the letter because of length and clarity. You don’t have to agree with me to have your letter in Friends & Neighbors. All you must do is send it to Info@friendsandneighborsofmartincounty.com or fill out the form on the website.
 

The first letter is from Billie Vaughn who disagrees with me.

 

Good morning Tom. I am sorry to say so, but your comments about the masks are more political than the BOCC. It is very easy to see where you stand on the issue. You are allowed your own opinion but not your own facts. It looks to me as though you only want to look at one side. Thank GOD you are not in charge.

The next letter is from Brenda Bravo on term limits.

 

Yes I believe there should be and will be term limits on all public offices, local to national. That is why we have so many local influencers on the take and welcome criminals like our do nothing 18th district congress rep. RINO plant groomed, trained and protected by leftists communist. Martin County appears to be the home of mom and apple pie. The criminals have been thriving here for decades sex trafficking children to adults. Yes look the other way, spend money we don’t have to attract the underbelly/perverts of society to settle in and enjoy their perversions. Money and kickbacks run this district. It took me less than a few months to uncover the corruption. Enjoy.

And from Christine Moreno.

 

It is a pleasure to read your newsletter. You understand proper reporting ethics. You provide facts and identify

when you issue opinions with your editorial comments. Your publication can be relied upon.

Chuck Stewart wrote about the interlocal agreement to use the school athletic fields.

 

I wrote to Sup’t Milljay a month ago requesting opening the MC school gates after hours and weekends so our children could use the playgrounds and fields since we taxpayers pay big money in school tax.

I know this issue is on the table after reading about it here.

So much for his “my door is always open” policy.

He has been silent.

 

My answer

 

Chuck:

 

I think much about this issue and others regarding if Millay becomes a captive of staff or not. The Board definitely wants to see the agreement signed so that those fields can be used when school is not in session.

The next is from Donna Schirripa regarding the train.

 

Hi Tom,

 

In June of 2018 I purchased in Harborage which is a lovely community within walking distance of downtown Stuart. It could be idyllic if not for the freight train noise.

 

As I’m sure you are aware, the conductors are required to blow horns as they approach each crossing. Is there any set protocol on horn blowing or is each conductor allowed to develop their individual “style”? In addition to the horns, the inevitable sounds of the passing trains are also distributive as they pass through our community.

 

Life at Harborage is challenging now with this noise nuisance and will only get worse once the commuter trains begin service. What can we do? Has any initiative begun to have the Railroad put measures in place to mitigate the sound? Has there been discussion on our options?

 

Look forward to hearing your thoughts.

 

My answer.

 

Up to the discretion of the crew.

 

The whistles will continue as no matter what happens with the passenger side, the freight will 

have more trains.

From John J. Donnelly regarding Newfield.

 

Happy Holiday’s and Merry Christmas to you Tom.

 

I really appreciate your newsletters. Very informative. I especially liked the Kiplinger project, learned a lot from your article. I agree with your view on this, that it is smart development and that is the kind we want in Martin county.

 

I’m so interested in that Kiplinger project now, I may be among the first to purchase a piece of property in there.

 

Thanks for all you do Tom.

Have a Happy New Year!!!

Gail Marshall also writes about Newfield

 

Hello Tom,

 

I read with interest about Kiplinger’s donation of land on Kanner Highway. I’ve been a resident of The Florida Club for 21 years and moved here because of the country like feeling of this area. I’ve watched with dismay as numerous gas stations, banks, storage facilities and car washes and fast-food chains have been built on Kanner and throughout the county.

 

I’m certainly not against growth in Martin County but the growth that has occurred here has lacked any imagination or and has not done anything to elevate the quality of living here. I have a second home in Northern Nevada Preserving Green Space has been a goal in that state for many years, the ranches and farms have often become too expensive to maintain and there is a concerted effort to land donated for permanent green space. I have a close friend who works diligently towards that effort. I would be happy to share his information if anyone is interested in finding out how it can be done here in Florida.

 

Best regards and thank you for your monthly letters!

 

My answer.

 

Couldn’t agree more. Martin County continuously states they are against sprawl and then it goes and lets it happen. Everything is ad hoc. In some respects where you live is quite the same thing. Putting down houses without infrastructure which forces you to get into your car to go anywhere. That needs to stop. Kiplinger’s makes sense. What the BOCC will end up approving at Christ Fellowship is the worst kind of development, homes and yards without anything else. Too bad!

 

And her response

 

Thanks for your thoughtful answer. The Christ Fellowship housing project is another irresponsible decision by our board. I honestly don’t know how some of them get reelected year after year! 

 

From James Lynch of Ocean Breeze regarding a traffic change.

 

Tom,

 

I would like it noted that a change to the back road by the railroad track, in my mind should stay southbound so we have an entry point. That would give the town two exits and two entrances. If it is changed to northbound the only way in for residents would be at the front office. Also at a time when RV’s come in and park at that gate to go in the office for check-in residents cannot get through the gate as it gets blocked

And from Kevin Wrynn regarding the efficacy of masks.

 

First, congratulations for taking the time to write up about so many concerns in Martin county. You are a dedicated person.

 

I would like to submit some mask studies that show no significant differences between mask and unmasked groups. The first is most recent Danish study which is quite well known and done. Good size, weeded out false positives.

The second is a group of mask studies. None show a difference in groups. There is some evidence n95 masks can be effective but not totally, maybe around 70-50. %.
Dig into them.

I would be glad to see the studies you have proving that they significantly block a Covid 19 nano-particles.

Thanks again for your involvement and pursuit of open government.
Kevin Wrynn, Ed. D

 Site one here https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M20-6817

Site two here https://www.sott.net/article/434796-The-Science-is-Conclusive-Masks-and-Respirators-do-NOT-Preven t-Transmission-of-Viruses

And finally, from Ellen Luz Ramil.

 

I enjoy so much reading your online magazine. This month’s article by Michael Syrkus was so thought provoking I’ve read it several time. I always look forward to receiving your informative articles.

 

IF YOU ARE NOT A SUBSCRIBER DO SO FOR FREE HERE www.friendsandneighborsofmartincounty.com

MartinCounty Friends-and-Neighbors-of-Martin-County-Commission

COMMISSION MEETING JANUARY 5, 2021

 

This was a meeting that was short and focused on Parks & Recreation.

 

During public comment Mike Connor, the executive director of Riverkeeper, spoke about how Florida Department of Transportation had placed signs forbidding fishing from the Jensen Beach Causeway bridges. He asked how could FDOT just do that without consulting the county?

 

The reason it was done was because for years, people who fish off the bridges leave their debris behind. Debris that includes dead fish and fish parts, bait, lines, hooks, beer bottles and more. Connor said his group would be more than willing to help clean the bridge and educate the users. He wanted a trial period.

Commissioner Smith said the area had been a pig style for 20 years. He has walked the bridge extensively and seen it firsthand day after day. This is a longstanding problem not of just a few fishermen but the many that use it. Smith went on to say that in the past, volunteers had cleaned up for a couple of months and then the bridge went back to the deplorable condition. Commissioner Ciampi said that these are adults not kids and by just going behind them to clean up their mess solves nothing.

 

Both Smith and Ciampi are correct here. This has been a long-standing problem that anyone can see with their own eyes and at times detect with their nostrils. FDOT is responsible for the maintenance of the bridge including the cleanup. They are tired of having to hear from countless residents about the mess and having to remind people to take personal responsibility for taking their trash and debris with them.

 

Connor stated that FDOT told him that if the county took over maintaining the bridge, they could then allow fishing. But that will cost Martin County taxpayers money because maintenance means more than cleaning up. It entails maintaining the bridge which is expensive. I suspect the commissioners knew that and that is why they will probably take a hands-off approach going forward.

I sit on the Martin County Parks & Recreation Advisory Board. This issue has come to our attention and we have quizzed the sheriff’s deputies about this. It isn’t only the bridge but there are fishing piers attached that do come under Parks & Recreation. We were concerned about enforcement.

 

The members of this board care about Parks & Recreation. They have come up with good suggestions and are knowledgeable. The staff we work with also tries to give us the information and take our suggestions seriously. However, there is a disconnect.

 

If the county is going to have this advisory board, it needs to have it perform like the LPA. There needs to be a presentation of plans, budgets and issues affecting the parks and then the board should make motions to either recommend those plans, budgets, or issues to the commission or not. The BOCC are the elected representatives and should have the final say. But a formal process should exist to make sure the commission has the recommendations of their advisory board.

 

The second Parks matter at the meeting was Kevin Abate, the department’s director, presenting the capital plan for replacement of boat ramps. The systematic plan is to replace the aging boat ramps at several launch areas throughout the county within the next few years. The first one will be at Sandsprit Park.

 

The commission wants to have all the planning and permitting done now. That way if funding is found the replacements can happen sooner. It makes sense and could ultimately save money by trying to use a similar plan modified for each ramp.

 

The presentation with which ramps will be replaced can be found here  

 

COMMISSION MEETING DECEMBER 15, 2020

 

Newfield, the Kiplinger new town being built in Palm City, had three agenda items.

The first was the development agreement that, in essence, is outlining how impact fees are going to be used and what credits the developer is entitled to have to make the improvements. The second item was the first of many site plans and the two PAMPS to be built. Last was the Community Development District being formed to allow for the infrastructure improvements to be paid for by the development itself.

 

In my opinion, the comp plan, code of ordinances, and LDRs have never been as much in sync with a project as with Newfield. In fact, Kiplinger and his consultants sat with staff and wrote Chapter 11 of the LDRs specifically for this project. That was the hard work for it introduced something known as Form Based Code to Martin County.

 

According to Form-Based Codes Institute at Smart Growth America, a Washington non-profit that advocates for these type codes, the definition is:

 

“A form-based code is a land development regulation that fosters predictable built results and a high-quality public realm by using physical form (rather than separation of uses) as the organizing principle for the code. A form-based code is a regulation, not a mere guideline, adopted into city, town, or county law. A form-based code offers a powerful alternative to conventional zoning regulation.”

 

That type of code is ideal when you want to have continuity of planning for a particular neighborhood or area. You know what you are going to get. It makes it impossible for a developer to build something completely out of character with the surrounding neighborhood. Form-based code is ideal for an urban setting where different uses are to be integrated.

 

In some instances, it is better to have a PUD to develop a piece of property. Not all development is the same. The county’s CRAs should have a code that identifies their unique characteristics. In shaping the so-called Creek Arts District, Stuart needs to institute a form-based code for that neighborhood. The city should also do it as they contemplate the future of the U.S. 1 corridor and the Gateway area.

 

The development agreement is attached here

 

The motion to accept was approved 4-1 with Heard dissenting

 

The site plan and PAMPS were the second item on the agenda. The Crossroads Neighborhood is comprised of 139 acres and can have up to 1257 units. It also has a mix of retail, office, and commercial space. It will be the densest of the over 3300 acres within the development.

Commissioner Heard kept saying over and over that there would be no transparency because the commission would not get to approve every home etc. She either doesn’t still understand what the commission approved with Chapter 11 or she is using it as an excuse to never approve new projects.

 

As of right, Kiplinger could have just sold off his property to developers and then we would have had more of the Martin County magic of either single family home developments or 5-acre ranchettes. In both cases, that type of development is nothing but sprawl. Knight Kiplinger, or his inheritors, will make more money eventually by building his town. By Kiplinger being able to do so, the people of Martin County will have planned growth and much less south Florida sprawl. It is a win for all of us now and far into the future.

 

That passed 4-1 with Heard dissenting.

 

You can find the documentation and presentation here

 

Finally, the BOCC approved Newfield’s own CDD (Community Development District). What that does is make the new “town” pay for its own development. They will be permitted to tax themselves. Every parcel owner will be assessed an amount. This will give Newfield the opportunity to bond projects to build sewers and roads and for the owners to pay the costs instead of all Martin County taxpayers.

 

I am a proponent of this type of development. 70% of the land will be kept open. People will be able to walk to stores, schools, and restaurants. Stuart with all its supposed density is still a city where people get into their cars to do all of that. When I first met with Kiplinger years ago, I recognized that it would be beneficial for every resident not just those that eventually end up living there.

 

I hope that at some point Newfield will incorporate and become its own municipality. It is off to a good start and I would love to remove the quote marks from around “town”.

 

The vote to allow the CDD was 4-1 with Heard dissenting.

 

You can find the CDD presentation here

 

MODELLING

 

More than two years ago, the BOCC wanted a better way to forecast growth and to see how much and what type of land is available for that growth. Staff has been working on this since and I believe they have come up with a great product.

 

David Farmer of Metro Forecasting Models, which only has local governments for clients, demonstrated what they have put together so far. If the county goes through with procuring their services, it will be a great planning tool.

 

The county will have to commit to using them on an ongoing basis. The information in the program must be updated periodically for it to be of use. If the county is going to spend money on a consultant, this will be money well spent if the BOCC and staff use the information the program will deliver.

 

Included in the package is not only unincorporated Martin County but also the municipalities. It is important that they be included especially Indiantown and Stuart. If a buyer were looking for available industrial properties or where new ones should be located, the entire county should be considered.

 

I was a little perplexed when the commissioners were speaking as if the municipalities should pay to be included. This is wrong especially if the payment to the company is coming from the general fund to which all taxpayers contribute tax dollars. If the municipalities want to purchase additional services not being provided to the county, then that is a different matter.

 

The BOCC gave staff the go ahead to proceed. That is a good outcome. The presentations can be found here

 

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City-of-Stuart stuart-city-commision-2020

In keeping with Friends & Neighbors policy, I asked newly elected Mayor Eula Clarke to tell us about her upcoming year as mayor.

Happy New Year!  It is truly an honor to serve again as Mayor of Stuart. I am honored and humbled and look forward to serving you in 2021.

 

First, I promise to work with our community members to ensure that our City remains vibrant as we continue to face the challenges to our businesses, churches, schools and homes and especially our non-profit organizations due to the impact of COVID 19.  As a City we will strive to maintain high quality customer service and continue with our community partnerships and collaboration to provide essential services and keep our City functioning.

 

In 2021, the Referendum which passed in 2019 to go from “two year term” to “four year term” will take effect and going forward Commissioners will serve 4 year terms limited to up to 3 consecutive terms.  This will start in a staggered fashion in the August 2021 Elections.

 

Our City of Stuart has been a Florida Municipality for 106 years now… and we have much to look forward to.  My goals which I hope our Commission and the entire community will embrace are as follows:

 

  1. BALANCED DEVELOPMENT: Approve and work on achieving balance development while maintaining and increasing our public green space.

 

  1. UNITY IN THE COMMUNITY-Working together with nonprofits, individuals, churches, businesses and law enforcement towards a harmonious community.

 

  1. CLEAN RIVER/CLIMATE CHANGE – Support groups and organizations who are working to help clean up the St. Lucie River and Okeechobee waterway by our stewardship as a City and focused and agile collaboration.

 

  1. CLEAN STREETS – Having a clean environment is vital to attracting new development and is a sign of positive revitalization. I plan to work with residents in our community to focus on East Stuart and surrounding neighborhoods to clean up trash, plant trees and upgrade homes and yards to increase habitability and community harmony.

 

  1. CREATING AN ARTS AND CULTURAL DISTRICT FOR EAST STUART -Gathering and using historical information to enhance revitalization in this area by using various street scape designs and creating a Historic Walking Tour/Markers to highlight the iconic history of East Stuart members since its inception in Martin County in 1913.

 

  1. PRIORITIZING AND IMPLEMENTING OUR STRATEGIC AND SUSTAINABILITY PLAN. We can have Prosperity through Sustainability. We will always strive to be fiscally responsible and transparent.

 

  1. KEEPING STUART BUSINESSES OPEN DURING THE PANDEMIC AND SUPPORTING ALL CDC GUIDELINES

 

  1. SUPPORTING SMALL BUSINESS AND SHOPPING LOCAL.

 

  1. CONTINUE PARTNERSHIP WITH COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS.

 

  1. FIND INNOVATIVE WAYS TO DEVELOP AND IMPLEMENT AFFORDABLE ATTAINABLE HOUSING

 

I am here to listen and learn from you and more importantly to work with you.  Please let me know your concerns.  In addition to working to implement a sustainable development plan, our Community Redevelopment agency has a motto “Preserving our Past while Embracing our Future” and this is truly a code to live by in 2021. Remember, We are a Better, More vibrant Stuart when we collaborate to make Stuart an Awesome Place to Live Work and Play!

 

CITY COMMISSION MEETING DECEMBER 14, 2020

 

Commissioner Eula Clarke was elected unanimously by her peers to be Mayor for the year. Commissioner Matheson was elected Vice-Mayor. I want to congratulate Clarke on her mayoralty. It may prove to be a tough year financially for the city. And I hope she and the other commissioners do not go on quixotic journeys when Stuart will probably need a way to do more with less.

It was a testament to Matheson’s abilities to be able to have Col. Andrew Kelly of the Army Corps come and brief the commission. To me, the best thing that Kelly said was that the Corps was 100% committed to completing the reservoir south of the lake. Given the noise that the new Florida Senate President, Wilton Simpson, was making about cutting the project, Kelly’s words were comforting.

 

Kelly stated that the release of water would continue through January 9th. The need is to have the Lake down to below 11 feet before the wet season next summer. Though this year’s dry season is off to a wet start.

 

Matheson asked good hypothetical questions of Kelly that he wasn’t expected to answer such as what does flood control mean? Is it preventing water from entering homes and businesses? Can a watershed be flooded? What does zero releases mean?

 

To Matheson, any water that is running into the river from canals and the lake is unnatural. Originally, the St. Lucie River was not connected to Lake Okeechobee. It isn’t even a real river because it has no headwaters. In the 1890s, the settlers dug an inlet to the ocean. In the early 1900s, they dug a canal connecting it to the Lake. We have been screwing up the “river” for over 130 years.

 

To borrow an old, hackneyed phrase, “we have met the enemy and he is us!”

 

JUST WHEN I THOUGH IT WAS GETTING BETTER

 

The first part of the meeting that began at 4 pm didn’t get down to enacting resolutions and ordinances for the first three hours. Some of that time was the Army Corps’ presentation. Yet the meeting still was full of an arts moment, employee recognitions, employee of the month, 2021 calendar photo winners, and a completely useless Covid update from the Department of Health.

 

By the time that Item 17 rolled around, which was the first time they were approving anything that mattered, some commissioners were apparently too tired to allow for discussion. Commissioner Bruner moved Tom Lucido’s project before the title was even announced. I think Bruner was ready to vote right then and there. This went on for the rest of the meeting.

 

Clarke tried valiantly to stick with meeting protocol, but it was her first meeting as mayor. Michael Mortell, the city attorney, had to chime in that staff and the applicant were speaking without being sworn in. They were supposed to be giving testimony not shooting the bull. By the end of the evening, Manager Dyess had to say that by not even giving a chance to Mortell to read the title of the resolution or ordinance, the commission could be opening themselves up to problems.

Perhaps, it is time for Stuart to emulate the county and start at least one meeting a month even earlier. The commission and manager still need to do some fine tuning on meeting protocol. Since most times, our commissioners are verbose, the manager will need to limit the items on the agenda so that things like Savannah Place are given the discussion they deserve.

 

Employees are important. But when the commission devotes the same amount of time to an employee of the month recognition or an acoustical guitarist as they do a multimillion-dollar development project, it shows the system is broken.

 

LUCIDO’S COTTAGES

 

Tom Lucido, a local planner, has owned a strip of land on Georgia and Osceola for many years. He has decided to build up to 5 cottages. He will be starting with one. It is a great idea but is it the right location?

 

Stuart has bought the Wells Fargo property which includes the Cancer Center and the small office building adjacent. The bank building will be the new city hall, but while the Cancer Center has a long-term lease, the nearly empty adjacent strip center is ripe for development. The parking lot that is in the rear and to the side of the bank will not stay as a lot. Mr. Lucido’s cottages will be overwhelmed by larger structures.

 

It may make some sort of sense for him to sell his piece to the city. If those cottages are built, I have a feeling that they will be offices before too long. It is a great idea and in other less dense areas, it would be a great addition. I believe the time has passed for new cottages at that spot.

 

To see the excellent design power point, go here

 

AFFORDABLE…WORKFORCE…ATTAINABLE

 

Savannah Place was supposed to be built with 10 units of housing priced at 80% of the AMI. That was the deal that was made when the commission approved the project. If my memory serves me right, it was the developers own idea.

 

Somewhere along the line that developer sold the PUD to another developer. This new company wanted to get out of that obligation. So, staff and the developer came up with a magical, mystical, miraculous formula that would allow him to pay more than $252,000 to the city. It would be paid to a “housing fund” that doesn’t exist and has no rules to be used for something having to do with housing once the fund and the rules are established.

 

No one ever claimed that commissioners were practical. And this certainly proves it. The magical, mystical, miraculous formula was concocted by the development department and apparently the city’s finance department had nothing whatsoever to do with this. Clarke asked why wasn’t the finance director involved? That was a very cogent observation.

 

Meier thought it was too much at once and while it was billed as a slight modification it really isn’t. As a small city with limited staff, he thinks Stuart is not capable of administering such a fund. He equated it to a new impact fee.

 

Matheson did not understand where the math came from. As a Certified Property Manager, Real Estate Broker, and CCIM for 50 years, I know that the outcome derived using formulas is only as good as the assumptions used. He also wanted to know whether this would make the PUD process seem as pay to play.

 

Then an affordable, attainable, workforce housing group that has yet to do anything more than plan, wanted to get their hands on the money. And that ultimately is the problem with all this type of “do goodism.” The City of Stuart is far too tiny to make much of a difference in the quality of the river or solving a housing shortage for those that need help.

 

The commission could have done one of two things. First it could have required the developer to abide by the deal that had been made. He bought the PUD knowing the terms. When built, it would have resulted in 10 apartments being available below market.

 

Or the commission could have said that it needed time to explore this possibility. It could have postponed deciding until it had discussed whether this was a good deal or not. What is the rush?

 

It appears to me in this instance that the city staff is not serving the commissioners very well. This should have never come to them in this form with none of the details worked out and without the imprimatur of the director of finance. The city manager owes it to his commission to bring items that have been vetted thoroughly.

 

A motion was made by Bruner and seconded by McDonald to take the money and release the developer from that obligation. It passed 3-2 with Meier and Matheson voting no.

 

You can see the presentations here including the magical, mystical, miraculous formula here

 

If you want affordable housing, then build more housing. In economic terms, real estate is a perfect market. Supply and demand really work. The more new units that are built, the less expensive the older units become. Affordable, attainable, workforce housing is usually not the newest units built. Unless federal funds, can be obtained the old type of housing projects are not coming back.

 

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Martin-County-School-Board Friends-and-Neighbors-of-Martin-County-School-Board

DECEMBER 15, 2020 MEETING

 

Karen Resciniti was the only public speaker. Resciniti is the head of the union but she was only speaking for herself as a teacher. About a third of her 180 students are attending remotely. This was causing her difficulties in keeping everything straight. She claimed it was unsustainable.

 

In Martin County, remote learning was never meant to be the new way of attending class. Many teachers do not have the ability to work with individual students both in the classroom and at home. I like the idea that the lessons are streamed, and I hope it continues. It should only be for a kid that is home sick so he can follow along and not lose instruction time.

 

To ask teachers to continuously work with home bound students and those in the classroom at the same time can be stressful for the teacher and leave the students without everything they need. Since this set up will be with the district for the rest of the year, Dr. Millay should see whether it can be improved. If next year we are still prisoners to Covid, then those students who are at home should explore Florida Virtual or one of the other means to continue in-home education.

 

The board was also being asked whether to suspend a custodian without pay because she was not performing her job. Apparently, she sustained an injury while on the job at JD Parker and now is unable to bend down or lift anything. She was cleared for full duty by the doctor. There will be a termination hearing in January.

                   CafePress

I don’t want to get into the merits of the case. I don’t even want to discuss whether she should or should not receive pay pending the termination hearing. (The board did suspend with pay) What I do want to know is why the board has to be involved in what would be a trivial matter in the private sector.

 

I was told that under statute they must be involved. I can’t believe that in Palm Beach their board becomes involved in whether low or mid-level employees should be terminated or suspended. According to the district’s website, Palm Beach has 22,600 employees. If their board were as involved as Martin’s is, they would do nothing more than act as a big HR department. Perhaps there is a better and more professional way of handling these disputes.

 

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Town of Sewall's Point Friends-and-Neighbors-of-Martin-County-Sewalls-Point

Commissioner Frank Fender wrote me because he didn’t think that I was clear in something I had written. Instead of placing it in the letter section, I believe it should be printed here under the Sewall’s Point section. Here it is in its entirety:

Hi Tom:

 

I hope all is well.  I wanted to send you a quick note of thanks for all the hard work you put in on building your Friends & Neighbors newsletter and blog.  It is clear that it is a labor of love and your design makes it easy to navigate and read.  More importantly, you are providing a service to deliver information to our community in a professional and attractive format.  Thank you again for all the effort.

 

I was compelled to write because I wanted to clarify a statement I saw in your November 22, 2020 Edition of the Sewall’s Point section.  Upon reading this statement, “Fender stated that he does not believe in rotating the position as has been customary.  While he didn’t say he wanted to remain in that position, it was obvious”, it was clear to me that either my words were misinterpreted or I chose the wrong ones, or both.  Neither sentence reflects my position on our Mayoral transition process in Sewall’s Point.  So I wanted to briefly clarify.

 

Tom, we rotate our Mayoral responsibility annually in Sewall’s Point each November, usually after the conclusion of an election.  In years when there is no election, we maintain the process in November to keep a fresh and focused leader in the role.  I completely support this process.  What I said, or intended to say, is that I don’t believe that “everyone gets a chance to be Mayor just because they happen to be on the Commission.”  In my view, we should be selecting a leader as Mayor each year who best represents the Town and can most efficiently and professionally carry out the duties of Mayor.  Leadership ability is important.  Over the years, as a resident of Sewall’s Point, I have heard people say “It’s his turn.” or “It isn’t fair.  Why was he/she overlooked as Mayor again?”  Your referenced point of my statement on the Dias was that it is not a rotation.  It isn’t about being someone’s turn.

 

I also want to ensure that it is clear that I emphatically support Commissioner Mayfield’s election as Mayor.  She will make a great one.  

 

Secondarily, to your point about my “obvious” desire to remain in the role, I can tell you that I am proud of my accomplishments during my term.  Personally, I was ready for the transition and could use a little rest. 🙂  I suspect I may be asked to serve in the future, and if I had been asked to stay for another year, I probably would have agreed.  But, no, your perception of my desire to remain in that role is overstated.  I was excited to hand the gavel to Kaija and to enable some fresh new energy to lead.  What may be driving your conclusion was my short re-direction to ask Commissioner Campo, an experienced member of the Commission and former Mayor, if he intended to express a desire for the role.  It worked out well with Campo as Vice Mayor and Mayfield as Mayor.  I couldn’t be more pleased with the selections and I personally feel that we have a strong and unified leadership team on the Sewall’s Point Commission.

 

Tom, thanks again for all you do.  Just wanted to clarify your post.  I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season.

 

Kind Regards,

 

Frank Fender
Commissioner
Town of Sewall’s Point

 

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COMMISSION MEETING DECEMBER 15, 2020

 

This was the last meeting of 2020. It was only fitting that the purchase of land for flood control was the main topic.

 

The two properties under consideration were 78 and 80 South Sewall’s Point Road. Once again, commissioners asked the same question and received the same answers. The STA is needed. The outflow is needed. And it can’t be done without purchasing adequate property.

 

Yet without grant funding to buy the properties and make the improvements, nothing will be able to be done. What happens if no grants are forthcoming to make this all happen? Does the commission allow the flooding to continue? Does it allow for the disruption to these property owners to keep happening?

 

This is a microcosm of what is happening throughout the nation. Infrastructure is being placed on the back burner. In Sewall’s Point’s case, it may be because the commission does not want to borrow or bond to finish this. It makes sense to apply for grants, but there needs to be a financial plan that does not solely rely on a grant writer to be accomplished.

 

It will cost roughly $3 million to buy the needed property and do the work. If you look at the picture below, it shows that part of Sewall’s Point will be under water at the end of the century. There is much work to be done starting with this but in no way ending with this.

 

To see the complete presentation: here

 

 

RESOLUTION 897

 

Resolution 897 is another one of those resolutions that mean nothing but could prove useful. It says that sewers should be available to residents on South Sewall’s Point as they are on the northside.

 

It is not mandatory that property owners hook up as soon as sewers are available but hook up would be mandatory when their septic system fails. What it does do is give notice that when funding becomes available, the town wants sewer lines installed. When flooding occurred a few weeks ago, fecal material was found in the flood water because of septic intrusion. As a reminder, sewers add only a few hundred dollars per year to the average homeowner.

 

Someone mentioned that the City of Stuart now has sewer availability throughout. If they can do it, why not Sewall’s Point? Another mentioned that a referendum should be held. All fine points, but Sewall’s Point is not in western Martin County. It is on a peninsula between two bodies of water and on the Indian River Lagoon. Neighbors are close together and affect each other.

 

The mayor’s remarks said it best. She threaded the needle by saying it was a choice as to whether an owner hooked up or not until the septic failed. She also said that at some point mandatory hookup would be necessary. That should be planned as funds become available. The vote was 5-0 in favor.

To read the resolution and Mayfield’s remarks go here

 

 

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Village-Of-Indiantown Friends-and-Neighbors-of-Martin-County-Indiantown-Village

The next meeting of the council will be January 14, 2021

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Town of Ocean Breeze

 

The next meeting will be January 11, 2021

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Jupiter Island Jupiter Island Sky View

The next meeting will be January 14, 2021

 

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Final Thoughts

FINAL THOUGHTS

I remember the oil shock of the early 1970s. It was devastating to our economy mainly because inflation soared out of control. Talk about wasting resources, our burning of fossil fuel had been unparalleled. Oil was cheap and to save it was expensive.  

 

Another shock occurred because of the Iranian hostage crises at the end of the decade. The inflation rate was over 13%. It was hurting business in general and real estate specifically. It took the determined efforts of Paul Volker with Ronald Reagan’s support to wrestle the beast into submission.

 

By the end of the 1980s, inflation had been tamed. Yet for many Americans, that fear never went away. So, for thirty years business leaders have watched to see if inflation returns. The prime reason for this watchfulness has been to keep interest rates low. Low rates allow big borrowing.

 

Politicians have not been afraid of deficits when their party is in power and doing the spending. U.S. deficits under Trump have never been higher even before Covid 2020. From 2017 through 2019 with full employment, we have run record breaking deficits. During that time, we haven’t borrowed for infrastructure or to enhance our economy or our people in any way.

 

Now that a new Democrat administration will be coming into office, the Republicans are once again sounding the deficit alarm. If the government borrows, what happens when interest rate rise? That would be a good point if those same pols were sounding the alarm when Republicans were in the White House.

 

The U.S. shouldn’t be afraid to borrow if we are using those funds for a good purpose such as infrastructure. Inflation is not on the way back to anywhere near the 1970s levels. Times and economic circumstances are different. Let us not have politics intrude on good policy decisions.

 

To read more go here

 

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GET THE WORD OUT   Friends and Neighbors of Martin County are your eyes and ears so that you know what is going on in Martin County’s municipal and county governments. I attempt to be informative and timely so that you may understand how your tax money is being spent. Though I go to the meetings and report back, I am no substitute for your attending meetings. Your elected officials should know what is on your mind.

Tom Campenni 772-287-5781 (o) 772-341-7455 (c) Email: Info@friendsandneighborsofmartincounty.com thomasfcampenni@gmail.com

ARTICLES OF INTEREST

 

Articles I wrote in the past few weeks:

 

Tallahassee’s version of the “Godfather”

 

HERE

 

“History Is Just The Facts”

 

HERE

 

“The U.S. Needs A Social Safety Net”

 

HERE

 

Other Articles:

 

Our first one is from the Atlantic regarding those working in an office get bigger raises than those working from home:

 

HERE

 

The next is an article from David French in the Dispatch asking if Jews are being beaten in the streets can America be America:

 

 

HERE

 

From The Hill is it time to rethink zoning:

 

HERE

 

The New York Times asks Bill Bratton about police reform:

 

HERE

 

A press release from the Army Corps of Engineers regarding Lake Okeechobee:

 

HERE

 

The Miami Herald asks why Florida picked up the tab for lawsuits for doctors’ mistakes in child birth:

 

HERE

 

The Washington Post writes that Senators are the oldest in history:

 

HERE

 

Another from the Post explains why Florida was supposed to be more left but turned more right instead:

 

HERE

 

The Florida Phoenix writes it is time to get rid of the filibuster:

 

HERE

 

The Mew York Times has a test for us to take regarding the facts on the increase in crime:

 

HERE

 

Lastly from Pro Publica their story on America’s richest pay no tax:

 

HERE

 

 

 

CHARTS:

 

Two charts this week from Visual Capitalist on debt:

 

The first is on household debt:

 

HERE

 

The second is on government debt:

 

HERE

 

GLOSSARY

Annual Medium Income (AMI)

Basin Action Management Plan (BMAP)

Board of County Commissioners (BOCC)

Business Development Board (BDB)

Capital Improvement Plan (CIP)

Career & Technical Education (CTE)

Center For Disease Control (CDC)

Centum Cubic Feet (CCF)

Children’s Services Council (CSS)

Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)

Community Development District (CDD)

Community Redevelopment Board (CRB)

Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA)

Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR)

Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) 

Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)

Emergency Operation Center (EOC)

Equivalent Residential Connection (ERC)

Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU)

Evaluation & Appraisal Report (EAR)

Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA)

Federal Rail Administration (FRA)

Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)

Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)

Full Time Equivalents (FTE)

Future Land Use Maps (FLUM)

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)

High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP)

Hobe Sound Local (HSL)

Indian River Lagoon (IRL)

Land Development Code (LDR)

Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS)

Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSUM)

Local Agency Program Certification (LAP)

Local Planning Agency (LPA)

Martin County Fire/Rescue (MCFR)

Martin County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO)

Martin County Taxpayers Association (MCTA)

Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU)

Municipal Service Taxing Unit (MSTU)

Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY)

Organization For Economic Co-operation & Development (OECD)

Planned Unit Development (PUD)

Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)

Preserve Action Management Plan (PAMP)

Request for Proposal (RFP)

Residential Planned Unit Development (RPUD)

Right of Way (ROW)

Secondary Urban Services District (SUSD)

South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD)

South Martin Regional Utility (SMRU)

State Housing Initiative Partnership (SHIP)

Storm Water Treatment Areas (STA)

Tax Increment Financing (TIF)

Urban Planned Unit Development (UPUD)

Urban Services Boundary (USB)

World Health Organization (WHO)

Zoning-In-Progress (ZIP)

Photo Capt Kimo