Happy New Year
Every year we build upon what we have learned and accomplished from the year before. 2016 will be no exception.
Last year, we were very involved in literacy, child care and environmental issues. We laid the foundation for a number of initiatives.
This year I hope to take each of those initiatives into their next phase.
This month has already seen considerable progress on several key issues, which I would like to share with you.
Public Hearings are set for a Countywide Fracking Ban
Broward County Conservation Land as Seen From Everglades Holiday Park
A few months ago we, the Board of County Commissioners, agreed to send the legislature an item that clarified that we,
as a county, have the right to determine what is in the best interest of our citizens. We agreed that it is within our rights to protect our environment,
and to determine what kind of permits we could approve or deny regarding the natural resources of oil and gas – particularly with regards to our conservation areas.
Well, the state legislature heard us, and started running in the opposite direction almost immediately. Several State House and Senate bills were filed immediately after we in Broward added the request for clarification to our legislative priorities, each taking away the rights of counties and municipalities from regulating oil and gas drilling.
Unlike traditional vertical oil wells, fracking involves drilling horizontal wells deep below the surface, then using various forms of “Extreme Well Stimulation” to extract oil and gas deposits. Graphic used with permission from PSE Healthy Energy http://www.psehealthyenergy.org/
Now the battle for where our rights begin and end has moved beyond simply clarifying whether or not we have the right to approve fracking in our county. Now it is time to state our position and formally ban this technique of exploration from being available in Broward County.
I actually never thought in a million years that anyone would even consider fracking given the geological nature of our land and our aquifer. It is beyond me how a short term profit would be worth the risk to our water supply. On January 12, the County Commission voted unanimously to hold a public hearing to ban fracking in Broward County.
If anyone would like to weigh in on this issue, they are welcome to come to the Public Hearing on Tuesday, January 26th at 2 PM at Broward County Governmental Center – 115 S. Andrews Ave, Fort Lauderdale FL 33301. At the Public Hearing, anyone who signs up to speak on this item will have the opportunity to speak before the County Commission.
Video of Commissioner Beam Furr Proposing a Countywide Ban on Fracking (Item 44 – January 12th 2016)
You can read Jerry Iannelli’s coverage of this topic for the Broward Palm Beach New Times.
You can read Mary Ellen Klas’s coverage of the fracking bills making their way through the State Legislature for the Miami Herald.
Climate Action Plan Coming to Broward
Also, on January 26th the County Commission is going to consider adopting the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Compact’s updated Climate Action Plan.
The Climate Action Plan was generated as a series of strategic actions, which can be taken by local governments to best adapt to climate change and sea level rise.
The current version of the Climate Action Plan came before the Broward County Climate Change Task Force during my time as Chair, and we recommended that Broward County adopt the full plan.
If you would like to read the full list of actions, you can find the
2016 Climate Action Plan here.
Progress Update on Solid Waste Disposal
There has been progress towards bringing the County and the Cities together in forming a new agreement for Solid Waste Disposal.
At the January 7th meeting of the Broward League of Cities, I gave an update to all of the members on where we were in these discussions.
Then, the BLOC Board of Directors gave their support to having the Broward County City Manager's Association review the potential for having the municipalities in
Broward County enter into an
Interlocal Agreement with Broward County to govern solid waste disposal.
Commissioner Furr speaking at the January 7th meeting of the Broward League of Cities, proposing a new Solid Waste Disposal agreement.
This means that over the next few months, each city manager will review their trash policy with each of their commissioners and their city staff. It’s important that we have a complete picture of where our trash has been going, so that we can find some way to recycle more and landfill less.
It’s too soon to know what that final agreement will look like, but for the first time in a long time, everyone is moving in the same direction.
Speaking about our Changing History to the Hollywood Historical Society Annual Luncheon
I had the pleasure of speaking before the Hollywood Historical Society at their annual luncheon this past Sunday, January 17th at Rudy’s Pub and Restaurant in the Hollywood Beach Golf Resort.
I commend the Hollywood Historical Society for working with the Archives Division of the Broward County Library to digitize the archives of the
Hollywood Sun Tattler.
Probably more than any other effort that I can imagine, this will expand and preserve the history of Hollywood.
For Hollywood and the surrounding communities, the Sun-Tattler is close to a family album. But each of us has our own history – our own events that make our lives.
Some of those are documented in newspapers. Whether it’s an old box score from a high school baseball team, or a concert flyer from the
It might have been the opening of the fashion center, or a wedding announcement.
It might have been about a state championship or a Candlelight March for the Starting Place.
These might not make it to the history books, but they did make it to the Tattler.
From the ads, to the gossip columns, and the political intrigues that go with them, these pages capture the flavor of the place.
I think some things get lost when you don’t have a hometown newspaper. We still get the official version of how things have come about, but we don’t often get to hear the back story of why things happen. I want to know from Cathy Anderson what her role was in preserving North Beach Park. I want to know from John Williams the story of saving West Lake Park, and why he picked black olive trees to plant all over the Hollywood. I want to know from Mara Giulanti how she held out to make sure the Diplomat didn’t become just another condo. I want to know from Sonny Rosenberg who designed the beachball water tower on Hallandale Beach. I want to know who led the fight to preserve C.B. Smith Park in Pembroke Pines.
These questions matter, these stories matter, and this history matters. What’s more, there are people alive today who can tell these stories. We will need to combine their firsthand knowledge with the articles preserved in the Tattler.
Digitizing this newspaper is going to take more than simply scanning every page. It is important that there are people who can help create the search terms, the subject categories, people who can connect the dots that make it worthwhile.
We are living history. So let us make history come to life.
A Good Year for Job Growth in Broward County
There is good news on the job front. New data shows Broward County created 27,000 new jobs in 2015. This brings the County’s unemployment rate down to 4.5%, which is a .9% drop from this time last year, and leaves Broward County .3% under the state’s overall unemployment rate of 4.8%. The biggest drivers of new job growth in Broward County came from the Professional and Business Services Industry and the Construction Industry.
Of course, this is welcome news. As we finally start to put the recession of 2008 in our rearview mirror, I feel it is more important that Broward County continues to bring good careers back home. That is the distinction, after all. Jobs come and go, but careers allow residents to prosper.
To read more of the Data and Analysis please visit the
Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance’s website.
Expansion of Broward College’s School of Aviation at North Perry Airport in Pembroke Pines
Commissioner Beam Furr in one of the Diversified Aviation’s newly completed hangars at North Perry Airport
Staying with the subject of careers, I am very happy to report that the County Commission played an instrumental role in helping to expand the Broward College Aviation Institute. Many residents might not be aware, but South Florida is becoming a hub for the aviation industry. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is one of the fastest growing airports in the country, and our regional airports such as North Perry Airport, Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, and Pompano Beach Airpark each have an important role to play in the growth of this industry.
For example, Diversified Aviation signed an extended lease last month with Broward County, to continue the development of North Perry Airport in Pembroke Pines. This new lease allows them to begin construction on a $3.5 million, 13,500 square foot facility for the Broward College Aviation Institute. This follows after Diversified Aviation finished construction of brand new 33-unit hangars at North Perry Airport.
At the Broward College Aviation Institute, students can learn to work the controls in a cockpit, direct air traffic, and work on the complex systems that make flight possible. The Aviation Institute offers students eight different tracks to choose from. Each program offers state-of-the-art training grounds inclusive of a partnership with HOVA Flight Services, and certified programs from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Currently, the Broward College Aviation Institute has a
current waitlist of over 200 students. The new facility at North Perry Airport will be able to meet this demand and more.
I am very excited that this expansion will allow so many more students to pursue a degree through the Broward College Aviation Institute.
We know that aviation and aerospace are growing industries throughout South Florida, and this will create the opportunities for a generation of students to launch their own careers right here in Broward County.
Hollywood comes to Hollywood!
The first ever Hollywood Florida Film Festival will be taking place from February 10-14, 2016. Locations include: Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort – 1111 N. Ocean Dr., Hollywood, FL 33019; Hollywood, FL 33020; Art & Cultural Center – 1650 Harrison St., Hollywood, FL 33020.
Movie Screening of “Trial By Fire” on Friday Feb. 12th, 2016.
Opening Night Screening of “Sivas” on Wednesday Feb. 10th, 2016.
For more information about the Hollywood Florida Film Festival, you can visit their website at
Facebook, via email at
email@example.com, or call (310) 650-1753.
One of the initiatives spearheaded by my colleague, Broward Mayor Marty Kiar, is finally reaching the implementation phase this month. The Yellow Dot Program is a way for residents in Broward County who have medical conditions to communicate vital information to first responders in the case of an emergency while on the road. Cars with the Yellow Dot decal signal to first responders that the driver or passenger have critical medical information in their glove compartment.
Here is a copy of the medical brochure that accompanies the
Yellow Dot decal.
Mayor Kiar made a video explaining the benefits of this program.
If you are interested in obtaining a Yellow Dot for your vehicle, please visit our district office in the Hollywood Branch of the Broward County Public Library (2600 Hollywood Blvd. Hollywood, FL 33020) or you can visit any of the following
Let’s Talk Transportation Forum – Hosted by Broward MPO and City of Hallandale Beach.
The Mayor of Hallandale Beach, Joy Cooper invited me to a roundtable discussion on Transportation along with members of the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization on February 8th from 9 – 10:30.
The forum is open to the public, and question cards will be available for public input.
We hope you can join us to discuss the options for ensuring greater mobility in South Florida for the years ahead.
Register Now for a Taste of Pines at the Southwest Focal Point in Pembroke Pines February 18th
See you at Party on the J! Sunday, February 21st
For more information, please visit the
Johnson Street Business District’s website, or on
Our district office is conveniently located in the lobby of the Hollywood Branch of the Broward County Public Library at 2600 Hollywood Blvd,
next to Hollywood City Hall. This office is open for your convenience Monday through Friday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
If you would like to schedule an appointment, or you have a great idea, suggestion or an issue that needs my attention,
feel free to call me at 954-357-7006/7790 or send me an email at