Updated: Oct 6
After a month hiatus from our meetings the past week has been very busy. In my opinion the commission has final closed the chapter on what has been a fire storm of negative politics when it comes to discussions of xenophobia. Firstly, there is no evidence that I have found which even suggests any hatred to one group of people. Politics of destruction in our city for the past ten years came to an end but there are still remnants of certain individuals that continue to bring up issues on the internet and to the press that are false and hateful. They are intended as revenge.
Last meeting there was once again venting of anger due to the personal attack upon one of our commissioners’ husbands. I let it go because it was warranted. I know all too well how corrosive and hurtful personal attacks are. I have been the target of such attacks against me, my husband and family. As mayor I have made it clear that I will not tolerate attacks upon any commissioners from the public nor each other. We need to be allowed to have civil discourse with emphasis on civil.
I do have faith that we can all work together for progress. Hallandale Beach is a wonderful city. There are always areas in which improvements are needed and better ways to get the job done. That is what we should be focused on. We cannot allow hatred or the politics of destruction to drown all that is good. We have a great year ahead. We still need to “sing in our own pond” as former Mayor Ross used to say. We should stand against the hate and tone of national politics. We can prevent it from filtering its way here and harm our potential.
Last meeting there were resolutions from Commissioner Taub that spoke out against hate bigotry and extremism. The first was to lobby congressional action to support increased funding of police and law enforcement to fight hate crimes and home-grown terrorism. The funding request goes towards the funding of a Special Hate Task Force on the state and local levels. Our city has been providing security for large houses of worship and continues to keep a watch on all houses of worship. We will continue to perform this layer of protection with or without funding.
The second resolution was supporting President Trump’s s Executive Order combating anti-Semitism and anti- Semitic incidents. This is finally a step from the White House that does speak up against hate. Our city is home to over 2900 Jewish households, Jewish schools a temple. We want all religions people to feel safe and free to practice their region. That is one of the founding principles of our Nation.
Commissioner Lazarow sponsored a resolution supporting our city joining the Florida Hate Crime Coalition. This group was created by like mined elected officials throughout our state. The Florida League has been spearheading these efforts to unite all elected to stand up and fight hate wherever it is.
In regular city business we entered into an agreement expanding the availability of online payment options. These efforts will help streamline business operations and help with timely collections. The city still offers in person payment options and we have a drive-up kiosk for payments.
The city approved the option for our professional and management employees to participate in the Florida Retirement System FRS. This is a great option for many or our current employees. This move also helps the city with personnel recruitment. Many individuals that may want to move from another city now can keep their existing pension while transferring to our city. All new employees will automatically put into this plan. This move has already been approved for General Employees.
We also approved a variance for the opening of a new pharmacy named Best Organic Pharmacy which will be selling organic and other holistic items in addition to specialty compounding. The pharmacy needed a variance due to the fact it was within 1000 feet of Walgreens. This application was fraught with complications.
The owner believed that the site was suitable for their business since there was an existing pharmacy that closed at the same location. They did a buildout and applied for their state license. They applied for the city license and first told it was ok and later found it was not grandfathered in. The P&Z Board also feared they would have the ability to sell medical marijuana. This is not the case. The state license only provides for them to sell regular medicine and only 5 % narcotics. MMJ dispensaries are only allowed to sell MMJ. After a year of working with staff two P&Z hearings it finally came to us. The commission votes unanimously to approve.