I was For it Before I was Against it!

We are all getting a lesson in politics from our County Commissioner Jess Santamaria. Commissioner Santamaria claimed in a memorandum to County Administrator Bob Weisman dated July 10, 2009 that, “It was about a year later that I realized homeowners outside of the Fargo Road were also considered to be assessed a portion of the cost.” That is clearly a false statement when you view this video at youtubeor view the top video at www.upinarms.net. If Commissioner Santamaria did not believe assessing all 240 property owners without giving them a vote was justified, why did he make the following motion during the June 2, 2009 BCC Meeting?

“Motion to direct staff to petition the 12 properties on Fargo Avenue to determine if majority would be willing to be assessed for the paving of Fargo between El Paso and Arrowhead in an amount equal to the recent four-road assessment plus the same amount (approximately $1,300 – $1,600) that the other 240+/- neighborhood properties would be assessed (a total of approximately $8,800 – $9,100). This would be repaid over a 20 year period. If there is a majority in favor, staff should add Fargo to the MSTU program and prioritize the design and construction. Staff should then place the project out to bid and prepare an assessment roll. The properties along Arrowhead, Pinion, Yearling, Rodeo, Pinto and El Paso, between Fargo and Blanchette are also found to benefit from the Fargo paving and should be assessed equally for the benefit. In addition to their base assessment, the original 12 properties on Fargo will also be assessed the same amount as the six roads above. It is understood that the assessed properties above will ultimately pay for 100% of the final project cost.”

The video of Commissioner Santamaria making this motion can be seen at youtube or at www.upinarms.net : 6-02-09 BCC Meeting – Part2. The motion begins at 3:50. Not only does the commissioner make the motion, he defends it against Commissioner Aaronson’s objections.

After the July 7, 2009 BCC Meeting where the Board reversed the decision to pave Fargo, I asked Commissioner Santamaria why he did not defend his previous motion to assess all 240 property owners. He said,” I wasn’t going to be a dead hero against 200 people.”

Now that property owners in the Ranchettes showed up in mass to object to Commissioner Santamaria’s motion to assess all 240 property owners, the Commissioner has decided to ignore the facts and recreate history. I guess he’s made his decision to run for re-election and wants every vote. In an effort to do damage control, in true political form, Commissioner Santamaria is now sending out the email below.

Dear (Owner):

This letter is to make sure that you have a correct understanding of where I stand on paving of roads in the Ranchette Community, as follows:

Immediately following any request by a homeowner or a group of homeowners to pave any road or roads in the Ranchette Community, all affected homeowners, whether they will be assessed or not for the cost (whether 1% or 100%) should be given proper notice of all meetings, and should be given ample time to express their respective opinions. These notices to all affected homeowners should continue throughout the time this topic is being discussed prior to the final vote of the Commissioners in an open public hearing.

ALWAYS LET THE SUNSHINE IN !

Hopefully the above statement clarifies any misinformation disseminated by anyone.

Yours truly,

Jess R. Santamaria
Palm Beach County Commissioner
District 6

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