Sandy Simon - telling his story in words and pictures

The work and story of a Renaissance Man.

On March 10th, only a few days from now, Delray Beach will hold a very important election.  Please get out and vote!


Today's excellent majority on the City Commission,comprised of Mayor Cary Glickstein,, Shelly Petrolia and Jordana Jarjura, have been successful in turning our political culture around from "anything developers want, they should get" to "This is our city.  Respect our Rules, Culture, Quality of Life and the Vision of our citizens"

 

Those previous Commissions approved the taking of over 100 parking places and sold the city land at give away prices of $6500 per dwelling unit to permit Worthing place. CRA demanded.

The City Commission for some ill advised reasons actually took title to Worthing Place parking garage, in an instant removing it from the City's tax base and making you and me, our city's taxpayers, pay for the lost tax revenue and make up, security, lighting maintenance and insurance.

Then, the same group of political "growth advocates"  took another 100 plus parking spaces to build the near empty Old School Square parking garage.  The city paid $7 million for that land while removing three employment centers.  Again, pressed by and coordinated with the misguided CRA.

Then these same politicians voted to convey the land owned by the citizens and "for public use in perpetuity" where the old library and Chamber of Commerce stood to the CRA so they can sell this delicious and valuable asset and enrich itself to NO benefit to the citizens who are the rightful owners. The CRA is pushing to sell at another under - market price for a proposed iPIC 8 theater complex that should not be in the Central Business District, but a mere one block south where it would be required to provide 800 parking spaces, not 200 in the CBD

The developer estimates that 440,000 movie goers (200,000 more automobiles entering from SE Fourth Avenue? will descend on our downtown to see a movie, taking all parking spaces for many blocks and adding to our existing gridlock. IT IS  FAR TOO BIG. It would be like trying to put your size 8 or 10 foot into a size 4 shoe

Those politicians prior to today's Commission majority created such a mess in City Hall to say nothing of destroying our quality of Life and "small town" brand are at it again. They were the politicians who approved Atlantic Crossing.

Only our Commission Majority including Mayor Glickstein have reconstructed City Hall with more work to be done.

That is why I am committed to Mayor Cary Glickstein, Commissioners Shelly Petrolia and Jordana Jarjura to remain in office.

Thus, I am urging all my friends and their friends to get out and vote for Mayor ZA Glickstein's re-election, and a like minded, experience replacement of Adam Ffrankel's seat which is becoming vacant.

There are several excellent candidates who have placed themselves as candidates for there "Frankel seat.

After meeting with several of them, I am urging my friends and their friends to vote for Mitch Katz.  He has the better and longer experience and believes as the others say, that Delray Beach must return to its historic roots as a unique, very special "Village By The Sea."

I am convinced that Mayor Glickstein, Commissioners Petrolia, Jarjura and Katz will have the Independence, Integrity, Intelligence and Passion for keeping Delray Beach unique, special, and retain its historic culture of mutual respect, moderation, courtesy and will find the ways and means to improve our current over building, over trafficked downtown, continue to reverse the trends  the CRA and past commissions.

It is not enough to sincerely want a better town, better neighborhoods,but it requires political leaders with courage and know how to find ways to achieve these needed changes.

Thank you for reading this message, paid for by no one.

Sandy Simon

Hi, I've been meeting with Mayor Cary Glickstein, discussing the growth and quality of life in Delray Beach. We both agree Delray Beach is a unique town and must stay that way.  "QUALITY NOT QUANTITY is our belief.

He has good intentions to keep our unique brand and way of life. 

Too many residents have told me they no longer drive, dine or shop in downtown.  "It's not the Delray we loved". It's too busy with closed streets, closed Atlantic Avenue, $10 valet parking, etc., ad nauseam.

Have you tried to drive on Atlantic Avenue or Ocean Blvd lately? Twice in the past 10 days I've been hit by cars on clogged Atlantic Avenue by drivers who were upset with  the delays on the Avenue and actually told me, "I was trying to get the green light!" so they hit me while I was parallel parking in front of the former Mercer Wenzel building

It took me 45 minutes to get from Atlantic Plaza to Seagate Towers last weekend because streets (including Atlantic Ave.) were closed during the "Winter Art Show".  Without the Atlantic Ave. bridge, Linton and George Bush were overloaded and everyone drove on A1A including confused tourists who made numerous U turns.

That is not how I want to live.

The question is what do we want our Delray Beach home to be?  

Do we need to accommodate every developer's request?

Do we need to provide housing? 

What do you think?  I'd like you to tell me and our City Commissioners.


Tourism has always generally speaking good for our growth, property values, shopkeepers, restaurants and the like.

As I recall Atlantic Plaza was the last commercial development built by locals who love this city and the last that was built within existing development regulations.  There is a difference as compared too Worthing Place. Worthing Place was sold the land by the CRA for far far less than the marketplace value. They asked for and received extra units, more floors than our regulations permitted. Has it really generated as advertised? Then the City Commission accepted the developer's offer to take title of their still empty parking garage. The results?: The city taxpayers now secure, police, maintain, insure and no longer receive ad valorem taxes on the parking garage.  Why?

Or the Atlantic Crossing Project.  Both of these projects asked for and received exceptions from the height allowance, have density far above the city's regulations and other "gifts" from the City Commission. The resulting traffic congestion will drive shoppers and diners away from Atlantic Avenue 

 

Now comes iPIC movie theaters.  They want to be in the Central Business District (CBD) that doesn't permit theaters because they require so much parking, 800 spaces in this case, but only want to provide just over 200 while removing 107 free, street level spaces and replacing them with just 50 spaces in a parking garage.  If the theater was built one block south, outside the CBD, it would be required to provide 800 spaces. The CRA which answers to no one, certainly not the citizenry, urges approval including suggesting the city abandoning the North/ South alley which serves for delivery and waste removal from Atlantic Avenue shops.


Do you and other residents enjoy living in our unique city as much as you did just a few years ago?  And Do you think it's going to get worse every year in the future?

Have we reached the Point of Diminishing Returns? I believe we have.

Residents over the years have given generously to the city, including Veterans Park and our beautiful public beaches because they passionately loved their town.

Now speculators and developers come and take and do not respect our development regulations or our way of life. They don't live here, and seek only more and more profit while we must live for generations with their mess. 

Currencies in Delray Beach for many years were mutual respect, mutual interest, charity, kindness, a love for our "Village By The Sea", neighborliness, dignity and generosity.

Today, it seems, the single currency is money and they want more and more. 

And several past Mayors and Commissions appear to have lacked the intelligence, knowledge, integrity, independence or a passion for our way of life.  

We voters must demand more from future would be commissioners.  


The same goes for our politically appointed CRA Board members. Frankly, I'd rather see our citizen elected commission and Mayor become the board of Directors of the CRA with perhaps the CRA Board becoming an advisory board.  Why have two layers of expensive staffs and $2 million offices?


It's time we "Take Back Our City!!!”

I would like to know how you feel about these issues.

Please let me know.

We MUST do something about it if we want our city back!

ACT NOW.  Tell our commissioners and Mayor what you want. Remember, they work for us!

Or, please tell me and I'll get your message to them.  It is up to us!

 

Sandy Simon

Cary Glickstein, our current Mayor of Delray Beach, in my opinion, the best Mayor BY FAR over the past 40 years, wrote this Op Ed article that appeared in the Palm Beach Post last week.  I am convinced he has the vital characteristics we need in our Mayor and City Commissioners, characteristics apparently lacking in past Mayors and commissioners during the past 40 years: Intelligence, Integrity, Independence, good character, a vision in keeping with the expectations and desires of our citizens and a passion for our "Village By The Sea, a most unique town with a high quality of life.

As he has said, "WE WANT QUALITY AHEAD OF QUANTITY".


PLEASE, AT YOUR PLEASURE, READ HIS EXCELLENT STATEMENT.

Sandy

"As a central tenet of Delray Beach's Comprehensive Plan, is "Village by the Sea" still a relevant, aspirational goal or merely honorific — a tipping of the hat to past generations for what they gave us. It's all of that and more. Yet our town now struggles to balance the sometimes competing priorities of economic development and preserving that which makes Delray so unique and livable.

Some feel we have reached a tipping point and are at risk of losing our small-town character and "vibe" that attracted us and sustained us. Others feel we should leverage our popularity with more intense development offering more economic opportunity and diversity. It is a false dichotomy, despite the divide, to think it's one way or the other — that we cannot reconcile those ideals of being good stewards of our built and natural environment and responsibly marshal the market forces we are fortunate to have.

As a native Floridian shaped by countless anecdotes of town after town losing their way to the pressures of economic cycles, development trends, short-sighted planning and leadership, only to become another unmemorable example of generic USA, I look to other cities' struggles and success in striking the proper balance.

Common themes emerge: great public assets (check), contextual and inclusive planning (ours is 13 years old) and restraint when called for (perhaps now is that time). As Delray looks to enact the first new land development regulations in over a decade, one could argue there is something for everyone.

For those looking back for the way forward, we are focused on improving our public realm by making our streets more walkable — great streets where people want to be, where they feel comfortable, safe and charmed by their surroundings, ensuring that new development is memorable and authentic and, as Charleston Mayor Joe Riley suggested, "we are glad it was built." And as we push back on the blunt tools of density and height to re-define what land uses we want to incent and how best to do it, we are taking steps to preserve our iconic main street, Atlantic Avenue, for the ages.

For the development community we need as an integral partner to sustain our growth and success, they gain clarity and a more streamlined path from plans to shovels in the ground. Is it perfect? No. Are we done? Never. But on the heels of development projects that unnecessarily divided our community, the proposed new code provides time for us to re-engage the four corners of our city-community in a new, inclusive planning process. After all, Delray has always been good at planning our city — from our pioneer families to the latest master plan that served us so well, updating our plan will prepare us for current challenges.

In the end, our city belongs to everybody and when we build here, we are building something for everyone, and while there will always be conflicting and competing visions for what our city should be, we should be in no rush to get there. We are all, at heart, gradualist, our expectations set by the steady passage of time. Delray Beach can grow old competitively and gracefully through proactive, inclusive planning and policy. "Village by the Sea" can be whatever we want it to be.

Cary Glickstein is the mayor of Delray Beach.

Copyright © 2015, Sun Sentinel

NOW ON SALE - SANDY'S BOOK  - A Memoir - The CAMP DAVID ACCORDS 35 years later: No War, No Peace. -- (B&W and Full Color copies are available).


THIS BOOK IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT AT THIS TIME OF UPHEAVAL IN THE REGION.

See Book Page for FULL information and follow link to order. 


ALSO ON SALE - THREE new books "The Immigrant Trilogy" - from his Beyond the Cedars series. 

(Note - Sandy will personalize any copies of his books. To obtain a signed personalized copy of any of the books send a check for the purchase price plus S&H, and the requested name/ message to Sandy Simon at The Cedars Group, 220 MacFarlane Dr. PH6 Delray Beach FL 33483)

Remembering II - The Renaissance of a Village by the Sea is being written now, and should be available during the later part of 2015.  Other individuals who were most active in Delray Beach's renaissance have been asked to contribute to this book. (Ready to add some names?)

Remembering II - The Renaissance of a Village by the Sea. 

This new book will seek to describe Delray Beach today as the nation's most "fun town in America"

Mr. Simon, as Chairman of the Florida chapter and member of the National Policy Committee and National Board  of The Syrian American Forum seeks to educate our citizens, members of Congress, Senate and White House of the facts in Syria whose 23 million innocent citizen plus one million displaced refugees face death and chaos every day from the fighting,raping of minorities including Jewish and Christian women and total destruction of Syria's Infrastructure, ancient sites , business and homes by more than 50 outside Islamist groups who seek to convert Syria into an Islamist state.  After Syria?  Lebanon, Jordan and then, Israel?  For more information, check out the SAF National's web site: Syrian American Forum.

To arrange for a speaking date to your group please use the Contact Us page or call (561) 789-0928

Sandy’s latest speaking engagements.

Sandy spock at the Delray Beach Public Library.  He regaled his audience on the Amazing Story of Delray Beach, Boca Raton and Highland Beach.  He brings an extraordinary wealth of knowledge, having written two coffee table books on the subject. Sandy is a popular speaker – Please call the Library for information.

 

On Wednesday, January 28, 2015 Sandy spock at the First Presbyterian Church of Delray Beach, to their "Wonderful Wednesday Group".  This meeting was not open to the public.



Following is my email to the Planning and Zoning Director, Mr. Little, Director of Planning and Zoning and Board members.

“Anyone who has perused the iPic application, what it requires and its negative impact on our city and the CBD, cannot accept it, recommend it or approve it.

It is far too intensive, it asks citizens and shoppers to give up 107 free surface parking spaces for just 50 that will be made available in the new iPic parking garage.
Many, if not most, near the 4th Avenue entrance to the garage will be set aside for the gifting of the north half of the 100 year old alley. This alley is critical to the operation and off Atlantic Avenue delivery, the waste removal and other needs of Atlantic Avenue stores in that area. To abandon the north half as suggested by the CRA would eliminate that access.

For What benefit is this 8 theater to the citizens of our city? The old public Library and Chamber of Commerce lands and buildings belong to the citizens of Delray Beach. Yet the proceeds from this possible sale, a reported $3.6 million would go to the CRA, NOT to the city which needs these funds. The developer tells us they expect 

“Anyone who has perused the iPic application, what it requires and its negative impact on our city and the CBD, cannot accept it, recommend it or approve it.

420,000 patrons each year. 420,000! They claim these theaters will bring an additional $6.5 million in revenue to downtown. Well, think about it - 420,000 times a very conservative $20 per person (including tickets - currently $18.00 at their current theaters), popcorn, candies, sit down-yes, they say "sit down food service, sodas, etc., comes to $8.4 million! Now how does it help downtown restaurants and shops when their estimated income goes only to the theater? Even if just 72% of the 420,000 attend, - 300,000, at $20-25 per attendee, the gross revenue will come to $6.0 to $7.5 million and go directly to the theater. 

Additionally remember also that movie theaters are destinations, not anchors attracting shoppers and diners. For example look at the theater at Linton and U.S. #1. Several retail stores including strong nationals near the Regal Theater closed. And now, even Regal closed, replaced by a Gym.

We must not allow this project in the CBD proceed.

Thank you for listening. My agenda is on behalf of the quality of life of the citizens and the success of the businesses of Delray Beach.

Sandy Simon”

Detailed information has been given to the P&Z Board and to your staff.
This project belongs outside the Central Business District (CBD) where 800 parking spaces would appropriately be required. It is totally inappropriate for our CBD! The developer is trying to squeeze a watermelon into a tennis ball. Look into this and satisfy yourself. I have and I believe this project will badly hurt the shops along Atlantic Avenue

I have a question: Is it time for the CRA Board to be elected by the citizens? The CRA has not removed most of the blight, especially south of Atlantic Avenue, collects its TIF from east of the Intracoastal to AIA. 

Have you ever seen blight there?
Simplest way for that to happen is to have The City Commission replace the CRA Board and become the CRA Board.

If you believe as I do that this proposed theater and office project should NOT be located in the Central Business District with its entrance on S.E. Fourth Avenue then please contact our City Commissioners ASAP.

Yes, to have theaters NEAR to downtown town, with adequate parking would be nice, but it's not imperative

Sandy

A TESTIMONIAL FROM SANDY SIMON

 21 January, 2014

As an American of Syrian lineage, and simply as an American, I have been very concerned with the bloodshed in my mother's birthplace of Damascus and pray that the fighting stop there, which has been a nation of hell for the 24 million innocents trying to live their lives in peace.
It is not in the best interests of The United States and Syria's neighbors: Lebanon, Jordan, Israel that Syria be in chaos and bloodletting.
Recognizing  that most Americans have little depth of knowledge about the volatile Middle East region as a whole and Syria in particular, I hoped for some organization to emerge that sought peace in Syria through dialogue, an organization with credible principles and national credibility to bring the best interests of the 24 million innocent Syrian people and in the best interests of these United States, to the forefront of public and political discourse in order to urge our government not to involve itself in the internal affairs of Syria ether by supplying various forces fighting each other with weapons and other military and non-military supplies, which only exacerbate the chaos in Syria. I wanted an organization that could provide the facts.

As Mark Twain brilliantly stated" Most of what I know I read in the newspaper.”

Today, it’s the same with almost all Americans. Most Americans’ knowledge of the Middle East comes from what we read in the see and hear on television and what we see in the movies. Very few have actually been there, read foreign press or researched the facts

As an person quite active in the affairs of the Middle East for more than forty years, who has traveled extensively throughout that region, met with heads of state and other high officials of eight of its nations (as requested by the U.S. State Department) and author of four books on the Middle East… and like all Americans,  I have had to suffer media half-truths, biased statements, superficial if not totally mistaken information.

All I could do was what I have done: meet with my Senators and Congresspersons. 
But those meetings brought me no feelings of interest nor ideas to resolve the issues. I was frustrated and deeply concerned that our nation and our government's policies were heading in the wrong direction with limited knowledge among our President's advisers, Congress and our State Department.  But what to do? I was frustrated and eagerly looking for possibilities.
Finally, The Syrian American Forum (SAF) was organized by moderate Syrian Americans and came to the fore.  I studied SAF's Principles, the leaders' backgrounds, their methods and their goals. I was happy with what I learned, and wanted to better my knowledge of the Syrian situation and how its outcome would impact the vital interests of America in that vital and extremely volatile region of the world we live in. 
SAWhen I coupled my personal knowledge and experiences in the Middle East with the leaders of SAF, I became convinced

 I should join in their noble effort.

So, I joined SAF, spoke at their conference, sharing my beliefs, and my experiences, and soon was elected Chairman of the Florida Chapter of SAF where I am now a member of the National Board of Directors and a member of the National Policy Committee.  We seek, fundamentally, peace in Syria, fulfilling the best interests of America and peace in the greater Middle East. I urge all my friends and all Syrian Americans to join in our honorable cause. I urge all Americans to look into the principles and goals of SAF by joining us as members or Supporters and helping us educate all Americans, members of our Congress, Senate and White House advisors.

Please go to Syrian American Forum.com for more information and how to join us!

Sandy Simon.


The National ADC ( Anti Discrimination Committee) Board of Directors honored Sandy at a February, 8th 2014 meeting by recognizing Sandy for his 40 years of service to Americans of Arabic heritage, seeking better relations between the people of America and the Arab world, educating the American public and seeking to obtain justice in America for those of Arabic heritage."  Gratified and humbled, Mr. Simon thanked ADC and the attending audience, encouraging all to be Americans first while remembering their homeland, but always cherishing their heritage. He was recognised as a community leader and for services to the Arab American Community throughout South Florida.

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