Sunday, August 17, 2014

Infantini: No Tax Money For Merritt Island Mall

Trudie Infantini
Your property tax rate is sure to increase next year.  Commissioners will be diverting roughly 85% of new tax revenue increases to beautification projects and shopping malls in just 10% of the county.

Tuesday, August 19th, the Commissioners will vote to expand the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) boundary to encompass virtually all of Merritt Island’s commercially zoned property.  A CRA is designed to make improvements to blighted and slum areas. The greater Merritt Island area is a beautiful part of Brevard County.  Merritt Island is anything but blighted and slum-like. 

What does that means to you, the taxpayer, is tax revenue created by future appreciation on this property will all go toward that specific area.  Whereas, all other tax generated by property appreciation in the county goes to fund rising costs of government operations.  Government operations like emergency response personnel, over 50% of the sheriff’s budget, and a sizeable amount of parks and recreation operating budgets. The shortfall in the budget will come from just one place, your wallet. 

Here is an example how a CRA works:

$50 is needed for government operations; 5 commissioners will each pay $10 for $50 total. But one Commissioner creates a CRA and pays only $2 towards government operations.  The other four commissioners now have to pay $12 each to make up the deficit created by the one that is KEEPING their money to make improvements in their area alone.

In the example above you see the five commissioners represent the entire county and one commissioner represents the CRA beneficiaries. Regardless of where the money comes from $50 is needed for government operations.  The rate paid by everyone must increase since some of the proceeds will be diverted from the responsibilities of the government to fund the luxuries of a few.

What happened to prioritizing spending?  I was under the impression the lagoon was our number one concern, along with public safety and roads. The other commissioners voted to raise your storm water taxes 78% in April 2014, to cover the improvements to the lagoon. Why did they raise your taxes instead of reducing the funding to CRAs and the North Brevard Economic Development Zone (NBEDZ)?

I’ve written in the past about the North Brevard Economic Development Zone (NBEDZ) and the 6 million taxpayer dollars for the Titusville Miracle City Mall redevelopment. In comes the Merritt Island Redevelopment Agency, (MIRA).  MIRA is a Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) and was first established in 1988, and has expanded three times since inception; and now, MIRA wants a taxpayer funded ‘mall’ like NBEDZ is getting.  Chapter 6, page 6-9 of the proposed Merritt Island Redevelopment Plan Update specifically states:

“…The mall property has very little landscaping and the buildings are showing signs of age. A major facelift or a complete redesign of this significant property would go a long way in the esthetic enhancement…”   

CRA’s continue to siphon General Fund and fire tax dollars that could, and should, be used to fund essential services. I know the owners of the mall will be happy with this vote. Will you?

You know my position; please contact your commissioners to voice your position.


Mary Bolin Lewis, District 4   

Teachers' Union Backs Brevard County School Board Candidates

BREVARD COUNTY, Florida --  The Brevard Federation of Teachers (BFT) is asking its members to back three candidates in three separate Brevard County School Board races this election year.  

BFT is also hopeful that if the half-cent sales tax passes, it will mean bigger raises for teachers.

The union's picks are Misty Belford for School Board District 1, John Craig for School Board District 2, and Andy Ziegler for School Board District 5.  The BFT message sent to its members reads as follows (Emphasis added):

Dear BFT Activists:

Our efforts are paying off!  The feedback you provided last year, especially about morale, made the difference.  As we head back to school this year, many positive changes are on the way…a revised PGP, a simpler evaluation system, fewer tests in elementary school and a contract for which we can vote YES!

Thanks to Dan Bennett and his bargaining team, we were able to prevent SB 736 from doing the damage for which it was intended.  Annual Contract teachers will have job security and PSCs will not have to give up their PSC status in order to get a decent raise!  The district also deserves credit for agreeing to this. Some details of the contract are at the end of this email.

Last year, we had to say “NO” to many things in order to get the district to understand our position.  This year, it is time to say “Yes!”  Of course, this contract is not perfect and we hoped for larger raises (which may be a reality later in the school year if the sales tax passes); however, there are so many positives in it, we would be fools to vote no.  And on that note beware…there is group of disgruntled and fear mongering teachers who are trying to influence teachers to do just that. 

Our message is “YES.”

YES to the contract!
Yes to Misty Belford for School Board District 1!
Yes to John Craig for School Board District 2!
Yes to Andy Ziegler for School Board District 5!

Yes to the sales tax (We will start our campaign for this after the Primary Election)!

As you head back to school, please encourage your coworkers to vote yes as well!  If you hear something about the contract that doesn’t quite seem right, it’s probably not.  Contact the office, one of the officers, a member of the bargaining team, or myself and we will attempt to clarify. Also, let me know ASAP if you can help with a school board campaign.

In Solidarity,

Adrian Wyllie To Stop In Brevard County

ROCKLEGE, Florida -- Adrian Wyllie, Libertarian Party candidate for Florida Governor, will be in Brevard County on Sunday August 17, 2014.

From 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., Wyllie will hold a meet and greet at Crispy's Beer & Wine Bar located at 604 Barnes Boulevard in Rockledge, Florida as part of his Craft Brew Tour.  

According to his campaign website, the campaign is "focusing on craft breweries in order to show support for a small-business industry that narrowly escaped financial disaster at the hands of the 2014 Florida Legislature and Gov. Scott."

For more information, contact:

Crispy's Beer & Wine Bar
(321) 806-4119

Image Credit: Wyllie for Governor Campaign 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Brevard County School Board District 5 Candidates

RELATED STORY:  Teachers' Union Backs Brevard County School Board Candidates

Name: Denise Coyle


Name: Dale D. Davis


Name:  Dean Paterakis

Age:   46

City of Residence:  Palm Bay

Occupation:  Brevard County Substitute Teacher - UPS Loader- Air Driver - Home Investor



2001 BS Education, Cleveland State University
2004 Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Cuyahoga Community College
1996 AS Scientific Technician, College of the Air Force


2005 - present: Brevard Public Schools, Teacher and Substitute
2009 - 2011: Patrick AFB Officers/NCO Club 'The Tides', Duty Manager
2007 - 2007 Royal Palm Charter School, Palm Bay, Teacher 3rd grade
2001 - 2004 Constellation Charter Schools- Teacher
1989 - 1998 USAF - AFTAC Patrick AFB 1990-1998


Other Experience and Volunteer Work 

2008 - present: Volunteer parent for Cub Scouts Den 9 pack 337
2009 - 2011: Guardian ad Litem also known as CASA
2008 - 2010: Hope Episcopal Church- MOPS (Mothers of PreSchoolers)
2007 - 2010: Sunday School Director at St. Katherine Church
2007 - 2010: Volunteer Sherwood Elementary
1999 - 2001 Volunteer Camp Cheerful- camp for children with autism
1991 - 1996 Patrick AFB Honor Guard
1993 - 1998 Volunteer Neighborhood Watch and Melbourne Police Citizens Academy
1991 - 1992 Brevard Big Brother Big Sisters Volunteer/Mentor



Name: Andy Ziegler

Age: 54

City of Residence: Unincorporated Brevard (West Melbourne mailing address)

Occupation: Account Manager for Artemis IT, Technology/Business Automation



6 years on School Board, 2 years School board Audit Committee, 13 years School Improvement Committees, Chamber of commerce board of directors, Central Florida Boyscout executive council, extensive experience on non-profit charity Boards of Directors

What makes you the best candidate (300 words or less)?

I, Andy Ziegler, am the best candidate due to proven effectiveness which has developed from experience acquired through dedication to the mission of education. This is evident as BPS is one of the most successful school districts in Florida despite having close to the lowest funding per student in the state. I will continue to work hard to help students, families and teachers by listening and assisting to address their concerns. I will also continue to take council from experts in the community who can provide direction on how to improve BPS. Most school district operation is dictated by the state. Which makes it necessary to work with our legislators to enhance education. This is possible through the strong relationships I have developed over the years. There needs to be continued diligence in analyzing all aspects of district operations to develop greater efficiencies. Health care, transportation and facility operations are just a few areas that offer opportunities for efficiencies. I have the experience, knowledge and understanding of how to be effective. Such as a recent success of mine from an initiative that I started 2 years ago. This involved getting the district’s Pharmacy Benefits Management contract to be rebid with contractual changes. One change was demanding the district receive pharmacy rebates, rather than them being kept by the management company. Based on our first rebate check of $492,000.00 for 3 months, the district could recognize close to $2M in revenue from this effort in the first year implemented! I am working on similar efforts that I anticipate to be even more financially rewarding for Brevard Public Schools!

Editor's Note:  A request for candidate profile information was sent out to all of the candidates for this office. Andy Ziegler was the only candidate to respond. Dean Paterakis' profile information was obtained from his 2012 School Board candidate profile on Brevard Times. 

Brevard County School Board District 2 Candidates

Name: John Craig

Name: Bob Mentillo

Candidate District 2 School Board

Age: 54

City of Residence: Merritt Island since 1983 (31 years), Brevard County since 1975 (39 years). 

Website: Facebook Page

Brevard County School Board, Mathematics Teacher, Wrestling Coach, Football Coach.

B.S. in Liberal Studies (Mathematics and Engineering) from University of Central Florida.
M.S. in Educational Technology, Nova SouthEastern University (Ft. Lauderdale). Married for 32 years to Holly Mentillo

Two Sons (Rob w/Catherine, live in Satellite Beach and Rick stationed at Beale AFB, California). Three Grandchildren.

What makes you the best candidate (300 words or less)?

I have taught mathematics and coached in Brevard County for over 26 years. I believe this gives me a perspective on students that will help in the decision making process as we move into this new age of education. I have experienced first hand what the implementation of district and state mandates have on schools, teaching and children. As a military officer I have put our country first. I have valuable experience that can be used to shape the decisions that must be made to continue to keep Brevard Schools the best! 

Name: Keith Yarbrough

Website: Facebook Page

Editor's Note:  A request for candidate profile information was sent out to all of the candidates for this office.  Bob Mentillo was the only candidate to respond.

District 3 Port Canaveral Authority Candidates

Port Canaveral Authority District 3 encompasses parts of Cocoa, Rockledge and Viera.  

The Primary Election will be held on August 26, 2014 


Name:   Wayne Justice

Age:         59

City of Residence:   Cocoa Beach, FL

Occupation:   Maritime Consultant/Expert Witness 


B.S. Management Coast Guard Academy
M.A. Human Resource Management Nova Southeastern University
M.S. Strategic Studies  Naval War Collage

37 Year Coast Guard Veteran, Retired as a  Rear Admiral (O-8)

What makes you the best candidate (300 words or less)?

Rear Admiral Wayne Justice is a 37 year veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard who spent 12 years at sea sailing in/out of ports around the world. He commanded 4 ships making dozens of drug seizures and hundreds of migrant interdictions, completing  complicated search and rescue cases and conducting security patrols around the Western Hemisphere. Fifteen years of his assignments were in Florida. Rear Admiral Justice also held senior management positions in policy development and capability acquisition in a large government agency, a true large business, where he also oversaw the development  of  a $6B budget. His final assignment was in command of all 6,000 plus Coast Guard forces from New Jersey to SC. 

Upon retiring he has been a maritime consultant and an expert witness. He is part of the leadership of Crosswinds Youth Services, the Military Officers Association of America, the Navy League, the Propeller Club, and president of the Cocoa Beach Merchants Association.  He is not a rubber stamp and will bring fresh eyes along with maritime experience and expertise to provide energetic and engaged oversight of the Port Authority. Wayne will as well as champion local businesses, advocate job growth and economic development, and fight for commercial and recreational fishing, and safeguard Jetty Park.  He truly looks forward to continue to serve his community and country.

Name: Frank Sullivan


City of Residence: Cocoa                           

Occupation: Citrus shipper



Completing my first four year term as Port Commissioner                                         

What makes you the best candidate (300 words or less)?

I am committed to a goal to responsibly protect, manage, and grow the Ports assets and to create a positive economic and social benefit to the region that we serve while balancing fiscal, environmental, and community responsibility. As a 77 year resident of my Port District I have watched our Port grow from an idea to help the growing commercial fishing industry to the economic driver we have today. The tax payers of the port district are entitled to a return on their investment. I am committed to this goal without ever having to collect taxes again.

Brevard County Early Voting Underway, Voting Locations

BREVARD COUNTY, Florida -- Early voting starts on Saturday, August 16, 2014. Early voting begins on August 16, 2014 and ends on August 23, 2014.

Below are the precinct locations to vote early in the Brevard County 2014 primary election. 

You must be a registered voter on or before July 28, 2014 to participate in this election. 


Kiwanis Island Park
951 Kiwanis Island Park RD
Merritt Island, FL 32952
Polls Open: M-F 8am-6pm, Sat-Sun 8am-4pm

Max K. Rodes Park
3410 Flanagan Ave
West Melbourne, FL 32904
Polls Open: M-F 8am-6pm, Sat-Sun 8am-4pm

Melbourne Beach Community Center
509 Ocean Ave
Melbourne Beach, FL 32951
Polls Open: M-F 8am-6pm, Sat-Sun 8am-4pm

Melbourne Public Library
540 E Fee Ave
Melbourne, FL 32901
Polls Open: M-F 8am-6pm, Sat-Sun 8am-4pm

Palm Bay Elections Office
450 Cogan Dr SE
Palm Bay, FL 32909
Polls Open: M-F 8am-6pm, Sat-Sun 8am-4pm

Space Coast Association of Realtors
1450 Sarno RD
Melbourne, FL 32935
Polls Open: M-F 8am-6pm, Sat-Sun 8am-4pm

Titusville Elections Office
400 South St
Titusville, FL 32780
Polls Open: M-F 8am-6pm, Sat-Sun 8am-4pm

Viera Regional Community Center
2300 Judge Fran Jamieson Way
Viera, FL 32940
Polls Open: M-F 8am-6pm, Sat-Sun 8am-4pm  

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Brevard County Commission District 2 Republican Primary Candidates

Brevard County Commission District 2 includes includes Kennedy Space Center, Merritt Island, Port Canaveral, Cape Canaveral, Avon by the Sea, Cocoa Beach, Snug Harbor, portions of Cocoa, Rockledge, and Patrick AFB.

The District 2 seat is currently held by Brevard County Commissioner Chuck Nelson who's term limit expires this year.

The Primary Election will be held on August 26, 2014

Name: Jim Barfield

Age: 60

City of Residence: Merritt Island

Occupation: CEO of Luke & Associates



Bacheleor's degree in Environmental Health, East Tennessee State University;  Masters in Public Health at the University of South Florida

What makes you the best candidate (in 300 words or less)?:

I have the experience, education and leadership skills necessary to be an effective County Commissioner. I am a successful entrepreneur and businessman. Under my leadership, my company, Luke, grew from 3 employees (2006) to 1,500 employees (2011) spread over 32 states and 3 countries. Luke’s success is due to excellent customer service at a lower price. Our price is lower because our overhead costs are low just as it should be in government.   Efficient operations, planning and allocating for the future and principles such as return on investment and cost-benefit analysis are principles I will bring to the County Commission.   In addition, with my Environmental Health degree and my experience working with multiple government agencies, I am prepared to take the lead in the Indian River Lagoon restoration for Brevard County.  As a result, my proven experience makes me the best candidate for Brevard County Commissioner, District 2.

Name: Captain Chuck Sheridan 

Age: 57

City of Residence: Merritt Island 

Occupation: Retired General Contractor


Twenty years of continuing education in the construction industry.  
Former Member Governors Construction Education Board.  
Former Chair Continuing Education Board with the Building Code Administrators and Inspectors Board BCC, UCF
Merritt Island High School 1975


Over 35 years in Real Estate Development
Licensed General Contractor 1980‐ Present
Merchant Marine Master Captain (licensed by the United States Coast Guard)
Former Chairman with Florida’s Building Code
Administrators and Inspectors Board (appointed by Governor Jeb Bush in 2001)
Former Chairmen for the Continuing Education
Committee with the Florida’s Department of Business and
Professional Regulations for the BCAIB
Former Board Member on the Governors Construction
Education Council
USGBC: U.S. Green Building Council - Member
Executive level Manager with Several Florida Business
Husband, Father and a lifelong resident of Brevard County

Name: Ron Taylor

Age: 66

City of Residence: Cocoa

Occupation: Retired engineer. Owner: 1st Class Storage, LLC, Merritt Island,Fl



BS / Ocean Engineering, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL
MS / Engineering, Environmental Studies, University of Texas, Austin, TX
MBA, Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA


Past Senior Vice President of Engineering, ING North America, a financial services company
Past President, EntreSoft, Inc., a software engineering development company
Built 3700 Commerce Center, North Merritt Island’s premier commercial center
Environmental expertise to find viable solutions to Save the Indian River Lagoon
Business expertise to manage future growth and also maintain a family-friendly Brevard County
Hands-on experience in dealing with Brevard County Agencies from the citizen’s perspective

What makes you the best candidate (300 words or less)?

I am a small business owner and not a career politician. Recognizing this, I had a high ranking official in the county tell me I’m beholden to no one.  He was right from one perspective…I’m beholden to no radical, political power hungry fringe of the Republican Party or money bag power brokers who want to control the County Commission to further their own business interests. But he was not altogether correct. I’m beholden to the new under-represented majority. I’m beholden to the regular guy and lady trying to make a good life for their family, the home owner who pays taxes and gets little in return, the small business who is trying to survive on an unfair playing field, and our elderly citizens trying to make ends meet on a fixed income.

As your Commissioner I will champion the Indian River Cleanup to create a family-friendly Brevard and a legacy for our children. I will bring my fiscally conservative values to office to keep your taxes and county budget under control. I will do whatever possible to "Axe the Train!" and preserve our Quality of Life. I will protect the gun rights of law-abiding citizens. I will insure Police and Fire Departments are well trained and equipped to keep you safe.

I will be known as the practical County Commissioner who maintains our roads, public services and infrastructure instead of funding Pork Barrel Projects and feathering your nest for a political future. For Action, not Talk, Elect Ron Taylor your County Commissioner, District 2.

Name: Michael Hartman

Age: 55 years young.

City of Residence: Merritt Island (Diana Shores Subdivision).

Occupation: Real estate developer and consultant. I am self-employed as a real estate consultant and I and my partners own Concor, LLC, a real estate development company.


I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting from Loyola College in Baltimore (now known as Loyola University in Maryland) in 1981. I passed all parts of the November 1981 CPA exam and was awarded Maryland CPA license #8447 in February 1982. I keep my license active and current by taking 40 hours of continuing professional education every year.


I was appointed to the Board of the County Housing Authority (volunteer position) and was elected Chairman of the Board in September 2009. I served as Chairman for 5 years, and serve today as the Vice-Chairman of the Board.

What makes you the best candidate (300 words or less)?

I am the best candidate for this office because I care about our future and preserving our piece of paradise. I first fell in love with Brevard because of the recreation opportunities (the fishing and the beaches). As boaters and fishermen, my wife and I fell in love with the rivers. 

We also love the slower-paced lifestyle after spending our first 33 years in the hectic urban environment of Baltimore and Washington, DC. I am also the best candidate because I have experience in managing a government entity and right-sizing government budgets while maintaining services. 

I was elected Chairman of the County Housing Authority (HA) in September 2009. When I was appointed, the HA was almost bankrupt. So, we reorganized our departments, cut excess supervisory positions, reduced our operating budget, and INCREASED SERVICES. Today, the HA is financially stable, we are operating with the same reduced number of staff and smaller budget, and we serve 600 MORE families than we did in 2009. So I have a proven record of lowering the cost of government while increasing services. I intend to do the same cutting of the County budget and every citizen’s and businessperson’s tax bill while increasing services. A lower tax rate for everyone will attract business to Brevard, and help us to prosper while still preserving our way of life.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson to visit Ukraine

ORLANDO, Florida -  With thousands of Russian troops at the Ukrainian border and tensions continuing there in a months-long conflict, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), a senior member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, is heading to the region for a series of meetings on defense planning and other issues.

Nelson is scheduled to leave for the region from Central Florida later this week, though specific times aren't being released.

Already, the U.S. and NATO are supplying non-lethal military equipment to Ukrainian forces.  And the Obama administration reportedly would consider sending weapons to Ukraine if Russia were to invade.

Meantime, Ukrainian troops have surrounded the rebel-stronghold of Donetsk in the eastern part of the country, while Russia has pushed to be able to bring aid to the area. 

Says Nelson, "I believe Putin's offer of humanitarian aid is a guise to invade."

Florida Senate District 16 Republican Primary Candidates

Florida Senate District 16 consists of the central and southern portions of Brevard County and all but the southeastern portion of Indian River County, Florida.

The Primary Election will be held on August 26, 2014.

Name: Thad Altman

Age: 58, will turn 59 before the general election

Home: Rockledge

Occupation: President of The Astronauts Memorial Foundation


Rollins College, B.S.
University of Houston, Brevard Community College A.A.
Florida Institute of Technology, Flight Training
Palm Beach Community College, Architectural Studies


Brevard County Commission 1984-1992
Brevard County Commission Chair 1985, 1986, 1992
Florida House of Representatives 2003-2008
Florida Senate 2008-current.

Why are you the best candidate to fill this office (in 300 words or less)?

As a longtime Florida resident (I moved to the state when I was 2) I grew up appreciating all that Florida has to offer. I have been serving the residents of Brevard County since 1984, starting as a County Commissioner and eventually being elected to serve in the state legislature. I know this area, know the people, and have been constantly working to protect our waterways, preserve the prestige of the space coast, and to bring high-tech jobs back to the state.

During my time serving this district, we have faced many problems: hurricanes, the decommissioning of the space shuttle, and the recession to name a few. I have stood side-by-side with my constituents, fighting to ensure that our area continues to thrive. It has been an honor to represent this area, and I look forward to earning your vote.

Name: Monique Miller

Home: Melbourne Beach


Monique earned a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from Emory University’s prestigious Goizueta Business School, graduating Beta Gamma Sigma (highest honors). She studied physics and math as an undergraduate at Loyola University New Orleans.


Monique is a leader that has enjoyed a successful career in the computer industry for over 20 years. She has had strategic, senior roles in leading technology firms like Hewlett Packard, where she managed The Walt Disney Company account, and Florida’s own, Citrix Systems. Monique has received numerous awards for her performance over the years and has been regularly featured in industry journals.