PolitiFact Rates Pembroke Pines Mayor's Claim of Hands Being Tied on ICE Jail "Mostly False"

Categories: Broward News
cca-ice-meeting-4.jpg
Ortis faces off with Southwest Ranches Mayor Jeff Nelson.
We've just discovered the austere yet intriguing Twitter account of Southwest Ranches Town Attorney Keith Poliakoff -- perhaps the perfect 140-character medium for the man who stated, "the less we say, the better off we will be."

His feed did alert us to a recent examination by PolitiFact Florida of some strong words from Pembroke Pines Mayor Frank Ortis at last Saturday's raucus town-hall meeting about the planned ICE facility next door in Southwest Ranches.

Ortis, addressing an angry crowd at the event, brought them wildly to his favor by saying that Pembroke Pines didn't "have a vote on" the jail and that "this is what happens when you don't go to the people first."


Ortis' comments got a standing, screaming ovation from the residents in the room who were critical of Southwest Ranches' silence on the issue. But at the Southwest Ranches Town Council meeting the following Monday, council members were critical of Ortis' remarks, as well as similar comments by Pines Commissioner Iris Siple.

Council Member Doug McKay noted that there's a mayoral and commission election in Pines at the end of January, implying that Ortis and Siple were simply playing politics.

PolitiFact looked at Ortis' claim that his city hadn't had any say on the jail coming to the area and rated it "mostly false," listing the following opportunities that Pines commissioners had to discuss it:

• September 21, 2005: The commission, along with Ortis, voted unanimously to notify Broward County that it objected to the 1,500-bed jail. But at the time, the town and city were embroiled in some unrelated spats about road lights and barricades the town had set up blocking drivers from Pines from traveling on certain Ranches roads. Pines' objection to the prison appeared to be more of a bargaining chip, because a few months later the city agreed to not fight the prison and the two municipalities reached an agreement on the roads.

• December 21, 2005: The commission, along with Ortis, unanimously approved an agreement with Ranches that included language that stated, "The CITY shall not interfere with Corrections Corporation of America, or its successors or assigns, development and/or operation of the jail facility, or with the TOWN'S Agreement with Corrections Corporation of America concerning development of same."

• June 27, 2011: The commission, along with Ortis, approved an agreement with the town to provide emergency medical and fire protection in exchange for $2.5 million annually starting Oct. 1. The agreement includes a section that states that "CITY acknowledges that it has sufficient capacity to deliver emergency medical protection and fire prevention services to the TOWN's future 2,500 bed penal institution/deportation facility, located on property currently owned by the Corrections Corporation of America...." The agreement also states that it has capacity to provide water and sewer. The vote, which included Ortis, was unanimous.

• August 17, 2011: Commission, along with Ortis, unanimously approved a motion to begin providing fire service one month earlier than planned: Sept. 1, 2011. (The minutes were not available but city clerk Judy Neugent provided us with a draft copy.)

Still, the analysis concludes, "There is a kernel of a fact here: it was Southwest Ranches -- not Pembroke Pines -- that penned the deal with the prison operator, and Pines didn't get an up or down vote on whether the facility should be built. But it's not as if Pines has been in the dark here."

Regardless, the next Pembroke Pines commission meeting, on Tuesday, November 16, is sure to be a raucous one as well as Siple introduces a motion to cancel the city's agreement to provide water and sewer services to the jail site. Opponents of the facility are encouraging people to attend that meeting. We're hoping to catch up with Ortis and Siple to get their side of the story firsthand.


Stefan Kamph is a New Times staff writer.
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8 comments
Twitter Fan
Twitter Fan

Thanks for the tip on the twitter account!  I am hooked!

Got Ya
Got Ya

Wow great Herald Article!!  Pines can't back out of this one!  

FQS9000
FQS9000

How hard is it for the NIMBYs to understand private property, abiding with the law and got all the permits?  Must be impossible to whine and think at the same time.

William Di Scipio
William Di Scipio

Who's kidding whom, here?From: "Castillo, Angelo" <acastillo@ppines.com>To: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXSent: Thu, October 20, 2011 4:10:10 PMSubject: RE: Detention CenterI have never supported the prison and have said so about a thousand times in public.  Is that clear enough?

AC</acastillo@ppines.com>

William Di Scipio
William Di Scipio

FQS9000 1 month ago in reply to nanook5 A personal insult instead of an argument.  How wise and mature of you.  You should try to  make a reasoned response instead of hurling invective.  Or perhaps that is your entire argument.  If so, it is not persuasive to anyone but yourself.(lifted from the same article cited above)  FQS9000 has an extreme case of cognitive dissonance in my opinion.

William Di Scipio
William Di Scipio

http://blogs.browardpalmbeach....

Folks, take a look at FQS9000's other "positions."  This dude is as crazy as it gets. He's a genocidal maniac.  No wonder he supports Prison Inc.  Birds of a feather flock together.

Here's one thread in the comments section of the cited article:

FQS9000 1 month ago My motto is bombs, not food.  Feeding those too addicted, dumb, insane or lazy to hold a job merely delays the inevitable and pollutes a neighborhood with smelly bums.  Bombs are at least useful for removing scum from the planet, thus making a better world for us all. FQS9000 1 month ago in reply to KennyPowersII I don't agree with you, so now I want to kill everybody.  Typical female demonetization of anyone who disagrees with them, when they can not find an intelligent argument.  This type of demagoguery means that anything you say from now on may be ignored.

GhostOfMcLovin
GhostOfMcLovin

Billy, you've hurled insults at me regarding this topic recently. Here is a reasoned response: CCA owns the subject parcel. They have from a point in time that precedes the very existance of your fine Town of Southwest Ranches. The City of Pembroke Pines had the abilty to annex the CCA parcel when they cherry-picked the areas north of Sheridan Street. They didn't. A proposed detention center is currently permitted on the Industrially zoned parcel. It also was permitted 25 years ago when the parcel was Agriculturally designated. I know your objection is based on the fact that your home is approximately 4,000 feet northeast of the site as the crow flies, but what rational reason do you have to object to the proposed location? Where in Broward County would be more appropriate than adjacent to another penal institution, adjacent to a 500+ acre landfill, way out away from the more densely populated parts of the County? Your conviction in this matter is commendable, even if emotionally-driven and flawed rationally. A legal use of private property that benefits all residents of the County, should not be disallowed because a vocal minority is upset with the prospect. Don't be upset that you didn't do your due diligence in 2006 when you bought your SWR property for $925,000.

Bill Di Scipio
Bill Di Scipio

I have no problem with my $925K house.  I love it.  I'm truly blessed to be able to live here. It's good to know that you can use the property appraisers website.   Thanks for posting what the house transferred for.  I'd do the same for you if I knew who you were, but, you are anonymous.  That makes it difficult.  Nonetheless, it's how some people such as yourself who don't have courage go about their deeds.

Regarding due diligence, I was wrongly under the impression that the Town had cleaned up its act from its legendary corrupt state under John Canada and company.  That's the due diligence I lacked.  The Town is still reeling from the incompetence and graft of Wasserman Rubin, Canada and the rest of them.  Shame on me.  I'll do my best to change the corruption, though

As you point out, I'm nearly a mile from the site so will I be terribly affected?  Probably not.  And as you've asked, I'll tell you why my issue is.  Do I find it disgusting for a Town to build prisons as its main non residential tax base?  Certainly.

Earlier this summer, when we went to a council meeting, we were all told that there was a cone of silence in place and that the Town Council was not going to discuss this in public.  That's unacceptable.

Next, it became clear that the Town jammed through a resolution doubling the size of the facility and increasing bed count by nearly 50% under the cover of darkness on January 6th of this year.  Then it became apparent that the Town was acting in a very underhanded manner trying to keep the light of day off the prison.  They are completely remiss in handling public records requests. This is wrong and corrupt.

This prison will affect the quality of life for the town.  It will adversely affect FIRE/EMS and DLE.  It probably does not make any sense financially for the town to do it.  It will hurt the entire Town in the long run when all the true costs of SWR having a contract with ICE and also having a contract with CCA become known.  CCA themselves is only talking about $450K a year back to the town directly.  Keith Poliakoff spent nearly $300K this year alone on prison related issues.  How can it possibly make money for us? As many small towns find, the siren song of Prison Inc only leads to ruin. 

Many of us see the substantial consequences the Town itself will suffer from this prison.  Just because they own the land, it doesn't given them any right to ramrod this facility.  It should go through typical and normal review processes with community input as required by Broward County.  I've read Broward County Staff's comments on it.  Have you?

If we were kept privy of what our Town is actually negotiating and we had input into the terms of any contracts, then maybe one could begin to approach it from a more rational standpoint and make a case for or against it. But, they don't want us to be part of the current process.  So, the fight will continue.  Wasserman Schultz was right when she lambasted the Mayor for a Paucity of Public Information.  Mayor Ortis was right when he said that this sort of facility should never have been planned without community input.

Private property ownership does not give anybody the right to adversely affect the next guy's house or an entire community.  It just doesn't.  Even in the most Laissez-faire places, you simply can't do whatever you want with your property.  This is worse than most cases because it's just crony capitalism that's being fed off the federal government's teat with money they are borrowing from China, anyway.

Let CCA put up a private prison fed with private money.  The problem is for them, that there's not much private money being used to run prisons, is there? So, it's purely a public matter.  They are an organization that profits off federal, state and local tax dollars. We have enough of these companies already.  We have enough deficits and enough fiscal irresponsibility.

Lastly, as the Author of these articles, Mr. Kamph has pointed out a few times, this is the result of horrific land planning policies by Broward County.  Why would BC knowingly put up a $120MM school with 3000 students barely a mile away from a prison of this nature?  They did.  Enough is enough.

Bill Di Scipio

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