A Christmas Story

At the December 14, 2017 Town Hall Meeting we had Joy Schmitt acting in Pete’s absence as Town President. Joy is probably the most honorable of all of them, but that’s like being the Tallest midget in the circus. After the pledge of Allegiance which I’m beginning to believe is just a reminder to all present we are still in America.

After opening remarks Nick Meyers spoke proposing that public comment should run parallel with the meeting not at the end. Predictably Jane protested with the comment that the residents probably wouldn’t understand what’s going on. I believe she’s using herself as a barometer as we all know what’s going on.

I’ll skip to the Police report where the highlight was the assassination of a raccoon.

It moved on to our Town contracted Fire Chief, who it appears just shows up to play with his phone when he’s not expounding on the virtues of his Departments efficiency. The report was typical (no major fires yet) I really wish Albers would stop pretending he is a Council member and take his seat behind the Police Chief who is a Town Employee. It always amazes me how he can give his report while staring at the ceiling. My best guess is he is probably trying to figure if his ladders will go that high. He ended his report by murmuring that he has proceeded to line up contractors to remodel the Fire Station. Now here’s an independent private contractor with no valid contract with the Town of Long Beach attempting to use Taxpayer money to fund his operation. This is an arrangement where the Town supplies all equipment, pays for utilities, fuel, maintenance, provides a Fire Station and allows this Corporation to use our equipment to service other communities for his profit while the Town pays for all insurance and Fire Fighter benefits and the LBVFD then charges Long Beach for Fire Protection. I would be fine with this arrangement except if Duneland has a major fire we are then at the mercy of Michigan City and Albers has said repeatedly they cannot protect our community properly because their equipment is too big and they don’t know the area. Another point to consider is Albers refusal to open books and disclose his disbursements that over the last 5 years were just short of $400,000.00. Who got this money?  The Town didn’t!  To boot this Corporation could go out of business or go bankrupt tomorrow. I’ll get into the mechanics of this ridiculous arrangement later.

There was nothing of importance until Budget and Finance, which Pete was slated to speak on (Pete skipped this meeting) leaving Bill DeFuniak to give the bad news that Legal expenses for November were $6,333.75 and over budget for Building Commissioner and Inspector salaries for the year. No problem we’ll just transfer funds. The Town should have never got rid of Aaron Tomsheck but he was too professional and that didn’t fit the Towns Conflict of interest between being fair and impartial to all residents and taking sides with the Alliance against Lakefront Homeowners. Getting back to our multi-tasking Building Commissioner, ever since he replaced Aaron he has been a full service on the job busy guy. As Wall Construction a Town registered contractor he can build you a house then as acting Building Commissioner and the fact that he is on the Building Commission with Pete, Lemay and Jogman he can get you a permit which he will issue and if you need a variance his niece is the Secretary of the BZA and his brother John is on the board. Now here a contractor with $84,000.00 judgement against him for work in Long Beach but not to worry the Building Inspector who works under him will oversee the job and if your new home should catch fire he is the LBVFD Assistant Chief and will put it out. Could you ask for more?

Bill brought up the topic of raises but it probably won’t go very far as the policy of this Council is to hire new employees at appreciably higher wages than long term loyal employees. This is a really bad policy and why and who they hire should be monitored closely.

The BZA report and Building Commission report was done by Bob Lemay who in addition to being a Council Member sits on the APC and Building Commission, typically most lakeside permits are denied or pushed forward to be denied later under one of Pete’s new building technicalities. One resident questioned why the Town didn’t come to the aid of the lake damaged properties between Hazeltine and St. Lawrence, like most reasonable Town Governments would have done, his response was “They didn’t follow proper procedure by obtaining permits”. Now here’s what really happened, this was a Natural Disaster caused by lake action and at no fault of the homeowner. Truth be known if the Town would have permitted proper seawalls instead of siding with the Alliance’s Pat Sharkey against them there is a good chance this could have been avoided.

However when on October 25th Pete, Joe Jogman, Pat Sharkey and Jim Neulieb all ran the other way to the LaPorte Health Department to voice their approval of the rescinding of any permits needed to install, repair or replace septic’s on the lakefront it showed their true colors. Now these are all fellow travelers and Pete Byvoets, Larry Wall, Joe Jogman and Bob Lemay make up the Building Commission. This is what is known as “A stacked deck”. So is it any wonder that most Lake Shore Drive permits are denied or like in the case of Jaska’s Stop 14 sanitary permit was dragged out for months by Lemay then denied. Now remember Lemay and his wife are ardent Alliance supporters and the Alliance has been the major roadblock of seawalls and has tried relentlessly to have all lakefront homes in Long Beach condemned knowing that no sewer system is accessible. So actions speak louder than words when it comes to what Pete Byvoets, Bob Lemay or for that fact any Alliance supporter might say because it’s their acts and actions that have victimized the Lakefront Homeowners who are the major taxpayers in this Town. These actions taken by the Town against Homeowners instead of using the Town resources to assist them in helping to minimize damage is disgraceful. I would label them all weasels but that would be an insult to those little creatures whose only crime is stealing a chicken not deliberately causing hardships to your neighbors. It was their decision alone to turn their backs on these property owners that left them to fend for themselves. In my opinion whatever measures they took to protect their property from further damage was within their rights. Pete’s decision to ask the Council to vote to sue these Homeowners for not having proper permits was the insult to injury. It is common knowledge you have better odds winning the Powerball than getting a permit lakeside in Long Beach.

Could it be the Council did not know the fact that on November 14th an application for a permit to perform emergency repairs in this area was submitted to the Building Department and was ignored by Pete and Larry Wall. This was over two weeks before the December 4th meeting and as of December 14th still laid unanswered by the Town. I don’t know how anyone else would react under these circumstances but my attitude would be before I’d let my house fall into the lake while waiting for the Town to respond (screw them) I’d go ahead without permits and protect my investment!   

It could be Lemay didn’t know that on November 14th the application for a permit to perform emergency repairs in this area was submitted to the Building Department and was ignored by Pete and Larry Wall but he should have. When I asked him if he would stake his reputation on the fact no permit application exists his answer was “Yes”, however a permit was applied for and ignored (see attachment)

In the unfinished business department Nick trotted out the Mutt and Jeff act on the Stop 24 Project and now without Phase 1 and 2 even started we are now into Phase 3 but this time was different we got to look at a story board of an aerial photo taken years ago of a beach that no longer exists so they could explain how when and if it returns what it may look like. There are so many could be’s and maybe’s it’s almost like listening to Abbott and Costello’s “who’s on first skit”. Let’s look at the facts here this project was flawed from conception. The Town was derelict in not providing prints or engineering drawings on the structure to Global, Global secured bids on the demolition without knowing what was involved as no exploratory surveys were taken, the bidder’s predictably bid a ROM Bid which has built in buffers and will most likely have change orders if anything is discovered that was not disclosed by Global. This whole project hinges on a Federal Grant. They haven’t applied for yet but hope to get. Now repeatedly I have asked Global, Nick and Jane if engineering drawings and blueprints of the pump house were available so that the contractors could properly quote the demolition. I asked this at three separate meetings and got the same answer “no blueprints or engineering drawings exist period”. Now I never ask a question before I know the answer and plans do exist plain and simple but this is a contractor shell game, it goes like this “bid low to get the job”, “find something not disclosed”, “submit a change order” and “ask for money, lot’s more money”. This has all the indicators of becoming a bottomless money pit using taxpayer dollars and be the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel that becomes a train.

 You’ve heard the comment that “The best comes last”, so now we have the public comment segment. A lady who waited patiently and sat through all the nonsense finally got a chance to speak. Evidently she is a homeowner who owns dogs that are properly vaccinated and licensed and also does rescue. I’m on her side already as almost no one in Long Beach buys the $5.00 license or gets rabies shots for their dogs. Well apparently she has been the target of another resident who typical of Jane without knowing the full story voiced her opinion and sided with the accuser. After reading a statement that challenged Jane to repeat what she said and at the same time praising the Police for the way they handled the incident enraged Jane. Now Jane has a vendetta against the Police Department and because she becomes like a cornered rat when challenged started to rant incoherently in what appeared to be scattered thoughts from an emotionally unstable person. To all of us who have witnessed this before it is vintage Jane who has a convenient memory loss, sort of like a possum when it plays dead. This tirade continued until Joy tried to stop it by using the gavel, A Vaudeville hook would have been a better choice. When this nonsense finally subsided and the meeting was brought to a close the only good to come out of it was the initiation of the new Town Attorney who got a good taste of the characters he was employed to represent. Wait till he has a sit down with Pete and tries to make sense of Pete’s logic. This town could be a miniseries on Pay-Per-View just to finance their legal bills. As I’ve always said “All the squirrels are not in the park!”

And one final thought, don’t wait for Santa, I talked to him and he said it was too dangerous. You know those grandmothers that show up at every Town Hall Meeting wanting to kill all the deer, well he got wind of it. Seems he needs them to pull his sleigh so he’ll just do a fly over.



Bob Boyce

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