Updated: Taxpayers Pay For Valentine’s Day Cards





Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but the cost to Tamarac taxpayers remain. 

Earlier this month Browardbeat disclosed that a power grab by Tamarac City Commissioners is costing taxpayers money. Today Browardbeat learned of another example of questionable spending by one Tamarac City Commissioner.

Tamarac Vice Mayor Elvin Vallalobos last month sent more than 8,000 Valentine’s Day cards to voters and taxpayers footed the bill.

Nothing Vallalobos did was apparently illegal under Tamrac’s free spending laws. 

Vallalobos, in a comment below posted several days after this item was written, said that the cards were part of a new effort to cut the cost of communications with the voters. He said the previous “Tamagram which costs my district alone – $45,690 annually”– an outrage — and he plans to cut the annual cost to much less as evidenced by the cards.

If the Tamarac Vice Mayor wants to wish his voters a Happy Valentine’s Day, he should have taken a page from Plantation Commissioner Nick Sortal. Sortal spends almost nothing connecting through various social media channels and through weekly print publications. (Disclosure: I worked at the Sun-Sentinel at the same time Sortal did, but for most of the time our paths did not cross. He was largely in sports and I covered politics.)

The Vice Mayor’s cards are not expensive — less than $1 a card, based on receipts on file in City Hall obtained by Browardbeat. 

The cost is not the point. Having the taxpayers pay for such cards is a misuse of public money.

The cards are also unethical. They are simply a taxpayer-paid scheme to boost Vallalobos’ name ID.  It could be argued that Vallalobos is having city voters pay to keep him in office. 

I would bet that the financial shenanigans seen in Tamarac are sadly not unique. 

With the decline in comprehensive tough local media coverage, I would guess questionable spending is happening in every City Hall.




16 Responses to “Updated: Taxpayers Pay For Valentine’s Day Cards”

  1. City activist Robert walsh says:

    U know what I have noticed these elected officials many will spend taxpayer money on everything from sending out cards as in this reference to any other thing etc that u r paying for.Oh yeah everyone is a big shot when spending other people’s ( taxpayer) money.

  2. Old Timer says:

    He must be quite a stud to have 8,000 valentines.

  3. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    I have a friend in Tamarac. He n his family don’t vote contribute or volunteer for campaigns or go to meetings. He complains since his …family purchased three homes in their neighborhood in Tamarac more than ten years ago it has gone downhill. DOESNT THIS EXPLAIN EVERYTHING ABOUT TAMARAC TODAY?

  4. Mayor Richard J Kaplan (Ret.) says:

    While I agree with many that this type of expenditure is a waste of taxpayer monies, this is not the first time I have seen this. It may also be in other forms like birthday cards.

    The funny thing is that when I have talked to many, many taxpayers about receiving these cards, it seems that maybe a majority like and appreciates them. They want to receive them because they believe their elected officials are reaching out to them and the expense is worth it.

    So it is hard to know which is right. I guess it is the receiver’s point of view, and there will be at least two different opinions on this. Especially when it comes time to justify increasing taxes for things like this.

  5. Patti Lynn says:

    If this is an example of “more transparency” that was proposed in his campaign, I don’t like it. It’s time for Tamarac to open the City for meetings. This “remoteness” tells us one thing:
    Integrity is how you behave when no one is looking. Mr. Vice Mayor, you should be ashamed. Valentines greetings are something that someone gives, not something that someone forces the recipient to pay for. SHAME !

  6. A reader says:

    Obvious observation: Slick, crooked, greedy, narcissistic politicians are experts at working misinformed, ignorant, vulnerable lackadaisical voters. Happens at the city, county, state, and federal level. Watch the media today, tomorrow, and beyond. Trillions of taxpayers’ money are being spent recklessly.
    In a perfect world, informed responsible voters and politicians would be fiscally responsible. However, the world is not perfect and grifters enjoy their actions.
    Exposing reckless use of tax money is one way to fight the selfishness. And all voters need to become informed and vote for candidates who are ethical. If any such person runs for office!

  7. Reader says:

    Officials can send the same cards via email for little to no cost.

  8. MacAdder says:

    At Wednesday night’s commission meeting, Bolton, Gelin, and Villalobos gave a big middle finger to the residents of Tamarac by ramming through a non-agenda item without proper public notice (and while suspending Robert’s Rules of Order) to name Hans Ottinot as the permanent city attorney. Placko had reservations, but in the end, she didn’t want to be labelled a racist (because Bolton said specifically this was about “respecting the black man”) and voted with the majority. During the discussion, Bolton proceeded to throw Sam Goren under the bus again by claiming Goren is a serial quitter. (Segment starts at 0:48:59 and goes until 1:29:12.)

  9. Commissioner Villalobos says:

    I serve a district predominately resided by seniors. I wanted to do something that was 1. meaningful to them considering the many residents I have encountered in the last year that are emotionally downhearted, which I received so much good feedback and thank you on; 2. cut the cost of the Tamagram which costs my district alone – $45,690 annually, paid for by the city.

    The actual cost for my portion of that invoice being presented was $3156 (Connectica bundled an invoice, so your exhibit of that invoice is not an accurate viewpoint.

    My intent was to receive feedback on whether a mailer was going to be more or less effective. Some feedback I received was only sending out the Tamargram to those that actually subscribe, others included doing an email, while others do prefer just the mailer.

    I anticipate spending $10,400 for my district annually and still provide the same resource of information, which is a quarter of what the city is currently spending. If that is not a better choice, please provide me with feedback…

  10. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:


  11. Señor Censor says:

    #9 Seniors in your district are emotionally downhearted because you are urinating away $10,400 on junk mail. If you want to do something that was meaningful “Use your own MONEY”

  12. Commissioner Elvin Villalobos says:

    Señor Censor: not one droplet of urine so we are good there. Once I reduce what the city spends $45,690 to $10,400; and from there even less, as we sign folks up to use Nextdoor, our Facebook platforms and emails, we will be much better.

  13. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    The Press just gave Bolton ‘praise” as promoting Womens’ Rights! Tells you the Press ignores basic values of good government for politically correct fakers

  14. Nick Sortal says:

    Thank you for the kind words, Buddy. No, any greeting card activity in a city is futile. Why not send an e-blast, for free? Or include it in electric bills? Twitter: @PlantationNick, especially for those in Plantation.

    PS: I stand by my earlier comment; this is on the voters, who fell for a lesser product instead of Julie Fishman. Sometimes the best person doesn’t win.

  15. Commissioner Elvin Villalobos says:

    @Nick Sortal: So you are ok when then, Commissioner Fishman was 100% against the $25K discretionary spending, and at voting time, she says yes to it, but you are saying my efforts to reduce the city’s spending of $45,690.00 to just about $10K and work on further reduction is falling for a lesser product? That makes no sense, and with all due respect – clearly, the voters picked a better product.

  16. MacAdder says:

    @Commissioner Elvin Villalobos: Do you believe that your colleague, Commissioner Bolton, regularly hears the audible voice of God? Do you believe that God spoke to Commissioner Bolton on December 22, 2019 and warned him of the coming COVID-19 pandemic and to prepare a “resiliency plan” (as he claimed here)? Do you believe Commissioner Bolton, as part of his resiliency plan, had a duty to warn the residents of the city which he serves so that they would not be caught off guard by the hardships brought on by the pandemic?