CORAL SPRINGS, FL – Most people wouldn’t want to be called a gadfly. Howard Melamed doesn’t mind it at all.

The longtime Coral Springs resident, business owner, one-time political candidate, and lately an internet provocateur delights in telling city leaders his views on how to run the city of more than 130,000 people.

Everything from traffic (“there’s too much of it”) to defunding police (“no, we should be adding police officers with psychology degrees”) to local taxes (“the tax burden is on commercial landowners”), Melamed has an opinion it seems on just about everything.

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His bully pulpit: Coralsprings.com, a website he owns with a popular internet address that draws tens of thousands of people a month from across the globe. The city’s official website is Coralsprings.org.

The 64-year-old civil engineer uses the site to highlight what he considers important issues with the goal of getting more residents involved in what goes on in Coral Springs.

“I’m established here. I own property here. I have an investment in the city,” he said. “Nobody fights city hall here, and they should.”

Live since 2000, Melamed’s website is a combination of news alerts from local media, live feeds from the Coral Springs police and fire scanner, and his own blog-style articles using facts, opinion, and sometimes the absurd to make his points.

In a recent article on cycling through the city on his way to his office in the Coral Springs corporate park, he described maneuvering on “unfriendly roads” and “rude motorists.”

He wrote: “It’s no fun having to hunch over and dodge the low hanging wooden sticks while at the same time getting a vertical jolt into your coccyx from the very same tree that is causing a bump in the road directly beneath.”

(The city, county, and state are adding bike lanes on streets across the city. Read our story here.)

By owning the domain name Coralsprings.com and its connecting email address, Melamed gets emails from city vendors, city residents, and others who have confused his email address with city officials (his email ends in: com., and city officials: org).

Over the years, that has resulted in getting hotel reservations for city workers, quotes from companies wanting to do business with the city, and plenty of letters from angry residents, he said.

Those emails, he said, have given him a front-row view at times of behind-the-scenes decisions city administrators make without much public scrutiny.

And that understanding has made for good fodder in his writing.

City Commissioner Joy Carter has known Melamed since the early 2010s when he was a regular at city commission meetings and eventually ran for the commission in 2014 and narrowly lost to Lou Cimaglia.

She considers him a friend, and respects his right to criticize city leaders, but she doesn’t always agree “with the way he goes about it.”

“He’s smart, loves his community, and has wanted to make a difference,” Carter said.

Born in Montreal and a resident of Coral Springs for 29 years, Melamed focuses his attention these days on his multi-national telecommunications business that he said employs 39 people.

He’s no longer a driving force at commission meetings and relies now on his website (and those incoming, wrong-address city emails) to get his message out.  

“This is fun,” he said. “I’m going to keep speaking my mind.”

 

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