Monday, December 10, 2018

Where's the fire? It appears there is smoke. Vice Mayor John DuBois has called a Special Council Meeting for Monday, December 17, 2018 at 11:30 AM

Well, isn't that special, Palmetto Bay's Vice Mayor deems it necessary to call a special council meeting. The reasons for calling appear to me to be cryptic and, therefore, do not meet transparency goals.

At least I never called a meeting for mid-day on a workday - 11:30 AM. 


What is so special? Where is the memo?  I see nothing for action, this is a discussion only meeting, which does not appear to be a Special Council Meeting, but instead a special, rescheduled Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting.

Therefore, my first question is why is a special council meeting noticed, especially where the Vice Mayor can (re)schedule a public workshop which requires the same notice and, speaking about notice, there is no ACTION noticed to be taken a this meeting. 

This is all I know (as of 1:00 PM on Monday, December 10, 2018)

CLICK HERE to view the official notice posted on the Official Village Website:

SPECIAL COUNCIL MEETING
Monday, December 17, 2018 - 11:30 AM 
Village Hall Municipal Center, 9705 East Hibiscus Street


The Village of Palmetto Bay shall be conducting a Special Council Meeting on Monday, December 17, 2018 at approximately 11:30 a.m. at Village Hall, 9705 E. Hibiscus Street, Palmetto Bay, FL 33157. This Special Council Meeting was called by Vice Mayor John DuBois for the purposes of discussing compliance with state law, regulatory requirements, process, policy, and contractual obligations for acquisition of real property by the Village, including past and future acquisitions of real property. (Emphasis added)

SPECIAL COUNCIL MEETINGS


Special council meetings have their place (I called them often to deal with specific issue and often due to needless cancellations of Committee of the Whole (COW) Meetings.  I see that this council continues in the tradition of cancelling COWs - see the Village Meetings page:




The Village Council shall hold Committee of the Whole Workshops starting at 7:00 pm on the following third Wednesdays of the month at the Village Hall Council Chambers, 9705 East Hibiscus Street, Palmetto Bay, FL 33157:



    December 20, 2017 (Canceled)

THE PROBLEM WITH COWS BEING CANCELED 

There has always been a problem with council members who do not want to keep the commitment of the regularly scheduled COW, then (predictably) something comes up.  This is why regular council meeting agendas getting so filled up, meetings taking long and then necessitating special or roll over meetings to complete the agendas. 

Please note the specific council rule of procedure [conspicuously listed on the notice page (link above)]:
The Committee of the Whole Meetings may be cancelled only upon a vote of four Councilmembers at the first Regular Council Meeting of the month in which the Committee of the Whole is scheduled. The Committee of the Whole Workshop(s) schedule for 2018 was adopted via Resolution No. 2017-106 by the Village Council. 

The question is why this discussion point was not raised at any vote taken at the December 5 council meeting as a reason for a rescheduling rather than a cancellation with a subsequent and surprise call for a Special Council Meeting?

APPLICABLE VILLAGE CODES RELATING TO MEETINGS


***  ***  ***

(b)  Special meetings. Special meetings may be held on the call of the mayor or three councilmembers upon no less than 48 hours' notice to the public, or such shorter time as a majority of the council deems necessary in case of an emergency affecting the life, health, property or the public peace. Upon receipt of a call for a special meeting, the village clerk shall immediately give notice to each member of the council, stating the date, time, place and specific purpose of the meeting. If the village clerk is unable to give notice to each councilmember, upon the exercise of reasonable diligence, the failure to contact a member shall not affect the legality of the meeting so long as a quorum is present. An agenda shall be prepared for the meeting and no other items may be added, discussed or acted upon at the meeting.

(c)  Workshops. The village council may schedule workshops to discuss any public business. A workshop is an informal meeting of the council. No action may be taken at a workshop, but action may be referred to the council. Notice of a workshop shall be given to the public no less than 48 hours before the meeting. The notice shall advise whether the council desires public comments during the workshop.

(d)  Public meetings . All regular and special council meetings, and all workshops, shall be open to, and reasonably accessible by, the public. Certain meetings, such as attorney-client meetings on pending litigation, shall be closed to the public as expressly provided by law.

***  ***  ***

So then, as I started this blog post, why is a special council meeting noticed, especially where the workshop requires the same notice and, speaking about notice, there is no ACTION noticed to be taken a this meeting? The fear is that action will be taken, without proper notice to the public being given.

I guess (guess being operative word, as it is not clear from the notice) we will have to wait for midday Monday, December 17, 2018, for those who can attend to determine why it is so important to have this (what amounts to a) rescheduled workshop under Sec. 2-44 (b) & (c) of the Village Code.




Sunday, December 9, 2018

Kicking off Christmas music Season: [OFFICIAL VIDEO] Hallelujah - Pentatonix



I have kicked it off in the past by posting the gold standard classic – Charlie Brown Christmas Music Videos. And yes, personally, I like to include Trans-Siberian Orchestra. What would this year be if I did not include Pentatonix, so I am kicking it off with Hallelujah as performed by Pentatonix.  

Friday, December 7, 2018

All of Miami-Dade deserves the Metrorail promised, a Letter to the Editor by our County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, December 7, 2018

Letter to the editor from our County Commissioner

CLICK HERE or headline below to read the letter online from our County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, District 8 Commissioner as posted online in the Miami Herald 

All of Miami-Dade deserves the Metrorail promised
December 07, 2018

On Thursday, my colleagues on the Transportation Planning Organization took an important vote about the future of Miami-Dade transportation and mobility in the northern part of the county.

The decision was to: officially state that elevated Metrorail is the local preference of residents and proceed to making that a reality.”

Expanding transportation is a frustratingly long, complex and expensive process. However, this vote goes to show that with a full analysis of all of the options, investment in elevated Metrorail makes the most sense for our community.

Unfortunately, South Dade was shut out at every turn by the county and prevented from even considering elevated Metrorail for the South Corridor.

We were told that it was too expensive to do 20-miles of surface-level Metrorail at $1.2 billion. Now $1.8 billion for less than half that distance won’t break the bank.

We advocated for doing the South Corridor in phases. The mayor said that would be unfair somehow to break the project up. But now it’s a splendid idea.

In retrospect, I wish the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) had conducted all of the studies. I think we would have benefited from an unbiased and uniform evaluation process. A process free from regular interference from the county and where the public’s opinion seemed to actually matter.

As frustrated and disappointed as I am at the raw deal South Dade got — the clear double standard applied to the South Corridor — I still support extending Metrorail along the North Corridor.

Even though our residents in South Dade have been denied the advantage of a “one-seat-ride,” Metrorail extended on the North Corridor will improve the mobility and economy for everyone in Miami-Dade.

The flaws in this process and more broken promises further undermine the public’s confidence that they are being treated fairly and served well by the officials elected to represent their interests.


Daniella Levine Cava


District 8 Commissioner

Yes Virginia, there will be a Palmetto Bay Boat Parade in 2018

I love a good parade #SmallTownUSA  The Palmetto Bay Boat Parade has been developing  for years.  The boat parade will move forward this year under new leadership.

The parade will take place on Saturday, December 15 -for those who live along the canal and the boat parade route, plan your backyard parties now. There is always a supportive group stationed along the banks of Coral Reef Park.

If you have a boat and would like to participate, please contact Jeri Schwartz-Allen for details of the parade route, time etc. For more information on the history of as well as to see photos from past events, please see my prior posts regarding the Palmetto Bay Boat Parades: (CLICK HERE)
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​​​​The plan to collect canned goods (as of today) is to have a couple of volunteer boats to collect the canned goods from the canal banks. There will also be a donation box at Coral Reef Parks Boat Ramp where the boats as years past have gathered just before the parade starts.

Past start times have been 5:30 at Coral Reef Park but stay tuned for the updates.

The plan this year is for the boat parade to begin heading south from Coral Reef Park to the fork by Bill Sodowski Park. Boats will then turn around and head back north to go through Coral Reef Park a 2nd time and then on to the lake to circle around and head back.
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Join your fellow Palmetto Bay Friends and Residents to help us ring in the holiday season and support your neighbors in need. All canned foods gathered will support local families.



Spectators can enjoy the parade from Coral Reef Park, Bill Sadowski Park, or anywhere along the canal parade route. Gather your family and friends in the beautiful Palmetto Bay outdoors while celebrating the spirit of the holidays.

More information will follow - more work needs to be done, but it appears positive and I anticipate everything will fall into place, so I am advising that the Boat Parade is ON!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

A recommendation for Elevated Rail for NW 27th Avenue, rejecting the same 'world class BRT' attempted to be foisted on the South? Say it ain't so!

Read it for yourself! A professional consultant, WSP USA, " ...rejected the option of a modernized, rapid-transit bus route for 27th Avenue as too disruptive to existing traffic."

That's right the option of a modernized, rapid-transit bus route for 27th Avenue as too disruptive to existing traffic - obviously no consultant has ever considered how disruptive the transitway (a nicer name for the US1 busway) has been and will continue to be "disruptive" for traffic trying to cross US1.

So here it is. A recommendation for elevated rail for NW 27th Avenue, but crumbs for South Dade.  Evidence that they will take our money in order to shift that funding for real transit anywhere but for us. This is why I opposed any compromises and refuse to accept BRT - South Miami-Dade County was sacrificed to make room for the north line. This is why we cannot and should not settle for "BRT".

In my own opinion, this is an example of a double standard being applied between the North and South Corridors.  This is quite unacceptable. The incoming Palmetto Bay Mayor and Council need to step up, no compromise, and pick up on the fight for South Miami-Dade County.

What makes us different? as pointed out in the article, “The mayor agrees with the recommendation for an elevated track for the north corridor,” Gimenez communications chief Myriam Marquez said. “He wants it done in phases so that it’s financially feasible.”

Months after deciding Metrorail was too pricey for South Miami-Dade, county leaders are on board with an even costlier expansion of the rail system to the north.
A state consultant recommends Miami-Dade build a $1.8 billion extension of Metrorail’s existing elevated tracks along Northwest 27th Avenue. The consultant, WSP USA, rejected the option of a modernized, rapid-transit bus route for 27th Avenue as too disruptive to existing traffic.
That’s the same kind of system that Mayor Carlos Gimenez won approval for in South Dade in August. His administration had had recommended a similar system last year for the north as well. A county transportation board will take up the proposal Thursday, clearing the way for Miami-Dade to apply for transit dollars from Washington for the project.
This summer Gimenez campaigned publicly and privately to block board approval of a $1.3 billion Metrorail option in the south, including a last-minute bid by transit advocates to start with a smaller segment of the 20-mile extension being considered. Months later, the Gimenez administration has dropped its rapid-transit bus recommendation for the north in favor of the phased construction of an elevated rail system a consultant says will cost about $1.8 billion. ...
Click the link above to read the entire article.

Please review prior efforts as contained in prior posts, starting with a post of October 5, 2018, Team work continues on transit solutions

As I stated in that post, I believe that the TPO vote was a delay, not denial of our efforts to obtain rail. Many will recall the long fight for Palmetto Bay's incorporation - the delays and many adverse votes, including a moratorium lasting many years. 

Now it will be up to the incoming Mayor and Council to continue the fight under these newly revealed circumstances. We shall see how much fight there is in this council.

Our fellow South Dade taxpayers have been paying many years in advance for rail, through the half-cent sales tax. Residents clearly voted for rail when they supported the half-penny tax, and rail is what Miami-Dade County should be delivering to South Dade.

Examples of neighborhood traffic studies - ongoing and recently compiled. Marlin Engineering Traffic & Speed Counts for the neighborhood of SW 83rd Ave between SW 168th Street and SW 165th.

How does your neighborhood compare?

I have posted the Marlin Engineering Speed and Traffic Counts for the neighborhood of SW 83rd Ave between SW 168th Street and SW 165th. The analysis was recently completed and data collected is indicated for November 13 – 16, 2018.

CLICK HERE to download and view the Marin Engineering traffic count, with graphs, note this document is six (6) pages.

CLICK HERE to download and view the Marin Engineering speed count, note the document is eighteen (18) pages.

This posting should be considered an update to prior blog posts including October 17, 2018, Update on Palmetto Bay Traffic Projects - and further updates will be posted as available. This post involved notification through my posting of a photo and information relating to the (then) Current Traffic Studies prepared by Marlin Engineering for the listed areas.

Again, I am posting the same disclaimer as work has always been going on throughout the Village:

DISCLAIMER AS TO OTHER VILLAGE AREAS: There other areas in study, but simply not ready for rollout at this time.  The listed projects have no impact on single neighborhood/street traffic calming such as Traffic Tables and / or traffic enforcement (including CITE program).








Copy of the SFWMD tree Removal Notification letter - provided to village council Dec 4, 2018 - unpermitted structures may need to be removed

This may get interesting for those who live on the C100 canal. Posted below is the October 22, 2018 notification to affected homes, C100A tree removal notice (Phase 4) covering from SW 136th Street to 152nd Street.

Please note that the SFWMD will be requiring the removal of unpermitted fences, small sheds, pergolas, gazebos, lighting and/or other improvements situated within the easement which may obstruct the removal of trees withing the District's right of way.  Further notice may be given.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Wishing everyone a very Happy Chanukah 2018

Alexandra, Katherine, and Meredith join with me in wishing everyone a very Happy Chanukah.
As always, I am reminded, especially during the holidays, of the importance of family and the importance of maintaining our sense of civic spirit.

I hope during this holiday season as we celebrate and enjoy our families that each and every one of us takes a few minutes to think about those families who cannot be together – for the soldiers who defend our country, for the loved ones who must share in their sacrifice, and for those who are no longer with us, although we hold their memory dear.

We all need to continue to strive to achieve the holiday ideal of “Peace on Earth.” Everyone can do their part to help create a better world simply by treating each other with understanding, kindness and respect. Each time you help another person, we all take another step closer toward true peace on earth.

So once again, we wish each and every one of you, a happy, healthy, and safe Chanukah.

Friday, November 30, 2018

EBC Toy Ride - December 16

I recommend participating in the EBC toy Drive/ride! See details below as well on the official EBC site for full details about the Everglades Bike Club Holiday Toy Ride

There will be 4 Leader-Led Rides:

  • Easy Pace Family Ride (Children must be 10+ to participate as it is a road ride)
  • New Beginner Ride/14-16 MPH 
  • 16-18 MPH
  • 18+ MPH

    This is an EBC official ride and signature release and helmets are required to ride.

***Admission fee to ride***
$20.00 minimum donation in cash/check or an unwrapped, new toy or gift for children infant to 17 years old. Gift Cards (think Movies, Target, Best Buy, Gap, etc.) are especially appreciated for the teenagers.

Everglades Bike Club is matching all donations up to $1,000.!!!

All proceeds go to St. Stephens Episcopal Parish, Aids Outreach Ministry for distribution to needy children in the Miami areas, Coconut Grove, Homestead, Perrine and Cutler Ridge, areas. 


Please make this holiday a special one for all the needy children and young adults in our community.

***Event schedule ***

Please arrive by 7:15 am so you can gather (on the sidewalk as parking is on active streets) with your respective group level for the weekly safety and skill tutorial and announcements. 
7:00-7:15 am   Toy and Donation Drop off & Refreshments

7:15 am             Pre ride Tutorials
7:30 am            Pedals Up

Parking is available on Augusto Street and parallel parking on the street in front of the school adjacent to US 1. 


For more information on this event please go to the official EBC calendar of events; website,https://www.evergladesbc.com/event-3086308?CalendarViewType=1&SelectedDate=12/29/2018

Come prepared!!! Fore more information on EBC Road Cycling visit, https://www.evergladesbc.com/Road

For membership information visit, https://www.evergladesbc.com/membership

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Bicycling - bicycling.com news When a Group Ride Turns Deadly, A distracted driver plowed into a routine group ride in Florida. Now, two cyclists are dead—and a tight-knit community is in mourning. By Robert Annis, Nov 28, 2018


A must read for anyone who uses any of Florida’s roadways – anyone, including the roadway directly out front of your home – regardless of whether you are a driver, passenger, cyclist, jogger, a pedestrian, taking your dog out for a walk or walking your child to school. Florida’s weak laws regarding distracted driving put everyone at risk. No wonder parents won’t let their children walk to area schools.

As noted in this article, Florida has a higher rate of cycling fatalities than any other state, at 6.2 deaths per 100,000 people. That’s almost 60 percent higher than Louisiana, the next-closest state in the grim rankings. In September, the Orlando Sentinel called Florida roads “a killing field for cyclists.”
 
The article goes further to explain that no charges have been brought against the driver as of time of the article (and this blog post). Two attorneys who specialize in bike-related cases doubt any ever will.

Why? Because the article and the sources explain that Florida doesn’t have a vulnerable road user law, and the penalties for distracted driving are some of the most lenient in the country. A first-time offense is considered a noncriminal traffic infraction, while second offense within five years—if it causes the death of another person—can result in 120 hours of community service, as well as civil penalty fees.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Bees - cooling out and collecting at our Dombeya seminole - POD

Home gardening.

Its not too cool out for the local bees - having a field day on our Dombeya seminole, which is also commonly called the Florida hydrangea.

Nice to see the local bees here doing their job. There are times when the bush itself sounds like it is buzzing due to the large numbers of bees this plant attracts.

Just for fun - Happy Birthday Clerk Missy Arocha

Congratulations to our hard working Palmetto Bay Clerk Missy Arocha.  Today is her birthday.  

It has been a pleasure to watch her take on the job as clerk for the Village of Palmetto Bay.  I look forward to additional improvements and enhancements to the village. Coming online soon will be a South Miami-Dade Passport services office, by our Clerk Missy Arocha.  I have also had the pleasure of working with her on setting up improved document handling including the implementation of DocuSign.  

CLICK HERE to view some additional posts relevant to the achievements of Village Clerk Arocha 
I want to officially thank Village Clerk Missy Aroacha for her service to the village, including coming into the office on her special day to share with Village Team Members!

Bicycling rules of the road - for cyclists and motorists

Florida Bike Laws: Florida Statutes, Chapter 316 – MOTOR VEHICLES - STATE UNIFORM TRAFFIC CONTROL


I am not going to recreate the wheel here so I am going to direct everyone to the wealth of information provided by the Florida Bicycle Association (CLICK HERE) to view the FLORIDA BICYCLE ASSOCIATION website. There is significant information on this site including (but certainly not limited to) Road/Path Rules and other significant resources for all concerned – both bicyclists and motorists.

The information and sources that follow are taken verbatim from the FLORIDA BICYCLE ASSOCIATION website:

In Florida the bicycle is legally defined as a vehicle and the bicyclist is a driver. Bicyclists have the same rights to the roadways, and must obey the same traffic laws as the drivers of other vehicles. These laws include stopping for stop signs and red lights, riding with the flow of traffic, using lights at night, yielding the right-of-way when entering a roadway and yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks. 

There is only one road and it is up to bicyclists and motorists to treat each other with care and respect. Adherence to the law is the foundation for this respect, but the law itself is simply a codification of the rules of movement that make all road users predictable to one another.

What follows is a special pull out from this Florida Bicycle Association website.  I am providing special emphasis to respond to the comments, providing insight as to why adult bicyclists do NOT belong on sidewalks, See:  

Adult bicyclists do not belong on the sidewalk. Riding on the sidewalk is unsafe for cyclists and pedestrians. Cyclists on the sidewalk expose YOU, the motorist, to a higher risk of hitting them when you are entering or leaving the road — and you are likely to be at fault in such a crash.

Cyclists are not required to ride on the shoulder.They may choose to do so, but shoulders can present hazards to cyclists. Cyclists should never drive in the gutter or hug the curb. Many inexperienced riders do this because they don’t know it greatly increases their risk of crashing.

Successful bicyclists “Ride Big.”
 They ride well into the lane to increase their visibility to other drivers, give themselves operating room and discourage motorists from trying to squeeze past them in narrow lanes.

My personal goal is to continue to advocate for cycling here in, as our County Commissioner refers to it: #TheBikeDistrict.  

This includes promoting bicycling as recreation, transportation as well as to promote healthier lifestyle.

Thank you,


Eugene Flinn