Sunday, July 31, 2011

Tea Party Followers, You've Been Had

Tea Party Followers, You've Been Had
Take a look at the July 30, 2011 posting on "Beach Peanuts":

July 30: If there are still true believers in the so called Tea Party movement who haven't recognized it for the re-branded Republican party corporate funded scam that it is, this message is for you.

You've been had.

Facts are facts. Just because you may refuse to believe them doesn't make you immune to them. The Republican/Tea Party have been scamming you all along and in the coming days, if America is pushed off the cliff into default by this Republican manufactured "crisis" you'll be riding into the abyss along with the rest of us. Your so called "leaders" have no interest in saving you from the disaster they've created, and they won't.

This blogger provides his/her latest examples of reality from the Tea Party world.

Blogger is listed as “Inkberries”, Florida. Interests: National and Florida Politics (but not politics as usual), with facts, not spin. Liberal, progressive, good sense of humor

I always felt you needed a sense of humor to participate in Florida State and Local politics.

Which Citizens are They Working For? - The Bradenton Times - Free News for Bradenton, FL and Manatee County

Which Citizens are They Working For? - The Bradenton Times - Free News for Bradenton, FL and Manatee County

This state government is working hard to save you $25.00 in local and state taxes per year. Perhaps this is to create room in the wallets for state residents and property owners to find the money to pay the increased fees, costs, and rate increases that the State Government is waiving through for businesses/insurance industry. All at YOUR expense.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The governor and his gang have Florida's public schools in their sights |

Submitted by Ron Littlepage on July 26, 2011 - 
9:42am From the editorial page

The Orlando Sentinel reported earlier this week that the state's 3,000 traditional public schools, which received $122 million during the past school year for maintenance and repair of school buildings, will get zero — ZERO — dollars for the coming school year.

The state's 350 charter schools, however, will get to split up $55 million.

As stated from the source: "Scott is to blame, but he's not alone in this. Republicans in the Duval Legislative Delegation are complicit as well.
Some of them need to go."
Obviously the concerned residents, parents of students of Miami-Dade County are not alone. We in Miami-Dade County also need to ask who in our local Dade delegation have been complicit in dismantling the public schools.  The question should not be phrased "Do you support our schools?" Too many of our local legislators claim they do, but their actions, their votes say otherwise.

Public education is one of the biggest constitutional responsibilities placed on the members of State government.  The Governor, Cabinet, Senators and Representatives need to get it right.

The question is "What have you done while in the legislature to support our schools, our children?"

Saturday, July 23, 2011

As simple as it sounds, do you have a fan or air conditioner you can donate to a good cause? Friends Forever Rescue needs your help.

Friends Forever Rescue, Inc. is in desperate need of Air Conditioners and Fans for all of their Dogs housed at Felix Varela High School. If you can help with any size fan or aircondtioner, Please contact Yleana Escobar at 305-283-7118.

Friends Forever Rescue, Inc., appreciates any support you can give.

Friends Forever Rescue, Inc. is a Florida Not for Profit 501 (c)(3) organization. Their mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome homeless and unwanted Labrador Retrievers and other dogs in need of help.

All contributions are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

CLICK HERE to view their website for more information.  Note this organization is an outstanding opportunity for school service hours.

CLICK HERE to view adoptable pets

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Thursday, July 28. Make plans to attend this KFHA meeting: The Miami-Dade Budget: The New Mayor's Perspective.KFHA to host Mr. Gimenez' first Town Hall Budget Meeting

Newly elected Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez will discuss his proposed County Budget with residents at a Miami-Dade County Town Hall Meeting hosted by the Kendall Federation of Homeowner Associations on July 28th. This will be the Mayor's first such gathering with citizens. The meeting will begin at 7pm at the Kendall Village Center Civic Pavilion, 8625 SW 124th Avenue which is in front of the Regal Theater.

The Mayor's spending plan has already produced news headlines as the proposed blueprint calls for the elimination of 1,300 county jobs, requires concessions from county employees and slates 13 libraries for closure. The budget also cuts property tax rates and generally protects services currently afforded children and seniors.

KFHA President Lee Zimmerman expects a tremendous turnout for the meeting. "Mayor Gimenez faces an extremely difficult task and there are no simple solutions. Taxpayers, county employees and union members will want to be heard and we'll do our best to accommodate everyone. The KFHA is honored that the Mayor is allowing the KFHA to host his first Town Hall Meeting."

The KFHA urges attendees to arrive early in order to guarantee seating.

About KFHA
The Kendall Federation of Homeowner Associations is a community watchdog organization that provides a forum by which residents can learn about issues that impact their quality of life. Please visit for more information.

Please note: All information presented above was supplied from official Kendall Federation of Homeowner Associations (KFHA) e-mail/press release.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Update: Acquisition of Florida Power and Light Company Lands in the East Everglades Expansion Area

Following up: Public comment period extended, but nearing the end (July 25, 2011):

This is in follow up to my prior post of Sunday, June 12, 2011, entitled:

CLICK HERE to view this original post.  Opportunity for public input: The National Park Service (NPS) is seeking your input on acquisition of lands owned by FPL within the East Everglades Expansion Area of Everglades National Park.

CLICK HERE to view the official online NPS web notification and details concerning the fact that the Everglades National Park has extended the public scoping comment period for the Acquisition of Florida Power and Light Company (FPL) Lands Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The comment period will continue through July 25th, 2011 in response to requests from agencies and the public for additional time to review and comment on the scoping newsletter.

Now is the time to make any comments you may have.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

EYE ON MIAMI: Friends of West Kendall Have a Good Writer and Mucho Money To Stop a UDB Move. By Geniusofdespair

EYE ON MIAMI: Friends of West Kendall Have a Good Writer and Mucho Money To Stop a UDB Move. By Geniusofdespair:

Is now the time to sprawl westward? I think not and neither does the group who paid for a full page advertisement in the Miami Herald, calling themselves the “Friends of West Kendall”. Read the Eye On Miami Blog, a post Sunday, July 17, 2011, by Geniusofdespair.

As Genius states:
What gives? Environmentalists would kill to have enough money for this full page ad in the Miami Herald against Cemex/Shoma Homes' application to expand the UDB Line to rock-mine. I looked for the group "Friends of West Kendall". It says find us on Facebook. Not there. I looked it up in Corporate papers not there. Who are they?

Hey, I am glad that someone paid for this ad against moving the Urban Development Boundary (what is the cost of a full page Herald ad, $20,000?) and wrote the copy so well but I am curious where the money came from.

Follow the link at the top of this post to read the entire blog post.

A good opinion/view on ethics and accountabilty for state and local leaders

Mel Kelly: Officials must be ethical and accountable 

What kind of behavior do we expect from our politicians? And how do we want — and expect — our state and local leaders to behave in matters of ethics and morality?

She closes her article as follows: 'The practice of honesty, integrity, ethics and morals in local, state and national government continues to tarnish before our eyes. Perhaps our only hope can be found in the warning of writer John Gardner: "The citizen can bring our political and governmental institutions back to life, make them responsive and accountable and keep them honest. No one else can."’

Republished from About the author: Mel Kelly is a resident of Carrabelle and a frequent contributor to the Apalachicola and Carrabelle Times, in which this column was originally published.

The Palmetto Bay Village Voice, Inc. (PBVV) – What are their present concerns with the Palmetto Bay Village Council?

Rick Cook, president of the Palmetto Bay Village Voice, Inc. (PBVV), addressed the Village Council at the July 11, 2011, regular village council meeting.  He presented some of the present issues of concern.  What are these issues?  Click “Read more” below to review the issues.

There are serious concerns about transparency and accountability not being addressed by the present village council.  One of the concerns I keep hearing was that as founding Mayor, I stood before my fellow residents and stated that we could web-cast village meetings once we had a permanent village hall.  This is true and there is no reason why it has not been installed.  There has not been much required of this current council in regard to completion of the final punch list.  All cameras and monitors are in place as originally planned.  You can view the meeting internally, now the feed needs to move from internally of village hall to our homes.  I pushed for a web cast system, not Comcast.  Why?  Because not everyone has cable and those who do not necessarily have Comcast.  The cable providers in Palmetto Bay are divided between ATT Uverse, Comcast, Direct TV, and Dish Network. There may be many more people with the capability to view a web cast than are on any one cable provider.  The goal of this council should be to reach as many people as possible.  The first council planned and built this facility, now it is time for this present council to finish up the final details; sooner not later.  This current Village Council has met in regularly scheduled council meeting 9 times since their election, yet I cannot recall a single resolution on the agenda in regards to moving the meetings online.   

As you can see below, the PBVV's concerns are not with the present council's ability to do it, but the will of this current council to get it done.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

What library branches are at risk for closure under the current proposed budget for Miami-Dade County?

You can CLICK HERE to view the Google map which provides the listing of the MDPLS Branch Libraries that current proposed Miami-Dade County budget puts at risk for possible closure. 

None of the South Dade libraries are on the current list.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A short history of the efforts resulting in the Palmetto Bay Branch Library and the protections that the initial village council put in place to make sure we would have a library for current and future generations to enjoy.

The MDPLS Palmetto Bay Branch Library would not be in existence if Palmetto Bay had not first obtained the property where it is located. The property was owned by a mysterious individual known as Celestia De Lamour, possibly for The Suma Ching Hai International Association.  Not much was known about this property or its owner until it was discovered that workers on the property had hacked through protected mangrove trees and built a boardwalk through 300 feet of lush park-owned mangroves.  Investigators have never located the owner.  Look for an article entitled Sect leader's island is awash in mystery, By Curtis Morgan, Miami Herald, March 16, 2004

The property was seized and John Breder was a prime mover in the negotiation the purchase of the property with Miami-Dade County Environmental Crimes of MDPD.  First choice of the land under forfeiture disposal was for public use.  John Breder negotiated the price and kept it to the original purchase price of $350,000.00 – a bargain price for what was termed bay front land located on historic Old Cutler Road.

The Palmetto Bay Branch library was the result of a collaborative effort between the initial Palmetto Bay council and Miami-Dade County.  The MDPLS Palmetto Bay Branch library officially opened on Friday, March 19, 2010.  It is located at 17641 Old Cutler Road in Ludovici Park.  (read on by clicking "Read more" below for additional history)

Miami-Dade County proposed budget released by Mayor Gimenez. Tough choices are ahead as the promised tax cuts will undoubtedly lead to curtailment of certain services. Will one of your priorities be eliminated or reduced?

There are many tough choices ahead for Miami-Dade County.  The process has officially begun now that Mayor Gimenez released the proposed budget (on Wednesday, July 13).  Mayor Gimenez states that this budget is a beginning. This budget will be very unique in that it was prepared by a Mayor in office for just two weeks.  This total proposed budget for 2011-12 is $6.16 billion, down 19 percent from the 2010-11 total of $7.6 billion.

CLICK HERE to view the proposed "budget in brief" online (14 page outline)
CLICK HERE to read the Mayor’s budget message.

The total budget gap presented is $409,000,000.00.  The balancing relies upon $163,000,000 in Service and Revenue adjustment, $135,000,000 in employee concessions, and FRS (Florida Retirement) adjustments of $111,000,000.  Total proposed tax cut is $203,000,000.

A table of proposed reductions is listed on page 13 of the budget in brief outline (link posted above)

Mayor Gimenez states that his top priority has been finding ways to cut property taxes while preserving essential services. This budget cuts taxes by more than $200 million, undoing last year’s rate increases. Nearly 1,300 positions are eliminated in this proposed budget.

Proposals to make up projected shortfalls include: concessions in salary and benefits, including a freeze of longevity payments, merit adjustments, flexible pay, and premium pay; a rollback of the recently implemented 3% cost-of-living adjustment, and an increased contribution by employees towards the cost of health insurance – 10% of salary rather than 5% of salary.

This budget will not be without service consequences.  The public library budget would be hit hard, with 13 libraries closing. Sunday hours and extended evening hours are proposed to be eliminated at the regional libraries.  13 branch libraries would be closed.  The Mayor did not specifically identify which branches are targeted to close. The reductions statement makes reference that the closure proposal would be based on the door counts and geographic proximity to other libraries.

This closure formula may be problematic for the Palmetto Bay/Pinecrest area.  The Palmetto Bay branch library is smaller than either the Coral Reef or Pinecrest Branch libraries and sits within a zone close to both Coral Reef and Pinecrest as well as the South Dade Regional library in Cutler Bay.  Will all make the cut and remain open to serve our South Dade area?

While the cuts are widespread, the mayor has proposed retaining programs that serve senior citizens and children at current levels.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Say it ain’t so Brian! Restricting the public to one public workshop to speak on our Village Charter? Where is the Public Participation? How can any elected official call significant public input abusive? What a shame. Let’s work to make sure that public participation is not a thing of the past in Palmetto Bay.

          In my opinion: Let the people speak. The present Charter Review Commissioners and the Mayor can’t seem to recognize the value of public participation.   Our entire council was elected under campaign slogans of inclusion and public participation, yet their post election actions on the council speaks louder than their campaign promises.  The vice mayor wants to restrict public input in the Charter Review Process to a single Public Workshop to be held sometime in the Fall - one chance for the public to speak, saying publicly that under these conditions, this “… is not a closed process.” The current Mayor publicly states that at a single meeting, “…the COURTESY was extended to the public and ABUSED.” Abused? How, by providing input?  The Charter Revision Commission should not only listen at each meeting to residents, but it should be actively involved in bringing the public to each meeting to PARTICIPATE.

            Did you know there was a Charter revision process going on?  If so, you are one of the informed ones.  Too few, however, appear to know it’s happening.  Fewer know how important our Charter is and those who do, and who want to participate, appear to be shut out.  Shut out that is, until the council decides what single day the public can speak.

            In all likelihood the Commission members will hear some great ideas or real concerns.  Set some time aside at each meeting to listen, it won’t hurt, I promise. Shutting out those who do want to participate will hurt the integrity of Palmetto Bay government.  It is far more difficult and certainly not worth the public scorn to prevent input or push off public participation by restricting it to a "public workshop" set for a date far into the future, far too late to have any quality or effect.  I strongly take issue with Vice Mayor Pariser’s statement that a single public workshop prevents the Charter Revise process from being a “closed process.”  To the contrary, a single night, date yet to be set, turns the “public night” into a meaningless cattle call where the public only gets to view or object to any work done by the Commission.  A single public workshop is a presentation, a show, but it certainly does not represent authentic public participation.  The real potential here is relegating residents to the back burner, saying their concerns are not valued.  You cannot pick and choose where and when public input is taken.

            Each meeting should be run like the May meeting where the Charter Review Commission Chair recognized founding Councilman Dr. Ed Feller and allowed him to present in great detail an item that he would like to see included in the charter.  I also attended this same May meeting and provided historical background input on several items in response to questions asked from the Charter Revision Commission members (only one topic though is cited in the incomplete minutes).

            Equally puzzling is why the Commission permitted a person not part of the Commission to sit with them at the Commission table providing comments as if he were a member. Simply being related to a Palmetto Bay Council member does not grant access to an appointed Commission. The oddity of it all continues when the comments by this person failed to appear in the minutes of the meeting. Add to that, the unsolicited comments of Mayor Stanczyk.  She is certainly not a member of the Charter Revision Commission, yet she trumped resident input by speaking when she should have been listening. By Stanczyk's own words, was she and the "extra" commission member "abusing the courtesy" of public input?

            Interestingly, the minutes reflect that Dr. Feller and I both spoke, but there is no mention of comments made by the spouse of the Council member, who challenged me on the physical boundary descriptions of Palmetto Bay as spelled out in the charter.  You can read the official minutes of the Charter Revision Commission for the April 25, 2011 meeting by CLICKING HERE. Mayor Shelley Stanczyk also spoke at this meeting, though she is certainly not a Charter Revision Commission Member. Did she abuse the “courtesy” or was it the council member’s spouse who sits at the commission table?

            In short, I am asking the council to stop a practice of a double standard in voicing opinions.  The Charter Review Commission should be going out of its way to involve the public, to garner public input, not limit it to a single “Public Workshop.”

            For these reasons, and due to the past public comments accepted, I was shocked to read what occurred at the June 23 commission meeting as contained in Grant Miller’s last column, “Charter Committee working for council not taxpayers”, published online and in the May 31 to June 13, 2011, edition of the Palmetto Bay News. (Click on the headline to view the actual article).

Friday, July 1, 2011


On July 4, 1776, we claimed our independence from Britain and Democracy was born.

This is a holiday to celebrate, the day we celebrate the birth of our great nation, the creation of the greatest system of freedom and democracy. All of this occurred due to the great physical and financial sacrifice of the founders of this nation, the brave men and women of yesterday and today who have sacrificed so greatly to ensure the traditions bestowed by our remarkable founders. We owe them vigilance, and the willingness to defend the democracy they have passed on to us.

Let us continue to look to a future that belongs to all of us - a future that ‘we, the people’ have the power to create.

I wish you all a wonderful holiday, and hope that the day’s happiness reminds us all of the importance of the Fourth of July.

Celebrations will occur throughout our community – there are many neighborhood block parties and bike parades and picnics on the beaches and in parks.

Please be smart if you plan on being your own pyrotechnician CLICK HERE and review the "Fireworks Safety" brochure put out by Miami-Dade Fire Rescue’s Fire Prevention Division. Have fun and be safe.

Happy Independence Day – 2011

July 1, 2011 – Certification of Taxable Value released by Miami-Dade Property Appraiser Pedro Garcia . How will this affect your services and property tax rate?

Miami-Dade Property Appraiser Pedro Garcia released the July 1, 2011 – Certification of Taxable Value - property values to the County’s taxing authorities which include county government, the 35 municipal governments, School Board, Children’s Trust and the State regional districts.  The release of July 1m 2011 certification is the information used by the County, municipalities and various other taxing authorities in their various budget preparations for the 2011-2012 budgets.

Read more (click below) to review some city by city breakdowns as well as links taking you to the full chart covering all of the taxing authorities.