Monday, October 21, 2013

A fine example of teamwork and leadership. Coral Gables mayor, attorney talk with state pols about FPL lines - Coral Gables -

Coral Gables mayor, attorney talk with state pols about FPL lines - Coral Gables -

The theory is that there is strength in numbers.  That is one reason why I started the South Dade Municipal Coalition with Pinecrest and Cutler Bay leaders. 

Teamwork means that you assist others on their items of importance, at least if you expect support from your fellow team members on issues important to us.  Palmetto Bay remains little more than a spectator.  See: Palmetto Bay is missing in action on this important fight to protect the quality of life for our South Dade Area, FPL’s plan to place transmission lines along U.S. 1.  Again, Kudos to Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner and South Miami Mayor Dr. Phillip Stoddard who have shown true leadership and dogged determination in this tough effort. Please also see FPL Transmission Line Administrative Hearing begin today (After 4 years of preparation) - and without Palmetto Bay.

No one is against power lines; it is all about when we finally get the power lines where they belong: underground. When if not now? How long do we wait? Hurricane Andrew was 1992 and there has not been much, if in fact any, progress on undergrounding the power lines. And nothing will happen until enough people get involved and are willing to stand up politically and financially to work for positive change.

So then, why does Palmetto Bay continue to have their collective heads in the sand on this one? A two minute courtesy speech, reading off talking points given you moments earlier by others is insufficient.  Teammates need to be on the same page and push together. Palmetto Bay remains stuck in neutral on this effort. There is occasional lip service, but no action.

Coral Gables has been a very active in the effort.  The Palmetto Bay mayor and council need to see the significance of this issue.  Read the Howard Cohen report in the Miami Herald: Coral Gables mayor, attorney talk with state pols about FPL lines.  Coral Gables Mayor Jim Cason and City Attorney Craig Leen traveled to Tallahassee earlier this month to meet members of Gov. Rick Scott’s cabinet who will vote on Florida Power & Light’s plan to run two towering power-line corridors through Miami-Dade County.

Coral Gables, along with Pinecrest, South Miami and Kendall, neighborhoods that would be affected by FPL’s desire to place a set of 230-kilovolt lines on 80- to 100-foot towers through the municipalities, have opposed the plan since FPL applied for the new corridors in 2009. The utility calls them crucial to improving reliability at a time of projected population growth. Another corridor would run high voltage lines on 150-foot towers along the northeastern edge of Everglades National Park.

Cason, at Tuesday’s regular Commission meeting, reiterated the point that the lines should be placed underground at the utility’s expense, rather than through Coral Gables’ coffers since the superhighway corridor doesn’t serve just Coral Gables and would have a negative impact on aesthetics and property values.

Barring that option — FPL says undergrounding the lines would come at an additional cost of $12 million to $16 million per mile and wasn’t without its own potential costly maintenance problems in storms — “We made our point why we think the alternate corridor is the least-worst option,” Cason said.

Florida Administrative Law Judge D.R. Alexander will make his recommendation to a siting board headed by Scott and his Cabinet on Dec. 6 in Tallahassee. Scott and his Cabinet will make a decision in the new year.

If Coral Gables doesn’t prevail, Leen said that he, along with Cason, would return to Tallahassee in January or February for another cabinet meeting to advocate for undergrounding or the alternate corridor and would appeal the decision.   

This is in stark contrast to Palmetto Bay leadership who cannot really account for why they go to Tallahassee or demonstrate any purpose or results from Tallahassee other than Mambo King or Death By Chocolate social gatherings. 

Thank you Pinecrest, Coral Gables and South Miami for setting an outstanding example of inter-governmental relationships. My we all benefit from your collective leadership even where some of our own local leaders appear to stay silent on the issue, at least until there is a victory parade where they can jump in front of.  For certain elected officials, it is not about who does the work that is important, but when can they claim the credit?

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