Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Poker v planning - where do priorities lie? We need a team, not late-night diversions.

You don't have to like each other to work together in the best interest of the community.  With that said, readers know that I get a bit aggravated every now and then which leads me to express my opinion in this blog.  I need to know where our council priorities lie - getting ready to make some serious decisions or late-night poker games.

Critical decisions are being made regarding our 'downtown district' that will profoundly impact this village.  While council members may not always agree (and that is healthy), our disagreements should be based upon equal education on the issue. Each and every member of this village council has a duty to be fully apprised of all available information and not rely upon a 'general whim' or preconceived standard. Leadership is working to make educated decisions, seeking out information - and sometimes this takes travel and personal effort to get engaged beyond Palmetto Bay's municipal boundaries. Yes, like it or not, at times, proper discharge of our duties require that we spend some money and travel outside our Miami-Dade County bubble to see what works and does not work (there is plenty to see in the 'does not work" category here in Miami-Dade County. There is no need to travel for that purpose). We posted and promoted this important trip - there was no 'fun time' scheduled here, but perhaps that was the problem.  The plan was to gather innovative ideas and garner support for the downtown redevelopment initiative. Some Officials and Staff attended the Transit-Oriented & Urban Real Estate Conference, Oct. 20-22, to learn new strategies that will enhance the future redevelopment of our emerging downtown district. The plan was for Vice Mayor DuBois and I to travel for a mere 30 hours.

I thought I finally had the commitment from Vice Mayor John DuBois to at least take a look at some quality redevelopment as well as finally get engaged in lobbying our Federal representatives in DC. It appears that I was wrong. And I hope that my impressions are wrong; that he did not actually choose to ditch the trip in order to resurrect a late-night poker game.

All we wanted from him was a single full day; to study, observe and participate in the process, to be part of a team effort.  This would also assist in upcoming workshops. Several village officials (Manager, our Planner and Councilman Schaffer) went to participate in a seminar - this involved more than a single day.  Part of our time was involved in seeking a change in a major project funding bill (that will be covered in the Manager's report to be presented to council/the public at the Monday, Nov. 2 Regular Council meeting) The flight was to depart just after 2 PM on Wednesday, October 21, returning (wheels scheduled to touch down) at 11:01 PM the following day, Thursday, October 22.

Well, it appears that Village Clerk can lead the Vice Mayor to the airport, but we can't get him on a plane.  Unfortunately, he called the clerk, after she dropped him off and departed back to Palmetto Bay, to have her come back and pick him up from the airport.  I was told that he was there in plenty of time. Did he really 'miss' the flight or did he get cold feet and 'cancel' the trip, preferring to instead spend a late evening (8:30 PM to the following 2:30 AM) playing poker with his poker group?  - the e-mail he sent out troubles me:
Vice Mayor DuBois can admit or deny its authenticity.

As far as travel, Madam Clerk, I suggest that you get people to the airport earlier so they don't miss their flights!

Vice Mayor DuBois is reimbursing the Village for the expenses in lost airfare and hotel room. That is admirable. The money however, is less important than being part of a team and keeping commitments - as scheduled to meet with our representatives as well as to get educated first-hand on successful re-development issues. Or at least, as an important note to me, do not schedule any out of town events that my conflict with the Vice Mayor's late-night poker games. 

(Editor's note - comment's have been 'turned off' for this post)