Friday, December 14, 2018

Christmas Time: You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch, Original Version - 1966 (HD)

Memories - it is simply not the Christmas season without watching the original animated classic.

Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Singer Speaks, December 12, 2018: Transparency, Truth and Trust - Part Two. "Is government transparency slowly dying in Village of Palmetto Bay politics?"

I am reposting a statement published by Palmetto Bay Councilman David Singer:
Transparency, Truth and Trust - Part Two.

The liberties of a people were, not ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.
Patrick Henry
Is government transparency slowly dying in Village of Palmetto Bay politics? There are two ways to deny public participation in government. The first, and most obvious, is to not give notice. The second, and much more subtle, is to purposely schedule Council meetings at times very inconvenient to those who would want to participate.
In an unprecedented move Vice Mayor John Dubois has called a Special Council meeting for Monday morning, December 17th at 11:30 am. An inconvenient time when the majority of Village residents will be unable to participate because they will either be working, on vacation or preparing for Christmas. Did the Vice Mayor purposely call the meeting when no one can attend? Not even yours truly.
This will be the first Council meeting since Incorporation (over 16 years) that has been held, during the morning and as with any Council meeting three Councilmember’s must be present for the meeting to be held. The members that have confirmed their presence are the Vice Mayor, and Councilmembers Marsha Matson and Patrick Fiore.
Prior to being on the Council, Marsha Matson appeared to be a very strong advocate and preached endlessly for the need of government transparency. It seems as if things have changed now that she is the Council representative of district three. This is the second time in so many weeks that she has worked to thwart transparency in the Village. In my opinion, she is certainly off to a precipitous start of her term.
As far as Councilmember Patrick Fiore, you would think he would know better after serving four years on a prior Village Council.
As always, one of my major concerns for the Village has always been government transparency and as one resident stated this is an issue “due to the fact that elected council members typically have daytime jobs because their salary is minimal, and those of us residents also have daytime jobs that prohibit us from attending daytime meetings, special council meetings are historically held in the evening when there is a better opportunity for residences to attend. That’s all different now. The new council do not need jobs because they are being subsidized. So, transparency and public access is just not that important anymore.”
Mayor Cunningham and I don’t always see eye to eye on politics, but Village transparency is one that we agree on. As I write this newsletter, and much to her credit, she has not yet agreed to attend this special Council meeting. I have not talked to her about this meeting because it would be inappropriate but I’m sure she is not too happy this issue in coming forward in her first month of her term as the newly elected Mayor.
Vice Mayor John Dubois has shown absolutely no respect for Mayor Cunningham by calling a Special Council meeting without her apparent willingness to attend. He has also shown no respect for her by calling an unprecedented Council meeting that will occur on a Monday morning, just a week prior to Christmas. In addition, he has shown no courtesy for the Village residents who usually attend Council meetings but will not be able to attend due to the suspicious timing of this particular meeting.
The reason for Vice Mayor John DuBois calling this Special Council Meeting is sketchy at best. There is no legitimate agenda, and the sole reason for calling This Special Council Meeting is “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.” His explanation sounds as clear as mud.
Once must ask the Vice Mayor Dubois what is the rush, why is the meeting being scheduled in the morning, when Village residents are working and can’t attend? Why so vague in the purpose scheduled to be discussed during the Special Council meeting? Why not a meeting where all Councilmembers can attend? Vice-Mayor Dubois what are you trying to hide?
My vision of Palmetto Bay is a government by the people, for the people and, just as important, conducted in front of the people. This means not just a council in a fishbowl but one that actually meets in a manner that facilitates meaningful participation. Whether it is good or bad news the residents, who pay taxes and fund the government, have the right to know and participate in what is occurring within the Village.
Unfortunately, due to this unprecedented Monday morning meeting, Palmetto Bay is poised to take a big step backward in both transparency and participation. Unless this gamesmanship is stopped, this current Palmetto Bay council will actually give a rational reason for the paranoia that has plagued our Village's politics over the past eight years.
We as a Village, and thanks to Vice Mayor DuBois, Councilmembers Matson and Fiore, are apparently heading to a dark place where this Village has never been. Let’s hope as a community that transparency wins out over darkness.
Thank you 
David Singer
EDITOR'S NOTE: This statement has been posted on several social media sites. It is republished here verbatim. Please see my blog post of 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 for my opinion on this issue.

It's on! Friends of the Miami-Dade Public Library is hosting the 26th Annual Book Sale from Dec. 12-15 at the Main Library in Downtown Miami.

Looking for something different to do? Here's a way to purchase a gift that is unique and supports our Miami-Dade County Library.

Here is something different for the holiday season (different to most). The Friends of the Miami-Dade Public Library book sale starts today! (December 12, 2018) Bring your bags – you’ll need them for all the great books you’ll find!

Find the perfect holiday gift without stretching your wallet thin. Friends of the Miami-Dade Public Library is hosting the 26th Annual Book Sale from Dec. 12-15 at the Main Library in Downtown Miami. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The sale will have thousands of donated books, CD's and DVD's to choose from. All proceeds from the book sale will go to special education and cultural programs at libraries.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Here is the perfect opportunity to avoid downtown parking hassles – use the Metrorail – to the stop at the Government Center and walk over the Main Library (adjacent to the Government Center).

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Miami-Dade County Parks public meeting to update the community regarding the remediation plan for Chapman Field Park set for Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018, at 6:30 p.m. at the Deering Estate Visitor Center

You ask, I find and post.  Information regarding the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department public meeting to update the community regarding the remediation plan for Chapman Field Park. 

Many of us have been demanding restoration of the beloved Chapman Field public park and ball fields for 4 years! 

County inaction has left the park abandoned and desolate. You can see the effects of decay as you take the long walk to the dog park.  

The youth Khoury Leagues, adult leagues and Palmetto High school have not had the use of critically needed ball fields., which we asked to be restored. The municipalities of Cutler Bay, Palmetto Bay and Pinecrest have been shouldering a heightened burden in their parks.  This must be made a priority for the parks Department. 

Please attend this meeting to speak up.

The meeting will take place Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018, at 6:30 p.m. at the Deering Estate Visitor Center, 16701 SW 72 Ave., Miami.
For more information, contact Danette Perez, Miami-Dade Parks Communications Division, at 305-755-7827 or

Editor's Note: Chapman Field should be a partner in the local County/Municipal partnership / collaboration on a vibrant parks system. All the local county parks need some love - Chapman Field, People's Dock & Sadowski. Participate.

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:

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 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)


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?

         Sec.2-44. - 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)
​​​​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.
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.