Saturday, March 31, 2012

Earth Hour 2012

Earth Hour - Miami - (worldwide)  Saturday, March 30, 2012, beginning at 8:30 PM

Miami protects coastal homes and businesses from sea level rise

Cities hugging Florida’s coasts are extremely vulnerable in to rising sea levels—a threat which contaminates drinking water with salt, elevates storm surges, accelerates beach erosion and threatens coastal infrastructure. According to a Tufts University study, sea-level rise by 2060 may inundate 4,700 square miles of Florida, an area including 70% of Miami-Dade County and encompassing residential real-estate valued at $130 billion.

In 2006, Miami-Dade County formed a task force to understand how projected sea level rise would impact the county and its residents. As a result, the county developed detailed maps to help city officials collect information about locations and critical infrastructure that are at greatest risk of inundation from sea level rise.

Based on these findings, Miami prioritized and accelerated restoration or retrofitting efforts for protection of key coastal structures. The county has begun work on existing canals to increase resiliency against rising sea levels. They have identified roadways vulnerable to sea level rise and are working on modifications necessary to avoid flooded homes and highways.

New climate preparedness zoning, building codes, and permit process modifications all take sea level rise impacts into account, while outreach and education programs are being implemented to inform citizens about the risks climate change poses to their communities and how they can individually prepare

Is anyone doing anything tonight in South Dade for Earth Hour?.

Deering Estate Seafood Festival 2012. Another great time held in Palmetto Bay

Green Mobility Netweor's Bike Valet Service
Don’t tell me that you missed one of the best events held in your own backyard.  The Deering Estate Foundation put on yet another outstanding annual Deering Seafood Festival.  I benefited from a little before and after exercise, Alexandra and I again traveling the green route, via bike and using the FREE BIKE VALET SERVICE at the Main Gate courtesy again of Green Mobility Network! (including Palmetto Bay bike advocate Eric Tullberg)

Volunteers Howard Tendrich & Tim Coulin
Local restaurants were there with their specialties featuring scrumptious bounty from the sea. Golden Rule Seafood Market, Black Point Ocean Grill, Rodbender’s Raw Bar & Grill, Shibui Japanese Restaurant and Sports Grill offered their usual outstanding food.

Lois w/Paul Neidhardt (in background)
The drinks were cold (soft drinks and water of course), the sea food was outstanding and meeting up with friends marked a great time (as usual).
Of course, the usual uber-volunteers were out in force including; Lois and Paul Neidhardt (and their extended family, including Ed Santos, and PJ & Dorian, volunteering along with them), Council Member Howard Tendrich, Tim and Donna Coughlin, Danny Iglesias, Betty Noe, and Chris Berdion.  Can you have any event in Palmetto Bay without these hard working volunteers?  No photo ops here, just their usual hard work for a great cause.

And of course, we also have to thank Deering Foundation Executive Directory Mary Petit.

Don’t miss it next year!

South Dade Matters is at it again – hard hitting questions that deserve answers from current elected officials regarding Palmetto Bay transparency. I nominate Howard Tendrich to work to resolve the issue.

I learned something new upon reading South Dade Matters (SDM).  I have never heard “who shot john” before, but I agree that it certainly is applicable as applied by SDM in PalmettoBay Transparency: Who Shot John, March 27, 2012. 

SDM states that the phrase “who shot john” has a meaning of a long, rambling explanation that never really answers a basic question. To some, it merely translates to an answer that is B.S.: “Tell me what happened last night and leave out all of the who shot john.”

SDM and the public deserve answers to the questions related to Palmetto Bay records and meetings:

    Who decides whether a particular meeting is televised either by streaming video or on Channel 77?
    Which records must the village administration post on the website?

I agree with SDM.  There is too much talking in circles from the Council Chambers.  We hear sound bites and platitudes, goals and claims of transparency – in other words, we hear the talk, but not receiving the deliverables.  It is far too hard to locate information on this new and improved web site that has taken far too long to finish.  For the record, the web site update has been going on prior to 2010.

The Village Manager and Clerk cannot operate in a vacuum.  Palmetto Bay is fortunate to have high quality management with our Charter Officers; the Manager, Clerk and Counsel.  But there is clearly no direction coming from the current Mayor and Vice Mayor on transparency.  It is time for a council member to step forward and fill the void with sound public policy from which management can operate the new technology now in place from the first council.

It is the responsibility of the Village Council, a policy board of directors, to be providing updates to the public at each and every regular monthly council meeting.  Agenda item 13, entitled “other business” and item 14 “Council Comments” sections are set aside for this purpose.  This is also why council members should not necessarily meeting in private with management.  That excludes the public.  The public should be in a position to know without having to ask the right questions. 

I nominate Council Member Howard Tendrich, who has been a champion of transparency, to put forward a well-defined and publicly stated council policy governing both the posting of records and on televising meetings. It was his pushing that got the monthly check register posted onto the new web site.  Everyone can thank Councilman Tendrich who is the reason those documents are posted.  The Crime Reports have been posted online for many years.

My opinion is that all records should be uploaded to the website.  It is time consuming and expensive for a village that I created in the mode of ‘government-lite’ to devote staff time to researching and providing documents, especially in this day of automation.

All meetings should be televised or streamed on the Internet.  I would like to see the behavior at a Charter Review Commission meeting or see how staff and the Art in Public Places Board consider spending the money as well as see the submitted proposals.  Besides, the more meetings the village televises, the less content at cost the village PR department has to create to satisfy the Comcast minimum material time requirement.  Isn’t it more important for residents to have the opportunity to view Palmetto Bay government in action than a slide show of Thalatta and past picnics?  It is all about maximizing the returns on costs.

Friday, March 30, 2012

EYE ON MIAMI: Know Your Flood Zone. By Geniusofdespair

EYE ON MIAMI: Know Your Flood Zone. By Geniusofdespair

This is a link to the Miami-Dade GIS flood zone map.  Click onto the story then follow the link marked "do your own research" to start.  There are plenty of surprises as to just how much of the South Dade - or even all of Miami-Dade for that matter, is located within a flood zone.

You also get a great view of why Cutler Ridge is known by that name - it is some of the highest elevations in the South Dade area,

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Read the complete Thalatta Feasibility Study on-line. Taxpayers hold on to your wallet and if you live nearby, invest in soundproofing your home!

CLICK HERE to review the Thalatta Feasibility Study.  Be forewarned, it is a large file consisting of 120 pages.  There are actually two studies; the first is for the Parking Garage project.  The second is for Thalatta, which begins on page 74 of 120.   These materials will be presented at the Special Council Meeting scheduled for Thursday, March 29, 2012.   Please note that these are my initial thoughts.  There will be more to come as I dive deeper into the details.

It is most curious that this Feasibility Study provides that “operational budget represents new expenses and revenues only.”   What happened to the old expenses and revenues?  I can see from my review of the report that the old revenues are in fact absorbed into the new projections.  There certainly could not be away way for Palmetto Bay Mayor and Council to host even more events at Thalatta Estate from what is listed. 

You cannot ignore the old costs.  You cannot, unless you plan on sweeping those under the budget rug into general park expenses, thus helping to build your “profit” margin.   It is disconcerting that the “profitability” upon which this report rests is based upon “a reasonably aggressive approach to estimating revenues.”  Another blog beat me to the punch by questioning whether a new business should estimate revenues conservatively.  A bank would.  Should the taxpayers who are going to ultimately be held financially responsible be entitled to any less?

I still cannot get off the point that the Florida Communities Trust (FCT) granted us, the Village, over $3.6 million for a park.  You can read my full concerns back on December 1, 2011, by clicking the headline: Thalatta Estate: Should a free park paid for by Florida Residents become an expensive exclusive party venue for those who can afford it?   The report provides confirmation that Thalatta will be closed to the public all day Friday and Saturday.  Saturday was a huge day to take your family to a public park, at least last time I checked.

I have been very public about my concerns.  Besides the promises we made in order to obtain a State Grant, there was never any public outcry that Palmetto Bay needed to address a sorely missing activity: a high fee special event facility, subsidized by the public.  This need is served.  Besides, as I stated before (Thalatta Estate: A plan that needs more consideration) Wedding events do not subsidize your county tax burdens at county parks such as Vizcaya, Deering Estate, Greynolds Park or any other numerous county parks. Events at Pinecrest Gardens are not reducing Pinecrest taxes. Rental events help defray the costs of the asset, but they are not money generators and it is foolish to think that Palmetto Bay could ever net out $200,000 to $500,000 per year to, as the mayor puts it, “bring income into our (Palmetto Bay’s) coffers.”

The current Palmetto Bay budget has projected revenues of $70,000 for this coming budget year. That is based upon nearly 24 expected events on the property as it currently exists. This is money in, not net profit.

Don’t cheer quiet yet for those of you who look to the construction of the indoor facility as the solution to restoring the quiet enjoyment of their nearly property.  There will still be significant outdoor events under this study, at least if the village thinks it can make a profit. 

It is ironic that Thalatta was originally sold as an outdoor wedding venue, to take advantage of the view of the bay.  The irony is that numbered page 26, page 101 of 120, clearly states, under “keys to overall project success and financial viability,” – “It is absolutely essential that … The following are important market differentiators” and I am not making this up:

“One of the finest and largest indoor venues for weddings and events” as the first and:
“The ability to have exclusive use of the estate for functions and events.” As the fifth.

Wow!  Make no mistake, indoor is not a misprint. 

You cannot have an outdoor wedding within the 7,500 square foot wedding multipurpose room.  The fifth market differentiators says it all; they are taxing your tax dollars and providing your back yard on the bay to those who can afford it (unless you are connected and this council provides you with a special freebee, but that is another blog for a later date).

This report further states that finding these exclusive renters shouldn’t be too much of a problem, as:

“There is a large population base in the area with relatively high levels of disposable income that provides a strong foundation for the use and rental of the Thalatta Estate.”

However – and traffic counters get ready: “However, the estate will need to market itself throughout the Miami area AND BEYOND.”  (last full paragraph, numbered page 26, page 101 of 120)

The report notes that Thalatta will be limited as a venue because of a lack of on-site parking. Will events be permitted that demand more parking than Thalatta can offer? If so, where will the cars be parked off-site? How will traffic be affected?

THE PARK THAT WILL NEVER SLEEP (and maybe neither will the neighbors)
What other events will be held there?  Look to numbered page 27, page 102 of 120: Birthdays, anniversaries, (undefined) family functions, Holiday Celebrations, Corporate Events, Quinceaneras, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs.   

Fees are substantial (See numbered page 35, page 110 of 120) and reach as high as $8.000.00 – for a start.  Note that recommended fees (recommended if you want the slight alleged “profit” to be realized) are noted to include catering permit fee, security and janitorial services, as well as (as contained in footnote 6), basic tables and chairs furnished by the estate.  All of these are expenses NOT included in the expense projections, but certainly come out of the gross receipts, thereby drastically reducing the alleged net profit. 

“All users should be expected to pay market driven rates for use of the estate and all fees should be increased n at least an every two year basis after benchmarking with other providers.” (See numbered page 27, page 102 of 120) (again, unless you are politically connected and this council provides you with a special free bee.  I promise, that is another blog for a later date).
Why do you want your tax dollars going into business on such a limited venture.  Besides, is the purpose of government really to go into a profit making business?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

South Dade Matters is at it again – unable to locate Palmetto Bay government transparency.

South Dade Matters (SDM) raises an important question.  The current Mayor Shelley Stanczyk and Vice Mayor Brian Pariser claim to be champions of transparency.  Vice Mayor Pariser is the Council member of the Charter Revision Commission.  Then why is a blog such as SDM so able to raise an issue of government cooked in the dark?  Come on Mayor and VM, why are you guys tossing up so many softballs for this anonymous blogger to hit out of the park?  SDM reports there are no minutes published on the village website and there is no agenda published either. The most recent published minutes are dated April 25, 2011, though the body has convened several times since. SDM argues that only a small group of insiders who attended the meeting know what its members have discussed, proposed and/or adopted. SDM reaches the sad conclusion that: “The only excuse for the current administration and council permitting this blackout to continue is that, in Palmetto Bay, transparency is a concept rather than a practice.”

This is sad.  I have also raised the issue of transparency, see:  Transparency should not be merely a political catch phrase in Palmetto Bay, January 18, 2012.

Read the entire South Dade Matters post by clicking the headline:  Charter Revision Commission Meets Tomorrow Night: No Agenda + No Minutes = No Transparency, by SDM, March 26, 2012.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Important Thalatta Estate feasibility meeting set for this Thursday. I encourage the village staff and council to get the feasibility study online for taxpayer review in advance of this meeting

There is an important meeting for all to view this Thursday, March 29, 2012, regarding the expenditure of millions of village tax dollars out of reserve savings up front as well as the potential for addition long term debt. It would be an understatement to say that this is a very important meeting.  This meeting is so important that the business cannot wait to be taken up at a regularly scheduled council meeting; the presentation is being made at this special meeting. Bottom line is that you will be information deprived at the following regular council meeting if you do not take in the information presented Thursday.  "Know before you go."

Will this current Village Council preserve free bay front access?  That decision is not yet clear.

Will Thalatta Estate remain a park or will it be a "park" in the technical sense, but a commercial pay for use/access event site in reality.

Do promises and commitments made in the past have any meaning?  The documents will be telling in regarding to the "feasibility" (or excuses) to convert the park from ourselves and our youth and place it out to the highest bidder.

 I have one important concern and that is access to the important documents.  The agenda and more importantly, the supporting documents such as the feasibility study, should be placed online no later than this Monday, March 26.  This would allow proper study of the feasibility study by the interested public in advance which is important due to the fact that the Thalatta project is a very contentious and speculative project.

CLICK HERE to view the online notice for this upcoming special council meeting.  And please note that this website may be updated to properly include the full agenda and supporting documents (and it should be updated)

Council Meetings

March 29, 2012, 7:00 pm
Special Council Meeting
9705 E. Hibiscus Street

NOTICE IS HEREBY given that the Village Council of the Village of Palmetto Bay, Florida will conduct a Special Council Meeting of March 29, 2012, beginning at 7:00 p.m., at Village Hall, 9705 E. Hibiscus Street, Palmetto Bay, FL to and to hear the feasibility studies on the Multi-modal center (garage/retail) and  the Thalatta property. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Mayor and Vice Mayor need to put politics aside and participate with EDC and our sister cities for the good of all South Dade

My advice as founding Mayor of Palmetto Bay to current mayor Shelley Stanczyk and Vice Mayor Brian Pariser is that you cannot have a positive impact on the future of South Dade if you don’t take a seat at the planning table.   It was sad to watch County Commissioner Dennis Moss rally the South Dade municipalities during his appearance before the EDC Tuesday morning (3/20/2012) and observe that Palmetto Bay was not a participating member.  Commission Moss thanked Cutler Bay for their participation in the economic development work in the area surrounding the new South Dade Performing Arts Center – the County and City working together to create economic revitalization and an outstanding destination   Pinecrest’s Mayor Cindy Lerner made a presentation on Pinecrest’s efforts, including their work in community fundraising to improve the area public schools.  There was no presentation for Palmetto Bay.  That is not how it used to be.  The residents of Palmetto Bay deserves leaders who lead, not blend into the background and wait to gobble up leftovers from those sister cities who are now setting the standards.

As Palmetto Bay’s first Mayor, I was there when the initial council involved area residents. Businesses and professional planners in planning events like the US1/Franjo Triangle and Burger King (Palmetto Bay Village Center) Charrettes – efforts that resulted in specific zoning design districts as well as the efforts for the County to design and install water and sewer infrastructure – the EDC was there.  This was all part of a plan.  Placement of Village Hall, creation of active and passive parks / green spaces and leading by example are all part of those initial plans.  It is a shame to see those efforts come to an abrupt end with this current mayor and vice mayor.  We spent years of planning and working with our sister cities.  It is more important than ever that we take an active role at the planning table to achieve a positive impact on the future of South Dade.

We need leaders to work together to accomplished goals for the public good.  It should not matter who gets the credit because we all look good when we all work together to achieve positive results for all our communities. 

Mayor Shelley Stanczyk and Vice Mayor Brian Pariser should not make the mistake of thinking that nothing outside the municipal boundaries can positively or negatively impact Palmetto Bay.  We are not an island.  You cannot wall yourself off from the surroundings.  These simple, but undeniable realizations lead to the formation of the South Dade Municipal coalition that I started with Councilman Joe Coradino of Pinecrest and Councilman Tim Merbott of Cutler Bay. This cooperation had huge results and was the start of the Green Corridor moving from a dream of then Mayor Vrooman of Cutler Bay, becoming a catalyst for that idea reaching far beyond one city’s boundaries. 

I call upon Mayor Shelley Stanczyk and Vice Mayor Brian Pariser to revisit the resolution expressing council support of the Economic Development Council of South Miami-Dade (EDC) in its goal to create a long term strategic plan to provide business assistance, business training and economic development for the South Miami-Dade and its surrounding communities.  This resolution should be co-sponsored by all five members of the council in a spirit of unity for the public good, not just by its original sponsor Howard Tendrich.   The efforts should not stop at the passage of this resolution.  The council should put aside individual differences and work together to follow through on the original council efforts and bring positive economic development to the areas.

Prior blog articles for background on this situation:
A text book example of bad leadership, Thursday, March 15, 2012, 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

EDC meets this Tuesday, March 20, 8 to 9 AM, County Commissioner Dennis C. Moss to speak

Notice of meeting - Economic Development Council of South Miami-Dade (EDC)
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.

Palmetto Bay Village Center
Palm Room (3rd Floor)
Old Cutler Road at SW 184th Street

Keynote Speaker:  Commissioner Dennis C. Moss 
Cost: No Charge
Topic: Current Issues Impacting Our County
View the official EDC web site for more information:

Friday, March 16, 2012

It's time for Seafood on the Bay! Deering's seafood festival Sunday, March 25, 10:00 am to 6 pm

Don’t miss the 8th Deering Estate annual seafood festival is a week from this Sunday - on Sunday, March 25, 2012 from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.  This is always an outstanding event held at Miami-Dade County Park's Deering Estate located in Palmetto Bay.  The seafood festival features a slate of celebrity chefs, activities for kids of all ages and plenty of food to satisfy seafood lovers.

Information regarding this event is covered in the Miami Herald:  Deering Seafood Festival is next Sunday in Palmetto Bay, by Andrea Asuaje

Please also see my 2011 posting regarding this event: Upcoming event not to be misssed - 7th Annual Deering Seafood Festival

Official information is also located on the Deering Estate Foundation website:  8th annual Deering Seafood Festival

Admission: Adults $15 in advance online/ $25 at the gate;
Children 4-14 year $5;
Deering Estate Foundation Members Free. (a link is provided on the website to join/renew)

Please also note that Admission includes park entrance and all activities, excluding food, drink, pontoon rides and rock wall.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A text book example of bad leadership

The prior posting Tuesday, March 13, 2012, Why are Mayor ShelleyStanczyk and Vice Mayor Brian Pariser anti-economic development? Has generated significant interest and response telephonically, by e-mail and even anonymous blog posts to this article.  This action of denial by Shelley Stanczyk and Vice Mayor Brian Pariser is a text book example of bad leadership and here is why:

The denial was no mistake. Mayor Stancyzk knows the details of the resolution as sources reveal that Mayor Stancyzk was a participating member of the EDC board of directors and participated in the discussion of the strategic plan and the FIU proposal.  I have learned that the Mayor and Vice Mayor are apparently now trying to double back and rewrite the history of the resolution.  As one anonymous poster indicated: “Voting against a resolution that merely expressed support for creation of a plan is akin to voting against motherhood, apple pie and the US Flag.”  I have no clue as to why this issue may need to be discussed at an upcoming committee of the whole meeting (COW) other than to try to rewrite history and try to make it appear that more information was needed.  Was this the case, the Mayor and Vice Mayor could have simply tabled the resolution and brought it to a COW.  There is precedent for this type of action – it is actually quite common, but instead, it was denied 3- 2 with only the sponsor council member Tendrich and council member Patrick Fiore voting in favor. 

The issue of the denial is more troubling as this same source advised that Mayor Stancyzk should also be able to explain EDC vision of desired municipality involvement since she volunteered to be on the EDC’s Economic Development Arm for South Miami-Dade County and Municipalities committee.  This committee is chaired by Cutler Bay Mayor MacDougall.  The responsibility for this committee is fostering support from the municipalities within the EDC’s service area.  The proposed resolution, sponsored by Councilman Howard Tendrich, was the stated mission of the EDC Economic Development Arm for South Miami-Dade County and Municipalities committee upon which she volunteered to participate. Mayor Stancyzk needs to either honor her commitments or get off the EDC and turn official participation over to someone else on the council who understands commitment and who does support economic development. 

This selfish and ill-advised action can cause rifts between inter-municipal cooperation.  We need leaders to work together to accomplished goals for the public good, not spite on another at our expense.  This is very troubling indeed and a full explanation and accounting is required

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Why are Mayor Shelley Stanczyk and Vice Mayor Brian Pariser anti-economic development?

Howard Tendrich sponsored a seemingly innocuous, but important, resolution at the March 12, 2012, regular meeting of the Palmetto Bay Council.  This resolution expresses council support of the Economic Development Council of South Miami-Dade (EDC) in its goal to create a long term strategic plan to provide business assistance, business training and economic development for the South Miami-Dade and its surrounding communities.  There is no commitment of money sought from the Palmetto Bay council and the only result could be the improvement of the business corridor which in turn would create a healthy business environment and help businesses contribute more tax dollars to Palmetto Bay, which in turn would take a greater share of the tax burden off the backs of the residential taxpayers. (Click on the photo to view the full proposed resolution) This assumes of course, that the Mayor and Council actually pass the savings on to the residential taxpayers, that they don’t find a need to spend that new money on other projects.

The EDC is looking for partners to work on the large picture regional issue of revitalizing South Miami-Dade County.  They are looking to create a strategic plan.  A plan.  This current Mayor and Council do not have a plan for economic development.  A quality plan is sorely needed and the EDC is offering a gift horse looking the Mayor and Vice Mayor in the mouth.  

I worked with the EDC while Mayor of Palmetto Bay.  Palmetto Bay is not sufficient in size to open and fund a separate office of Economic Development.  Outsourcing with a regional partner is important as cost effective, especially where we incur very little if any cost.  But it requires a Mayor and Vice Mayor who are willing to teamwork with other entitles and share credit.

I am shocked to learn that this resolution was voted down by a 3 – 2 margin, with the current Mayor and Vice Mayor leading the denial. 

To the current Mayor and Vice Mayor:  In case you haven’t noticed there is an economic downturn in our communities and creation of jobs/development of resident friendly businesses should be a high priority.  I am at a loss to fathom any reason not to support the EDC in its effort to revitalize the area. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Gunman at Wendy's In Palmetto Bay arrested

Great police work, MDPD Palmetto Bay Policing Unit, alert and daring witnesses make an arrest

Customers at a Wendy’s restaurant in the 13900 block of South Dixie Highway were held at gunpoint while a thief tried to rob the restaurant at 7 p.m. Feb. 23.  The subject reportedly removed the gun from the hip of an armed guard and fled.  The armed guard and two
witnesses gave chase, captured and detained the subject until police arrived
.  The subject was arrested. No injuries were reported. 

Read More:
Miami Herald, Crime Blotter, Thief arrested in Palmetto Bay fast-food restaurant

Read more here:

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Legislative report – 2012. What are the changes and how will they affect you? A good reason to continue to subscribe and read the Miami Herald.

Legislative report – 2012.  What are the changes and how will they affect you? And they do affect you - from setting ticket fines, sales tax rules, how much is spent on your child's education or how much you will pay for college tuition next year. There are many new changes for everyone to be on the lookout for. This article is a good reason to continue to subscribe and read the Miami Herald. Stay informed.

There is an outstanding listing of the bills passed by this 2012 Florida Legislature in the Sunday, March 11, 2012, Miami Herald.  Click the headline to read At a glance: Bills that passed in Fla. Legislature.  This is a listing of the bills that will take effect, some immediately upon signing, most either July 1 or October 1 of this year.  Please note that most of these passed bills still have NOT been signed into law, and some may be vetoed by the Governor.  You may want to read up on this list to see if any inspire you to contact the Governor either to support or to request his veto.

I am merely listing some of these examples here to stimulate your interest, not passing judgment.  Some are good law, some bad, I am not taking a position at this time – I am posting it and directing you to the article so you can see for yourself and determine how YOU feel about these new laws/changes:

- Increase the maximum penalty for lying to police about a missing child from a year in jail to five years in prison, a bill inspired by the disappearance and death of 2-year-old Caylee Anthony.

- Require Florida's next governor and other statewide elected officials to preserve and make public documents and emails they send between their election and when they take office.

- Exempt local governments with pre-existing charter provisions that require referendums on planning changes from a new law banning such votes.

- Waive a requirement for legislative approval of state water pollution rules backed by business, agriculture and utility interests that have been proposed as an alternative to the federal Environmental Protection Agency's numeric nutrient standards.

- Allow school boards to permit student-initiated prayer and other "inspirational messages" at public school assemblies and events.

- Cut funding for public schools scoring below the state average on some end-of-course tests starting three years from now.

- Expand online learning for elementary-age children.

Please take the time to review the full list published in the Miami Herald -  At a glance: Bills that passed in Fla. Legislature

Pinecrest's 3rd Annual Bike day - join up for the ride

Remember when Palmetto Bay had its own family bike day as part of an Earth Day - week long celebration?  Regardless, both Cutler Bay and Pinecrest still have their family bike events. Pinecrest's 3rd annual Bike Day is coming March 24 beginning at 9:00 AM at Pinecrest Gardens.  Join Mayor Cindy Lerner and School Board Vice Chair Dr. Larry Feldman.

CLICK HERE to view the official Pinecrest information.
Pinecrest's 3rd Annual Bike Day
Join Us at Pinecrest Gardens!
2012 Bike Day

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A change to vote this November for tax cuts for senior citizens and for the families of "fallen heroes."

From Miami Herald, posted Friday, 3/9/2012, Voters will be asked to approve property tax cuts
Florida voters will be asked this fall to cut taxes for senior citizens and for the families of "fallen heroes."

The Florida Legislature on Friday placed on the 2012 ballot two constitutional amendments that would cut property taxes if approved by voters.

One of the amendments (HJR 93) would eliminate property taxes for the surviving spouse of a military veteran who died while on duty or for the surviving spouse of a police officer, firefighter, paramedic or correctional officer killed while on duty.

The other amendment (HJR 69) would eliminate property taxes for poor seniors who have lived in their home for at least 25 years.

There are now 11 constitutional amendments that will be on the November ballot.

Sixty-percent of voters must vote yes for an amendment to pass.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Time moves forward Sunday - daylight time begins in the United States. Set your clocks back one hour Sat night/Sunday AM, March 11

Get ready.  This Sunday AM, March 11, 2012, the second Sunday in March, we lose an hour as clocks are set ahead one hour at 2:00 a.m. local standard time, which becomes 3:00 a.m. local daylight time. 

Good morning! Don't worry, we get that hour back in November.

Safety note: It's also a good time to change the batteries in your smoke alarm.

Spring forward? The next few weeks will be even more challenging to those of us that find it tough enough to get our kids up and off to school on time.  Do you know when the U.S. and Canada established time zones and for what reasons?  Click “Read more” below to find out the history and official information posted on the Naval Oceanography Portal, The United States Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command (NMOC)

American Cancer Society Relay for Life of Palmetto Bay / Cutler Bay 2012! It's a family festival!

William H. Glasko, Esq., of the local law firm Golden & Cowan, P.A. is heading up the 2012  Palmetto Bay / Cutler Bay Relay for Life.  This event has been an outstanding family fundraising event in past years.  Bill is working hard to bring it back strong this year. 

The event has moved from its former location off Franjo tothe old Burger King Building - the Palmetto Bay Village Center - at the corner of Old Cutler Road and Eureka Drive (SW 184 Street).

It starts at 4:00 pm on Saturday May 5, and ends at 6:00 am on Sunday, May 6. People form teams from churches, schools, families, businesses, clubs, etc. Teams can be as many people as you like (usually 5-10 or so). Each team has a canopy - a "tailgate tent" - which is set up around an outdoor track. Under your tent, you usually have a folding table. Each team has a team name or theme, and decorates their tents. Also, each team sells something with the proceeds being donated to the charity.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Please help Farm Share

Take Action Today!
  • Contact Governor Scott and let him know you support investing $750,000 in Farm Share for recovering and distributing Florida's excess fruits and vegetables for families without enough food.
Governor Rick Scott
Plaza Level 05, The Capitol
400 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001
(850) 488-7146
  • Contact your state legislators and thank them for supporting Farm Share funding to help feed the poor, elderly, children and veterans. Find your Representative here. Find your Senator here.
Please help Farm Share to continue providing fresh and nutritious food to Florida's less fortunate families by donating today.
Thank you!

The Farm Share Team

“Edible Book Festival” returns to Palmetto Bay Branch Library on Mar. 24

For the second time, The Miami-Dade Public Library System brings an International Edible Book Festival event to the Palmetto Bay Branch Library.  The event will be held this year on Saturday, March 24, at 3:00 p.m. 

See the Community Newspapers article in the current Palmetto Bay News online: ‘Edible Book Festival’ bringing tasty treat to village’s library, By Gary Alan Ruse

The teen club, Bookbusters, inspired this event.

Inspiration can be a favorite book, author, title, cover art or character (comics and manga are allowed, too), anything having to do with books, but each entry must be made of edible materials. Those entering must be between the ages of 10 and 18.

All creations must be brought to the Palmetto Bay Branch Library on March 24 between the hours of 12:30 and 1:30 p.m.  Please note that no late entries will be accepted. The judging and photography will take place between 2 and 3 p.m.

Click "Read more" below to view photos from the 2011 event. For more information please call Palmetto Bay Branch Library, 17641 Old Cutler Rd. • 305-232-1771

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Miami Lighthouse's Walk, Waggle and Stroll Dog Walk

Strut your stuff on Sunday, March 25 from 9:00 a.m. to noon at Miami Lighthouse's fifth annual Walk, Waggle and Stroll Dog Walk, an exciting event that is dedicated to raising awareness for guide dogs and service dogs of all kinds at the Shops at Midtown Miami (3401 N. Miami Avenue).

De‘tails’ include: “Bagels and Bones Breakfast” at 9:00am sponsored by Brooklyn Bagels and Miami Global Columbian Lions Club; the dog walk at 9:30am followed by contest prizes for “cutest,” “look-alike,” “most talented dog”, “Dog-Ummy, “Musical Paws”, and Go Doggy Staying contests. You can also collect pledges to support the event from your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers for the grand prize that goes to the person who gets the most pledges.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Cookie-Selling Girl Scouts Fight Off Thieves

Girl Scout Rachel Johnson told KTRV. “Who steals from a girl scout? Seriously, that’s like the worst thing ever.”
Johnson has a message for the men. “I hope your face hurts from when Iravia punched you,” she said.

Cookie-Selling Girl Scouts Fight Off Thieves: A Girl Scout troop in Texas will have about 20 cases worth of cookie money replaced after thieves made off with their cash box. San Jacinto Council Troop 29512 had set up at a local Fort Bend County Walmart to sell Girl Scout cookies Saturday,...

Monday, March 5, 2012

Senator Bogdanoff's amendment was ruled out of order earlier today (Monday 3/5) - Updated

Florida State Senator Ellyn Bogdanoff's legislative attempt to made it easier to move Miami-Dade County’s urban development boundary died Monday morning in the Florida Senate.

The Senate’s rules chairman found that the proposal was out of order because it was not directly related to the legislation she was trying to amend.

Read the full article here from the Miami Herald: Florida Senate throws out amendment related to Miami-Dade urban development boundary  by Patricia Mazzei, posted 3/5/2012

Another nail in the coffin of local authority - local decisions on land use targeted

Florida State Senator Ellyn Bogdanoff (District 25) has introduced an amendment to pending legislation that will gut local authority and rule making in regard to amending their development master plans.  There is nothing subtle about this amendment which is clear in its intent:

“A local government may not adopt or impose any supermajority voting requirement, by charter provision, ordinance, or otherwise, for the transmittal or adoption of amendments to the comprehensive plan.”

The Florida Senate will take up a bill called HB 4003, today, Monday, March 5th. If passed, the bill will terminate a state program intended to provide grants for the redevelopment of urban centers. The proposed amendment would strip all local municipalities in the state of Florida of their current ability to require a super majority vote in changing comprehensive land use plans. 

As reported both on Eye on Miami and in the Miami Herald, this is Tallahassee's reaction to Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s declaration made at the State of the County Address that he will push to strengthen the urban development boundary by increasing the requirement for approval and transmittal of Comp Plan changes from 2/3 to 3/4 vote of the County Commission members.   

The effects of the this bill, if amended, and passed into law, will be that the Florida Legislature  will remove the ability of the County and all Florida municipalities to set rules to guard against urban sprawl on its western and southern fringes.

Read the environmentalists concerns: Bogdanoff: doing the bidding of the Great Destroyers, Eye on Miami, posted Sunday, March 4, 2012.  "Whether you live in Florida or not, please see below for a summary of how this bill will impact critical federal lands (you own them wherever you happen to live) and wildlife habitat in one of our planet’s most unique ecosystems - the Florida Everglades. Senator Bogdanoff’s legislation is meant to accomplish one goal - encourage more residential and commercial growth in still undeveloped areas of Florida including lands outside the Miami-Dade Urban Development Boundary and adjacent to Biscayne and Everglades National Parks. Hopefully, asking Senator Bogdanoff to pull amendment #832626 - for the sake of the little which remains of natural Florida - will get the job done."

Sunday, March 4, 2012

South Florida Daily Blog: Nothing But Principles

South Florida Daily Blog: Nothing But Principles: Babalu's George Moneo belched up this thought this morning on Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown University law student who has become the latest...

Views from the 2012 Palmetto Bay Celebration Picnic

Palmetto Bay held the 2012 celebration picnic on March 3rd, 2012.  This event has been in existence since our first year of incorporation, Palmetto Bay holds this signature event as our way of saying “thank you” to all of the residents.  This year’s picnic offers something for everyone - entertainment provided by local schools, children’s activities, rides, demonstrations by local agencies, and, of course, food - including everyone’s favorite roasted corn on-the-cob. 

Please read two prior postings to provide some reflection on the history of this event:
Linda Robinson, Palmetto Bay's initial Vice Mayor, reflects on celebration history

Linda, as an important part of the first Village Council (Linda was first elected in 2002 and served through 2008) wants this tradition to continue. Linda gives credit to our special events committee. Her comments note that the special events committee and staff, all working as part of the team under the initial village council created events and interests including rides, city information, educational topics, wholesome family events, dunk tank for charity, & local school participation!

Many people still volunteer including Pat and Jim Gladieux who still take charge of the ever-popular corn on the cob. The staff from all Palmetto Bay departments as well as our police work well to continue to make this event a success.

As Linda points out, we have seen helicopters land in the field and firefighters come in their trucks, and schools were invited to participate. The Voice of the Heat served in past years as emcee. Past years have seen well over 5,000 people for a picnic. Linda thanked prior sponsors which included Starbucks, Home Depot, Dade Paper, Banks and Publix, we have had breaks on the food and donations! Many of these sponsors continue to contribute to this present day!  Thank you all.

Another prior post is Palmetto Bay Picnic today, Saturday, 3/5/2011

Friday, March 2, 2012

Update on the US1 Transmission line fight. Pinecrest, South Miami, Coral Gables and Miami continue the effort

I have posted the update from Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner who continues to take the leadership role to protect the economic viability and quality of life along US1.  Everyone living in South Dade should be thankful for the leaders in Pinecrest, South Miami, Coral Gables and Miami, which have stepped up, and don't just speak, but put action to their words by funding the fight to preserve our quality of life.  Mayor Lerner is providing a solid update regarding the US1 Transmission Line fight in her March 2, 2012, e-news update blast.  CLICK HERE to read the complete March 2012 Pinecrest E-news update.

US 1 Transmission Line Update (presented by Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner)

The Village (of Pinecrest) has been fighting for the past two years to keep the proposed FPL transmission lines from being located along US 1, that is, unless FPL agrees to underground them and incur the costs as part of their upgrades and infrastructure improvements. There are currently no transmission lines running along US 1 and we do not want to allow it under any circumstances, as it would cause irreparable damage to the future economic viability of the corridor.   The City of Coral Gables is a partner in this litigation and we are also in a coalition with the cities of South Miami and Miami.   This administrative proceeding will not be decided until sometime in the spring of 2013. In the meantime, we continue the fight on other fronts as well.   FPL has not only been collecting additional fees from customers through Early Cost Recovery, a law they wrote and convinced the Legislature to pass back in 2006-2007, from which they have already collected $300 million additional charges which we the customers pay. But last month they also filed an application for a rate increase with the Public Service Commission which they were so brazen to say that they want their investors to see a higher return on their investment - higher than the 10.5% they now realize. Imagine the gall, for a public utility to ask for even higher rates from its customers, when they already get this Early Cost Recovery subsidy at OUR expense. So the Village and many other local governments plan to fight the proposal on behalf of our constituents.