Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Rotary Club of Perrine-Cutler Ridge / Palmetto Bay Induction ceremony 2012

Saturday evening, June 23, 2012, was a great evening for the community and The Rotary Club of Perrine-Cutler Ridge / Palmetto Bay. Dr. James A. Thomas (pictured at left thanking immediate past president Bill Thiele) was inducted as President 2012-2013.  Click the link to view the new/current board of directors who accepted the responsibility to serve this year. 

Dr. Larry Feldman received the South Miami Dade Leadership Award.  Miami-Dade County Superintendent of Schools, Alberto M. Carvalho and County Commissioner Bell was in attendance as was State Representative Michael Bileca.  Local officials included Cutler Bay officials Mayor Edward MacDougal, Vice Mayor Ernie Sochin and Councilmember Sue Ellen Loyzelle.  Councilmember Howard Tendrich was in attendance representing Palmetto Bay along with founding councilmember Paul Neidhart. Michael Kesti served as master of ceremonies. Maria Kesti and attendees presented Michael with a cake to share his birthday in the evening. 

Congratulations to School Board Member Dr. Larry Feldman for earning the Leadership Award.  Congratulations to Dr. Thomas for taking on the responsibility of Rotary Club President this year. 

Click "Read more" to view 14 additional photographs from this event Most. if not all photos from All Star Event Photography.

Friday, June 29, 2012

No free ride - Editorials - SDU: Miami Herald Editorial Board provides food for thought for the Mayor and Council to consider over the Holiday.

No free ride - Editorials -

This was an easy one, but one that Shelley Stanczyk and Brian Pariser whiffed terribly on (actually, the bat never left their shoulders).  The standards of acceptance have changed.  The Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust says it is time for municipalities to stop accepting freebie tickets.  The Miami Herald Editorial Board compliments the response of City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado who, as they put it, “…wants to keep the city’s hands out of the cookie jar.”

Criticism is mounting where officials in many cities accept tickets to baseball games, symphony performances, tennis tournaments and such and used the freebies as if they had paid full freight or hand out the tickets to family, friends and their best supporters.

Palmetto Bay’s current Mayor and Vice Mayor continue to utter the phrase “transparency” yet we never seem to know why either of them failed to support Howard Tendrich’s efforts to bring Palmetto Bay within into compliance with The Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust recommendations.  It is not like the council members are without the means to afford entertainment.  Palmetto Bay is one of the few municipalities that does pay its officials, $1,000.00 a month to each council member and $2,000.00 a month to the Mayor.  Does that not supply ample funds to purchase your own tickets to events without asking for freebees from events that you sponsor?

It was an opportunity lost for the remainder of the council to join with Howard Tendrich to show that Palmetto Bay supports good government and rejects even the appearance that events are sponsored because the council is even offered free entrance or VIP tickets in return. 

It is more than apparent that the chemistry is not right on this Palmetto Bay Council when you have only one member seeking to make changes in line with the strong recommendations of the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust and he is met with only blank stares,excuses,with no action or support, from Shelley Stanczyk and Brian Pariser.

Keep up the good work Councilman Tendrich,even in the face of adversity, Palmetto Bay’s good government watchdog.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

State declares Miami blue butterfly endangered - Miami-Dade -

Florida wildlife managers on Wednesday declared the Miami blue butterfly an endangered species.

The tiny Miami blue butterfly, which once ranged from the Florida Keys to Daytona Beach, has been reduced to a few hundred survivors on islands off Key West. Its decline has been blamed on an array of threats, including pesticide spraying, development in its coastal habitat and exotic iguanas eating the plants it needs to reproduce.

Photo taken from and more information available at: Miami Blue Butterfly: Disappears in Keys

A small regional population of Miami Blues essentially disappeared after Hurricane Andrew in 1992 shredded South Florida. Many butterfly scientists – lepidopterologists – concluded the species had gone extinct.

Then came the 1999 surprise when the colony of three to four dozen Miami Blues was found on the earthen approach to the old Bahia Honda Bridge, inside the state park.

In 2003, the Miami Blue butterfly was named to Florida’s endangered species list. No animal has been added since.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2005 acknowledged the Miami Blue merits federal endangered status, says a report from the Center for Biological Diversity, but the federal agency said “lack of funding prevented measures from being taken, and the species has been condemned to the ‘warranted but precluded’ list ever since.”

An update of yet another species threatened.  See the prior post of June 13, 2012, Butterfly on the brink - Miami-Dade -  Interested readers will learn that Decades ago, hundreds of Schaus swallowtails — hand-sized butterflies with brown-black wings accented by swirls of yellow – would typically be in the area called Petrel Point at this time of year, slowly flitting along trail edges and around the torchwood and wild lime trees that are prime “host plants” where they lay their eggs.

Last year, 35 were spotted on Elliott, another six in Key Largo. This year, they’re even fewer and very far between – five sightings overall since May 11, only three confirmed.

Why are butterflies important? Many sources state that butterflies are the second most important insects in your yard (Bees are number one).  Butterflies are a crucial indicator of the health of any ecosystem.

Greenopolis has a page: Butterflies, Bees Most Important To Ecosystem Survival which notes that a recent study by National Institute for Agricultural Research and National Centre for Scientific Research in France determined that the decline of pollinators like butterflies and bees will likely impact the production of many fruits and vegetable. The study valued the work of bees and butterflies at about $215 billion. This amounts to roughly 9.5% of the total value of the world’s agricultural food

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Update on the Palmer Trinity Litigation – No decision yet. Next release pushed back due to July 4 Holiday.

The Third District Court of Appeal did NOT release an opinion today in the Palmetto Bay. v. Palmer Trinity case.  CLICK HERE to review the official public online case docket, case number 3D12-190.  Oral Argument was held June 12.  The Third District Court of Appeal releases it opinions each Wednesday at 10:30 AM.  Next Wednesday is the July 4, Independence Day Holiday.  The Clerk’s office advises that the opinions will be released the following day, Thursday, July 5, at 10:30 AM, in observance of the Holiday.

Click on the “Litigation” label below to view the prior articles concerning the Palmer Trinity litigation.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Work continues on new ethics rules regarding receipt of freebie tickets to elected officials. Why is Councilmember Howard Tendrich without council support for creating ethic rules in Palmetto Bay consistent with the recommendations of the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust?

The City of Miami Mayor is pushing a new city policy that would let event promoters for municipal venues distribute their freebie tickets to charities and the public on their own. The mayor, city manager and commissioners could request complimentary tickets, but only to use while conducting city business. See Miami Herald, June 24, 2012, Miami to clamp down on freebie event tickets flowing to City Hall

Miami-Dade County officials have been revamping policies, in part, based upon county ethics commission guidelines regarding gift tickets. The guidelines advise elected officials to get out of the business of distributing to the public complimentary tickets that flow through their offices. The goal is to avoid the use of tickets to curry favor with constituents.  See: Miami-Dade commissioners criticize new ethics rules on tickets, March 6, 2012, By Patricia Mazzei and Martha Brannigan

The Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust has taken issue with the use of free tickets and has been pushing for stronger ethics rules regarding complimentary tickets. See: Miami-Dade ethics report rips ticket freebies, by David Smiley (2/21/2012).  Joseph Centorino, executive director of the ethics commission, was quoted as saying that “…even if the ethics commission adopts a ticket policy, municipalities aren’t necessarily required to pass their own versions. But elected officials could still face penalties if investigators find they violated the ethics commission’s rules.”

CLICK HERE to read the full Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust report.  You can CLICK HERE to read the addendum relating to “official function”

Said Centorino: “We’re putting people on notice.”

Well Palmetto Bay's Howard Tendrich has heard you loud and clear, but the message appears to be missed by the remainder of this current Village Council.  

Tickets have ranged from receipt of free tickets and parking to the entire Sony Ericsson tennis tournament to much lower value events such as in Palmetto Bay, where the only tickets I am aware of have been as a result of sponsorship agreements with The Deering Estate and the Cutler Bay Fireworks. 

Where has Palmetto Bay been on this recent issue? 

Current Palmetto Bay Councilmember Howard Tendrich, known as the current ethics watchdog on the council, has attempted to create more stringent policy in regard to freebie tickets. Unfortunately for residents, he has not had any support for to establish a policy consistent with the recommendations of the Ethics Commission 

I asked Councilman Tendrich for comment.  Here is his reply:

“I think the Council should not take tickets because the dollars given by the Village are village dollars given by the residents.  The tickets should not be given to council members to distribute because then it becomes a political toy.”

 The Deering Tickets have not been an issue for some Palmetto Bay council members who are paid members of the Deering Estate Foundation (including myself, while in office and continuing membership to this day) where admission to the events such as the Seafood Festival are free for paid Deering Estate members.  Of course, past council members like Paul Neidhart and current Councilmember Howard Tendrich are too busy actually working as volunteers at the events to attend as guests under free passes.

The other event is the South-Dade Fireworks Spectacular at Black Point.  Palmetto Bay currently notes on the official web site that: “The Village of Palmetto Bay celebrates its third year in a row as a primary sponsor of the annual South-Dade Fireworks Spectacular at Black Point.” 

Are there free tickets this year?  If so, how are they being distributed?

No mention is made as to whether there are any tickets provided this year and, if so, if any of the tickets are available to the general Palmetto Bay resident.  At least in the past, 10 tickets were/are made available for this event. 

The controversy concerning Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami have revolved about the use, that commissioners have in the past given the tickets to “friends” and “other important people.”

The rules are different now. What is the perception?

“The perception was that we were getting fringe benefits, and that the tickets were not being used to the benefit of the public,” said Miami Commissioner Frank Carollo, who has pushed for tougher standards on freebies.

The Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust has prepared reports that have blasted other municipalities concluding that elected officials should play no role in divvying up complimentary tickets. In addition, it said public officials should use free tickets only when hosting dignitaries, visitors or community groups, or participating in public introductions or presentations.

Fundraiser to support County Commissioner Dennis Moss

You are invited to a Fundraising Reception for the
Re-Election of County Commissioner Dennis Moss.

5:30 to7:30 - Thursday, June 28th

Office of Paul J. Schwiep at
2699 South Bayshore Drive
Coconut Grove

Maximum Contribution is $500.00 Per Person or Entity
Please make checks payable to the Dennis Miss Campaign

Political Advertisement Paid for and Approved by Dennis Moss for County Commissioner Campaign

Monday, June 25, 2012

Alert! The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) hearings Scheduled for Tues., June 26, have been cancelled: FPL's Request for Rate Increase

I have just been notified that the The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) hearings Scheduled for Tues., June 26, have been cancelled.

From the official PSC official press release (June 25, 2012):  Due to impacts from Tropical Storm Debby, the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) has canceled its customer service hearings on Tuesday, June 26 in Miami and Miami Gardens and Wednesday, June 27 in Ft. Lauderdale and Plantation.

The hearings will be rescheduled to allow customers of Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) to comment on the utility’s request for a rate increase before the PSC.  FPL filed its petition for a rate increase on March 19, 2012.  FPL provides electric service to more than 4.5 million retail customers in all or parts of 35 Florida counties.

The following hearings are canceled and will be rescheduled:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012
9:00 a.m.
Miami-Dade County Auditorium
2901 West Flagler Street
Miami, FL  33135

4:00 p.m.
Florida Memorial University
15800 NW 42nd Avenue
Miami Gardens, FL  33054

SDU note: Please watch this space as well as local media for updates as to when these hearings are rescheduled.  Your voice matters!

Official results from the 2012 Everglades CISMA non-native Fish roundup held May 19, 2012

CLICK HERE to view the official photographs from the non-native fish round up.  There was no article, just the list of official results and photographs from the events.  Photos credits: Dennis J. Giardina, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission,

2012 Everglades CISMA non-native Fish roundup  - Official Results

Largest Fish
1. Jack Gleeson - Bullseye Snakehead (2 lb 14 oz)
2. Jonathan Lewis - Blue Tilapia (2 lb 13 oz)
3. Ben Levin - Midas Cichlid (2 lb 2 oz)

Most Fish (weight)
1. Ben Levin - 94.2 lbs.
2. Jonathan Lewis - 56 lbs
3. Michael Caraballo - 18 lbs 2 oz

Slam (Most Species)
Jonathan Lewis - 7 species

This event was mentioned on April 19, 2012, in South Dade Updates, 2012 Everglades CISMA non-native Fish roundup, Sat, May 19, 2012

Sunday, June 24, 2012

EYE ON MIAMI: June 26th: Respond to FPL. By Geniusofdespair

Interested in making your voice heard on the proposed FPL rate increase?   Tuesday is the day.  The Public Service Commission is holding public hearings on proposed rate hikes.  The PSC will be in Miami this Tuesday, June 26th. The PSC will hold a public meeting 9:00 am at the Dade County Auditorium, 2901 West Flagler St, and a second meeting 4:00 pm at Florida Memorial College, 15800 NW 42nd Ave, Miami Gardens 

Click the link above to read more regarding the proposal and what you can do on these issues.

Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner is running for reelection. She deserves your support!

Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner is running for reelection. She certainly has worked hard over her first term and deserves to be reelected.  Check out her campaign web site:  

I agree Cindy, you have spent the past 3 1/2 years working to improve Pinecrest by involving the residents much more in decision making and by creating a more responsive and service oriented village staff.  I have been very impressed with the results. Cindy is a doer and has worked well with everyone which is a breath of fresh air.  This is in stark contrast with other politicians in neighboring areas who instead have spent time chastising, excluding and even resorting to removing differing viewpoints from official meetings. 

Check out her web site   Cindy is in the process of posting access to the many initiatives she has established and the progress Pinecrest has made as a community.

Cindy is not a politician you hear from only at campaign time.  Please take the time to review What’s ahead for the Village in 2012, by Kara Bisceglia, posted online Pinecrest Tribune, for more information about her level of activism and service for the Pinecrest and even surrounding communities. 

Mayor Lerner does care deeply about the community.  She deserves your support to allow her one last term as mayor to continue the progress Pinecrest is making. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

A bit on the warm side to be discussing: Fire pits evolve to offer light, warmth and a backyard gathering place - Environment -

Yes we love our fire pit, but it is currently properly stored for the summer season.  For us, it is now barbeque and swimming pool season.  I suspect that our fire pit will wait until January to make its annual reappearance.

I’m not getting the fire pit story in the first week of summer.  Maybe it’s time for South Floridians to plan ahead to create that ultimate back yard fire pit gathering place in time for the first cold snap expected 5 -6 months from now.  Fire pits can range from frugal portables to integrated pavers and special stone productions that are gas fed. Of course there are always the crude rocks and wood handmade specials that give you pride of primitive construction. 

Fire pits can be fun.  And I agree with the article that it can add to your backyard becoming and friend and family gathering place.  Yes, the yard goes from dark spot to becoming the scene of many hot dog and s'mores parties. A properly created and monitored fire pit can become a focal point in the home landscape.  Just, in my opinion, during those few cool weeks, sometime months in pleasant South Florida.

For now we are more focused on cooling off in the pools rather than gathering around the fires here in South Florida

Swimmer Michael Saco undaunted in bid for Olympic team - Other Sports -

Swimmer Michael Saco undaunted in bid for Olympic team - Other Sports -

Good luck to Palmetto Bay’s own Michael Saco, a local student who currently a student athlete at  Louisiana State University.  It is worth the time to review this entire Miami Herald article about completing for the chance to represent the United States in the Olympics this Summer in Great Britain. 

Success in swimming is nothing new for young Saco.  He won a state championship and set a state record during his senior season at Palmetto High.  Sports run in the family.  His mother, Dacyl Saco, competed as a member of the Venezuelan Olympic swim team at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

The U.S. Olympic swimming trials begin Monday, and as the Herald reports, several South Florida swimmers will compete for a spot on the world’s most esteemed swim team.

Good luck Michael Saco!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Trio of cities get their first cut of half-penny tax - Doral - Cutler Bay receives $3 Million for past due transit tax revenue.

Trio of cities get their first cut of half-penny tax - Doral -
Look for additional improvements in Cutler Bay’s local transit options.  As reported in the Miami Herald, Trio of cities get their first cut of half-penny tax, by Paradise Afshar, Doral, Miami Gardens and Cutler Bay have begun to receive their share of the People’s Transportation Plan surtax for the first time.  The payments include large lump sum payments to make up for lost years of revenue, which will be of particular value.  The Herald reported that Doral received nearly $2.7 million, Miami Gardens nearly $8.2 million and Cutler Bay about $3 million in back transportation taxes

As posted in the Herald: The payments for each city break down as:

• Cutler Bay got $1,222,746 for the 2010 fiscal year, $1,294,046 for the 2011 fiscal year and $558,365 to date in 2012.

• Doral got $1,009,334 for the 2010 fiscal year, $1,082,382 for the 2011 fiscal year and $633,457 to date in 2012.

• Miami Gardens received $3,269,292 for the 2010 fiscal year, $3,446,998 for the 2011 fiscal year and $1,485,334 to date in 2012.

The municipalities can only use transit-tax proceeds received for transportation use such as circulator buses, bus shelters or other transit-related infrastructure.

"We will do what the law allows us to do with the money," said Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougall. "This money was needed."

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Have a happy and safe summer 2012

The astronomical summer (Northern Hemisphere) begins Wednesday, June 20, 2012, and ends Friday, September 21, 2012.

See the Old Farmer’s Almanac online: First Day of Summer: The Summer Solstice

Because it’s summer and for the kids, the memories are just waiting to happen.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A fresh, positive and independent voice for Palmetto Bay. There may be a consensus candidate for Vice Mayor.

Wanting a return to open dialogue and an inclusive community voice in village government, another resident is contemplating running for Vice Mayor of the Village of Palmetto Bay. She shares the concerns expressed by far too many residents; that our community is being divided over issues with no consideration for any viable solutions being offered.

If this resident decides to run, she would make community consensus building in government decision making a priority.

I share her goals and consider this her call for all of us to return to happier days in Palmetto Bay.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Man killed in Palmetto Bay shooting - Palmetto Bay -

Man killed in Palmetto Bay shooting - Palmetto Bay -

Miami-Dade police are investigating a homicide in Palmetto Bay.  One man was killed after being shot outside a house at 17531 SW 97th Avenue.  Neighbors reported hearing gunfire around 3:00 a.m. A witness advised that he a group of men jump into a blue Taurus and drive off.

Condolences and deepest sympathy go out to the victim as well as his family and friends.
This appears to be a targeted crime, specific to the victim and not a general act of violence.  I recommend that you follow the local news for updates as they become available.
Evening update  : Club promoter shot, killed in Palmetto Bay, Published On: Jun 16 2012 06:27:33 PM EDT  Updated On: Jun 16 2012 06:29:40 PM EDT 

CBS 4 Miami, Music & Club Promoter Gunned Down Outside Palmetto Bay Home, Tiffani Helberg reporting,
June 16, 2012 6:33 PM

Friday, June 15, 2012

Mango season 2012 has arrived! Support your local backyard grower.

Mango season 2012 has arrived and I bet we need to wait only another week or two before we see our neighborhood youth, including my daughters and their friends, set up the traditional neighborhood mango stands.  They will again face the fierce competition in Palmetto Bay   Try driving 152nd street, 82nd or 87th avenues most weekends in the next few weeks and it is usually hard not to find an open home mango seller.  The sales market is very competitive in the area and enterprising kids as well as some adults have their stands that have actually built seasonal consumer loyalty.

 For you fruit speculators, door yard Mangos opened at 2 for $1. This is a slightly higher price from last year which saw a price war due to a prolific crop that benefited consumers. Get ready for fresh mango, mango salsa, mango smoothie, mango salad, mango fruitcake, mango chutney mango jam! Support your local grower and South Dade agriculture!

I think we all should be permitted an agricultural property tax exemption on our homes! Support your home agriculturalist, buy local area mangos!


Food dot com has a listing of mango recipes including Mango Pies and Tarts, Mango Canning, Mango Desserts, Salads, Smoothies; well, you get the idea, it reminds me of the Bubba shrimp scene from Forrest Gump.  There seem to be just as many different recipes for Mango as there are for shrimp! CLICK HERE to view the online article.

Alexandra makes an outstanding mango salsa.  The ideal party or tailgate dip.

The listed recipe for the Garlic Lime Grilled Chicken With Mango Salsa sounds like an absolute must try for the South Florida area.


Squirrels exact their take for the season
Have a tree not doing well, or just trying to improve the production?  I recommend the following online article (click the title to read) Mango Growing in the Florida HomeLandscape published by the Horticultural Sciences Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Today, June 14, 2012, is Flag Day, a special day to fly the US Flag

Today is June 14, which has been designated as “Flag Day.” June 14, 1777 is the date that Congress officially adopted our nation’s flag. 

The Miami Herald has several articles in the papers today (Thursday, June 14, 2012) regarding Flag Day. The first, provides Flag Facts, both about the flag as well as Betsy Ross (as well as links to the other articles). The U.S. flag has been modified 26 times since its adoption in 1777. Today's 50-star flag, created in 1960, has been in use the longest.

Additional recommended reading is How to display the American flag, By Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz, Chicago Tribune

Are you up to date on flag custom; which days are appropriate to fly your flag?  The answer is every day, but there are special days when the flag should be displayed.

Please review my 2011 article regarding Flag Day: Today, June 14, is Flag Day, a special day to fly the US Flag.  This article contains links to more information regarding flag customs including:

Air Force Association
(Display of U.S. flag)
Title 36, Chapter 10 PATRIOTIC CUSTOMS
Sec. 174. Time and occasions for display

And a list of the dates that we should display the U.S. Flag. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Butterfly on the brink - Miami-Dade -

 by Curtis Morgan

Photo from: Cornell U article below
Another Florida species to go extinct in our lifetime?  Interested readers will learn that:Decades ago, hundreds of Schaus swallowtails — hand-sized butterflies with brown-black wings accented by swirls of yellow – would typically be in the area called Petrel Point at this time of year, slowly flitting along trail edges and around the torchwood and wild lime trees that are prime “host plants” where they lay their eggs.

Last year, 35 were spotted on Elliott, another six in Key Largo. This year, they’re even fewer and very far between – five sightings overall since May 11, only three confirmed.

Because butterfly pupae can survive dormant for several years, biologists can mount capture efforts again if they strike out in this waning flight season. But without some boost from captive breeding, the Schaus could be fast slipping toward extinction.

Additional information from Cornell University, Insect Conservation Biology on the Papilio aristodemus ponceanus, Shaus Swallowtail Butterfly 

Pinecrest announces its selection as a "Playful City USA" for 2012.

Click the headline to review the full release: KaBOOM! Names Pinecrest Among 213 "Playful City USA" Communities

Pinecrest joins Coral Gables, Doral, Miami Lakes, North Miami, and Palmetto Bay as the Miami-Dade County cities that made the list.  Palmetto Bay has been a "Playful City USA” since 2010. 

Playful City USA is a national program advocating for local policies that increase play opportunities for children and is a key platform in combating the play deficit. 

There are 213 Playful City USA honorees from 41 states.  The range in size from six-time honorees such as Orlando and Phoenix to first-time recipient Pinecrest. These Playful City USA communities are making a commitment to play and physical activity by developing unique local action plans to increase the quantity and quality of play in their community.

A primary goal of Playful City USA is to encourage municipalities to share ideas, concepts and programs in an effort to increase play opportunities for children. The 213 Playful City USA communities are now eligible for $15,000, $20,000 and $30,000 grants via Let's Play, a community partnership led by Dr Pepper Snapple Group, to get kids and families active nationwide. Grant recipients will be announced in June 2012.

For more information on the KaBOOM! Playful City USA program, please visit

Support the Howard Palmetto Miracle League. Enjoy a winetasting TONIGHT Wednesday, June 13, at the Anacapri Italian Restaurant in Pinecrest.

Are you familiar with The Miracle League of Miami Dade?  Its stated vision is that: "Every child deserves to experience joy and community through baseball."  The stated mission is “to create positive life experiences for children with special needs and their families through baseball.”

The Pinecrest Tribune has joined with the Anacapri Italian Restaurant to host a wine tasting TONIGHT, Wednesday, June 13, to benefit the Howard Palmetto Miracle League. Don’t miss out.  The donation is only $10. You’ll have the opportunity to taste a broad selection of fine wines and experience the beautiful new wine bar at Anacapri.

There will be an amazing selection of wines to taste and you’ll do it in the comfort of one of the most enjoyable spots in town. There will be wines from as many as eight vendors, and fine Italian treats to nibble on will be spread throughout the Anacapri wine bar and the market.

Make plans to attend this event tonight, Wednesday, June 13.  It starts at 6:30 p.m. As an additional bonus, you’ll get a 10 percent discount on your meal If you decide to stay for dinner at Anacapri.

Anacapri Restaurant is located at 12669 South Dixie Hwy. For more information, call 305-232-8001 or go to Read the full Community Newspapers article online:   You’re invited to a wine tasting at Anacapri, By Grant Miller

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Update on the Palmer Trinity Litigation – Oral Argument held June 12

If I were a betting man, I would say that Palmetto Bay prevails in the 3rd DCA action.  This is judging from the questions / comments from the 3 member appellate panel.  More to come later.

Sidewalk Chalk Art Against The Rules In Stapleton « CBS Denver - SDU asks: Reality check. Does a young child’s sidewalk chalk drawings really offend, disturb or interfere with the peaceful enjoyment by neighbors? Could this happen to your neighborhood?

Sidewalk Chalk Art Against The Rules In Stapleton « CBS Denver

Is the sight of a child engaging in summertime sidewalk chalk something out of Norman Rockwell painting or is it a noxious illegal activity that must be stopped? 

Click the link above to view the tape and story from CBS4 in Denver or click “Sidewalk Chalk Art Against The Rules InStapleton

A Denver neighborhood HOA is trying to put a stop to sidewalk chalk art.  In the eyes of some, what Emerson is doing, drawing on the sidewalk with colored chalk, is a criminal act.

All this over a 3-year-old, who moved with her mother to Stapleton because her mother thought it was a family-friendly neighborhood.

“We live on a courtyard and we all bought into the notion that we were sharing a space,” her mother said.

But the HOA — called a Innovations and Courtyard Traditions at Stapleton, a sub-association of the Stapleton MCA (Master Community Association) — said because it is a shared space, anything that offends, disturbs or interferes with the peaceful enjoyment isn’t allowed. It seems that some neighbors have complained.

How will this all turn out?

I have to ask, and ask you to ponder the same question, have we really reached the point where we forgot about what it means to live in a community?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

It is property tax season. Help the Palmetto Bay council. Get involved in how your tax dollars are spent.

How would you feel if you planned an important public meeting, set up seating for 90 and just a few cared to show up for such an important event?  Shelley Stanczyk chose to hold the Palmetto Bay Village budget workshop on June 6.  She must have been very embarrassed.  Where was everyone?  View the video CLICK HERE.  View the sparse turnout for this important event at 17:47. There were only 5 speakers. View their suggestions and concerns.  Where are yours?  This is your money. 

How can we assist this current council with attendance and participation?  We all need to step forward and help guide the Palmetto Bay council with the next year priorities or you may be very unhappy with how your tax dollars are being spent. We have just started the local government property tax season and you actually can influence the outcome on how big this bill will be. Mrs. Stanczyk needs to dust off from the embarrassment of this poor public turn out and try to engage more residents before the budget hearings begin in September.

I previously posted regarding the upcoming possibility of this coming budget year: Time for Palmetto Bay Property Tax Reduction? Property Appraiser Pedro J. Garcia issues June 1, 2012 Estimates of Taxable Value.  This provides good background.  I circulated some budget priority suggestions and to date have received 13 comments and another 10 e-mails on the subject. 

Again, government is not a spectator sport. We incorporated Palmetto Bay to give a voice to everyone in this locality, not just a few.  Present your opinions.  Be part of the process.  Your participation will make for a better Palmetto Bay.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

First regulating BINGO in Arkansas. Could current regulation tinkering be a gateway to over-regulation in Palmetto Bay? Sometimes you have to know when to just leave something alone.

The Colbert Report (link to a blog discussing this report is located immediately above) focused on Bald Knob preacher Larry Johnson's successful campaign to shut down senior citizen bingo games.  Review the video from the Cobert Report embedded in the blog.  It is worth the view time!

I have to ask who was saved from what?  It would be almost funny if I did not see some comparisons to the current campaign to shut down certain elements here in our own little town of Palmetto Bay.  Ask yourself, could this happen in Palmetto Bay under current leadership?  

The successful campaign to shut down senior citizen bingo games was based, in part, upon the belief that BINGO is a gateway crime that could lead to meth use, even sex. To me, this is classic scapegoating, bogyman politics.

Could the same be true for over regulation at home?  Regulating Churches and other uses could be a gateway activity that moves on to controlling even the typical Palmetto Bay's home owner's activities within the home.  Who needs more government?

PS: Sometimes you find something just too funny.  Note the initial blog comment: 
"The death rate among senior citizen bingo players is also much higher than the rest of the population." (actually, as someone pointed out to me, its "BINGO")

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Miami-Dade School Board - School Budget Town Hall Meeting – facing a $95 Million shortfall. Who will suffer?

$95 million shortfall.  Does this figure grab your attention yet? It is time for YOU to get involved and be an advocate for our area youth.  They are our future and the start we provide for them will dictate the potential level of success we will have in our future. 

The Miami-Dade County School Board invites you to a School Budget Town Hall Meeting, seeking input for the 2012-12 budget.  This meeting will be held this coming Monday, June 11, 2012, beginning at 6:00 PM. Click the photo to view the photo invitation.  Information concerning parking is contained in the invite. 

It is time for all parents and those concerned about the quality of education to get involved.  The invitation warns that our local public schools face a $95 million shortfall, due to still depressed property values.  Even with the so-called increase in funding from Tallahassee.  Tough choices need to be made.

If you go:
Date:                    Monday, June 11, 2012
Time:                    6 PM
Where:                 MDCSB Administration Building, first Floor Auditorium
                              1450 N.E. Second Avenue
                              Miami, FL 33132

Please note that seating is limited.  The meeting will be televised live on WLRN Channel 17 and webcast at

Parents of public school students should consider the importance of this issue to their future, the future of the children they are raising, before they vote.  Cut through the sound bites and political party rhetoric at election time.  Expect a direct answer to the question: “what specifically have you done to improve our public education for our children. How have YOU voted on funding for our public schools?” 

An anonymous commenting on a prior post (Saturday, July 30, 2011, Thegovernor and his gang have Florida's public schools in their sights | rephrased the question as follows:

Question is: "What have you done while in the legislature to support our PUBLIC non-outsourced schools and our children?"

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Cutler Bay Summer Movie Night in the Park - This Friday, June 8

Congrats to the Cutler bay council and the Cutler Bay Parks & Rec department.  Another family movie night is set for this Friday, June 8th at 7:30 (Movie begins at 8pm). CLICK HERE to view the Cutler Bay promotional poster.

Bring your family to Cutler Ridge Park to see the family friendly movie, Puss in Boots. Admission is free; refreshments are available for purchase. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets.

For more information, call 305-238-4166.

Note for Palmetto Bay residents.  Many people ask me why we don't have movie nights more often at Coral Reef Park or rotate to other locations.  I regret that I beleive that the current Mayor and Vice Mayor have no concept of a silent majority, that they are strictly on the 'no one must want it if we do not hear direct requests' theory.  Attendance should be a good indicator.  We have outstanding attendance at the movie nights when properly promoted.  There are more opportunities as Pinecrest and Cutler Bay due offer movie nights for you and your families. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Update on the Palmer Trinity Litigation – Oral Argument set for June 12, 2012. What this means and FAQs

The Third District Court of Appeal has set oral argument for June 12, 2012 in the case of The Village of Palmetto Bay, Florida, vs. Palmer Trinity Private School, Inc.  CLICK HERE to view the online court docket.  The Third district case number is 3D12-190.  The lower case number is 10-259.  This is a Civil Certiorari Petition from Dade County.  

Prior background on the Palmetto Bay v. Palmer Trinity School and be found at the February 28, 2012, South Dade Updates blogpost, Update on the Palmer Trinity Litigation - Scheduling Order rendered 2/27/2012.

The Frequently Asked Questions –  FAQs – regarding appeals.  All the information that the current Mayor and Vice Mayor refuse to discuss with you. (some information taken from 3rd and 5th DCA official websites, some information is of my own explanation) :

Q. What is oral argument?

A. Oral argument is when the attorneys in a case appear before a panel of three judges to discuss the issues in the case.

Q. How long does it take an appeal to be resolved?

A. There is no set time period for an appeal to be resolved. After the briefing is completed, the Court will set a case for oral argument or conference as the Court’s schedule will allow. Each case is considered individually and the length of time for the Court to render a decision will depend on the facts of the case.

Q. When does the court issue its opinions?

A. Every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. The opinions are posted on the website shortly after 10:30 a.m.

Q. Can the public attend oral argument?

A.  Yes.  Oral argument is a public proceeding.  The public may attend and view, but not participate. 

Q. Can I view the oral arguments online?

A.  Yes.  Live streaming from the courtroom begins approximately 5 minutes prior to each oral argument session.  Please take special note of a disclaimer on the website: PLEASE NOTE: There is a limit to the number of video connections this site can serve. Especially during high profile cases, it may be difficult to connect to the live video stream. We're sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.  CLICK HERE to view the information from this page for all relevant information. 

CLICK HERE to view the oral argument calendar.  The Palmetto Bay case is last item on page 2.

CLICK HERE to view the official Third District Court of Appeals – Frequently Asked Questions – the FAQs.

The address for the Third District Court of Appeal is:
2001 S.W. 117th Ave.
Miami, Florida 33175
(305) 229-3200

Last reminder Palmetto Bay Village Voice presents: Evening with Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Wednesday, June 6

Reminder: Palmetto Bay Village Voice invites you to an evening with Mayor Carlos Gimenez at the Deering Estate

The Mayor will take questions from the audience following his remarks

Where:     The Ballroom of the Stone House - Deering Estate at Cutler
                 16701 SW 72nd Avenue, Palmetto Bay
When:      Wednesday, June 6, 2012
                  6:00 p.m. - Doors open and Refreshments served
                  7:00 p.m. - Mayor Gimenez

The event is open to the Public

Visit the Palmetto Bay Village Voice (PBVV) website to learn more about this group at

TONIGHT 6-5-2012. Venus Transit: Properly prepare to view tonight, or wait until 2117

Venus Transit 2012: What You'll See This Week (Pictures)

Late this afternoon/evening, Tuesday, June 05, 2012, we will be able to see a cosmic spectacle known as a transit of Venus. The events are so rare that only six Venus transits have been observed since the invention of the telescope more than 400 years ago.  Transits happen when a planet crosses between Earth and the sun. Only Mercury and Venus, which are closer to the sun than Earth, can undergo this unusual alignment.

The last Venus transit was in 2004. After 2012, we won't see another transit of Venus until 2117.

Local Southern Cross Astronomical Society(SCAS) to have viewing sites set up:

SCAS Astros will have professional filtered equipment at two sites 6-8 p.m.: Western parking lot ZooMiami 12400 SW 152nd St., and on the roof of FIU garage, Southwest Eighth Street at 109th Avenue. Both locations are free to the public.

Never look directly at the sun or in unfiltered equipment. Retina burn may cause permanent blindness. Use No. 14 welders glass or solar glasses. Sunglasses are not safe. Info in Miami Herald article by Barb Yager, Southern Cross Astronomical Society, 305-661-1375,

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Time for Palmetto Bay Property Tax Reduction? Property Appraiser Pedro J. Garcia issues June 1, 2012 Estimates of Taxable Value

The gainers:

  1.25   Coral Gables
  1.15   South Miami
  2.52   Pinecrest
  2.18   Palmetto Bay
  0.01   Cutler Bay

  1.48   Countywide (will affect your countywide portion of your tax bill)
  2.24   School Board

Those who saw reduction:

 (0.78)  Unincorporated Miami-Dade (UMSA)
 (3.71)  Homestead 

Reasons for increase in value:
The recent property assessments are a result of a stabilizing real estate market and, according to the County Property appraiser; “Coastal municipalities with a concentration of high-end properties experienced the most growth in property values, while others had only negligible changes. Other areas continued to experience declines, but at a significantly lower rate than in the previous four years, indicating that those areas too ‘may have turned the corner and property values are stabilizing…”’  

So it looks like the usual rule of real estate applies as to the credit for the areas that saw an increase – “location, location, location.”  Palmetto Bay does enjoy its unique access to the water in city and county parks as well as the location within the Palmetto High School feeder pattern.  The assigned schools significantly add to the value of area homes. 

Time to reduce the millage rate?
It may be time for the Palmetto Bay Council to reduce the property tax rate to all its property tax payers.  It is not symbolic.  We heard for years that the $5 to $20 rebate means nothing to a typical homeowner.  That is one argument, but it is far from the entirety of the arguments to be considered. Even after years of dropping values, which brought some equity between those recent purchasers and long standing homeowners who were shielded by Save Our Homes, businesses are still suffering and the local business stand much more to gain that $5 to $20 in rebates. 

Besides, businesses don’t look as to the amount reduced as the determining factor as to whether they can afford to relocate to or stay in a certain municipality.  The first indicator is what is the property tax millage rate and whether it goes up, down or stays the same. 

This is not an issue of “drinking the kool aid.” It is all about making a rational determination of when you have enough money and not incentivizing waste to spend what you have to prevent reducing revenues.  Palmetto Bay operated the first eight years under the theory of “government lite” and currently has benefit of an outstanding manager, finance director and the team of department directors who do so well on a relatively light budget. 

The policy for the current council should not be to stray and go for big city, big costs model. 

Capital improvement program is complete/too much money can be tempting to misspend:
This current village council has to be mindful that they need to properly budget annual operating recurring revenue to properly maintain what was/is built out of savings or grants. 

The capital program has been completed.  The current Mayor’s recent ill-advised Thalatta expansion plan is off the table and the Parking Garage appears to have met the same fate, so it appears time to adjust down the annual tax bill.  The reserves and contingency funds are far above that is required or even recommended.  There have been no significant efforts to upgrade services in the last two years by the current council.  The availability of this money appeared to be too much a temptation for project mischief.  Let’s remove the incentive to spend due to huge pools of money being available to the present and future councils. 

Thank you again to Council Members  Howard Tendrich and Patrick Fiore who have been very judicious, very conservative, in their spending of our tax dollars. 

There are areas of the budget that could use enhancements:
This is not to say that there are not areas where services need to be improved.  There are.  Palmetto Bay could use additional officers for the policing unit and funding for more anti-burglary and youth programs.  Parks could use additional funding to maintain what we have, rather than simply replacing every few years.  Parks could also use additional funding for increasing park hours for Thalatta, so we, the little people who don’t rent, can have more opportunity to enjoy what puts “the bay back in Palmetto Bay.”  The first eight years of Palmetto Bay saw a tremendous improvement in facilities.  It is time for real effort being made on the next step, keep up those improvements as well as taking a real next step in better programing to maximize the use of those improved facilities. And of course, one of my personal favorites: how about funding for a few more family movie nights!

There are many items of suggested funding.  Priorities are ever-changing:
The above is merely a partial list, not an exhaustive list.  What are your ideas for improvements? More funding to keep the drainage construction program flowing?  Do we need more or less code enforcement? Reduce building permit fees?  How about construction of bike paths or bike lanes (or golf cart) for village controlled roadways or additional bike safety programs and bike safety/awareness street signage?

Initial estimate released June 1:
The Miami-Dade Property Appraiser issued the June 1, 2012 Estimates of Taxable Value to Miami-Dade County's Taxing Authorities.  This allows the County, School Board, and local governments such as Coral Gables, South Miami, Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay, Cutler Bay, and Homestead to proceed with the preparation of their 2012-2013 budgets.

Final Property Roll to be released July 1.
July 1st the Property Appraiser’s Office will publish the 2012 Preliminary Assessment Roll, which provides the taxing authorities with their official numbers to set their millage (tax) rates.

Per the official release: The countywide estimate of taxable value for 2012 is $189,731,000,000 which is 1.48 percent more than the 2011 figure of $186,962,023,337. A breakdown of the data by municipality Description: PDF shows that some areas have experienced increases in property values, others have remained statistically flat, and a few have seen values decline, albeit at a slower rate than in previous years.

Overall the data points to a real estate market that is stabilizing Mr. Garcia said in a news release.