Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Free lecture at Deering Estate to discuss snakes in Everglades | Palmetto Bay

Free lecture at Deering Estate to discuss snakes in Everglades | Palmetto Bay
Make plans to come to the Visitor Center Auditorium at the Deering Estate at Cutler, 16701 SW 72 Ave on Thursday, Sept. 13, 7 p.m., for a free lecture “Snake in the Grass: An Everglades Invasion” with presenter Larry Perez.  This event and other similar monthly events are presented in partnership with the Archaeological Society of Southern Florida and the Deering Estate at Cutler

As reported in the Community Newspapers, Snake-eating alligators and alligator-eating snakes might seem like a science fiction story line, but those battles are playing out in Everglades National Park where the invasion of non-native pythons threatens to upend a rich and diverse ecosystem that includes the largest tract of wilderness east of the Rockies. Perez skillfully explores this astonishing assault — the repercussions already tallied and those lying in wait — in a book that reads almost like fiction, but which is only too factual.

For more information on the Deering Estate’s educational and cultural programs, visit online at www.deeringestate.org

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Pinecrest Radio AM 1590. Ready if needed

Looking for local information while in your car?  Pinecrest provides important information on Pinecrest Radio at 1590 AM. The station regularly broadcasts announcements and during emergencies provides important information to Pinecrest residents.  Those in north Palmetto Bay or east Kendall may be able to pick up the signal.  Although this station certainly is not a replacement for official media sources, it will provide important information as to local incidents or concerns, including road situations if the situation requires.  Cable and electric goes down, not many people have TV antennas for regular signal.  The internet may go out.  Radio is always ready for urgent times.

Tracking TS Isaac - Sunday edition

Are you and your family prepared for a very wet and windy day?

Wind map - www.weathreunderground.com 5 AM advisory.

Tropical Storm Force Wind Speed Probabilities - 120 Hours
Keep an eye on this storm through your official sources.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Sad day. Childhood hero. Neil Armstrong, 1st man on the moon, dies at 82 - Obituaries - MiamiHerald.com

CINCINNATI: Neil Armstrong, 1st man on the moon, dies at 82 - Obituaries - MiamiHerald.com

What a great time to grow up.  Working toward a common goal. Space exploration.  Unquestionably an exciting time to be an American.  How many of us had Apollo 11 lunch boxes?  I remember watching the launches and splashdowns, the big colorful parachutes, on TV.  "T - minus" Countdowns replayed on our own Estes rockets that you could still get away with launching in school yards in later years.  Too bad we did not have the big colorful wide screen HDTV plasmas of today for those events!  I regret never seeing any Apollo launches live. 

Who cannot recall where they were when they heard or read the reports of the Apollo 11 spacecraft that landed on the moon July 20, 1969.  I was sent to bed early and was woken up to the news.

"That's one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind," Armstrong said.

A true American Hero.  Rest in peace.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/08/25/2967903/1st-man-on-the-moon-neil-armstrong.html#storylink=cpy

EM Notification: TS Issac #18 (Saturday 11:34 AM update)

The Office of Emergency Management is monitoring TS Isaac in the Caribbean Sea. 

Current location: approximately 590 miles SE of Miami-Dade County
Maximum Sustained Wind Speed: 60 mph
Forward Speed: 17 mph
Forward Direction: Northwest
Potential for further development or weakening: Some strengthening is expected after Isaac moves over eastern Cuba later today and it is expected to become a hurricane on Sunday. 

Potential Impact for Miami-Dade County: Miami Dade County is in the 3-day forecast cone. Tropical storm conditions for Southern Florida can be expected on Sunday and hurricane conditions remain a possibility. 

Current Miami-Dade County Actions: The EOC is currently at a level 2 

Current related watches and warnings for Miami-Dade County: Miami-Dade County is now under a Hurricane Watch and Tropical Storm Warning. Additionally the area near Florida Bay is under a Hurricane Warning.

Miami-Dade Emergency Management will continue to provide updates on this weather system as it evolves. Detailed information on this system can be found at www.nhc.noaa.gov (Mobile: www.nhc.noaa.gov/mobile). For forecast information specific to your area please visit http://weather.gov/miami.


Friday, August 24, 2012

We are at the crossroads in Palmetto Bay. The NPO moratorium to put a one year glitch in an event? Look for this to be an annual prohibition by Palmetto Bay unless you, the resident step in. Read SDM’s “PB: NPO – No Fall Festival? Time to Protest”

Sorry kids. There may be no festival.
SDM makes noteworthy observations regarding the moratorium and its impact on community events.  I read this one this and found it to be a potientially tragic.  It is time for all members of our community to ask "where do we want Palmetto Bay to go?"  I think the current council is overusing the term “bedroom community.” I believe we are an actively engaged, not a couch potato at home community.  We need and should appreciate when community organizations hold public events.  These events include your Art Shows (remember when one was held in Palmetto Bay by the Cultural Council?); Charity 10/5K run/walks; craft shows; youth concerts and plays; BINGO; community concerts and so many other examples.

Prior to becoming mayor, I was struck with the spirituality in Palmetto Bay between (Then) Perrine Baptist Church (now Christ Fellowship) and Old Cutler Presbyterian Church (OCPC).  OCPC traditionally held an outstanding Christmas play that the entire community was invited to participate, attend and enjoy. OCPC still offers outstanding Christmas music and other events throughout the year that fills the facility to overflow crowds (a/k/a many people who enjoy having events to attend).  The play, one of the last, if not the last was a live performance of “A Christmas Carol.” The OCPC event was a great seasonal bookend to Perrine Baptist’s Easter Pageant, another extremely well done event that my family and I looked forward to every year.  Where else, so close to our home, could you watch a live performance that featured Jesus riding into the production on a live donkey.  Events like these make communities great places to live.  They are seasonal events and they are put on by the organizations at no cost to you, no assessment to your tax dollars.

I have posted some photographs from past Fall Festivals held at Christ Fellowship.  From my daughter riding a pony (is that really highly offensive Henry?), to the Council participating in the event, yes the initial council maintained relationships with the local Churches and community organizations (CBOs).  Why shouldn’t Christ Fellowship have its Fall Festival?  It is open to all.  It is really the community’s Fall Festival sponsored by Christ Fellowship. 

Now another traditional event may be brought down by what I say are intended consequences of the Neighborhood Preservation and Compatibility (a.k.a. “Neighborhood Protection”) ordinance: Christ Fellowship’s Fall Festival celebration. 

Read SDM’s “PB: NPO – No Fall Festival? Time to Protest” posted this same date, 8/24/2012, and read (as well as follow the links to the actual video – to see the facts as opposed to the council spin) how at the August 8, 2012 NPO workshop, Christ Fellowship Church’s Finance Director rose to speak against the NPO:

Here’s a quick look at just some of the operations that could be affected by the ordinance, some specifics. (1:23:49) One, we may not be able to host our annual Fall Festival. It’s a free event that we’ve done for the last 10 years and invited the community. We were unable recently to pull a permit or at least they came and asked about the permit; we were told we would have to wait to see whether we were going to be able to pull it. So, right now I am not sure we’re going to be able to do this.

SDM urges readers to go to the tape and listen to Mayor Stanczyk’s questions and the discussion with staff that followed the comments. The bottom line is that Christ Fellowship holds its Fall Festival in October, which falls Description: :) under the ambit of the moratorium. (The moratorium, as readers will recall, prohibits the village from issuing building permits on non-residential properties in residential areas.)

In the hyper-regulated Village of Palmetto Bay, one must pull a permit to erect temporary tents if they exceed a certain size. In fact, there is even a special application for special events. (New Palmetto Bay Motto: We Regulate Everything!) The permit application clearly states:

Anyway, who cares if Christ Fellowship Church can’t have some loud, overpopulated community event? Isn’t this kind of noisy, smelly, religious…er, dusty non-residential use just the kind of thing the (Shelley Stanczyk, and Brian Pariser) see as a threat to neighborhoods?

Personally I, Eugene Flinn, find the Fall Festival to be a great community event. This is an event that should be nurtured and encouraged by the village, not condemned and hindered through local government hyper regulation. 

I agree with SDM’s suggestion of some civil disobedience: Christ Fellowship should put up the tents, hold a service under them, and then start the festival. In other words, dare Palmetto Bay to cite the church for using the tents for a religious purpose.

When village police try to shut you down, link arms and pray for them. Maybe Mayor Stanczyk, Vice Mayor Pariser and Councilwoman Lindsay will get the message when they see your worshippers carted off to the hoosegow.

I am increasingly dismayed to see the direction that Shelley Stanczyk and Brian Pariser continue to mislead this village.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Emergency Management Notification: TS Issac (E-mail updated from M-D OEM)

(Friday, 8/24/2012 - 7:38 AM EOM update)
The Office of Emergency Management is monitoring TS Isaac in the Caribbean Sea.

Current location:  approximately 938 miles from Miami Dade County

Maximum Sustained Wind Speed:   45 mph

Forward Speed: 15 mph

Forward Direction:  West

Potential for further development or weakening:  Some strengthening is forecast
while the center remains over water.

Potential Impact for Miami-Dade County:   Miami Dade County is now in the 3-day
forecast cone.  There are still many variables that may impact this storm,
particularly how it reacts after it goes over land; however, we may experience
tropical storm/hurricane impacts as early as Sunday night.

Current Miami-Dade County Actions:  Monitoring (Level 3). The EOC is
coordinating with partner agencies, continuing to monitor, and taking
preparatory actions in advance of the storm.
   Today, personnel will be
conducting a call-down of the individuals on our Emergency Evacuation Assistance
Program Registry (EEAP), and county employees with pre-disaster roles have been
placed on standby.

Current related watches and warnings for Miami-Dade County:  None

Miami-Dade Emergency Management will continue to provide updates on this weather system as it evolves. Detailed information on this system can be found at www.nhc.noaa.gov (Mobile: www.nhc.noaa.gov/mobile). For forecast information specific to your area please visit http://weather.gov/miami.

Director of Emergency Management
Assistant Director
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department - Office of Emergency Management
"Delivering Excellence Every Day"

Tracking TS Isaac 5:00 AM (8/21) advisory


Tropical Storm Isaac should now have everyone's attention. The 5:00 AM update placed south Florida at the far end of the cone.  We all are aware that these cones move quite frequently, so we should remain cautiously optimistic that the storm will have little or no effect on South Florida,, but prepared.  Those that made their storm season preparations ready for June 1 should be ready to go.  Others should now use this weekend to update their plans and preparation.  With no recent hurricane workshops having been presented in the area, I have pulled out some important numbers and links from my past personal e-news updates.  I have posted the information here for your convenience and use.

Feel free to e-mail me any of your useful links at eugeneflinn@bellsouth.net.  

When not following the storm on your local news, you can access several internet sites.  Two that I use are: 

Below are important numbers that will help you during threat of or post storms and remember to dial 3-1-1 on your phone for instant County information.

Miami-Dade Office of Emergency Management (very good website for information on school closings, offices, etc...)
Department Phone Number (305) 468-5400


Click "read more" to view additional agencies/utilities and organizations.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Appropriate recognition for the work of the EDC. Dr. Lawrence Feldman presents proclamation recognizing EDC | Cutler Bay

Dr. Lawrence Feldman presents proclamation recognizing EDC | Cutler Bay
Congratulations to both Dr. Lawrence Feldman, Miami-Dade School Board vice chair, and the Economic Development Council of South Miami-Dade (EDC).  As reported in the Community Newspapers, Dr. Feldman presented Dr. James A. Thomas, chair of the EDC, with a proclamation recognizing the EDC for its contributions to and support of the residents and communities of South Miami-Dade County. I am pleased that real South Dade Leaders such as Dr. Feldman have embraced the efforts and value of the EDC

The council’s primary objective is to support the expansion and retention of existing businesses, to increase the overall economic vitality of local communities, and to attract new, diversified businesses and new jobs to the area.

This is apparently not a goal shared by the current Mayor and Vice Mayor of Palmetto Bay.  Both Shelley Stanczyk and Brian Pariser have refused to participate in providing even non-financial support, even though Mayor Stanczyk sits on the EDC board.  I am publicly puzzled why an elected official such as Mrs. Stanczyk would sit on a board of an organization she refuses to support.  See Tuesday, March 20, 2012, post, Mayor and Vice Mayor need to put politics aside and participate with EDC and our sister cities for the good of all South Dade

Founded in 1992, the Economic Development Council of South Miami-Dade is a local not-for-profit economic development corporation encouraging the kind of development that creates a better future for both business and residents. The EDC provides numerous business training programs, including in partnership with Miami-Dade College.  See: Moving forward on business development - Miami Dade College has teamed up with the Economic Development Council (EDC) of South Miami-Dade for a new “Business Training Program”

To learn more, visit online at www.edcsouthdade.com.


Pinecrest Parkway Improvements by FDOT to be Completed in May 2013 (Information provided from Pinecrest e-news)

Commuters should have noticed the roadway work that started August 20th.  The inside left turn lane along northbound US 1 at the intersection of SW 136 Street will be closed daily from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. while the contractor rebuilds the center median. This work is scheduled through Friday, August 24th. The outside turn lane will remain open at all times.

One outside lane may be closed at times along US 1 from SW 132 Street to SW 102 Street while the contractor replaces sections of sidewalk and curb and gutter. The closure will be from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. At least one travel lane will remain open at all times.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Welcome back to the start of new school year - 2012-2013

Please drive carefully beginning today, Monday, August 20.

I want to welcome everyone back to the start of the new school year.

Palmetto Bay is blessed with all “A” schools.  This is a reflection of the hard individual and team work put in by our teachers, staff, local administrators, parents and our students. 

Congratulations and keep up the hard work.

Drive safely – the summer traffic lull has ended and your commute has been extended.  Safety is our number one priority.

Must read tips for students, parents and commuters in the Miami Herald post Sunday, 8/19/2012, entitled "Tips to survive Monday’s first day of school"

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The escalation of gutter politics. Let’s vote out bad leadership in November. Village candidate chases apparent political sign stealer all over Miami | Featured

Read this article recent posted online with the Palmetto Bay News entitled "Village candidate chases apparent political sign stealer all over Miami."  It should upset you.  This is yet another example of bad leadership.  What drives a Village resident, a PTA parent, to stoop to such a despicable low and steal campaign signs?  Where will this end?  There are many occasions when politics goes too far and though some may see this as childish act and more of a prank, I see this as a final step toward someone getting hurt in the upcoming election.

An elected official can and should be judged by how they conduct themselves both at public meetings as well as the antics of their supporters.  Enough is enough.  I was shocked to read a blog entry posted by South Dade Matters: "PB: More Indecorous and Some Just Plain Odd Behavior.” Read it for yourself.  There are links to the actual meeting video.  You can judge with your own eyes. 

Enough is enough.  I am calling out the Mayor and Vice Mayor to stop the pettiness and finally show some positive leadership.  How? First, start at the meetings.  Stop interrupting and chastising speakers at meetings.  Control the meetings by protecting Free Speech by putting an end to the heckling of certain speakers that has been perpetrated by council supporters and even family members of certain council members.  This is an example of institutionalized bullying.  The lack of civility at meetings has obviously filtered out into the community and into the ongoing elections. 

The current elected officials need to stop the bickering and divorce themselves from those who are engaging in gutter politics.  The involved officials are guilty by association.  I am calling upon all candidates to disavow this type of activity and work to return Palmetto Bay onto a positive track.  Stop the deterioration of this town.

No one in Palmetto Bay should vote for any candidate, to reelect any current official, who cannot move forward on a positive agenda.

I will be keeping a very close eye on these elections and offer my support to the positive campaigns and properly call out the negativity.  I ask all voters to reward the positive candidates and reject negative campaigners.

Who is SDM? Thank you for the nice comment.

I want to thank the author or authors of South Dade Matters (SDM) for the kind comments posted in "SDM Wonders: Palmetto Bay Politics Edition":

Lesson from the Tuesday, August 14th Election: The Founding Village Council’s Legacy cannot be understated, especially in its decision to hold elections in November rather than the middle of August just a week before school starts. Palmetto Bay voters should thank Eugene Flinn, Paul Neidhart, Linda Robinson, Ed Feller and John Breder for doing the right thing on election dates. SDM Wonders: When will the county government start holding elections in November when all of their constituents are engaged?

Let’s use the November election to as our opportunity to exhale the negativity and get Palmetto Bay back on the positive track.

Friday, August 17, 2012

We are back from vacation and ready to start the new school year.

We enjoyed a nice family vacation overseas. We figured it was better to not announce that our home was empty. It was a vacation free from work,Internet and e-mail.  Did I miss anything while I was gone?  I am ready to get back to work, professionally and continuing to do what I can to keep Palmetto Bay on the right track.

School starts Monday.  Drive carefully.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Another reason why the NPO workshop should wait and not be held in August.

This a critical vacation time for Palmetto Bay families. Even the Palmetto Bay official parks summer camp ended as of Friday, August 3 (dates June 11 through August 3).  That means it is time for that last-minute vacation unless you have other child care set up.  Parents are otherwise scrambling to buy school equipment for start of the upcoming new school year.

Shelley Stanczyk and Brian Pariser have clearly indicated through the dates scheduled that families have a choice, take vacations when school is out or give up your Summer and family time to participate in critical government regulation decisions. It defines Hobson's choice. 

No one with school age children can reasonable be counted on to be in town when school is out of session.  Why is this Palmetto Bay council at war with young families?  Why can’t the public participation portion of this NPO wait for a time that is not prejudicial to families?

The number of special meetings called during the summer is an indicator to some that something fishy appears to be going on with the work on this NPO. 

Why this update: I have fielded several telephone calls as a result of my prior post (again, I offer the opportunity to post, even anonymously, where they can be shared with all readers). 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Palmetto Bay’s NPO big bait and switch. Creating a landmine for current properties commonly known as the Legal Non-Conforming Use. Shifting the headache and heartache for future generations.

Village officials need to be honest about the NPO and the impact it will have.  Stop the misinformation.  Denials are being made, that the NPO does not impact Palmer or Westminster, alleging that it is due to the fact that both already have their development orders in place.  This however, is a misstatement through omission of profound material facts as it is not a matter of IF, but WHEN.

South Dade Matters have posted an interesting article entitled "PB NPO: Christ Fellowship – You Are Not Alone."  I recommend that all read this article.  It lists 15 properties it claims would be affected by the enactment of the Neighborhood Protection Ordinance (NPO).  I agree with 13 of the 15 identified, but want to be clear that the Palmetto Bay Village Center (PBVC) is not located in a residential district.  The PBVC is situated in a Village Mixed Use district. (Sec 30-50.19)  (also see official Palmetto Bay zoning atlas) The FPL site is also exempt by charter.  One of the conditions placed upon Palmetto Bay by Miami-Dade County as a condition of incorporation is that the FPL site is off limits to Palmetto Bay zoning until such time as FPL ceases to operate the site for power creation (see Section 9.6.)

If the NPO is enacted as currently intended, the 13 list properties cease to be allowable structures under the Palmetto Bay Land Development Code.  These properties will then be conditional uses, known as a non-conforming use.

Legal Nonconforming Uses

Any continuous, lawfully established building or structure erected or constructed prior to the time of adoption, revision or amendment, or granted a variance of the zoning ordinance, but which fails, by reason of such adoption, revision, amendment or variance, to conform to the present requirements of the zoning district

This means what was once legal is now not by operation of an amended or new law.  A lawfully established building or structure erected or constructed prior to the time of adoption is ‘grandfathered’ in – temporarily.

It is therefore disingenuous to state that the NPO does not affect Palmer, Westminster, any of the Montessori schools or current Churches.  They are simply frozen in place, unable to make any changes to their current site plans unless or until they modify their properties to comply with the new NPO.

This is why I contend it is ill-advised to rush the NPO legislation forward.  We need much more staff analysis to determine the impact on existing facilities.

What is a non-conforming use?

The Palmetto Bay code current has regulations in place for nonconforming uses.  See Sec. 30-10.4. (also click “Read more” below for full text).

A nonconforming use is the use of a particular parcel of land that is not permitted by the current zoning requirements of the applicable zoning classification. Nonconforming uses may or may not include nonconforming development standards. There may also be nonconforming sites, whose use is conforming, but whose development standards may not conform to current ordinances.

IMPORTANT:  the legal non-conforming use does not allow a structure to be rebuilt if destruction exceeds a certain percentage. Only a variance of use and sometimes a rezoning can allow a 100% rebuild of a property after total or significant destruction occurs. A rezoning sometimes does not permit a 100% rebuild, because nonconforming development standards (like setbacks scheduled to be placed in the Palmetto Bay NPO) may not be able to be replicated.

Community Workshop, Wednesday, Aug 8, proposed Neighborhood Protection Ordinance (NPO). Holding meetings when many from the electorate are out of town is the antithesis of government transparency, of building a sense of community and public involvement. It is a good time to railroad legislation under the radar.

How do you limit dissent if you are Shelley Stanczyk and/or Brian Pariser? Hold an important meeting in the dead of summer when so many people are out of town.  Is this NPO so important that you need to do so much of the work when so many people are out of town? Or is it so important to the success of this NPO that the work be done while people are out of town?

The initial Palmetto Bay council (2002 – 2006) was sensitive to claims that zoning issues should not be discussed and that no hearings should be held in the summer months when people are dispersed for the summer.  This meant that people could leave for vacation and not worry about what might be snuck through while they are unavailable.  That is another tradition no longer honored by Shelley Stanczyk and Brian Pariser who have seen to it that their supporters are accommodated, while the general public are set up in summer for an ambush.

Coming up:  Wednesday, August 8, 2012 - 7 p.m.
Community Workshop - Neighborhood Protection Ordinance

This meeting is billed as an opportunity for the community to participate in and provide their input for the drafting of a Neighborhood Protection Ordinance.  This is it, your one-time shot before first reading (public hearing is not guaranteed on First Reading, though I provided in the Palmetto Bay procedural ordinance to allow for public hearing at first reading.  I suggest that there be public hearings on both first and second reading).

You can participate if you are in town, if you have notice. You can view the archived tape after the fact, but that renders you a spectator, not a participant.

I recommend that you attend if you are available.  CLICK HERE to view the agenda and materials published to date.  I am sure that you can call your council member and also make a personal private appointment, where you concerns are not addressed publicly or to the entire council.

The only time to publically participate appears to be when this proposed ordinance is essentially complete and put up for first reading at the September council meeting.  What could be so important to have to rush this major ordinance through in the dead of summer?  Oh yeah, Brian Pariser’s reelection campaign. 

Brian Pariser’s campaign appears to trump your right to participate.  The lack of meaningful opportunity to participate is yet another reason for a change in leadership in Palmetto Bay to return to civility and meaningful citizen participation.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Litigation Update: Palmetto Bay continues fight against Palmer Trinity School over attorney’s fees

This is a story that begs the question whether Shelley Stanczyk and Brian Pariser overplayed their hand (using our tax dollars) by failing to seize the opportunity to settle this issue once and for all when Palmetto Bay was briefly in a position of strength.  There was a missed window. The oral argument did not seem to go well for Palmer.  Update on the Palmer Trinity Litigation – Oral Argument held June 12. I opined at the time that "If I were a betting man, I would say that Palmetto Bay prevails in the 3rd DCA action.  This was judging from the questions / comments from the 3 member appellate panel."  However, Just like an obsessive gambler who doesn’t know when to stop, when he wants to keep doubling down, because he is convinced that the next roll will reverse the recent bad fortune and be the winning roll, the played out to the end, and busted.  It got worse. The Third District Court of Appeal ordered Palmetto Bay to pay Palmer Trinity’s legal fees accrued during the village’s losing battle to keep the school from expanding.  See Update on the Palmer Trinity Litigation – Palmer prevails on its motion for attorney’s fees and costs against Palmetto Bay.  Friday the 13th indeed.

Now Howard Cohen of the Miami Herald reports that Palmetto Bay is going back to the Third District Court to try to fend off the attorney fee award.  See: Palmetto Bay fights Palmer Trinity School over attorney’s fees.  This motion appears to be a confession of “mea maxima culpa” and where the village promises to behave in the future if the court backs off the award of attorney’s fees to Palmer.  This pleading is NOT posted on the village website under its litigation tab.  It could easily be posted there and should be posted there.  There is significant background contained that would assist village residents to gain an increased understanding of what this case has become.

Palmetto Bay makes an important admission in the motion, that it now accepts the Appeal’s Court decision that Palmetto Bay is not entitled to the extraordinary relief that the certiorari petition it filed represents. The motion argues that ‘It is quite another, however, to imply, by awarding attorney’s fees to the opposing party, the (Palmetto Bay’s) position was “so devoid of merit on the fact of the record that there is little prospect it will ever succeed.”’

In essence, Palmetto Bay Council is saying it is really, really, sorry, and did not mean to push the court so far to where the appellate court determined that awarding fees and costs was the only way to make Palmetto Bay comply with the numerous prior decisions of the previous courts. 

The Council should have gone further to say that the award of fee is not hurting the council as it is not their money, but that the court was only hurting the taxpayers who may then retaliate by returning the hurt on the elected officials at the ballot box at reelection time.

What do I think?

Many have asked what I think.  I would think that the Village will have a very hard time overcoming the award of attorney’s fees and costs given the strength of the court opinion. Third District Court of Appeal was direct and used the language “willful disobedience” in overruling prior actions of this Palmetto Bay council in failing to heed previous judicial instructions.  This is serious stuff.  Senior Judge Alan Schwartz remarked that village’s recent actions were “an exercise in superfluousness and futility.”

What was the legal advice? Was the council advised by $650.00 an hour attorneys that this was a meritorious fight?

I do agree with the filing of the motion, so long as it is filed in good faith, and not as a further delay tactic.  Why should Palmetto Bay taxpayers have to foot the bill for this latest court action?  I am torn however, between the council’s fiduciary duty to protect village money versus the Council majority trying to extend the litigation simply in order to prevent release of the village shade session transcripts prior to the upcoming November election.

People have asked me what I think of the legal advice given in this case. I think the Village received outstanding legal advise. It is up to the Council to take the advise and act appropriately. None of us will know the facts, be able to review the advice, until those transcripts are released.  

It is interesting to add that it would be in the best political interest of any incumbent up for election to hold up release of the transcripts until after the elections.  The less than subtle hints put out there indicate that there will be some quite interesting reading in these transcripts.  I say release the transcripts now.  The litigation is over.  The trial tactics are not relevant to the motion for fees (unless the transcripts indicate that the trial tactics were simply to ‘delay to deny’ or out expense Palmer in an expensive litigation war.)

I agree – it is unfair that the taxpayers of Palmetto Bay are being singled out while the CCOCI agitators go on scot-free. It was not the “taxpayers” who were pursuing the litigation against Palmer.

I do share many of the concerns of residents I have spoken to in that why is Palmetto Bay being singled out to pay the bill, as the Miami Herald has continually reported, A group of residents who banded together as Concerned Citizens of Old Cutler, Inc. to join Palmetto Bay in the fight the school were not ordered by the court to pay Palmer Trinity’s legal fees. Note that the group, commonly referred to as CCOCI was created in large part by current councilmember Joan Lindsay and her husband.  Both have left the board just prior to her election, but she is still a party to remaining lawsuits involving CCOCI, Palmer and Palmetto Bay. 

It will be interesting to see whether any of the council majority have raised questions at any of the attorney client shade sessions to discuss why CCOCI is not assisting by paying its fair share of the court ordered costs and fees.  Will CCOCI be filing anything in support of Palmetto Bay to attempt to extricate itself from the potential of a six figure judgement?  Wouldn’t this be fair?  After all, has not the village council been there supporting CCOCI? It is time to return the loyalty.

Palmer Trinity also has a separate lawsuit against Palmetto Bay, CCOCI and Joan Lindsay, who was the head of Concerned Citizens before she was elected to the council, seeking about $13 million in lost tuition and other costs allegedly created by the village’s actions. That lawsuit is pending.

The litigation issues are far from over.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Update on the Rotary sign. I am now looking for a sign from the great right of way protectors as to our future of the Palmetto Bay gateway monuments

I first reported on the end of the 50 year landmark, the Rotary International informational sign on
Wednesday, July 25, 2012, Rotary international has 50 year sign removed. You gotta be kidding me. Why? Another landmark removed in the name of“progress”?.  I have received numerous comments and e-mails (why are so many afraid to just post a comment directly on the blog???) One of my favorite was someone asked me where was our Historic Preservation board.  Good question.  At least one, I appears, is too busy running for office, having accomplished nothing (that is a story for another time).

The one point was that FDOT does not allow signs located in its right of way.  Really?  They missed the Rotary International (and American Legion, BTW) sign(s) for 50 years?  I guess we will soon see other similar community signs go down.  What about the obvious invasion of the FDOT right of way pictured above?

I am very disappointed in our current Mayor and Vice Mayor for not being protective of community organizations, of not showing some pride that these fine organizations exist within our community. I am also publicly asking this question of our current mayor and vice mayor:  I am still looking for some leadership from our current mayor and vice mayor (I know, don't hold my breath).

If this sign is offensive or a danger as being in the right of way; then don’t the two photos of the US! village gateway monuments (solar powered, BTW) demonstrate other violations of FDOT’s right of way?  Will you protect these signs (monuments) or will these entrance gateway signs soon go the way of some of the favorite playground equipment in Coral Reef Park?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Early voting begins this Saturday, August 4th.

There are 20 early voting locations across the County opening this Saturday and ending next Saturday, August 11th, from 7:00am - 7:00pm. CLICK HERE to view the locations and times.

Voters with Special Needs can CLICK HERE for more information.

Election day is Tuesday, August 14th

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Call out to Republican voters in Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay, East Kendall & Falls. Vote for Ben Powell Republican Executive Committee

Dear Friends,

Many of you know Ben Powell and might or might not know, he is the Republican Party Chairman of Miami-Dade County. I'm not sure if you are registered as a Republican in Palmetto Bay, Pinecrest or East Kendall, if you are, please cast your vote for Ben #293. Ben is one of the finest men I know and consider him a dear friend. He is a man of integrity, honesty, intelligence and truly loves our country. Please encourage your friends to cast their votes for Ben as well...we need a large grassroots effort to elect Ben and other fine candidates. Below you'll find a brief letter from Ben.

Thank you for your support....

Early voting is August 4-11.


Emanuel Lazopoulos

Republican Party of
Miami-Dade County
Dear Friend:

As you may know, I was elected Chairman of the Republican Party of Miami-Dade County earlier this year. It has been an honor to serve and to work on behalf of the political party which believes that free enterprise drives our economy and that government should be limited in its size and scope.

My current term ends in December and in order to continue my service, I must first be re-elected to the Republican Executive Committee in District 29, which encompasses Palmetto Bay, Pinecrest and parts of East Kendall. The election is August 14 and absentee ballots are already in the mail.

If you are a registered Republican and live in the above-mentioned communities, you can vote in my race --- I am #293 on the ballot. I would be very grateful for your vote and would ask you to forward this email to Republican friends and family in the District. If you will be out of town or unable to get to the polls, you can request an Absentee Ballot through https://www.electionsfl.org/VoterInfo/vflookup.html?county=DAD. Please know that in an election of this kind, a very small number of votes can really make a difference in the outcome.

Thank you for considering a vote for me.

Ben Powell

Alert! The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) hearings now Scheduled for Tues., August 7. On the Agenda: FPL's Request for Rate Increase

Information taken from Pinecrest E-News blast:

Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) filed a petition with the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) for a rate increase on March 17, 2012. The petition requests a general base revenue increase of approximately $525 million, effective in January 2013, and a base step adjustment of $170 million, effective when FPL's Cape Canaveral plant becomes operational in June 2013.

The PSC will conduct hearings on the matter, in the Miami area, as follows:
August 7, 2012, 9:00 a.m.
Miami-Dade County Auditorium
2901 West Flagler Street, Miami, FL 33135
August 7, 2012, 4:00 p.m.
Florida Memorial University/Lou Rawls Auditorium
15800 Northwest 42nd Avenue, Miami Gardens, FL 33054

The Pinecrest Village Council has adopted a resolution opposing FPL's proposed base rate hike and has intervened in the case. 

Click on this link for more information about the Village Council's action.
Click on this link for more information about the hearings.