Friday, November 30, 2012

A holiday wish list for the new Palmetto Bay council | Palmetto Bay. The 2013 Palmetto Bay council has a chance to go positive this upcoming year.

A holiday wish list for the new Palmetto Bay council | Palmetto Bay
Click the headline above to read the entire holiday wish list for the new Palmetto Bay council posted online, Palmetto Bay News

There is an opportunity for new and positive beginning in Palmetto Bay. There are two new members and three current members who saw voters turn out both incumbents. It is time to return to public inclusion and most importantly, time to move forward in a positive manner in 2013.

I laid out my positive suggestions for the two new council members as well as suggestions for the entire 2013 council.  I remind them that this is a 5 member council. Each member has the same right to make or second motions, to agenda and sponsor or co-sponsors resolutions and/or ordinances. There are 5 votes – one per member, each equal to all other votes.

Most important to set the council up for success in 2013 is that it is time for a comprehensive discussion on current projects. My concerns  (a partial list) that I would like to see finally addressed include:

1.The status of two fire stations that the original Palmetto Bay village council worked with Federal, State and Local (County Commission and Fire Department) officials.
2.The status of the implementation of the new permit fee schedule and other recommendations of the Palmetto Bay Building and Permitting Advisory Committee Final Committee Report.
3.Should Palmetto Bay purchase bayfront land that is currently available?
4.It is time again for a village-wide strategy session. Goals need to be set. ... Pinecrest recently completed a major update to its strategic plan. It is time for Palmetto Bay to do the same.
5.A public meeting needs to be held on the Franjo Triangle and US1 Island zoning district area.
6.The future of committees needs to be discussed.
7.Greater transparency on appointment to village boards and committees.

Happy Holidays to all and lets all work together for a positive Palmetto Bay in 2013.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Holiday Events at the Deering Estate

CLICK HERE to view the official Deering Estate at Cutler web site providing additional details.

Celebrate the holidays at the Deering Estate at Cutler with an exciting line-up of events for the entire family to enjoy!

Please note that the Deering Estate at Cutler will be closed on December 25th.
This Friday, November 30, 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM: Tree Lighting Ceremony featuring the Yuletide Carolers and the "Little Twinklers" from the Greater Miami Youth Symphony Preparatory Program
$12 for adults & $7 for children (ages 4-14); Free for Foundation Members.

Deering Holiday Wonderland
Daily, Dec. 1 -31, 2012 10 am-4 pm
Free with Estate Admission

Santa Story-Time & Kids Crafts
Satuday, December 8 & December 15, 2012

10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Free with Estate admission; Free for Foundation Members.
Santa Claus will be visiting the Deering Estate for story-time in the historic Stone House Ballroom. Children can also participate in holiday arts & crafts activities.

A potential Project for Palmetto Bay parks? What about Palmetto Bay’s own “Rotary Point” at Thalatta?

Located immediately adjacent to the Sebastian Chamber of Commerce building, this point offers a wonderful free view of what is known as the Indian River - Intracoastal Waterway.  There are many similarities here with the view available at Thalatta Estate in Palmetto Bay. 

Views of local sea life, kayakers and wading birds are plentiful both in Sebastian and off Thalatta Estate/Snowden’s Point in Palmetto Bay.  Wouldn’t Palmetto Bay’s Thalatta Estate Park be made even better for the casual visitor to have an outlook pint such as this Rotary Point.  Note that the project features memorial plaques or simply donation plaques to defray the costs.

Take a minute and imagining how popular a similar point would be for morning walkers and bikers using the Old Cutler Bike path. A great early riser gathering place for Sunrise in Palmetto Bay. Perhaps we could see a return to progress in Palmetto Bay if the new council members end the infighting and reestablish ties with local community organizations such as the local Rotary club.
Let’s engage the public in discussing a master plan project  of this type.  CLICK HERE to view the actual City/Rotary Joint Project agreement.  I have downloaded and provided this document as a resource to demonstrate to this new Palmetto Bay council how these Government/Community Organization projects can be accomplished.  This would be a good project to get the new Palmetto Bay council working together, rather that wastefully spending in tearing down a recent installations and replacing them with projects that have not been approved by a public process or even widely accepted.
Let’s have some creativity and purpose in Palmetto Bay for 2013.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Crime Watch: - Miami-Dade - Cyber Monday. Carmen Gonzalez Caldwell provides important Crime Watch precautions to make online shopping safer

Crime Watch: Precautions make online shopping safer - Miami-Dade - 
CLICK HERE (or above) to review Carmen Gonzalez Caldwell article online in the Miami Herald: Crime Watch: Precautions make onlineshopping safer

This article addresses Cyber Monday — the Monday after Thanksgiving, when many people buy gifts from online sellers.

Tips are provided to help keep you from getting a migraine down the road. (the full article is very detailed and should be read in its entirety.) The tips are really applicable full time, year round, shopping over the Internet and not just to Cyber Monday.

• Plan ahead.
• Know the retailer’s return and exchange policies.
• Read the fine print.
• Check your order twice before confirming a purchase.
• Start a file folder.

As Ms. Caldwell advises: … the FBI is reminding people this holiday season that cyber criminals continue to aggressively seek ways to steal money and personal information. Scammers are using several techniques to fool potential victims including sending unsolicited emails that contain false information by setting up spoofing websites that look like legitimate commercial sites and unleashing phishing and vishing (theft using voice-over-Internet technology) attacks where individuals receive emails or phone calls asking for personal data. So it’s important not to open anything that looks suspicious. Use that “delete” key immediately.

These cyber-scammers will do whatever they can to steal your money and personal information this holiday season and are trying many different ways to commit these crimes, according to the FBI.

For more information on e-scams, please visit the FBI’s webpage You also should visit the National Crime Prevention Council for more tips on Holiday shopping at

2012 Old Cutler Church Christmas Concert

Old Cutler Presbyterian Church (OCPC) presents its 2012 Old Cutler Church Christmas Concert on Saturday, December 1, at 7:30 PM. (Doors open at 7:00 PM)

Enjoy an evening filled with the sights and sounds of Christmas during their annual concert performed by an array of musicians and vocalists from their choir, orchestra, worship band and children’s choir.

CLICK HERE for more information.

This is always a very popular event that is not to be missed. Attendees should plan to arrive early to guarantee a seat.

“We invite every family in Miami to get together and join us for this beautiful Christmas concert. It’s free and it’s our gift to the community,” says Senior Pastor Dr. Stephen Clark. “The musical talent we have at our church is amazing and we wanted to share their talents with the community as we celebrate Christmas.”

The Old Cutler Christmas concert will be directed by two graduates of the University of Miami Music program and a current professor.

U.M. graduates, Shawn Sutta and Jamie Sutta who are on staff at Old Cutler Church, lead the worship band and choir and plan on injecting the concert with soulful jazz, beautiful solos, and powerful orchestral pieces.

Dr. Dennis Kam, the chair of the Department of Music Theory and Composition at the University of Miami, also a staff member at Old Cutler Church, plans on delivering a healthy blend of traditional orchestra, modern jazz pieces, Christmas favorites and sing-a-longs.

Performances will include selections from the Nutcracker Suite, “Joy to the World”, “Dreaming of a White Christmas” and many others.

This is a great Christmas event where you can enjoy outstanding performances with your neighbors, friends and family.

36th Annual OCPC Christmas Concert
Date: December 1, 2012
Old Cutler Presbyterian Church
14401 Old Cutler Rd
Main Sanctuary

Contact: Church Office
Phone: 305-238-8121

Two Showtimes:
4:00pm - featuring the Children's Choir
7:30pm - featuring the Orchestra

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I trust that we are all thankful this year for more than simply an end of the election season (finally over in Palmetto Bay, but not quite yet in sister city Doral). 

Like millions of others across this great country, we will celebrate Thanksgiving, honoring a tradition older than the nation itself. The Continental Congress proclaimed that the "inhabitants of these states" observe a day of Thanksgiving back in 1782.  Ever since then we set this day aside to give thanks for all our blessings, and this year we have many things for which to be thankful.

Please also take the time to remember and help the less fortunate.  Many families and children are doing with less, Take the time to become involved in a local charity, with time, if not a donation. There are many ongoing charities that are looking for donations and volunteers.

There is much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving. Alexandra, Katherine, Meredith and I wish you and your family the happiest of holidays. 

Thanksgiving is the busiest traveling season of the year.  Please be aware and be safe.

One of my personal favorite quotes about a holiday:
On Thanksgiving Day all over America, families sit down to dinner at the same moment - halftime.
– (author unknown)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Palmetto Bay runoff elections results. Palmetto Bay turns out both incumbents in 2012

Information now official CLICK HERE to view the unofficial results summary:

John Dubois has unseated Brian Pariser 2,091 to 2,063.

Tim Schaffer beats out Jim Araiza for District two: 2,170 to 1,953 

There was obviously an anti-incumbent mood for the voters in Palmetto Bay. Term limits?  2 incumbents failed to get reelected in 2012.  Another council member failed to get reelected in 2006.

Incumbents have fared 50/50 getting reelected in challenged races in Palmetto Bay.

2004: Vice Mayor Robinson won reelection without opposition.  Paul Neidhart won by a wide margin.
2006: I and Dr. Ed Feller easily won reelection.  John Breder (from memory) almost won, but narrowly missing avoiding a runoff by 7 votes, but lost by 57 in the runoff.
2010: No one up for reelection. Term limits led to Stanczyk running for mayor. Newcomers ran in districts one and three.
2012: A council divided. Both Howard Tendrich and Brian Pariser lose their seats on the council.

Congratulations to John DuBois and Tim Schaffer. Please, I ask that both of you do you part to stop the infighting.  Bring this council together and let's work for the "Ps" that I often espoused: This time, making council meetings "Pleasant" for all concerned: council, staff, speakers and the residents and business community. Each council member regardless of title, mayor vice mayor or one of the 3 council seats have the same one vote.  All can make or second motions or agenda resolutions and ordinances.  All council members can (and need to) stand up from the dais to shut down bullying.

Let's all work together to improve Palmetto Bay in 2013.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Oh, this Twinkie thing, it ain't over yet.

Mea Culpa.  How could I remark on the world's loss of Twinkies without mentioning one of my favorite movies: Zombieland.

Some favorite Zombieland quotes: remember rule #32, enjoy the little things.  
WARNING: strong language on video, including an "f-bomb" or a few.

As the Character Tallahassee said in Zombieland, “Oh, this Twinkie thing, it ain't over yet. “Believe it or not, Twinkies have an expiration date.”

There's a box of Twinkies in that grocery store. Not just any box of Twinkies, the last box of Twinkies that anyone will enjoy in the whole universe. Believe it or not, Twinkies have an expiration date. Some day very soon, Life's little Twinkie gauge is gonna go... empty.

Unfortunately, that Twinkie gauge is going empty much earlier than any of us imagined.

Palmetto Bay runoff election. For whom am I voting for? Do I dare disturb the universe?

Palmetto Bay voters: Are you ready to tee it up again and walk the gauntlet this Tuesday, November 20? At stake is the future of Palmetto Bay, a community hard fought for by so many of us. This election is for the Vice Mayor and Council District 2 seats.

I have been asked where I stand on the remaining candidates. I am obviously undecided at this late hour, but not on whom I will vote for – my choices have been made long ago. I remain undecided as to whether I will share my choices publicly – I ask myself, do I dare, do I dare?

My choices are based upon what we need in the village. So as I ponder whether my friends would like to hear my choices, I leave you with Elvis Costello, performing “What’s so funny about peace, love and understanding.”  May we never see an election or better yet, a council that feuds amongst itself, that refuses to be supportive of their brethren on the dais, spreading falsehoods against honorable public servants like Howard Tendrich (but that is another story for after the run-offs). Until then, “Do I dare disturb the universe?”

For those less musically-minded, more literature oriented, I offer excerpts from The Love-Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, by T.S. Eliot (CLICK HERE to read the entire poem.  There will be a test as to if and if so, why this poem is appropriate.)

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question. . .
Oh, do not ask, "What is it?"
Let us go and make our visit.

  * * *

  And indeed there will be time
To wonder, "Do I dare?" and, "Do I dare?"
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair— 
[They will say: "How his hair is growing thin!"]