Friday, March 31, 2017

Time running out for the No Texting while driving bill. Palmetto Bay high schooler Mark Merwitzer needs our help in passing House Bill 69: Use of Wireless Communications Devices while Driving

The deadline is rapidly approaching.  Please - the time to call or write is now - without delay.

Seriously, who here wants to speak up on behalf of distracted driving? The operation of a motor vehicle is a critical task.  We all have the right to be safe on the road. Driving is not the time for multi-tasking.

Please help.  Contact your State Senator and Representative.  Please copy, paste, share - and CALL OR WRITE! The time is now.

Our very own Palmetto Bay high schooler Mark Merwitzer needs our help in passing House Bill 69: Use of Wireless Communications Devices while Driving - Mark needs FLORIDA Residents to CALL both House Representatives & ask for their supporting vote:
Jose Oliva @ (850)717-5110
Richard Corcoran @ (813) 792-5177
**Phone Lines Will Be Busy, Please Keep Calling to Leave Message Asking for Their Vote*
Please email them as well:  

Other coverage regarding Mark Merwitzer and his campaign:
CBS Miami - High School Student Leading Fight To Ban Texting & Driving In Florida March 29, 2017, By Vanessa Borge

Miami Herald -  Miami teen leading charge to outlaw texting while driving, March 24, 2017, By Kyra Gurney 

Community Newspapers / Palmetto Bay News - Student is a summer intern with county commissioner, August 9, 2016, By: Gary Alan Ruse (Involves significant discussion of the texting efforts)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Participating in the 2017 Women that Shine Program - great leaders in our community.

A great way to start a Saturday (March 25, 2017), recognizing a lifetime achiever and outstanding women and inspiring role models in our community! 

It was my honor to participate in this event honoring Outstanding Women that Shine, "recognizing outstanding women and inspiring role models in our community." Thank you to Susan Windmiller, President, League of Women Voters, Miami-Dade (LWVMD).

Miami-Dade County is blesses with strong leaders, including our current District 8 County commissioner, Daniella Levine Cava.      

Well-deserved recognition to Lifetime Achievement Award honoree Fmr County Commissioner (among many achievements) Ruth Shack; and the Women that Shine 207 Recipients: Marisel Losa, President and CEO of Health Council of South Florida; Marcia Reisman, Co-Founder, Casa Valentine and Mentor for Women of Tomorrow & Maria Rodriguez, Founder and First Executive Director, Florida Immigration Coalition!

Congratulations for a successful 2017 Women That Shine event to all who participated and put this event together, including (and I know I am leaving people out, my apologies) Leticia Pelaez and Nadia Khan Roberts (LWVMD Directors and WTS Chairs)!


Monday, March 27, 2017

I am looking forward to support for this Palmetto Bay Equal Pay resolution!

I am pleased to sponsor an equal pay resolution for Palmetto Bay - joining with Pinecrest and other local municipalities to take a leadership role in providing equal pay for equal work.

Palmetto Bay has a strong record of women in leadership positions.  Our diverse community has seen significant female leadership in the council positions of Mayor, Vice Mayor and council member posts. Women have held two Charter positions: Clerk and Village Attorney.  We have and have had women serve as department directors, including Planning, Public Services, Parks, Operations Commander of our Policing Unit and Communications.   

Please see my prior post of March 12, 2017: I was honored to recognize strong leadership in Palmetto Bay on International Woman's Day 2017 

I believe that Palmetto Bay, like Pinecrest, is worthy of commendation for its devotion and commitment, real action, not just words in order to achieve a diverse workplace, clear pay scales, well-developed job descriptions. And like Pinecrest, this resolution is by no means negative, but to spotlight our long-standing commitment to treat employees fairly and equally.  There is always room for improvement to counter longstanding societal biases that that subtly influence most organizations.

My goal is that this resolution passes the council with unanimous support and we continue to move forward to be the best village we can be for all our residents and employees!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Palmetto Bay - working to be part of the network of Age-Friendly Communities - Application for Palmetto Bay filed

Palmetto Bay continues the council teamwork required to Join the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities. Making our community age friendly (for ALL ages) is a priority of ALL members of the Palmetto Bay Village Council. 

Our application was formally submitted in March, 2017.

Note - from the official AARP website (CLICK HERE):


Communities in the AARP age-friendly network are not retirement villages, gated developments, nursing homes or assisted living facilities.

Membership in the network does not mean that the community is, currently, "age-friendly" or a great place to retire.

Membership in the network is not an endorsement by AARP.

What membership does mean is that a community's elected leadership has made the commitment to actively work toward making their town, city or county a great place for people of all ages.

Our Palmetto Bay application was formally submitted this week (March 16, 2017).  I will continue to keep everyone up to date. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

UPDATE - Contract for sale expected on the FPL "Cutler Plantation" property

Manager Ed Silva and I met on Thursday, 3/16/2017, with an FPL representative for an update on this property.  We were advised that a contract is to be awarded by the middle of next week.  The identify of the proposed buyer has not been disclosed. 

The issue for Palmetto Bay is whether we missed an opportunity or is a more realistic opportunity waiting to present itself on the FPL "Cutler Plantation" property?  Palmetto Bay officials have been monitoring and working through various contacts to determine our best opportunities. 

As Palmetto Bay buying this land outright, the Village Council agreed that the $60 Million asking price is far too large a number for Palmetto Bay to carry on its own and partnering with the County and/or neighboring municipalities may open our village residents up to shouldering noise and traffic from a large regional park.  The grant opportunities are not available in Tallahassee as they once were when I worked with the original council for over $3.6 million from The Trust for Public Land and Florida Communities Trust to purchase Thalatta Estate.

I brought this matter before the Village Council at the most recent Committee of the Whole meeting (Monday, March 13, 2017) as this is a matter that requires discussion by the full council in full public view.  Council Member David Singer advised of his discussions with FPL officials on opportunities relating to this property.  I, along with other council members, provided additional updates. You can expect that I will continue to have updates announced at public meetings or important interim announcements posted here on my blog.

This is consistent with set policy of the Village Council - as reflected in the Palmetto Bay Resolution 2016-77 sponsored by councilman Tim Schaffer and approved 9/19/2016:


The 'awarding' of a contract is far from the last word.  Also "contract" is far from a final step for a new owner to actually close on this property. Prior contacts have fallen through.

A prospective buyer/developer may also look to work with the Village of Palmetto Bay.  This may provide an opportunity to partner, extract, or even purchase a portion of the property in order to reduce density/create a park.  The question is whether Palmetto Bay is the financial resources or the ability to partner with others to buy (and operate) part of this property for a park.

Thank you for those who have contacted me concerning this property.  This property has raised significant speculation and discussion. Should/can the Village purchase the property to create another park in the community. The discussion is far from over.  I ask that everyone stay informed and engaged on this and other issues that are important to you. I can be reached at or (305) 302-3713.

CLICK HERE to view the actual online property listing

PRIOR / RELATED POSTS: I advised that the FPL property was for sale in a December 19, 2013, post - FPL | Cutler Plantation - Opening price - $40 Million- and have continued to keep our residents informed, including: "Cutler Plantation" property was back on the market in a prior post of November 25, 2016, FPL property - "Cutler Plantation" property is now back on the market - seeking $60 million.

Stay tuned in for further updates as they become available. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Breaking News- Third District Court of Appeal REVERSES the trial court order striking the Citizen's Initiative regarding private school expansion

Congratulations to our Village Attorney Dexter Lehtinen for a significant victory for Palmetto Bay before the Third District Court of Appeal in the appellate case, No. 3D16-1201, Lower Tribunal No. 15-24018, Village of Palmetto Bay, Florida, Appellant, vs. Alexander School, Inc., Appellee.

As I requested, Palmetto Bay defended the Village Charter.  (This is a duty of your Mayor and Village Council).

The Third District Court of Appeal released its opinion today, Wednesday, March 15, 2017 - finding in FAVOR of Palmetto Bay and reversing a trial court Summary Judgment striking the citizen Initiative Charter provision requiring a 75% vote of surrounding electors prior to a private school expansion. Note that this does NOT end the litigation - it is not the final ruling.  The Summary Judgment is reversed and the matter is remanded back to the trial court for further proceedings.

CLICK HERE - to view the full 7 page opinion posted online with the Third District Court of Appeal.

This is good news for the Village and establishes Attorney Lehtinen's reputation as a outstanding legal advocate for the Village of Palmetto Bay.  Palmetto Bay has been represented by Dexter W. Lehtinen and Claudio Riedi of Lehtinen Schultz Riedi Catalano de la Fuente, PLLC.

From the appellate order:  The Village of Palmetto Bay (the “Village”) appeals a final summary judgment entered in favor of Alexander Schools, Inc. (“Alexander School”) finding Section 10.1 of the Village’s Charter to be unconstitutional. We reverse the trial court’s ruling. We find Section 10.1 is not arbitrary or ambiguous and the record shows that Alexander School failed to meet the high burden required to show that the ordinance is unconstitutional.

It is far too early to determine what the next step will be, if any, from the Alexander Schools, Inc. 

I would expect a motion for rehearing, then, if unsuccessful, further proceedings before the trial court upon remand of this claim. There is no guaranteed time line for resolution of a motion for rehearing.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Palmetto Bay History - photo records concerning the original Coral Reef Park - "Master Plan" and field/opening day program.

I love Palmetto Bay History!

I got the jump on the leg work when Bruce & Dottie Barton called me to advise that they have pictures and other memorabilia ready for me to pick up and preserve.  Great stuff.  I am posting photos of the documents and photos received. 
March 13, 2017: I had the privilege of reviewing these memories with Palmetto Bay pioneers Bruce & Dottie Barton. Dottie was one of the catalysts who fought hard to make Coral Reef Park a reality - one of the community gathering spots that serves as the heart of our community a place for children to play and adults to exercise - and to enjoy the protected natural areas.
 The documents include an original program for the dedication of Coral Reef Park, held Saturday, September 15, 1979.

And now, the big documents - renderings of original concept/agreement for Coral Reef Park:

Finally - photos of the festivities of the day - the balloon launch.  Does anyone else have any such pictures documenting Palmetto Bay History?  Please send any photos or documents to me at or call me at (305) 302-3713 so we may discuss.  Thanks you!

Thank you Bruce & Dottie Barton - for your service to Palmetto Bay - pre and post incorporation.  Thank you for locating, copying and providing these photos.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

I was honored to recognize strong leadership in Palmetto Bay on International Woman's Day 2017

#InternationalWomensDay recognized in Palmetto Bay. We are blessed with strong leadership in our government: personnel and in positions of leadership including numerous Department Directors as well as throughout our Palmetto Bay Community‬.
Thank you for your leadership. #ItTakesAVillage

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

2017 Village Celebration - another outstanding community event. Thank you all.

Thank you to those who attended or supported the 2017 Annual Celebration at Coral Reef Park.  Another home run event! I have posted photos from this event.  Take the time to view and follow the links to prior blog posts with photos of the prior picnics.  Perhaps you can find photos of yourself, your family.  Feel free to send me photos to post.  We want to keep that #SmallTownUSA feeling going.

Please also take the time to review some prior posts regarding the history of our village picnic, including: Sunday, March 6, 2011, Linda Robinson, Palmetto Bay's initial Vice Mayor, reflects on celebration history

Check out all the past picnic blogs – CLICK HERE -

Sunday, March 5, 2017

POD - Palmetto High School Baseball wins the 2017 "Mayor's Cup" game at Coral Reef Park

Congratulations to Miami Palmetto Senior HS Baseball - winners of the 2017 Mayor's Cup.

I am proud of the hard work from our student-athletes. Miami Palmetto Senior HS wins the 2017 Mayor's Cup in their annual rivalry game with Coral Reef Senior HS.  Two outstanding teams.  I am proud of all the student athletes.  Palmetto Bay is blessed to have such fine public and private schools serving our community. 
2017 Palmetto Bay Mayor's Cup - Miami Palmetto Sr HS Varsity
The Mayor's Cup 
#ItTakesAVillage #PalmettoBayTurns15