Wednesday, February 24, 2021

POD - Mars Rover Perseverance's First Full-Color Look at Mars

Photo of the day - Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

February 19, 2021

This is the first high-resolution, color image to be sent back by the Hazard Cameras (Hazcams) on the underside of NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover after its landing on Feb. 18, 2021.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Native Bee hive or MEGA wasp nest? Fell with the palm frond and broke up on the driveway. Any assistance on identification? Pictures provided.

Here are some photos of the nest that fell and broke upon impact with the driveway. I failed to notice it for the (obvious) long time that it spent up on the tree. 

Please feel free to help in identifying whether this was a native Bee hive or MEGA wasp nest. Sad if its a native bee hive. Good riddance if its a MEGA wasp nest.

Please feel free to email your identification to

Thank you.

The mango trees would have (or perhaps did provide significant pollen for the bees. Mango flavored honey and more pollinators to assist in producing more mangoes - a true win/win!

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Awe struck. NASA's Perseverance rover prevails - lands safely on Mars! Great teamwork!

Wow! Is there life on Mars?

Just minutes after landing on Mars, NASA's Perseverance rover beamed back this image to Earth. It is the first of many the rover will while it's on its mission on the planet (photo credit 

And NASA's Perseverance rover is on Twitter!:

This is exciting!

Today is the day! Exciting Mars mission - here is the official NASA Landing Toolkit: Perseverance Rover Event show starts at 2:15 p.m. EST

Another exciting NASA exploration event. Plan on taking some time today to view (beginning 2:15 PM local - links provided). OK, not a manned mission, but robotic exploration is the way its done now, and is part of the scout missions preceding a 'manned' mission.  See the NASA Landing Toolkit: Perseverance Rover: One-stop shopping for everything you need to know about the upcoming landing of the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover.

Toolkit Resources

Ways to Use this Toolkit

On Feb. 18, 2021, NASA's Mars Perseverance rover makes its final descent to the Red Planet. Here are some of the ways you can take part in this landing.

Now Through Landing

***   ***   *** 

After Landing:

  • Latest News on Mission Website
    As the rover begins its mission at Jezero Crater, visit the mission website for the latest news and images every day.

  • Where is the Rover?
    This interactive map will let you see where the rover is on Mars. Once the rover starts driving, the traverse path and latest odometry will display automatically.

  • Raw Images
    Once the rover lands, see the latest images the rover sends back here. Vote for your favorite to become “Image of the Week.”  

  • Sounds of Mars 
    Try this audio experience to hear what you might sound like on Mars. Once the rover sends back recordings from its two microphones, you’ll be able to hear those audio files too. 

  • Stay Connected
    Get regular updates about landing, news, science, images, TV programming and some of our new web experiences. Sign up here.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Have a happy and safe Presidents' Day Weekend 2021 – a short history of this long weekend holiday

What have you been doing over this weekend?  I have asked in prior year's posts whether you celebrate this federal holiday by reflecting upon legacies of past presidents; simply relax over a long weekend; take in one of the annual community events; take advantage of sales; or none of the above?  This year is special, COVID edition. The predominant answer appears to be "none of the above" as the annual community events are not going forward due to COVID (in responsible communities). Next year. There will be next year, assuming the vaccine actually rolls out in time to meet that sweet spot where most or all are vaccinated before the prior vaccinations wear off.

Presidents' Day is celebrated on the third Monday in February.  Sadly, by some, it is better known commercially as the Presidents' Day Sale where we celebrate and save with (alleged) great deals! Including providing for an extra 15 - 20% off plus free shipping (online)!

A short History of Presidents’ Day

Presidents’ Day was first celebrated in the 1880s, with the birthday of George Washington was first celebrated as a federal holiday.

Controversy: long weekends versus recognizing the actual date:
In 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Bill in 1968. This moved federal holidays to Mondays. The intent was to provide for long weekends. There was opposition to this move, by those who believe that those holidays should be celebrated on the dates they actually commemorate.
And then there was one national day for all presidents:
How many of us remember celebrating both Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays as separate events? Presidents' Day became the officially celebrated holiday in 1971, to honor the birthdays of both Washington (February 22) and Abraham Lincoln (February12). Note that Abraham Lincoln’s birthday was celebrated in many states, but was never an official national holiday (I wonder which states celebrated? Extra points awarded for those who can answer)

Friday, February 12, 2021

Mango season is upon us. Yes, I suffered my mango sinus attack this year, but a bountiful mango season will be my (our) reward!

FOSDU know my fondness for growing Mangoes. My yard is blessed. Connie Ogle - your article spoke to me - this really happened this week. A few people from my office were concerned - until I exsplained it to them:

You step outside and breathe in fresh warm air, reveling in the thought that your family and friends in the north are much unhappier than you are on this Florida winter day.

Then you hack and cough. Your nose starts to run. Water pours from your eyes, which quickly shrink to slits. Your cheeks ache.

No, you don’t have COVID. It’s mango blossom season.

A great read about Mango season those who are Miami Herald subscribers - see ‘Mangoes are super happy right now’: What a big year for blossoms means for Miami, by Connie Ogle, FEBRUARY 12, 2021

Your sinuses haven’t been lying to you: this is a banner year for blossoms, says Noris Ledesma, president of the Florida State Horticultural Society. And a robust year for blossoms means a robust year for fruit.

“It’s a celebration, this blooming season,” says Ledesma, who retired last year from her post as curator of tropical fruit at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. “It’s amazing. I don’t recall a blooming extravaganza like this in my 20 years in the U.S. The mangoes are super happy right now. These are perfect conditions.”

What caused this blooming bonanza? South Florida’s streak of cold weather, Ledesma says. Not only that, but it was dry as well as cold; humidity and rain haven’t been a factor.

So once again, my friends can look forward to my annual (please take and keep my yard clean) mango giveaways. CLICK HERE to view some of my past SDU posts relating to neighborhood mango growing and giveaways.

(don't get excited - yet - the two photos above were taken as part of my 2020 crop giveaway)

Thursday, February 11, 2021

87th Avenue Bridge. IMPORTANT MEETING TONIGHT: Virtual Community Connectivity Committee Meeting, Thurs. Feb 11, 2021


I have registered, have you? Members of the public may participate virtually and/or watch the virtual meeting via the Village’s official Facebook page and/or our Granicus web stream on This publicly noticed sunshine meeting will be recorded. 

Please register to attend the session as follows: After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. 

CLICK HERE to view the official online notice. 

Friday, February 5, 2021

Next stop for the 87th Avenue Bridge: the Miami-Dade TPO - who sits on this board?

The next meeting of the TPO is currently scheduled for Thursday, February 18. The agenda is not yet set, so there is no guarantee what issues will be placed on it. 

The TPO Governing Board meets once a month (on a Thursday), starting at 2 pm in the TPO Chambers located at 150 West Flagler Street, Suite 1900, Miami, FL 33130. CLICK HERE to view the County web page for the Miami-Dade TPO.

The Miami-Dade TPO Governing Board

The TPO Governing Board is comprised of:

  • 13 Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners
  • 8 elected officials; one from each of the eight municipalities with a population over 50,000
  • 4 appointed by the Governor, representing:
    • Miami-Dade County School Board
    • Municipality-at-Large (within Miami-Dade County)
    • A Non-Elected Official (residing in unincorporated Miami-Dade County)
    • Expressway Authority

The TPO Governing Board is composed of 24 voting members. The current members are:

Commission District 1 - Oliver G. Gilbert III, Chair
Commission District 2 - Jean Monestime
Commission District 3 - Keon Hardemon
Commission District 4 - Sally A. Heyman
Commission District 5 - Eileen Higgins
Commission District 6 - Rebeca Sosa
Commission District 7 - Raquel A. Regalado
Commission District 8 - Danielle Cohen Higgins
Commission District 9 - Kionne L. McGhee
Commission District 10 - Javier D. Souto
Commission District 11  - Joe A. Martinez
Commission District 12  - Jose “Pepe” Diaz
Commission District 13  - René Garcia
City of Coral Gables - Vince Lago
City of Doral - Juan Carlos Bermudez, Vice-Chair
City of Hialeah - Oscar De La Rosa
City of Homestead - Steven D. Losner
City of Miami - Francis Suarez
City of Miami Beach - Micky Steinberg
City of Miami Gardens - Rodney Harris
City of North Miami – Philippe Bien-Aime
Municipal Representative - Roberto Martell
Miami-Dade County School Board - Perla T. Hantman
Non-Elected Official - vacant
Expressway Authority - vacant

The TPO Governing Board is vested with the responsibility for exercising the powers of the TPO including the final decision on all policy matters, adoption or endorsement of transportation plans and programs, adoption of budgets, approval of agreements or contracts, adoption of rules, and establishing or changing its internal operating structure.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

More on the failure to attend the very important County Commission meeting. It cost Palmetto Bay dearly. How it should have been prevented. Read the Village Charter.

I am not buying the “had to work argument” (and we know she was somewhere else at or about 9:00 am on that date). The Village Charter has provisions written into it designed to prevent such issues. The question is whether any of the current members of the village council read the Village Charter, and if so, do they understand how it provides for a process to ensure that important events are not missed such as appearing before the County Commission on Tuesday, February 2, 2021? There is no denying that the Council knew this important matter was coming before the Board of County Commissioners the following day. They discussed it in public the night before. They know their schedules. They know the importance of this issue to all involved. All five should have planned to, no, not planned to, they all should have actually attended the next morning – it was that important.

Again, the fair question: what “scheduling conflict” did each of them have that prevented them from attending the Board of County Commission meeting the following morning? It strikes me similar to the famous Bill Murray (playing John Winger) quote in the movie Stripes, when his character objects to the drill sergeant waking them up early for a morning run:

Sergeant Hulka: We got a full day ahead of us. We're gonna start out with a five-mile run.

John Winger: I know that I'm speaking for the entire platoon when I say this run should be postponed until this platoon is better rested.

Sergeant Hulka: Well, I'll tell you what, soldier. Let's make it ten miles.

OK, so many of you don't have the movie Stripes memorized like I do, but the dialogue quoted above does make a serious point - not everything is life is scheduled to meet with your convenience. And, if you thought the bridge issue was tough, the issue just doubled in effort by their failure to appear, the Mayor and Council have to reverse what occurred on February 2, 2021; which is going to be much, much, more difficult than a ten mile run.

Thanks Winger

Read the Charter. It provides for the ability to designate others to appear.

Here are some important provisions placed in the Palmetto Bay Village Charter:

CITIZENS' BILL OF RIGHTS            (CLICK HERE to view the full charter section)

(A) This government has been created to protect the governed, not the governing. In order to provide the public with full and accurate information, to promote efficient administration management, to make government more accountable, and to insure to all persons fair and equitable treatment, the following rights are guaranteed:

***   ***   ***

(2) Truth in Government. No municipal official or employee shall knowingly furnish false information on any public matter, nor knowingly omit significant facts when giving requested information to members of the public.

***   ***   ***

(13) Representation of Public. The Mayor shall endeavor to designate one or more individuals to represent the Village at all proceedings before County, State and Federal regulatory bodies whose actions may significantly affect the Village and its residents.


Section 2.1. - Mayor and Vice-Mayor.                  (CLICK HERE to view the full charter section)

(A) Powers of the Mayor. The Mayor shall preside at meetings of the Council and be a voting member of the Council. In addition, the Mayor shall have the following specific responsibilities:

***   ***   ***

(3)The Mayor shall be recognized as head of the Village government for all ceremonial purposes, for purposes of military law, and for service of process.

(4)The Mayor shall be the official designated to represent the Village in all dealings with other governmental entities.

***   ***   ***

(B)Vice-Mayor. During the absence or incapacity of the Mayor, the Vice-Mayor shall have all the powers, authority, duties and responsibilities of the Mayor.

WHERE WAS THE VICE MAYOR? This meeting was important. At least it may have saved the folly of an “Emergency” Meeting” (It’s only an emergency because the council failed to attend the commission meeting). Note that our current Vice Mayor is an attorney and nearly all attorneys have occasionally been called to short notice or "emergency" hearings where they are expected to attend and participate. (Unless our current vice mayor has lived a truly charmed professional life where everything is scheduled with never an unexpected conflict)

Final Editor’s Note: Fairness in scheduling events to enable public participation: If the Mayor, Vice Mayor and Village Council can’t attend County Commission meetings because they ‘have to work’, then why are they scheduling Palmetto Bay sunshine meetings, visioning sessions and other sundry meetings to take place during the regular work days? It seems kinda contradictory, doesn’t it? Contradictory or hypocritical, you decide.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

80 percent of success is showing up. Palmetto Bay's residents, for and against, were left hanging by the failure of the Mayor, Vice Mayor and 3 council members to show up and advocate.

Why were the residents of Palmetto Bay left without any representation on Tuesday, February 2, 2021, before the Board of County Commissioners?

Fair question: I would like each and every member for the Village Council, from the Mayor, the Vice Mayor and each of the three district Council Members to advise the village residents what was more important than participating before the County Commission on Tuesday, 2-2-2021. in writing so we are all sure that we all receive the same answer, not one that differs based upon the audience.

Remember, the Mayor and all members of the Village Council are paid, and provided with health insurance benefits. Their expenses to and from the Commission Chambers would have been reimbursed. No excuses. 

It looks bad to fail to show up. Did they oversleep? Was it non-feasance? Or perhaps fear of public speaking or having to articulate a position that differed from what was told some during the election?

Perhaps they should dock themselves some of their pay and benefits for pulling a disappearing act when they were needed. its easy to participate in a ribbon cutting. It takes leadership and preparation to advocate on the tough issues.

I leave you with a quote from Dr. Jill Biden, educator and First Lady of the United States, about showing up when you are needed:

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

UPDATE - Miami-Dade County Commission unanimously approves bridging resolution

Cutler Bay's Mayor Tim Merbott appeared before the Board of County Commissioners and plead his case for building the bridge.

There was no appearance, no speakers, from the Palmetto Bay Mayor or Village Council. 

Those present on the County Commission joined in a unanimous vote to approve the resolution. agenda item 11(A)(12). The item moves forward.

Sad, but I predicted this back on December 15, 2021, when I asked the questions, raised the issues, and asked a fair question in the Tuesday, December 15, 2020, post “2021's first test - the bridge is back. Will it unite or divide Palmetto Bay? Will it happen without input from Palmetto Bay's so-called leaders?

The other shoe has now dropped. And Palmetto Bay officials dropped the ball. We all saw on February 2, we saw that there is no plan of the Mayor and Palmetto Bay Council, but to blame the County Commission and to deflect responsibility from where it lies – squarely on the current Palmetto Bay Mayor and Council

Let's be clear, my opinions in that post concern much more than to bridge or not to bridge. It is about issue straddling and pandering misstatements passed along in Palmetto Bay,  much of the time done through proxy. The conflicting promises made, talking points specially developed for whomever the candidates are speaking, the underground attacks and rumor mongering (and preventing debates where the truth would be aired).

Distractions, misdirection. A local government of bread and circuses.

Questions from concerned residents: "Will Palmetto Bay leaders support or oppose the bridge?"

(Non) Response from elected officials: "Look! Over there! Palmetto Bay is holding birthday drive bys, would you like one? Don't miss out"

What is the plan? I heard the rumors made in the door to door personal campaigning - to vote against Silva and David Singer as they were “pro-bridge”. So now we have a District Commissioner who is on board with the bridge. So again, I ask, What is the plan from Palmetto Bay leadership?

Sad. No leadership. React rather than advocate. Allow things to happen and then blame those who are successful at pushing forward their competing agenda.

Bridging Palmetto Bay - the plan is back and apparently this has been put together without any opposition or input from current Palmetto Bay officials.

 What did they know and when did they know it?

The late US Senator and statesman Howard Baker is known for his famous query of then President Nixon: "What did the President know and when did he know it?" Well, I have the same thought today.  Apparently our Palmetto Bay elected leaders were caught flat footed, blissfully unaware of a plan pushing through the County Commission to bridge Palmetto Bay, starting at 87 Avenue. This is kind of important information to stay on top of - both for supporters and objectors.

I served with two different county commissioners and both would meet regularly with me to discuss issues and projects that concerned and/or impacted Palmetto Bay. I am quite taken aback by this alleged lack of knowledge by the Palmetto Bay Mayor and Council. Commission Danielle Cohen Higgins has been accessible to those who have questions or concerns. I could not see how it is any different for fellow elected officials. There are also the South Dade Municipal Coalition meetings where transportation issues have been discussed as well. In any event, there was a Palmetto Bay Council Meeting last night (Monday, 2/1/2021). Do the current council members support this proposal or not? Do they have an action plan either in support or opposition? If so, could they please share it with all of us?

Here is a link to the Miami Herald Article - viewable by those who subscribe to the newspaper. See:  The fight over the 87th Avenue bridge is back, and up for a last-minute county vote, by Douglas Hanks, 2/01/2021

So it is a fair question to ask: What did the current Palmetto Bay Mayor and Council Members know and when did they know it? And if they knew nothing, then why? Why aren’t questions asked in the numbers meetings and opportunities that they have shared with our County Commissioner, Danielle Cohen Higgins?

Finally – here is a link to the Miami-Dade County Commission item set for today, yes, TODAY, Tuesday, February 2, 2021, beginning at 9:00 AM.


I hear the lamentations of the current mayor and council.  I want to hear the plan, and see it effectively put into operation, either in support or in opposition to this bridge plan.

Recent meetings documented on official's social media:

Is there actual conversation of substance between our elected officials when these events take place or its it merely posing for the camera?

Monday, February 1, 2021

It’s Groundhog’s Day – once again. But this time it’s virtual. We won’t notice the difference, but for the size of the crowds we see on the screen. How/where to tune in to follow the events.

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021 - is Groundhog’s Day – once again. But this time it’s virtual. We won’t notice the difference, but for the size of the crowds we see (or won't see) on the screen. How/where to tune in to follow the events.

Punxsutawney Phil will leave his burrow at 7:25 a.m. February 2nd at Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania when h will perform his annual duty to observe the weather conditions and look for his shadow. He will then make his prediction for the remainder of winter. One place to look for Punxsutawney Phil is to view it online!

The Inner Circle of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club takes the COVID-19 threat seriously and is looking out for the health of all who would like to participate. The club determined that there will not be any in person attendance or guests on the grounds due to the potential Covid risks. 

There will be a live ceremony and prognostication, but no live attendance of spectators. All are invited to participate virtually including television, Internet and live steaming. The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club developed numerous live internet, website and virtual events and interactions that will take the place of the traditional in person events.  

Information regarding these virtual events is listed on their website:  

EDITOR’S NOTE: Strange. We here in sunny South Florida can for the first (and hopefully yhe only time) enjoy the annual Groundhog’s Day event with Punxsutawney Phil to the very same extent as the locals!

I do want to see this event live sometime, obviously not this year. It is a fun event.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Weekend rides were local, but this appeared to be the weekend to head out to the Everglades

2 bike rides this weekend. I went north on Saturday and south on Sunday morning upping my total to end this week at 85.5 miles. Maybe I will hit the road to round it up to an even hundred, doubt it. 

                               (ab0ve left - Saturday route                                                          above right - Sunday route)
I think I missed a memo. I see so many people went out to ride along the Tamiami Trail / Krome areas for road cycling or graveling the Tamiami area levees. Shark Valley appears to have been a popular destination. Of course, I enjoy simply rolling out of the drive way to start my rides.

This was too nice a weekend not have spent time outside enjoying the local flora and fauna. I hope you and yours were able to take advantage.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

35 years ago today (1-28-1986) Space Shuttle Challenger Tragedy - a remember where you were when you found out moment

Where were you when you found out about the Challenger tragedy? I remember pulling into the driveway to pick up a law school friend who came out and told me. We still morn this national tragedy and wish the best for the families of those who lost their lives.

Read History dot com: 1986, January 28, The space shuttle Challenger explodes after liftoff

At 11:38 a.m. EST, on January 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger lifts off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and Christa McAuliffe is on her way to becoming the first ordinary U.S. civilian to travel into space. McAuliffe, a 37-year-old high school social studies teacher from New Hampshire, won a competition that earned her a place among the seven-member crew of the Challenger. She underwent months of shuttle training but then, beginning January 23, was forced to wait six long days as the Challenger‘s launch countdown was repeatedly delayed because of weather and technical problems. Finally, on January 28, the shuttle lifted off.

Seventy-three seconds later, hundreds on the ground, including Christa’s family, stared in disbelief as the shuttle broke up in a forking plume of smoke and fire. Millions more watched the wrenching tragedy unfold on live television. There were no survivors.

Follow the History dot com link above to read more.

Reward Increased For Information On Palmetto Bay Murder

Reward Increased For Information On Palmetto Bay Murder: The reward for information leading to an arrest in a Palmetto Bay murder has been increased.

Miami-Dade police said up to $15,000 is now being offered to find the person who killed 22-year-old Aaron Swerdloff.

Please assist our Palmetto Bay family. Anyone who has any tips should report them to our Village Policing Unit and County Police.

On January 6th, police were sent to the area of SW 92nd Avenue and SW 176th Street after they received reports of gunfire.

Remembering Cloris Leachman - star of the big and small screens

Actress Cloris Leachman passed away at age 94.

I can never remember a character played by Cloris Leachman's that I did not fully enjoy [Frau Blucher (Neigh!!!) was one such best!] -- she had such a multi-generational career. My daughters loved her on Malcolm in the Middle.
What a great career. RIP. We will continue to see you in reruns and on cable.

See: Cloris Leachman, TV icon and comedy star, dies at 94, by EW Staff, January 27, 2021

Monday, January 25, 2021

Bern-ing up the Internet. Another MEME-ingful post. A win for charity

FOSDU have sent me some additional Bernie MEMEs that I am adding here. Thank you for the updates. 

Bernie has even been seen locally (We paused his Strava):

Final word on this topic:
MEME turns into a fundraiser for Meals on Wheels - See Insider: Bernie Sanders turned his inauguration meme into a sweatshirt to raise money for charity, by Celia Fernandez, Jan 22, 2021 

Bernie Sanders turns inauguration meme into sweatshirt for charity, by Kelly McCleary, CNN

Well played Bernie, well played.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Feeling the Bern. He is larger than life. He is an ever-present MEME. Just for fun

The internet is going crazy with Bernie memes. Here’s the original pic at the inauguration along with some of my favorites, mostly in movies and art. Curated just for you!

I am starting to think that this is far from organic, that this was preplanned, so maybe people are just very fast to bring things to market.

Local residents have also started a page called "Bernie Sanders Inauguration Memes" which had 186 members at last check. Please contact me if you are on Facebook and you like an invite. 

Have fun everyone. I will add new MEMEs as I find new ones that strike me as blog-worthy.

First - immediately below, a collage of Bernie showing up locally, at Palmetto Bay area homes, at Southwood Middle and event at our Village Hall!

Set two - more fun MEMEs:
Set 3 below - what I call some of the original and historical classics:

But now here is my (present) ALL-TIME favorite (so much that it its own spot):

Gravel - BERN

Would you buy your Girl Scout cookies from the Bern?

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Lady Gaga sings National Anthem at Joe Biden's inauguration. What a day for our nation.

This is truly a time to appreciate our national anthem. after what occurred two weeks earlier during an insurrection where vandals torn at one of our three branches of government, bringing confederate and other Flags hostile to our US Constitution into our legislative chambers. 

It was special to hear the words " … the flag was still there …." and to actually see that our flag is still there.
The event was a time of healing and setting our course together as a nation. This was not a simple half-hour swearing in ceremony. History was made. This was a living teaching moment for our democratic republic. This was a rich and full day to enjoy together as a nation, together in spirit and purpose though socially remote under these unique and trying times, as Americans.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Happy Inauguration Day - Best wishes to incoming 46 – Joe Biden and especially incoming Vice President Kamala Harris

Today is the next of many new days for our County that will impact the entire world as well as Palmetto Bay, our own lil piece of small town USA.

Best wishes to incoming 46 – Joe Biden and especially incoming Vice President Kamala Harris, the first woman and first woman of color to serve as Vice President. A great step forward. I am excited for what she, herself, as well as what the entire team brings to their respective offices.

I like what I am seeing so far as to the cabinet nominees. May the US Senate put side show politics aside and allow the team to set up quickly and hit the ground running. It is important to note that the US Senate had then President Trump’s security team in place the very same day as his inauguration. We should expect no less of our US Senate on this day.

I will be keeping a close eye and have enjoyed the inauguration activities as they have been progressing. An inauguration is much more than a simple noontime swearing in. There have been activities leading up to this noontime swearing in. Activities will continue thereafter long into tonight as well as thereafter. These events are to mark and celebrate the peaceful transition of power and bring us all together. Our work, our participation in government, does not end at noon. We continue to bear our responsibilities of living in a representative democracy which includes public debate and working to achieve our goals.

Happy Inauguration Day!

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

No Democracy Allowed: Palmetto Bay sets sunshine meeting during Inauguration

Who manages the calendar for the Village of Palmetto Bay? Someone who isn't very attuned to current events . . . or eighth grade Civics. Village leadership, set a "virtual" sunshine meeting of all the Village Advisory, Board, and Task Force Chairs. It will take place tomorrow, January 20, 2021 and has been moved to 2:00 p.m. from a previous noon starting time. 

Why, does this date ring a bell? Well it should to most, as this date has been in the news since November. In fact, it's been an important date since 1937, which was the first time the presidential inauguration was held on that date.

Where did the date come from? The Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution, which states: "The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January."

The Palmetto Bay meeting was originally set for 12:00 PM – the exact date and time as the inauguration  of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States and the historic swearing in of Kamala Harris, the first woman and first woman of color, as Vice President. Apparently this is of little consequence to our local officials; just another day at the office (or golf course) for Palmetto Bay.

We note that not everyone will watch the inauguration, even President Trump is skipping this inauguration. It is more than apparent that our Palmetto Bay officials are following the lead of President Trump. But for many, setting a “sunshine meeting”, allegedly for the purpose of holding a meeting in public, but holding it originally at a date (and time) where it conflicts with such a historic and important international event really takes the cake.

Or perhaps there is a more sinister reason for the scheduling. What can they accomplish if most village residents are watching the inauguration instead of the sunshine meeting? Or perhaps the village higher-ups are making a comment on the Biden presidency.

After some outcry, the village belatedly moved the sunshine meeting back 2 hours. I'm sure that President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris appreciate it.  

This is yet another example of the silly games played daily here in the Village of Palmetto Bay: hiding information in plain sight and setting meetings when no one (or, perhaps, no one with whom they disagree) will be able to participate. 

It appears there will be a round III to LUXCOM I. Round III will be held before the Third District Court of Appeal. Official updates? You should feel honored if you were among the lucky to have been kept in the loop. The silence is deafening.

The LUXCOM litigation is far from over, so our elected officials should put out their victory cigars and stop the back patting, or at least put in on hold for now. In something that has not been put out in any Village Update, Palmetto Bay is back before the Third District Court of Appeal in the ongoing legal battles with LUXCOM.  A Petition for Certiorari was filed on December 30, 2020 (what a way to end an already bad year).  LUXCOM continues to contest, to quash, (or reverse), Ordinance No. 2019-18 of the Village of Palmetto Bay which amended the Village’s official zoning map by revising the zoning designation of a parcel of land owned by Luxcom to one unit an acre (as I have stated, this action by the Village is fully defensible). I would expect that Palmetto Bay should prevail on this latest action before the Third District Court of Appeal. 

This action is styled  YACHT CLUB BY LUXCOM, LLC, vs. VILLAGE OF PALMETTO BAY COUNCIL, et al., Case Number: 3D20-1950, (Lower Tribunal Case(s):19-265-AP, Ordinance No.: 2019-18).

Judges of the Third District Court of Appeal rendered an order on January 6, 2021, requiring Palmetto Bay, the Respondents, “… to file a response within twenty-one (21) days from the date of this Order to the Petition for Issuance of Writ of Certiorari….” Wednesday, January 27, 2021, is the present date for the filing (unless extended by the Court).

BACKGROUND can be found in the PRIOR RELATED POST of December 1, 2020, Palmetto Bay wins round II – Court sides with Palmetto Bay. Luxcom's Petition for Writ of Certiorari is DENIED. Opinion released Tuesday, 12/1/2020

TRANSPARENCY ALERT: Here we go again. Does anyone else here feel like they are not being kept in the loop as to this extensive ongoing litigation?  Those who want to know need to continue to track public court dockets for information. There once was a time when Palmetto Bay maintained a page on the Village website where updates were posted relating to litigation, but those were different times, and different directions on transparency under two different prior Mayors, both Stanczyk and Flinn. This lack of information is quite sad. Obviously the most recent election failed to led to increasing transparency or reporting to Village residents. 

IMPACT: The Village of Palmetto Bay is now required to file our response on Wednesday, January 27, 2021, unless this deadline is extended by the court. Attorneys for Palmetto Bay will be arguing in support of the decision of the Appellate Division of the 11th Judicial Circuit.  LUXCOM then has seven (7) days from date the Village files its Response, again, unless this deadline is extended by the court.

The Judges assigned to this Petition may affirm or reverse the action of the lower court decision. This is another wait and see period. 

It is starting to smell like the Palmer Litigation. CLICK HERE to view some prior related posts relating to the past Palmetto Litigation.

RESEARCH NOTES: Litigation history LUXCOM v. Village of Palmetto Bay:

Circuit Court, including Appellate Division:

Case Number 2020-023918-CA-01 Filed 11/05/2020 OPEN

Case Number 2019-000265-AP-01 Filed 08/29/2019 CLOSED 

Case Number 2019-025745-CA-01 Filed 08/29/2019         CLOSED

Case Number 2019-011663-CA-01 Filed 04/17/2019         OPEN

Third District Court of Appeals

Third District case number: 3D19-1495                                                        CLOSED

Third District case number: 3D20-1950                                                        OPEN