Disappointing. Those in opposition of the bridge have suffered a huge loss in
influencing the District 8 Community Connectivity Committee (CCC). History has shown why you can’t just pick up
your ball and walk off. The others will make decisions that profoundly impact
you. Look to lessons not learned from 1950s. And the current Palmetto Bay electeds want to do it on their own; more than apparently not interested in consulting or working with those who have been there, and had fought this fight before.
Where we are: March 10, 2021, the TPO Transportation and
Mobility Committee voted unanimously to approve moving the SW 87 Avenue bridge
vote to the full TPO Board on March 18.
Two Palmetto Bay officials were told time was up and
eventually had their microphones cut off.
Embarrassing. It’s embarrassing both
from lack of preparation, being unable to prepare their remarks to fit within
the time limit as well as the fact that they do not have the political pull to
be allowed time to finish – this is an important issue that will profoundly
impact the future.
But then again, our officials cut off the County when the
current mayor unilaterally pulled Palmetto Bay out of participating in the Community
Connectivity Committee (CCC). Perhaps the respect our officials are receiving from
the County is directly related to the amount of respect (or lack of) that they
are showing to Miami-Dade County Officials.
So we are not participating. I was one of many who watched
the remaining members of the Community Connectivity Committee (CCC) do their
work in hearing from experts regarding the possible impacts of the bridge on 87th
Avenue. There is palpable fallout,
irreversible damage, to Palmetto Bay through the current Palmetto Bay Mayor unilaterally
packing up and walking away from participating is evident. How? Let’s review.
First of all, I am not sure that the report would have been
a 4 – 4 deadlock on the bridge. Palmetto Bay appointed members are locked in
opposition to the bridge, but I disagree that there is a solid 4-0 voting block
in favor from the Cutler Bay members. I do see two solid votes in favor, but one
that is still far from certain and one who I think could be swung to a vote in
opposition. But you don’t win friends or
influence opposition when you remove yourself from a seat at the table.
That means residents north of the canal had a chance at a
5-3, or possibly (but doubtful) a 6-2 vote in OPPOSITION to the bridge, had the
Palmetto Bay Mayor not removed Palmetto Bay from the group. An opportunity
Palmetto Bay was downgraded from full participant and
influencer to spectator who at best could speak in should sound bites at public
comment. Remember, this is not a Palmetto Bay Committee. It is not a Cutler Bay
Committee. It is a Miami-Dade County, District 8, Community Connectivity
Committee (CCC). That committee continues to move forward unimpeded by Palmetto
Bay’s walk out.
And, as it continues working, the 4 members from Palmetto
Bay were unable to question the officials who were brought before the CCC on
Thursday, 2/25/2021. Residents in opposition to the bridge lost their appointed
representatives who could have asked the right questions that would have
blunted arguments for the bridge. But once again, you can’t participate when
you have removed yourself from the event.
I thought it was wrong for the Palmetto Bay mayor to agree
to participate in the committee in the first place, but she did, and this error
was grievously exacerbated by her allowing the proceedings in Palmetto Bay to
get out of control, losing decorum (perhaps by design) and then, compounding
the rolling errors, pulling out!
Not only did Palmetto Bay lose any claim to a moral high
ground in pulling out, but after seeing what appeared to be some uncertainty in
the Cutler Bay members, Palmetto Bay clearly pulled out prematurely.
The moral high ground: The remaining CCC is clearing going
through the efforts of evaluating the testimony and arguments before them prior
to reaching findings. The Palmetto Bay Task Force spoke for a few minutes then
announced that they were going to work on a report in opposition: An admission that the entire effort will be
to support the pre-determined opposition to the bridge.
This will have a profound, negative, impact the efforts to
stop the bridge. I am far from conceding the bridge, but the road just became
significantly more rocky and it is going to be much more difficult to stop the
critical mass building toward to approving the bridge.
Why walk out now? Does no one pay attention to history?
1950: The Soviet Union removed its delegates from
participating in the UN Security Council to demonstrate displeasure on a
significant matter. It is obvious that the Soviet action backfired. They didn’t
stop the Security Council from acting; to the contrary, the UN Security Council
went on with its work unimpeded by the Soviets when the issue of North Korea’s
invasion of South Korea was brought before the Security Council. Specifically
due to the Soviet’s lack of participation, the Security Council voted to invoke
military action by the United Nations for the first time in the organization’s
history. The Soviets could have blocked the action in the Security Council,
since the United States, Soviet Union, China, Britain, and France each had
absolute veto power, but no Russian delegate was present. In just a short time,
a multinational U.N. force arrived in South Korea and the grueling three-year
Korean War was underway.
A strong lesson in how you lose when you fail to
participate. Does anyone believe the UN
would respond to any policy paper unilaterally put out by the Soviets objecting
to UN Military action in Korea?