Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Congratulations - huge public outcry forces the village to save the tree - after they said it couldn't be done. Coral Reef Park update

Question – how many voices does it take to force the mayor and village council to do the right thing?

Answer – over 730 voices involved in a viral online petition.

Who are the real heroes here?  Over 730 people plus the three who truly lead the charge. Thank you to all those who spoke up in person, in emails and in the online petition that became a tsunami forcing the council to reverse court and promise to do what the manager said could not be done.

Thank you once again to Council Member Dr. Marsha Matson, who has become the Lone Ranger to Palmetto Bay residents.  She acts on behalf of the residents when the current mayor and remaining council members sit in stone silence, oblivious in the face of needed action.

Dr. Matson was a catalyst of this latest action – remember we all were told that (check the video snippet – provided courtesy of A Better Palmetto Bay)

Dr. Matson:        Can the multi-purpose building in Coral Reef Park be moved to save the old tree?

Manager:            I don’t think at this point it can, ma'am. And we have briefed for the past year that that there were a number of trees that we going to be removed.

FAIR QUESTIONS:           
1. When was a landscaping plan presented to the public? (SPOILER ALERT – It wasn’t).
2. Why were no other members of the village council, including the mayor, following up and showing any interest or concern for the tree(s) at this meeting (or at any other time)? 
(SPOILER ALERT – because they didn't care until the viral online petition hit 700 signatures.)

We, the people, want government to be brought out from under the shade and into the sunshine, not the passive areas of our parks through the destruction of our precious tree canopy.

THE OBVIOUS TAKEAWAY – the manager stated that for the past year, they have advised as to tree removal – and only the Lone Ranger, Dr. Matson, has ever raised an issue with saving trees.  Wow.  Watch the video.  Only Dr. Matson is active and engaged. The remaining members of the council are disengaged, actively disinterested, staring into space or reading papers or from their electronic devices. So it fell to grass roots – led by Mark Merwitzer, Pam Gorman and Palmetto Bay’s Lone Ranger.  The Mayor and council had the chance to involve the public, but they squandered the opportunity to allow the public to participate in important decisions.

Thank you Mark Merwitzer, who is active and energetic, as opposed to those stodgy members of the council who have no ideas and no ability to follow up and represent the people when staff is attempting to move items forward.  Far too many members of this council are there for the paychecks and benefits that they have awarded themselves. They don’t want to take any action, accepting the will of the staff.

He has the will and ability to be the voice of the people.

And Thank you Pam Gorman, who initiated the petition and rallied so many concerned residents to the cause.

No one would be evening learning of the proposed fate of the trees, or would have had a voice in this matter, had it not been for the leadership and determination of these three.  They were instrumental in this fight.

Action matters more than words.  This fight is not over until all the paperwork is completed. we need to remember that this fight is not over. We must remain vigilant and ensure Mayor Cunningham and the other Village Council Members follows through on the (appropriate) flip flop to now save this the tree. Let us hope that this success translates into a new policy, reversing this administration's terrible record and the countless trees they have destroyed in the name of development, we cannot afford to take her word at face value.

Remember - elections matter.

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