Charter reform is on everyone’s mind these days

By Michael Miller….
Talk about “Old Home Week” at the April 26 town hall meeting at the Palmetto Golf Course Recreation Room, 9300 Coral Reef Drive, that ran from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. The topic was proposed Miami-Dade Home Rule Charter amendments, and attendees were invited to share their input on changes they would like to see in the Charter and the proposed amendments that will be on the May 24, 2011 ballot. Among folks attending: Interim County Mayor Alina Hudak, Palmetto Bay’s Mayor Shelley Stancyzk and Councilwoman Joan Lindsay, Councilman Pat Fiore (former West Kendall Council member); Cutler Bay Vice Mayor Ernie Sochin, ex-East Kendall Council’s Carla Savola-Ascensio and Bob Wilcosky, plus just about every known activist in the boonies!

It’s a shame that the civics lesson Assistant County Attorney Tom Logue gave there wasn’t foremost in the minds of recall petitioners last winter. Even Chairman Joe Martinez admitted “We messed up” when the Commission voted to put charter reform on the special recall election ballot. Atty. Logue, whose opinions are prized by his University of Miami law students, sketched out the differences between amending constitutional (or charter) provisions as against laws passed under its provisions. When a mom left the Palmetto Golf Club meeting room amidst his talk, Atty. Logue aptly declared (when the door closed): “That little girl is who we’re talking about. She’s the future and will inherit anything we change in the charter.” His audience (mostly of local government officials and activists) understood his point; you don’t put charter amendments on a recall election ballot.

“Changing a charter should be purposely difficult,” he advised. But in Miami-Dade, passion rules and we will likely kick the baby (strong mayor government) out with the bathwater (sorry, ex-Mayor Alvarez!) on May 24.

Speaking of government officials… We won’t mention any names, but we’re thinking of one or two folks who should probably enroll in a 12 step program for former elected officials who just can’t seem to pry their fingers off the reins of government, and keep jumping to attention every time they see their replacements doing a ribbon cutting or some annual function over which they once presided themselves. Well, sure, it’s normal to miss the lime light, and we’re sympathetic, but all things come to an end and time moves on. So take a deep breath and…just let it go.

Rock & Roll alert… Alexx Calise, that local rocker gal, is returning to South Florida briefly for a live performance at the Monterey Club in Ft. Lauderdale on Tuesday, May 10 at 9:00 p.m. It’s an acoustic show and special guests are Sugar in the Gas Tank. If you’re over 20 it’s a free show with free parking, but buy a beer or food if you want to support the venue. The Monterey Club is at 2608A South Federal Highway. For more info visit www.themontereyclub. net.

Concerned Citizens of Cutler Bay are meeting on Tuesday, May 3, at the Jim Shiver Community Center at Cutler Ridge Park, 10100 Cutler Ridge Drive, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. They’re hosting a candidate forum for candidates for Cutler Bay Town Council, Seat 2. Both Sue Ellen Loyzelle and Chuck Barrentine have been invited to participate.

Palmetto Bay residents, the village is adding something new and interesting to their website (http://www.palmettobayfl. gov/), a link that will enable you to check online to see where the Ibus is located at any given moment. So if you have a smart phone and you’re “traveling green,” it’s a great way to see when the next free shuttle bus will be passing your way. Cool!

Thought for the Day:

You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.

— Wayne Gretzky

Gary Alan Ruse and Richard Yager contributed to this column.

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About the Author

Michael Miller
Michael co-owns Community Newspapers with his brother Grant and serves as Executive Editor of the group of newspapers. He enjoys writing about local politics and area businesses. Michael can be reached at

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