Fun and games in the City of Pleasant Living

The soap opera at city hall continues and some of our never to be revealed sources tell me that they overheard one of our bright eyed and bushy tailed commissioners tell the now old city manager something along this line, “Oh good, you have children. Well, there are five of us up here and we all need some attention.” And boy oh boy, do they need attention and would someone please pay attention to them. You can rest assured, if you don’t give it to them, they will do something real soon to get someone to write about or talk about them. And by the way, how are those hidden microphones doing nowadays?

I hear that at a recent CRA meeting, the board instructed staff not to place any more advertising with us. Hmmm. Well folks, I think that this is wonderful; they didn’t like what we wrote so they’re holding back on giving us paying ads. Golly, I’ll just bet you that if the city attorney researches that type of behavior and checks out the lawsuit that the Broward Reviews filed against the Broward County Sheriff’s Department, he’d tell you all about the real world most of us live in and that the courts gave the Review a bunch of money for the BCSD retaliating against the newspaper. But alas, the city shouldn’t be concerned about that because the last time the city paid us for ads was in November. And all the ads that we have been running for the kids, for sports, for football, for the James Bowman Scholarship fund and a variety of other great causes have been free and we gladly do it.

So, don’t you worry your little pea brains over a thing, and just because your guys come from a slash and burn, take no prisoners, mentality we’ll keep running those announcements/ads as we did before, because we know it’s the right thing to do.

And speaking of that I got a letter and a phone call from the Parks and Recreation Department seeking donations for the July 4th fireworks event. Yes, the city in all its infinite wisdom wants some $35,000 to put on the show. Now, gee whiz, folks. How about you raise the $35,000 and give some scholarships to some kids that need help. Ran into Wayne Brackin (who is now a big wig at Baptist Health) at Deli Lane, and just a few days before there was Dr. Joe Traina having breakfast, and a few tables away was the one, the only John Sorgie, from Sunset Quick Print.

And there is good news on the home front. Sunset Tavern, which is right next door to Deli Lane, has gone NON-Smoking. After all those years of being the place to go for drinks, dinner and a smoke, the smoking will be no more and the smokers will either have to go outside and sit out front under the umbrellas or go…well…elsewhere. Or better yet, just don’t smoke for the 45 minutes that you’re having lunch, dinner and or a drink or two.

My congratulations go out to the owners, Jan and Mike, for doing the right thing. Now that the city fired the old city manager, who had fired just about everyone that the commission wanted gone, just what will this city commission do? I can’t wait to see their agenda and their vision for the future.

And speaking of seeing things, you gotta get your hands on the report that Kenneth Harms prepared for the city, in its quest to fire the Chief of Police. It’s an eye opener and filled with some facts, lots of suppositions and lots of stuff that is not relevant, but there are some allegations that do need more investigation. But, alas, the city didn’t need to find reasons to let him go, but they did, so that it would strengthen the city’s position and weaken the Chief’s position. You must know if the city’s position is strong, they pay out less money. If the Chief’s position is strong, it’ll cost the city more money. So, folks, at the end of the day, it’ll be about the money.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

A few months ago, the Miami Herald and several other “news” organizations entered into a relationship, where local media, like Community Newspapers, would provide news / comments and more to some of the local websites inside of “Herald.com.” At the present time we are supplying and posting news on South Miami as well as in Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay. The arrangement is pretty simple and straightforward and it provides readers with the local news and information that people seem to want more of every day. A few weeks ago, an independent contractor, not an employee of the Herald, Edward Schumacher-Matos, who does not live in Miami nor South Miami, nor in South Florida, wrote an opinion piece as the Herald Ombudsman titled, “When a partner goes too far, who is responsible?”

I’d like to point out that Mr. Matos is a distinguished individual with credentials that are amazing and for us mere mortals down in South Miami. But nevertheless his piece clearly reminds me of the old story about the Blind men and the Elephant. The essence of the fable is:

Anumber of blind men try to decide the form of an elephant by feeling the animal. One, feeling the leg, declares the elephant to be like a tree; another, feeling the trunk only, declares the elephant to be like a snake; a third, who feels only the side, says that the elephant is like a wall; a fourth, grasping the tail, says that the elephant is like a rope, etc. So since each one is only getting part of the facts, they don’t know the whole story.

There are some things that I’d like to point out:

For starters, the writer makes reference to us as a “12 paper chain in South Florida.” We’re not in South Florida. My goodness, doesn’t he know we are in Miami?

Next, Matos writes… “Miller in an interview acknowledges…that he writes about his building.” Golly folks, I have never spoken to him, nor has he asked me any question in writing, email or by voice. I did though speak to someone who called on his behalf. She asked me about zoning issues and I had to guess what she was really after and spoke for a few minutes to her. She never asked me about the context of a portion of my column where I wrote about a supposed death threat against an elected official. If he would have spoken to me, perhaps he would have looked at it a scant bit differently and I would have asked him directly, did the column that you are referring to ever make it onto herald. com? Cuz I just can’t find it. Maybe it’s there, and I’ve asked Mr. Matos to help me out and see if he can locate it. I’ve also asked two people from our office to find it, but to no avail.

Then, of course, there are the errors in reporting that perhaps would not have occurred if HE called instead of the lady that did his research for him. In one instance Matos writes… “He writes about the building, for which he has been suing since 1997, but says he does so openly in his column, without hiding his self interest.” Wrong.

That’s not so. Here’s the real deal: The master comprehensive plan that effects us has been around since 1997 and there have been over 20 meetings about the zoning on the street and we sued the city a few months ago. I also told the young lady that we have been writing stories and making comments about this and other zoning issues in my column for years.

And then on the opinion page of the Herald’s website is this complaint from Yvonne Beckman: “I cannot believe that the Miami Herald is allying themselves with the Community Newspapers. There (is) no worse example of yellow journalism I have ever seen. In South Miami that rag is commonly known as the ‘Mullet Wrapper;’ for years and years the owner has openly interfered with politics in South Miami in the most egregious way.’’

I wasn’t quite familiar with the meaning of Beckman’s term “Mullet Wrapper” so I Googled it and son of a gun, it must be some words of endearment as I found a newspaper by the name www.mulletwrapper.com , and it’s a very friendly newspaper, so much so that I made them one of my favorites.

Well, anyway here’s what someone posted on www.eyeonmiami.com : “‘For years and years the owner has openly interfered with politics in South Miami in the most egregious way’…. That is not possible in politics. It is POLITICS! PLEASE MAKE UP YOUR MIND Mrs. Beckman. Are you For or Against Free Speech in the United State of America???

Or Does Free Speech ONLY APPLY to you. When Law enforcement has to escort you out of a meeting in handcuffs or from a Memorial for a public official. But no one else can do/act the way she does because they are trampling on her First Amendment Rights??? It seems by your actions, Mrs. Beckman is free to trample on the free speech of others, especially when she disagrees with or does not like those people.”

Here’s another comment recently posted on the Herald’s website: “At a time when the FCC is making it easier for large media companies to gobble up the little guys, the last thing I want to see is any community newspaper silenced or crowded out in a marketplace.

As Community Newspapers capture the small town news and precious gossip that depict what is going on at the local local local level, those advertisements that you wrap your fish in are from the small business that I try to patronize. At the end of the day, when I pull my car into my driveway, I am in Mayberry. Kids are riding their bikes and the neighbors are watering their lawns. I am glad that the Herald is partnering with CN. It makes perfect sense to me.” Another unsolicited opinion from an active Kendall news source:

“I do not consider local-local-local news a prostitution of the profession. All you have to do is look at what Ruppert Murdock has done to the profession to realize that the spin doctors on the higher levels are the real prostitutes, multi national corporations are the clients and Daddy Murdock is the grand pimp. Local-locallocal keeps us grounded. Gossip is the reality. It is no different to hear Miller gossiping about a community member as to hear Beck, Oberman or O’Reilly gossiping about Senators, Congressmen or the Pres. It is the same thing.

Long live CN.” And to that, we say Thank you!

Gulfstream Elementary is eagerly awaiting new playground

Marilyn A. Horne, one of the teachers at Gulfstream Elementary in Cutler Bay, reports that they are all really excited about the amazing new playground the school will be getting on Saturday, June 12. The kids have needed it a long time, and thanks to some great help from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Miami-Dade County Public Schools, organizers from KaBOOM! and residents of the Cutler Bay community, it will soon happen in the wink of an eye.

“We are on track – 200 volunteers in place and most of the needed tools,” says Marilyn. “We want to thank the community for their generous response. We are ready for build day on June 12! In addition to the playground, we will be having a state of the art ‘outdoor classroom,’ an Imagination Playground, murals, a map of the US on the basketball court, and picnic tables with chess boards. Pre-Build days are scheduled 8 – 3 on June 10 and 11 and the Build Day is June 12 at 8:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on that day at 2:30 p.m.”

Marilyn says that Gulfstream principal Susan Lyle and the rest of the staff there appreciate Community Newspapers’ coverage, and that they really want to keep the momentum going. The school is located at 20900 SW 97th Avenue, if you want to drop by and see the spectacle of the playground equipment being set up in a matter of hours, and if you have any questions about it or can furnish any of the tools they still need, please call 305-235-6811

To answer multiple queries received in recent weeks, speed limits on county local roads are set by the County’s Public Works Department (Traffic Engineering Division) and you may contact 305-375-2030 if your need arises to question those limitations. Speed limits of State Roads are regulated by the FDOT and for further information, call office of Gus Pego District VI at 305-499- 2330. Of course, it will save time by determining which roads are DPW or FDOTmaintained before quizzing officialdom.

Well, I guess it was inevitable… The Village of Palmetto Bay is on Facebook. The social networking site that began as a place for teenagers to post personal information (sometimes too much!) and connect up with their friends and schoolmates has in recent years been taken over by businesses, organizations, recording artists, political candidates and others who want to use the internet site to promote themselves, their product, their cause or whatever. And now, apparently feeling their own official website and e-newsletters (not to mention newspaper coverage) are not enough, Village officials and staff are posting photos and news items on Facebook. Check it out at this web address:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Village-of-Palmetto-Bay/80499470744

And yes…horror of horrors…they’re on Twitter, too! Isn’t the Information Technology Age wonderful? Palmetto Bay Park, a gorgeous facility that deserves more attention and usage than it seems to be getting, is hosting a Father’s Day softball tournament on June 19-20 with the Lady Canes women’s softball team. For more info call the park office at 305-251- 2751

June 23rd hearing by East Kendall Council on eight-story apartment complex on SW 77th Avenue causes that area’s umbrella HOA Chair, Holly White, to Email: “We are concerned that approval of the site plan, by the Community Council, will set a precedent resulting in: high density apartment buildings this side of the Palmetto Expressway; more cut through traffic from commuters avoiding the already existing bottlenecks on S. W. 77th Avenue; increased crime in the area and overcrowding of our schools…” among other objections. For details via Email, contact her at hollybw@bellsouth.net .

Expanding Hammocks still on drawing board

Thanks to Bernardo Escobar in Joe Martinez’s office, we’re able to report that the effort to expand Indian Hammocks Park is still underway — on paper. A resolution adopted May 4 instructs Mayor Carlos Alvarez to conduct a feasibility study on park development and expansion, and report results back to the Commission within 90 days, or by August 4.

During the resolution vote, Director Jack Kardys of the Parks Department said his staff was working with School Board representatives to transfer part of School Board property in the vicinity of the new Terra Environmental Research school to the Parks Department, Kardys felt that legal move to free expansion territory might also take place in 90 days.

Once completed, that land transfer would clear a path to build a proposed aquatic center at Indian Hammocks and begin other improvements the Parks Department hopes to incorporate to improve existing facilities, including a new skate park.

The resolution also directs a study of the “abandoned and derelict” former Haven Center Property, relocation of the Solid Waste Transfer Station, relocation of park maintenance buildings, reconfiguration of the Department of Human Services’ cottage parcels and the existing surface parking areas. As originally proposed by Commissioner Javier Souto, expansion at Indian Hammocks Park clears use of the projected $6 million of BBC funds to build a senior center or consider adding more dollars for a combined community/senior center at Indian Hammocks.

The issue of having a such a center for community meetings and seniors has been kicked around now for nearly ten years while East Kendall’s Community Council meets in zoning sessions at the Village Center to hear applications “on the other side” of Florida Turnpike.

It’s time to wrap up the planning and get these long overdue projects underway, We’ll continue to monitor Commission progress (instead of pigeon-holing) — if only to see that the public gets what we were promised five years ago when the bonding program was sold on its capital improvement projects, several in “this neck of the woods.”

To answer multiple queries received in recent weeks, speed limits on county local roads are set by the County’s Public Works Department (Traffic Engineering Division) and you may contact 305-375-2030 if your need arises to question those limitations. Speed limits of State Roads are regulated by the FDOT and for further information, call office of Gus Pego, District VI, at 305-499- 2330. Of course, it will save time by determining which roads are DPW or FDOTmaintained before quizzing officialdom.

June 23rd hearing by East Kendall Council on eight-story apartment complex on SW 77th Avenue causes that area’s umbrella HOA Chair, Holly White, to Email: “We are concerned that approval of the site plan, by the Community Council, will set a precedent resulting in: high density apartment buildings this side of the Palmetto Expressway; more cut through traffic from commuters avoiding the already existing bottlenecks on S. W. 77th Avenue; increased crime in the area and overcrowding of our schools…” among other objections. For details via Email, contact her at hollybw@bellsouth.net .

No grass grows under West Kendall Business Association, holding its monthly networking session at Gatsby’s, 8578 SW 124th Avenue, Thursday, June 10, 5:30-7:30 p.m. while announcing the first in a new series to help small business compete when Lourdes Balegogi of Chispa Marketing, Inc., details “Getting Attention Without Spending a Fortune” when the seminar program debuts June 15 at Nova SE Univesity in Kendall. Call 305-386-4030 or visit www.westkendallbusiness.com for membership and other information.

Go ‘face to face’ with the village online

Well, I guess it was inevitable… The Village of Palmetto Bay is on Facebook. The social networking site that began as a place for teenagers to post personal information (sometimes too much!) and connect up with their friends and schoolmates has in recent years been taken over by businesses, organizations, recording artists, political candidates and others who want to use the internet site to promote themselves, their product, their cause or whatever. And now, apparently feeling their own official website and e-newsletters (not to mention newspaper coverage) are not enough, Village officials and staff are posting photos and news items on Facebook. Check it out at this web address:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Village-of-Palmetto-Bay/80499470744 And yes…horror of horrors…they’re on Twitter, too! Isn’t the Information Technology Age wonderful?

Oooops…sorry… Due to an inadvertent typo in our last issue, the item mentioning the candidates who are running for Katy Sorenson’s soon to be vacant District 8 County Commission seat listed “Abdulio Piedra” when in fact his actual name is Obdulio Piedra. Our apologies! Check him out on his website: http://www.votepiedra.com . Palmetto Bay Park, a gorgeous facility that deserves more attention and usage than it seems to be getting, is hosting a Father’s Day softball tournament on June 19-20 with the Lady Canes women’s softball team. For more info call the park office at 305-251-2751.

Marilyn A. Horne, one of the teachers at Gulfstream Elementary in Cutler Bay, reports that they are all really excited about the amazing new playground the school will be getting on Saturday, June 12. The kids have needed it a long time, and thanks to some great help from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Miami-Dade County Public Schools, organizers from KaBOOM! and residents of the Cutler Bay community, it will soon happen in the wink of an eye.

“We are on track – 200 volunteers in place and most of the needed tools,” says Marilyn. “We want to thank the community for their generous response. We are ready for build day on June 12! In addition to the playground, we will be having a state of the art ‘outdoor classroom,’ an Imagination Playground, murals, a map of the US on the basketball court, and picnic tables with chess boards. Pre-Build days are scheduled 8 – 3 on June 10 and 11 and the Build Day is June 12 at 8:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on that day at 2:30 p.m.”

Marilyn says that Gulfstream principal Susan Lyle and the rest of the staff there appreciate Community Newspapers’ coverage, and that they really want to keep the momentum going. The school is located at 20900 SW 97th Avenue, if you want to drop by and see the spectacle of the playground equipment being set up in a matter of hours, and if you have any questions about it or can furnish any of the tools they still need, please call 305-235-6811.

To answer multiple queries received in recent weeks, speed limits on county local roads are set by the County’s Public Works Department (Traffic Engineering Division) and you may contact  305-375-2030 if your need arises to question those limitations. Speed limits of State Roads are regulated by the FDOT and for further information, call office of Gus Pego District VI at 305-499- 2330. Of course, it will save time by determining which roads are DPW or FDOTmaintained before quizzing officialdom.

June 23rd hearing by East Kendall Council on eight-story apartment complex on SW 77th Avenue causes that area’s umbrella HOA Chair, Holly White, to Email: “We are concerned that approval of the site plan, by the Community Council, will set a precedent resulting in: high density apartment buildings this side of the Palmetto Expressway; more cut through traffic from commuters avoiding the already existing bottlenecks on S. W. 77th Avenue; increased crime in the area and overcrowding of our schools…” among other objections. For details via Email, contact her at hollybw@bellsouth.net .

Thought of the Day:
The reward of a thing well done, is to have done it.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Gary Alan Ruse and Richard Yager contributed to this column.

Got any tips? Contact me at 305-669- 7355  ext. 249, or send emails to < michael@communitynewspapers.com >.


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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 michael@communitynewspapers.com

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